Things that Fell out Of my Head
Last year I made the decision that I was going to stop publishing my book, “Things That Fell Out of My Head.” The problem was that it was too popular. It was getting harder and harder to keep up with orders, and the cost of making them was steadily rising. So I decided to pull the plug. And Oh did I hear about that!
“I didn’t get one!”
“Can’t you make just one more?”
It was worse than trying to my line at the end of a gig. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to most, I made a deal with Larry Moss to add my book to the BHQ library. So at some point in the future, when Larry has some free time (Hahahahaha) “Things That Fell Out of My Head” will be available in printable form from the archives.
In the mean time, I have decided to share a few of those routines as part of my monthly columns. This month we have something for the magician/ balloon twisters out there. These are just quick bits that I usually use while twisting to make sure that everyone is paying attention. Try them out the next time you are line twisting or bouncing from table to table at one of your restaurant gigs.
Cut & Restored Balloon
Effect: A 260 balloon is blown up about half way and then the end is cut off. As one would expect, the balloon deflates. The performer holds the two pieces together and proceeds to blow the balloon up as good as new.
- An opaque colored 260 (white, pink, or light blue work well)
- The bottom 4. (the non-nozzle end) of a matching colored 260
- A thumb tip
- A thin dowel or piece of wire
Set-up: This is going to be tough to explain so stay with me on this. Use your piece of dowel or wire to push the bottom 3″ of the whole balloon into itself. Now take the extra piece that you cut from the matching balloon, and tuck the bottom of the whole balloon into it so that the two overlap about a 1/2″. From just a few inches away it should look like one whole balloon.
Performance: Inflate the balloon about half way. DO NOT inflate the balloon to where the extra piece is, that would be bad. Hold the nozzle of the balloon with your left fingers while your right hand retrieves the scissors. At the same time your right hand gets the thumb tip finger palmed.
Snip the bottom 2″ from the inflated balloon being careful to cut only the extra piece and not the whole balloon. At the same time stare at the freshly cut end of the balloon while you let all of the air out of it. Don’t let go of the balloon, just let the air out. The fact that you are staring at the cut end of the balloon should make the audience stare at it as well, and thus lead them to believe that that is where the air is escaping from. It is just like ventriloquism with your balloon. You can put the scissors down now.
Pick up the balloon bit from the floor with your right hand and allow it to drop into the thumb tip. Hold your right fingers as if the piece is at your finger tips. Grab the bottom of the whole balloon with your right fingers and pantomime pinching the two pieces of balloon together. As you pretend to adjust the pieces, pull the remaining extra piece off of the whole balloon and allow it to fall into the thumb tip.
Now re-inflate the balloon. As the air reaches the bottom, the tucked portion of the balloon will pop out and inflate as well. Once the balloon is fully inflated slip your right thumb into the tip to dispose of the extra bits.
The Geo Gag
Effect: You cut a round balloon to look like a flower. Then to everyones amazement, you actually blow it up like that!
- Thumb Tip
- 5″ Round Balloon
- 6″ Geo Blossom Balloon
Performance: I can’t even describe how much joy I get from this bit. For those who do not know, a Geo Blossom is a balloon that blows up into the shape of a flower with a hole in the middle. If you look in the phone book under balloon wholesalers you will find a supplier there. If not, go to tmyers.com and you can get them there as well as all your other balloon needs.
Begin by reaching into your pockets or your prop case. In your right hand, hold the scissors. In your left hand you will hold the 5″ round balloon at your finger tips with the thumb tip and the geo balloon secretly palmed in the same hand. Although I should not have to say this, make sure the round balloon and the geo are the same color.
Fold the round balloon into quarters, much like you would fold a piece of paper to cut a snowflake. Trim each of the corners from the round balloon, then set down your scissors as you look at the mess you have created.
Act as if you are placing the cut-up balloon into your left hand, but actually place it into the thumb tip as you place the tip onto your right thumb. Open your left hand and hold the geo balloon slightly crumpled at your left finger tips. It should simply look as though you have placed the cut-up balloon at the left finger tips.
With your right hand pick up the scraps that have fallen to the ground as you trimmed the balloon. Place the scraps into your pocket and ditch the thumb tip at the same time.
Now all you have to do is inflate the geo balloon and enjoy the bizarre looks on everyones faces (did I mention how much I enjoy this?).
Like A Rainbow
Effect: A handful of different colored balloons are heated to create one large multi colored balloon.
- Five Different colored 260 balloons
- One 11″ Super Agate Balloon
- A lighter
- A Hank Vanisher
Performance: A Super Agate balloon is a multicolored round balloon from Qualatex. A Hank Vanisher is a hollow wood or plastic ball on the end of an elastic cord with the end of the elastic pinned inside a jacket. Items are apparently placed into the hand but actually go into the vanisher. When the vanisher is released it zooms up the coat sleeve taking the would be vanished objects with it. Now you know.
Begin by getting the agate and the hank vanisher palmed in your left hand. Begin placing the 260s into your left fist one at a time, actually placing them into the vanisher.
With your right hand reach into your pocket or prop case to retrieve your lighter, and at the same time let go of the hank vanisher (the larger motion of retrieving the lighter covers the smaller motion of the vanisher). The left hand remains closed as if holding the 260s when in actuality it contains the agate. Wave the lighters flame beneath your left fist as if you are heating up the balloons. Please do not burn yourself doing this. If you do burn yourself don’t come whining to me about it, ‘ I warned you!
Pretend to squeeze the balloons in your left hand together, then blow up the agate balloon to the wonder and amazement of all!
What I really like about this type of material is that it is not done as a formal presentation. It is treated as an aside. It just happens.
There is a brilliant magician and author by the name of Eugene Burger who once wrote about, “Magic along the way.” It is magic that happens between the actual tricks and routines. For example, if you are going to do a card trick, why would you just reach into your pocket for your cards, when as a magician you can pluck them from thin air. This is not treated as a miracle in of itself. It is a magical aside that happens along the way.
And even if you are not a magician, there are other things that you can do to eliminate some of the non-moments when you work. In my own work I use a lot of comedy, both verbal and physical, to keep things moving along. Motion is also a great way to keep the attention of onlookers.