October 2008

Longtime member George Hample shared his years of performing and innovation with his special “Magic Without Props” lecture. Several years ago, George had also presented a similar lecture, but this one included several new handlings of his special brand of silk magic.

The lecture could also be titled “Magic without VISIBLE Props”, as George demonstrated his relaxed approach to a variety of effects with silks. As he explained, silk magic shows well under lots of conditions, and takes very little space to store and pack. The magician can vary the themes very easily to suit any performance setting, from birthdays to seasonal holidays to wedding receptions! He treated us to a graduate seminar on the use of gimmicks such as Palmo, the Baker Die tube, a metal bandaid can, and a metal can gimmick.

I was excited to see this repeat lecture, and knew that George would be sharing the “real deal” of his magic, so I got his permission to videotape the lecture for my own use. It also made it easier for me to take notes, as I knew that I would not miss an instant of the knowledge that George would share.

George began with his handling of Dai Vernon’s 20th Century Silks, using a paper cone and three silks. He placed two yellow silks into the cone with a magic wand, then took a blue silk and placed that into his hand. A wave of the wand, and the blue silk was gone!  He pulled the silks out of the cone, and the blue silk was tied between the two yellow silks. We then sat in rapt attention as George carefully tipped every phase of his routine. He explained every single step, including body movements, placement of props, handling under varied conditions. This one effect alone was worth coming to tonight’s meeting!

Next up, he demonstrated his handling of Billy McComb’s Half Died silk. All of the silks used were ungimmicked. The effect depending on a special gimmick that George handled so well that even after the explanation, we could not see any “move” with the gimmick.

After a break, he demonstrated the Blow Tube, where a blank silk placed into a paper tube reappeared with the face of a selected card. George showed the complete handling, and told us how the method can be used for color changes or even blendo effects. His Soft Soap routine had three dirty silks place into a box of Tide, and reappear clean, but with a surprise for each silk. George said that he uses three different colored silks because he then has a slightly different climax for each silk, building to a big finish.

His Mismade Flag routine used a Baker Die Tube gimmick and paper tube. He explained that he first places the red and white silk into the tube and produces a Canadian Flag!  Then when he places a blue silk in with the Canadian Flag, it comes out as an American Flag. Nice, original thinking on this one, George.

For his finale, George placed three white silks into a paper tube, and asked for audience members to name their favorite colors. He then produced a large silk with most of the colors named on it, and showed the tube completely empty.

Any magic club will get its money’s worth from this talented, experienced and funny magician. His explanations during the entire night gave us all an education in magic psychology and thinking. George Hample carefully explained every little subtlety of his magic, and all of us found something that we can use. His notes sold well, and afterwards, dealer Mogar did a brisk sales business with silks and gimmicks!

 

DAVE KELLY, Recording Secretary

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