Now don’t get me wrong. In the hands of an excellent performer, cane magic can be beautiful.
It is easy to do, too. This must be the reason it is popular among magicians.
Ironically, it is also the reason I have come to hate it of late. Cane magic has suffered from its own success. Because it is so beautiful and easy to perform, every magician who can flip a switch is doing it. Sadly, despite its potential for creating a beautiful effect, it has become a garden-variety magic.
Apart from becoming an everyday, go-to prop of magicians, canes have earned my dislike for the following reasons:
Magic Canes, whether appearing or disappearing, look unnatural. Nobody uses something similar-looking in real life. Oh, yes, the elderly use them, but their canes don’t look as nearly close as the magician’s canes, which are black, striped (red or black and white), extra long, silver, etc.
Magic Canes are noisy. What’s the sharp swoosh sound when it appears? It can be heard even from the back row. People wonder where did that sound emanate from instead of musing over where that cane came from. Not the effect magicians want to produce.
Magic Canes, in their collapsed state, are big for my small hands. They tend to peek through the gaps of my fingers, thus telegraphing their appearance or leaving tell-tale clue of their disappearance.
Magic Canes, even the cheap ones made in China, are expensive for a one-second magic effect. You create only a second-long of magic moment for the amount of money you invest in it. As a result, you don’t get the best bang for your buck from it. That could be the reason that magicians bring tons of cane to their performance, flicking open one after the other, just to kill time on stage.
Magic Canes are difficult to get a handle of when building a routine for it. Except for turning a silk handkerchief into a cane or changing the cane’s color, there is not much one can do about canes.
Magic Canes (oh, the cheap ones and the plastic variety) look flimsy. At a short distance, the audience can observe that the canes are made in spiral. Even someone’s shortsighted grandmother would realize the cane is fake.
Magic Canes have become like Nike. They are everywhere. Every magician performs Magic Canes in their program. In fact most budding magicians go on starvation diet for months to save money to buy appearing canes. Now, most business gurus would tell you that to succeed in business, you must separate yourself from the crowd. In short, strive for uniqueness. Since every magician has canes in his show, one can already separate himself from the herd by not including cane magic in his program. Alas, except for a few savvy magicians in the Philippines, this great business lesson is lost among the great unwashed in the frenzy of hording Magic Canes.
Magic Canes are like a quagmire. Once you start buying them, you can’t get out of them. You are trapped in its ease of performance. And since they cost money, you feel obliged to use them in your program, despite the protests of the public that they have seen them plenty of times in the past and that they don’t want to see anymore of them.
Magic Canes are the unofficial official badges of a magician. I say unofficial because most magicians using canes in their shows are not aware that subconsciously they feel incomplete without the canes.
Clients complain about Magic Canes. One client, during an interview over the phone (she was trying hard to decide if I was the right performer for her child’s birthday party), asked me several questions. One of those questions was whether I’d do in my program “the red handkerchief that becomes a cane.” I said, “No, I don’t perform that trick.” I advised her that if she wanted to see that trick, she’d do well to find another magician. There are lots of them doing the trick. I then heard her sigh a relief. She said, “I’ve seen that trick at every birthday party I attended. I don’t want to see it any more.” She ended hiring me.
Over the years, I have stopped using Magic Canes of all sorts and varieties—appearing, vanishing, color changing, elongating, multiplying, diminishing, splitting and other permutations of them—and I feel liberated. I feel special. I feel unique.
On several occasions, people would come to me to ask if I wanted to buy appearing/vanishing canes. They said they have several in stock. One guy said he bought his collection in Saudi Arabia when he worked there. Am I interested in buying one?
My answer is always a polite “No, I’m not interested.” I have no use for canes in my program.
At other times, some young magicians would drop me emails asking,”Sir, do you have canes for sale? I really would like to have one for my show.”
Again my answer is a polite no. I didn’t have the heart to tell the kid that getting into cane magic would turn him into a sheep in a herd.
So far I’ve been polite in saying no to overtures to buy or sell canes. However, next time somebody asks me if I perform cane magic, I shall scream and pull my hair like this: “Eeeeehhh….”
As you may well know, I have a sweet tooth.
- What Motivates the Pinoy Masked Magician to Reveal Magic Secrets? (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- To Pass or not to Pass, That is the Question (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Which Trick Leodini Will Suggest? (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)