Page 34 Spring 1988
Tubular Magic by
ball-and-tube juggle is an unusual old
pattern not seen very often today.
a 12-inch tall tube about 4-inches in diameter. I use a mailing tube
covered with durable adhesive-backed decorative paper, available at
art supply shops. Hold the tube vertically in your left hand and
juggle two balls counter-clockwise in your right. With a little
practice, it is possible to have the balls pass downward through the
tube on every throw.
you like the ball-and-tube juggle, try doing it with a table when you
perform. If you also find find a wine bottle that fits inside your
tube, you can try my new magical finish to this old stunt.
the bottle on a shelf that extends out from the back of your table,
and perform the balls-and-tube juggle while standing to the right of
the table. While acknowledging your applause after the straight trick,
switch your grip so that the left hand holds the tube from the top,
fingers inside and thumb outside.
that it's impossible to perform the stunt with three balls as you
reach across your body with your right hand to pick up a third ball
from the table. (You put it there after finishing your three ball
routine) Performers are usually instructed not to reach across the
body, but this time it is done for a reason. As you reach across with
your right hand, your left hand can easily move behind the table and
slip the tube over the bottle (ill. 1).
the bottle by holding its top against the inside of the tube with your
fingers. Your right hand, now holding three balls, moves back to the
right side to show them to the audience. At the same time, your left
hand brings the tube and concealed bottle back into view and puts them
on the right side of the table. You can use a pad to muffle the sound
of the bottle.
explain you're going to try the impossible three balls. It's important
to use some magical "misdirection" here. If you keep up the
patter, the audience will forget that the tube was ever out of view.
your left hand to grab the base of the tube. Just before you pick it up,
tilt it slightly to sneak your pinky under the opening (ill. 2). Bring
the tube up in front of you as if to juggle the three balls through it.
The bottle is supported (painfully) by your pinky. Toss one of the balls
into the tube and act startled when it disappears and fails to come
you quickly lift the tube up to reveal the bottle, you say you now know
why three balls are impossible, "Because the bottle always gets in
the way!" .
is important to remain relaxed when you make the steal. But keep in mind
that no one is expecting bold magic in the middle of a juggling act. You
must not look at your left hand when it goes behind the table. Learn to
place the tube over the bottle automatically without looking. Keep
your eyes fixed on the balls in the right
and keep talking about them until well after you steal the bottle. Don't
hold the tube at such an angle as to give the audience a premature peek
at the bottle, either.
you're lucky, you might find a flexible tube just slightly bigger than
the bottle. With this, you can squeeze the bottle tight inside and not
have to use your pinky finger. This production is also an excellent
transition from a ball juggling routine into bottle and plate
Kimbrough is active in the performing arts of juggling, magic and
comedy. He lives in Montgomery,