Explain Dinardi's flower magic trick

I was recently browsing through old magic shows on YouTube and came across this mesmerizing performance on The Paul Daniels Magic Show in 1981. Over the course of six minutes, a magician named Dinardi produces a seemingly endless supply of large floral bouquets from a box sitting on a small table. Dinardi hands off the flowers to his two assistants or tosses them onto the stage. By my count, he produces at least 85 bouquets, many of which are already in large flower pots as he extracts them from the box. Twice during the performance he lifts the box off the table and tilts it towards the audience to show that it is apparently empty.

Can anyone explain how the trick is done, or how it might have been done? Here are some theories of mine about the method(s) he may be employing:

[ul]
[li]The bouquets are very lush but look to be artificial. Possibly they’re manufactured in such a way that they can be collapsed or compressed for ease of concealment, and then rapidly expanded again when they’re produced. Some or all of the flowers may be in the box, in compressed form, from the beginning of the performance. But if this is the case, it still raises a number of questions: How, mechanically speaking, do the trick bouquets work? For example, are the stems made of springs that uncoil? How is the magician able to control the rate at which the bouquets appear rather than having them all expand at once? And how is he able to show the audience several times that the box is empty, only to continue producing further bouquets from it?[/li][li]Likewise, the pots are very large. Are they also in the box at the beginning of the trick? In compressed form, or as-is? Maybe they’re ordinary pots but used to pack the trick flowers; once the magician empties a pot full of flowers, he places the last bouquet in the pot and then removes it from the box.[/li][li]Is it possible the magician is concealing some or all of the (compressed) flowers on his person, or is getting surreptitiously passed additional compressed bouquets from his two assistants? I didn’t notice any handoffs but I suppose I could have missed them.[/li][li]Is it possible that someone or something else is replenishing the flowers in the box? I think this is unlikely, since the table is pretty thin; the assistants walk behind it a couple times and of course the magician lifts the box off the table twice. So if there’s a hidden person or resupply mechanism, it’s not obvious to me where it is.[/li][/ul]

Web searches don’t reveal a whole lot of information about the magician. According to the brief Dinardi entry in the German-language Zauber-Pedia, he was a German magician and manufactured all the flowers himself.

Flowers are made from feathers and the pots would nest in the box. This would have been a hugely expensive trick to set up.

Some more info and links here: http://www.talkmagic.co.uk/sutra436109.php

Yup. Fake flowers. They compress down very tightly, and that’s a very big box. It may look impressive, but it’s an act anyone could perform, you just need a box full of those props.

Back when I was playing around with magic I had a flower trick which would produce a nice bouquet. This looks like that on steroids.

It looks like as he’s taking one bouquet out he’s releasing the next one; you can see then expand in the box.

Also, he is placing them in the pot, that can be seen clearly.

A very nicely done routine.

They are called, “Spring Flowers” or “Feather Flowers” in the magic world and they are still very common among magicians. Usually they are produced from the sleeve or from inside the jacket. They compress very tight and expand very quickly. I have 3 of them myself. Its a great trick.

I think this is rather trivializing things. Simply having the prop flowers is not enough to reproduce the trick; it must take a lot of skill and practice to uncompress them in a controlled manner. Also, how do you account for the fact that the box appeared empty several times in the performance? No matter how compressible those flowers are, I can guarantee you that they aren’t so small as to be microscopic.

How big are they in compressed form – I’ve never seen them, so in your experience is it reasonable that 85 or so of them would be in this box? Also, how do you trigger the expansion?

I didn’t pick up the video earlier to see the empty box but I’m guessing you know how that would be done also. Sure, it takes some amount of skill not to screw it up, but this is a prop based act, not one requiring great skill in manipulation. This is rather common for stage magic.

Not really; I’m no magician myself. Pretty much everything I know about magic I get from reading the Penn and Teller: Fool Us threads here on the SDMB. :slight_smile:

I see towards the end he shows the empty box. I don’t see any reloads although it’s not that hard to do, but notice that he never shows you the back of the box. Those flowers compress down to about 1/2" solid rod, you can hide a lot of those inside the lining in the box, or a false bottom, and because he doesn’t show the back of the box there may be a lot hidden behind the back panel. You can see at the beginning that the top doesn’t fold all the way over behind the box. Notice that he tosses bouquets in the air and they land bottom down and stay upright. That’s because the flowers weight next to nothing and a small weight at the bottom will hold them upright when they land.

It’s a good performance, a classic act, and again, typical of stage magic where there is little for the performer to do at the time of the act. But it requires practice and rehearsals to get it all right.

As you pointed out he makes those bouquets himself, and I’d guess he makes and sells them to other magicians also. In addition to feather bouquets magicians can also make silk petal flowers where a small piece of spring metal opens up the petals. A little blob the size of a golf ball can open up to what looks like a large flower top. Then they can throw in a bunch of individual silk petals that they toss in the air to look like a huge mass. Dinardi’s act is impressive because he has so many of those whole bouquets.

I think it is reasonable to think that all or most of them came from the box. They expand when there is no longer sufficient pressure to hold them compressed, which is why you see other flowers popping up from inside the box before he takes them out.

The box probably has a number of separate compartments, separated by false bottoms or the like. Whenever he shows the box as “empty”, he’s moving a false bottom out of the way to open up a new compartment.

The flower pots before the first “empty” are real flowerpots nested together, but the ones after that can’t be, because they wouldn’t fit in the compartments. I think they’re just bottomless tubes that can be flattened out.