The ABC Blocks is a great trick when used in the standard way. This presentation involves a twist that turns it into a “no way” kind of apparent miracle. It is the strongest way I have found to perform the effect in context of general entertainment. When used in this manner, children love the trick and adults are “blown away” by it.
I have used the ABC Blocks like this for many years. Starting more than twenty years ago, I did this routine for our school shows and small stage entertainment programs. In our “Magic Beyond Belief” show (in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee), I used a giant stage version of the trick and did it this way. When we do road shows, both secular and gospel, I still often use the giant ABC Blocks in the way that you are about to read.
The audience is shown three blocks. The magician explains that one of the three blocks will mysteriously be transported across the stage to land in a hat. Which block will do this? One selected by a spectator! A volunteer is then brought to the stage. In a plastic bag are the letters A, B, and C. A letter is chosen, B. That chosen block then invisibly passes across the stage and into the hat.
The ABC Blocks is a standard dealer effect that involves a shell that slips down over a block. It is easy to do, angle and distance proof, and overall an extremely effective trick.
We have added to it a force. This means the audience believes there is a free choice about which of the three blocks will mysteriously travel from the box to the hat. Actually, it is a not a free choice. Nevertheless, it appears innocent and uncontrolled, so when the selected block makes the magical journey, they are astonished.
To make the force we use another prop commonly referred to as a “Clear View Force Bag”. It is a wonderful item (inexpensive at about $6.00) that appears to be nothing more than a plastic bag that offers a spectator the opportunity to reach inside and take a card that has on it an A, B, or C.
Note There is another kind of force bag known as a Mesh Forcing Bag that also works well for this.
- A set of ABC Blocks (There are many versions on the market, we have a set available at LaflinMagicStore.com.)
- A Clear View Force Bag
- A hat or small box.
Load the force bag with only B cards in the secret compartment. In the front compartment put A, B, and C cards.
The magician lifts the cover from the blocks and displays them to the audience. “Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is known as A-B-C.”
“A stands for astonishing. B stands for bewildering. C stands for confounding.”
“We are about to experience an astonishing, bewildering, and confounding event. One of these three blocks will invisibly fly across the stage and land in this hat.”
Show the top hat or box that you are going to use as a landing place. Make it clear that it is empty. Set it on a table across the stage.
“It may be the A block that flies!”
Accompanying this remark, the magician picks up the A block and carries it over to the hat. He sets it down into the hat.
“Or it might be the B block!“ Accompanying this remark, the B block is removed from the stack and placed into the hat, on top of the “A” block.
“Or it might be the C block.” As with the others, the C block is taken over and placed in the hat, and stacked on top of the B and the A.
Please do not forget. We only have these three options. This one is the C option. What is it? (Audience says “C”).
While the C block is shown, it is lifted from the stack in the hat and placed back on the spindle that held the original stack of blocks.
“And of course this one is the B option, what is it?” (Audience says “B”).
To these words the B block is lifted away from the hat and placed back on the spindle for the original stack of blocks.
“And there is the A option. What is it?” (Audience says, A).
While the A option is being shown again, the A shell is lifted away from the hat, leaving the extra B block behind.
The A shell is placed on the spindle, over the other B block and the C block. The appearance is that of three solid blocks stacked together.
At this point the cover is placed over the stack of blocks. “It is time to decide which block is going to fly. The matter will not be my decision, instead, someone from the audience will make a selection.”
Choose a volunteer and show the bag of letters.
“In this bag are letters, on some of them is an A, on some of them is a B, and on some of them is a C. Whichever letter is chosen, the block it represents is the one that we will cause to move from the stack to the hat.”
“Please close your eyes, reach inside, and select a letter.”
It is important that the person closes his or her eyes. You do not want them selecting a letter from sight and then trying to grab it. Rather you want this to appear to be a completely random event. Also, with eyes closed, the person will not figure out that only “B” letters can be chosen.
“What did you choose?” Observe that the helper has removed a B card. Announce this to the audience. Thank the person for his or her help.
“This means that the block labeled B will, in an astonishing, bewildering, and confounding manner, travel from the stack inside this box over to the hat.”
Tap the box with a magic wand, say the magic words, pretend to concentrate, or do whatever is your style.
A nice touch at this point is to play some music with a Twilight Zone sound.
After your magical gestures, look at the audience and say:
“Ladies and gentlemen, I think we all know this is impossible. There is no way that the B block could be caused to leave it’s place between the A block and the C block to invisibly pass through space and into the hat.
“It simply cannot happen. However if it did happen, when we lifted away the cover we would find that the B block is missing, like this!
” Remove the cover and show that the B block is not on the stack.
“And then, if it really did happen, when we looked inside the hat, the B block would be there!” Look into the hat, then with a flourish, lift up the B block and show that it has arrived. “Unbelievable, the one and only block that was selected has made the magical journey!”
End of effect. Applause is guaranteed!