I had the pleasure of attending the A-1 Multimedia magic convention in
Sacramento this year (1997). The talent present at his affair is always
outstanding, but this year was above all expectations. For me, the
highlight of the event came just after the late night "panel discussion".
During the discussion, I heard bursts of derisive laughter coming from
the back of the room mixed with occasional shouts of "Oh, yea?", and
"What do you know, Freaky Boy?". The voice sounded familiar. When the
lights came up, I turned and saw Flash Mildew standing next to the free
hot dog dispenser -- a dog in each hand (one back cliped) and four close-up mats stuffed
down the front of his pants. He had drawn a small crowd of "admirers" and
was just launching into an ad-hoc lecture on impromptu magic:
"That slum-peddling Michael Weber thinks he knows impromptu
magic, eh? Well, here's ten things old Webby wouldn't think of if he used
a strap-on booster brain. Hey you, put down that pencil! My notes are for
sale, I'm not doin' this for nothin'. Where was I... Here, hold my dog..."
He went on to explain ten "remarkable" effects done with found objects,
any one of which would astound the guys at the local IBM ring. My notes
are a little vague on some of the fine points, mainly because I had to
disguise my own pencil by ramming it into a hot dog, and the mustard kept
running down onto the paper.
A banana as an impromptu thumb tip (a photo of Flash demonstrating this
may be seen at
"Fickle Timex" -- a wrist watch vanish based on the "Fickle Nickel"
principle that would be convincing if your watch band happened to be
made of invisible thread.
"Back Pocket Levitator", whereby the old joke of tying someone's
shoelaces together is transformed into an impromptu "levitate yourself"
behind a jacket miracle. The fact that one foot must be removed from
one shoe confused Flash for a moment, and in the first try at
performance it looked as if his left leg had vanished. Some merit.
"Belch Master" -- from a Paul Harris/Eric Mead idea. An audience
member drinks a fizzy beverage, but it is the magi who burps. Some
"Multiplying Close-up Pads" -- the preparation for which was alluded
to earlier. Remember to stop at four.
"Hot Dog Prediction" -- the magi predicts, with uncanny accuracy, the
length of time it will take one of the free hot dogs to run completely
thru a spectator's digestive system.
"Insomnia" -- similar to the Hot Dog prediction, the magi predicts the
earliest moment that anyone staying in the hotel will be able to go to
sleep. The prediction is best made before the "Dance Club" fires up
it's sound system, as no one will be able to hear the prediction until
3:00 am when they shut it back down.
"No-Sponge Ding-Dong" -- best left to the imagination. This is why
you should stop at four pads in effect #5.
"Desert Matrix" -- during the banquet dinner, all the chocolate pies
at the table assemble in front of the magi.
"Hey, There's a Dead Mouse in my Pie!" -- a useful prelude to effect
#9. The audience actually participates in the assembly. Requisite
rodent is easily obtained at this hotel.
Thanks to Glenn Tenney for the photo of Flash...
The only known photo of Flash Mildew in performance.