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Reno

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Reply with quote  #1 
I come upon the phrase "magical gesture" very often in books on magic. However, except for the ubiquitous, "I simply cast a shadow over the cards with my hand" remark, examples are never given. What is your favorite magical gesture?
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Oh, snap your fingers, wiggle your fingers, tap the back of your hand... It's all mumbo-jumbo, so have fun with it and pick something that suits your personality. As for me, I often "...snap my fingers and say the magic words...", which are usually a fairly well-known movie quote, or a snippet of lyrics from a song.

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DJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
You can lift and lower the deck while holding it in mechanics grip (think tapping the bottom of a table with your index finger). Another option is to grab the deck in overhand end grip and create air in between the cards then release.  Another is to riffle the ends of the cards.
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Buffalo McKinley

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Reply with quote  #4 
To add to Reno's question....do spectators want the magical gesture?  Is it a bit of let down without it?

-Buffalo
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #5 
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffalo McKinley
To add to Reno's question....do spectators want the magical gesture?  Is it a bit of let down without it?

-Buffalo


Buffalo, I don't know if there is a "let down" but certainly some audiences have come to expect the "moment of magic" signaled by a word or phrase.  

The hackneyed "Abracadabra!" or "Voila!" come to mind.  The "magic moment" can also be the snapping of fingers, casting a shadow, clapping your hands (helps if they are empty!) or even musical instruments such as a drum roll and cymbal crash.  

Don't underestimate the power the "magic moment" provides.  It puts the focus where you want it, the audience's attention peaks at that very instant.  

For kid shows, magic phrases can be interactive.  You say the first part, they say the second.  Like you say "Hocus" and they shout "Pocus".  This gets them all into it and the sound drives the adults nuts.  Just kidding, mostly.

Some magicians choose to blow on the hand and perhaps make a whistling sound at the same time.  Some go to the pocket for the ubiquitous "woofle dust".  The magic dust obviously carries with it the chance to go south with something or to retrieve something in the act of creating the "magic moment".  

So don't sell it short.  When something is used for centuries it is generally because it is useful and effective.
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Buffalo McKinley

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Reply with quote  #7 
Awesome.

Thanks, Ray!
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #8 

Great info from RayJ.  I would add that, for kidshows, the “magical gesture” can be enhanced to create even more audience interaction.  For example, for my themed educational programs I always taught the kids the “magic words” at the beginning of the show (for example, “Reading is Magic”).  

Then, in performance, when I reached the climax of a trick, they were encouraged to raise their hands, wiggle their fingers and yell the magic words.  Right on cue, my music changed from an appropriate background track to take on a more active role, with a mystical musical effect enhancing the visual magical moment.  This combination of audience interaction with music never failed to generate oohs and aahs of wonderment from children and adults alike.  Even the lowly Coloring Book took on a whole new life with this approach!

For close-up magic, I don’t always use a magical gesture.  But when appropriate, some of my routines do include a snap of the fingers or a mystical wave over the cards or coins.  Incidentally, I have at times incorporated music in one or two of my close-up routines, and I can vouch for the fact that, if used correctly, it will enhance the astonishment.

 


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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #9 
Finger wiggle seems to work.  Or I tell them to snap their fingers over the cards/coins/whatever.  That way they made the magic happen.

Tell them to say a magic word like "acabrapocus"  or ""hocuscadabra".  It's different than the typical magical words they might have heard before.
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #10 
Words from the Harry Potter films get a good reaction, too.
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur stead
Words from the Harry Potter films get a good reaction, too.


and for alert audiences, you can have fun with these ...

"Winegardium Omarosa"

"Aloha Dora" or "Aloha Quora"

"Expecto Applausum"

etc.
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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #12 
For me, the central value of the "magical moment" has to do with human psychology. If something happens immediately before something else occurs, we tend to not only associate those two events but to (at least subconsciously) assume causation between them. So, if the magical gesture frequently occurs right before the magical effect is revealed, we begin to think it somehow causes the effect. So, the possibilities (especially for time misdirection) are large. But the great thing is that the magical gesture doesn't have to be a waving of the hands or snapping of the fingers. It can really be anything right before the effect is revealed. 
  For example, I recently did a show of about 45 minutes of close-up for a group of a dozen college students. As I was going out the door of my house, I noticed a small, about 1 inch, black stone bunny rabbit on my table. I stuck it in my pocket. After laying out my close-up mat at the show, I carefully took the bunny out of my pocket and placed him on the table facing the mat. Then, during the show, instead of a traditional gesture, I would simply pat the bunny or sometimes just look at him. I never said a word about the bunny or explained his presence, but it worked great. It seemed to locate the magic in the bunny. Afterwards the students said that they had loved the rabbit. A couple of them asked if they could touch the rabbit. I found that any gesture towards the bunny easily worked as well as waving a cumbersome wand. Great misdirection.
   My point is certainly not that you should copy this - it works with my rather strange personality and my approach in which everything in the act is alive. Rather, my point is that almost anything utilized in the right moment can serve as a magicial gesture.
     Now, I just have to give the bunny a name.
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guinee
Then, during the show, instead of a traditional gesture, I would simply pat the bunny or sometimes just look at him.
     Now, I just have to give the bunny a name.



Cool, unique idea!

Here's a name suggestion:  "Pat" the Bunny

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #14 
I have a finger puppet of a rabbit coming out of a hat - it occasionally assists me by revealing a miniature version of a selected card, or by carrying a tiny paper wand which unrolls to reveal a prediction.  Around Easter its name is "Esther Bunny" .  At other times I introduce it as Bunn ... James Bunn.   Sometimes it's Rupert Rabbit.
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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #15 

Many years ago I was a leader in the National Guard and we were in the field and it was hot and I was not in a great mood and I told one of the fellows to bring some logs over to where we were. He resisted!

 

 I picked up a small stone with my right hand, placed it into my left hand and waved my right hand over my left as I counted, “one, two, three,” and when I opened my left hand the stone had “vanished”. I then began to wave my right hand over this fellow as I counted “One, two—” and with that he held up both hands yelling “NO, NO!”

 

I never had trouble with him again.





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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #16 

I created my own magic word for kids. Well words, actually. It was a phrase, a chant, easy to remember and easy to recite.

I stayed faraway from the Potter stuff; for one thing everybody and their granny’s auntie was lifting bits and bobs and another thing I wasn’t keen. Then and now.

For adults I haven’t really bothered, though from time to time I have used the "Cast a shadow" line. I always request that the spectator uses his left hand, adding that "All Magic comes from the Left Hand Path. Dexter. Sinister." On "Dexter" I raise my right hand and on "Sinister," my left.

It’s a bit of "in-passing" nonsense, with overtones of something or other. I’ve also been known to mumble "Cast a shadow and add a layer of Dream Dust."  

 

Film and TV regularly disperse popular-for-a-time words and phrases into the ether. Some stick around and lodge into memories, most don’t. But they’re useful.

Some years ago when The Usual Suspects was doing the rounds, I’d occasionally utter "First the mystic words: Keyser Soze." Or, from the same source, the stand-alone "Kobayashi."

If anyone made the connection, they’d smile and nod. Mostly they didn’t, but it sounded exotic.

From even further back, I occasionally rolled out "Shazbat" and/or "Nanoo Nanoo".

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #17 
These days you can use terms that everyone has heard but hardly anyone understands, which certainly seem magical, mysterious, and possibly powerful:  "Bitcoin", "Blockchain", "Data Mining" etc come to mind.

I'm actually going to use these next time I perform for my students/colleagues in the School of Computing - with an over-the-top Christopher Lee delivery I think they will get some laughs.
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