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trying to find the bowling ball trick

Discussion in 'Magic' started by Axle the Clown, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Axle the Clown

    Axle the Clown New Member

    i have seen this trick so much online...im wondering if anyone knows where i can buy it or how much it would be also...its a bowling that is drawn on a giant sketch pad and the flipped on side...and the ball falls from the book....anyone know where i can get it??
  2. V

    V Well-Known Member

    This is a Kevin James illusion. Runs around a grand or so. Can be replicated via a body load. Andrew Mayne has a version that's looks just as good but produces a bowling ball from a bag instead of a sketch pad and can be made for about $2. If you don't mind buying knock-off products, Andy Magic International sells (or use to) a version very similar to Kevin Jame's illusion. I've never bough from Andy magic so cannot comment on quality or shipping (Chinese origin I believe).
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
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  3. You will be paying SOOOO much for that trick. It's really expensive. I dont even use it anymore. Im lucky I sold mine. I only lost about 100 bucks off what I bought it for.
    you can find them for like 500.
  4. V

    V Well-Known Member

    This is one of those tricks that looks amazing but isn't that practical (for me anyway) to perform. Most of my magic is close up stuff and when I do pull out stage stuff, I do a character show (insult/comedy magic) so I never bothered much with it as a collector or prop maker; however, due to having a lot of free time whilst waiting for a back to heal, I've found myself rewatching old magic shows and youtube clips and felt this was worth a revisit.

    What I've found is that it's irritating that it's taken this long to work this trick out. Actually, I'll amend that. It's irritating that it's taken so long to get a working version of this trick. I won't drop $700 on Kevin James' version to validate the method, but this trick is certainly craft-able for around $20, pending you can find a bowling ball at a thrift shop. Goodwill sells them here for around $5. My largest expense was actually the large sized art pad that runs around $12. If you can't find a thrift store ball, you're looking at an expense of $30-50 for a new ball. I'd try a local bowling alley first as you can usually find someone willing to sell a used bowling ball on the cheap. I'd get a relatively light ball and don't recommend dropping a 16lb ball from this gimmick.

    It's much like P&T's Miser's Dream fishbowl trick in that it's so simple that the obvious guess doesn't get mentioned because nobody believes the solution could be as stupidly simple as it really is. Anyone wanting to do this trick - I suggest you spend some time just watching to video over-and-over. The move that tells you the answer will eventually show itself to you...
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
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  5. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Revisiting this...

    I still haven't (and won't) buy Kevin James version of this because the price is still stupid on it (and I have a working, tested version) and still don't know that this is any more impressive than Andrew Mayne's ball from a paper bag. By comparison, KJ still has this at around $1000 and Andrew shows how to do his version on a DvD that is less than $20. The problem with both of them...? The 'why' behind it. Why produce a bowling ball other than for the effect? Bowling Ball productions have been around for a very long time in one form or another (brief case, bag, etc) and they've never been practical. That being said, almost all of the effects have a brief 'wow' moment.

    I've made a few versions of the note pad production in various sizes and have had some luck with them outside of bowling ball applications - producing birthday presents for the birthday kid and such. An idea over at the cafe was to produce a pinata out of the big pad that's loaded with oranges (which can then be loaded with signed bills/cards) which I thought was okay. I guess as long as you produce anything big and unexpected you can get results from most audiences.

    The OP seems to be long gone from the forum here so I'm not sure how much help this is. I'm just doing some rearranging and organizing props this week - inventory and all, and thought I'd share more thoughts on this. Save your cash and buy something better if you're considering this production. I can think of dozens of effects or routine that are better than this that cost a fraction of the price without putting any effort into making a list.
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  6. Noah

    Noah New Member

    V how did you make your specifically? Going to perform a comedic version but dont want to spend over $700 on a 45 second trick.
  7. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    The first time you ever see it, it's an amazing eye popping stunt. But when watched again and again the magic disappears and the mechanics become evident. Look at a few Youtube clips a few times and think about how it's done. Then think about how you can replicate it. You don't need step by step instructions for this one and if you do, you are probably not the kind of person to be performing it.
  8. V

    V Well-Known Member

    This was a while ago. I have no idea where my art pad is since I rarely use it - only for birthday present productions in the rare event I do a birthday party. Anyway... It's an incredibly simple method - at least the one I use is. I've still not, nor will I ever, but KJ's prop so I can't attest to that one... No photos of the pad available - again, in storage somewhere...

    A simple diagram and a brief explanation...

    Basically, you buy an art pad. To produce something large, like a bowling ball you'll obviously need a larger sized art pad. Check Michael's - they're often on sale for around $11 USD. Cut a window into the back cardboard panel. This needs to be big enough to allow the ball (or whatever) to pass through easily but not so large that it compromises the structural integrity of the panel. You should get smaller and cheaper Walmart pads to practice on first...

    Anyway - get some sort of stretchable fabric. An old T shirt would work well in a pinch, but I'd visit a shop like Joann's and find something that looks better and is closer in color to your art pad. Cut out a portion of the fabric and tape it to the back panel - covering the hole... Tape on the inside and run the fabric out through the hole. You need to make it large enough to form a bag once your object (bowling ball, etc) is inside. I would recommend stretching the fabric before taping it to the cardboard. Just unroll the fabric, set the ball on it, and make a pouch... That's how much you need to cut out and tape it to the art pad...

    Once the ball is in the pouch - you basically cradle the ball and flip the art pad open to rest on the ball and your arm.... KJ's video has him moving awkwardly so I have to believe his system is similar to this (but probably more refined than old T shirts and Gorilla tape). Please see more text below the image.....


    I strongly discourage you from using KJ's patter (even anything similar). The prop isn't terribly original; realistically, it's not that different from the bowling ball suitcase so I can't imagine writing a routine to fit your show would be that difficult.

    I also strongly encourage you to put time and effort into learning fundamental skills of a magician/clown/whatever you're trying to become eventually... I second Barry's sentiment, that if you feel you need step-by-step instructions for this (or any) illusion then you likely need significantly more practice and time in front of an audience before you're going to have much success. There are numerous resources available for prop building for virtually any range of talent, income, expectations. "Victory Illusions" usses virtually 100% cardboard and the props are quality. I wouldn't get on a serious stage with them (unless you have some sort of theme that is relevant) but it translates well to more quality building material. Mark Jackson's 'Complete Course' can be found for a couple of dollars on Amazon these days and also has a lot. Harlan Tarbell's set is now in paperback - probably even digital - and can be had for under $200 in it's entirety for a paperback set I believe. Also, as linked somewhere in another thread - there are some illusion plans available from Abbott and Osbourne (I can't attest for either's quality) for just a few bucks per illusion. Much of the content in all of the above is dated, but many of the systems used in a lot of illusions today is identical - or close enough that it doesn't matter much - that you can get an idea of how things work.

    Bottom line, if you're considering any attempt at adding magic to your set - You must have sleight of hand skills. Step-by-step illusions are often uninspired and very rarely worthy of putting in front of an audience. You're just as well to buy Dollar Tree magic kits and use those. You need comfort in your patter. This also involves adaptability and creativity. Using someone else's written script rarely produces and quality act. Most often, it comes across and dull and obviously scripted. Patter needs to be, or at least appear, organic. You can't often get this with someone else's routine. You need to understand what the concept of the trick is and what message it needs to deliver - and figure out how to put that on stage. You need confidence in your handling. This comes from hours of practice - in a room alone, in front of a mirror, in front of family or friends - a lot, before you ever consider putting it in front of a live audience. If you don't practice, and think you can wing it - your act will not succeed. The audience will hate it, and you'll be aware of what is happening. That sort of setback can be devastating to a new performer and may influence stage persona for a very long time. If you need to put a trick together quickly for an upcoming show - it's likely all ready too late... where will all of those hours I mentioned earlier come from in that scenario?

    Finally, to ask from my old post. Why produce a bowling ball at all? Is it just because it's something big and heavy coming from a pace it shouldn't be? That's quite uninspiring/original and I still don't see the need in virtually any setting. It looks great on the promo video because it's suppose to but it really loses it's effect (like Barry said) quickly. I still think Andrew Mayne's production is a better 'random' one and makes more "sense" (though still not a lot). I don't get this as a humor effect either. Maybe I'm just not much of a fan for gimmicks - who knows..? I think, for the same amount of time (on stage time, not prep time), you could fit Pop Haydn's Linking Rings or Nightmare routine; probably a decent Miser's Dream.... a hundred things really...
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