Mildew at the Convention

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.
  1. A banana as an impromptu thumb tip (a photo of Flash demonstrating this may be seen at

  2. "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.

  3. "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.

  4. "Belch Master" -- from a Paul Harris/Eric Mead idea. An audience member drinks a fizzy beverage, but it is the magi who burps. Some practice required.

  5. "Multiplying Close-up Pads" -- the preparation for which was alluded to earlier. Remember to stop at four.

  6. "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.

  7. "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.

  8. "No-Sponge Ding-Dong" -- best left to the imagination. This is why you should stop at four pads in effect #5.

  9. "Desert Matrix" -- during the banquet dinner, all the chocolate pies at the table assemble in front of the magi.

  10. "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.