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Reader A.F. asked over email if I could reprint a post from the old MCJ blog it was about a trick called Watch the Box. This was a variation on a classic trick where a borrowed watch appears in the smallest box in a nest of boxes. How was this trick "improved" in this version? Well, in a shining example of magic creativity instead of borrowing a watch and making it appear inside the boxes, the magician borrows fifteen watches and makes them appear in the nest of boxes.
From May 13th, 2004
I Love Watching Boxes
Oh, what a marvelous day it is! I'm about to place my order for Erez Moshe's Watch the Box. It's a nest of boxes effect with not one watch, or two, or five, or ten... but fifteen borrowed watches! Now I have to tell you, I once tried to do a similar effect with (and I'm hideously embarrassed to admit this) a mere twelve watches. As you can imagine it was a miserable failure. At the conclusion of the effect there was nary a handclap, in fact there was only silence until one of the members of the audience screamed, "Grow a pair you asshole! And don't waste our time with effects in which you borrow a paltry 12 watches!" The rest of the audience joined in with this lone voice and the cacophony of boos quickly shamed me off the stage. Then, on the way to my car, in an effort to show their dissatisfaction with my watch-deficient trick, I was gang-raped by the unruly mob (as was the fashion at the time when a group was wont to manifest their dissatisfaction).
But now, thanks to Mr. Moshe, I can do this effect as it should be done, with 15 borrowed watches. In fact, the ad says, "you can even borrow more or less, depending on your comfortability level." Now, I haven't really gauged my "comfortability" level in regards to watch borrowing yet, but it seems to me there would never be any reason to do this effect with anything less than 15 borrowed watches. In fact, even if you were performing for an audience of oh, say, 10 people, I think it would be better to ask them to wear two watches each than to perform this with less than 15 watches. 16 watches would also be great. But I think 17 would be ostentatious.
I think we all remember those lines in Our Magic that say, "There is nothing more exciting for an audience than watching you borrow and return watches, so make sure you borrow as many as possible. This goes for other things as well. Why cut and restore one handkerchief when there are at least 60 gentlemen in the audience that have handkerchiefs? Why borrow and bake a cake in one hat when there are so many hats and everyone loves cake? You don't want an audience member to feel left out, do you? You don't want them spending the rest of your show thinking, 'What's wrong with my watch Mr. Magician? Is it not good enough to do a trick with?'"
In fact, when I do this effect, I'm going to not only take the time to identify 15 people wearing watches and retrieve them from the audience, but I'm also going to take a couple of minutes with each person to talk about their watch and where they got it and what it means to them. I think that would make the trick really something special. In fact only one word would apply to such a trick: Showstopper.
One of the more intriguing lines in that ad says, "in some mysteriously way, the watches completely vanish from within the paper bag itself!" In some "mysteriously" way, indeed! It's so mysterious they don't let you have any idea what it might look like. I'm hoping the vanish utilizes the mysterious square circle.
A friend of mine (who is apparently retarded) asked if I thought the effect might be better paced and simpler, but just as effective if only one watch was used. Hmmm....let me think. How about, "No way Jose." Are you kidding me? One watch? By that logic, David Copperfield should have just levitated one Ferrari, or made one Statue of Liberty disappear, or floated across one Grand Canyon to be with one Bonnie Tyler singing "Holding Out for a Hero." Not to mention the fact that with only one watch you lose all the audience participation. Audience members can sense that very-special place they have in the show when they are chosen for some audience participation, and what could be more significant and exciting than being one of a group of 15 people who let the magician borrow their watch? I'm hard-pressed to come up with anything. Seriously, wouldn't you feel you were a part of the magic if you had the honor of removing and later reattaching an accessory you wore to the show?
I can't wait to get this in the mail! I've even come up with a kicker ending. It's kind of a mentalism thing (and don't even ask me to reveal it, this is my secret) where at the end I open an envelope that has a prediction I wrote before the show that indicates exactly the number of watches that were irreparably damaged during the course of the trick by being thrown around in a paper bag with 14 other watches. It's a killer!