I use the “Pushpin Gimmick” in my own Cups and Balls routine not for holding multiple small balls, but for holding two of my final loads that are produced at the end. I love using this gimmick for the final loads because I do not have to worry about having big bulges in my pockets just for this routine. I wear a tailored suit and with a baseball in either my jacket or pants pocket, everyone would be able to see something which I want to avoid at all costs.
Jean Hugard’s Thumbtack Gimmick
In Jean Hugard’s book (“Modern Magic Manual” - 1939), there is a gimmick described in the “Cups & Balls” section that allows the performer to hide extra balls at the back edge of a table. It’s called the “Thumbtack Gimmick.” The gimmick described has two thumbtacks with the flat ends glued together and the pointed tips facing in opposite directions. One end would then be pushed into the back edge of a table while on the exposed end, a small duplicate ball would be impaled until it was needed later on in the routine.
I always thought that the gimmick was clever for ringing in extra balls. The duplicate balls would not be on your person in either a jacket or pants pocket, so there would be no need to go into them during your routine only to secretly palm the balls out. The less you go in and out of your pockets, the more believable your skill and this is why I like the idea of having your extra items already hidden and ready to go. In experimenting with Jean Hugard’s gimmick, I have come up with something that is very similar, but have made some changes not only with the items being used but also with its location.
Matthew Vizio’s Pushpin Gimmick
I call it the “Pushpin Gimmick” and I modeled it after Jean Hugard’s, except for the fact that I use two pushpins instead of thumbtacks. Pushpins are cheap and easy to find, can be taken to any show you may have on the road, and can be used in just about any performing situation where you will be performing behind a table.
Much like the original “Thumbtack Gimmick,” nothing will be on your person so you will not have to worry about palming multiple balls or having any bulges in your pockets while performing. This is a huge advantage to people who wear custom or tailored clothing where everything is made to your own body type and where the slightest bulge can be noticed. With less bulges in your clothing, no one will be able to figure out where an object came from since they would not have been able to see some sort of discrepancy on your person.
Advantages of The Pushpin Gimmick
1. The gimmick packs extremely light and can be taken to and from shows with incredible ease.
2. Pushpins are easier to impale and take out since there is more surface to grab than thumbtacks.
3. You can use three gimmicks in a row underneath your table for your final loads or for however many extra balls you may need in your cups and balls routine.
4. You can perform the cups and balls either standing up or sitting down since the extra balls and final loads will not have to be on your person or even on your lap. This will allow you the freedom to move around depending on what your routine or show calls for.
Just be careful if you are sitting down at the table and take away the object. The pointy end is exposed and you do not want to jab yourself in the leg.