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Topic: So much nonsense!
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 6, 2008 12:25AM)
I have been in the business of entertaining children all my life. It is my belief that children up to the age of 9 are the same now as they were 40 years ago. Why do I say this? The world is very different now to what it was 40 years ago, but children are the same. I actually think that children are the same now as they were 1000 years ago. I often hear people say that the children of today are very different to those of yesteryear. I disagree. A child is a child is a child. They react intuitively to a magic show in the way they have reacted for centuries to magicians. They are not told how to react............they just react. Many on here are constantly seeking out the latest and greatest dealer's prop. This is nonsense. The first time a child sees Run Rabbit Run, they will react the same way that they have always reacted. Why do so many on here spend so much time seeking out something new? To a child, it is all new............and they will laugh and clap and be entertained like they always have. The only criterion is that the performer presents the effect in such a way that he or she gives permission for the audience to laugh and clap and be amazed. It is all about good entertainment. It is not about the latest and greatest dealer's prop. Do you agree?
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Mar 6, 2008 12:51AM)
In my country (Philippines) where magicians perform almost every weekend in parties...using the same stuff (basically from the same supplier) over and over again, it is an advantage to have a few different tricks to show :)
Message: Posted by: lou2 (Mar 6, 2008 01:22AM)
I have been in the business of entertaining children all my life. It is my belief that children up to the age of 9 are the same now as they were 40 years ago. Why do I say this? The world is very different now to what it was 40 years ago, but children are the same. I actually think that children are the same now as they were 1000 years ago. I often hear people say that the children of today are very different to those of yesteryear. I disagree. A child is a child is a child. They react intuitively to a magic show in the way they have reacted for centuries to magicians. They are not told how to react............they just react. Many on here are constantly seeking out the latest and greatest dealer's prop. This is nonsense. The first time a child sees Run Rabbit Run, they will react the same way that they have always reacted. Why do so many on here spend so much time seeking out something new? To a child, it is all new............and they will laugh and clap and be entertained like they always have. The only criterion is that the performer presents the effect in such a way that he or she gives permission for the audience to laugh and clap and be amazed. It is all about good entertainment. It is not about the latest and greatest dealer's prop. Do you agree?

Hi,
I do think that kids are much the same yes,
I think though that they where treated differently years ago,
they where more dominated by aduts ,made to do what was deemed proper and generaly less free to be them selves than now.
where as years ago a nine year old would sit and watch RRR becuase they where expected to, now they would realise it was beneath them and tell you so!
so maybe that's a good reason for new tricks or at least the more carefull choosing of different EXISTING tricks that are more suitable than what where considered staple effects many moons ago
lou
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 6, 2008 01:29AM)
Thomas,

Your perception of children may remain the same but children do not. The family structure with extended families have been replaced with single parent families, second marriages, gay parents as well as parents at work and children in daycare. The village has been replaced by a series of insular units. Given that families are different and with this so are our children. They've also been exposed to so much more and at a much earlier age. While they all may love good magic they are also easily distracted by a society which places much value on instant gratification. The attention span that today's video games and television/movies with jump cuts every few seconds normalizes makes it difficult for the children of today to concentrate on tasks for any extended periods of time.

What does this mean in terms of magic? Everyone seems to be looking for that next amazing trick...why? Because its easier than putting the hard work into developing an original routine. Instead we want a quick fix and as a result we ends up as Eugene Burger puts it: "...literally drowning in magic."

Another way one might look at it that perhaps we are looking for magic pieces which speak to us and that we can make our own. To do this we need to sample what's out there and see what fits. Another aspect of this is the attempt (as Wanlu notes) to make our programs look different than everyone else. I do this as a way of improving my overall act and making it stand out. This isn't the only thing that one needs to do. I also put this same thinking into my sound system, backdrop, tables, routines. As well as this I have developed an "expertise" in my market. As an educator/magician my shows have the educational component that comes from my professional teacher training as well my graduate degree in language and literacy instruction.

I also seek different because there is so much bad magic out there. I like that my pieces look and sound different from those around me.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 6, 2008 05:46AM)
Most interesting. I am afraid my experience does not bear out these oft held beliefs that things have changed very much. Exactly the same children's effects used 40 years ago are equally as successful today as they were then.

Tom is perfectly correct. At least with regard to the children here in the UK and I would say they are as exposed to social change as much as any others. I entertain across Europe and they are no different there either. You are surely not saying that American children are peculiar?

Tom said up to 9 years and that is exactly the age I would highlight. Above that age and I agree - the journeyman children's entertainer is no longer required for birthday parties.

And there is a change at the other end of the spectrum. Children of 3 and 4 years now enjoy effects which were once only used for 5 years and above. There is a whole industry for entertaining 3 and 4 years old children. I have been servicing that market for 40 years so I have seen the educational changes. Children are quicker and brighter and more eloquent.

This isn't new. They were quicker and brighter 40 years ago but only really in the richer, better areas. The poorer areas rarely had entertainment at that age because most of the children would sit and say nothing and just stare. Thank goodness today they all join in regardless of where they live though it should be said that in the poorer areas they are certainly not quite so fluent with language and vocabulary and can't always express themselves adequately. I'm afraid that's the same the world over.

But exactly the same effects are still being used. Why? Because often they are classic pieces of children's entertainment and they always work. That's why they are classics.

I get the impression that many people here are besotted with the King's new clothes. 'Must Have' products which are newer, bigger, flashier and loaded with mechanical and electrical do-it-all-for-you novelties.

Well, I suppose they are a great help to those who really haven't achieved the essential performing skills necessary for successful children's entertainment. I think many of you would be in for a great surprise if you could only eavesdrop on the standards of a good British children's entertainer. Not for nothing are we regarded as in the vanguard of top children's entertaining.

When it comes down to the wire it's perfectly straightforward and not a bit complicated. Performing skills. Get your performing skills sorted out and then you should be able to obtain buckets of fun from the most unpromising of material.

It's all down to the old adage:

It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it.
Message: Posted by: Clownboy (Mar 6, 2008 05:54AM)
Well Said Jeff!
I just don't understand why older magicians feel this way. Wasn't these Older tricks "Cutting Edge" when they bought them years ago? Didn't they want tricks that slanted with their personalities? Didn't they want tricks that were unique and collectible?
Don't they feel disappointed when a child says "I've already seen this one"
What is really wrong with using the available products to excite kids who are in a different society these day's.

I have a theory why this is so troubling to older Magicians. I believe its the difficulty of change. This is something that is happening in many Church's today.
The younger adults want a more understandable music that they can relate to, While the older adults want to continue using their Hymnals. The Older crowd ask the same question.. "It worked for us 50 years ago so why not now". But this generation has a much different style of music. What is this music that has no emotional chord with them and filled with "Thee" and "Thou's"?

The bottom line is that its Change. Older folks like to see things handed down from generation to generation. When we reject their way of doing things it appears to be a insult to them. When in fact, we are only trying to relate to the same 'emotions' they touched on but in a different and more contemporary way.

I will further ad that this isn't all Older Magicians. There are many on here who grasp that and embrace it. Change is inevitable and necessary.
Who knows, in 30 more years I might be arguing the other side as well!
"Why on earth do we need these 'Razor Blaster' tricks? What's wrong with a Wolf Funhouse?"
Just my humble opinion.


Brad
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Mar 6, 2008 07:22AM)
I don't mind using old tricks...I have lots of those and I use them all the time... :)

Its just that we are entertainers and the people hiring us for some entertainment demand new stuff once in a while...and having a few new tricks can get you the gig over other magicians in your area doing the same stuff :)

Unless you have celebrity status already :)

Take Jay Marshall for example...same stuff over and over again...but he got hired over and over again :)

But then again, look at Jeff Dunham who has so many materials and keeps on making new ones :)

Maybe its case to case :)
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 6, 2008 09:42AM)
A version of the magic colouring book is detailed in "The discoverie of Witchcraft"

I have several books on children's entertainment over 50 years old and in a couple of them they also mention how the children of the day are more sophisticated than those of previous years. I think it's Francis Marshall who says the 5 year olds of his day are like the 9 year olds of yesteryear. So by now your average 5 year old should be showing up to a show with a cigar in one hand, a glass of brandy in the other and discussing politics.

Of course, times change. In "Open Sesame" there is a routine where you dress a child as a chinese druglord and he fools the police in his opium den!! So I adapted it for present day and dress the child up as Pete Doherty, the rest as the drug squad and flippstick a syringe. No I didn't.

Times change, children don't. In context with the changing world they are still reacting the same way as they always have. Things like a naughty rabbit, a vanishing die, a cheeky puppet are timeless. The same principles that have entertained children and adults for time and memorial are the same principles that work today. Sure you can include modern references and use up-to-date language but that's nothing to do with children changing that's the world changing. You won't find many principles of childrens entertainment in Silly Billy's latest book that haven't been around (and printed) 50 years ago.

As far as the children seeing the same tricks again. I think being immersed in this world we don't realise how little they have actually seen. There's also often a case for what's old is new again.

George
Message: Posted by: Beowulf (Mar 6, 2008 09:58AM)
How about Disney for a source? Nothing wrong with Rockin' Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror, or Test Track.

But check out the lines for Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and Dumbo. Entertaining is entertaining. And there's a great deal of pleasure in re-experiencing that which brought one joy and in introducing others to what you loved as a child.

Sure: some customs are more honored in the breach than in the observance, but there's a lot to be said for old wine in new bottles. And topical is swell, but entertaining is the point.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 10:03AM)
[quote]The family structure with extended families have been replaced with single parent families, second marriages, gay parents as well as parents at work and children in daycare.[/quote]
Great Smartini,

I thought I was the only one who saw the recent study by sociologists at Georgetown University!

It found that kids from single parent families preferred Axtell's newer puppets to his old ones. And kids with gay parents preferred Chance Wolf products to older ones made by Supreme. The results about kids from second marriages were inconclusive, however.

The most shocking find was that kids in daycare actually preferred an old beat up Run Rabbit Run, whereas those with stay-at-home moms chose a newer version manufactured in India. I'm sure that surprised you, Smartini, as much as it did me!
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 6, 2008 10:12AM)
I know what you mean by 'not wanting something new' But that's not really correct. We all look at new stuff. It just that our judgements are made on experience and knowledge.

If all these present day wonders really were new maybe they would hold some interest but often they aren't. They are a revamp of an old effect and when you look closer, frequently they offer some extra novelty at the expense of practicality. It may be the design, the shape, the weight, the vulnerability to damage in transit or the practicality of slotting it into the show.

Of course there are new things, or sometimes a practical improvement to an existing prop and we all take these things seriously.

But people posting on this site appear to be so preoccupied with flashy props that do everything for you. Just stand there and operate it is the mood of the day. It's these props I suspect you will find bringing up the phrase 'Seen it!' and not the old, now abandoned classics.

So instead of thinking 'What's new which everybody wants' and looking for the complex and vulnerable electro-mechanical wonder of the week, try instead thinking 'What's old and unwanted' and try looking for those instead.

Be careful though. Nothing at all is really new and there were sometimes very good reasons why some of those old props quickly became unwanted. Think practically but don't be fearful that old props are unsuitable for todays audience.

They will love them and take to them as of old.

And be prepared for those oldies to be so old they are new again.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Mar 6, 2008 10:17AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-06 11:12, Tony James wrote:


...So instead of thinking 'What's new which everybody wants' and looking for the complex and vulnerable electro-mechanical wonder of the week, try instead thinking 'What's old and unwanted' and try looking for those instead...

...And be prepared for those oldies to be so old they are new again.
[/quote]

Very good point! :) Thanks!!! :)
Message: Posted by: Wizzo the wizard (Mar 6, 2008 10:47AM)
Regarding using old props, or should I say old classics. I feel it's this. The look of it can seems so out of date and it looks run down. Take RRR. There are many versions out there. But some look far better than other and look really up to date.

Now you might have a rough looking RRR but still get a great reaction. That's fine. However if you have ,let's say Chance RWR. This is the same trick but it's bang up to date. And it looks professional to! and it makes you look good & professional in front of the client as well!

As for children. have they changed? In some ways yes. However they still laugh at the same things. For example how many times have you had a parent say Oh they are really clever 5 yrs. old so can you do something a little bit more older tricks for them. Yes I reply and then still do my show for that age as I would normally. And they sit and laugh at the same things regardless of how bright they are.

For me I want to use things which look good and do the job wether it's an old trick looking new. Or something totally new!
Just my opinon
Louis
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 11:20AM)
I think it is not the tricks but the performers that need to update.

Kids don't change much, but fashions do. Brown nylon bell-bottoms are no longer acceptable in most decent homes today.

Also, tired old stock lines such as "not that hand, the clean one..." should be retired so they can live out their old age with a bit of dignity.

Some tricks do become out-of-date. I actually saw a kids magician do color-changing records a while back. The kids had no idea what he was talking about.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 6, 2008 12:56PM)
Some props do date, or their artwork certainly does. And much depends on how worn and aged the prop is.

If it's been used by a pro and bagged it can look as good as new. Last year I picked up a 1947 Humpty Dumpty that looked like new and was beautifully made. The detailing in the woodwork and the artwork - like something out of an old children's book.

Three and four year old children love it. I've two more versions of Humpty Dumpty and they all score. And they're all similar but different.

When did you last do Baking the Cake?

I know, it's a pain to set up and clean up and pack up but it scores every time. Doesn't matter if they are four years old or nine, boy or girl. They just love it.

And it's as old as the hills.
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 6, 2008 01:19PM)
Like it or not we all change. This is the one constant in life. To say that children haven't changed is to ignore the reality around us. Kids are now bombarded with so much that they can't help to be different. As an educator I spend all day at work with children of all ages and they've changed. It's not just the old bell bottoms but what's going on inside as well.

I have nothing against classic magic tricks but one needs to acknowledge that they may need to be upgraded or dare I say...made even better. I for one don't want to look or present "..as old as the hills." One could also argue that one who relies on past tricks and past presentations as boring, dull and uncreative. As a whole many magicians are thieves who steal routines and lines from one another. This is why when we hear an old joke and the magician performing who says it adds "You'll use it!"

I recently heard a story where magician Kirk Charles was sitting in the audience of a magic show and when a second presentation of the classic substitution trunk was performed on the same bill a 9 year old child sitting next to him was was heard to say: "Do we really have to see it all over again." So I say to Thomas and those who pine for the good old days...do we really have to see it all over again?
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Mar 6, 2008 01:35PM)
As someone who's act is a large part the classics of magic (mis-made flag, linking rings, hippity hop rabbits, rabbit out of hat), I tend to agree with Tom here. These tricks have passed the test of time and they work! Now as to why I introduce new routines into my act, Its mainly for ME! To challenge myself and to keep from getting bored. Many times though, I have worked for months on a new routine only to come to the conclusion the old routine was better!
Message: Posted by: Wizzo the wizard (Mar 6, 2008 01:53PM)
I did a magic show in Windsor England where the Queen lives. Sadly she wasn't at the party. But one of the adults said to me after my show. That is was nice to see new tricks which were bright with colors and not what you normally see at a kids party. The classics are good but I feel to many magicins do the same as everyone else. Now, I'm not saying that you can't do a good show with the old classics. But I really feel that the public, by that I mean the parents want to see things which they didn't see when they were kids at a party. As for the children they would like the show with the old tricks. But the parents are the ones who pay! In a way I'm clad that so many kids entertaines are still doing the same tricks as this makes my show stand out even more!
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 6, 2008 01:54PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-06 11:03, James Munton wrote:
[quote]The family structure with extended families have been replaced with single parent families, second marriages, gay parents as well as parents at work and children in daycare.[/quote]
Great Smartini,

I thought I was the only one who saw the recent study by sociologists at Georgetown University!

It found that kids from single parent families preferred Axtell's newer puppets to his old ones. And kids with gay parents preferred Chance Wolf products to older ones made by Supreme. The results about kids from second marriages were inconclusive, however.

The most shocking find was that kids in daycare actually preferred an old beat up Run Rabbit Run, whereas those with stay-at-home moms chose a newer version manufactured in India. I'm sure that surprised you, Smartini, as much as it did me!
[/quote]

James,

I always find it interesting how discussions of this type seem to draw this kind of reaction...not sure why people feel like it's okay to use sarcasm and thinly veiled passive aggressive comments when they find that they don't agree with the observations of another. If you don't agree with me then that's totally fine and I'm comfortable with that. What I'm not really comfortable with is comments that detract from the original discussion and turn things into something else. I guess things have changed because when we hide behind our computers we're able to say whatever we want without regard for anyone's feelings. I guess in that way one would have to acknowledge that things have changed because I can say pretty confidently that you wouldn't say that to me in person. In person you'd probably be a little bit more respectful. My observations of children come from being a father, a full-time educator (who observes children for a living) as well as being a children's magician for the past 30 years. Given all of this I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to consider my opinions on children just a little bit further.

jeff
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 6, 2008 02:09PM)
Lighten up a bit, Smartini! I found James Munton's comments to be hilarious....and they made an excellent point.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 02:45PM)
Smartini,

I am sorry if your feelings were hurt by my use of humor. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but occasionally I do come up against someone who is incredibly sensitive and I always feel sad when that happens. Honestly.

I do not "hide behind my computer." My picture and real name are here for all to see, as are my websites and full contact information. I am exactly this way in person - if anything I am funnier. As opposed to your good self who provides neither photo, real name, nor website, nor contact info. If anyone is hiding it is you!

The fact that you are an "educator (who observes children for a living)" - makes you neither more right nor more wrong. I did consider your opinion expressed in your earlier post which had some nonsense to do with gays and single parents and I decided it was complete twaddle.

Best,
James
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 6, 2008 03:42PM)
"Come to England before you die."

You'd be astonished. Truly. So many really good children's entertainers who know just how to perform entertainingly. It's not given to everyone so that's why kind dealers provide you with tricks entitled 'No Skill Required' - won't make you into a great entertainer but you'll get away with it.

The really good can wring fun and joy and laughter and amazement out of props that most others wouldn't know what to do with.

Because in the end, it's down to the entertainer, not the props. And the children laugh at the same things generation after generation after generation.

Truly. You don't have to observe them. They're sat there, chortling their little cotton socks off, over and over and over again.

That's the difference. But then, this is England.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 03:52PM)
Great points, Tony, except there are a few good magicians that get it over here as well!
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 6, 2008 04:02PM)
Up until September last year, my act featured many of the most 'up-to date' props on the market. I was carrying round a Wacky Waccoon, A Wolf Funhouse, Wacky Water wheel, Remote Drawing Board, Axtell off the Meter, A duck bucket and a Rabbit Vanish Supreme, amongst others. My set-up resembled a dealer stand!
I got good reactions from the show, but what I wanted to do for this year was adopt a 'back to basics' approach.

I now work from 2 small, plain, black trunks. My act consists of classics such as 20th century silks, linking rings, jumping knot, sponge balls and of course, ventriloquism. The bunny has been given the boot.

If anything, the reactions have been even better this year!!

It's all down to the entertainer, NOT the props.

Now does anyone want to buy a Wacky Waccoon?
Message: Posted by: Wizzo the wizard (Mar 6, 2008 04:09PM)
Kimmo,
I just had a vision of you in your trunks entertaining kids. No wonder you get a reaction LOL Your right it's the entertainer that makes the show and you can do a great show with smaller items. It's the prentation that counts. I just think that to the eye of the booker it's nice when they see something for there money ie something magical looking!
Louis
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Mar 6, 2008 04:27PM)
I'm old, my props are old. I do the crystal silk cylinder (Silly Billy's stoplight trick), a water vanish with slush powder, 20th cent silks with a story, die box, a milk through head routine, card in balloon, and my closer is a chair suspension. Everyone really enjoys the show, or they lie.

Jim
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Mar 6, 2008 04:28PM)
I do a change bag routine and I know that many magicians do one as well but I could care less because I know my routine is completely different than anyone else's.

If magician's would stop just checking out YouTube video's and copying DVD routines word for word they would never have to worry about keeping up with the latest and greatest.

What you should be thinking if you do "run rabbit run" or any other routine like that is... "i hope the kids have seen this before because they will see how much better and funnier this trick CAN be when done by a pro."

when your routines get to that point you'll be kicking some serious ***.
Message: Posted by: Wizzo the wizard (Mar 6, 2008 04:45PM)
Hi Frank,
I have to say that every time I see your picture it reminds me of Kurt Russell, or are you really him undercover?
Nothing to do with the above topic. Sorry!

I think it's important to put your own style on your tricks no matter what trick you are doing, old or new it then makes it your own. I sometimes use a dove pan. It's an classic prop however it looks good and the routine goes down really well! But I still use a lot of colorful trick with a fresh look. Nothing looking old and tatty!
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 6, 2008 04:46PM)
"Great points, Tony, except there are a few good magicians that get it over here as well!"

Who? You and Jolly Roger and Simon Lovell? You are all British!
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 05:00PM)
Ha! You may be onto something.
Message: Posted by: calamari (Mar 6, 2008 05:14PM)
This is just more nonsense, a good performer will entertain an audience (kids born today 100 years ago or 100 years from now) with what ever he uses... old, new, self working, knuckle busting what ever...
so what are you trying to say Tom, forget about anything new just do the Rings, and all the old classics no need to try and do anything different cause the old stuff still works (hogwash) we should all do what makes us and most importantly our audiences happy, and if that is all the old classics then great, if it is the latest gizzmo thingamabob then great. if this post was meant to help inspire better magical performances then, IMHO, try to improve your performance of what ever you plan to present (it's not so much what you do, although that is important also, but how you do it)
Rich
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 6, 2008 05:27PM)
Rich
I must respectfully disagree with you, magicians are inventing, new improved, better, biger magic tricks all the time, and along with new improved marketing techniques, soon talent will be totally unnecessary.
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Mar 6, 2008 05:30PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-06 18:27, Al Angello wrote:
...along with new improved marketing techniques, soon talent will be totally unnecessary.
[/quote]

You mean it's not already? Shucks, I better start practicing again. ;)

Scott
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 6, 2008 06:08PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-06 15:45, James Munton wrote:
Smartini,

I am sorry if your feelings were hurt by my use of humor. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but occasionally I do come up against someone who is incredibly sensitive and I always feel sad when that happens. Honestly.

I do not "hide behind my computer." My picture and real name are here for all to see, as are my websites and full contact information. I am exactly this way in person - if anything I am funnier. As opposed to your good self who provides neither photo, real name, nor website, nor contact info. If anyone is hiding it is you!

The fact that you are an "educator (who observes children for a living)" - wow that sounds creepy - makes you neither more right nor more wrong. I did consider your opinion expressed in your earlier post which had some nonsense to do with gays and single parents and I decided it was complete twaddle.

Best,
James
[/quote]

What a load of self-serving garbage. For someone who feels "sorry" for me you sure have a strange way of putting it. To clarify, I do observe children because that's my job. I try to find out who the kids in my class are so that I can try and meet their educational needs. You say that I'm "sensitive" and then go on to say that "I'm creepy" and these are the comments of someone who is hiding behind his computer because I can tell you for a fact that you wouldn't be saying this to my face. You say what I have to say is "twaddle" and yet offer absolutely nothing to back your claim. I come to the Café to discuss things like an adult and do appreciate those who are able to discuss things and agree to disagree. You seem to come here to make some point about what exactly? I've read your posts on this thread and I don't see much in the way of intellectual offerings. Rather I see a bunch of sarcasm, veiled judgements and not much else.

I stand behind my comments because this is the experience that I've had as an educator, through my professional training having received a Masters degree in education and as a magician of over thirty years. I don't say this to boast but instead to point out that I do seem to have some expertise in interacting with children. I would be curious to hear where your experience comes from. Let us know and perhaps we might be able to objectively judge your arguments on this topic. As for not knowing who I am...well I've been at the Café for a little while (1200 + posts) and have done many many transactions here at the Café as both a buyer and a seller. So if I prefer to not have my name or contact info out there for everyone to read that means I'm hiding behind my computer? Am I to presume that you looked up my personal information? That sounds rather odd don't you think? Were you planning on sending me a card?
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 06:25PM)
[quote]I do observe children because that's my job. I try to find out who the kids in my class are...[/quote]
Don't they give you a list of names?

[quote]I've read your posts on this thread and I don't see much in the way of intellectual offerings.[/quote]
As opposed to your nonsense about gays and single parents...and shock, horror... second marriages!

[quote]I can tell you for a fact that you wouldn't be saying this to my face.[/quote]
I really would tell this to your face or on the phone or by email! Give me a call - I don't hide behind a computer.

[quote]I would be curious to hear where your experience comes from.[/quote]
Umm, from actually performing for kids as opposed to "observing them."

Look Smartini, I really don't care if you share your info or not. It's just that you accused me of hiding behind a computer which is odd because my face, real name, and contact info is clear for all to see and you are the faceless, nameless poster.

I don't really want to argue with you Smartini, but I will respond to criticisms you throw my way.

Day 9
Message: Posted by: Clownboy (Mar 6, 2008 06:35PM)
I think what stirred the pudding was that Tom Riddle started the topic with the insinuation that those who seek out New and Latest products hide behind them.
This is ridiculous!
That is like saying that if you Don't wear a Tux and Top Hat your not a true Magician. Its all about Style and personality. I highly encourage any magician to stick with what works for them. I like to create routines with both but I do not hide behind them. I am first an Entertainer and second a Magician.
Its just unacceptable to slam those who like to collect or who like to try newer props by saying they hide behind them.

B

Posted: Mar 6, 2008 7:37pm
Jeff, I agree. James would say it to your face~
He is rude and obnoxious to everyone he comes in contact with. HAHA!

Brad
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 06:43PM)
Brad,

I think your signature should say: "Time's fun when you're having flies."
I hope you are not also an educator.

James
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 6, 2008 07:09PM)
"I think what stirred the pudding was that Tom Riddle started the topic with the insinuation that those who seek out New and Latest products hide behind them.
This is ridiculous!"

Where did I insinuate that Brad? I cannot find it anywhere in my post.
By the way, you don't stir pudding.......it damages the consistancy.

What, by the way, is Ridiculous? Please clarify. I think you must have stolen that word from my friend JR!
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 6, 2008 08:08PM)
Kimmo just won a trophy for the greatest kids entertainer in England, and he seems to think that the old props with a modern entertainer works the best, so who am I to argue with the champ. I also like his marketing approch too it is simply to be the best you can be, pass out your business cards, and your phone will ring.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 6, 2008 08:15PM)
"Kimmo just won a trophy for the greatest kids entertainer in England"

Actually, Al, I believe Kimmo won the WORLD championship children's entertainer award. There is a big difference, as England is only a small part of the world. I learnt that in history. The six top children's entertainers in the world were chosen to compete, and he won. We should indeed listen to the guv'nor!
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 6, 2008 08:33PM)
I've nothing against any kind of props that anyone might want to use - I just think it's the personality of the performer that counts. The thread was originally about whether children are different nowadays than in the past. I was going to post that I find children a lot better behaved and polite these days than they were 25 years ago when I started, but it occurs to me that I've probably just got a lot better at my job.

I've also learned over the years that rather than looking for the next best thing, you are far better off working with what you already have and polishing it further.
My new vent character Jambo, has been in my show for nearly a year now and I still don't feel I'm even halfway there with his routine yet. It's a constant honing process.


I don't take the 'World Champion' thing seriously at all - the best kids magicians in the world were probably out working rather than taking part in a competition in the North of England!! I really only entered it because I wanted to see if I could compete with the really prop heavy acts armed with nothing but a piece of rope, a puppet and a set of linking rings (in the event I ran out of time and didn't even use the rings!) I needed to prove to myself that I'd done the right thing when I ditched the big stuff. Of course, what is the right move for me does not make it right for anyone else!
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 6, 2008 08:35PM)
Yes, but does Kimmo have a "Masters in education and... 1,200+ posts"... hmmmm?

Has he "done many transactions here at the Café as both a buyer and a seller"?

Is Kimmo "a full-time educator (who observes children for a living)"?

No, I thought not.

I have to say, on the face of it Smartini has a much better resumé. And I for one would like to hear a lot more about the problems of performing for kids of second marriages.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 6, 2008 09:07PM)
Thank you Tom for the correction, and I will now defer to the worlds champion childrens entertainer Kimmo.
Message: Posted by: lou2 (Mar 7, 2008 01:11AM)
I've nothing against any kind of props that anyone might want to use - I just think it's the personality of the performer that counts. The thread was originally about whether children are different nowadays than in the past. I was going to post that I find children a lot better behaved and polite these days than they were 25 years ago when I started, but it occurs to me that I've probably just got a lot better at my job.

I've also learned over the years that rather than looking for the next best thing, you are far better off working with what you already have and polishing it further.
My new vent character Jambo, has been in my show for nearly a year now and I still don't feel I'm even halfway there with his routine yet. It's a constant honing process.

Hi,
I agree with the above this is probably the best bit of wisdom on this thread
lou
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 7, 2008 01:28AM)
James,

You continue to hide behind your computer...what this actually means isn't remaining private or anonymous but rather that you feel bold enough to say things to people that are rude or insulting and do so from the safety of your computer. And upon reading your posts I again see no intellectual discussion about the topic at hand but more rude and childish behaviour from a cyber bully. You say what you want when you want without regard for it being appropriate and then when someone calls you on it you blame the other person for being overly sensitive and throw in some more self serving comments on how you feel sorry for them. I'm sure that people who Google your name looking for business will be quite impressed with your ability to have respectful and intellectual dialogue with your magic peers. If you can't participate appropriately in the discussion then why participate at all.

I read Kimmo's comments and I see that he advocates using props that work for you whether they be old or new. I also appreciate that he doesn't take a very familiar take that everything in the UK is the most amazing thing ever.

Finally, I wonder about your choice of using the Hot Book on your avatar. Do you use this with children? Some would argue that using the old Hot Book is somewhat dated and that it sends the wrong message to the children you perform for. Also, I'm wondering how your 1980s Blues Brothers theme plays with children. What other effects do you find works with this theme?

Jeff Christensen
IBM Ring 92 Vancouver, Canada

ps. James, I'm going to be attending Mystery School again this October so let me know if you'd like to share a room.

pps. I don't have a problem with second marriages or gay marriages. In fact my Rabbi likes us to attend the weddings of those who come to our synagogue from the United States.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 7, 2008 05:32AM)
I agree with Calamari and Kimmo, that you can use what you want be it old, new or made yourself out of toilet rolls and sticky-back plastic. However, with the amount of effects out there it does seem rather odd that so many are using the latest props and ignoring the rest. Obviously, I can't say why this is but if there are those that think buying up all the latest props will make them a better performer they are wrong and if there are those that think the latest effects will make them unique they are also wrong as more folks have the latest effects than a lot of the older effects. (If everyone has the new stuff then it gets old very quickly).

I enjoyed James' original post. I thought he made a good point humourously. To me it seemed he was just making fun of the concept rather than Jeff, himself, but I can see how it could've been taken the wrong way. However, Jeff's reply seemed rather deliberately personal and it seemed to escalate from there. I hope you two can sort things out.

George
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 7, 2008 07:48AM)
I'm feeling in a generous mood. I'll share with you a thought. Magic and Music are similar.

If you were to add songs to your show - proper ones, the Sinatra touch - you would if you'd any sense, begin with the good, strong, easy to sing melodies. Wouldn't you?

No? Have you ever tried singing those production numbers, where the tune itself is illusive and the band playing what sounds like a different tune to your line? It's very difficult. Especially live. And yet it's a part and parcel of a top singer's repertoire.

Magic is similar and especially children's magic. There are really solid, easy, dependable effects most of us can do and it's almost impossible not to get a good reaction. Trouble is, they're a bit like those songs everyone can sing in their bath. Everyone does and as many point out here, children have seen those effects over and again.

It's not new! It's always happened. Magicians jump on the popular bandwagon and end up doing similar routines.

There are ways round this. Some exceptionally talented people actually come up with something NEW. But not many. Most of us exploit what's out there and there's a lot more out there if only you know where to find it. I am about to tell you.

In the UK, if you go to the various auctions which take place from time to time you may spot something old and neglected. You may not know what it is. Sometimes you get lucky. An old timer will point you in the right direction. I have been lucky like that several times.

Often the item is unpopular and never caught on with most magicians, not many were made and they only occasionally surface. But - they are the magical equivalent of the musical production number. Not easy to get anything out of. Strange sometimes. Bit off beat perhaps. Surreal. Maybe involving a play on words. British children love clever plays on words.

Whatever it is you buy it, ponder it, and find a way with it. Actually, anyone can do this if they've a mind. Usually it's a pro who succeeds and that just might be because the pro has more experience, has seen a bit more and has more opportunity to work it, stick with it and find the way with it in a comparatively shorter time than someone who might only be able to try it out occasionally.

Whatever the reason, it's usually the pro you see using it. And because there weren't many made, and even fewer have survived, the pro ends up with something unlikely to be found elsewhere in their patch. A little almost exclusive. certainly different.

Of course it's old and a lot of people find old material unattractive. And of course old material often doesn't work itself. That's why these things end up unwanted. Useless. Doesn't work. Waste of time.

If you ever hear people passing those sort of comments, take a closer look and think hard. They may well be right. Impractical props have always entered the market. But it could just be that here is another one for the experienced pro and which the 'No Skill Required' boys can't use.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 7, 2008 09:49AM)
George,

As soon as I realized just how upset he was, I tried to help Smartini.

In my previous post I was singing his praises and declared that on the face of it he has a better resumé than the World Champion of Children's Magic, Kimmo.

But he's ruined it by admitting he is going to Mystery School for the second time. Now nobody will now believe he is a successful magician.

And the whole Google thing is embarrassing. I did Google my name and it goes straight to my website detailing all my wonderful shows at the White House and for Hillary Clinton and Vice President Cheney and all the lovely reviews from my many other wonderful clients.

Alas, when I Googled Great Smartini, it does indeed go to a Magic Café thread so I can see why he was worried about that.

But I am glad he mentioned my use of the Hot Book, I was first advised to use it by a much older magician, Mark Lewis, and despite my initial reservations it has been a huge success. Which brings us back nicely to the subject at hand that it is not whether a prop is old or new, but whether the performer can weave it into his/her show in an entertaining manner.

I hope we can now get back to the thread. Smartini's latest whinge has distracted us from Tony's excellent points.

Best,
James

P.S. I notice the Clownboy has quietly tried to fix his signature by correcting the spelling of "flies." Unfortunately, he was unable to correct the other mistakes. If he simply copied and pasted my helpful correction all would be well. Perhaps our resident educator, Smartini, could show him how to do that.
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Mar 7, 2008 10:24AM)
James you should be banned from this board, what you mentioned Mark Lewis's name & admitted to using the politically incorrect hot book in the same thread. Next thing you will be telling everyone you use the horribly indiscriminate Disecto in your kid's show program(shhhh do not tell anyone I do).
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 7, 2008 10:30AM)
"But I am glad he mentioned my use of the Hot Book, I was first advised to use it by a much older magician, Mark Lewis, and despite my initial reservations it has been a huge success"

This really surprises me. I have always thought Mr. Lewis was rather a prude, and would not advocate the use of fire in a performance for children. When you say "much older" James, are we talking mid to late 70's? He was quite elderly when I was a little boy and bought a Svengali pack from him at The Ideal Home Exhibition in Earl's Court. When I got home, the cards were all soiled, and it was obviously a used deck. I felt I had been conned. However, it was a very good trick, but I could never do it as well as he did. Come to think of it, and back to topic, the Svengali is a trick that is as good today as it was 40 years ago. However, it is only good when it is performed well. Most of the millions sold to children over the years are still collecting dust in nursery cupboards!
Message: Posted by: calamari (Mar 7, 2008 11:10AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-06 18:27, Al Angello wrote:
Rich
I must respectfully disagree with you, magicians are inventing, new improved, better, biger magic tricks all the time, and along with new improved marketing techniques, soon talent will be totally unnecessary.
[/quote]

Al, you could be right, talent! who needs talent? LOL
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 7, 2008 11:10AM)
Now you're taking us back Tom. I remember the Svengali decks. There was a man in England I used to fall across in one town after another. I can see him now but can't remember his name. Always used to find him in the very best departmental stores. never the cheap ones. Every town had it's exclusive departmental store in those days. Excellent places to eat, they had Butteries for light meals and proper restaurants, usually on the top floor affording splendid views across the town. And they sported live music too. A trio or quartet.

And they had uniformed commissionairs on all the doors, bidding one good morning or good afternoon and opening and closing the doors and keeping out the riff-raff. My word, could that fellow demonstrate Svengali packs. Brilliant. Used to hand them the deck. Astonishing nerve. But he couldn't half sell them. Had them queueing with money in their hands. Charming fellow. Scotsman. Not Pat Page. It'll come to me.

And there was another fellow, used to work down in the basement amongst the d-i-y products demonstrating French polish. He would stain a piece of very ordinary timber and then begin to polish it and in no time had a very good finish on it. And he had a lovely little touch to show people how it would look after a bit of work..

He had a magnificent Kipper Box - a rough wooden box in which kippers were transported - and he must have been polishing that box for years. He had built up a finish on it like a sheet of plate glass. Astonishing.

In fact the Kipper Box man had a resemblance to the Svengali Pack man. they could have been Uncle and Nephew. Quite excellent and so polite. Well, of course one would have to be in those places. terribly up market. I worked Punch & Judy in a number of them though not as I recall when the Kipper Box and Svengali Pack men were there.

Now what was his name? And I wonder whatever happened to him. Just didn't see him any longer. Nor, curiously. the Kipper Box man either.

Probably dead by now.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 7, 2008 11:23AM)
Was his name David Cronin? Worked for many years in Harrods. Always wore a pinstripe suit. Charming man. He also used to sell a fluid at the exhibitions that was a miracle cleaner for spectacles.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 7, 2008 11:31AM)
No, I don't think so. doesn't ring a bell.

There was Johnny Neptune, a lovely fellow who did a bit of allsorts including Svengali packs. he was the first demonstrator of non-stick pans when they first hit the UK. That's going back a bit.

Good magician too. And an excellent and informative magical auctioneer.

He died far too young.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 7, 2008 11:38AM)
You know this talk of Svengali pitchmen has me questioning my own original statement that Mark Lewis encouraged me to use the Hot Book. I don't think it was Mr. Lewis. It was another wise old magician whose name now escapes me.

But I hope I can remember the name, because if there was one trick I would try to rescue from a burning house it would be the Hot Book.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 7, 2008 11:45AM)
Billy McComb had a lot of fun with his. was it he?
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 7, 2008 12:28PM)
I find it quite interesting how many posts actually have nothing whatsoever to do with the original post which was on the use of classic magic props versus newer/updated props. My original response was able to present many sides of this including reinforcing the importance of one's presentational skills.

From here it goes over to folks who are unable to deal with the topic and turn it into something that requires sarcasm, insults. What can you say when this type of behaviour is apparently the norm at the Café and nobody is willing to speak up about it? Why are the people involved in this thread unable to respect other ways of thinking that are different than their own. Are they not willing to engage in meaningful dialogue because they can't support their claims. I share my background and experiences which are real to me and I get told that I'm "creepy" and other than Brad nobody has a problem with it. I guess I don't understand how my fellow magicians don't find this comment offensive and over the line.

To go back to the thought that children are different...the world is in a constant state of change. Things are vastly different than they were in the past. This is the same in nearly every aspect of society and so why do we think that children remain the same while everything else around them has changed? This would seem to be illogical. Why would our children remain in a bubble and unaffected by change? I would argue that this has relevance when presenting magic to children.

I'm looking forward to see if my thoughts posted above are considered and respectfully discussed or if more insults and sarcasm are needed.

jeff
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 7, 2008 01:01PM)
I think some of us have been marking time making small talk awaiting your return. And you have.

Perhaps the difference here Jeff - and I'm going back to some your original thoughts - is that no matter what the influences and effects you detect in children from difficult backgrounds , what we fins when entertaining them is that they behave and react - in the main - like children always have and they respond to the same classic material as children did generations ago.

The reason I would hope is that for a magic hour - as it is here - whatever the child's concerns, they leave them behind as they become enthralled in wonderland of which they are watching through a keyhole but are there, taking part.

That is what all good theatre is about. Suspension of belief or, for the cynics - suspension of disbelief.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 7, 2008 01:02PM)
Smartini,

If there was any evidence you actually perform magic for children, you might be taken more seriously.

Also, you fail to provide any concrete examples to support your thesis that kids with gay parents or divorced parents (or second marriage parents) react any differently to magic shows than the children of "traditional" families.

You have read posts by plenty of magicians on this thread (who do have experience performing for kids on a weekly basis) repeatedly tell you that kids of today fundamentally enjoy the same principles of good entertainment that they always have.

Unfortunately your hyper-sensitivity and lack of a sense of humor prevent you from seeing any value in the good discussion that is taking place.

You are amongst some of the world's greatest children's entertainers here, including a world champion for goodness sakes, and all you can do is whine that nobody except for Clownboy is taking you seriously.

Best,
James

P.S. I'm glad you've dropped the whole "hiding behind the computer" thing. That was quite daft wasn't it.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 7, 2008 01:05PM)
I got caught trying to correct this piece. this is what I intended to say.

I think some of us have been marking time making small talk awaiting your return. And you have.

Perhaps the difference here Jeff - and I'm going back to some your of original thoughts - is that no matter what the influences and effects you detect in children from difficult backgrounds , what we find when entertaining them is that they behave and react - in the main - like children always have and they respond to the same classic material as children did generations ago.

The reason I would hope is that for a magic hour - as it is here - whatever the child's concerns, they leave them behind as they become enthralled in wonderland of which they are watching not through a keyhole but are there, taking part.

That is what all good theatre is about. Suspension of belief or, for the cynics - suspension of disbelief.
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Mar 7, 2008 01:19PM)
I can't tell you what the kid's were like 40 years ago, I wasn't performing for them then I would have been 7. I do know what I perform for them now though & several of the effects that I do were being perormed much more than 40 years ago. For Kids I do effects or presentations that must always generate either excitement, applause or some type of emotion if it does not, then it is removed or changed till it does. The effect is nothing the presentation is everything, I have to say that as I think back about performing for kids that I know that are of divorced, gay or even abusive parents I really do not recall their reactions being significantly differant then those of any other child, but that is just my observation.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 7, 2008 01:37PM)
I have to say that I am it total agreement with Smartini. It is really discraceful the way so many of you are not sticking to my original topic. Kindly behave yourselves!!

Now, these are my observations. I will agree that society is changing constantly. However, as said in my original post, a child is a child is a child. During the first nine years of their lives, they decide what makes them laugh, and what amazes them. The grown ups do not decide for them. I truly believe that if a young child today was to see a show by Harold Taylor(who performed for all the Royals like Charles and Andrew when they were little boys), he or she would have as much fun as if they were to see Silly Billy, Kimmo or David Ginn. Father Christmas(Santa) is the same to a child as he always was. A traditional Punch and Judy show is the same as it was 100 years ago. It is all about presentation. It has little to do with tricks. It is all about magic.....the magic radiated by the performer and seen through the eyes of a young child.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 7, 2008 01:52PM)
I made this point before but it seems to have been missed (maybe due to it's lack of sarcasm!):There will be a few things you may have to change in your presentation but the concepts and techniques remain the same. Just as old props can be still relevant today the same is true vica-versa.

Would a child from 50 years ago not relate to an over-sized wand or a wolf stealing chickens from a coop (Maybe that one would've been more relevant in yester-year!)

George
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Mar 7, 2008 01:54PM)
James,

Actually, while correcting grammar, your statement should say "if there WERE any evidence you actually perform magic for children", not "WAS any". Subjunctive tense can be tricky.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 7, 2008 02:07PM)
There you go again Steve! Discraceful! Just as we were getting back on topic. Good points George.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 7, 2008 02:13PM)
Steve,

While I am not incapable of making a grammatical error, I think on this occasion I am correct!

"any evidence" is an uncountable therefore it should be treated as the singular.

If there was one piece of evidence...
NOT If there were one piece of evidence...

But you are right that subjective tense can be tricky!

Where is Al when you need him - isn't he a Grammar Host?

Best,
James

Posted: Mar 7, 2008 3:16pm
George,

As always, your skill at turning a concept inside out to examine it from all sides leaves me feeling dizzy... and humbled in the presence of genius.

James
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Mar 7, 2008 02:20PM)
Well, if, as you claim, there is truly no evidence of this event occuring, then the subjunctive tense should be used. Subjunctive tense has nothing to do with the plurality of the subject.

And, from past dealings online with you, James, I'm sure you are humbled quite often.

Steve
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 7, 2008 02:29PM)
Steve,

Im afraid I don't have any memory of you, so I have no idea what you are talking about. I must have disagreed with something you said in the past and you have harbored negative feelings ever since. Let it go, dear boy. Life is too short! You're starting to sound like poor Smartini.

While discussions about the subjunctive tense are quite fascinating, do you have anything of substance to add to this particular conversation? Otherwise, Smartini might accuse you of hiding behind a computer.

Best,
James
Message: Posted by: calamari (Mar 7, 2008 03:02PM)
The title of this thread is spot on.
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Mar 7, 2008 03:21PM)
No, my good friend Smartini (Jeff) wouldn't accuse me of doing that.

Of course my statement concerning your grammatical error are correct, James. I'm more highly-educated than you, and my record shows an IQ of 168.

My thoughts on the subject are, that if children are the same today as they were 40 years ago as far as what type and style of entertainment they enjoy, I would love for you to place a 10-year-old child in front of a television and see how much enjoyment they would garner from watching "Leave It To Beaver" or another show from that genre...something about 40 years old. See how long they'll sit before they ask "why is this not in color?", and get up to go play a HIGHLY-colored videogame with lots of fast motion, quick cuts, interspersed with LOUD commercials.

Entertainment that children desire these days is far different from the days of old. And, my wife is a degreed educator, as well, and she can confirm that.

And, there are no Café members who harbor (harbour for the non-Americans here) ill feelings toward you, James. We just think you're a little full of yourself and we don't like you at all and wish you would set fire to yourself with that hot book.

Steve
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 7, 2008 03:26PM)
Hi again James

You seemed like such laid back cheerful kind of guy the couple times I conversed with you in Barry's magic shop. Thank god I never inspired your wrath! In all seriousness, your passion is appreciated.

Denny Haney and I had this discussion of kids in his shop a couple years ago. He just kind of knodded his head as I ranted on about "kids today". I was a neophyte just getting into performing for kids. I wanted to run out and buy every Wolf's prop I could get so I could stay with the times. Denny then handed me an editorial on kids by a kid show magician that had about 15 years of experience.

The article went on to rant about the impatience, disrespect, know it all, and various other twisted maladies of kids today. I read the article and said to Denny..."yes...that's it!...kids today are just a different breed!" He then handed me the headline of the article. It read something like "Challenges of today's child for magicians...March 1912."

I walked out of the shop with no new props...just a copy of Silly Billy's book and the Fitzke trilogy. And for further humbling he later handed me a recent article from the Washington Post on one of the DC areas most demanded and well paid kids entertainers,,,The Great Zuchini. Give it a read.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/18/AR2006011801434_pf.html

If you can't load the link do a Google search on "the peekaboo paradox" and you'll find it. It's a long read but quite enlightening. Now...back to cranial/character jousting!
Message: Posted by: revlovejoy (Mar 7, 2008 03:57PM)
In this long thread, I haven't seen any discussion/debate on whether anyone is facing issues related to a younger generation being less impressed by certain effects because they are more world-wise than previous generations. This is certainly true of adults, isn't it? As technology became more "common knowledge," certain methods had to change.

Is there a particular challenge in magic when so many gadgets and gizmos are part of ever day life for children in the Western world that seem to be magical in and of themselves? I posted a question here a coupel weeks ago on routines for wardrobe changing dolls, and 4 days later someone gave my daughter a princess doll with a magic wand that not only changes the color of the glowing jewel on a pendant, but the actual dress color as well.

Any thoughts on that aspect of "changing times?"
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 7, 2008 04:20PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-07 16:21, Stevethomas wrote:
I'm more highly-educated than you, and my record shows an IQ of 168.
[/quote]

Congratulations!!

Interesting point, Rev. When special effects where in their youth David Nixon tried to combine them with magic. When special effects became more common and it became evident that you could do anything with them they was (he he) then considered cheating. The fact that people often don't believe what they see on TV will often make live magic more special.

Steve Axtell's animatronics. Robert Houdin's (have I said his name right?) clockwork creations. It seems that magicians have often embraced new technology rather than it working against them. Whatever's new we can always slip a few magiciany things in to make it different from the technology you see in the high street etc

I think, on the whole, there will be very unique effects where this might be a factor however more often than not it won't be an issue.

George
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 7, 2008 04:24PM)
Of course there are certain things that will no longer seem magical due to advances in technology. If you make the lid rise on a box with no hands you will not impress anyone in this day and age of tiny motors, remote control etc. But to make the box float seemingly unsupported is still magical. Anti gravity will certainly screw some things up for us be we are not quite there yet.

Until our minds evolve to another plane, which hasn't really changed in over 100,000 years the basic tenets of entertainment are the same today as they were a hundred or probably even 1000 years ago. Gun acts are not so cool with kids now because of political correctness but we can shoot with a Harry Potter wand instead. Change is inevitable but it is perceptions that change, not so much the nature of people themselves. We delight in the self deprecation of others as we did a hundred years ago. We love our minds to be fooled as long as we are not made to feel or look like fools.

We are ispired by mystery and intrigue because we want and need to know there are things in the world that we can discover and contemplate. We still love to laugh because it feels good. Comedic lines that killed 50 years ago fall flat today but "comedy" is larger than ever! We have TV channels dedicated to it.Human nature has not yet changed.
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 7, 2008 04:38PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-07 14:02, James Munton wrote:
Smartini,

If there was any evidence you actually perform magic for children, you might be taken more seriously.

Since I only do school shows and they don't post this information on the web I can offer you some weblinks which I offer as evidence that I actually do perform for children. For what purpose would I come to the Little Darlings section of The Magic Café if I didn't perform magic for children. This is supposed to be magicians helping magicians and apparently I need to prove myself to your before any of my ideas can be seriously considered.

http://www.cityofportmoody.com/NR/rdonlyres/ECA7CCBF-B686-4794-A04D-2CD758CD71E4/69330/2007FallFocus.pdf
City of Chilliwack - Events
Description: The Vancouver Whitecap Women take on the Mile High Edge in league action July ... Reading Magic with The Great Smartini (Yarrow), Jul 12, 2007 ...
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The Tri-City News - THINGS TO DO GUIDE: Spring-loaded with spirit
8 Feb 2008 ... Market & Magic. Stock up on Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day gifts ... including a magic show with the Great Smartini, followed by a ...
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The Tri-City News - Spring-loaded with spirit TODAY: Friday, Feb. 8
From 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. at the Terry Fox Library (2470 Mary Hill Rd.) is a reading celebration, including a magic show with the Great Smartini, followed by a ...
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Things to Do in Vancouver - special events in vancouver, british ...
Vancouver Pulbic Library presents HOLIDAY MAGIC WITH THE GREAT SMARTINI. Get a magical start to the holiday seaon at the Oakridge Library. ...
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Events
8 Feb 2008 ... Terry Fox Library hosts a free magic show with the Great Smartini at 1:30 p.m. Participants will be able to enjoy a magical celebration of ...
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Also, you fail to provide any concrete examples to support your thesis that kids with gay parents or divorced parents (or second marriage parents) react any differently to magic shows than the children of "traditional" families.

I didn't say they reacted differently but rather that the structure of families had changed and accordingly so have children. Does this mean that there isn't anything the same about them...no but they have changed. Noting the change in family structure doesn't mean that I have any problem with second marriages, gay marriage and so on. Just noting the difference that's all. You can take a child's understanding of technology and when children start showing their parents how to program a VCR, play a video game and so on then I would say that is evidence of a change. If we were to go back in time how many times would the child have more expertise than an adult.

You have read posts by plenty of magicians on this thread (who do have experience performing for kids on a weekly basis) repeatedly tell you that kids of today fundamentally enjoy the same principles of good entertainment that they always have.

The principles of good entertainment we agree upon if we also include reactions beyond just that of laughter and applause. Also, just because a number of experienced magicians say something doesn't make it so. Perhaps their observations aren't very carefully considered or reflective in nature. Some folks use Kimmo's win as evidence to support their position. The problem with this is that this is a flawed argument form. There is no direct connection between the props Kimmo uses and that he won. The props just came along for the ride because Kimmo is obviously a very fine performer. Irregardless of that Kimmo could have just as well have used his more modern props and won. So what you have is a flawed argument form where just because your conclusion is correct your argument is flawed because there is no way to determine the validity of the premises for the argument. The form is basically if A then B and from this you draw the conclusion B therefore A. The problem is that B can still occur without A being present/truthful.

Unfortunately your hyper-sensitivity and lack of a sense of humor prevent you from seeing any value in the good discussion that is taking place.

My hypersensitivity as you call it is a most natural response when someone intentionally belittles the ideas of another. Should I be hypersensitive when you call me "creepy?" Doing my job as an educator means that I need to do more than just know their names on a list. I also need to know what their families are like, how they interact with others as well as be able to assess their abilities in a number of learning outcomes as decreed by our government. This involves observing them and their work. And you call this "creepy." Again I don't feel that I'm being hypersensitive but rather that you're acting inappropriately and are doing so from behind your computer. Calling someone "creepy" to their face would likely get you a blow to the head as Monty Python would put it. Call me daft but I think that most people who read your post would find that offensive.

Finally, your posts and my responses remind me of something I've always found insightful...it goes something like..."Never wrestle with a pig. You both end up dirty and the pig seems to like it."



[/quote]
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 7, 2008 04:39PM)
Wow, IQ of 168, really shows the injustice of standardized testing. Steve, please take the time to read the great Zuchini article and tell me how much kids needs and wants have changed. I can't believe you'd compare the Beav to todays television shows as a comparison. Might as well compare playstation to playstation3. "Hey kid you want this 3 week old candy bar with the bugs..or this nice new one?" If you asked a kid if he wants a new Playstation or a magician at his party...yea..guess what...ain't nobody here workin that party!

Let's keep things in perspective. I know people that can entertain kids by making faces and doing voices for hours. And if you gave them the choice of playing a video game after they are engaged in that...the video game loses every time. Capture a kids heart and you capture it's mind. Stimulate a kids optical nerve and you merely hypnotize him..temporarily.

Posted: Mar 7, 2008 6:01pm
I know that being a father carries very little clout in this thread of such erudity but. My 3 y/o's favorite things are playing trains, cars and stacking blocks and logs and then knocking them down, playing in the water, slides..etc. Why is watching television his least favorite activity? Because I actually do the things he loves with him and I engage him to think and interact.

When I go to visit my nieces and nephews that all they do at home is watch TV and play video....all they want to do when I'm there is "uncle john...make the puppets talk...make those faces...make those voices...etc." Like I said before...capture their heart and everything else follows.

Teaching is failing in so many ways today because teachers are scared to death to capture childrens hearts...no hugs...no touching...afraid to express feelings and here feelings being expressed. Nobody wants the possible ramifications of all that. Man I wish I hadn't gotten started down this path...grrrr Yea I might end up in court one day for performing fantasy magician but I bet I have a lot of really cool little character witnesses.
Message: Posted by: Clownboy (Mar 7, 2008 05:05PM)
Say James.... I've heard Gasoline works well with Fire Books.
Go ahead and try it out!


B
:firedevil:
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 7, 2008 05:07PM)
[quote]
Of course my statement concerning your grammatical error are correct, James. I'm more highly-educated than you, and my record shows an IQ of 168.

[/quote]

I've no idea what my IQ is, but I do know that there are at least 2 grammatical errors in the above sentence.

By the way, that was a joke! It's time we lightened up a bit.

I thought that James' original comments on Smartini's post were nothing more than a bit of good natured ribbing - just like the comments about me performing in my trunks! It's time we learned to take these sort of comments on the chin and just give back as good as we get, without taking offense.

Back to topic - as far as kids are concerned, they like to LAUGH!! That will never change. Fifty years ago we had snakes popping out of baskets, now we have Waccoons popping out of boxes - what's the difference??
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 7, 2008 05:19PM)
"Fifty years ago we had snakes popping out of baskets, now we have Waccoons popping out of boxes - what's the difference??"

Kimmo.........I cannot believe you do not know the difference between a snake and a waccoon. You may be a world champion, but you are certainly lacking in the academic department!
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 7, 2008 05:20PM)
I found at least 2 as well...maybe 3. I'm as smart as Kimmo! Well maybe not but I can't agree more on the topic of laughter. If kids have changed so much why do farts still crack them up?
Message: Posted by: Wizzo the wizard (Mar 7, 2008 05:46PM)
Hey Kimmo,
I bet you look better in trunks than I do. I will be seeing you at kidology. And I will buy you a drink and if George is there as well I will also buy him one.
Cheers
Louis
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 7, 2008 05:52PM)
On 2008-03-07 18:07, kimmo wrote:

[/quote]

I thought that James' original comments on Smartini's post were nothing more than a bit of good natured ribbing - just like the comments about me performing in my trunks! It's time we learned to take these sort of comments on the chin and just give back as good as we get, without taking offense.


[/quote]

Kimmo

You're quite right about need to lighten things up but I still have a problem with James making the comment "creepy" as its just too much. If he was able to be big enough to retract that comment or acknowledge that it isn't appropriate then I might be able to lighten up and keep to the topic. I just find it frustrating when people don't add anything constructive to the conversation and want to use the Café to put down others. I'm trying to participate in a discussion and will honestly consider the thoughts of others as this helps all of us grow in the art of magic. Jokes and putdowns at the expense of others is something we don't need to do with our volunteer helpers or our fellow magicians.

jeff
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 7, 2008 06:36PM)
Hi Louis, I'll be there. That's very kind of you. I have been known to have a tipple or 2!

George
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Mar 7, 2008 06:38PM)
Tom & Tony
They asked me to be a grammar host so I can get help with my grammar. I can't tell you how many of my friends who have PMed me just to correct my grammar. It has been a real learning experience, and I thank the magic Café for giving me the oportunity to learn what the good sisters of St. Joseph were unable to do. Just for the record I do have a tripple digit IQ but not much more than that.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Mar 7, 2008 06:57PM)
I'm suprised how much agreement there is on such a heated thread! There seems too major points being made.

1) Magicians often throw away or reject ideas and effects because they are 'old' when really they are just as relevant as they ever were.

2) Magicians often keep 'old' effects and ideas when they are no longer relevant.

The powder blue suit needs to go....the invisible deck can stay.
The racist chinaman presentation needs to go...the paper balls over the head is still gold.

The key is being aware of BOTH history and modern culture so you can create the best act for your audience.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 7, 2008 07:13PM)
I'm not sure how high my IQ is but I do have other talents, for instance; I can make this great noise when I bash an empty biscuit tin on my head.

Ha, Nick, you'll never believe this but out of the old-timers in my area one wears a powder blue suit and another does a chinese act!

George
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 7, 2008 07:43PM)
I have an interesting observation. By my calculation(and I have an EXTREMELEY high I.Q.), I realise that there are one quarter of the number of posts sofar on this thread than there are on Steve Axtell's Animatronics thread. Does this mean that a quarter of those posting on the LD are in favour of using the traditional props, and three quarters of those posting are more in favour of the newer and more expensive inventions?

I would also be interested if we could play with time. If someone was to use an animatronics puppet or a remote contol (Sean Bogata) floating hank in the 1940's, I have no doubt the children would be flaberghasted(sp?). Today, they might be a little bit impressed. In 10 years, I would suggest they might be very unimpressed. However...linking rings, RRR, and Chop Cup will still amaze the little ones a century from now.....providing they are performed well.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 7, 2008 08:14PM)
I think your extremely high IQ must be busy tackling more important matters, Tom, as that is the most illogical mathematical deduction I've ever heard!
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 7, 2008 10:38PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-07 20:43, Tom Riddle wrote:
I have an interesting observation. By my calculation(and I have an EXTREMELEY high I.Q.), I realise that there are one quarter of the number of posts sofar on this thread than there are on Steve Axtell's Animatronics thread. Does this mean that a quarter of those posting on the LD are in favour of using the traditional props, and three quarters of those posting are more in favour of the newer and more expensive inventions?

I would also be interested if we could play with time. If someone was to use an animatronics puppet or a remote contol (Sean Bogata) floating hank in the 1940's, I have no doubt the children would be flaberghasted(sp?). Today, they might be a little bit impressed. In 10 years, I would suggest they might be very unimpressed. However...linking rings, RRR, and Chop Cup will still amaze the little ones a century from now.....providing they are performed well.
[/quote]

I'd say that the prop that had the best presentation would be the one that is most impressive. The prop is the tool and the magician is the carpenter.

For myself, I'd much rather see the floating hank than the linking rings, Run Rabbit Run or the chop cup. Unless the chop cup was the cup and ball routine of Master Payne. As for the RRR I would go for the Run Wolf Run update from Wolfs Magic which is in my opinion the best ever made. The linking rings have never been my cup of tea and I've yet to see a routine that has ever been that impressive.
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Mar 7, 2008 10:56PM)
On those pesky Linking Rings, I think Harry Anderson said it best when he commented, "if you're gonna do the linking rings, hook 'em together, take 'em apart and move on to something they'll actually give a $**t about!". Enough said.

Steve
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 7, 2008 11:08PM)
That's an absolutely hilarious quote from a magician of some stature. I have to say I couldn't agree more!
Message: Posted by: Wizzo the wizard (Mar 8, 2008 01:51AM)
Now I know that Geroge will be at Kidology I had better start saving up my pennies.
See you there George.
Louis
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 8, 2008 04:12AM)
Run Wolf Run:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xNNbMbImaU

The Linking Rings:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrRoArCRb-U


Once again, It's all about the PERFORMANCE, not the props!! It will take a lot more work and a hell of a lot more skill to get a reaction from the linking rings, but a good routine will thrill and entertain young and old alike. It's one of those tricks that everyone thinks they know how it's done, so when they see it done well they really sit up and take notice.

To be honest, I have yet to see a video of any Wolf Magic prop that has blown me away (that's down to the performer of course, I'm not knocking Chance's stuff, which is the best made in the world)

Posted: Mar 8, 2008 5:47am
I found a far better version of RWR here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crd6yXXO6e8

Great routine for kids - but pretty much identical to what kids entertainers were doing with RRR 50 years ago.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Mar 8, 2008 05:12AM)
I personally don't think that RRR is a particularly good bit of magic. It's not very amazing and most performances I see tend to be quite repetive and boring.

Give me a good die box any day :)
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Mar 8, 2008 10:13AM)
I have to agree that Billy Whizz does a great job with all of his magic. Again it's all in the routine and not in the prop. I've seen the other clip of RWR that's on youtube and to be honest the routine was terrible and I didn't feel there was anything good at all about it.

For the record, I use a Kovari Turbo Bunny, which is probably over 20 years old. Combined with a modified Supreme effect, and it is the routine in my show that gets the best reaction and the kids are very entertained. Again, it's the routine and bits of business that do it for me.

JoJo
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 8, 2008 10:13AM)
"I personally don't think that RRR is a particularly good bit of magic. It's not very amazing"

I don't think, Nicholas, it was ever meant to be a particularly good bit of magic, unlike the linking rings. However, with the right presentation, it can become a masterpiece. We are talking about entertaining young children here, where laughing, shouting and having fun are far more important than being mystified IMHO. This is what makes RRR one of the classics of children's entertainment.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Mar 8, 2008 12:05PM)
JR's ring routine: My opinions

As a parent: I enjoyed that fact that it didn't "talk down" to the children. The music was a nice touch, although not my cup of tea. Totally non-offensive and safe.

As a magician: Technique could have been better.

RJ's ring routine:

As a parent: Some of the material was too quick and hard to follow for my young children. Some jokes were questionable.

As a magician: Technique was great, routine was captivating and edgy.

The difference between the two were the intended audiences and therefore can't really be compared.

I agree with what has been said before that it is about the performance rather than the props.

Day 8
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 8, 2008 01:55PM)
I like Run Wolf Run now I've seen it. BUT............

Neither of those two videos do it any favours. I don't know who these characters are or what else they do but both could not handle that prop for toffee.

Terrible. Awful. They showed not the slightest understanding of children's entertainment nor how to get anything out of the prop. All they got was noise and in the first video noise that was not controlled.

The second video the guy gained control but it looked as if he had gained it by accident.

Why don't you allow a British children's entertainer to show you how to use these type of props to best effect whilst keeping complete control over the audience.

It demonstrates again this feeling - I hope it is not seen as British prejudice - but this feeling that so many in America buy expensive props and haven't the first clue how to use them apart from following the written instructions.

I can only tell you that any British primary school teacher would not be booking either of those two on that showing.

My Aunt Jane could do better than that and she's been dead for 20 years.
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 8, 2008 02:11PM)
More British ego clearly showing through. I know it's supposed to be funny but I guess I just don't get it. I love Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Benny Hill and even On the Buses but this British children's entertainer superiority thing just wears a little thin. It sounds like a much overused kid show line that needs to just go away.

I noticed on another Little Darlings thread that world champion Kimmo is considering purchasing one of the new Axtell animatronic puppets. This seems to challenge the theory that classic props are the only way to go. If its good enough for a world champion then...hmmm.

Finally, as for Wolfs Magic stuff not being used well...just check out any of demos from Arthur Atsma and you will see the potential that these props have. Again, we all know and acknowledge that its not the prop its the magician who makes them come to life.

jeff
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 8, 2008 02:25PM)
No Jeff. You misread us. Truly you do. I am not being funny. I mean it.

I wish I didn't. I haven't yet seen a any video of any children's entertainers your side of the pond who could hold a candle to even retired geriatrics in the UK.

What I am hoping is that someone WILL direct me to quality. Good heavens. A country the size of America must have ONE decent children's entertainer, surely to goodness.

But so far they are not turning up. Perhaps the really good ones are also the very sensible ones and they don't go posting rubbish routines on You Tube.

You are a wonderfully tolerant lot over there and so polite. Absolute rubbish videos are posted and everyone gushes over how wonderful they are. We know you don't mean it. Might be better not to encourage it.

Now come along Jeff. With an IQ of 168 you should know.

Where are these good children's entertainers?
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 8, 2008 02:41PM)
I'd disagree with Tony on the Billy Wiz clip - I thought that was a good performance of RWR. It's not the kind of prop I use, so I'd be interested to hear Tony's thoughts on how to present it correctly.

I LOVE the four ring routine that I posted earlier - as has been mentioned, that was a family show rather than a kid's performance but I still think it would work at a children's show with very few changes.

As far as american entertainers go - I love David Ginn, Ken Scott and Danny Hustle among many others. Years ago I always thought that kids entertainers in America were far better than in England, mainly because I suppose we only saw the very best of them over here. With YouTube, I've come to realise that decent kids entertainers are few and far between on BOTH sides of the Atlantic! Customer expectations are low and it's easy to get work whether you are any good or not.


Smartini - do you have any links to the Arthur Atsma vids? I've seen the demo of Wacky Waccoon that comes with the prop, but that is a little flat due to having no audience present.

As far as the animatronic characters go - I think they are great!! And I love my remote drawing board!! I'm a magician - I like to play with toys!

However, I see the remote board as a little in-joke with the parents!! I don't think the fact that you can walk away from it means ANYTHING to the kids! They barely even comment on it - they just interact as they did with the standard board.
Parents LOVE it though - and that is why I'd consider having an animatronic puppet in the act. As I've said on the thread in question, I would use the hands-free puppet sparingly, preferring to give the best lines to a 'real' puppet that I can get more expression out of.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 8, 2008 03:04PM)
Really and truly I would need to show you Kimmo and if you have one and wish to play around with it I will happily help in any way.

It needs careful thought, a developing and building routine, economy of moves keeping hands and arms well clear, audience control so you let them away and scoop them in like a sheepdog and it needs a climax, false call and finish.

It would then look an entirely different effect.

It seems to have on the video showing a possible flaw. The wolf and the artwork generally don't appear to reach. Now, in life that may not be quite so evident. Size is not of any great consequence. It's visibility which matters and I could show you as I have no doubt you could show me, many big British effects which you can see but don't reach. Conversely, several quite small table toppers do reach a long way. Clear as a bell.

I've looked on the website and unless I am not seeing straight, the wolf is an odd replica,a peculiar angle - not dead straight on which for clarity is essential - with only one eye showing and that appears to look like a dead eye. A circle without a pupil or iris.

Might be a problem in the reproduction and not evident in life, of course.

I would say the original Run Rabbit Run, small as it is by comparison, and with the rabbit facing front and with it's clearly visible two ears sticking up, that is far more visible and useful than the Wolf version. You can clearly see that from the back of a hall and follow all the action.

That's how it appears to me and as most people decide to buy from what is shown on the internet, then others too may have similar reservation based on the visuals.
Message: Posted by: Lewis Carroll (Mar 8, 2008 04:56PM)
Tony James wrote:

"I wish I didn't. I haven't yet seen a any video of any children's entertainers your side of the pond who could hold a candle to even retired geriatrics in the UK."

Have not been on the Magic Café for a very long time, but just had the feeling of "being referred to".

Ah well.
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Mar 8, 2008 05:03PM)
Don't any of you have lives? I don't always agree with Calamari, but he's right, the title of this thread is spot on. I thought you were all drunk while I was reading it.
It's like watching monkeys pick through their own crap and eating the undigested peanuts.
(which they're apt to do after they've gone insane in a zoo)
Why don't you ***s go and rehearse your lines or something?
BTW: I'm still using gags as old as Mother Rome. Children haven't changed.
:)
GET BACK TO WORK!
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 8, 2008 05:11PM)
"BTW: I'm still using gags as old as Mother Rome. Children haven't changed."

I am glad you agree with me, Chris, that children haven't changed. Thank you also for getting back to topic. However, should it not be "Father" Rome as it was founded on seven hills by Romulus and Remus, who were both male I believe.
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Mar 8, 2008 05:13PM)
Remember who suckled them....a native of a land adopted by Romulus and Remus....
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 8, 2008 05:17PM)
Some people should take a line from Samuel Clemens..."Better to let others think you ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." I'm not singling anyone out here Tony but do you have any good retired geriatric videos we Yanks could learn from?
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 8, 2008 05:22PM)
Chris, just by virtue of your chiming in, in the manner that you did... how do you like them peanuts?!
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Mar 8, 2008 05:28PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-08 18:13, chris mcbrien wrote:
Remember who suckled them[/quote]

Wacky wolf?

I have to disagree with your earlier comments about the thread, Chris. If you ignore the mud slinging there are some great points made in between. On the other hand, you're quite right we'd probably all be better off doing some work...

George
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 8, 2008 05:40PM)
"Wacky wolf?"

That is funny, George, and it gets my creative juices flowing. I wonder if Chance could produce a whole Romulus and Remus effect, all built around the city of Rome. The characters could be popping out all over the place...........you could even produce an effigy of Julius Caesar and the Pope. It could be educational, and historical, with a spiritual angle to it to keep the Gospel folks happy. What do you think? Then Axtell could animate the whole thing!!
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Mar 8, 2008 05:54PM)
I like em' fine, John, I like 'em fine!
I've been in this zoo as long as any of you!
;)

Tom, I think you're on to something. "Wacky Wepublic"? Julius pops out of the box and at the end is subjected to a tragic "smash and stab" for dolls.

John,
I'm in a weird mood today, I'm grateful to Almighty God to have just finished 23 school programs in two weeks, and 2 corporate events. I love what I do, and I'm exhausted. I'm thinking I should satiate myself with "Monty Python's Holy Grail" and come back when I'm in better order...
As for the monkey analogy, they're but one of the colorful phrases learned from a former zoo trainer I know....
(you should here the one about the hippo with the runs....)
Great, now I'm getting off topic....
:)
Samuel Clemens is still alive....he has taken over George.
This is one of those cases if we were sitting around the table at a diner and I said the above you'd know by my face that I'm "tongue in cheek" today.
There have been good points...hence the peanuts.
I like 'em fine, John, I like 'em fine!!!
Message: Posted by: Mumblemore (Mar 8, 2008 06:31PM)
Why do we have to create false dichotomies? Why can't we use some older tricks and some newer ones (depending on our personalities/patter/comfort)? I have wondered about the "staying power" of some of the new stuff too, but some of the old stuff is horrid (what are those odd monkey-like animals on the standard "J-P Box" - and why is it called that anyway - sounds racist to me). I think that part of the virtue of magic is dealing with contemporarly items which are part of children's lives, which means blocks and butterflies, but also, increasingly ipods and computers. Some of the older classics, like linking rings and 20th Century Silks, are simply great stuff and turn ordinary items into mysteries. It may be me, but I don't get anything out of rice bowls, and some of those other 19th century parlour items which looked out of place and gimmicked. I'm thrilled people are coming up with cell phone tricks and RC mentalism.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 8, 2008 09:55PM)
What is RC mentalism?
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Mar 8, 2008 09:59PM)
Radio Controlled, I'm sure. Things like the new Remote Color Vision Box and items that work via wireless signals.

Steve
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 8, 2008 10:34PM)
Oh my goodness! I've just gone back and read the previous posts where Steve and ClownBoy wished I would set fire to myself!!! Steve has gone up in my estimation!

Although announcing his IQ and using his wife to support his argument made him look like a right banana so he's gone back down. Unless he was attempting humor. In which case he goes back up. But I don't think he was, so he's back down again.

Clownboy however has potential and as soon as he fixes his signature, he'll be just fine.

I couldn't be bothered to read the teeny writing of the Great Smartini's reply. I bet it wasn't terribly Smartini though.

I tell you one thing... I am delighted with the good moderators of the Magic Café. I'm amazed nothing has been censored or deleted so far - that's excellent. I'm sure that expressing horrific fantasies of seeing fellow Café members set fire to themselves would previously have been frowned upon. But thankfully they don't share Smartini's thin skin and "hiding behind a computer" theory.

But back to the subject...

I think Nicholas J. Johnson got it spot on. Everyone seems to be agreeing!

I will say this, if you find yourself buying lots of new props looking for the big trick that will improve your show, my humble opinion is that you are wasting your money.
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 8, 2008 11:21PM)
James,

I guess I have a thin skin like you have a smart mouth. Of course I apologize for the small print of my previous post which of course you couldn't "reed" or come back with anything resembling intelligent discourse. You'd make a great politician though as they don't have the courage to respond to the actual issues as well. Funny I thought that everything in Texas was supersized well probably except for what...oh the IQs. That would explain George W. now wouldn't it. Nice to have you back James we've missed your insight.

jeff

ps. I think British superiority ended when all of its colonies decided that they were better off without them.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 8, 2008 11:24PM)
"I will say this, if you find yourself buying lots of new props looking for the big trick that will improve your show, my humble opinion is that you are wasting your money."

James...........you are playing with fire by saying that to many on this 'ere forum!
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 9, 2008 12:02AM)
Have you not yet figured out James is way ok with fire? In fact he was the one that convinced me to put fire in my kid shows. When it comes to kids...fire will always fascinate them...farts will always be funny. It's when they learn to put the two together that things get dangerous!
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 9, 2008 12:11AM)
Shhh... you are giving away my closer.
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 9, 2008 12:28AM)
LOL waaay too much visual there! Oh man...I must be getting over tired..I'm still laughing.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 9, 2008 12:32AM)
Okay Jeff,

No sarcasm, no humor. I promise.

Your original post which I ridiculed contained the following:
[quote]Your perception of children may remain the same but children do not. The family structure with extended families have been replaced with single parent families, second marriages, gay parents as well as parents at work and children in daycare. The village has been replaced by a series of insular units. Given that families are different and with this so are our children.[/quote]

Could you explain to me how having gay parents or having divorced parents affects the way their child reacts to a magic show?
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 9, 2008 01:02AM)
James,

The only point that I was trying to make is that the structure of the family has changed significantly. Society has changed, parents have changed and as a result of this our children can't help but be different. When we were kids we would be outside all day playing, riding our bikes and so on. The children of today never leave the sight of their parents for fear of strangers. Another point is that the attention span of kids has lessened and this along with the "cool" special effects that they see in video games/tv changes the way they view and interpret entertainers of all type. The number of hours they spend in front of computer/tv/video screens each day is staggering.

I hope this clarifies what I'm thinking.

jeff
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 9, 2008 06:21AM)
But I take you back to an earlier post and I think this the point James is highlighting.

When children settle down for a magic show, they become involved and absorbed and for that brief period they are transported to somewhere else which is full of sunshine and laughter. Troubles and concerns are banished for the moment.

They behave as children always behave and have always behaved - they enjoy themselves. Family status, gender, race, religion have no bearing on it.

They're just children and it's not a theory. It's a practical fact demonstrated each time we go out and do a show.
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 9, 2008 07:56AM)
Did anyone read that article on "The great Zuchini"? Maybe it's grown magicians today that have changed.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 9, 2008 10:19AM)
"When children settle down for a magic show, they become involved and absorbed and for that brief period they are transported to somewhere else which is full of sunshine and laughter. Troubles and concerns are banished for the moment.

They behave as children always behave and have always behaved - they enjoy themselves. Family status, gender, race, religion have no bearing on it.

They're just children and it's not a theory. It's a practical fact demonstrated each time we go out and do a show"

This is the most brilliant post on this thread in my opinion. I invite everyone to read it three times to digest the wisdom. It says it all. Thanks, Tony, for your insight!
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 9, 2008 10:39AM)
Jeff,

Sorry, but you didn't answer the question.

Please could you explain to me specifically how having gay parents or having divorced parents affects the way their child reacts to a magic show?

Or if you want to put it another way... would you do anything different in a magic show (or in the classroom) if you knew most of the kids in the room had divorced or gay parents?

I'm not trying to badger you, I just don't understand why you think it makes any difference.

James
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Mar 9, 2008 12:26PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-09 08:56, John Bowlin wrote:
Did anyone read that article on "The great Zuchini"? Maybe it's grown magicians today that have changed.
[/quote]
Where can I find this? I think I need to "unwind" (I'm sure it's obvious) after a long two weeks..although I'm going back on the road tomorrow morning!
I need to laugh. I'm going to rent "Death to Smoochy" as well...I think every children's performer should see this movie. (sometimes I think it was made just for us!).
Best to All,
Chris
PS: I think James has a good point. Children are unconditionally loving, versus many adults (myself included) who get caught in the trap of "conditional love". I may not agree with what everyone does or how they live their lives, but it doesn't mean I should'nt love them. I think kids know this better than we do. My point, I don't think that the lifestyle of the parents can always be deemed as a cause for behavioural change just because we don't agree with it. I think kids are much more accepting than adults, and I also think that that openmindedness is reflected in their enjoyment and sense of humor during a show. Kids accepted and loved unconditionally back in Rome, and they still do now. It's called "innocence".
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 9, 2008 06:04PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-09 11:39, James Munton wrote:
Jeff,

Sorry, but you didn't answer the question.

Please could you explain to me specifically how having gay parents or having divorced parents affects the way their child reacts to a magic show?

Or if you want to put it another way... would you do anything different in a magic show (or in the classroom) if you knew most of the kids in the room had divorced or gay parents?

I'm not trying to badger you, I just don't understand why you think it makes any difference.

James
[/quote]

James,

I'm not sure how else to say it. Kids are different because of the environment that they grow up is vastly different then when we were kids. How does this impact on a magic show...I'm not sure. I did like your image of the bell bottom pants and I think this is a good visual. Instead of pants take some old looking props that look outdate and stale. The kids/adults may or may not respond to what they see as something kind of drab. Remember first impressions are important. Is this a 100% absolute...definitely not. As for the classroom I am reminded of a little girl who, while we were making a Fathers day craft, raised her hand and said "but what should I do if I have two mommies?"

The most important point, which I think we both agree, is that if the performer is a professional at what they do then it really wouldn't matter what they used in their show. I think sometimes the props are for the magicians who like the fancy toys (me being one of them) and hopefully they put just as much effort into their show as the guy with the old props. I prefer the look of the newer props that I use because they do look different that what most other people are using. It also matches my character and the look that I want to present.

Finally, I'd like to hear your opinion on the McBride Mystery School which I attended last year and plan to again this year. Can you recommend another route to go if I want to improve myself? I was also considering signing up for a program with Avner the Eccentric who does a physical comedy workshop in Hawaii. I already have the luxury of teaching with a theatre professional (trained actor/director) who is a very good friend and helps me with my routines/scripts.

In addition to this his lovely wife is also a set designer/prop maker and she is kind enough to make props/sets for me. I'm really looking forward to having her finish what she's working on for me now. I have a Wacky Wolf Sidetable which I use along with a Charvet 10 second table. They don't match and my set theme is all over the place. She's making a three sided hand painted facade that will cover the Charvet table which currently looks like what it is ...a converted ATA case. The facade will have wacky Alice in Wonderland angles as well as have openings for my smaller sound system as well as a large bubble machine. I really see magic as a craft and I want to move myself along the performing continuum. I've performed basically the same show educational show for the past 3 years and have developed it quite nicely but am constantly examining it for ways of improving it. Things like my script, routine order and even whether the effects I'm performing are the most magical.

jeff
Message: Posted by: lou2 (Mar 9, 2008 07:40PM)
The most important point, which I think we both agree, is that if the performer is a professional at what they do then it really wouldn't matter what they used in their show

Hi,
Are you pro then Jeff?
No insult intended but your profile does not give a website or anything and its always interesting to check who where listining to
lou
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 9, 2008 07:40PM)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/18/AR2006011801434_pf.html

Chris...here again is the link to "The Great Zuchini" article. In a nutshell it is a look inside the life of one of The Washington DC areas kid magicians and what makes him one of the most successful. It is also a look at how kid's (and their parent's) needs really haven't changed. If you read the article something tells me that you will be the only one here that did. Most people here I would bet know way too much to garner anything useful from this article. Just the stage name he gave himself is pure genius. It is a comical read at it's very least.

Posted: Mar 9, 2008 8:46pm
As a side note...This article came out in Jan 06'. A friend of a friend that tried to book him about that time was informed that he was pretty much solid booked into October. Must have been his fine modern props.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 9, 2008 08:49PM)
Is Zuchini the same as Courgettes?
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 9, 2008 09:19PM)
John - I have read the Zucchini article many times and on many different forums.

It's one of the things that made me think long and hard about all the stuff I was using in my act last year.
Message: Posted by: sinful lynne (Mar 10, 2008 12:08AM)
Well, well, well. You men certainly know how to bicker about nonsense. Some of you certainly have no humor. I think James is a very funny man indeed. I bet he is a good magician. Kimmo, I want to learnt ventriloquism. Where should I turn for help?


Lynne
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Mar 10, 2008 01:16AM)
Jeff,

That's okay. I won't push you any further to provide specific differences, so we'll just have to agree to disagree. I don't think the sexual orientation of the parents or whether they are divorced makes the slightest bit of difference to how a child reacts to a magic show.

I have a high regard for today's kids. I generally find them polite, smart and having an awareness and tolerance of people's differences that puts most adults to shame.

I get irritated if I suspect someone is blaming the "kids of today" for their own shortcomings as a performer. (I'm not suggesting that you are, by the way.)

I used to live in Washington, DC and there is an area with a large gay, affluent community. I performed many times for kids with same sex parents. They were the same as any other kids.

I've performed for deaf kids, black kids, white kids, kids with Downs syndrome and autism, inner city, and rich suburbs, etc. You name it, I've done it. I do pretty much the same show every time. I'm not saying every show I do is fantastic, but when a show is sub par it is rarely because of the kids and usually because of the venue or other factors I couldn't control. Or I just had an off-day.

I don't know much about the McBride Mystery School. Jeff seems a very sincere and likable fellow. However, I have met several graduates of the Mystery School and seen them perform at magic club meetings and they have been almost without exception completely crap. So it didn't seem like the Mystery School taught them much.

And from what little I know of Mystery School it doesn't really seem that it would be that useful for family entertainers. I would imagine Kidabra would be a better place to go.

Finally, I hope you will understand that despite my sarcasm and acerbic humor, there is rarely ill-will intended. God knows what I must have said to Steve Thomas in the past to make him hate me so much, but I'm sure I didn't mean anything by it at the time!

Best,
James

Posted: Mar 10, 2008 3:05am
Tom,

Yes, zucchini is a courgette. Although, the Great Courgette doen't sound quite the same, does it?

Zucchini is an interesting fellow.

I met Eric a few times and he seemed very nice. He specializes in shows for preschoolers. I would often book the same families once the kids turned five or six and would hear the comments of the parents about his shows.

Parents either love him or hate him. I've never met another magician who gets such strong reactions either way. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground.

And I will say that the kids seemed to universally love him. He genuinely, instinctively understands how to tickle the funny bone of a 3 year old.

I once came to the end of a birthday show and one of the kids put his hand up. In a sweet voice he asked if I knew who his favorite magician was. I smiled and waited for him to say it was me and instead in a big loud voice, the kid said, "the Great Zucchini!"

I thought the article was fascinating. Although, he should have credited me, because I was the one who told him to raise his fees while we chatted on the lawn of the White House!

I spoke to two people after the article came out who are friends of Eric and they both told me very different things. One person said that Eric was very upset because he felt that the journalist did a bit of a hatchet job on him in the second half of the article. The other said that Eric was delighted and was in serious talks with a movie studio about making a movie about him.

I think he is a unique performer but not someone that other magicians should try to model. Some performers have an instinct that allows them to do certain things that wouldn't otherwise work.

There is only one Great Zucchini!
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 10, 2008 06:27AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 02:16, James Munton wrote:

I've performed for deaf kids, black kids, white kids, kids with Downs syndrome and autism, inner city, and rich suburbs, etc. You name it, I've done it. I do pretty much the same show every time.

[/quote]

Yes James. And so have I. Indeed I've specialised in what is known over here as 'Special Needs Children' and especially those whose needs are such that they are educated in special schools. Less severely affected children are in mainstream education these days.

And like you, my show is fundamentally the same. The only concession one has to make when dealing with special needs 'children' often aged from 7 to 14 or more is to use uncomplicated words and initially, to take the show a fraction slower whilst the whole audience of very mixed abilities, settles down and adjusts to your voice and the manner in which you speak.

Occasionally, certain show aspects need a little more reinforcement, just to ensure everyone understands.

But entertaining the children is basically the same, regardless of age, ability or anything. Of course, not a lot of people know that.

Over here magicians will run a mile from these perceived difficult groups. Or they do take on the work and make a complete ballcocks of it.

Which is a pity because these markets then gain an impression that magic and magicians and their group of children don't really work well together.

Keep it simple, the man said. If only people would.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 10, 2008 11:07AM)
"Kimmo, I want to learnt ventriloquism"

Lynne, I believe Kimmo is giving a lecture on this subject at Kidology this year. That might be a good start.
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Mar 10, 2008 03:14PM)
Lynne and Tom,

You might find something of help here -

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=120370&forum=182&36

Cheers
Billy
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 10, 2008 03:54PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 16:14, BIlly James wrote:
Lynne and Tom,

You might find something of help here -

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=120370&forum=182&36

Cheers
Billy
[/quote]

Good heavens Billy. That post of yours was even longer than mine!

Are we related?
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 10, 2008 05:23PM)
What a wonderful post, Billy! It was actually not me who was interested in vent, but Lynne. It seems, however, that vent must be a huge draw for children, as I understand the 3 winners at Blackpool all did it in their acts. I tried it in my youth, but I found my lips moved more than the dummy's! Dennis Spicer, Terry Hall and Ray Alan were three of my favourites.
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 10, 2008 05:44PM)
Great post Billy!

Tom and Lynne - lip control is probably the least important skill of all. Character, manipulation and script are far more important. Go to the following site and click on the VIDEO button. This guy is FANTASTIC. He is not a ventriloquist and the puppet looks like he found it in a skip (dumpster), but that all ADDS to the charm:

http://chuckytheduck.com/

I'd be interested if anyone truly believes this act would be better if he replaced Chucky with an animatronic puppet?

(Thanks to Tom (TACROWL) for the above link)
Message: Posted by: Louis LaLaurie (Mar 10, 2008 05:55PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 01:08, sinful lynne wrote:
Well, well, well. You men certainly know how to bicker about nonsense. Some of you certainly have no humor. I think James is a very funny man indeed. I bet he is a good magician. Kimmo, I want to learnt ventriloquism. Where should I turn for help?


Lynne
[/quote]

Bob Rumba has a nice starter DVD, I think. Stop by Magic Inc. and ask Gabe (Does he still work there, yes?) for the Rumba DVD.
I try to help what I can.
Louis
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 10, 2008 06:15PM)
Kimmo..that was fantastic! It actually is the very essence of what this thread set out to talk about. I have two areas of my den. One has the dealers props, some old, and some, I will admit, new. I also have several boxes of what I call junk. The junk is stuff I have picked up over the past 40 years from toy shops, car boot sales, thrift stores etc. I always thought they could have some magical purpose, but I never knew what. I will dust them off, and allow them to surround me for several hours. I will allow the little grey cells to work, and get creative. Seeing that video is inspiring, and makes me realise that truly great performance can start with very cheap and limited resources. It will be a story of rags to riches. It will be a story that is proof you do not have to spend your money purchasing the latest and greatest. Truly great art comes from inside you, and the props needed are already there.....right in front of your nose.
Message: Posted by: Billy Whizz (Mar 10, 2008 09:11PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 18:44, kimmo wrote:
Great post Billy!

Tom and Lynne - lip control is probably the least important skill of all. Character, manipulation and script are far more important. Go to the following site and click on the VIDEO button. This guy is FANTASTIC. He is not a ventriloquist and the puppet looks like he found it in a skip (dumpster), but that all ADDS to the charm:

http://chuckytheduck.com/

I'd be interested if anyone truly believes this act would be better if he replaced Chucky with an animatronic puppet?

(Thanks to Tom (TACROWL) for the above link)
[/quote]

That guys is brilliant, his puppet movement is first class. Had me laughing my socks off.
Message: Posted by: sinful lynne (Mar 11, 2008 12:18AM)
I might be at Kidabra in August. Do they have lectures there on Ventriloquism? I have been reading about a female ventriloquist called Terry Rogers from England. Does anybody know her?
Message: Posted by: The Great Smartini (Mar 11, 2008 12:50AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 22:11, Billy Whizz wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 18:44, kimmo wrote:
Great post Billy!

Tom and Lynne - lip control is probably the least important skill of all. Character, manipulation and script are far more important. Go to the following site and click on the VIDEO button. This guy is FANTASTIC. He is not a ventriloquist and the puppet looks like he found it in a skip (dumpster), but that all ADDS to the charm:

http://chuckytheduck.com/

I'd be interested if anyone truly believes this act would be better if he replaced Chucky with an animatronic puppet?

(Thanks to Tom (TACROWL) for the above link)
[/quote]

That guys is brilliant, his puppet movement is first class. Had me laughing my socks off.
[/quote]

I watched the clip and this guy is simply a great entertainer. He couldn't use an animated one with his approach because part of his joke is that he's not a vent and his puppet reminds of this. The animation that he produces with this puppet is something that couldn't be replicated by animatronics. This truly is a case of a brilliant routine that probably cost pennies but was mastered over an extended period of time. I've also seen great puppet routines from Ken Scott using an Axtell Gator puppet and as well Terry Herbert doing his wonderful Monty the (naughty) Monkey. My two kids just loved watching these two masters at work. Given all this I'm reminded of Kimmo's previous suggestion on this thread to pick up a regular puppet and then possibly (if its even still needed) add an animatronic puppet.

I've also printed out and read the article on The Great Zucchini and it appears that he truly is performing with nothing as far as props go. Given all of the problems he's created for himself with taxes, unpaid parking fines, an addiction to gambling I'd be interested to see how long he keeps this up. Hopefully he gains control of other parts of his life beyond his magic daybook. He seems to literally break almost every rule possible: giving your booker a hard time, not shaving or looking professional for a show, using old and broken props. I wonder how many of us would be willing to try showing up at our next gig doing any of these things. Still, he's quite a character and the bottom line is that the kids love him doing silly things. I know lots of educators who do this on a daily basis and the students just eat it up.

I guess it begs the question what does one want from their magic? Where do you like to perform and what kind of magic do you want to do. I see the Great Z as more of a magic clown and there isn't anything wrong this. Some might that its not even magical given that the reporter was able to identify the methodology behind all/most of his routines. How magical is a magician who doesn't fool people and has his tricks explained in a major newspaper? I know he's there to entertain the kids but it would be nice if some of his routines were more magical...wouldn't it?

If its just money then go out and do whatever it takes. His type of magic is something that wouldn't work for me because of the type of magic that I like to do. Still, he reinforces the point that many here have tried to make and that is you don't always need big fancy/expensive/modern props. I remember attending a Slydini lecture in Seattle and being enthralled by his magic routine the flight of the paper balls. Doesn't get more minimalist than that.

jeff
Message: Posted by: Mark Andrews (Mar 11, 2008 06:35AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-11 01:18, sinful lynne wrote:
I might be at Kidabra in August. Do they have lectures there on Ventriloquism? I have been reading about a female ventriloquist called Terry Rogers from England. Does anybody know her?
[/quote]

I never knew Terri perosnally, she died in 1999, I have two friends who knew her well, one who has her vent dummy Shorty. There used to be a very short clip of Terri and Shorty on Youtube.
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Mar 11, 2008 06:47AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-11 07:35, Mark Andrews wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-03-11 01:18, sinful lynne wrote:
I might be at Kidabra in August. Do they have lectures there on Ventriloquism? I have been reading about a female ventriloquist called Terry Rogers from England. Does anybody know her?
[/quote]

I never knew Terri perosnally, she died in 1999, I have two friends who knew her well, one who has her vent dummy Shorty. There used to be a very short clip of Terri and Shorty on Youtube.
[/quote]

Here's a little clip of her paying tribute to Malcolm Hardee:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwoWugw8X_c

What a GREAT ventriloquist - the difference between hers and shorty's personalities was fantastic!
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 11, 2008 07:36AM)
Terri Rogers could work a tough stag show and use some rough but very clever material and through Shorty she would have that audience hanging on his every word.

Because it all came through Shorty she remained above it all and despite the rudeness and roughness she wasn't affected by it. It was nothing to do with her. A male vent would never have got away with it.

Also, and I know I am not the only one to have noticed this, a lot of audiences looked at her and found something familiar about her. She had the appearance of a Mrs or Miss Everywoman. Mature but not old and a bit like either some relative or someone who lived in your vicinity.

She was brilliant but I'm not aware of any dvd material from her club act.
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Mar 11, 2008 02:45PM)
That was a wonderful clip, John!
So, Lynne, have you been sold on going to Kidabra as of yet? I know many go to this event. What do you hope to get out of it? Any performers in particular you're looking forward to???
Best of Luck in Your Work,
Chris
Message: Posted by: calamari (Mar 11, 2008 02:49PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-08 18:03, chris mcbrien wrote:
I don't always agree with Calamari, but he's right,
[/quote]

You may not always agree with me but I am always right... LOL
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Mar 11, 2008 03:22PM)
Thanks for sharing those clips Kimmo, great stuff. That Chuckytheduck act is FANTASTIC and very inspirational. I've been working vent into my act for the past year now and I have so much respect for how much work it takes to really make it work. You are so right about it not being all about the vent skills, it's about giving your animated character it's own personality that emotionally or comedically engages the audience.

The first example of vent that really inspired me to incorporate it was the first DVD of Wayne Dobson performing with two sponge balls. The guy brought the house the house down for 7 minutes with two sponge balls, two spectators and a little bit of vent. I have done this type thing at my kid shows with great success, giving the kid spectator a manly voice. An example is when I bring up the volunteer kid I ask him how old he is. He says "5" in my gruff vent voice(him talking into dead mic). I tell him he seems much older and he says "I didn't shave today". The kids and parents usually roll. This works great with a kid that is a little bit shy because he really didn't want to talk anyway and suddenly he is the star.

You can do this sort of thing with voice tracks too as Kerry Pollack has often done in his act. There are too many magicians that feel their wonderful magic should be more than enough to entertain any audience but it is my belief that a good mix of comedy and/or character development are an integrel part of any successful show. Look at almost any great magician/entertainer out there and it is their CHARACTER above all else that is the real seller.

Very few of us are so naturally charming or funny that we can go out on stage as ourselves and the audience just falls for us (I'm talking about in front of a group that paid to see you). Only one example comes to mind, Lance Burton. I'm no exception, I have to go into character in performance. Find the character in you that children or people in general love and you will be a hit. I'm still discovering mine but he's coming about.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 12, 2008 03:03AM)
One of the truly great vents working Europe is a Frenchman Henry Astor and you pronounce it exactly as it's written. Opens with a real live talking dog followed by bringing up two members of the audience - a man and a woman. Hilarious and all the more so because he works international cabarets to mixed audiences from across the world.

He normally appears in Paris at the Paradis Latin on the Left Bank, Top class show in an extraordinary cast iron Victorian theatre building, built by Monsieur Eiffel who built the famous Parisian Tower. The building was 'lost' for a long time and used for other things. The restoration in 1973 was a rediscovery of hidden architecture. Read about it on the website.

Well worth an evening if you visit Paris but do check with them as Henry isn't there all the time.

http://www.paradis-latin.com/accueil-paradis-latin.aspx?lng=EN
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Mar 14, 2008 04:38PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-10 01:08, sinful lynne wrote:
Well, well, well. You men certainly know how to bicker about nonsense. Some of you certainly have no humor. I think James is a very funny man indeed. I bet he is a good magician. Kimmo, I want to learnt ventriloquism. Where should I turn for help?


Lynne
[/quote]

A ha! I am just realizing that I know who yo uare Sinful Lynne! We met at the Reno Convention a couple years ago and sat chatting by the slot machines for a while.

I remember you very well.
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Mar 14, 2008 09:59PM)
As a ventriloquist more than a magician, I would just add that I think the performer is the most important aspect in entertaining children or almost anyone else.
I have seen magicians who were technically brilliant and as entertaining to watch as paint drying.

Why do we still laugh at Laurel and Hardy or the other silent comics? Because funny is still funny, and some of their movies are WAY beyond the 40 years we have been talking about.

I loved Chucky the Duck. was it ventriloquism? No, but was it funny? ABSOLUTELY!
Message: Posted by: Bill Scarlett (Mar 16, 2008 12:49PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-12 04:03, Tony James wrote:
One of the truly great vents working Europe is a Frenchman Henry Astor and you pronounce it exactly as it's written. Opens with a real live talking dog followed by bringing up two members of the audience - a man and a woman. Hilarious and all the more so because he works international cabarets to mixed audiences from across the world.

He normally appears in Paris at the Paradis Latin on the Left Bank, Top class show in an extraordinary cast iron Victorian theatre building, built by Monsieur Eiffel who built the famous Parisian Tower. The building was 'lost' for a long time and used for other things. The restoration in 1973 was a rediscovery of hidden architecture. Read about it on the website.

Well worth an evening if you visit Paris but do check with them as Henry isn't there all the time.

http://www.paradis-latin.com/accueil-paradis-latin.aspx?lng=EN
[/quote]

Tony,

Is it possible you are thinking of a man named Marc Metral? I saw him do a very similar sounding act with a live "talking dog" and a similar routine that you described where a man and woman are brought on stage and he does a vent routine with them.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 16, 2008 07:41PM)
No Bill. It was definitely Henry Aster who has worked this act for many years and, in the manner of French shows such as the Lido and Paradis Latin whose productions run for five or six years, the speciality acts work seasons within the run, sometimes returning over and again, as does Henry.

The background to the two elements is quite interesting. Whoever came earlier - and I would love to know who did because so little is truly new in our business - the first time I saw a vent putting words in to another's mouth like this was back around 1960.

Dennis Spicer was a young and outstandingly good vent. He would have become an international headliner act. Sadly he was killed not long afterwards in a car accident on the M1. Davenport's still have the amazing figure made specially for him and never collected.

Later Wayne Dobson adapted and made the routine his own here in the UK and various others, including Henry Astor and Marc Metral - who I haven't seen but is rather younger than Henry - have also adopted the idea. The talking dog is another fascination.

In the UK at the end of the war a former printer, Bert Langford took up magic and vent. By 1947 he was billed as Saveen. He had a very small boy 'doll' like figure which he converted to a little girl and called Daisy May after an old song which he used in the act. 'Daisy May, people say she'll marry me some day.'

Subsequently he was always billed as 'Daisy May assisted by Saveen' with Daisy may in big bold type and the rest in small type. He had other terrific figures, a sharp boy - wide boy, spiv, crook, you know the type - quite unsuitable for Daisy May who was fascinated by him and the two ended up together in the same case. priceless dialogue with the rarely heard these days, voice fading away to nothing as the lid slowly went down.

Albert also had a wonderful parrot routine but the best he was and is still remembered for is his closer routine with a comical looking noisy puppet dog. A real rough 'un plus a sophisticated real, alive, wire haired fox terrier. This live dog was silent and sat there, rather aloof and ignoring the puppet dog as it went crazy trying to gain a reaction and Saveen acted the offended owner, trying to silence it.

When the puppet dog spoke, the voice was laid back, laconic English, very cut glass and totally at odds with its appearance.

When the long suffering live dog finally spoke, its voice was rough and coarse and all it said was 'Shut that bloody dog up' which in polite 1950s England was cutting edge and brought the house down. But at the Royal Command Performance it was changed to 'ruddy' a popular euphemism for 'bloody'.

The mechanic was built by another vent, Jim Tattersall from Little Lever in Lancashire. Jim went on to a build a weird vent act with life-size figures, electro-mechanically controlled and home built from redundant relays and switchgear from telephone exchanges. Transistors weren't available at that time.

Even today people believe the talking dog was Saveen's own and he was terribly protective of it but the idea actually came from another, much earlier and almost forgotten offbeat act, Charlie Prelle and his Ventriloquial Dogs. Not just one but a whole line up of talking and singing dogs. And that wasn't original either!

It's said Charlie Prelle got the idea from an even earlier Russian act who in turn had borrowed and adapted the idea from a French domestic cat act.

It's just possible the talking animal act has gone full circle and returned to France where it all originally started!!!
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Mar 17, 2008 03:01PM)
Tony.........that was a wonderful trip down memory lane. I have found a video clip featuring Saveen and dog. This may help illustrate a little better what Tony is talking about. You need to click on the picture:

http://www.whirligig-tv.co.uk/tv/children/other/daisymay.htm

I can bet you if you were to do a similar routine today at a birthday party with the two dogs, the children would be in hysterics!
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Mar 25, 2008 03:31AM)
I was hoping someone may be able to throw some light on American vents using volunteers as dummies and putting words into their mouths.

And has anyone any knowledge of the American development of the talking animal act?

When I mentioned the act of Tattersall & Company I didn't make it clear that these life size figures which were electronically and mechanically controlled were not just vent figures. They moved around the stage and in the case of two elderly figures, they danced whilst singing My Old Dutch - "We've been together now for forty years......"

Were there any similar robotic vent figures in America back in the 1940s?

These were clearly the first generation which eventually lead to todays animatronic figures.

What is the American history?
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Mar 25, 2008 08:18PM)
Tony IS the encyclopedia of British kid's entertainment! I"m still hoping he writes a book!
chris
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Feb 20, 2021 10:55PM)
This is such an interesting thread, that I think it is well worth bringing back up to the top of The Little Darlings. So many wonderful posters, like the late Tony James, who was a genius in the world of children's entertainment, and I loved his posts. I am not sure who Tom Riddle is, or whether he is still around, but I think his original post is spot on. Children are basically the same as they were a hundred years go. In fact, I think I will dust off my Run Rabbit Run! I highly recommend you all give this thread a re-read, and it would be great if you were to comment. On another matter, I think the Green Place is so much more fun and educational than Facebook, which was not even around when Tom started this thread. Don't you? :sun:
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Feb 20, 2021 11:14PM)
Absolutely!
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Feb 20, 2021 11:26PM)
[quote]On Mar 9, 2008, James Munton wrote:
Shhh... you are giving away my closer. [/quote]

James Munton..........after all these years, would you mind revealing what your closer is, and has it changed since then? You seem a trifle secretive about this. JR
:ridinghorse:
Message: Posted by: Jolly Roger (Feb 20, 2021 11:28PM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2008, James Munton wrote:
Great points, Tony, except there are a few good magicians that get it over here as well! [/quote]

Are you prepared to gives us names James? JR
:magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Feb 21, 2021 12:29AM)
My my....howd' I miss this thread back in the day?

Anyhoo....I agree that the same kids' effects are just as well recieved today as they ever were, however great (the die box) or SUCKY (stat-o-sphere) they may be.
Message: Posted by: Bill Scarlett (Apr 3, 2021 09:06PM)
Hey Roger, Good to see you are still going strong. Hope all is well!
Message: Posted by: Futureal (Apr 29, 2021 05:57AM)
Roger is replying to a thirteen year old message.
Message: Posted by: TrickyRicky (May 10, 2021 09:06PM)
Magic props never gets out dated, just the deco and painting may need a touch-up.
The props are a part of your tools, it's how you use them to entertain the children that counts. Your carrying case is your tool box. I even use the case to entertain the children.
Some time ago, I had a routine published in Silly Billy's (Turn It Around), it's the old Silk Cabby with 2 silks and a kid to help. Lots of fun and laughter.
Nothing is dated, it's the same old tricks made over. There are always new kids that never seen some of the so called old props.
Tricky Ricky
Message: Posted by: Russo (May 11, 2021 12:39PM)
Wanted to change my "Forgetful Freddy" - so, with card stock, so I could remove it - made a Pinoccio (sp?) -kids loved it - Also a HoBo , Clown, Military - etc. can be made -- Old CAN Be Made New. Ralph ROUSSEAU (Russo) P.S. also made a set of "Play Boy" Hippity Hops -the turn around IS Ok for family. L-O-L