Some Filipino magicians have raised concerns about a number of tricks/props that are too well circulated among laymen.
My answer is, don’t despair. Philippine magic is not at risk. There’s a way out of this challenge.
Let me explain one item that a number of Filipino magic performers fear to use because of its commonness among the commoners.
You guessed it right. I’m referring to the thumb tip.
If you use a thumb tip to vanish or produce a red handkerchief, some people would probably know what you are doing. For that matter, give your handling a little twist. Mere using a handkerchief with a color other than red could be that little twist needed to fool the audience.
I have not tried it yet, but Silly Billy (David Kaye in real life), in his book Seriously Silly, writes that he uses purple hanky in his thumb tip routine. The children in his audience, including those who know about thumb tips, couldn’t figure out the trick, because they are used to see it done with red handkerchiefs.
Surely, that piece of information from Silly Billy is a confidence booster for Pinoy magicians who perform birthday party magic shows.
Another twist that you might want to use is in the handling. Have you seen Roger Klause or Jay Scott Berry handle thumb tips? The thumb tip is, for the most part of their performances, not worn on the thumb. It’s held in finger palm or Tenkai-like positions. Therefore, even the keenest observers couldn’t see a thumb tip on their thumbs.
Also, mainly, they don’t use silk hankies with the thumb tips. They use streamers, bills, or sponge balls, thereby throwing off even audience members familiar with the hanky-and-thumb-tip method.
Have you tried using the thumb tip another way? How about using the thumb tip to vanish salt, sugar, water, divine serial numbers of a bill, vanish and produce sponge balls, make money, write secret messages, pop a balloon, and many other things?
My favorite use of the thumb tip is to produce a dove. Yes, you heard it right. I produce a dove using a thumb tip. I’ve been using the technique since many years ago after I learned it from General Grant’s video How to Make a Living Stealing…Doves, of Course.
My son, Kevin, uses the thumb tip as a pull, and that throws off even some magicians.
Lastly, learn how to steal the thumb tip properly. Don’t jam your thumb into your fist like everyone else does. Learn to steal it from between your fingers. Or you may want to steal the thumb tip using a wand, as taught by David Williamson.
Use also fingertips to mislead the audience (I often do). Or you may use a sixth finger, and produce even larger red handkerchiefs, and people will absolutely have no idea where the hankies came from.
Learn also how to sleeve or topit the thumb tip, that way there’s no possibility people can catch you wearing one.
So you see, the thumb tip is still useful, no matter how lowly some Pinoy magicians may look at it.
Stay magical everyone.