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Mystifying 500 Million Viewers

As part of a "Variety Store" challenge for Long Island's Sleight Club, I set out to buy an ordinary item that I could convert into a magic effect. Spying an inexpensive travel mug, I realized that a bit of reengineering would transform the cup into a "lota bowl" device. A performer could produce a seemingly limitless flow of water, repeatedly emptying the mug which would mysteriously refill.

It worked. At the club meeting, I amazed everyone with this discovery. After the meeting, my friend Ron Diamond of, agreed to distribute the trick, redesigned and dubbed "The Alotta Mug." The effect sold well, receiving terrific reviews. One day, magicians Lee Asher and Nathan Kranzo contacted Ronjo's, ordering a dozen of the mugs to be shipped out. It seemed the pair had been engaged to travel to China, where they would coach a group of aspiring magicians who were planning to appear on Amazing Magicians, a Chinese television program that attracts more than 500 million viewers (besting "China's Got Talent"). Lee and Nate figured they could use the "Alotta Mug," an inexpensive, lightweight prop, to teach some performance skills.

One of the contestants, Gwo How Way, a/k/a "Harry," took a liking to the Alotta Mug and decided to use it for one of his on-camera sets. I've seen the difficult-to-obtain video, in which Gwo mesmerizes the judges with the prop, effectively using the seemingly endless, long streams of water to befuddle them. Gwo, whom Asher describes as an "excellent magician," made it through six episodes before being eliminated. According to Asher, "the cast, crew & judges loved Gwo so much, they cried when he was beaten."

So an idea I devised in an effort to amuse a dozen magicians on Long Island traveled halfway around the globe to help another magi amaze a half billion people! How remarkable!

(You can see the Alotta Mug in action on the Videos page.)

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