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Topic: Bonus Genus
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jun 16, 2010 04:33AM)
I have just read about Bonus Genus in Curry’s Magician’s Magic.

Does any one have further information about this trick, the patter or a possible source of one of the dolls (new or antique)?

Many thanks.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Jun 16, 2010 05:20AM)
It's easy to make from a pair of Dollar Store dolls. I published a routine variation for it in my "Houdini Séance Trunk" in The Wizards' Journal #10 on my site.

Posted: Jun 16, 2010 6:52am
Also, its proper name is "Bonus Genius," Latin for "Good Spirit." Hocus Pocus Junior, 1634.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 16, 2010 11:44AM)
I don't know anyone who is making one of these right now, but there really isn't much to it. The main thing you need is a story.

I have seen photos of these that were made up like Hitler. A cloak went over the doll, so the head of the doll was sticking out, the doll disappeared, and was shown to have ended up in "jail."

The main secret is that the body needs to be as compressible as possible and the head needs to be fairly small.

Eddy Taytelbaum made a version that was done without a cloak, called "Apollo 13," in which the space capsule disappeared.
Message: Posted by: Leslie Melville (Jun 16, 2010 01:36PM)
In the 1940's, a UK dealer, maybe Davenports, produced a children's routine based on the Bonus Genius called 'Wandering Willie'. I owned and used one for a long time.

Supreme later sold the trick under the same name (so perhaps Davenports didn't make the original! - I have just checked with Derek Lever, and he tells me that the original was marketed by Burtini and he is usually right about these things!)

I haven't done any recent research, but I suspect that second-hand Supreme versions are still knocking around.

It's a great principle, by the way.

Leslie

Posted: Jun 16, 2010 2:51pm
A quick search found the following:

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=187724

http://www.castlemagicalservices.co.uk/secondmagic.html

Leslie
Message: Posted by: Rennie (Jun 17, 2010 11:53PM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-16 06:52, Spellbinder wrote:
Also, its proper name is "Bonus Genius," Latin for "Good Spirit." Hocus Pocus Junior, 1634.
[/quote]
It is actually in the book titled "Bonus Genus".
Rennie
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2010 12:34AM)
Let me clear this up once and for all.

In the first edition of [i]Hocus Pocus, Jr.[/i], the trick is presented under the name "Bonus Genius or Nuntius Invisibilis." It is NOT called "Bonus Genus" in the first edition of HPJ.

In the second edition of HPJ (1635), it is presented as "Bonus Genius or Nuntius Invisibilis or Hiccius Doccius as my Senior Calls it." Again, it is called Bonus Genius, not Bonus Genus.

I have photocopies of the originals of both of these editions. For those of you not familiar with the long "s" that is used at the beginning and in the middle of words of this period, the word Senior looks like fenior, and the word Invisibilis looks like Invifibilis.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Hinchliffe (Jun 18, 2010 10:00AM)
While you're correct, Bill, I believe that Rennie (and the original poster) were referring to the way in which the title is spelled (in this case, misspelled) in Paul Curry's 'Magician's Magic'.

In the Curry book, it is spelled (erroneously) 'Bonus Genus'.

Jeff
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2010 01:46PM)
That's exactly what I was clearing up. The first time this appears in print is in HPJ. The Curry book is WRONG.

The name "Bonus Genus" doesn't even make sense. It would mean "Good family" or "Good Tribe."
Message: Posted by: Rennie (Jun 18, 2010 05:50PM)
Jeff,
You are correct.
Thanks,
TRennie
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Jun 19, 2010 06:21PM)
Magiczzz: http://tinyurl.com/34n2vlw
Message: Posted by: Rennie (Jun 20, 2010 01:12AM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-19 19:21, Clay Shevlin wrote:
Magiczzz: http://tinyurl.com/34n2vlw
[/quote]
Wow, looks like Bonus Genus wins, huh?
Rennie
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jun 20, 2010 09:19AM)
Clay, I don't get it - are you being sarcastic or helpful? - Magiczzz: http://tinyurl.com/34n2vlw
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Jun 21, 2010 09:25AM)
^^^ More than anything else, I was curious about the frequency with which this trick is referred to with the spelling “bonus genus” and thought I’d post the results in a compact url link - the lmgtfy page is the simplest way (perhaps quickest, too) I know for posting results with a tiny url. The lmgtfy page does have an element of sarcasm to it, I suppose, but since we’re on the subject, do you realize that you could have typed far less and learned far more had you Googled your question instead of posting it on the Café?
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jun 21, 2010 12:11PM)
Clay, thanks for reply....after years of research, both professionally and privately, I believe that Google creates biases in what we learn. Apart from the laziness of only searching the first few pages, much of what is known in the world isn't in a Google-friendly format. Also, Google presents the "object" and doesn't make the connections between objects. I have learnt loads more from here than Google. So, hopefully real searches will continue, alongside the artificial googling.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 21, 2010 01:11PM)
I'm reading a novel right now in which there is the following statement:

[quote]
The average student thinks the best synonym for "research" is "Google." Real, original research, however, has more to do with pinball than search engines; it's usually a matter of hit and miss, with a lot more misses than hits. You ricochet around the table, gathering points as you go, eventually finding out a direction before eventually reaching your destination.
[/quote]

I remember when I was in college. I used to go to the library and spend hours wandering through the stacks in search of whatever tiny fragment of information I could glean about whatever historical project or construction technique had struck my fancy.

While I was doing research on banjo patents, I learned how to do gold leaf work. I don't mean that I learned how it was done. I checked out the book, took it home and gold leafed a number of items around the house that were in need of something besides their original finish.

I never would have made the connection using Google.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 22, 2010 12:27PM)
I used to love the Government Pub stacks. There are studies on subjects one would never think to search on Google -- or ask a Librarian about. I used to do the same thing in a hardware store -- find an object and try and figure out what it was for. Then, I might ask "old Fred" -- a guy for which there is no modern substitute because he new "how" -- not just "what".
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Jun 23, 2010 06:04AM)
[quote]On 2010-06-21 13:11, magiczzz wrote: ... after years of research, both professionally and privately, I believe that Google creates biases in what we learn. Apart from the laziness of only searching the first few pages, much of what is known in the world isn't in a Google-friendly format. Also, Google presents the "object" and doesn't make the connections between objects. I have learnt loads more from here than Google. So, hopefully real searches will continue, alongside the artificial googling.[/quote]

If you are suggesting that Google (or any other Internet search engine, for that matter) should not be regarded as the endpoint for research, I couldn’t agree with you more. Internet research is merely one of the many tools available to researchers. But let’s not forget the primary thrust of your initial post: “tell me something about this trick that isn’t in Magician’s Magic.” That’s a very broad question, and without arguing about whether you’ve learned more from the replies in this thread than you could have by googling, I’ll just say this: given the nature of you question, you could have learned a ton of information simply by googling. Now, had you instead had a question like, “Which generation of the Bamberg family introduced the Bonus Genius trick into its repertoire?”, or "Has anyone ever featured the Bonus Genius with the added twist of the severed head trick featured in Hero of Alexandria's [b]Gli Artificiosi et Curiosia Moti Spiritali di Herrone[/b]?", those might be some questions which you’d have better luck getting answered here instead of googling.

As far as Google creating a “bias in what we learn,” virtually [b]any[/b] resource has its biases, conscious or otherwise. It is up to the researcher to sift through and weigh the evidence that is found and determine, among other things, which information is more relevant, trustworthy, or merits additional consideration and/or inquiry. But this process is certainly not unique to the Internet age – it’s something that good researchers have always done. And, as you suggest, Google is generally not very helpful in making the “connections between objects.” But again, making such “connections” is one of the key tasks of good research and good research analysis, and an integral part of the aforementioned research process. Speaking for myself, as one who has done quite a bit of research, both online and otherwise, while I certainly don’t mind if my Internet or other research yields, in addition to raw information, such connections, it’s my job as a researcher to scrutinize those connections and make my own de novo as I see fit, according to the best of my abilities and knowledge. In other words, I don’t care if Google and other Internet search engines generally don’t do well in making such connections, because that should be [b]my[/b] job as a researcher.

Finally, regarding the “hopefully real searches will continue, alongside the artificial googling” comment, I’m sure you will be able to clarify what you meant so your comment makes better sense, but reacting to that comment purely as written, I’d have to say that, IMHO, that’s an utterly ridiculous distinction. Online research is an incredibly valuable tool – just ask anyone who did research before the Internet. If I were given a choice between (a) having the Internet in 2010 and (b) being able to magically travel (i.e., no travel time or costs) to 10 libraries of my choice in which to do research, in all but perhaps the most extremely specialized or narrow of research, I’d select the Internet in a heartbeat.

Sure, with the Internet, there may be relatively more detritus to sift through, but if a researcher doesn’t have patience and perseverance, IMO he/she isn’t a good researcher. And generally, on the whole, one still saves valuable time in this digital age. Example: if one wanted to find all references to Maskelyne, Devant or Egyptian Hall in The London Times before this paper was digitized and indexed, it would have taken hundreds of hours to complete this task. Now, it can be done in minutes. And I can speak with first-hand experience about this. I’m doing research on a very specialized area of magic history, and by using the Internet, I’ve found references and resources that I never would have found pre-Internet. Sure, I had to wade through some junk information, but finding those valuable little historical nuggets was well worth the time and effort and, I hope, will help make the book that eventually gets published a worthwhile contribution to magic history.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 23, 2010 06:34AM)
I agree with most of what Clay offers, except when considering the validity of information found. Too many younger people treat anything found on the Internet as 'valid' or 'true' with no attempt at collateral support -- especially if the item is 'first up' on their screen. Even more important, perhaps, is the matter of relevance. True, an experienced researcher will make good use of the tool -- but most people are not. Even at the Graduate level, if students are required to write a paper on a topic, they will usually select an article from the first page listing rather than find some article of value or personal importance. Just as WordSearch has tended to limit people's vocabulary (IMHO), Googling has limited a person's intellectual growth to items that others feel important, reducing "knowing" to "believing."

I shouldn't complain, though. I made a living as a business consultant because business owners couldn't find solutions for themselves.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 23, 2010 11:24AM)
One of the problems I have run into with digitized copies of various and sundry sources is that, in several cases, the people doing the scanning have left off what they considered to be pages of no consequence. The example that first comes to mind is a digital copy of [i]Hocus Pocus, Junior[/i] 1634 edition, that was missing the last two pages.

This was from a source that charges a fairly high subscription fee (NOT Conjuring Arts, BTW).
Message: Posted by: Leslie Melville (Jun 24, 2010 04:07AM)
In the meantime - Bonus Genius/Genus?

Leslie
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Jun 27, 2010 08:08PM)
[quote]On 2010-06-23 07:34, funsway wrote:
I agree with most of what Clay offers, except ...[/quote]
funsway, don’t think we really disagree. I think your concerns are valid.

@ Bill:
Yes, missing pages can be annoying, especially if one is paying money for digitized images. An astonishing number of books have been scanned and made available (either for free or for a fee), and I’d guess that the ones doing the scanning are not being paid much, and perhaps being paid on a piecework basis, i.e., a fraction of a cent for every page they scan. So, they probably go as fast as they can. I’ve seen more than a few page images with a hand, finger, etc.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 27, 2010 08:12PM)
Clay, would you happen to know the source of the quote attributed to Seneca about luck being where preparation meets opportunity?
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Jun 27, 2010 10:40PM)
^^^ Sorry, Jonathan, can't help you there!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 27, 2010 11:37PM)
[quote]
Yes, missing pages can be annoying, especially if one is paying money for digitized images. An astonishing number of books have been scanned and made available (either for free or for a fee), and I’d guess that the ones doing the scanning are not being paid much, and perhaps being paid on a piecework basis, i.e., a fraction of a cent for every page they scan. So, they probably go as fast as they can. I’ve seen more than a few page images with a hand, finger, etc.
[/quote]

It's really worse than annoying. It's like buying a book that has had pages torn out of it.

The irony of the situation is that they didn't need to scan the books in question. All they needed to do was to digitize them. They are already available in photographic form, and have been for decades.

However, you have raised a very valid point. I haven't seen what has become available in the past five years or so.

I believe I'll go have a look.
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jul 8, 2010 05:21PM)
I have found a wood carver who specialises in dolls who is willing to create a bonus genius for me - can anyone help with specs?
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Jul 8, 2010 09:34PM)
Specs: carved head and body
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Jul 8, 2010 09:42PM)
OK, you annoyed me enough to make Jim Gerrish go digging around in his Wiz Kid Museum boxes and find the one they used to use on their Christmas shows many years ago. Here it is. I hope you are not too disappointed when you see it. Today's audiences will have difficulty accepting it, so that's why we have been suggesting bringing it up to date by making an original from one of today's dolls. Kids in the 1890's treasured dolls that looked like this, but today's kids would use them as hockey pucks.
[img]http://www.magicnook.com/forum/BonusGenius.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: Leslie Melville (Jul 9, 2010 03:55AM)
The doll pictured is pretty much like the one that Burtini made in the 1940's and Supreme later copied. My Burtini doll had a black cape.

Were they made in the 1890's? The references that I have seen date them much earlier.

Leslie
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jul 11, 2010 04:30AM)
Wow....thanks for picture...on the bob read dvds - he shows pictures of very early bonus dolls - any info on how they looked or are made?

d
Message: Posted by: Leslie Melville (Jul 11, 2010 06:13AM)
The very early ones looked fairly typical of dolls of the period, more elaborate in design but given the requirements of the trick, and without giving away here the precise workings, would have been made in the same way that the 'Wandering Willie' doll pictured above, was made!

Leslie
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jul 19, 2010 09:37AM)
Is this what you mean:

http://www.martinsmagic.com/?nd=full&key=2704

this is wonderful
Message: Posted by: Leslie Melville (Jul 19, 2010 11:08AM)
This is vaguely similar to some pictures that I have seen - it looks quite good but doesn't seem to have the appropriate legs!

Leslie
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 19, 2010 10:18PM)
Usually, the body including the legs is made from some kind of flexible or compactable material.

However, if this is small enough, it might work just fine.
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jul 20, 2010 05:09PM)
Is there a video of anyone doing bonus genius - would someone be willing to do a version?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 20, 2010 06:42PM)
You would have to find someone who actually has one that is in performing condition.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Jul 20, 2010 08:50PM)
I would be surprised to find someone doing this as a stand-alone effect. It's the kind of thing that you would insert in a routine with other effects, the way I did with my Houdini Séance Trunk from The Wizards' Journal #10. The Bonus Genius principle is employed as part of the Houdini Metamorphosis performed with dolls.

I believe that when the Wiz Kids performed with the Bonus Genius in the photo, it was a small part of a Christmas routine in which the doll was found in a stocking and disappeared while being held by a child from the audience, only to turn up on his back after some time had gone by with other Christmas effects intervening.

I can't imagine it being used all by itself.
Message: Posted by: magiczzz (Jul 21, 2010 03:07AM)
Can you elaborate on your Houdini Metamorphosis performed with dolls, please.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Jul 21, 2010 02:54PM)
You'd have to go to my site (in my signature), click on Wizards' Journal #10, and scroll down to find the explanation and click on the INFO button. Sorry, I have to send you on this route, but since I can't afford to advertise on the Café, this is the way it has to be done.
Message: Posted by: daleshrimpton (Oct 4, 2011 06:53AM)
Old post... Ive seen an original bonus genus. it resembled a peg doll. ( and was probably originaly constructed from the same) Simple wooden body, with a hole drilled at the neck, and the detatchable head, had a thin peg that fit into the hole loosley.
the body,was palmed away, and the head, was vanished via a pocket on the cloak.

It was very common for him to turn up in old french conjuring cabinets.Indeed, this is where I saw him.. sitting there next to an incredible price tag on a stall at the portabello rd.
Message: Posted by: Quentin (Apr 3, 2015 03:00PM)
There's a version, Sammy sunshine, sold by Albion Magic
http://www.albionmagiccompany.co.uk/#!product/prd1/909586564/sammy-sunshine