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Topic: Perfect shirt for the magic worm pitch
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 14, 2008 07:29AM)
I finally found a great shirt for the magic worm pitch -- it definitely helps to conceal the gimmick, even as close as one or two feet away. It works well with the IT that's supplied as an option for the Magic Fuzzles, and would also be great for the gimmick that comes with Don Driver's Squirmles.

I had tried all sorts of shirts as backdrops, but nothing seemed to do the job. I didn't want to wear black, which is pretty depressing, and besides, most IT experts say that a black background is not as effective as you might think, and they are right. So I tried a dark blue shirt, then blue/black pin stripes, then a dark blue plaid. But no dice, I was still getting caught a few too many times.

Finally, I tried a red shirt (about the color of a ripe tomato) with a small black plaid pattern. Bingo!! For some reason, it is very difficult for your eye to focus on the red/black color combination, and the gimmick just disappears into the shirt, even at one foot away.

You still need to stay out of direct sunlight and away from bright overhead lights, especially fluorescents. That's one reason I always use a tent for my outdoor pitches, so I'll be in the shade (it's a lot cooler, too.) But with this shirt as a backdrop, you are almost guaranteed to amaze everyone.

The shirt is made by Wrangler, is 75% cotton and 25% poly (so it's cool and also permanent press); only $17 plus tax at your favorite local K-Mart or Sears store. It's also eye-catching and good-looking, and so provides a little extra flash, too.

In my opinion, this is a must-have accessory for all the Magic Worm or Wonder Mouse workers. SETH
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 14, 2008 10:06AM)
Do you mean for the regular gimmick that comes out of the package or real magicians IT?
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 14, 2008 11:26AM)
Matt, like I said, this is for the optional IT that comes with the Magic Fuzzles or the standard gimmick that comes with Don Driver's Squirmles. I have no experience with other brands (like Jocko's worms) and so can't comment on them.

I believe the usual IT sold in magic shops is "elastic," and so probably would not be good for this purpose. I did order a sample reel of IT once from FUN, Inc., to try with the magic worms, but I didn't find it satisfactory and went back to the Fuzzle stuff, which is a little delicate but definitely very good in use. It's also prestripped, precut and ready to go. One $5 package of it has lasted me through several thousand worm sales, and will likely be good for at least several thousand more (I usually break about 3-4 gimmicks at every show, more if it's real humid and hot.) SETH
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 14, 2008 11:32AM)
The original post is what makes the Café so darn valuable to workers. Seth that's a good post.
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Oct 14, 2008 11:32AM)
Thanks for clarifying that. I was not sure which one you meant.

I have IT on a small clear spool, I believe that is the FUN inc brand, I will have to get some of the ones from Fuzzle.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 14, 2008 12:55PM)
Just to clarify further, the standard gimmick supplied with the Fuzzles is great for learning the basic moves and getting the feel of the effect. The gimmick is very durable and will teach you exactly how to handle the worm without having breakage problems. Especially for kids, who are the prime buyers/users here, this is a good thing. On the other hand, it is very sensitive to light and is therefore not good in most close-up performing situations.

This is why I have a statement in my homemade "worm instructions" handout that the buyer should use the standard gimmick to learn the moves and handling, and can then replace the gimmick with a very thin black you-know-what if he/she so chooses, but that the handling is then a bit more delicate. The same would be true of the Squirmles, although that standard gimmick is better than the standard Fuzzle gimmick in this regard.

Making this statement in the instructions also takes all the heat off any complaint that I am using a "worker" to demo the product (something different than what I'm actually selling). If someone wants to know why they can see their gimmick and not mine, I show them and then show them the paragraph in the instructions. So they are satisfied that "what they saw is what they got." Which they did.

In fact, except for one lady who thought the secret was too simple, another lady who wanted a refund because the Magic Worm wasn't actually alive (!), and one totally crazy person, I have not have to refund any worm purchases and have sold thousands of the little buggers. SETH
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 14, 2008 01:08PM)
[quote] On 2008-10-14 12:32, Doug Higley wrote: The original post is what makes the Café so darn valuable to workers. Seth that's a good post. [/quote]
Thanks, Doug, coming from you that's high praise.

BTW, do you by any chance need any dark blue plaid dress shirts -- I have a few extra that I'm not using! :) SETH
Message: Posted by: Bill Beach (Oct 14, 2008 10:31PM)
Seth, thanks for the shirt tip, I'll be on the lookout to pick up one with similar pattern myself, one with 2 chest pockets.

I have had experience with IT work and have been using Kevlar IT in my demos. Stronger that the Wooly Nylon IT sold at magic shops but nearly as invisible. Works well with the Fuzzle, although you still have to pay attention to lighting conditions. And it still will "malfunction" eventually.

That's the reason for 2 shirt pockets. I hook up 2 fuzzles (same color, of course), and keep the demo one in my left shirt pocket, the spare in the right. If "gimmick malfunction" occurs during a pitch, I put the disabled fuzzle in my right pocket with the excuse that he is tired and needs a couple of seconds of rest. I then bring out the spare and pick-up where I left off in the pitch.

I've done this several times and have not been caught, at least nobody has said anything. And, as you know, the kids would yell it right out if they suspected a switch.
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 15, 2008 07:28AM)
Bill, that's a very good idea about the two-pocket setup, I think Don shows the single-pocket setup on his Svengali Pitch DVD.

I did see some similarly colored shirts at K-Mart in a woven woolen fabric, with the two chest pockets. And they would probably be even better, because the fabric is not smooth like cotton; the rough texture would not only help to hide the gimmick more, but would also not reflect as much light. The only drawback might be that it's not as cool as a cotton shirt, but then it depends on where you're pitching and your own personal preference.

I generally start with the Magic Worm right on the pitch table. I have a dark blue close-up mat (OK, a carpet sample) that completely hides the gimmick. When I'm ready to go, I explain that Willie the Magic Worm is sleeping; you wake him up by picking him up by the tail and scratching his belly (this is a cute bit and also encourages the "static electricity" theory). Then I lay him on my hand, introduce him to the crowd, and off we go.

At the end of the pitch, I drop the worm into the center pocket of my change apron, which usually pulls most of the gimmick into the pocket with it. That protects the gimmick and leaves me free to make sales and give change from the other two side pockets of the apron. If I have "technical problems" during the pitch, I just say that Willie must be tired, turn around for a moment to unhook and replace the worm with another, and keep right on going. The specs know it's a different worm so it doesn't matter if it's a different color (I tell them this is Wendy Worm -- it's Willie's sister!)

Good luck with your job change, and keep wiggling those worms! BTW, can you share your source for the Kevlar IT? I'd like to give it a try. SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Oct 15, 2008 10:28AM)
Both good ideas Seth and Bill.

I just came up with this idea since I did the DVD.Keep a worm "without" a gimmick on it,same color as the one you're working,in your pocket.Put the one with the gimmick in your pocket and than bring out the ungimmick one.(here is where it gets really good)

Go buy a haunted hank with the wire gimmick in it.Lay the hank on the table put the ungimmick worm in the center of the haunted hank and fold the cornors up...

You get it...the worm still jumps under the hank.Than if you wanted you could hand the worm out for them to look at...NOTHING !

Maybe you could sell haunted hanks as well.

Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 15, 2008 10:34AM)
Hey Don, now you're thinking like a magician instead of a pitchman . . . . :)

But seriously, I agree that it's a very cute idea, especially the worm switch to lose the gimmick and the addition of the Haunted Hank. Gotta go and get my Glorpy (the original name for the Haunted Hank) out of the drawer and give it a try! SETH
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Oct 15, 2008 10:45AM)
"Hey Don, now you're thinking like a magician instead of a pitchman . . . ."

Seth did you not read: "Maybe you could sell haunted hanks as well"

I rest my case...

Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 15, 2008 11:04AM)
As usual, Don, you are one step ahead of me and everyone else! SETH
Message: Posted by: Bill Beach (Oct 15, 2008 03:27PM)
Here are a couple of sources for Kevlar, both are manufactured by Sorcery:



I use a short hook-up attached to the inside of my shirt along the button line with magicians wax, keep the fuzzles in my shirt pocket when not pitching them. My hook-up is just over a ft, so I can get about 85-90 hook-ups from 100' of Kevlar
Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Oct 15, 2008 04:26PM)
Hello Don:

That Haunted hank is a GREAT idea! Can't wait to try it out. Thanks for posting your idea!

Message: Posted by: Rod Pringle (Oct 15, 2008 04:32PM)
Hello Bill:

Thanks for listing your suppliers for Kevlar Thread . I have been using 2 lb clear high test fish line, holds great, but you have to watch the lighting and angles. The show is in the barn for the winter, But will give Kevlar a try next season. Good luck on your move Bill!
See you down the road!
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 15, 2008 07:20PM)
Bill -- Thanks very much for the Kevlar info, I will give it a try and see how it goes. I had never done IT work prior to this, so it was all new to me. I have found that I like a little longer gimmick, about 16-17", which gives me more room to maneuver and less chance of "technical problems".

My hookup is done with a large paper clip, which is clipped to my shirt front at my waist, right below the top of my change apron. It's out of sight, but easily reached and quickly changed when needed. SETH
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 23, 2008 08:17AM)
BTW, I now have a decent explanation for why a black shirt doesn't work well for IT effects, but a plaid red-and-black one does. I happened to be cruising on Ron Jaxon's excellent IT website, which had the following explanation, and it makes sense to me.

When IT is "visible," people are probably not seeing the IT itself. What they are probably seeing is the reflection of light off the IT. This is why a solid black background doesn't work well, and in fact may make it more likely for someone to see that reflection.

On the other hand, a busy plaid background, particularly with vibrant colors like red and black, makes it more difficult for the eye to focus, and much less likely that the reflection can be spotted and followed. A metallic background (like a glitter shirt or glitter vest) would also do the trick, if that sort of costume works for you. SETH