Dan Turcotte's Sponge Ball Magic

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Dan Turcotte's Sponge Ball Magic

Postby bananafish » Oct 19th, '04, 12:25

Dan Turcotte: Sponge Ball Magic
http://www.youdomagic.com/x_sponge_balls.html by Dan Turcotte.

Please also see this review of the www.youdomagic.com site.

How Much: $8

What You Get:
One 12 page pdf document full of colour photographs and easy to follow instructions.

Two movie files showing Dan perform the sponge routine that is taught in the PDF. The first is to two children, and the second is to a table of adults.

One movie file teaching all the moves used in the routine (and in fact many more)

The Review:
Let me state at the start that if you already do any sponge ball magic then it is unlikely that this download is for you. Well certainly it is unlikely that you will learn any new moves, however I personally would still recommend it just because of the two included performance clips.

On the other hand if you are a sponge ball virgin, and it is something that you feel you would like to start doing, then I can quite honestly say I don’t think that there is a better starting point than this download.

There is a long suffering debate on whether people prefer learning from a movie or from a book, and since the download include both teaching methods (plus the performance clips) then this really is the best of both worlds.

So what is actually taught? Well, you get a very typical, dare I say standard sponge ball routine that incorporates most of the basic moves. The routine is nothing remarkable compared to any other routine, however it really doesn’t need to be. If this is the only sponge ball routine you ever perform, it will still be found extremely entertaining to any audience that sees it.

It is relatively easy to learn, although as with any magic, I do recommend taking some time to practice the sleights needed until you know them like the back of your hand (well at least like the crotch of the thumb!).

The basic outline of the routine is as follows:-

1. Two Sponge Ball production.

Two sponge balls are magically produced, the first magically from behind the ear of one spectator, the second from behind the ear of another spectator.

[The look of horror on the face of the first spectator, as Dan moved his hand to produce the first sponge ball was a little disconcerting at first, but he soon hand her laughing, and open mouthed in pure astonishment].

2. Switch Set-Up Gag.

This is the standard Tommy Cooperesque “Look if I go like this they change places, and if I go like this they switch back” gag. If you don’t like corny gags like this then to be honest, maybe sponge ball magic isn’t for you, as for me they are a fundamental part of the routine, and actually play an important part in the misdirection used.

Incidentally, anyone who doesn’t know who Tommy Cooper is. Shame on you…

3. Extra Ball to spectator’s hand.

This is the phase of the routine where the spectator first sees magic happening, and as simplistic as it sounds it really does look like magic to the spectators. One ball is given to the spectator, one ball retained by the performer. The magician’s ball disappears and magically reappears inside the spectators hand.

It was perhaps unsurprising, if not indicative of the move that the spectator’s reaction of astonishment led her to remember the move as being even more powerful than it actually was…

4. Extra Ball to 2nd spectator’s hand.

Well why not. The magic here WAS powerful enough to be repeated.

5. The Two Ball Counting Trick

At this point the routine moves into a standard “Two in the Hand, one in the pocket” routine, which for me is a classic of sponge ball magic.

The specific sleights are extremely well taught and include…

1. The thumb clip grip
2. The thumb clip vanish
3. The basic vanish
4. The shuttle pass
5. Splitting the Ball in two (another classic of sponge ball magic)

Rating 9 out of 10 (for the sponge ball virgin)

Bottom Line
I love sponge ball magic. I love performing it, and in my opinion audiences love it being performed. It is simply put a fun genre of magic.

The routine Dan uses, which has to be said is his “working routine” (after all we have two movie clips proving this!), however there is enough material taught that means you can easily chop and change it to personalise it to yourself. You could easily add a “Splitting the ball” phase, or end with a two ball to multiple balls phase (one of my favourite finales).

If you wish, and the audience is right, then there is also immense opportunity for making the sponge ball routine into a much more “carry on” style, innuendo ridden routine. I personally have no problem with this, I know my audiences enjoy it, but I do accept that many magicians are against it.

Having said that, I probably would still avoid using the sponge “dong”, but who knows, in the right hands? (oo-err-missus).

So anyway. The bottom line. If you don’t do sponge magic, and you want to (and you should!!!) - then this is the best and cheapest starting point.

Another good source would be Darly’s “Foolers Doolers” (Volume 1?), but then that is a million times the price (albeit you do get a lot of other non sponge ball material).

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Postby Mandrake » Oct 22nd, '04, 14:24

I've been working my way through this and I can certainly echo all the above comments. The best part as far as I'm concerned is that not only do you see a vid of the performance as well as the written routine in full, you also get to see that same performance video in slow-motion, in freeze frame, with clear indications of which bit is where overlaid on the 'screen' plus the voiceover giving more details and careful instructions. For those of you still locked in the 'books versus Vid/DVD' quandry, this download easily transcends both.

Yes, the sleights and moves are very basic but are the foundation for a whole lot of your own sponge and coin effects which will almost certainly come to mind as you work though this tutorial. Dan is a good and very visual teacher and it's clear that there has been a lot of work put in on the written versions as well as on the extremely professional video presentations/explanations. All this for $8 - less than a fiver in Sterling? Worth double so even if you're only vaguely interested in learning about sponge ball magic, get in quick before Dan wakes up and realises he's selling this way, way under price!

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Postby GoldFish » Oct 22nd, '04, 14:28

I can only echo what has been said above but if anybody's is interested here's something extra:

YouDoMagic.com : Sponge Ball Magic: Full Routine
By Dan Turcotte

From: www.youdomagic.com
Price: $8.00

This e-book is quite possibly the most thorough and detailed piece of Magic literature that I have come across in relation to its content and “skill level”. It’s a fantastic resource for learning a sponge ball routine and seasoned or beginner sponge ball workers will find something of use within it’s 11 pages.

Table of contents

    Introduction and Contents
    The Routine (4 separate stages!)
    Sleight of Hand Components (5 separate sleights!)


The Introduction to this routine actually contains a short sponge ball patter in itself so there’s an added bonus already! Dan also includes various tips such as assistant selection in the introduction which sets the mood for the rest of the e-book.

The Routine
The four stages of the routine (which I won’t go into here, it’d spoil the surprise!) take up the bulk of the e-book and rightly so. Dan has covered every aspect of this routine and each move, word and action are all documented in detail. Through out the routine pictures provide an exact view of what it should look like. Arrows have also been included on the page to link the words to the pictures. The patter for the routine is also included and for clarity’s sake it has been highlighted in red so the magician knows exactly what to say and when. Also what the spectator sees and what the magician is secretly doing have been colour coded which helps to distinguish between all three components of the routine.
The routine itself is clear and thorough and has all the trade marks of a good sponge ball routine, both from the perspective of the spectator and the performer. But the fun doesn’t stop there, oh no!

Sleight of Hand Components
Dan has also included thorough explanations of all and any sleight of hand which would be necessary in a sponge ball routine. These explanations are clear, precise and undoubtedly hugely valuable for any sponge ball routine and especially this one.

Quality of PDF: 8/10 The PDF is well laid out but sometimes a little difficult to follow.
Quality of Teaching: 9/10 The routine is taught exceptionally well but doesn’t come across as well as it could in written form (IMHO)
Value: 10/10 For the price this routine is exceptional value for money

Overall: 9/10

Conclusion: If you like sponge ball routines there’s no reason why this routine shouldn’t be part of your Library, it’s great!

All the best,

Will Wood
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Postby devilstick Peat » Feb 6th, '11, 06:05

seems that the link is no;onger active
anyone know where i can download the pdf from

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Postby Mandrake » Feb 6th, '11, 11:35

Sadly Dan died of cancer in September 2005 so his works may no longer be available.

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