We Remember The Magic Cafť We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Right or Wrong? Ľ Ľ Steve Spill, not Mel Mellers (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5 [Next]
DStachowiak
View Profile
Inner circle
Baltimore, MD
2158 Posts

Profile of DStachowiak
Quote:
On 2008-04-17 23:05, Larry Davidson wrote:
I know the facts on this, because I was there when Steve Spill developed this routine. In the 1980's, I worked at the Brook Farm Inn of Magic with Steve (and Bob Sheets and others) and I personally witnessed Steve develop and fine tune this routine into the brilliant performance piece that it is today.

If anyone did to me what's been done to Steve, that "magician's" *** would be quacking, because that's where I'd shove his duck.

The Brook Farm Inn was where I first saw this piece, and I am pleased to know that "The Goose" is alive and well. I wish Steve and Bob the best with this.
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2394 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Quote:
On 2008-04-17 21:46, Bob Kohler wrote:
Thanks for the interest in keeping legal properties in magic.
The matter has been settled. The DVD is to the best of my knowledge
no longer available.

Mr. Kohler,

I purchased this thing day before yesterday. It was from a brick and mortar magic shop and may have been on the shelf for a while...I dunno.

I am glad that you have been in contact with them and the matter has been settled.

I'd like to say that this was the right thing for them to do, but in all honesty, the right thing to do would have been for them to never release this on video.

There have been some spectacular arguments in magic over some props and even some routines. The first that pops to my mind is the great debacle over the color changing silks that lasted for decades. Even that seemed more like misunderstanding to an outside observer than a blatant rip off on anyone's part as the final effect was changed as well as the script.

I do not know as I have ever seen anything as blatant, or as heinous, as this particular bit of theft. As I said in my first post, it is not unheard of for an amateur or a function hall hack from a small town to 'repeat' a routine word for word. But for a pro, a guy who is releasing an instructional DVD to other magicians, to knock off a famous feature routine, from a very well known magician, I am at a complete and utter loss. I have no idea how the bloke could possibly think he would get away with it.

I know in my mind any credibility I had for the man is completely shattered. Everything on all of his DVDs have now become suspect to me.

Sad, sad, stuff. After all Mr. Spill has freely given the magic world, he deserves a lot better.

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! Iím so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Woodfield
View Profile
Special user
706 Posts

Profile of Woodfield
Quote:
On 2008-04-17 20:03, Christopher Kavanagh wrote:
Danny, thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention.

Steve Spill's Mind Reading Goose is a classic and it is all Steve Spill. He has never given permission for anyone to release a version or to perform his version (he and Bob Kohler are going to release the only authorized version).

Well, not quite right, but I'll get back to that in a moment.

The 80's
I'm a local Washington, D.C. magician sitting at a table laughing my *** off watching Steve Spill and Bob Sheets at the Brookfarm Inn Of Magic in Chevy Chase, MD
It was a real education in how to blend strong magic & comedy. Bob's Cups & Balls and Card Stab. Steve's Goose and the Needles. Not to forget the two man pieces, Paper Balls Over The Head, Sub Trunk, and the Floating Lady.
Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be working closely with both of these gentlemen. I was lucky enough to get hired around the same time as Bob Kohler to do close-up magic there and when they moved to Wheaton, MD.

The late 90's
The Inn is now just a memory and I'm working as a full-time pro, I learn a lot from Mr. Sheets who stayed in the area. Steve is set to open Magicopolis in Santa Monica and Bob says this would be a great opportunity for me, so I contact Steve. After numerous flights out to the West Coast to work at the theater, I decide to make the move out there and I'm now part of the team. It was a crazy time, I along with others are doing everything from cleaning the bathrooms, to giving tours, taking reservations, as well as performing. I'm doing shows in the close-up room, as well as kidshows there on the weekends, as well as performing in the stage show. And when I wasn't doing those things, I was standing out front on the sidewalk holding a goose and creating a buzz from local passerbys and motorists.

There, I told you I'd get to the goose.

Steve gave me permission to do the Goose Routine in the show. It was a great routine and played very well for me. Scott Alexander, who was on the show at that time, made me a tiny fez for the goose(in place of sunglasses Steve used), since my character wore a fez and monocle. I felt honored to be doing the routine, and never took it for granted.

Today
I have moved back to the D.C. area and have since retired the Woodfield character but still work as a full-time pro.

Taking another performer's routine is a lose-lose situation, for you and the creator. Like Danny, I enjoyed Mel's first 2 DVDs, he has a great character, so it's a bit of a shock to see this. The magic community is small and now with the internet, it's even smaller. Word is going to get out. The producer of this DVD has some explaining to do as well. Please support Bob Kohler and Steve by purchasing the authorized version. Then make it your own, you'll have a killer routine.

Barry Wood
Mr. Ree
View Profile
Elite user
Sedona AZ
414 Posts

Profile of Mr. Ree
I have the ď10 Years of Steven SpillĒ DVD here.

I have shown my 19 and 23 year old sons quite a few
performances from various DVDs.
But none have made them laugh so hard as the routines of Steven Spill.

Between the Mindreading Goose, Burnt Bunny and the Blood from Stone routines
we all could not stop laughing.

It is obvious that these routines and others on the disk were developed over a period
of time with a great deal of hard work.
This material is at least 18 Ė 28 years old.)

Very simple solution for me although I already own the first two Mel Meller DVDs
I have no interest in the third.
(If it really has been pulled from shelves, good.)

I personally will not support any person or product that rips-off anotherís hard
work. I have placed Mel Meller on the same "no buy" list as MagicMakers.

Dave (Mr. Ree)
An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.
---- William Bernbach (1911 - 1982) ----

(After 25 years of PCs, everything switched to Macs, June 2008)
russ stevens
View Profile
Special user
Russ Stevens
571 Posts

Profile of russ stevens
Hello Everyone,

As the producer of the new Mel Mellers DVD ďUndiscovered WonderĒ Iíve read some of your posts with interest regarding Melís version of The Mindreading Duck routine and thought that it was time to set the record straight from my end.

Some of you are quite happy to point out not having heard of Mel Mellers, Iíll be honest and say that I personally felt the same way when the name of Steve Spill was mentioned to me in an email about five weeks ago. The only knowledge that I had of the routine was from seeing a famous performer called Joe Pasquale (here in the UK) doing something similar on The Royal Variety Show on TV a few years ago. I was told about Steveís routine and did a search on Magic Cafť and found a thread discussing Bob Kohlers possible release. I immediately contacted Bob about the situation and asked him what he suggested we do to resolve any problems that he and Steve might have. In the meantime I also emailed Mel who was away performing, to ask for his side of the story. Before I even contacted Bob Kohler, I also contacted Murphys and asked them to suspend all sales. I donít think there was much else that I could do other than that at the time.

After a day or so I received this email from Mel:
Russ has pointed out to me that the concept of using a puppet and thumbwriter is used by another entertainer in the states. I have no knowledge of this as I do not buy many DVDs or watch other performers. I have been using a puppet/thumbriter combination since the early 80's. As the tape clearly states in the explanation you can use any puppet (I have). I am currently in my Duck phase. Any similarity with another performers working repertoire is to be regretted but I cannot believe it would be similar as my performances are very character driven. Best to everyone. Mel

Now let me explain. Iíve known Mel Mellers for quite some time and personally think that that heís a superb entertainer and up there with the best. For people to call him an idiot, is not only rather childish, but also shows that they too are unaware of his work. Some people really should know better. Out of respect to Steve Spill and Bob Kohler, for me personally it wasnít a big deal to simply remove the routine from the DVD and have it re-issued (obviously I couldnít do anything about the copies that were already out there).

Best,
Russ Stevens
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2394 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Mr. Stevens,

Thank you for your response.

Please take a look at this video of Mr. Spill performing the routine:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=junV6itsSf4

It would be one thing for Mr. Meller's to come up with a similar bent, but this routine and the routine on Mr. Meller's DVD are almost identical, right down to the opening gag.

I think Mr. Meller's is a brilliant entertainer, I think he is a very, very, smart man, I also know that he is a thief.

You did the right thing by taking the routine off of the DVDs I applaud you for that. But as far as not knowing who Mr. Spill was....look...most people in the US have no idea who Tommy Cooper is, but If I see an American wearing a fez and proclaiming "just like that!" over a bunch of bottles I'd know where he nicked the routine.

So while we are in agreement about Mr. Meller's intelligence, please don't insult ours. I wish you and Mr. Meller's continued success, I only hope it is with his original material from here on out.

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! Iím so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
russ stevens
View Profile
Special user
Russ Stevens
571 Posts

Profile of russ stevens
Dear Mr. Hustle,

Iím slightly confused as to why you think Iím insulting your intelligence by not knowing who Steve Spill is. Please accept that I didnít, because thatís the truth.

Best,
Russ
Tony Iacoviello
View Profile
Eternal Order
13132 Posts

Profile of Tony Iacoviello
Russ:

Perhaps this will clear up your confusion:

Your posting Mell's comment:
Quote:
As the tape clearly states in the explanation you can use any puppet (I have). I am currently in my Duck phase. Any similarity with another performers working repertoire is to be regretted but I cannot believe it would be similar as my performances are very character driven. Best to everyone. Mel


and Danny's reply:
Quote:
It would be one thing for Mr. Meller's to come up with a similar bent, but this routine and the routine on Mr. Meller's DVD are almost identical, right down to the opening gag.


clearly illustrate his point.


Tony Iacoviello
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19041 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
Well clearly to me the goose can read minds. It was so obvious!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2394 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Quote:
On 2008-04-19 13:29, russ stevens wrote:
Dear Mr. Hustle,

Iím slightly confused as to why you think Iím insulting your intelligence by not knowing who Steve Spill is. Please accept that I didnít, because thatís the truth.

Best,
Russ (rsvpmagic.com)


Hi Mr. Steven's I am sorry for the confusion. It was Mr. Mellers' reply I was talking about


Quote:
"After a day or so I received this email from Mel:
Any similarity with another performers working repertoire is to be regretted but I cannot believe it would be similar as my performances are very character driven. Best to everyone. Mel"

Mr. Stevens please watch the video. I linked to The routine (not the duck nail writer props alone) are nearly identical including the opening joke.

I tried to put it into perspective by using Tommy Cooper as an example. Let me try again, Here in the U.S. there are maybe 100 people on the continent that know who Tommy Cooper is. 100% of those 100 people are magicians.

But, if I were to go to Covent Garden and swing a dead cat everyone I hit would know who Tommy Cooper was and poor Tommy has been dead for nearly 20 years.

Now if an American put out a video where he was wearing a fez, holding a glass jar and a spoon, and loudly proclaimed, "spoon jar! jar! jar! spoon!" and proceeded to make the spoon dance merrily in the jar. You would be sitting there saying, oh that's interesting, it must be some type of homage to Tommy. then the explanation came up and the guy claimed total originality, you would know with a moral certainty that this guy was full of tripe. He either stole that routine from Tommy directly, or he stole it from someone who stole it from Tommy.

Here in America Mr. Spill isn't quite as well known as Tommy was in the U.K. BUT in the world of magic we have been watching Steve do the Goose for close to 30 years. On TV, in comedy clubs, at the magic castle, and a thousand other places. You also may not know that Mr. Spill's dad is Sand Spillman, on of the greatest mentalists to ever read a mind, and host at the magic castle for many years. As a boy Steve learned the craft taking private lessons from Dai Vernon when Steve was still under the impression that girls were "yicky".

In the world of magic here in the states the workers all know Mr. Spill, and we all saw that dang Goose 30 years ago when he was breaking it in. It isn't like a couple of guys saw him do it in a comedy club. If VERNON were still alive HE'D tell you it was Spills.

So, for Mr. Mellers (who I still admire greatly as an entertainer) to try and tell us :
Quote:
" Any similarity with another performers working repertoire is to be regretted but I cannot believe it would be similar as my performances are very character driven. Best to everyone. Mel"


With all the evidence pointing to the contrary, Mr. Mellers' either believes we are stupid, or Mr. Mellers' himself has no idea what he is talking about.

Because for these to routines to be a coincidence it would be the greatest coincidence to ever occur on the planet earth. I mean that in all sincerity.

What is much more likely to have happened is Mr. Mellers saw someone perform this routine and that person ripped off Mr. Spill and Mr. Mellers' may have asked that person for permission and that bloke said, "sure" because it wasn't his bloody routine to begin with.

Believe me when I tell you Mr. Stevens I am a BIG fan of Mr. Mellers, I wish what I have said above were not so, but it is, sincerely. For Mr. Mellers to make the claim he did in that email only made his situation and credibility in this particular case worse. I wish you both nothing but the best, and I am not by nature an angry or vindictive person. It actually pains me to point this out, and perhaps I should have done it in an email, but seriously, to anyone who has seen Mr. Spill do the routine there is no other explanation. I say this only as a fellow magician and entertainer. I do not know Mr. Spill personally or Mr. Mellers. I have no personal ax to grind and the entire debacle is quite sad indeed. I just wish Mr. Mellers would either fess up or we should all just let it die. You took the clip off the DVD, brilliant, good form, it's as it should be. But please, refrain from patronizing us with the possibility of independent discovery. This is an entire routine, not a card move or a clever box.

All the best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! Iím so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Review King
View Profile
Eternal Order
14448 Posts

Profile of Review King
Quote:
On 2008-04-19 13:50, Dannydoyle wrote:
Well clearly to me the goose can read minds. It was so obvious!


Nice Danny. As if it weren't bad enough that Steve Spill's routine was stolen, you have now tipped the method.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
Payne
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle
4572 Posts

Profile of Payne
To play Devil's advocate here for a moment. I don't know either Mr. Spill nor Mr. Meller nor have seen eithers routines or DVD's.
I did a "mind reading duck" bit a few years ago and too came up with the same opening gag. It's a rather obvious one so perhaps it could be a case of either simultaneous development or perhaps Mr. Meller forgot he had seen or heard about the routine in the past. It happens and while not excusable I think it highly unfair to bandy the Thief label about so casually. Especially since this routine appears to be the only one Mr. Meller seems to have duplicated intentionally or not.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2394 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
::Rolls eyes::

Payne, you know I think the world of you, but until you have seen the videos, don't comment. It's silly.

The routine either directly or indirectly was stolen from Steve Spill. They are nearly identical. Watch the videos, then play the Devil's advocate. Believe me, no one wanted to give Mr. Meller's the benefit of the doubt more than me. If it were one gag, one bit, or one prop, that may have been the case. It's props, timing, gags, and routine.

I do not throw the word "thief" around lightly. As a matter of fact this may be the only time I have on this forum.

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! Iím so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Dannydoyle
View Profile
Eternal Order
19041 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
I "independenly invented" the sub trunk last week.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
russ stevens
View Profile
Special user
Russ Stevens
571 Posts

Profile of russ stevens
Dear Danny Hustle,

Just to clear things up here on my part and to make things clearer than I already haveÖ

The quote from Mel is just that. His words and not mine.

As producer of the project I think that Iíve pretty much done all that I could to rectify the situation. I have nothing further to add other than what I have already said here in my original post.

Best,
Russ
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
26759 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Quote:
On 2008-04-20 13:13, Dannydoyle wrote:
I "independenly invented" the sub trunk last week.

Someone "independently invented" doing the sub trunk with cards and the case, and got that published in Genii magazine a few months ago. Amazing world isn't it?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2394 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Quote:
On 2008-04-20 14:55, russ stevens wrote:


As producer of the project I think that Iíve pretty much done all that I could to rectify the situation. I have nothing further to add other than what I have already said here in my original post.

Best,
Russ (rsvpmagic.com)


You absolutely have, you heard there was a problem, and you removed the clip. Other people have contacted me in private messages to let me know that their version of the DVD does not contain the routine. What's done is done, and I was commenting on Mr. Mellers comments and not yours. My mistake, apologies to you Mr. Stevens.

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! Iím so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
robjames
View Profile
New user
26 Posts

Profile of robjames
I have known Russ Stevens for a couple of years and believe him to be someone of complete integrity - he has done the right thing here (I am guessing at personal expense)

Regards Jonathan Townsend's flippant comments about my trick in Genii - why let the facts get in the way of stirring up trouble, eh Jonathan? When I submitted the trick I claimed an original method, which my routine definitely has, and is therefore worthy of being printed. David Acer suggested briefly in the write up that I "may" be the first person to come up with the idea - which of course I wasn't.
Clear?!
Christopher Williams
View Profile
Inner circle
Portsmouth, UK
4401 Posts

Profile of Christopher Williams
And to add that Rob James routine is a brilliant handling, and just brought a smile to my face the first time I saw it!
www.magicman13.co.uk

Copies of the limited edition 'MindPlay' still available
Review King
View Profile
Eternal Order
14448 Posts

Profile of Review King
Quote:
On 2008-04-21 12:18, Christopher Williams wrote:
And to add that Rob James routine is a brilliant handling, and just brought a smile to my face the first time I saw it!

Does it use a goose?
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Right or Wrong? Ľ Ľ Steve Spill, not Mel Mellers (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2018 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.27 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL