Ian Adair – Lights Out!

Ian Adair
By Ian Adair

Over the years I had a disease called ‘paddle-asia.’ I loved every paddle trick marketed. I thought of effects using bats, sticks and paddles by the score. I had them marketed and published. I even had a book; “Paddle- Antics” published by Supreme. I remember Bob Harbin writing me “very nice little ideas.” That indeed was a compliment from the master of invention himself. Enough about this, here’s another effect using a bat-type paddle.

The performer displays a paddle showing on its surface a full pint of beer or a full glass of wine, whichever you fancy. In fact there’s TWO, one on each side and both sides of the bat are shown. The paddle is placed towards the mouth and a ‘slurping noise’ is made. When the paddle is shown, the glass illustration is empty — on both sides. However, being a magician, a flick and it’s full again, on this side and that side. This is repeated several times to the amusement of your close-up audience to a patter presentation of being in a pub and having one too many. The last two empty glasses on the paddle suddenly and mysteriously change to a boldly written message: LIGHTS OUT! (Or a message that better suits you.)

A wooden paddle of the bat shape. It can be made of wood or plastic, whichever you desire. You require two of these. On one illustrate a pint of beer which is full and on the opposite side, one which is empty. On the duplicate paddle, illustrate a pint of glass, which is empty. On the other side, illustrate the wording, LIGHTS OUT as bold as possible.


Have both paddles inside your right jacket or trouser pocket. An old tip, but for those who don’t know it (we are ALL learning), divide both paddles by placing a folded pocket-handkerchief between them. This makes it easy for the performer to remove the correct ones at the right time, by feel alone.

The first to be withdrawn (the one showing both pint glasses) on one side and the other on the opposite.

Now, I don’t intent to insult any members because I am more than sure ALL of you already know the method of using the ‘paddle move,’ although we all had to learn it — didn’t we? I remember purchasing my set of color changing knives from Gamages and couldn’t work them right away. When my mentor Bill Milligan of the Kilmarnock Magic Circle took my set of knives in his hands and worked the effect, my eyes popped out! In other words, we know that we are repeatedly showing the same side by giving the stem of the paddle a half turn. Many books and publications deal with this, and I suggest, if you don’t already use the ‘paddle move,’ you are missing out on a great principle, which can accomplish many different miracles.

  1. Bring out the paddle showing the filled glass.
  2. Display the paddle on both sides by using the ‘paddle-move’ so that both glasses look filled. As you bring it up to your mouth, give the paddle a quick half-turn. Make the slurping noise as though drinking. Display the paddle showing that the glass in now empty. Operate the ‘paddle move’ again so that the audience sees two empty glasses. Catch more liquid and later I will be explaining the pub theme that is most important, especially for the climax. Repeat the procedure catching drinks in the air, then downing them. Tell the audience you have had enough. Start to place the paddle away when the final two glasses have been emptied. As your hand goes inside your right pocket, ditch it, then quickly, but casually bring out the duplicate, showing the side that displays the empty pint. Use the ‘paddle move’ again so that there appears to be two empty pints of beer and then, with a quick half turn the sign ‘LIGHTS OUT’ comes up. The paddle can be shown on both sides showing the same sign. Magicians who want to be extra clever (I don’t), can have yet another paddle with the LIGHTS OUT sign on BOTH sides in another pocket so when the other is ditched this one can be brought out and casually thrown on the bar counter or restaurant table.

I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. That’s because I can’t think I’m drunk all the time. But alcohol never touches my lips these days – I always use a straw. No, but seriously, I went into a pub the other day and asked for a treble Scotch. The barman asked why I had to have three and I told him that it saves asking three times in a row! I said to him, when I went into the pub the other day the landlord said that I was banned. I said why? He said that I left without paying the other evening. So I left with my head down low. I came back the following week and he told me I was still banned. I told him it couldn’t have possibly been me I’ve never been here before. The landlord said, “Then you must have a double!” I said, “Thank you very much ñ I’ll have a double brandy!”

“But let me show you a bat, It’s not a cricket bat. It’s just a little wooden bat. Look here’s a drink, on this side and another drink on that side. Let’s have a drink. Have you ever seen anyone drink from a bat? Perhaps Dracula did?”

(Drink the bat.) “Oooooh! It tastes like… like… wood! Look, it’s empty, both are empty. Two empties to take back to the shop for refunds – that’s no good. We need a refill. (Flick paddle). That’s better, another for the road. I’ll just go outside and pour it on the road. There’s nothing very clever about two full glasses. Let’s empty them (repeat procedure). This goes on until you feel it is best to stop drinking, otherwise you will be drunk. (For presentation purposes you can change the tone of your voice and pretend you are drunk.)” Here we have a cup – a cup – two glasses – one for you and one for me. Let’s drink them together. You have mine and I’ll have yours. Place the bat towards a spectator’s mouth. That was quick. Well you did say you only wanted a ‘quick drink.’ Look they are empty again. Two glasses, that’s no good, makes a spectacle of me! I’ve had enough… Let’s get rid of this drink.”

(Place paddle inside pocket – pick up duplicate showing empty pint on one side). Operate paddle move showing two empty pints. “This landlord was getting very irate.” He wanted everyone out. After all, he had something else to go to bed with. It wasn’t a nightcap…it was his wife! And do you know… He shouted, ‘LIGHTS OUT’ … Just like that!”