IMG_0319Originally appeared in a set of 2008 Lecture Notes by Duane Laflin (No Longer in Print)

I love the routine known as “Duke’s Dye Version” marketed by Abbott’s Magic Company in Colon, Michigan.  Some people have a problem with the routine because it involves secretly stealing away a very large dye tube.  Here is a way to enjoy the fun and colorful production aspect of the trick without worrying about the dye tube steal.


  • Some kind of Change Bag
  • Four individual silks  (18” size is good)
  • A Rainbow Streamer (The Larger – the better… get one that will easily fit into the secret compartment side of your change bag or switching device)
  • A small magic wand


  • Before the show, load the streamer down into the secret compartment of the change bag.
  • Put the small magic wand down in the bottom of the other side of the change bag.
  • Put the four individual silks in on top of the magic wand.



Invite two volunteers to the stage to assist you.  Show them the bag and ask them to remove the handkerchiefs.  Instruct each volunteer to take two of the handkerchiefs.

Ask one of the volunteers to reach down into the bag to see what else he or she finds.  He or she will find the small magic wand.  (This action is a way of selling the fact that the bag is otherwise empty).

Turn the bag inside out to show it empty as you say, “Here is what we have: one bag, one wand, and four handkerchiefs.  With these we are going to enjoy a magical color memory test!”

Ask each helper to identify the colors of the handkerchiefs.  Once the colors are stated, make this announcement.  “Today we are going to change the names of the colors.  After all, who says red should be red, yellow should be yellow, green should be green, and blue should be blue. For this test, the blue will be called red.  The green will be called yellow.  The red will be called blue.  And the yellow will be called green.  Do you understand this?”

See if they understand by pointing at each handkerchief and asking them to identify the new color name.  Once they grasp the idea that each handkerchief will be called by a new color name, start the routine.

“Here is what happens.  When I say the new name of the handkerchief, you hold it into the air!”

Say “Red” and wait for the blue handkerchief to be held in the air.  Say “Green” and wait for the yellow handkerchief to be held in the air.

Have fun with this.  Start with saying only one color name.  Then say two colors.  Then say three colors.  Finally say four colors.

The spectators should make mistakes in remembering which color to held up when…so this can be great fun.  When you say all four colors, they cannot help but get them right, so they finish with success.

Announce, “It is time for stage two in our magical color memory test.  Place the handkerchiefs into the bag”.  After the four handkerchiefs go into the bag, secretly switch the bag over.  Bring out the blue end and green end of the giant streamer that is in the bag.  Have one helper hold the blue end, the other hold the green end.

Take the little wand that came out of the bag earlier and wave it over the bag and silks.  Say, “Time to create a special mystery”.

“Tell me, what color is in your hand?”  The person holding green should say, “Yellow”.  The person holding blue should say, “Red”.  Ask them, “Are you sure?”  Then say, “Pull the handkerchief farther out of the bag…and farther…and farther.”  By this the giant streamer is revealed.

After the streamer is completely out, show the bag to be empty.  When doing so say, “Ladies and gentlemen, not only did my two helpers successfully pass the color memory test, they also found a way to put all of the colors into one big banner.  I would say that for that they deserve a big round of applause!”


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