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On one extreme end are the shy and timid magicians. They perform their magic tentatively, almost gingerly: soft voice, slow pace, feeble personality.
At the other extreme are magic performers of the audacious kind. They come strong on their audiences, like galloping horses, unmindful of being caught or tripped up by their lack of techniques. Their shows feature more bravado than magic.
Today, it suddenly flashed back to me an episode on TV, which aired eons ago. It showed a local TV magician performing the Ring Flite on the streets of the metropolis.
The Ring Flite is a beautiful trick that has astounded laymen for ages around the world. It is meant to be performed with some sort of cover, essentially the performer’s clothing, to protect its secret. This particular magi on TV wore a polo shirt on top of his t-shirt. I watched in horror when the camera caught the ring in the moment of vanishing. Unfortunately, the polo shirt as cover proved to be inadequate protection for the secret.
That particular magician’s boldness is not unique to him. I have seen other magicians, professionals even, who performed this trick without a coat (which I think is the ideal cover) and consequently exposed the trick.
I know that David Copperfield performed a version of the Ring Flite on one of his TV specials without wearing a coat. But having complete control of the camera, he had the shot taken from a position that hid the secret.
Not so with ordinary magicians in the Philippines who may boldly perform the Ring Flite live for some TV program. As street performers, they don’t usually wear jackets. Since they have no control over the camera movements, the chances of the camera catching the trick from a compromising angle is fairly high. That, I think, was what happened to the TV performer I mentioned above.
To all lovers of the Ring Flite, I invite you to muse over this awful truth. We are not David Copperfield. We don’t have control over how the camera works in a live shot. If we are not wearing a coat when performing the Ring Flite, some spectators can see not only the whipping-ring-around the body (which is another trick) but also the fishing line that runs under the performer’s forearm.
Not everyone may see it all the time, but some can catch it some of the time. Being caught some of the time is not good enough, if you love magic, if you aspire to preserve its secrets.
That’s why I perform the Ring Flite only when I’m wearing a jacket. Some advance users will perform the trick without a jacket on. (I’m not as fearless as they.) Many performers can get away with it, but I think just as many get caught, especially in close-up and surrounded situations.
The sad part is, most of those who are caught don’t know they have inadvertently exposed the trick. Their audiences are just too courteous to make honest comments and let them know of their embarrassing performance.
In surrounded, close-up situation, I find the jacket improves the success rate of the Ring Flite.