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Little magical dancing toys... how do they work??

I was in Italy, and I saw a few street vendors selling these little paper figures in the form of Disney cartoon characters that would dance when music was played. They had little strings for legs, and they seemed to hover magically in the air and bounce around in time to the music. When the vendor turned down the volume, the little thing stopped dancing. I looked at the back of it, and all I saw was a little strip that looked magnetic. I am mystified. Does anyone what these things are called or how they work?

rickharris6 years ago
Make a small card model where the arms and legs are attached with a loose connection - this is where string works well.


Place model on the table and fix one end of invisible thread to one end of the stand at about model height -

Run the other end of the line over a drawing pin - Put the line under the arms and behind the back of the model - when the line is held tight the model should stand up with the feet just touching the table.


Jerking the line a little cause the model to dance - the wiggly arms and legs enhance the effect.

Hi Rick

You 90% correct on how this works. BUT as a pro magician I'm not going to give the complete answer here.
1) Invisible thread is correct. You could use the finest monofilament as used by fishermen. But mark the line with dark blue marker pen every few cms or so. This breaks up the light reflections, which makes it truly invisible from just a couple of feet away.

2) Anchor one end of the thread. Now as for the other end of the thread...There are two ways to jerk the line. One way is for a hidden accomplice - the other, and proper, way is to use the loudspeaker in the nearby radio. That's all I'm saying.

Have fun!

John

Burf6 years ago
I saw this on TV a few years ago, its a scam. The paper puppet has a thin piece of mono-filament fishing line or a very fine copper wire that is manipulated in rhythm to the music either by the seller, a hidden motor or an accomplice.