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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A tangled web we weave... » » Is your audience actually fooled, or just being polite? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of ddamen

Reminds of countless magicians still performing linking rings for adults. Even if you disagree, I think the article is a worthy read --- especially in this age of the internet savvy audience.
"Why do magicians wait until someone else does it, before taking it up themselves? The moment someone with imagination and vision takes an effect... Everybody jumps up & says.. 'I can use that!'... Develop a little pride along with your magical ability." -Anneman
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Profile of jstreiff
I really like Waters' writings in general and this is no exception. Here is what I mean, from the article:

"For the rest of us the problem is that magic - true, mystifying, wondrous, entertaining magic - is very, very hard to do. Magic, done with a sense of art, is one of the most demanding of all theater arts. Given good basic material, it is still extremely difficult to create a magical experience; without that good material, it's impossible.

The basic notion of magic is that it is the seemingly impossible; that may seem a tautology, but so many in magic seem to have lost sight of it. It isn't making spectators laugh; it isn't impressing them with dance moves; it isn't parading pretty assistants around the stage. Magic is making the audience believe they have seen something impossible happen - and so it must begin with mystery; not a puzzle, not a peculiar box, not an excuse for gaglines, but mystery. If the magic isn't baffling, IT ISN'T MAGIC.

Near the beginning of this harangue I quoted from Ted Annemann, who knew a little bit about how to truly baffle an audience. Let me conclude with another quote, from someone else who knew a little something about magic and theater.


So very true!
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Profile of terryisaacs
Thanks for posting this article. I think that there are definitely different points of view on this but I agree with the article. Really appreciate this.
"What we do in life echoes in eternity"
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Profile of 0pus
Being somewhat off-center, I got most intrigued by this:

Annemann's particular bete noir was the Mutilated Parasol; it was beyond his comprehension how any performer could believe that this prop, bearing little resemblance to any umbrella the audience had ever seen, could fool anyone. Bruce Elliott, who reviewed many shows for Annemann's JINX, concurred in this assessment. Indeed, I've never met a layperson who didn't know after a single viewing EXACTLY how the effect was performed.

. . .

Interestingly enough, the original [version of this effect WAS] deceptive. The Mutilated Parasol (or Sunshade) used a real parasol . . . . BUT . . . the original Parasol required some skill to perform; it wasn't automatic in working and didn't require a mechanical and therefore marketable prop.

I would like to find out more about the original. Can anyone direct me to a source?

It might be informative to trace the devolution of a deceptive effect.
Doc Svengali
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Profile of Doc Svengali
On Aug 26, 2017, ddamen wrote:

Reminds of countless magicians still performing linking rings for adults. Even if you disagree, I think the article is a worthy read --- especially in this age of the internet savvy audience.

I agree with the article in principle. On the other hand, all magic effects have an explanation, and virtually all spectators are aware of this. The fact that the viewer knows it is not actually magic is insufficient to deter a magician from performing it. If the effect cannot be performed in a way that casts significant doubt regarding the hypothesized/actual method, then I am in complete agreement that it is foolish to continue to perform.

Your opening statement suggests that the linking rings fall into the category of effects that cannot deceive an adult spectator. I would strenuously disagree with that assessment. While an adult's primary hypothesis is likely to be a part of the actual implemented method, and the primary gimmick has been exposed countless times, much of what the spectator actually witnesses in a well-crafted routine is inexplicable even knowing about the exposed gimmick. Tilman Andris even quotes from an expose of this gimmick prior to performing his routine, then performs to gasps of astonishment as the explanation simply cannot account for what is witnessed. Prominent Café VIP's such as Levent and Ray Pierce report frequent standing ovations for their performances of the rings; Al Schneider reports that he always opens with the rings because it is so powerful.

If a cleverly constructed routine is presented effectively, the linking rings are astonishingly deceptive. If rings appear to be examined freely before and after linking and unlinking, if evidence is presented demonstrating that rings are both separate and solid, and if many of the penetrations occur in full view of the audience without cover, the rings are highly convincing. When I practice in front of a mirror doing penetrations in plain sight, my own eyes register an impossible event.

I have seen repeatedly in Café posts anecdotes of spectators telling the magician after the show that they own a set of linking rings bought at a magic shop, but cannot fathom how the performer accomplished the penetrations.
Terrible Wizard
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Profile of Terrible Wizard
Weirdly I too thought IT was obvious. But I recently came across two people who had no idea how magicians made things float. Go figure.
Pop Haydn
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Profile of Pop Haydn
You can tell when someone is really fooled and when someone is just being polite:

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