ROUTINE: How Tricks Are Invented

IMG_0336By Duane Laflin – Originally Published in the February 2014 Issue of Grand Magic Magazine

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The prop used for this routine is well-made and clever. It appeals to children and adults. It can be done close-up and surrounded. It is not visible enough to be used on a giant stage, but for most groups, even an audience of as many as one hundred people, it can be seen and appreciated.

If the performer has a video camera to use, then, by way of the video screen, this trick could be used with any size group.

The fact that the prop involves something that looks like a pack of Lifesavers candy, and is packaged with a small rainbow streamer, lends itself to an obvious routine about the Lifesavers turning into a rainbow.

I wanted to do something other than the obvious. In particular, I wanted a presentation concept that would be of interest to an audience of any age. I like what I eventually developed. In particular, I think the opening line, “Have you ever wondered how magicians invent their tricks?” is something that captures the interest of the audience.

What happens?

A pack of Lifesavers candy turns into a rainbow streamer.

How is it done?

Two identical rainbow streamers are used. One is vanished by way of a Thumb Tip. The other appears inside the Lifesaver’s by way of the fact that the Lifesaver’s are not what they seem to be.

What appears to be a package of Lifesaver’s is actually a hollow tube that nests inside another tube to create the illusion that the Lifesavers have disappeared.

Apart from making a streamer vanish in a thumb tip, the trick is essentially self-working. The “Lifesaver’s Trick” is a nice piece of apparatus.”



  • Hide one streamer inside the “Lifesavers.”
  • Have the ThumbTip nearby in order to vanish the other streamer.
  • Have the real roll of Lifesavers Candies in your pocket (Optional)


“Have you ever wondered how magicians invent their tricks? What do they do when they want to come up with something new?”

“A favored technique, which can be applied to other things besides magic tricks, is known as the ‘Two Bag Method.’”

“Why is it called the ‘Two Bag Method?’ Because it uses two bags!”

“The magician will put pieces of paper in one bag that all have something different written on them. For example, he may decide to work with a variety of tastes. On one piece of paper will be the word ‘tangy.’ On another ‘sour.’ On another ‘sweet.’ On another ‘spicy.’ And so on.”

“In a second bag he will put more pieces of paper. On each of these pieces of paper are words from yet a different category. Maybe he wants to work with ‘things in the sky.’ So on one piece of paper he will write ‘rainbow.’ On another ‘cloud.’ On another ‘bird.’ On another ‘Lightning.’ And so on.”

“Then the magician closes his eyes and reaches into one bag to pull out one slip of paper. Next, with eyes closed, he reaches into the other bag to also pull out one slip of paper.”

“He reads the words on the paper and then knows he must make a trick out of the two things he reads on the papers.”

“There once was a magician who did this and, out of the first bag, he pulled out the word ‘sweet.’ Out of the second bag he pulled the word ‘rainbow.’ Then he knew he had to create a trick that used something sweet and a rainbow.”

“According to the story, and it is only a story, he happened to have a pack of Lifesavers candy in his pocket. He thought to himself, Lifesavers are sweet. He also had a long strip of cloth in his pocket that was made of many different colors. He thought, This looks like a little rainbow. So he used those two things to accomplish his task.”

“The Lifesavers were locked away inside a container so nothing could happen to them.” Put the Lifesavers into the metal tube.

“Then he took the rainbow cloth and pushed in into his fist.” Use the Thumb Tip to vanish the cloth.

“I cannot tell you what else he did, for that would be to reveal his secrets and we know we must not reveal the secrets of a magician, but according to the story, somehow, some way, he made the little rainbow disappear.” Show that the streamer has vanished.

“People thought that was amazing. What happened next was even more amazing. He handed the container to someone standing close to him and asked that person to reach inside and remove what he or she found.” Have someone reach into the tube and remove the duplicate rainbow streamer.

“To the wonder of all, it was found that the Lifesaver’s had turned into a rainbow. It was a beautiful yet baffling event. It came about because the magician had done what the two bags had challenged him to do. He used the words ‘sweet’ and ‘rainbow’ to bring into reality what I have just had the opportunity to share with you!”


Fundamentally this is a story- telling type routine. The props are used to create a fun bit of fiction that provides a mystery.

There is value in using tricks to tell stories. It is a good performance technique, but it must be used with discretion. One or two stories like this in a show are especially appreciated by audiences, and they make for variety. The thing to be careful about is the fact that too many stories can slow down a show. Rather than being a magic show, it becomes a story hour.

If the goal of the performer is to do something akin to a children’s story hour, an abundance of stories is fine. If the goal is to deliver an uplifting, exciting,
magical experience, lots of stories are a problem.

My opinion is there is a difference between between being a magician and being a storyteller. A magician can use stories and a storyteller can use magic tricks. However, the use of common tools does not mean there is a common identity. The focus of the storyteller is stories. The focus of the magician is amazing happenings. Since I am a magician, I like using a few stories, but I want to keep the show moving with good energy and be remembered more for the magic than the stories. That’s why I like a few story tricks in a show, but not many.

Final Note:

An especially good feature of this routine is it can be done with a child by your side. Have the child hold the “rainbow” while you put the Lifesaver’s into the tube. Have the child check your hand to see that the rainbow disappeared. Have the child reproduce the rainbow from the tube that formerly contained the Lifesavers. The involvement of the child adds much to the presentation.

Alternative Ending (Optional):

After showing the rainbow streamer from the tube where the Lifesavers had been placed at the beginning of the routine, the may be audience members who will become vocal about the whereabouts of the roll of Lifesavers (especially children). If you have a real roll of Lifesavers candies in your pocket you can remove them and state: “I thought you’d never ask! I keep the roll of candies here in my pocket… you might be wondering how they got there? Well, I am a magician and I cannot tell you.”


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