Showing posts with label rice bowls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rice bowls. Show all posts

Monday, January 15, 2024

The Rice and Water Mystery


Here is a forgotten gem. It's called The Rice and Water Trick in Later Magic by Professor Hoffmann. In Greater Magic it's referred to as The Rice Bowls. As a dealer item sold at magic shops it's often referred to as The Chinese Rice Bowls. The basic effect consists of two empty bowls. Rice is added to one of the bowls, then the two are placed together. When separated, the rice has doubled in quantity. Then the doubled rice is leveled off and the bowls are again placed together. This time when separated, the rice is gone and in it's place is water! It's an amazing trick.

The actual origin of the effect has been lost. Some scholars believe however that it originated in India as opposed to China.  In Greater Magic there is a method attributed to Frank Ducrot. And there is also a method attributed to Al Baker. What I find fascinating is how this basic trick has so many different methods. I've discovered 8 so far and there are probably more out there. 

I first encountered the Rice Bowls when I purchased a TV Magic Set as a kit. Good ole Marshall Brodien. In fact, here is the video of Marshall doing the Rice Bowls, it's the third trick in...

I could never get my TV magic set bowls to produce THAT trick, lol. But it could have been low attention span Dean who didn't follow the instructions to the letter. I was better at sleight of hand than this type of thing. Eventually, that would change, but I can't blame Marshall for my failure.

I mentioned above this is a forgotten gem. Not many people perform it, and for those few I found online, most do a terrible job. However, one exception is Jade. She does a superb job and her handling of the props makes the effect even more magical. Here is a video of Jade, her Rice Bowl routine is about 1:40 into the video:

One of the better performances of the rice bowls was done by Charlie Miller. I don't care much for his whistling presentation, but his handling is flawless. Sadly, I don't see that version online. It can be found on the Great Magic Video Libraries DVD with Charlie Miller. There is no explanation, but if you can see the handling you might recognize a mistake that is often made in inferior handlings. Btw, Jade has her own way of overcoming the weakness, which I'll not divulge.

My all time favorite version of the Rice Bowls belongs to Richiardi. I always thought his was the most unique version. Imagine my surprise to discover his version in the pages of Later Magic. But though the routine is listed there, the Richiardi flare is not. This is one routine that I have used in my shows in the past, and always listed in the program as 'A Tribute to Richiardi'! Here is the master doing what he does best. 

Magician Ben Hart presented a version of the rice bowls on America's Got Talent-Champions and frankly I thought his presentation was fine. All the judges hated him. Strange. I've seen them dumbfounded by much less and certainly by weaker magic. But for whatever reason, they all sat there confused and not sure what they just saw. Perhaps the story Ben told could have been tweaked a bit. What do you think?