Melissa & Doug - Magician's Apprentice volume 3 - Rope Tricks Untangled

Melissa & Doug – Rope Tricks Untangled

Melissa & Doug – Magician’s Apprentice Volume 3 – Rope Tricks Untangled

Melissa & Doug - Magician's Apprentice volume 3 - Rope Tricks UntangledBuy from  Something I like to do is investigate children’s magic sets, and see if the various props are anything that I would use in my clowning.   I was pleased with the results from  Melissa & Doug’s Deluxe Magic Set, and I was interested in looking into their set of rope tricks as well.   Unlike coin and card tricks, I feel that rope magic tends to lend itself to clowning.  I typically keep a 1-foot length of rope, and a three-foot length as well, in my pocket as I clown, simply because I have a variety of simple clown tricks that I do with them.   The question is, does  Rope Tricks Untangled work for clowning? (more…)

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Coin Tricks Unrolled - Melissa & Doug - Magician's Apprentice volume 4

Coin Tricks Unrolled – Melissa & Doug – Magician’s Apprentice volume 4

Coin Tricks Unrolled - Melissa & Doug - Magician's Apprentice volume 4Coin Tricks Unrolled – Melissa & Doug – Magician’s Apprentice volume 4

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I bought the Melissa & Doug Magic Set,  Coin Tricks Unrolled, to evaluate for my clowning.   I have a background in sleight of hand, and I like to integrate magic tricks into my clowning when I can—and when it fits my clown character.   I like to evaluate inexpensive “children’s” magic props to see if they would work for clowning, before purchasing the more expensive “professional” model, and so I looked at this collection of coin tricks.   The set consists of the following: (more…)

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Break away wand

Breakaway wand

Buy from  Breakaway wand

The breakaway wand is a simple magic prop.  It’s a wand that, held properly, looks normal.  But when handed to a spectator, seems to fall apart.   Remember that, for a clown, the  clown  should be the one with egg on his face, and not the volunteer. (more…)

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Magic Chick Pan

Magic chick pan

Magic chick pan

In simple English, the  magic chick pan  is my second-favorite clown prop.   I use it all the time, and I absolutely love it.   In a nutshell, it looks like a small pan with a cover.  It enables the clown or magician to make a small item appear, or change one small item into another.   You’ve likely seen amateur magicians put a piece of flash paper in it, set it on fire, cover the pan to extinguish the fire and then open it to reveal a baby chick (hence the name).   But it’s a  lot  more versatile than that. (more…)

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Magic in clowning - what'€™s the difference between magic and clown magic

Magic in clowning – what’s the difference between magic and clown magic

Magic in clowning – what’s the difference between magic and clown magic

I’d like to make a few short comments about the performance of magic in clowning – where it’s appropriate, and where it’s not. For instance, it would be out of character for a bumbling clown to suddenly put on a serious demeanor. Then, with the aid of a beautiful magician’s assistant, saw a woman in half, or levitate her, or cause her to mysteriously vanish and reappear. Any of these would be totally out of character for virtually any clown.

However, it would be perfectly in character for a clown to attempt to be the suave magician and be revealed for the charlatan he is. Either by his own bungling or that of his assistant (likely an auguste or tramp clown). Since the clown is, by definition, a bungler, this would be fine, and totally in character. In fact, once having been exposed/failed, it would be fine for the clown to successfully complete the magic (with the help of the audience, a volunteer from the audience, or perhaps with a clown assistant).

There is another way for the clown to perform magically, however.


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How do I start Clowning? Clown Magic part 1

Clown Magic, part 1 – an introduction

Welcome back  to our ongoing how-to series—today, we’re going to begin discussing clown magic, how it is similar to “standard” magic, and how it differs.

Let’s begin with getting some definitions out of the way. By “magic”, we’re discussing the sleight of hand and “sleight of mind” (pun not intended) popularized by David Copperfield, et. al. We are not discussing anything unholy, unwholesome, or that God would frown upon. That’s magick (or magyk, or…), and something we’re not going to touch with a ten-foot pole.

Another disclaimer: Mr. Copperfield (and all other performing magicians) aren’t doing anything “mystical”, etc.  They are doing things that we’re not expecting, and taking advantage of some presuppositions that our minds make. Here’s a short example. There’s a magical prop, called X-Salted. It’s a gimmicked salt shaker. The presentation is as follows: the magician comes on stage, and starts pouring salt out of the shaker. He stops, unscrews the top of the shaker, and dumps all of the salt out of the shaker. He screws the lid back on, and turns the shaker upside down. Salt continues to pour out of the top of the salt shaker – for minutes. Since we (as adults) “know” that that salt shaker top can’t  possibly hold that much salt, we’re astounded.  It must be magic! The answer, of course, is that our perceptions have been fooled, and the salt shaker lid holds more salt that we think it would.  Children  aren’t  fooled by this illusion, since they haven’t “learned” that rule about space. (more…)

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The Joker Tube - Magic Trick with 'How To' Instructions - aka. Strat-O-Sphere

How do I start Clowning? Clown Magic part 2

Clowning Tutorial – clown magic

Welcome back — today, we’re going to discuss clown magic, how it is similar to “standard” magic, and how it differs.

Imagine, if you would, a clown (either  whiteface,  auguste, or tramp) walking on stage with a serious demeanor. He has a beautiful assistant walk on stage, pushing a small table. She climbs onto the table, and lies down, face up. The clown walks over, makes a few mystical passes, and covers her with a large cloth. He steps back, pauses, and gestures with his arms, pantomiming up, up–  up!  Slowly, the covered figure rises several feet into the air. The clown confidently steps forward and whisks away the sheet, to reveal that the assistant has vanished!

Now,  what’s wrong with this picture? (more…)

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How do I start Clowning? Clown Magic part 3

Clown Tutorial – Clown  Magic – magic card magic – free magic trick

Welcome back – today, the rubber meets the road, and we introduce a free magic trick that you can introduce into your clowning. As always, you want to adapt these things to fit your character. (more…)

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How do I start Clowning? Clown Magic part 4

Clown Tutorial  – Clown Magic – do’s and don’ts of magic tricks

Welcome back!  In this installment of Clown Magic, we’ll talk about some do’s and don’ts.

The most important don’t  is the most basic:  never divulge how a trick is done, except to another magician/clown. No exceptions. Ever. Don’t do it. Just say no. Get the idea? This is a  very bad thing to do; you would be divulging someone else’s  hard work, so that when an audience sees that trick, one or more of them will say (probably out loud, disrupting the performance) “I’ve seen that before! I know how that’s done!”  or something equally witty. This is a lose-lose proposition all the way around. Magicians will stop doing that trick (for example, magicians rarely perform the “sword through the basket” routine anymore, since it’s been exposed so many times), the audience member looks oafish, and the rest of the audience loses out as well. (more…)

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Now You See It, Now You Don't, by Bill Tarr

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Now You See It, Now You Don’t : Lessons in Sleight of Hand — by Bill Tarr, Barry Ross (Illustrator)

Now You See It, Now You Don't, by Bill TarrBuy from  There are basically two types of magicians — gadgeteers and finger-flingers. Please note, this is not meant to insult either group. A gadgeteer tends toward self-working magic — things that are set up, and effectively work by themselves. This frees the magician to focus on presentation and entertainment, and not as much on the mechanics of the trick or illusion. Finger-flingers, on the other hand, tend toward actual sleight of hand, relying on their own skill to perform the seemingly impossible. This takes longer to master, but gives greater confidence, as well as the ability to perform anywhere, with whatever is at hand. This book is for those who want to be finger-flingers, or who want to look at that side of the aisle. (more…)

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