A New Magic Niche: Oldsters

Inside Magic Image of Houdini and DoyleThere are a lot of innovative magicians out there.  They invent magic tricks we could never conceive.  But as we were told at a bus stop in West Hollywood, “Invent what you know.”

We have no idea what its real purpose was but it inspired us.  We should create tricks that are based on the things we handle every day.  Then we should find an audience of similarly minded (and aged) people to whom we can perform and sell the tricks.

The CPAP of Mystery:

This is a trick involving a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine.  It is a staple of those afflicted with sleep apnea – one of the few disorders that affect the entire family except for the person with the disorder.  It stops obnoxious and annoying snoring.

(Ironically, Obnoxious and Annoying was the name of our first duo act.  We played the mischievous character Annoying (despite being underweight for the part) and a current star of stage and screen played Mr. Obnoxious.  We were true to the script as written by Shakespeare and even wore period costumes.  Few playgoers have read the original text and, to be honest, it is a play often over-looked by Shakespearean scholars.  Additionally it is four hours long.  And we performed it without scenery or props.  And we could not afford stage lights so we used flashlights to shine on each other. And our make-up was overdone due to a product placement deal we had with L’Oréal.  Nonetheless, it was up for a Tony® award but it was a tough year and we lost to A Chorus Line.  Our agent’s protests that we should be in the category for dramatic performance fell on deaf ears and we were pitted against one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all time.  As most English majors can recall, Obnoxious and Annoying does have some singing and dancing in the seventh act when Annoying pretends to be dancing with the love of his life, Spiteful.  The New York Times gave it a middling review, “There is a good reason this play is overlooked when one considers the full range of Shakespearean plays, it is terrible.  But here we have two men willing to perform a play that should have been burned or used as scrap-paper acting without any accoutrements on a stage too small in a room too large for its pitiful audience size.”  The New Yorker was not as kind, “Obnoxious and Annoying and Too Long” should have been the title for this forgettable foray into a play the Great Bard himself said was “not worthy of his cheapest ink.”)

But back to the illusion of the CPAP machine.  An audience member selects a card from a freely shuffled deck, signs it, returns it to the deck.  And then she throws the deck directly at the performer wearing a CPAP mask.  The card instantly appears in the mask and when turned around (with either the performer’s fingers or tongue), it is shown to be the signed card.  With a CPAP machine, we could sell it for $1,700.  Without the CPAP machine – in case the performer already has one – it would cost $3.00.  We think it would be a big hit.

The Sands of the Digestive Aid:

Like the original Sands of the Desert effect, the Sands of Metamucil would be a great concluding trick for seniors.  The performer pours orange flavored Metamucil into a clear glass bowl filled with real water.  He then stirs the mixture with his hands.  Next, he pours regular flavored Metamucil into the bowl and mixes the brown powder in a similar manner.  Finally, he pours the clear MiroLax into the water and mixes the concoction openly.  With a wave of a wand, he immerses his empty hands into the water and pulls out the three laxatives and shows them to be separate and completely dry.  This could price at $45.00 unless you have the laxatives and a glass bowl, then it would be only $2.50.

The Magic Hearing Aid:

Imagine the fun!  You show an ordinary hearing aid to the audience.  You place it on the ear of an audience member – even if they are already wearing one (big comedy potential here).  Another volunteer from the audience (this trick assumes your audience size is greater than one person) selects a card and concentrates on it.  Her brainwaves apparently fly through the air and are translated into the first volunteer’s ear.  He now reveals the card.  This could price at $3,200 or $1.50 if you already have a hearing aid.

The Back Brace Escape:

The performer lifts his shirt and shows that he is wearing nothing but a few extra pounds and maybe some battle scars.  He invites audience members to attach an ordinary (?) back brace to him and make the bindings as tight as possible.  Once the audience committee is convinced the brace is fixed firmly in place, the magician takes one step forward and with a mighty inhale of stage air is free of the brace entirely.  It launches from his body as if by magic forces.  Yes, we know that spiritualists used to perform a version of this using a whale-boned corset but it was in the pursuit of spirit demonstrations to show that loved ones from the past could remove a very tight corset from the medium.  Also, it was kind of risqué.  Sir Arthur Connan Doyle was so impressed by one young lady’s performance of this effect that he wrote it into one of the Sherlock Holmes stories.  We don’t remember which one.  It could have been the one with the dogs and someone is murdered or orange seeds and someone is murdered.  But it had a profound effect on him and drove him further in his belief that spiritualism was real. The advantage of this version is that the brace is not a corset and the performer is not a lithe young woman performing in a darkened room for a table of doddering old men – unless YOU want to.  So it is a versatile trick, fit (pun intended, but not by us) for almost every occasion.  We could sell this only for $800 because the brace needs to be custom made and can’t just be one you pull out of your closet.

Finally, our latest invention is the spellbinder, To Tell the Tooth:

Here is a classic in the making.  The performer removes his bridgework openly from his mouth.  He then takes three of the false teeth from their bindings and hands one to each of his audience members.  One tooth has a gold filling, the second a silver filling and the final tooth has no filling.  The audience members exchange the teeth among each other outside the performer’s failing vision.   Without touching the hands of the audience members, the performer correctly identifies who is holding what tooth.  Because the performer may have trouble enunciating without his bridgework, he holds comic-inspired bubbles with the teeth identified over the outstretched hands of the audience.  This packs small and plays big.  We can price it at $4,500 or $6.00 if you have your own bridgework with the right kind of teeth.  Either version comes with a bottle of Purell to clean the teeth before handing them out.

You can purchase any of these effects as soon as we open our companion website where such things would be sold. We tried to buy domain names appropriate for such a store but found the best ones were already taken: OldPeopleMagicTricks.com (don’t go there on a work computer, trust us); ElderlyEffects.com (also one to avoid with kids in the room; GrandpaTrix.com (another one to avoid); or MiddleAgedMysteries.com (this one is pretty safe for viewing.  It features videos of a couple pondering things like “Why are there so Many Remotes for just one Television” or “Is There a Draft in Here or is it Just Me?” or “Are You Sure You’re Not Sitting on My Glasses?”

Once we find an appropriate domain name, we’ll have the store up and running.  We’ll keep you apprised.

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