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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Is the guillotine off limits today? (25 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Sam Sandler
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I sure hope he does not pull that from the show. best puppet ever!
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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MagicRhett
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What about a guillotine that the magician lays down on a table and the blade drops thru his mid section. I started doing this as an escape illusion that went wrong. I'm chained to a table and have 60 sec to get out befor blade drops. Audiences seem to love this.
Sam Sandler
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I am all for magicians escapes that have danger in them.

the issue I am pointing out is that the head chopper is just that a head chopper and you use a volunteer.

with all the beheadings happening lately it got me thinking.

as I said I have not performed mine in over 2 years as I was away on tour. but really wanting to get it back out. its a nice filler routine in a 80 minute show
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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JBiesecker
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It probably depends some on the style and theme. I actually use a see through guilotine in Public Churches, as a Gospel illusion explaining judgment day. I've never really thought of it as being a problem as long as people are ok with it. I always ask them ahead of time if they're ok with it. About 70 percent or so of the time they're fine with it. When they're not ok with it, they usually say that it's simply because they're worried that it could scare little kids. I always emphasis that it's a trick and that it's safe.

I'm not sure, but so far I don't think I've had anyone say that they don't want it because of terrorism. Although my mom is concerned about an idea I had of making a moving postcard that would show the blade going down. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to do this or not.
Kent Wong
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Before making a decision as to whether or not to pull a routine out of your show, you need to first ask yourself why it's in there in the first place. If you have a really good reason for any routine to be in your show, then it belongs there. This is especially true if you are expressing something important about yourself. If, however, the routine is nothing more than filler, and if it stays in your show simply because it gets a decent reaction, it may not take much to pull the plug.

Kent
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Bob Sanders
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Facts are I haven't used mine in years but I have kept it. My show frankly has not got a good fit for it. Too many volunteers can really throw off the timing of the show. I also don't like to put volunteers into awkward positions. There are physical limitations in using this prop.

However, I have recently bought a nice stage size sword through neck with plans to add a turban to the head of the "victim" (who might be me!) before the sword is pushed through the neck.

After just 54 years as a magician, my observation is basic. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Some would pay extra and want pictures while others would be offended. What is the entertainment value for that audience?
Bob Sanders

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Zlwin Chew
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I own a George Richbark Simplex Chopper and was thinking of adding it into my show. But having read and (ugh.....) stumbled upon videos of the barbaric acts, I cannot keep the images out of my mind. And each time I look at a chopper, I could only envision the images and feel like puking. If I could feel thrown away by this, I bet many other people would scream in disgust if they see this in my show.

So for me, it's a no no.

Sigh. I feel so disgusted and so sad over all these happenings.

Speaking of which, if anyone wants to buy my chopper, feel free to contact me. I ship it from Malaysia.
johnmagic
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I sold my wellington see-through didn't seem right to do. that's just me.
magicnator
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This has been one heck of a great thread with a lot of really valid points! I've enjoyed hearing everyone's opinion about the Head Chopper. For me, this illusion is a staple in my show. Not because I love performing it (I don't) but because of the crowd's reaction. As mentioned earlier you have to listen to your audience. I have families who'll come see me year after year and they always ask if I'm gonna do that "Head Chopper of Doom" trick.

My job (whether I succeed or not) is to entertain the audience to the point to where they've temporarily forgotten the news of the day, their problems etc...and (knock on wood) so far no one has ever had a complaint about my Head Chopper, which like most of you, is done as a comedy routine. But understanding that we all perform in different situations for different types of audiences in different parts of the world, it really does come down to your show, your audience, and listenting to that audience with regard to deciding if you should perform this illusion, and how. For me, it's a winner winner chicken dinner. Smile
jay leslie
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A few opinions here seem to be driven by the performers philosophy and a few are driven using this prop to make money (and make the audience happy).

It's akin to a few people who tout being vegitaran because the food is better for you as opposed to others saying non-veg people are cruel to animals.
Somewhat like a half-empty - half-full dynamic happening.

I can engage in a discussion where people are logical and pragmatic but it's difficult when people are making business decisions based on emotions.

With all that said, let me be specific on my employment of the chopper(s)
I have what (I think I added them up for William) I have over 35 + choppers for different occasions - but that are not automatically used in every show.
I have.
4 wrist choppers "L" all different
5 finger choppers all different
1 double arm. chopper
1 6 foot guillotine
5 head choppers all different from oak to red paint
4 half made or half repaired from different brands of HC
2 giant discectos from supreme plans
4 regular size discectos different
4 swords through neck all different (one is just odd)
1 electric sawing through head
1 box of Baghdad
2 visible sawing a
2 knives through arm (love that metiphisto)
1 Stigmatta where I "involve the volunteer"

(Don't get me started on card in glass or bendable mirrors or ABC blocks)

But my point is that I judiciously select the right size chopper for the right demographic. I want to reiterate that I do not perform a chopper in every show ( probably 30 percent only)
The knife through arm is good for a Halloween type show for adults at midnight
The hand choppers are best for family shows where the youngest is at least 8
Larger head choppers are obviously used for fundraisers, malls and picnics (given that I also lead-in with something like light bulbs through girl earlier in the program.
Sword through neck is best for teenagers or corporate shows where the volunteer has a small neck.
6 foot guillotine is good for the principal for an awards program on the uper graders but the Box Of Baghdad for lower graders because it's perfect to use as an illustrative point and link it to the theme of the event. A good finger chopper works in strolling events whet kids over 5 love it and the benifit is that every time the kids rush you, you bring the finger chopper out. Eventually they becomed board and that's when you can settle in and work the adults.

And so forth. But just because I have all these to choose from does not mean I use them. It also depends on the dynamics of the audience and that's why I ask 40 questions on the initial call.

I also have
1 broom suspension
1 Asrah with 2 ways to make Gertie work
1 chair suspension that holds adults
1 chair suspension just for kids 4 to 8
1 sword suspension
2 Aggas

And here too, I do not automatically use them in evey show.
Outside...at a fair? The Asrah is out
Living room for a BP? broom suspension out.
And do forth.

So weather I perform a chopper, a suspension or a sucker trick depends on the technicle conditions, size of the venue, budget and demographics. My bottom line is weather I think the audience will like it. Look a P&T. Has anyone seen some of the stuff they've had on recient shows? The sawing in half, with the sucker ending, was full of guts. Someone out there will be put off because they had a relitive who just underwent a surgury that didn't work out right -and- there will always be people to complain about various magic but people complain about everything.

I had a mother complain that the Foo Can was abusive and embarising, one complained the Break Away wand made her child feel inadequate, one lower level executive complained that the other 4 people who picked a key didn't win anything and I was the only winner...,, and so on.
My theory is that if I do something 5000 times and only one person hates it then it's them, who is crazy.

So what I do is pick and choose my lineup with all due consideration of the dynamics of the event and the only time I can say for sure a chopper has no place is when the kids are under 8.

That's my stance, I'll get off the soap box and turn it over to the experts.

The preceding was an opinion and not meant as a guide for others. I'm just answering the OP as I myself operate.
Zlwin Chew
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Whoa JAY! That was one very thought-provoking post. I enjoyed reading it and digesting your experience. Thank you for sharing!
magic4545
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Choppo is still very coveted and popular in the acts of those who own one.

Jimmy
http://www.jimmyfingers.com/newchoppo.htm
jay leslie
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Jimmy, Either I'm drunk or your avatar is blurry.... Nope... it's you
Zlwin Chew
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Quote:
On May 22, 2015, jay leslie wrote:
Jimmy, Either I'm drunk or your avatar is blurry.... Nope... it's you


Hahaha! Maybe it's your screen.
AllAboutMagic
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My magician and I have been performing this one for years.

http://fairchildmagic.com/fairchild_magic_006.htm

Imagine how mad I was when I found out that you are supposed to use your wrists! >:(
Sam Sandler
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Once again allaboutmagic with the best comment of the day!

update for me is that I still have not taken my head chopper out of storage. I just cant see putting it in the show at this point. now things are going great in the show and maybe I am more concerned with putting this back in and finding it does not fit any more.
i am going to keep it as it is a beautiful prop and hope to have a use for it again one day.

maybe I will break it out for my summer camp shows for teenagers.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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DougTait
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Very interesting discussion here. I would think the answer to the question woud be, if it is entertaining to the audience keep it. If not, use do it. But isn't that the question that should apply to one's entire performance?
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing."
john wills
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And the right answer is: Jarrett & Raja.
Bob Meigs
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Hello to the Pro- and Anti- Chopper MCers
I used to be a big fan of choppers, and have owned and used a variety of them. Due to the horrific events of recent years, I removed them all from my shows - all, that is, except one. I still consider Dan Wolfe's "Lion Tamer" (Smoky Mountain Magic) an appropriate effect, and for kids' shows, yet.

It's a near life-size cartoon lion; the volunteer sticks his or her head through the mouth (from the inside, it would appear), and CHOMP!, but, of course, the volunteer is unscathed.

I've used Lion Tamer in shows with lots of kids and parents watching - venues in which even a finger chopper would never fly - and it's been well received.

I've also done an Alice in Wonderland) routine using Adrian Soler's "Heads Off." It's a "nonviolent" decapitation (now there's a magical concept for you), which also seems to play well in the post-terrorism environment. From my perspective, the only problem with Heads Off is that it requires an assistant, and I'm usually a one-man show.

In somewhat the same vein, if anyone has a Wellington Executive Sawing or a Wolfe Chain Sawing for sale, please PM me.

Keep the Art Alive!
Quatermass
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I use it still for halloween events
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