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bishthemagish
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On 2005-08-11 10:38, Euangelion wrote:
Glenn, the props serve the goals not the other way around.

Is your goal nice props? Or to entertain the audience? Nice props are nice props but without the magician and the routine they are just nice props. Nice props need a magician to make them work.

Props are just that - props. The magic is in the magician! And the magic EFFECT is performed by the magician and is an experience that is felt by the audience.
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Euangelion
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No, Glenn, the props are not the goal.

I said the props serve the goals, ones goals, not the props are your goals.

If you are a collector and your goal is to collect nice props fine, then the props and the goal may be synonynous.

If you goal is to present a stylized gambling piece as entertainment a la Whit then your goals are different and your props may be different.

If your goal is performing in a Renaissance setting then you goals may require a different set of props that are authentic to the period.

You must know and understand your goals in a performance before you can even purchase a prop. Knowing the goals helps to determine the prop.

Props are one aspect of means to a goal, as are sleights, patter, dress, etc.
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Dave V
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On 2005-08-11 13:00, willmorton wrote:
I'm a bit new to this - but is fast and loose the con game where a chain is looped on a table, and the mark puts his finger in one of several loops. When the chain is pulled, if the chain stays around his finger the mark wins.

If Fast and Loose isn't this game, what eactly is fast and loose? Also does anyone know the name of the game I am referring to? thanks!


That's the one! It's been played under various names. Endless Chain, On the Barrelhead, Pricking the Garter, are all variations of the same type of game.
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willmorton
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Thanks Dave Smile
Dave V
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On 2005-08-11 09:11, bishthemagish wrote:
..The Misers dream can be done with a sand bucket. The shell game with bottle caps.


Sorry, but if I were playing the Magic Castle (not likely in my lifetime, but I can dream) I can't imagine coming out with a sand bucket. Just like the saying "The clothes make the man," to me the same applies to my "tools." They are part of the entire "show" and unless I'm doing some sort of "character act" where it would be appropriate to use cheap plastic props, if I dress more upscale (see my avatar) I'm expected to maintain that "look" by using props that match.

So far, my inventory includes (not performed all at once) Dice stacking (leather dice cup), McAbee Rings (Riser rings, not the plated ones), Fast and Loose (Haydn's nickle chain, matches the rings), Shell game (La Maggiore), Cups and Balls (Super Animal cups, handmade leather balls).

My "costume" is just as important. Well polished shoes, dress slacks, neatly pressed shirt, silver vest and topped off with a high quality Bowler. I don't intend to hustle tips in this outfit, and my persona tells them I'm not hurting for money. I'm just out there because I enjoy being out there.

If I were to do this for a living, I'd go for something other than street money, aiming for paid corporate shows instead. (No disrespect to street performers, after all I'm learning more from them than anyone else)
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Whit Haydn
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The props are very important in establishing the performer, as is dress.

One of the greatest magicians that I ever knew was Al Goshman. He could fry an audience with his brilliant act. But he was a terribly sloppy dresser, with grease stained tie, dirty shirt, and rumpled suit. When in a tux, it was always several seasons old, with dirty shirt cuffs, etc. He had plenty of money, but was very frugal, and just indifferent to his appearance--like one of the chess masters that used to hang out at the chess shop and play you for 50 cents a game.

It didn't hurt people's appreciation of his magic, he was always a hit. But it did interfere with his career. He lost a lot of jobs simply because he was not willing to make the effort to dress nicely for corporate gigs.

Glenn has said many places on the board that it is not the props, but the performer. He is right of course--in some ways--but then again, you want to have an appearance that tells the audience you are worth the money they are paying you, and that you will make them look good for having hired you. If you come dressed shabbily, and then pull out cheap plastic shells that look like children's toys, or scraggly silk scarves and a beat up old deck of cards, people will not view you with the esteem and respect that you would want.

Even as a street performer, I always wanted to look sharp, and not like a beggar.

I think the love and care that you put into the acquisition and making of your props shows through to the audience. They can sense when you care deeply about your craft, and when you have put love and thought into every detail of your performance.

So, the quality of the props isn't everything, but that doesn't make it unimportant. Everything that contributes to the success and booking of your act is important--the shined shoes are as important in some ways as the perfectly practiced double-lift. So the entertainment value is primary, but then that itself is made up of a number of important little details.
bishthemagish
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On 2005-08-11 14:02, Dave VanVranken wrote:
Sorry, but if I were playing the Magic Castle (not likely in my lifetime, but I can dream) I can't imagine coming out with a sand bucket.

My father the late Billy Bishop USED a sand bucket with the misers dream all his life. Including performing on the stage of the Palace theater and Billy Roses Diamond horseshoe - to many appearances on television.

There is an old thought in magic that when a magician uses dressed up props that it makes the effects look more like a magic trick.

The canvas covered box my father used looked like an old beat up wood box. A lot different than the slick sub trunks of today. Yet he performed this effect on some of the finest stages that existed in his day.

Getting there was because of his ability to entertain an audience. Not in the choice of props. Entertainment is what is sold to the client and that is the market that makes money. Clients that book magicians because of the props they own often are disappointed.
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Dave V
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Glenn,
I didn't expect to change your mind, just offering another point of view.
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Whit Haydn
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On 2005-08-11 15:03, bishthemagish wrote:

Entertainment is what is sold to the client and that is the market that makes money. Clients that book magicians because of the props they own often are disappointed.



That may be true. But you don't often get to explain that to the buyer. When people have spent thirty thousand dollars on decorating a hotel banquet hall--worrying about whether the napkins are the same color mauve as the centerpieces, they are not going to be very impressed with a performer whom they are paying five grand to perform for them if he shows up with dirty shoes and props that look like they came from a garage sale.

Like I said, if you are a great performer, then that part of things is taken care of. Now you simply have to pay attention to the other details so that your act looks as good as it is.

Surely you are not recommending that people should not care how well their props are built and how nice they look?

I think that you are coming across as backing a losing cause. It is one thing to say that the quality of workmanship and the look of a performers props is not the "most important" thing. But how can you possibly be suggesting that performers "should not" care about the quality and attractiveness of their props when all else is the same?

A child's sand bucket may seem more innocent than a silver champagne bucket. On the other hand, lay people never suspect the bucket has anything to do with the Miser's Dream--the magic "happens" in the performer's hands. Only a magician would think that way.

A beat up old packing crate may look less like a magic prop than a shiny trunk, but a clean, well-cared for packing crate looks every bit as innocent.

Old beat up props may help create the impression that you want to create for your performing character--say you are presenting a comedy portrayal an old hack performer. But if they are not directly related to the image you want to project, you should consider a different look.

If you are saying that corporate big wigs, talent agents, and casino bookers who hire entertainment do not care what the act "looks like," you are very, very wrong. They care very much, and will dismiss out of hand any promo materials that don't reflect the "look" they want for their event, stage, revue, etc. No one is about to put a worn-out looking set of props or a magician in a decades-old tuxedo and dirty shoes on a stage they have spent millions of dollars outfitting, dressing, lighting and decorating to create an impression of opulence and beauty.

I spend a great deal of time and energy working on every detail of presentation and routining for my act. But I also concern myself with costuming, props, and set dressing. I have used the same linking rings for thirty years, and they have been just fine, thankyou, but when I came into possession of a better set of rings that shows up better from stage and enhance the effect, I put them right in. I always look for the best of everything for my shows--costume, props, lights, sound, music, etc.

Surely you are not recommending to all the young magicians that they should not care about these other details that make up a theatrical presentation and only concern themselves with the moves, patter and presentation. While these are the most important elements, the other things are important as well, both for the satisfaction of the audience and for the promotion and sale of the act.
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I believe that Whit is absolutely correct regarding personal appearance. That being said, Billy Bishop's use of the sand bucket and a canvas covered box must have worked quite well for the PERFORMANCE. Props can often look a little dingy or shabby when removed from stage lighting and seen closely in the cold light of day.

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Whit Haydn
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There are also differences in venue. An act that is perfect for an open air show at an amusement park or a Lion's Club banquet may not be right for a cruise ship or Vegas stage. It is good to consider how your act looks and what market you are seeking to sell. It is silly to suggest that the quality and look of your costume and props does not effect bookings.

Those who book a show have many other considerations to keep in mind alongside the relative entertainment value of the performers--something they often have a hard time evaluating from a video. They will very often book the better-looking over the more entertaining act. That is not something anyone can change, it is just the way it is.

Smart performers will keep that in mind when working on their acts.
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2005-08-11 15:18, Whit Haydn wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-08-11 15:03, bishthemagish wrote:

Entertainment is what is sold to the client and that is the market that makes money. Clients that book magicians because of the props they own often are disappointed.



That may be true. But you don't often get to explain that to the buyer. When people have spent thirty thousand dollars on decorating a hotel banquet hall--worrying about whether the napkins are the same color mauve as the centerpieces, they are not going to be very impressed with a performer whom they are paying five grand to perform for them if he shows up with dirty shoes and props that look like they came from a garage sale.

Like I said, if you are a great performer, then that part of things is taken care of. Now you simply have to pay attention to the other details so that your act looks as good as it is.

Surely you are not recommending that people should not care how well their props are built and how nice they look?

I think that you are coming across as backing a losing cause. It is one thing to say that the quality of workmanship and the look of a performers props is not the "most important" thing. But how can you possibly be suggesting that performers "should not" care about the quality and attractiveness of their props when all else is the same?

A child's sand bucket may seem more innocent than a silver champagne bucket. On the other hand, lay people never suspect the bucket has anything to do with the Miser's Dream--the magic "happens" in the performer's hands. Only a magician would think that way.

A beat up old packing crate may look less like a magic prop than a shiny trunk, but a clean, well-cared for packing crate looks every bit as innocent.

Old beat up props may help create the impression that you want to create for your performing character--say you are presenting a comedy portrayal an old hack performer. But if they are not directly related to the image you want to project, you should consider a different look.

If you are saying that corporate big wigs, talent agents, and casino bookers who hire entertainment do not care what the act "looks like," you are very, very wrong. They care very much, and will dismiss out of hand any promo materials that don't reflect the "look" they want for their event, stage, revue, etc. No one is about to put a worn-out looking set of props or a magician in a decades-old tuxedo and dirty shoes on a stage they have spent millions of dollars outfitting, dressing, lighting and decorating to create an impression of opulence and beauty.

I spend a great deal of time and energy working on every detail of presentation and routining for my act. But I also concern myself with costuming, props, and set dressing. I have used the same linking rings for thirty years, and they have been just fine, thankyou, but when I came into possession of a better set of rings that shows up better from stage and enhance the effect, I put them right in. I always look for the best of everything for my shows--costume, props, lights, sound, music, etc.

Surely you are not recommending to all the young magicians that they should not care about these other details that make up a theatrical presentation and only concern themselves with the moves, patter and presentation. While these are the most important elements, the other things are important as well, both for the satisfaction of the audience and for the promotion and sale of the act.


Whit:

You are spot on with this. Could you imagine Steve Cohen performing for millionaires using a sand bucket for the miser's dream? Or a chipped "Brown Betty" teakettle for "Think-a-Drink."

When I got my first John Cornelius Pen Thru Bill, I took the top off a Mont Blanc and made it fit the gimmicked section of the Cornelius pen. I was performing for people like Exxon, BP, KPMG and the like. They were expecting a Mont Blanc. There are things I do specifically because the audience I work for is the class of people that demand them.

Some people think that using a $20 gold piece for Scotch and Soda is a bit "over the top," but it fits the Mont Blanc and Rolex crowd perfectly. And that crowd can afford me.
"The Swatter"

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bishthemagish
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Just watched a tape of Charlie Miller. He did the misers dream with a PLASTIC sand bucket. And his magic wand was a card board tube from a hanger.

Back in the days of Malini and Leipzig they did magic with what looked like normal objects. In other words they did magic with things that did not look like they were constructed for trickery.

I have performed shows (continued booking for years for a client list I still continue to do shows for to this day) for people that were millionaires and done the misers dream with a sand bucket. And for many corporate clients like Philip Morris and others. Magicians and magicians that sell magic props to magicians have gone more than a little over board on the subject of the finest props.
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Jerrine
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Airborne Ranger, are you doing any corporate work? Working the Mont Blanc and Rolex crowd? Are you looking to get into the casino market? Where do you perform? What are your needs? I'm too curious.

I missed the part where Glenn advised wearing dirty shoes, dressing shabbily, and finding the cheapest, dingiest, props you could. I haven't read him telling new performers that looks don't matter. Airborne Ranger asked for options to the S4S chain, Glenn offered that he uses one he got at a dollar store. Whit states, "The S4S products are really designed to meet the needs of only two performers--me and Chef Anton." Glenn states, "Find what fits YOU and make it work."

Whit states, "I think that you are coming across as backing a losing cause. It is one thing to say that the quality of workmanship and the look of a performers props is not the "most important" thing. But how can you possibly be suggesting that performers "should not" care about the quality and attractiveness of their props when all else is the same?"

I've read and re-read Glenn's posts and can't find where he said or implied that, "performers "should not" care about the quality and attractiveness of their props when all else is the same?" I did get the idea that props aren't Magic, Magic is created in the mind by the Magician and his use of props. That is not, for me, a "losing cause."

The S4s chain is quality stuff, no bout-a-doubt it. Is it for everyone? Obviously not. It's wonderful that Glenn had the chance to offer an option to the S4S chain. Not so wonderful the reaction to, "I use a chain I got from the dollar store."

One last thought. Whit has a dog in the fight(sales), Glenn does not.
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On 2005-08-11 16:12, Bill Palmer wrote:
Whit:

You are spot on with this. Could you imagine Steve Cohen performing for millionaires using a sand bucket for the miser's dream?

Yes I can if it fit him and what he was trying to do with the routine!
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Euangelion
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Whit, thanks for fleshing out what I was saying with far more detail.

What are one's goals? simply to entertain. Fine but if one wants to be a career, support one's family, maintain adequate business and profits to fund a retirement plan then all the things you mention and more come into play.

Furthermore what worked a generation ago no longer works in many venues today. Life changes. Most often people never know the limits they place on themselves because of the subtle ways in which they present themselves.

Early in my ministry in rural PA I learned not to wear a suit when visiting my parishioners. Why? Because they were mostly farmers. When I walked into the barn they were more worried about me getting dirty than anything else. So they always would stop what they were doing. When I wore jeans and short-sleved clerics to see them they'd keep on working and I'd help them as we talked. I've discussed Luther and the meaning of law and gospel while attaching milkers and cleaning stalls. I'm just thankful that someone was willing to explain to me the impact it had on a part of my effectiveness that I never suspected.
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Dave V
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There will always be exceptions to the rules. In today's age of video clips and sound bites, many of them have their minds made up about us in the first few seconds. I'd rather not have to expend the extra effort to change their minds and convince them I'm worth watching.

Can we move on now before a perfectly good topic gets locked?
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2005-08-11 17:39, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-08-11 16:12, Bill Palmer wrote:
Whit:

You are spot on with this. Could you imagine Steve Cohen performing for millionaires using a sand bucket for the miser's dream?

Yes I can if it fit him and what he was trying to do with the routine!


Glenn, obviously you don't know Steve or the audiences he works for.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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bishthemagish
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On 2005-08-11 18:48, Dave VanVranken wrote:
Okay, we get it. There will always be exceptions to the rules.

I would say only one real show biz rule. Find what works for YOU and DO what works for YOU.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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bishthemagish
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On 2005-08-11 19:04, Bill Palmer wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-08-11 17:39, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-08-11 16:12, Bill Palmer wrote:
Whit:

You are spot on with this. Could you imagine Steve Cohen performing for millionaires using a sand bucket for the miser's dream?

Yes I can if it fit him and what he was trying to do with the routine!


Glenn, obviously you don't know Steve or the audiences he works for.



I don't know Steve - But I have performed magic for the same kind of an audience many many times over many many years!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
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