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#6 The Houdini Elastic

Just like The Great Houdini, the elastic on your index and middle fingers will escape past the second guarding rubber band and land on your ring and baby fingers…then he will escape back into the prison of your index and middle fingers to demonstrate that no rubber band prison can hold The Great Houdini Elastic!

Just keep 2 rubber bands in your pocket and you are ready to amaze every audience, any time!

This is a classic of Magic Book Tricks for children. But what I want to talk about in this post is the “story” you can tell when you are performing your magic for audiences.

You can take any magic trick and make it new by making up a new story to go with it. I have taken a simple transposing (when something moves magically) magic effect and created a Houdini escape!

As a matter of fact, I use many of the same tricks in different shows I do. I use the same rope trick, but I theme the trick differently. In a Christmas show, the ropes are from a magic Christmas tree garland. In an Easter show, this time the ropes are a string from a magic Easter Bonnet. In one of my Hallowe’en shows, the ropes have been worms, part of a hangman’s rope, or bloody ropes when I use my red rope. And again, in my Doc Century’s Magical Travelling Medicine Show, the ropes are used as an eye test for my audience patients. So, don’t be afraid to make up stories for your magic tricks.

When I first read about the elastic trick in a magic book many years ago, there was just one elastic and the patter went like this: “Take an elastic and put it on your fingers and with some magic dust it jumps to the other fingers.” Not a great story and I didn’t really care if an elastic jumped from two fingers to two other fingers. And then the other problem was how to do the secret move without being obvious about it. After you put the elastic on your index and middle fingers, why touch it again. You shouldn’t have to, so that is why it is suspicious when you do have to.

So, having the second elastic does this very well, plus it helped me come up with the escape idea and it also helps with a little psychology. Because you say that this second elastic is a prison to hold The Houdini Elastic, it is a natural move to pull The Houdini Elastic up and show that it can’t come free of the Rubber Band prison. Then, you are perfectly placed to execute the secret move without it looking suspicious. The audience just thinks you are putting The Houdini Elastic back down at the palm of your hand when actually you are moving it across the tips of all four fingers, and then you are ready for the magic transposition.

The psychology of the rubber band prison is that it convinces the audience of the magic because they believe that The Houdini Elastic actually comes off your hand and then reappears on the ring and baby fingers, when in actual fact the band just moves up and over all your fingers from the index all the way to the baby and then back again.

As an added bonus for reading this, try putting a third elastic on your fingers. It starts on your ring and baby fingers, just like The Houdini Elastic is on your index and middle fingers and then put the prison across the top of all fingers as in the trick above. Then do the secret move in both directions from the original Houdini Elastic across all your fingertips and also go across all your fingertips with the third elastic. When you open your hand the Houdini Elastic and the third elastic will trade places. Try to use three different coloured elastics.

And when I do this three elastic trick, I call it Mini Metamorphosis!, named after the amazing illusion that Houdini (The Houdini Elastic) and his wife Bess (the third elastic) performed together called Metamorphosis. Houdini was handcuffed, tied in a bag and locked in a trunk and Bess pulled a curtain in front of the trunk and in a moment Houdini pulled back the curtain and Bess was now handcuffed, tied in the bag and locked in the trunk (this is where you make the elastics change places).

If you Google this link:
It’ll take you to YouTube and you can actually watch Houdini’s brother, Hardeen, perform Metamorphosis in New York City.

So, watch a little history and then perform a wonderful little magic trick (or two), which magicians love to say “packs small but plays BIG”…but only after you have practiced until you can do the secret move without looking at your hands, because that is when your practice will become…MAGIC!!
Steve Baker is a magician located in the GTA residing North of Orangeville, near Honeywood, Ontario.

Since 1997, Steve has entertained adults and children at private functions and large public venues to amaze them with sleight of hand, strolling magic tricks, mentalism and fun characters from Wawa to Pettawawa and from Ottawa to Sarnia, Ontario.