You know when you’re chatting with friends and the subject of ESP naturally comes up?
Nope, me neither.
I’ve always been amused by the idea of trying to casually steer an everyday conversation round to the esoteric subject of a magic trick.
I think one way we can make magic feel more current and relevant is to use more current, relevant conversations as starting points for tricks. So here’s a festive way to do that.
The ongoing debate that seems to crop up online every year:
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
A Christmas movie prediction with a twist.
You ask a spectator to help settle a debate by deciding on the ultimate Christmas film, once and for all.
You explain that you have a Christmas tree behind you with a single bauble on it, inspired by a film, which you’ll reveal at the end.
State that you’ve written the top 25 Christmas films from a recent survey on some blank-faced cards. As the spectator looks away, you show that in fact they all say ‘Elf’. (Yep, it’s a new dressing for the McCombical Prediction).
They pick, remember and replace a card.
After a suitable build-up of mind-reading and banter, they reveal that they chose… Die Hard.
You react to their choice with incredulity, then ask the rest of the audience to vote on whether it counts as a Christmas film.
Finally, you go over to the tree to reveal your Die Hard bauble.
Yippee Ki-Yay Magic-Maker!
The Props and Method
The method, unsurprisingly, is to have all the cards saying ‘Elf’, except the one you force on the spectator, which says ‘Die Hard’.
As for the ornament, it turns out there are several Die Hard Christmas ornaments available. In fact, there’s a whole sub-page for them on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/market/die_hard_ornament
To avoid suspicions that you have 25 different film baubles on the tree, just have one. If the tree looks too sparse, add some tinsel. We have a mini 12-inch artificial tree we got when travelling one year, which works well, as it looks too small to be hiding multiple ornaments.
The virtual version
Doing this over Zoom can still work, just have spectator and audience turn away from their computers at the relevant times. Alternatively, you could probably use one of the online list apps to influence their choice, though you’d lose the all-cards-the-same moment.
As ever, if you give it a go, let me know at wideopenmagic [at] gmail [dot] com