Karrell Fox – The Dwarf's Bowling Troph

Karrell Fox


When I was a youngster in magic (what a memory!), I was fortunate to have as one of my best friends, the legendary editor of the great “Sphinx” magazine, John Mulholland. The magazine was flourishing then, and John attended all of the conventions to report on them for his magazine.

At one of the conventions in the forties, I was booked (on Uncle John’s recommendation) to appear on one of the close-up sessions. The day before the close-up show, John and I were looking thru the dealers displays. I had mentioned that I had my close-up routine all set, but that I didn’t have a “feature” trick, and that I might find something new.

We became separated, and later on after I had returned to my room, I got a call from John. He asked me to meet him in the lobby, that he had found a brand new trick that I could feature in my routine. I rushed to the lobby only to discover that it was a gag, for the trick John had bought for me was an S.S. Adams Ball and Vase!

At three AM that morning (who sleeps at a magic convention) I worked out a routine, and the next day I really did feature the ball and vase in my routine. It went over great, and I had the laugh on John.

Years later when Jay Marshall was editor of the “Phoenix” magazine, he asked me to write up the ball and vase for publication. By the time I had written it up, the “Phoenix” was no longer. So when I was gathering notes for this book, out of the dusty files fell this routine for the ball and vase. I thought you might find it interesting to know how it got here.

The S.S. Adams vase is the best one to use, as it’s heavier than the others. The gimmick must fit loosely. It can be loosened with emery paper if it fits too tightly.

The ball and vase is set on the table assembled, but minus the gimmick. Gimmick is finger-palmed in right hand (see fig. 1) “I’ll give you one wild guess as to what this is, and you’re wrong, so I’ll tell you. It’s a ‘dwarf’s bowling trophy’ (remove top with L.H. and place on table). See, here’s the little ball he bowls with. It has no finger holes, and that’s what makes bowling such a difficult sport for dwarfs. As you know, dwarfs are just itty-bitty people. In fact, if you hold up your thumb, I’ll show you what the little dwarf who won this trophy looks like.”

Have them stick up their thumb, pick up the B&V top and place it on their thumb. With ball point pen, add the three dots and the mouth line to complete the dwarfs face (see fig. 2). From here on, fake the “patter” to fit the moves, and there’s a lot of them Good Luck!

Have them stick up their thumb, pick up the B&V top and place it on their thumb. With ball point pen, add the three dots and the mouth line to complete the dwarfs face (see fig. 2). From here on, fake the “patter” to fit the moves, and there’s a lot of them…. Good Luck!


R.H. picks up vase by stem and dumps ball in L.H. R.H. fingers apparently remove ball from L.H., and place it in vase. Actually as R.H. approaches L.H., L.H. is turned away from audience at same time finger-palming ball. R. H. apparently containing ball (but actually gimmick) places it in vase. R.H. removes top from spectator’s thumb and covers gimmick in vase. Snap fingers of R.H. and say “ball has jumped invisibly to L.H.”. Show it there as R.H. removes cap and gimmick showing vase empty. Replace cap and gimmick on vase. Apparently take ball with R.H. (actually finger-palming ball in L.H.) Place R.H. under table and tap table directly beneath vase. Remove R.H. from under table and show it empty. Remove cap with R.H. and replace on spectator’s thumb. This will expose ball (gimmick) in vase. Pick up vase by stem with R.H. and dump ball gimmick into loosely formed L fist. Retain gimmick allowing real ball to fall on table (see fig. 3). Pick up ball in R.H. Apparently pick up ball from R.H. with L.H. and place in vase. Actually gimmick goes in vase using moves as in beginning of trick, leaving real ball finger-palmed in R.H. Show L.H. empty and place on top of ball in vase (gimmick). Place R.H. under table. Press down L.H. and palm gimmick. Remove L.H. from vase, at same time bringing R.H. from under table exposing real ball. Roll ball from R.H. into vase. Gimmick is now held in L.H. as in fig. 4. Remove cap from spectator’s thumb and place it in L.H. on top of gimmick. Pick up vase with R.H. and turn vase upside down, and allow real ball visibly to fall into R.H. and return vase to table. L.H. places cap and gimmick on vase. Apparently place ball from R.H. into L.H., actually finger-palming ball in R.H. Blow on L.H. and open hand showing ball has vanished. Remove cap with L.H. exposing ball (gimmick) in vase. L.H. places cap in R.H. on top of ball. Ball is held in cap by 3rd ring finger (fig. 5). L.H. picks up vase by stem and dumps ball (gimmick) into breast pocket. R.H. replaces cap (with ball loaded) on top of vase.

All that remains to do is tap your pocket and then tap the top of the vase. Remove the cap (or top) displaying the ball. Since the “gimmick” was dumped in your pocket in the last move, you are clean at the finish, and the cap, ball, and base may be examined. At the finish, I point to their thumb (with face on it) and say, “I’m going to let you keep the dwarf. Be sure he gets one meal a day of virgin milk (how do you milk a virgin?) and at least three hours of sleep a night. And if you don’t wash his face off for at least twenty-four hours, you’ll have good luck the rest of your life”.

The routine reads long, but it actually only takes a few minutes to do. The moves are really very simple if you’ll try them with the prop at hand.