Giving Around the Clock
This creativity on a budget idea comes from Dan Cogliano of Annapolis, MD.  Dan is a great guy and I LOVE his idea.  Before I share his idea I have to explain the reason I love it so much.  I’ve never really performed many math or counting tricks so when I see one its magic to me.  When I read Dan’s email and saw the pictures I gave it a try and WOW it worked.  I was like a little kid trying different numbers.  I have no clue how this stuff works, I was always a history guy in school, just not math history.  Dan sent pictures of his door trick idea and here’s his note.

“Hi Barry,
I have something you may be interested in using for a Christmas themed article in Kidabra. There was a door decorating contest in my office at Christmas time two years ago and I decided to make the door decoration do a magic game. Others can use this same idea if they have an office or a door they can decorate, or make a smaller walk-around trick out of it. It is based on a clock card trick. The clock is replaced with a Christmas wreath.  The player picks a number between twelve and twenty-five (the numbers can be anything greater than four but these numbers fit the season). There are some fabulous prizes on the wreath, but the player always lands on the candy cane, which he or she receives for playing the game.

I made this trick with some cheap dollar store wrapping paper for the background and some art supplies from a local craft store. The prize pictures were made from clip art on the internet. You can use any prizes you want, just make sure you have one you can afford to give away. I hope you can use this idea. I had many co-workers having fun playing it. Thanks.
Dan “The Magic Man” Cogliano

The Directions

  1. Pick a number between 12 and 25 (two of my favorite numbers.)
  2. Count your number on the wreath, starting at “1,” and counting counter-clockwise on the wreath.
  3. Once you reach your number, count your number again in the opposite direction. (clockwise)
  4. Once you reach your number, the spot you land on contains your present! With some magic, I will make your present appear in this bag. Reach in and take your present.  Merry Christmas from Presto the elf!

The Possible Gifts
The pictures of presents on the wreath include a Disney vacation, computer game, money, flat screen TV, GPS unit, iphone, camera, cruise, car, computer, motorcycle, and a candy cane.

My Notes
My mind started spinning with ideas when I saw the pictures.  My first thought was to use this idea on a vinyl banner.  Jim Kleefeld has created a vinyl banner for library shows where the tricks are built into the banner.  Brilliant!  (  The door art could be made in banner form.  The problem is, what would the art be?  Then it hit me, a DOOR!  Well Duh!  What if it’s Santa’s door?  Me likie.

Imagine big with me for a moment.  Your stage is set for a large Christmas show at a mall.  Your pretty assistants come out and raise three banner stands in place to form the front of Santa’s workshop.  The center banner has the decorated door with wreath.  The two side banners have windows with candles burning inside.  These don’t have to be vinyl banners, they could just as easily be painted panels.  You get the picture.  But let’s think a little bigger.  Make it five banners/panels and five girls, this mall has an unlimited budget.  Ok, enough of the big thinking.

Bring a lucky helper on stage to play for a “door prize.”  Get it, “door prize?”  Come on, that’s clever.  The helper counts to his prize and it’s a candy cane.  But who has the prize?  The assistants come to the stage and move the banners to the side and there’s Santa holding a candy cane.  Yep, that lucky kid from the audience gets to meet a REAL magician in the show.  No, I mean Santa, not the guy performing the door trick.  As I said above, “Me likie.”

I really love the idea of using the clock trick, which is usually done with a CLOCK, and making it into something more creative.  Who would have thought of presents on a wreath?  Well, I guess Dan would.

To produce Santa in this manner the easiest way would be to bring him through a split in the curtain in the back.  But since you’re thinking big why not use a hydraulic lift under the stage.  That budget is going fast.

Dan has really shared a clever idea with us.  Thankfully, he didn’t realize how clever it was, otherwise he wouldn’t have shared it.  Now its your turn.  Are there other ways to use the clock idea?  Would it work to print the clock on a Brice screen?  What about an illusion with three panels that fit on a base and is assembled on stage?  Instead of Santa a pretty elf that would fit in the base is produced with the prize. The possibilities are really amazing.  I’m working on ideas right now.  Coming soon, a new Barry Mitchell trick using this idea with thanks to Dan and Jim Kleefeld, who did a little brainstorming with me.


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