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Topic: Gods gift to kids entertainers
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 26, 2003 04:25PM)
If you could name one magic prop that you consider above all to be gods give to childrens entertainers what would it be.

My Answer would be the one handed change bag. it can be used in so many ways, and allows the magician lots of scope to interact with the kids while the magic happens.
Message: Posted by: Adam V (Jan 26, 2003 04:37PM)
Stun gun
Message: Posted by: JSMagic (Jan 26, 2003 05:15PM)
Im going to agree with Emazdad, the change bag....perhaps maybe number two is the break away wand...*ALWAYS* gets laughs!!! If the kids don't seem interested, bring it on out and your almost gaurnteed a laugh! So in my opnion its a toss up!
Message: Posted by: Cheshire Cat (Jan 27, 2003 03:07AM)
Yep, the one-handed three compartment change bag. Followed by comedy wands, fall to bits/'bang' flag guns, small mirror production boxes etc.

Other props. such as sliding-die principles, Elusive Rabbits (Hippety Hop), Washing machine, dove pans etc. are an individual's personal choice (which I'll not criticise if it works well for you!)
Oh yes, - and little girls! (Maurice Chevalier song from "Gigi" was so right!!)
Message: Posted by: Billy Whizz (Jan 27, 2003 04:32PM)
Change bag and different wands would my choice also. What worries me is all these different tricks in the shops now for kids. When are they going to start selling the change bag. we would be snookered if kids found that out.

All the best, Billy
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Jan 27, 2003 04:40PM)
God's gift to magicians has to be Bunny Rabbits :bunny2:
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Jan 27, 2003 04:55PM)
I think that if kids found out about the change bag it would not bother me too much. I do use one, but only as a part of a stronger effect. I am sure if it was exposed I could use an alternative, maybe a jap box or a harbin switch box.

I think silks are a very useful prop and Spring snakes.
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (Apr 15, 2006 01:55PM)
Thumb tip. With out a doubt an incredibly versatile prop. If one needed to you could do a whole show with one. I can be pulling silks out of ears, shoes socks hats forever if the kids had their way. Vanishing, changing, creating holes, appearing . . I don't think you could get a better bang for your buck - and you can carry one everywhere! (OK, if you are wearing a speedo you might get a few stares!).

The nice think is that it works equally well with kids and adults. Packs small, plays big, works will ALL audiences, is inexpensive, can be carried anywhere, and you don't have to speak the same language to work wonders. Why more performers don't use this simple prop I will never know.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Apr 15, 2006 02:20PM)
Me (of course...) I can entertain kids for a long time without any props and do so in my birthday shows. A lot of times I use ordinary things to make the kids and adults laugh. My use of plungers is always a hit. I'll even use objects around the performing area (chairs, tables, coins) to do stuff. More powerful using their stuff.

Posted: Apr 15, 2006 4:23pm
A great way to see some people entertain without props is go watch buskers. Be there at the beginning and watch how they gather a crowd. Often you'll find that they have really only 15 minutes of "actual" performance material. The rest is them just drawing people in.

I saw on such busker at an event we both were at, work over an hour on a downtown street in a large city, just to get a descent sized crowd. An hour. All he really did for his act was a straight jacket/chain escape and had a few balloons. Talk about travelling light!
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Apr 15, 2006 05:03PM)
I would suggest any really good book on how to perform for children...my vote would be Seriously Silly by David Kaye. Armed with the psychology/methodology of performing for children all of your props are made immediately made better.
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (Apr 15, 2006 07:20PM)
On 2006-04-15 15:45, Al Angello wrote:
I gotta go with Mr. Bill the entertainer. It has nothing to do with the wand, and everything to do with the magician. If you remove the magician there is nothing left but useless gimmicks.
Al Angello

The question was about A GOOD prop, and by making comments like this (which we have all heard many times) you discourage people to communicate on this thread. I know this was not your intention. Truthfully, if you remove all the props from a magician you have an entertainer (at best), not a magician. A magician HAS to have props. Even if we are doing the arm twist or Meir Yedid's Finger Fantasies we are using out limbs/hands as props. I know it was not intended to be such, but it is slighting those of us that answered the question by implying that we are hacks. We all have our favorites, and I am sure you do too. The prop does not make the magician, but if given the choice to perform with out any props or with a prop, I know I will be asking for a thumb tip.

Mr. Bill does use props. He talks about plungers and things borrows from around the house (Bill, I hope you are not borrowing the plunger!*G*) BTW, Buskers DO use props as you mentioned. I know, I lived off busking for a few years. Because they have to carry them, and it is often outside an HOT, you learn to wring every last bit of entertainment out of each one. A busker with out props is . . . well, not a magician. Maybe a singer or a begger . . .

Yes, we should not rely on props instead of skill - or should we? I can spend days perfecting a knuckle buster, or I can use a stripper deck. The audience won't care, and I will have more time on presentation. I don’t use trick decks for card work - not because I am against them - but because they are expensive and I don’t want to grab a wrong deck by accident.

Props ARE important. They can let us focus on presentation. They lend spice & color to our shows. They can help pay for a show. A mediocre stage stage magician with lots of shiny boxes can make more than a good comedy magician with small props. People may enjoy the comedy magician more but they will still expect to pay more for Mr. Mediocre. There is a perceived value with nice props. It may have NOTHING to do with the quality of the entertainer, but IT WILL bring in the money. I am embarrassed to say it but many parents who know nothing about me, book me because of Jax, my Greenwing Macaw. I don’t think I am Mr. Mediocre, but I have learned a thing or two from him.

The quality of the prop counts too. Look at Wolfs Magic props. They are well designed and made. If I did a presentation with his ABC Gumball Re-Combobulator (at $450) and another with a standard square circle ($50 max???) I know which one would be enjoyed the most, and which one would help me book more parties. One party pays for the difference. One of the dirty little things about being a children's magician is I see a lot of is "Keeping up with the Jones'". Many clients want the best for this reason, and they are often my clients. A great web site, great props, an exotic animal, and a great show add up to food on my family's table. It is sad, but true, that many a good performer languishes while a lessor performer does well because of a good investment in props.

Al, I have read many of your GREAT posts in the past, but I think you missed it on this one. I know you have seen magicians who rely on props instead of personality and skill, but that is not this discussion. You are tossing the baby out with the bath water!
Message: Posted by: MagicRabbit (Apr 15, 2006 07:30PM)
On 2006-04-15 15:20, mrbilldentertainer wrote:
Me (of course...) I can entertain kids for a long time without any props and do so in my birthday shows.

I think that's fine if you are billing yourself as an entertainer, not a magician. I'm going to be a miffed parent if you show up and hardly perform a magic show when that's what I paid for.

I think some people go too far either direction. All props, no entertainment, or all jokes with little magic. Either one is jeopardizing what the paying audience expected and received. A really great magician rides the line that straddles the middle of both worlds.

My vote: Axtell Board
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Apr 15, 2006 08:50PM)
As for props then I would say pretty much anything by Wolfs Magic...I have many of them and they all play really really well...Wacky Weasal, ABC Gumball, Blow Yur Stack, Hip Hop, Sword Chicken...my show is like some others on the Café-a walking ad for Wolfs Magic...you simply can't lose with them.
Message: Posted by: sspanks (Apr 15, 2006 09:49PM)

Are you on Chance Wolfs Pay Roll?

Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Apr 16, 2006 09:34AM)
Captain Kid. I agree that you can go too far either way. There always has to be that happy medium.

My point (which you certainly got) was that no matter what prop, it's how you as an entertainer use it.

Posted: Apr 16, 2006 10:43am
Magic Rabbit, of course my customers know exactly what they are going to get. I sing and dance, and interact with the kids at the beginning. Notic that the original post said "gods gift to children's entertainers" not children's magician!

But in keeping with the thread, one prop I always use is my plungers (yes mine and not theirs!) and a juggling ring. Notice I hava a bald head. Can you figure what I do that is a signature part of my act, whether it is for adults or kids?
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Apr 16, 2006 03:10PM)
On 2006-04-15 22:49, sspanks wrote:

Are you on Chance Wolfs Pay Roll?



No, but why do you ask?

Message: Posted by: rogueclown (Apr 17, 2006 12:30AM)
I love the weasel. It is the best investment that I have ever made. It plays very well, or should I say...I play very well with it. Have a great Sunday all. ( My act is also a Chance Wolf advertisement. I have too much fun with the Wacky Wolf stuff.)

( go ahead.)
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Apr 17, 2006 05:15AM)
Wacky Weasal, ABC Gumball, Blow Yur Stack, Hip Hop, Sword Chicken...my show is like some others on the Café-a walking ad for Wolfs Magic

( My act is also a Chance Wolf advertisement. I have too much fun with the Wacky Wolf stuff.)

This would be a huge reason for me not to buy them!
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (Apr 17, 2006 09:50AM)
Mr Bill, Mr. Bill! I am embarassed to say it, but the plunger makes a fine prop which I use all the time. As yourself, my head is particulrly well made for one.*G*

Yes, if everybody had Wolf props, I would not want them. Thankfully they don't. I don't have any, but plan to have some in the near future. It does seem that a Wolf product is a bit of a "status symbol" on this board. Well, at least they are great products, and if I was going to try to buy way to success, I could not do better than a Wolf prop.
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Apr 17, 2006 05:42PM)

If you were to purchase some Wacky Wolf products that fit your show then you would be the exception rather than the rule. The folks that have posted here are Wacky Wolf owners from literally all over the world or at least all over North America. This is one of the selling features of any well made/quality magic...that no one else has them because the price excludes the casual from doing so. I suppose this does make some of his effects a bit of a "status symbol" as Captain Kid notes but of course you still need to be able to do something with these effects in terms of routine and performance. It would be great if you're able to use magic that you yourself have made/created and that was one of a kind originals. I like to think that my performance of these effects is unique and one of a kind. I do pride myself on this.

Message: Posted by: sjballa147 (Apr 17, 2006 05:57PM)
I have you all beat Gods gift to childrens entertainers is children. Am I right or am I right?
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Apr 17, 2006 06:08PM)

an interesting thought...are you talking about the amazing audience helper...if you are then I might be inclined to agree with you...nothing more magical than a perfect helper and you just know when you've picked one...the response is amazing!

Message: Posted by: Bill Abbott (Apr 17, 2006 06:32PM)
Sponge Balls
Sponge Balls
Sponge Balls
Sponge Balls
Sponge Balls
Sponge Balls
Sponge Balls
Sponge Balls

A glass (or bottle) of wine after the show.


Bill Abbott
Message: Posted by: rogueclown (Apr 17, 2006 09:24PM)
Nice one Mr. Abbott. I have enjoyed your dvds. Thanks for putting them out there. Chico is a GREAT one too.
Message: Posted by: Bill Abbott (Apr 17, 2006 10:14PM)
Thanks RogueClown!
Chico is the brother I never had.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Apr 18, 2006 08:10AM)
If you were to purchase some Wacky Wolf products that fit your show then you would be the exception rather than the rule. The folks that have posted here are Wacky Wolf owners from literally all over the world or at least all over North America. This is one of the selling features of any well made/quality magic...that no one else has them because the price excludes the casual from doing so.

I do own one wolf product the small french Gullotine, I carry it for my adult
close up. Though for my kids/cabaret shows I have a personal dislike for proppy type stuff
Message: Posted by: danryb (Apr 19, 2006 06:54AM)
I would say a ballon.
there are no limits with a sinlge, simple, regular ballon.
just fun and laughter as it snaps back on your finger or flies over the kids heads.

Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (May 1, 2006 12:54PM)
Ahoy! Nice to see another pirate adding his piece of eight! I think this is a great area of debate, and though I'm sure we all agree that children are God's gift to kids' entertainers, I don't think they count as "props". I also have most of Chance Wolf's collection, which is fantastic, my new KaBlammo is simply the most awesome prop I own, and my routine will last at least ten minutes, of non-stop action! I also bought Mr Abbott's brilliant Chico routine, ready to go, which I'm currently turning into a vent rountine - thanks Bill! The "Wand to Snake" from Siam Magic is a gem. I also get maximum entertainment from my parrot "Squawk", which is Pedro from Steve Axtell's collection. Squawk appeals to every single audience member in any show! Plus, no end of routines that can be written.
But I feel that the best "simple" prop for me is the snake can, or a variation of it. Kids adore animation of any kind in a magic show, and the sight of snakes flying out of a can always guarantees a laugh. I have lots of different snakes, and it's easy to add the snake can gag into dozens of different routines. (I recently made up some sticks of "dynamite" filled with snakes, can you guess what I'll use them for?) I suppose the thing that makes the snake can funny is how high you can jump, and how realistic your reactions appear. I have one question to throw out, though - how do you stop the kids from mutilating the snakes? My answer is to make sure they fly backwards, so the kids can't grab 'em!
Message: Posted by: Derek Rutt Creations (May 1, 2006 01:00PM)
I am really pleased that you like my wand to snake........but to answer I think my favourite of all time still has to be Break away wand and break fan. And I also agree with you about the use of snakes !!!
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (May 1, 2006 01:08PM)
Avast Potty, pull into my port sometime and we can down some grog!

I often use a drum loaded snake, and I really don't have much problem with the kids hurting it. The current one I have used well over 1,000 times and is in great shape. I take the plastic wrapper off and put the spring in a nylon cloth wrapper, and that may be what keeps it in shape. I find the snake a great tool to warm up kids that are not sure about this costumed character. It gives them a scare, then they realize everything is fine and they warm up FAST.
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (May 3, 2006 02:40PM)
Shane you beat me to it. I was going to say children too.
But since we are talking about props, I have to say sponge balls.
Message: Posted by: leftytheclown (May 3, 2006 03:49PM)
My choice is the Wilting Flower. I use (I think) David Ginn's warmup with it. We have a contest to see if the audience can make the sad flower perk up.

Also, the vanishing Coke Bottle using Lewis' presentation of changing the Coke into snacks.
Message: Posted by: evolve629 (Jun 18, 2006 09:23AM)
Leftytheclown, you beat me to the post :) Yes, I have to say Martin Lewis's Snacks, Alive! is one of the endearing effects for children and adults alike entertainment. Martin Lewis very cleverly delays the surprise and we truly have 2 - 3 moments of wows!
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jun 18, 2006 09:45AM)
KIDS. Their expressions, their creativity, the joy and wonder they posses and lose all too soon.

As the Oak Ridge Boys sang "Thank God for Kids."

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jun 18, 2006 10:29AM)
My choices are:

Steve Axtell Products (Puppets)
Rabbit Puppet in the Hat
Live Rabbit
Spring Snakes

I agree with Sponge Balls, TT, Variety of Comedy Wands, and of course, any Change Bag.

For older kids I'd add, Wiz-Kote, and Pro Viper II.
Message: Posted by: sluggo (Jun 18, 2006 11:38AM)
Axtell drawing board and puppets.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jun 18, 2006 11:44AM)
I gte so much use out of my drawing board. I simply love it. Being an artist, I can really create most anything and really customize each show I do to the occassion. I then can create my own voice overs and record them to my iPod and have a bunch of great routines depending on the venue. I am not a ventriloquist by any means, but doing it this way, allows me to really work magic and get the audience having a great time.

Message: Posted by: Mumblemore (May 24, 2007 08:29PM)
The rabbit out of the hat (or repeated failures to produce one from a hat) followed by using Barry Mitchell's gimmicked rabbit hutch that totally catches the kids by surprise after they are sure the effort has failed.
Message: Posted by: Katterfel22 (May 24, 2007 08:54PM)
Sponge balls, rabbit productions and much to my chagrin... I seem to get a lot of mileage out of the haunted key. ???
Message: Posted by: harris (May 25, 2007 07:59AM)
My suggestions...

1. Ones Eyes
2. Ones Smile
3. Ones Heart
4. Ones Puppets
5. Ones Music.
6. One Object that becomes many things through an improvisational exercise..
something found at the venue.
7. Making an audience of 2-1402 become One....

Our God is an Awesome God.

With a nod to the new improvisational show...(Thank God you're here)

T.G.I.G....Thank God it's God....

Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (May 25, 2007 09:30AM)
Although I need not mention the creator, I will openly vouch for his great product:
Ridiculous Ravioli!!!! I mention this because it does indeed include the wonderful surprise of spring snakes and is very appropriate to mention here. The routine possibilities are endless and the included routine is great but there are so many other possibilities.

Also: BJ Hickman's spring snake(s) in the ovaltine jar (and the fact you can actually make it so you can open the jar and NOTHING comes out...then open it and the giant spring snake(s) come out...it's also a winner as far as snakes go!

There are many great plastic containers, especially for dietary supplements at health food stores, that are the perfect size for spring snakes. Which opens the doors to many wonderful possibilities!!!

Best to All! Great thread!!!

Harris: Our God is an Awesome God!!!!

Mumblmore: I used Mitchell's Rabbit Hutch..it's the best rabbit production, and the most natural looking, I've ever...EVER...seen! I'm allergic to rabbits, so I can't use my rabbit any more (she's my daughter's pet anyway, so she's happy to have him home all the time)....I don't believe Barry produces these anymore, does he? If you find one, grab it and keep it!
Message: Posted by: Tim David (Feb 23, 2012 09:10PM)
I'd have to say my Lefler Table.

As long as it's FULL of amazing kid's props like:

* Pet Store Pranks
* Spring Animal
* Balloons
* Sponge Balls
* Ropes
* Dream Bag
* And one small child for good measure
Message: Posted by: bowers (Feb 23, 2012 09:43PM)
I would have to say my thumb tip. I never go to a show without it. so many things can be done with this versatile prop.
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Feb 24, 2012 12:32AM)
My Lefler table is an important, versatile piece of my equipment. I agree with you completely. It permits me to bring many of the props already mentioned and more. As an example, I had a recent show where one of my major props failed during my test before the performance. I was looking to get about five to seven minutes out of it. I had to ditch it and I had plenty of things to choose from. Ironically, it was a cub scout show and I was "prepared."
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Feb 24, 2012 04:49AM)
Give me a balloon, a pocket hanky, and a thumb tip, and I can entertain all afternoon. At the moment my favourite is the hanky.
Message: Posted by: harris (Feb 24, 2012 07:01AM)
I remember when the toy of the year was ......


...the envelope please.....

A stick

A stick is great fun for a 4 year old. In the hands of a master comedian...Jonathan Winters...priceless..

"where does he get all those toys"
Message: Posted by: Beowulf (Feb 24, 2012 09:48AM)
Packs reasonably flat, plays large, magician-in-jeopardy, loads of laughs: the silver sceptre.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Feb 24, 2012 05:05PM)
Every trick in my case has been carefully selected by me because it fits my show, and I am the star of that show. My secret weapon is me.
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Feb 24, 2012 10:57PM)
I like that Al! I like that a lot! :)
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 24, 2012 11:01PM)
The Magic Café.
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Feb 25, 2012 11:47AM)
On 2012-02-24 18:05, Al Angello wrote:
Every trick in my case has been carefully selected by me because it fits my show, and I am the star of that show. My secret weapon is me.

Al, I couldn't have said it better myself! That definitely sums up our shows as well!

There are many wonderful props out there to choose from, but no matter how wonderful or versatile they may be for one person, that may not be the case with another.

Matthew and I also only purchase props that fit our shows.

We have sold many great props that did not make the cut for us, yet we have seen other good magicians do wonderful things with those same props.

I have seen several magicians perform with the exact same props and yet they looked totally different because of individual creativity and personality.

It would be really hard for me to pick the "one" great prop for us, because there are so many and we have several shows that utilize different props that are unique to the vibe we are trying to convey.

On another note: There seems to be a common answer on the Café' whenever anyone asks about favorite props, that you are not really a good magician unless you can do your entire show without any props.

It seems to convey a feeling that a magician with no props is somehow cooler than one with props. I personally have seen really bad "entertainers" with lots of props and without hardly any props.

I have seen wonderful acts utilizing rabbits and I have seen my share of bad rabbit acts.......

One of the bad acts that comes to mind was at a magic convention a couple of years ago during the big show, where a magician handled a rabbit so roughly and inhumane that the entire audience was gasping in horror and saying things like "aww poor bunny", or "I feel so sorry for that rabbit". A friend of ours loaned rabbits to one of the good acts that night, and his daughter started crying, thinking it was her rabbit the bad act was hurting.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Feb 25, 2012 08:39PM)
I have two off the rack tricks that I use for stage shows, everything else in my show is rope, scissors, ring, tube, bag, silks, wand, and cards. As the great Nancini explained it is the magician that makes the props work.