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Topic: Has anyone ever used a latex dove?
Message: Posted by: biff_g (Jul 10, 2003 12:45AM)
I read a description about a latex dove that said that you can manipulate latex doves to make them look real. Does anyone agree that this is true? Can you actually make them appear real?

The reason I ask, is that I really like the effects that you can do with live animals, but I really dislike working with live animals. Could a latex dove be the thing for me, or am I likely to be disappointed?
Message: Posted by: DaveWomach (Jul 10, 2003 12:29PM)
I'm afraid that you may want to get real doves if you are in the position to. I get asked all the time if my REAL doves are fake! They flap like crazy when they appear, they fly hand to hand... yet I always get... "Were those birds real?" I'd be afraid that you might get the same questions. Hopefully some more people will give you more advice. This is only my opinion.

Good luck!

Message: Posted by: g0thike (Jul 10, 2003 12:45PM)
Latex doves are good for certain effects like a vanish, if you don’t have tails. But latex doves do not flap their wings, perch on a cage, or fly back. Just imagine a latex dove as a vanishing ketchup bottle. The best latex dove out on the market is “It’s Alive” because it looks more realistic than the Neilson one. The Neilson one is made of better latex material though and has better-looking eyes.

Latex doves have to be petted to make them look like they are alive. They are good for stage bad for parlour of close-up.

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (Jul 10, 2003 02:39PM)
The latex doves are meant as props and not as substitutes for the real thing. They are best used in conjunction with a live bird. The audience gets used to see a live animal and you can temporarily pass off the imitation as real for certain effects. They were never meant to be held and stroked and petted as you would a real bird. If you are truly interested in dove magic, then you should take the time to do it right.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jul 12, 2003 12:20AM)
The only trick I use a latex dove for is the take apart dove chest. I put in a latex dove, take it apart displaying a real dove. It gets good applause.

Message: Posted by: zaubern (Jan 16, 2004 04:00AM)
On Tony Clark's video's he covers some pretty neat applications for Latex Doves.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 16, 2004 04:19PM)

Such as?

Only posting a half a thought is not helpful.

Message: Posted by: zaubern (Jan 17, 2004 04:03AM)
He covers some vanishes, turning the latex dove into a real dove and "dove" to silk/streamers that does not require tails. From watching the video, it is easy to come up with some pretty cool ideas.
Message: Posted by: themagician64 (Jan 17, 2004 12:37PM)
I have seen some great comedy effects using latex doves,as most people close-up know they are fake, ask
Richard at "Magic Makers" in Hunnington WV for some ideas, he used to write for the "Linking Ring"!
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jan 17, 2004 03:48PM)
I do use a latex dove for a comedy routine.

I produce a live dove early in the act. It is placed into an small box-cage made from a large KFC box. This is a home made prop that is essentially a Large family size KFC box that has been reinforced with cardboard and has had the front cut out to look like a cage. The inside is black and gimmicked to be a very simple (almost primitive)change box. The prop folds fairly flat even with a latex dove hidden inside.

After the dove is produced, I reach inside my jacket and remove the folded flat box (It is in a holder made for the prop). The box being folded flat "proves" it is empty.

I pop the box open with a shake(gets a laugh) and put the dove inside (this is another laugh point. Then I put the box, dove facing the audience, on a stool/table.

The dove's movement in the box can be seen by the audience and they clearly know the dove is a real, living bird.

The gag in the act is that the dove “coo’s” loudly during the next couple of tricks (recorded coo’s played over the speaker system - er…it is my voice doing the cooing!).

The first time, I take the dove out of the box (again reinforcing that it is a living bird), talk to it (as if I am threaten it, there are some gags, bird poop, and the like), put it back in the box, and cover the box with a silk scarf.

The second time, I pick up the box, and talk to the dove (plead with it)through the bars and put the box down with it’s back to the audience (yeah you know why!).

The third time, I open the box as it is sitting on the stool/table and reach in with both hands. I take the dove cradled in my two hands, the head is seen bobbing, some feathers fall to the floor, and I openly fold the dove up into thirds and put it into my jacket pocket (into a special holder that keeps it fairly flat). I pat the jacket, grin, and get on with the act. This gets a good laugh after the initial shock. Yes it was the latex dove.

At the end of the act, I openly reach into my jacket and pull out a living dove, dramatize the dove and get aplause for it, and bow off! It is a second dove in a dove pocket with a modified invisible harness.

I came to this routine as I down sized from a six-dove act (seven but the audience only knew of six) to a one-dove act (two and a latex dove but the...).

It is a running joke in the act and a nice surprise ending. Leaves the audience wondering!!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 17, 2004 06:59PM)

Love that idea/routine for the latex dove.


Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 25, 2004 07:18PM)
You would think a guy named Sanders would use a KFC box. If I could spell KFC I might. Great routine Harry! (Please don't let the people in my market know that talent is available.)

My experience with latex doves has been less than exciting. Part of the problem is that I have so many real doves and I am too used to what the real birds look like and how they move. Of the half dozen makes of "artificial" doves I have seen, none come very close to looking like a real dove. The two that come closest are about 50% larger than a real dove. They look like terns, not doves. I do keep looking. I have a footlocker full of fake doves I have bought, had made, or made myself over the years that support my optimism. Even the dove's feet are poor copies. Dove feet are not yellow.

I remember buying the MAK Miracle Dove Act back in the early 70s, thinking that here is the set of fake doves I have been seeking. I was half right! They were the worst of the lot. Lucy and I still use the chest in our "I've Got This Friend" stage routine. It is a very finely made prop. We do not vanish birds that came in that prop EVER. (Of course we found an $800 solution to that problem. Even magicians have to face reality sometimes.) However, the MAK prop was worth every penny as a place where the doves we vanish earlier in the routine reappear way down stage right in front of the audience. It made for a pretty dove act anyway. All of the birds in my act are real.

I will have to admit that in the past I have rolled up fake doves in a paper bag and thrown them away. I have burned rubber ones in a dove pan to produce a live dove. And I have tried to inflate the number of birds produced by using fake doves. No More! The paper bag trick simply ruins a great bottle trick for future audiences. Burning rubber doves leaves messy hard to clean equipment. And once the audience has seen a live dove, why destroy that image? Keep on winning!

So when was the last time the old guy even looked at a fake dove? Last week in South Carolina! It costs more than before and looked like a hunting decoy for seagulls. When was the last time he bought one? Last Fall at Gatlinburg! I thought a good artist could save it. I was wrong, again. Now it is in the footlocker with the others. In spite of the facts, what is still his best advice? Either do live dove magic or not. Don't try to fool yourself. It makes it very difficult to fool an audience. And that is not optional.

The highest and best use I have ever seen for latex doves was in a casino resturant where they were used for decorations. Fake is at home in a casino.

If you still want to do animals, consider puppets. The options are wide open and very convencing. The black and white rabbit at the end of our two-hour show is a puppet. He lives in the sub trunk except for that last ninty seconds on stage when Lucy produces him behind my back.

I personally like live animals so I use them in my act. It is certainly not recommended to anyone who feels any other way. There must be thousands of things that can be used in magic besides live animals.

It's your act!


Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jan 26, 2004 08:18AM)
Great post and very good advice Bob! I've never seen a very realistic rubber or latex dove either! However, I am down to two latex doves! I managed to unload...er...sell over a dozen various makes and brands at a magic club's recent auction.

The reason that I take the latex dove out of the box using both hands is to hide as much of the prop dove as possible. It wouldn’t fool anyone for even a second if I presented it in full view and stationary! The feathers that drop to the floor provide a bit of additional misdirection. However, the gag is fast in coming. From the time the prop is taken from the box to the time it is folded up and put away is just a few seconds. It probably takes more time to read the description that to perform the gag. The magic is in the vanish of the dove from the box and the later reappearance of the dove apparently from the jacket pocket it was folded up and placed into.

I agree about using real livestock. It can’t be beat!
Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Jan 12, 2005 08:31AM)
Could someone please recommend a source for latex doves?

I am doing a very brief bit at a friend's wedding, and their name translates as "little dove," so I can't resist.

Message: Posted by: Spinnato (Jan 13, 2005 09:04AM)
Norm Nielsen makes the best latex doves.
Message: Posted by: imagique (Jan 13, 2005 08:21PM)
With the type of routine that uses latex or rubber doves, you should be able to pull off the effects with a white paper napkin held in a manner similar to a dove. You should minimize the amount of time that the fake is scrutinized, have the proper misdirection, and you should watch a lot of video of yourself doing it. At the point of using the fake, you should not still be selling them on the idea of it being a live or fake bird... you should be going to something else and, incidentally, still holding the dove. It's like a thumb tip, and, by Henry Hay's definition, is a cross between a fake and a gimmick. They're looking straight at it, and they know what it is, but they aren't really 'registering.'

With the right timing, pace, conditioning and credibility, you could switch the real dove for a white piece of paper, and put it into a white paper bag. You could tear up the bag with the white 'dove' paper inside, and shower the audience with the torn pieces, no one knowing anything.

Good luck