magic trick

Hat-trick (magic trick)

This is a classic magic trick where a performer will produce an object (traditionally a rabbit or a bouquet of flowers) out of an apparently-empty stovepipe hat.

In its simplest form, this trick works by placing the hat on a specially made table or chest. Both the hat and the surface it is placed on will have a hidden opening in them, through which an object stored in a compartment in the table or chest can be pulled.

Alternatively, the performer can produce an item hidden in their sleeve using slight of hand and misdirection. This eliminates the need to place the hat on a surface, and also allows the performer to give the hat to an audience member for inspection.

This trick is also traditionally performed for children, since it is a basic trick with basic props.

Pop culture

This magic trick is so well-known that it has been referenced in a wide variety of media. The stovepipe hat used for the trick has become almost synonymous with stage magicians, and is commonly used as an icon to represent magic (such as the example on the right). Likewise, rabbits are so commonly associated with the trick that rabbits are often used to represent magic in general.

  • The Trix rabbit is sometimes shown wearing a stovepipe hat, an obvious reference.
  • The rock band Sparks released an album titled Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat in 1984.
  • The movie The Prestige (2006) about professional magicians featured stovepipe hats prominently in one section, though the classic hat-trick itself was not actually shown in the film.
  • The animated short film, Presto by Pixar, has a disgruntled rabbit and his neglectful magician guardian engaged in an onstage brawl using two magic hats that have connecting portals or wormholes - anything extending into one hat comes out the other, no matter where the hats are located.

References

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