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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Association of Family and Kidshow Performers » » Explaining what is an illusion (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

wally
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First time in 19yrs of entertaining children, A child shouted out last week, What is an illusion. Whats your best answers for aged 5yrs upwards.
Russo
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"pretending" - (one time in hypnosis-clinical- a child did not know 'pretend' -but DID know 'play-like'-interesting!)- also -"its what you THOUGHT you saw, but it wasn't" - just my 2 cents- Ralph
Mark Boody Illusionist
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I use the Shrinking and Growing Head spiral to describe what an illusion is. An illusion is when you do see what you don't see & you don't see what you do see. Do you see?

I hope so!

Mark
Donald Dunphy
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Another "fun" explanation for the word "illusion", is when a magician pretends to do something, but he doesn't really do it.

- Donald

P.S. I know that some other performers disagree with me, but I only use the word "illusion" or "illusions" when talking about "stage illusions" (when using the word in my promotional materials to customers, or on posters for audiences). I define an illusion in the same way as a stage illusion -- a large scale trick, usually involving a helper of some sort. Like a floating person, or cutting in half, or appearing or vanishing person. So, I only call myself a "Magician and Illusionist" (or say I'm performing a "Magic and Illusion Show") when I'm doing a stage illusion as a part of my magic show.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Russo
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OK - though -even the 'spot card' is an illusion
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On Nov 2, 2015, Donald Dunphy wrote:
P.S. I know that some other performers disagree with me, but I only use the word "illusion" or "illusions" when talking about "stage illusions" (when using the word in my promotional materials to customers, or on posters for audiences). I define an illusion in the same way as a stage illusion -- a large scale trick, usually involving a helper of some sort. Like a floating person, or cutting in half, or appearing or vanishing person. So, I only call myself a "Magician and Illusionist" (or say I'm performing a "Magic and Illusion Show") when I'm doing a stage illusion as a part of my magic show.


One of the reasons I have my opinion, is that some performers have advertised themselves as an "illusionist." When some of the audience (or their show customer) paid to see their show, they only saw a magic show when they were expecting a stage illusion show. So, they were disappointed, and even felt deceived by their advertising.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Dick Oslund
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About 40 years ago, I added a 5 minute segment as the second routine in my school show. It's a routine that explains, and illustrates with several simple illusions, just what an illusion IS. I can carry the PROPS in my pockets! In fact, one of the illusions, needs NO PROPS!

This routine plays for KINDERGARTEN THROUGH SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL AGE GROUPS! It plays for adults, too!! It runs 5 minutes. MINIMAL SET UP FOR ONE OF THE PROPS, REQUIRES ABOUT 10 SECONDS! The entire routine is VISUAL, VISIBLE, ANGLE PROOF, & PACKS SMALL & PLAYS BIG. The props are recognizable (no "Victorian era" props)and, NO TABLE is NEEDED!

I wrote up the whole bit in my book, "DICK OSLUND--ROAD SCHOLAR". My friends, the late Roy Mayer, and J.B. Bobo, passed along the basic CONCEPT back in the late '60s. I developed the ROUTINE, and, now use it in every show.

For those birthday parties, in which there sometimes is a "ten year old boy" who is thinking about interrupting the show, with "remarks", I've found that this routine "disarms" them at the start of the show, because I am "telling" them "up front" that this is a fun show, and, the more intelligent that they are, the easier it is for their own minds to fool themselves!

Oh! Any experienced, performing magician, using the the basic concept, could probably substitute the props for something he already owns, or could easily make.
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Nov 6, 2015, Donald Dunphy wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 2, 2015, Donald Dunphy wrote:
P.S. I know that some other performers disagree with me, but I only use the word "illusion" or "illusions" when talking about "stage illusions" (when using the word in my promotional materials to customers, or on posters for audiences). I define an illusion in the same way as a stage illusion -- a large scale trick, usually involving a helper of some sort. Like a floating person, or cutting in half, or appearing or vanishing person. So, I only call myself a "Magician and Illusionist" (or say I'm performing a "Magic and Illusion Show") when I'm doing a stage illusion as a part of my magic show.


One of the reasons I have my opinion, is that some performers have advertised themselves as an "illusionist." When some of the audience (or their show customer) paid to see their show, they only saw a magic show when they were expecting a stage illusion show. So, they were disappointed, and even felt deceived by their advertising.

- Donald


Hi Donald!

You are certainly entitled to your opinion!

Shortly after I "arrived" in the Café (December of '12) some guy declared that "...an illusion is a trick with a big box..." I remember refuting his incorrect belief in a relatively long and clear explanation of the term. He never responded.


I've noted in the past several years that FAR TOO MANY "magicians" cannot define the most simple basic terms that pertain to magic. I've made a number of posts, in an attempt to correct this ridiculous state of affairs!

I'm beginning to believe that too many of those who 'eat at the Café' are either "intellectually dishonest" OR 'invincibly ignorant'!

This is my first time "sitting in" in this forum. The heading above caught my eye, and I responded to Wally's question.

I hope what I expressed will be helpful to you, and the others who work for kids and family groups! --That's the kind of work that I did for fifty years!
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Donald Dunphy
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From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Stage illusions are large-scale magic tricks. As the name implies, stage illusions are distinct from all other types of magic in that they are performed a considerable distance away from the audience, usually on a stage, in order to maintain the illusion. Examples of stage illusions include sawing a woman in half and Lady-to-Tiger.

Stage illusions usually use large props and may involve the use of assistants or large animals. As this form of magic performance is very common on television, members of the public will report that this is the only form of magic with which they are familiar. In actuality, only a small percentage of professional magicians are stage illusionists. Most choose to specialize in close-up magic and perform in more intimate settings. Grand illusions are usually very costly and, due to their size, are difficult to ship, which would explain the paucity of professional stage illusionists.


I perform a few Stage Illusions in my shows along with the magic tricks, but I have some friends who perform with those larger props more often. They are truly Stage Illusionists.

I think you'll get some push-back from the "Grand Illusion" area of the Magic Café if you say you are a stage illusionist, when in reality you are stage magician or parlour magician performing magic tricks. They are not going to accept the idea that a paper hat tear is a stage illusion.

- Donald

P.S. Having said that, I understand where you are coming from, Dick. I've seen Duane Laflin talk about performing "illusions" when performing some slight of hand, because he felt that his audience could relate better to that term than to magic tricks. His definition is more along the definition on this page:

Quote:
A person who performs magic is technically an illusionist. The terms "magician" and "illusionist" mean the same thing and are interchangeable. However, "illusionist" is mostly applied to performers who present the big stage tricks, as mentioned earlier in this article.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Dick Oslund
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Good response, Donald!

Wikipedia is "defining" STAGE ILLUSIONS.

I am defining the simple term "illusion". An illusion is something that you think you see, but, really do not see, or, conversely, an illusion is something that you do not see, but think you do see. Technically this would describe more specifically, an OPTICAL illusion.

There are five senses, "seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling. I could use more technical terms like "tactile" instead of "feeling", or "olfactory" instead of smelling, etc.

Actually all five illusions would be described by the term "sensory" or "perceptual" illusions.

Our senses are not infallible. They can transmit the wrong "sensation" to the brain. E.g. Check Ottakar Fisher's "Illustrated Magic". There a photo of a hand with crossed index and middle fingers, touching a small ball. The person's tactile sense (which is subjective) transmits a sensation to the brain. (The person has the illusion of feeling TWO balls!

I can demonstrate the "boomerangs" illusion prop to an audience of one person or one thousand people (and, have). I can demonstrate the Joseph Jastrow illusion (the "What's Next"? prop) to one or one thousand, and have. They are visual, and, objective illusions. I can demonstrate ventriloquism, which is an aural and objective illusion.

Olfactory, (smell) gustatory (taste) and tactile, (touch) are all subjective illusions. Ottakar Fisher's "crossed fingers touching a ball, must be done by the individual who wishes to experience the tactile illusion. I have "discovered" a way to have an audience of one or two thousand high school students experience the tactile illusion without a ball. I've demonstrated it for years, and, it always gets a big reaction as the kids realize that they are "illusionists"!

I start by explaining the simple definition of what an illusion IS, and, how everyone in the audience will experience a different show, according to their own, intelligence, experience, and, imagination.

Then, I present four illusions, and, the audience now realizes that I am going to entertain them by fooling them, WITHOUT MAKING FOOLS OF THEM!

The illusion "routine" is in the "second spot", as Maurice Fogel termed it.

The opening is the old color changing silk (sleight of hand method, not Tarbell's gaffed method) I do one of the three types of "sucker" tricks. In this case, the, "I'll teach you the trick". At each step in the "teaching", I am one step ahead of them, as I "explain" what I'm doing. The audience is LAUGHING, at each step, It's a "SOFT" sucker explanation. They realize that, I'm really teasing them, and, fooling them, without making fools OF them!

At the end of the routine, I get a BIG LAUGH, & APPLAUSE!

I follow up with a brief explanation that they've just seen one of the three "things" that make magic possible (sensory illusion). I briefly mention, also, the other two "things": esoteric science principles, and, sleight of hand skills. In the show, they enjoy a lot of sleight of hand skills, and, yes, an esoteric science principle (but, they don't really realize it!)

In about 8 minutes, they've learned that "this is going to be FUN!", and, also, that I know what I'm talking about!

In my book, I "walk" the reader through the opening silk trick, and the illusion routine, as well as most of the tricks and routines in the show.

This is tested material! I've found that it plays for primary school youngsters, as well as college young adults, and, senior citizens.

I don't need to beg ten year olds at a birthday party fo behave, because I don't create an "adversary" situation!

I hope this has been helpful!

P.S. IMO, the CECIL LYLE PAPER HAT TRICK is definitely not an ILLUSION!!! (Here comes the BUT::: But, it definitely is a hekkuva TRICK! --for tiny kids thru senior citizens!!! It meets my CRITERIA!
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Nov 6, 2015, Russo wrote:
OK - though -even the 'spot card' is an illusion


Hi former Griffin show trouper!

Yes! the spot card is an illusion! (Joseph Jastrow!) Scroll up and read my post!

Down the road!

Dick
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Dick Oslund
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Donald mentioned my friend, Duane Laflin, above, and further noted that Duane often uses the term "illusion", in describing what he performs.

There's a reason for that. Duane performs for many church groups that relate "magic" to "devil worship, witchcraft, etc. Duane, and I have known each other since the early '90s. We met, and became "instant friends", when we both worked a weekend "convention" in the Lafayette, Indiana area. We have discussed the "situation" in which some church groups, equate magic with witchcraft, etc.

I mention in my book of almost losing a date in a school, because of this. I have used the illusion sequence mentioned above for almost 40 years, and, Duane does a somewhat similar presentation. to distinguish the magic that he performs, from witchcraft, and devil worship.

After seeing my program, a lady from the 'watchdog commitee" that had tried to get my program canceled, was quite pleased with what she had witnessed.

So, not only does the illusion routine get the kids "with me", and help them to realize that I am not there to get into a "contest" with them, but have FUN with them. Once they realize that I plan to fool them, WITHOUT MAKING FOOLS OF THEM. They tend to relax and enjoy the FUN.

Every time I open the program, using the illusion routine, I thank my old friends, Roy Mayer and J. B. Bobo, for suggesting it. I've never had to offer a bribe of a magic book, or, plead with a youngster, to let the other kids enjoy the program.

My magic show involves sleight of hand skills, sensory illusions, esoteric science principles, and a "whole bunch" of PSYCHOLOGY!

A wise old magician, the late S.H. Sharpe, said it well when he wrote:

"Those who think that magic consists of doing tricks, are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic
has been drained."

The late Jay Marshall, and I shared a bit of philosophy, that too many performers don't seem to understand, They seem to think that if they "buy" a new trick, and read the instruction sheet, they can do it in their next show!

Jay's son, Sandy, quoted his father in Jay's biography, "Beating a Dead Horse". Jay had written down the formula for adding a new trick to one's act:

1. Learn how the trick is DONE.

2. Learn how to DO it.

3. Find out how to DO it, so that it ENTERTAINS AN AUDIENCE.
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Dick Oslund
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HEKK! I thought that some of those guys from the Little Darlings "table" might drop in here to question, argue, or possibly discuss!

I don't belong to the Association! This is the first time that I've ever written anything here.
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profraj123
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Gentle men, I am studying about Magic and Neuroscience, multi-sensory illusions and cognitive illusions. I would like to connect, discuss and share thoughts in this area with folks who have similar interests and would also like to start a new thread on this topic. Please advice me.
Donald Dunphy
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Profraj123 -

You might want to start that thread in a different area of the Magic Café. I'm not sure what area to suggest (maybe ask in the "I want to see a manager" area for suggestions as to which area for your topic). But this area is more about children's magic shows, and the KIDabra organization (and their conventions).

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Dick Oslund
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Surfing around, I just dropped in here (almost a year later).

The original poster asked a question, and, NEVER "came back"!

I invested an hour or two, in an attempt to answer his question in great detail. I'm retired, and have available time, and knowledge, plus experience, to reply, although I am beginning to wonder if it was worth my time.
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Mark Boody Illusionist
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Even if the original poster does NOT respond, others benefit tremendously from your answers and advice. However I think it would be

courteous if the original poster did respond with AT LEAST a thank you. So on the behalf of others...THANK YOU VERY MUCH Mr. Oslund!!!

Mark
Dick Oslund
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"Hey Mark! (as they say down south!)

Thank you for your very kind comment! You are VERY welcome!

Dick
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