The Hardboard and Duct Tape Magic Show

Book Three

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Flash Card Vanish - This project is easily made from hardboard in a size to fit any playing card, normal size to ultra jumbo, or any greeting card, or any small poster or photograph. This box makes a spectacular flash vanish. Then it’s up to you to make an equally impressive reappearance… or just leave the card or photo as GONE! However, you may wish to use my jumbo signed card to sealed envelope finale, which is included as a bonus and is NOT made out of hardboard or duct tape.


Through a Keyhole - One of the easiest projects to make from hardboard or plywood. It is a small (8 x 10 inch) wooden plaque with a Keyhole cut into the center. A spectator has a single rope wrapped around his waist twice, tied in front of him, and the ends of the rope are threaded through the small Keyhole in the plaque. As the spectator holds the plaque, two other spectators take the ends of the rope and seemingly pull the rope completely through the "victim" leaving no clue as to how it was accomplished.


Surprise! - This is based on an original idea by Edwin Hooper and produced by Supreme Magic for awhile, but it was not easy to perform solo and required other items which were expensive. I won't go into detail here, but I do in the e-Book, explaining why magicians were not enthusiastic over what should have been a great children's livestock production. I believe I have solved those problems and changed the trick so that it now contains multiple surprises all through the routine. The livestock is comfortable in a well ventilated hiding place until you decide to allow a helper to make it appear by magic. The construction is easy, and the price for the "extras" has been kept between $30 and $60, rather than Edwin's $300 and up solution, depending on your choices.

Effect: The magician shows a hardboard or plywood “greeting card.” It is less than an inch thick and can be shown on all sides. When the “card” is opened, it is found to contain a large wrapped and decorated Gift Box. The magician taps on the box with his wand, showing it to be made of solid wood from the sound. The box is picked up, examined on all sides (and tapped) and when opened, it is found to contain spring snakes. The snake "Surprise!" is repeated as often as you have spring snakes to produce. As a running gag, you keep opening up the box hoping to find the nice present you were promised on the card, but only find another spring snake. You can alternate by producing a variety of funny gifts, and eventually livestock for the finale.


New Proxy Chests - Based on the original Proxy Chest by U.F. Grant

Borrow a ring or a key or a coin from a member of the audience. Place this inside an ordinary ungimmicked handkerchief and give it to someone to guard and hold. Now take out your small bendable Houdini doll and Bess doll (which I show you how to make). Bring out the New Proxy Chests and show them inside and out, each separately. The "trunk" contains a cloth bag and some ribbons. Show the bag inside and out, and let a spectator place Houdini inside the bag and pull the cords to close it. The bag containing Houdini is then lowered into the small box, or trunk, and it is tied with ribbons.

Show a large silk hanky that you will use to cover the boxes, place it over the boxes and place Bess on top of everything. Now put Bess under the silk but still on top of the two boxes. Suddenly remove the silk and reveal that Houdini is on top of the boxes. Go to the spectator holding the borrowed item and whip away the handkerchief, opening it to show that the object has vanished. Remove the outer box and untie the trunk. Open the trunk and bring out the top of the cloth pull-cord bag. Let a spectator lift out the bag and open it to reveal not only Bess, but the borrowed item as well. If you already own an old Grant or Mak made Proxy Chest, I show you how to convert it into a NEW Proxy Chest. If you don't own a Proxy Chest, I show you how to build a set for yourself from hardboard and duct tape, or plywood and hinges.


Wand Mender Box

Your magic wand is on display inside a small narrow box that is filled with tiny Christmas tree lights along the walls and the back of the box, so that the box is well illuminated. The wand rests on two pedestals within the box as shown. Whenever you need to use the wand, you make a big production of opening the box, removing it, using it, and then placing it back on the box and closing the door when you have finished with the wand. At some point, you discover that the wand is "broken." It has white stripes in the middle, not just on the ends. So you place it in the box and set the lights to twinkling merrily, close the door, open it and the wand is back to itself. After that the wand begins to transform into different colors, decorated with polka-dots or stripes of different colors, and so on. You can keep it up as long as it is funny to your audience and whenever you want to end it, the wand is restored to its original black wand with white tips.


The Wonder Screen Back in Action

The Wonder Screen of Servais LeRoy was put out of action for many years by U.F. Grant’s Temple Screen invention. Magicians found the Temple Screen easier to transport and perform in a variety of situations, while the Wonder Screen was only manufactured in sizes large enough for use on a stage. So you might wonder why I would consider going back to The Wonder Screen concept after all these years. As this e-Book will show, the principle has its uses. One of them is pictured. Four individual jumbo jacks are shown on both sides and formed into a box on a thin tray. A deck of cards has one selected, signed and returned to the deck. Then the deck is dropped into the box formed by the four Jacks. Suddenly cards come shooting up out of the box (card fountain required) and one of them is caught on a fly-swatter, magic wand, or card sword. It is the signed selected card.

If you don't want to make or use a card fountain, other routines are also suggested, plus other constructions that have nothing to do with playing cards. You'll wonder why you didn't go back to the Wonder Screen principle long before now.



Effect: A 500-piece (or so) jigsaw puzzle is displayed in The Impuzzleble Box. The audience is asked to guess how long it will take to put the pieces together so they look like the picture on the box. Three members of the audience are asked to pick pieces of the puzzle from the box at random and hold onto them so they can have the fun of putting in the final pieces of the puzzle. The rest of the audience should get ready to watch the magician sit and put the 500-piece puzzle together, as it may take some time. But wait, he can do it by magic!

The 500 pieces of the puzzle are scattered onto The Impuzzleble Tray, and then the magician pushes the pieces around with the palms of his hands, while muttering mysterious incantations. When the tray is tilted towards the audience after only a few seconds of this, it is seen that the pieces have arranged themselves into the puzzle shown pictured on the box. But three pieces are missing… the three random pieces that the three spectators are holding. They now come forward and fit their pieces into the jigsaw puzzle and it is complete. Impuzzleble! Make the Box and Tray from cardboard, hardboard, Bass wood, or plywood. Use any commercial 500 piece (or so) puzzle.


The Drum-Head Box Production

Effect: A rectangular tube made of hardboard and duct tape, open on the top and bottom, is shown empty. Covering each end of the tube is a small frame, and these are removed and set aside for later. Several sheets of tissue paper or newspaper are then shown on both sides. One sheet is laid over one of the frames and the large rectangular tube is pressed down on it, so that now the paper covers the bottom end of the tube. The inside of the tube is once again shown to the audience and they can see all the way through to the paper that now covers the end. A second sheet of paper is placed on the top of the rectangular tube and pressed down with the other frame to hold it securely in place.

The rectangular tube can be handed to a spectator to hold as you begin to break through the paper at each end, reaching inside to produce silks, streamers, flowers and what have you. You can even produce one or two live doves if you build it large enough. A good finale is to produce a huge streamer from each end of the tube simultaneously, handing the ends of the streamer to a spectator to hold up in the air. When the streamer is fully stretched out, it runs completely through the tube. The paper holding frames are removed, and then the tube itself is removed and seen to be empty, containing no clue as to how all that “stuff” got inside.



This effect is based on two separate commercial tricks - Obedient Balloons and Mental Balloon. My version combines the two plots into one funny mental routine that can even be used with children. Four different color balloons are blown up and inserted into a small hardboard stand. The magician makes a prediction and attaches it to the back of the stand where no one can read it. Any person names a color and the magician has everyone in the audience concentrate on that balloon. Suddenly, the balloon flies up and off the stand. This is repeated two more times, leaving one last balloon in the stand. The magician turns the stand around and attached to the back of the stand is the prediction which correctly identifies the final balloon. Just as the magician takes his applause, the final balloon flies away.


Multiple Glass Production

When you have a need for glasses into which you can pour your liquid concoctions for bar acts, lota liquid productions, cow and milk tricks, rice bowls, passe bottles, and so on, you can use this little device to magically produce up to twelve (plastic) glasses, all of which are real and three dimensional, not collapsible, and which will hold liquids poured into them. You can even use the device to produce up to four of the glasses already containing liquids, goldfish, sand, M&M's, etc. It is not meant as a stand alone effect, but should be used in combination with a routine that requires glasses that other magicians would have brought out on a tray, but which you can make appear magically as part of the act. The device can also be used to make other small items appear in addition to glasses, but it was originally designed to produce wine glasses filled with liquids without requiring covers of any sort.

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Jim's other book is all about building Illusions (and some Illusionettes) from PVC Pipes. It is available HERE!