In the News

Don Dunn published this wonderful presentation on the alt.magic newsgroup and has graciously given me permission to reprint it here. It uses the popular ‘In the News’ trick: first, a glass of water is poured into a newspaper, then the liquid disappears from the newspaper, and finally the liquid reappears as the magician pours it out of the newspaper. Don explains:

‘[This is] something I came up with while performing for kids’ birthday parties in Zimbabwe several years ago. The buses there are always jam-packed with folks standing in the aisles and clinging to the outside, too.’

In the News

by Don the Magic Man

As you show the paper, explain to the audience that you usually catch up on the news at breakfast every morning as you have your cup of coffee (glass of juice or milk, or whatever). One morning, you say, you noticed that you were late running for work (or school), so you decided to carry the paper and drink as you ran for the bus.

When the bus came, you jumped on, paper in one hand, drink in the other, standing in a crowd of passengers while more passengers got on, so you had to keep juggling the cup in one hand and trying to fold the paper up in the other while you tried to read it. You began to worry that you’d spill the coffee on someone — and you couldn’t just toss it away — so you decided to pour it into the paper.

Then, as you started to get off the bus, the driver (or conductor) said: ‘Hey, didn’t I see you with a cup of coffee? You shouldn’t ever bring it on the bus. You could spill it all over. That’s not allowed, so don’t do it again!’ And I said: ‘Who, me? I didn’t do that!’ And the driver said: ‘Don’t lie, I saw you pour it into that paper! Open it up!’ And I did — like this — and after he apologized, I got off the bus, folded up my paper and finished my coffee!

Magically, the effect has been heightened because you’ve added something interesting in itself to the magic — a real ‘it could happen’ story that keeps the audience involved, and a reason to pour liquid into the paper.

You could change the patter line this way: At the local cineplex, the ushers get mad if you sneak your own refreshments into the show, rather than buying their overpriced drinks at the refreshment stand, so here’s what I do when I go to the movies — I just carry in my evening paper… etc.

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