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#9 The Fairest Way to Vanish a Ball

A baseball is covered by a clear glass so the magician can’t even touch it and then to keep the magic a secret, a paper napkin is placed over the glass. After several failed attempts, unexpected magic happens when the napkin is removed to reveal that the glass – not the ball – has vanished!!

This is an updated version of the old ‘salt shaker and coin’ trick that I first saw many years ago at Morrissey’s Magic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Alas, the GTA is now without that wonderful magic store. But don’t despair if you would like to walk around in an actual brick and mortar, there are still a few in Canada. I have already mentioned ‘The Browser’s Den of Magic’ in Trick #2. Since it opened in 1975, the store has moved locations twice and is now at 3220 Dufferin St #19, North York (Toronto), Ontario. However, the address is a little misleading because you have to turn onto Orfus Road from Dufferin Street and then turn into the second driveway on the south side of Orfus Road. Browser’s Den is about two thirds of the way down and on the right. Maybe I’ll see you there some time. There is also a brick and mortar store called The Vanishing Rabbit in Calgary and two in Montreal: Perfect Magic and Spectram Magic.

Back to the trick! There are two things I like about my updated version. The first is using a ‘clear’ glass which gives you a reason to cover everything with the paper napkin. The glass (or salt shaker) has to be covered by a paper napkin to hide the ‘vanish’ and using a clear glass takes away any possible questions like “why did the magician have to use a cloth, since the glass (or salt shaker) is opaque.”

The second thing I love is the “Magician in Trouble” scenario. The Under 8 Crowd love it when the magician’s trick seems to be going wrong or when they (the kids) think they actually know how the trick works. This relaxes your audience and then when the magic does happen, it is even more surprising and magical.

I first heard about “Magician in Trouble” and “sucker tricks” from reading “Professional Magic for Children” by David Ginn: in my opinion, Mr. Ginn is probably the best children’s magician ever. In his book, he references “The Tarbell Course in Magic” and to be more specific (because the Tarbell Course is made up of 7 books) Book 3, Lesson 35: “How to make people laugh”. I would highly recommend these books to anyone serious about doing magic for kids.

The idea behind the “Magician in Trouble” is that the magician continues to get more confused as the trick goes on until the kids think they know how it is done or that it is not going to work. They think it is very funny. What the audience doesn’t know is that this confusion and mistake making is all part of the trick and it works out exactly as the magician intended.

So, I am trying to make the ball disappear and it doesn’t happen by just lifting up the glass after covering it with the cloth. So, then I try different magic words and it still doesn’t work. Finally, I raise my hand up high and slap it down on the cloth, which does make magic happen – but not the magic everyone expected.

You can continue to lift and replace the cloth as many times as you want as long as the audience is still reacting: try magic words, magic dust, a magic wand, have the audience shout out magic words they know, etc…

The secret move you need to practice the most of course is the dropping of the glass onto your lap and keeping the shape of the glass in the napkin. You might want to put a towel in your lap to muffle the sound. And if you want to do this trick as part of a show with you standing behind a show table (that is closed in front), a cookie sheet covered with a towel on one of your shelves works great to catch the glass.

The last thing to practice is talking while you do the drop. Practice until you don’t have to ‘pause’ or ‘stumble on your words’ as the glass drops and it’ll perfectly mask the drop and the reveal will be magic!!
Steve Baker is a magician located in the GTA residing North of Orangeville.

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 Port Credit to Penetanguishene and from Orillia to Oshawa, Ontario.