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Top hat as an icon for magic

I remember many years ago, Hank Lee’s enticed buyers with an enchanting ad copy. It said, “With thousands of tricks in our inventory, you don’t have to perform the same magic other magicians are performing,” or words to that effect.

Yet, when you browse their catalog, except for a few dozen specialty tricks and exclusive props, they sell exactly the same items found in the inventory of their competitors.

The similar-trick contagion has spread across all levels of proficiency among magic performers.  I cannot speak of the situation in other countries. In the Philippines, specially in the Metro Manila area where the market for magic entertainment is small, the similarities of tricks in magic acts are so pronounced they are obvious even to your near-sighted mother-in-law watching magicians a half block away.

For this matter, I can’t help suspecting that a great number of beginning, intermediate and even professional Pinoy magicians have developed an inclination to perform the same magic tricks.

Here are the tricks that Filipino magicians should weed out from their acts if they want to attain distinction and uniqueness.

  1. Appearing Cane
  2. Disappearing Cane
  3. Appearing Candle
  4. Disappearing Candle
  5. Parasol/Umbrella Production
  6. Appearing Doves (a la Lance Burton)
  7. Disappearing Doves (a la Jason Byrne)
  8. Needle Thru Balloon
  9. Talking Mask
  10. Floating Table
  11. Snowstorm in China
  12. Throw Streamers
  13. Balloon Swallowing
  14. Linking Rings
  15. Zombie Ball

The list is by no means complete. But the tricks that made it there should be in sufficient number to prove my point. That is, if I have a point to start with.

After saying all this, I must confess I am one of the magicians guilty of the sins I enumerated above.

However, my guilt doesn’t prevent me from contemplating this enigma.  If there are thousands of tricks out there, why do magicians perform the same few tricks?

If you have the answer, please enlighten me.

Or is the answer a secret?

Stay magical,