On October 30 (at precisely 12:01AM EST) I’m launching an exciting collection of some of the most creative and practical deceptions I’ve developed in years.
There are many things about these ‘special effects’ that make them so special. First, having the opportunity to produce them with master illusion designer, Roy Kueppers. I worked closely with Roy to develop the extremely popular ‘Slyder’ gimmick, and Roy has also shared his rare manufacturing talents with David Roth, Ellusionist and many others.
Second, each of the effects was developed to fulfill a handful of very demanding ‘real world’ criteria, with an emphasis on startling, ORIGINAL effects and NATURAL handlings.
And third, each of the effects involves ‘a new breed of gimmick.’ Gimmicks that are not a substitute for sleight-of-hand, but rather a perfect compliment. Gimmicks that are designed to work ingeniously with every day, ordinary objects. Items you would normally find ‘lying around’ at school or work, as well as stuff you would typically carry in your wallet. These are modern effects and gimmicks developed with the power of the ‘unplanned performance’ very much in mind.
A great gimmick IS magic. I’ve loved pure sleight-of-hand for over 30 years, but I can also still remember my first glorious gimmick. It was a fake stack of nickels for the classic ‘Nickels to Dimes’ effect. You know, a small, round, silvery metal ‘cap’ with a few horizontal grooves running around it. It looked like nothing. Like a piece of something or other that had fallen off a lawnmower. But if you placed a nickel on top of that little cap…MAGIC. It looked exactly like an honest to goodness stack of nickels!
Even better (MUCH better) was that with that simple, trustworthy gimmick, you could create a deceptive effect that was both practical and dead easy to do. Again, MAGIC.
Brilliant gimmicks are an expression of the mind, not the hands. But when you combine even a single, basic sleight with an awesome gimmick, you get the best of the mind and the body. Separately, gimmicks and sleight-of-hand are marvelous. But together, they can create an experience that is so much more than the ‘sum of the parts.’
I haven’t touched my ‘nickels to dimes’ gimmick in many years for a lot of reasons, and one them is that the cap you slip on top of the fake stack of nickels LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE what it is: a GIMMICK. The same goes for all the paddles, dice, cups, boxes, mini wands, and strange-looking playing cards and ‘coins’ found in most magic shops.
While you can definitely have fun and even ‘trick’ people will all those puzzles, that’s not the same as doing MAGIC. For that, you need a different kind of gimmick. A gimmick that works in total silence and never brings any unwanted attention to itself. A gimmick that brilliantly serves the modern ideal of ‘doing the extraordinary with the ORDINARY.”
A good gimmick must be deceptive and practical (or it won’t get used) and it must also be very well made (or it won’t get used for long.) But for a gimmick to be truly GREAT, it must also help achieve a GREAT effect. An effect worth creating. That’s the kind of truly inspired gimmick that blur the lines, between the sleights of the hands, the principles of the mind, and what people experience as MAGIC.
I love great gimmicks, and I really CAN’T wait to share with all of you my ‘new breed of gimmicks’ on OCT 30. If you too are fascinated with gimmicks, I’d appreciate it if you would please take a moment to post a comment, and share with the rest of us the name of one of your favorite gimmicks, and why you like it so much. Thank you! LLRM