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Topic: Killer train gig
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 11, 2005 09:23PM)
I have an absolutely wonderful steady strolling gig set up. There is an old-fashioned passenger train that runs from Horseshoe Bend to Banks (or sometimes Cascade) in Idaho. It's called the Thunder Mountain Line. Once per month, I ride the train, do about an hour of strolling/table-hopping in the dining car and lounge car, and I get $300, a free dinner and the chance to make new friends and get leads for private shows.

It's an absolute blast. It did take a little while to get used to performing sleight of hand while trying to keep my feet on the swaying train, but I got my "sea legs" pretty quickly, and people seem to be even more impressed that I can perform under those conditions. It's a great, profitable gig and lots of fun. If you have anything similar in your area, I highly recommend pursuing a similar gig!
Message: Posted by: calexa (Mar 12, 2005 10:33AM)
Sounds wonderful!

Message: Posted by: Bobcape (Mar 12, 2005 10:48AM)
Great idea Scott! We have an 1880's train here in the Black Hills that is very popular in the summer. I will work on securing a spot wih them. Thanks for sharing!

Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Mar 13, 2005 04:19PM)
We have one like that here in Rhode Island, but I didn't get the gig.
Message: Posted by: KenW (Mar 14, 2005 08:57AM)
Scott, thanks for the tip. Now every magician in your area will be looking for a chance to hop on board your gig! (a little too much information on where, when and how much).
JUST KIDDING! Congradulations!
Message: Posted by: bsears (Mar 14, 2005 09:09AM)
Yeah, I here Zippy The Clown will do it for half that price.
Message: Posted by: magicsteve99 (Mar 15, 2005 11:31PM)
I wouldn't want to be the guy to try to follow Scott in any venue. Good luck, Zippy!
Message: Posted by: billfromoregon (Mar 16, 2005 02:02AM)
Scott - Sounds like a great gig. Do you do your standard strolling repertoire, or have you adapted it specifically for that particular situation? Have fun -

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 16, 2005 02:37AM)
Hi, Bill!

I pretty much do the same stuff I'd do in a restaurant or at a party. It's a lot of fun. People coming on the train know that I'm going to be there that day--they book that day specifically to see me do magic on their train ride. So they come ready to see magic and have fun. Best steady gig I've ever had!
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (Mar 20, 2005 04:33PM)
Sounds great. As a fan of magic, a fan of trains, and a resident of Idaho (Moscow) it sounds like something worth making the trek down your way to experience.

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 20, 2005 04:52PM)
I'd be happy to have you! Just be advised that I don't do "magician's magic," I do "real people" magic, so don't expect to see advante garde moves or dazzling technique!

Just did a show on the train last night. It was a samller crowd than normal, but I got to spend more time with the folks, so everyone had a blast! And I created a new bit "on the fly" that went over HUGE, so I plan to develop it into a full, regular part of my shows. That's another benefit of steady performing.

Everyone is welcome if you are ever in southwestern Idaho. Horseshoe Bend is about 20-25 minutes from Boise. From Moscow, probably around 5 hours or so. The fee for the train ride, along with a really nice dinner on board is about $40 per person. And of course, the entertainment is included at no extra charge! If you get the chance, I'd love to meet you!
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Mar 20, 2005 04:57PM)
How long does the ride last?
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 20, 2005 06:25PM)
It goes for 2 to 2.5 hours. Leaves about 6:30 and gets back about 8:30 to 9:00. It's a really cool, quaint old train, the scenery is unbelievable (snowcapped mountains, and a route that follows the beautiful Payette River). There's even an "open air" car that is WONDERFUL on the warmer days (though I don't perform on it--wind!). A lounge car with tables and chairs serving snacks and beverages (adult and otherwise), a separate dining car with tables and chairs and a few cars with "standard" train seats. It a blast of nostalgia, beauty, good food and magic all rolled into one!

If you plan to ride, just make sure to contact me so I can tell you what dates I'll be performing.
Message: Posted by: n3cromanc3r (Mar 20, 2005 08:37PM)
Man that sounds to cool. Great gig. Have a blast!! This is what memories are made of.
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (Mar 21, 2005 02:22PM)
On 2005-03-20 17:52, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
Just be advised that I don't do "magician's magic," I do "real people" magic, so don't expect to see advante garde moves or dazzling technique!

"Real people magic" is the best kind of magic!


Message: Posted by: steve ehlers (Mar 21, 2005 07:45PM)
I haven't worked on a train but I have done a couple of charter buses from Phoenix to Tucson which is about a 90 minute ride.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 24, 2005 11:35PM)
OK, next night I'm on is April 9, 2005 (Sat)at 6:00PM. If you'd like to come along, call the Thunder Mountain Line for Reservations - Schedules - Fares: (877)IDA-RAIL or (208)793-4425. You board at the Horseshoe Bend Depot, 120 Mill Road, (mail to: PO Box 487) Horseshoe Bend, Idaho 83629. For more info and photos go to their website:


Posted: Apr 10, 2005 12:53am
The gig tonight was great. lightly attended--only about 20 people on the train. There is usually 50 -100 or more. But that meant I got to spend more time with the folks who were on board. It was a lot of fun!

One thing that was particularly telling. A guy from a larger family (grandma, her two daughters and their husbands, and each of those couples' teenage sons--about 10 or 12 altogether) mentioned that he'd seen a magician before at a party, and he was surprised that I was actually entertaining as well as amazing!

One of the most fun things about a train gig is what I call the "Disneyland Syndrome." You're in a supermarket or a restaurant or at a gas station, and there's all these people around you that you don't speak to and they don't interact with you. Get all those same people together (not as a single group, mind you, but as strangers) at Disneyland, and they laugh, talk and interact. Same thing on a train--it's like folks are just waiting for the spark to get the interaction going, and then everyone starts interacting with each other! I like it much better than my restaurant gigs, even though in many ways it's similar and as far as performing on the technical side it is more difficult because of the motion of the train. This may be my favorite "steady gig" ever!
Message: Posted by: n3cromanc3r (Apr 10, 2005 10:13AM)
Very cool.. are you going to get some pics?
Message: Posted by: Danny T. (Apr 10, 2005 12:23PM)
Hey Scott F. Guinn. I like your quote. good luck with you gig.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (May 8, 2005 02:59AM)
I'm on again May 21 for the "general public" train, and then again for a charter on the 25th. If anyone is in the area on the 21st, I'd love to have you along!


OK, the train I'm on this Saturday is not the usual Horseshoe Bend to Banks run. It is the Cascade to Smith's Ferry run. I'm also scheduled for the other run on June 4 and August 27.
Message: Posted by: Sam Tabar (May 18, 2005 12:27PM)
Haven't you tried the card on window in a train like Copperfield did in one of his specials?
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jun 4, 2005 02:53AM)
No, haven't tried that one! ;)

I'm on again tomorrow (Saturday, June 4th). I'll post a report about the show tomorrow night.

Update: June 5 2005

Had a great time tonight with a full train. Most of the folks sat in the open-air cars. It was a beautiful evening, about 75 degrees and gorgeous scenery.

One really fun thing that happened tonight while I was in the open-air car: I was doing my Amb Card routine and was near the end, about to do the Pop Up move. I was displaying the "selection" with the bend in it when a sudden gust of wind blew the card right out of my hand and off the train! Everyone was surprised and felt genuinely sorry for me that the trick had been ruined. I said, "Well, it probably isn't gonna work NOW... (big laugh from audience)... but I'll give it a try anyway." I hold the deck up with my right hand, snap my left fingers and a bent card appears on top! Everyone went absolutely ballistic! The response lasted for 2 or 3 minutes--they just could not believe their eyes, and thought the whole thing was part of the trick!

Thank God for the DL!!!
Message: Posted by: Sam Tabar (Jun 7, 2005 10:49AM)
That was a great finale to the ACR, Scott. Although we have to say it can't always be done. :)
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (Jun 8, 2005 10:57PM)
If you guys haven't read Scott's fuller account on his blog (blog at http://scottfguinn.blogspot.com/, story at http://scottfguinn.blogspot.com/2005/06/magic-on-thunder-mountain-line.html ), check it out! Sounds like a great night.

BTW, Scott's blog is the best magic blog out there. If you're into blogs, go read it and add it to your RSS viewer. If you're not into blogs, now's the time to get into them.

Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Jun 9, 2005 02:22AM)
Envy, envy, envy! What a cool gig! Trains are SO much safer than buses! A few years ago, Jeff Bibik, myself and one other magician were scheduled to work a special event bus ride (3 busses, at different times) from McCormick Place on Chicago's lakefront (it looks like the box Disneyland came in) out to the headquarters of Computer Discount Warehouse (CDW), which is about a 90 minute ride in good traffic.

Traffic was NOT good that day. Nor were some of the other things that happened. The first magician's trip evidently went just fine, but took almost 2.5 hours. Jeff went out and, in traffic, reportedly took a spill when the driver swerved suddenly to avoid an idiot driver (we breed them for size, speed and agility in Chicago, folks!).

When my turn came, the CDW person who was supposed to take me down to the bus literally RAN off like a scared jackrabbit, leaving me standing there looking like the magical idiot we all know. I wound up working the hospitality party at the Green Dolphin Street restaurant instead (a great jazz venue, I might add) and they loved that, but a damper got thrown on that as well. It was the day of the Columbine shootings. I heard about it in the cab on the way over to the gig. I vowed never to work a bus gig from that point on.

Next time I'll know to take the train!

Scott, you have a great gig there! Nurture it!!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: RealDeal JU (Jun 9, 2005 09:18AM)
Speaking of a "Killer" train gig, has anyone ever seen the movie Terror Train? David Copperfield is a magician perfroming on the train. I watched this movie once not even knowing it had anything to do with magic. Sorry I couldn't help myself with asking the question espically since the title to this topic is killer train gig.. lol

Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jun 9, 2005 05:35PM)

Just had a look at the link to the website you provided-Fantastic-I loved it

What a beautiful train & scenery-What a great place to perform-The wonders of the magicical entertainer!

Well done on a top gig- & Im sure knowing how good you are the people are thoroughly entertained & have a great day with you included

Plaudits to you Scott!!
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jun 9, 2005 09:58PM)
Thanks for your kind comments, guys!

Lee, I've done magic on buses, too! The last one was at 6 AM on a bus traveling the winding mountain roads of central Idaho. I was facing the back of the bus (no window), it was stiflingly hot, the driver was speeding because we were behind schedule, I hadn't eaten and only had about 3 hours of sleep the previous night. I was supposed to do an hour. After 30 minutes, I was white as a sheet, sweating profusely and ready to vomit at any moment. I had to sit the rest of the performance out. The client was VERY understanding and apologetic, and still paid me the full performance fee, but I was pretty embarrassed. Nothing remotely like that has ever happened on the train. (Thank God!)
Message: Posted by: Hobie the Magical Hobo Clown (Jun 9, 2005 10:51PM)
That is so great. Envy here too.
Message: Posted by: paymerich (Jun 10, 2005 09:06AM)
On 2005-03-13 17:19, mandrake01 wrote:
We have one like that here in Rhode Island, but I didn't get the gig.

are you talking about the Newport Dinner Train ??