Gimmicks are WRONG?

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Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
New Jersey
An attempt to bring this thread back to its original topic...

That being said, I understand your frustration. A couple of weekends ago, I performed some effects for my wife's parents. Some of those effects required hours of practice and some difficult slights. What effect most impressed my wife's dad? It was a "Do as I Do" effect I casually did when a commercial came on during a television show we were watching. No major slight of hand, no intricate gimmicks it took hours to make and the same patter I've used since I first learned the effect. The amount of effort put into learning an effect isn't necessarily related to the strength of the effect in the spectator' view.

Yes, you understand. And while it may be frustrating that he liked such a simple trick the most, at least you know it wasn't a gimmick doing the work for you. As simple as "Do As I Do" is, you can still mess it up if you do the steps wrong or they don't follow your instructions and since it is such a simple trick, you can focus more on presentation and yet still be doing most of the legwork (I say most because the spec does the other half).

My point is that the simplicity of the method (whether it be a simple self-working effect or using a gimmick) has nothing to do with what the audience appreciates.

Also, I disagree with the concept of a gimmick doing all of the work for you. From a technical standpoint, the use of gimmicks does require physical and mental skill.

For an Invisible Deck you have to take the deck out the right way from the box, make sure you hold the deck so that you bad angles are covered, cut the deck if the chosen card is too close to the top or the bottom of the deck, do math under the pressure of performing, and spread the cards in a manner that only reveals the selected card. Then of course is the presentation of the effect. I've done it for groups using a beach ball... each person who catches the ball has to sequentially choose a color, a suite, whether the card is a number or court card and the value of the card. I then produce the card using a Jumbo Invisible Deck.

I do a coins through glass table routine using a gimmicked coin. Does the gimmicked coin make the effect astonishing? Of course. Can the routine be performed without slight of hand... no way.

In my cups and balls routine, I use a chop cup in the third phase to eliminate a possible explanation for what is happening. How about a Zombie Ball? That is a gimmick, but to perform with it effectively is more difficult than performing an effective routine using slight of hand with sponge balls.

Now, I know you aren't saying that gimmicks suck and so do the magicians that use them. Your point is that a magician shouldn't use ONLY gimmicks. I agree with that. The converse also is true, a magician shouldn't only use slight of hand (and you've said you agree with that). In reality, your position only differs in a matter of degree from the others here on the forum. I think you quote is that although you should use both, slight of hand "should come first." Unfortunately, focusing on one or the other as being more important obscures what is really important... the effect (from the audience's point of view).

That goes back to the point in my original (on topic) post that sometimes cups and balls, sponge balls and other apparatus which relies on slight of hand seems more gimmicked than gimmicked decks like the Invisible Deck. Rev's comment was along the same lines:

I think this is spot on. Gimmicked 'normal' items will always be less suspicious than a normal silk or metal ring or silver cup. Seriously, when is it normal for a man to own that many colorful silk handkerchiefs!!!

Are gimmicks wrong? No (and for the record, nobody has said they were). Is it wrong to focus on the dichotomy between slight of hand and gimmicks? I think it is. View your magic from the spectator's perspective... you will be a better magician.


vp of development
Staff member
Aug 5, 2007
As this thread has obviously gotten way out of hand - I'm going to go ahead and close it. It appears courteous, constructive conversation and debate is impossible for some members. In the future, please try to remain as professional as possible and refrain from using profanity. There's simply no need.

PM me if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks guys.
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