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Topic: Opening Effect
Message: Posted by: Russ (May 20, 2002 12:41AM)
What opening effects do you do in a restaurant set that says "I am a magician"?

I am looking for fast and visual effects. If one could do an effect like John Lovick (SP) does on his tape Reparation (appearing drink). Of course the effect needs to be quick reset. I don't think appearing drink is going to be quick reset. This is only an example of fast and visual.

Thanks in advance,
Message: Posted by: Kaliix (May 20, 2002 07:25AM)
I open with Crazy Man's Handcuffs, Short Hop (Mark Jennest's Hopping Half routine) or sponge balls. Sometimes I'll do Color Monte, depending on the table.

I don't think the opener has to be a quick routine, but the first bit of magic should happen early on.
Message: Posted by: BenSchwartz (May 20, 2002 07:29PM)
I do my own version of Dishonest Abe... it's very visual since it is a jumbo coin routine. It's funny, quick, resets easily and is just absolutely amazing. You can pick it up from MagicSmith for 20 dollars. Tell em I told ya!

Message: Posted by: Baz94 (May 21, 2002 01:01AM)
A basic brainwave opener sets me up.
I just ask 'em to name a card and then they say "Red" or "Blue".
Then I pull out the brainwave deck.

Short and sweet routine but gets their attention ;)
Message: Posted by: armagic (May 21, 2002 07:46PM)
I am also looking for an opener, but I am thinking that I'll use an effect from the Carl Cloutier video Expert Topiting, entitled "Don't Take Any Wooden Eggs" It is an effect in which the performer takes out an egg from his pocket and tosses it to an audience member, they find out it's a wooden egg, but when you take it back and give it too another spectator, they are able to feel that it is a real egg, and perhaps I'll then crack it into a glass. It seems relatively quick, somewhat visual, and it is not something that has become a cliche in magic, ie: cards.

Let me know any opinions!
Andrew :coffee:
Message: Posted by: Mr. Ed (May 22, 2002 11:58AM)
I think you might check with the restaurant manager. It may be that he/she would not care for eggs in the glasses, and you would have the problem of having to cart off the glass to the kitchen after every table. I would not care for a raw egg sitting on my table during my dinner. I saw a magican do this to end an egg bag routine and the manager did not care for it. He started to spout something about health code violations, but I don't know if this is true. At any rate it sounds great but I'd cover my bases first.
Message: Posted by: Dr. Jakks (May 22, 2002 02:03PM)
Knuckle Cracker/Thumbs - David Copperfield uses this as an opener. IT WAS MINE FIRST!!!!!! :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (May 22, 2002 07:25PM)
Maybe if you could produce a salt shaker or ketchup bottle, something like that . . . in lots of restaurants, they don't have a ketchup bottle for every single table, so they have to be passed around anyway. If you notice the party you are about to perform for is missing one . . . just snag one from an empty table and produce it - as for how to produce it, I can't say I've ever been there or done that, but in the world of magic it seems that very little is impossible. It would let the audience know you were on their side, for sure - especially if fate smiled on you and say, they had ordered a steak and you produced some A1 sauce . . .
Message: Posted by: armagic (May 22, 2002 09:30PM)
I guess your right Mr. Ed. I also decided it had a pretty bad reset since Im not goin to be carrying a dozen eggs around in my jacket, haha. Points well taken. Serling, you too, ketchup or Steak sauce is an idea.
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (May 23, 2002 01:34PM)
You could also take the ketchup bottle from their table, do a quick switch, and then make it 'vanish' in a paper bag.

Later in the routine, you could make the ketchup bottle reappear in your shoe...

No... wait... that might not be too appetizing. Better make it appear from somewhere else.

But you get the idea...

Message: Posted by: armagic (May 23, 2002 04:54PM)
:rotf: :rotf:
Ill think about it, thanks for the idea.

Message: Posted by: J_C (May 24, 2002 08:16AM)
I haven't got this, but I saw an advertisement in Magic Magazine a few months ago for "Adam Rubin's - Your Name Here!"

>Imagine walking up to a table with a blank name badge. Of course, people are bound to comment on it but by simply waving your hand over the tag, your name MAGICALLY BECOMES PRINTED ON IT!!

That's what it says, sounds like an excellent opener.

In case you're wondering it's $20.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (May 24, 2002 09:06PM)
I do my sponge routine as an opener, for a number of reasons:

1) The magic begins to happen fairly quickly.

2) It starts off by introducing a unique item and asking a meaningful question, both of which create interest.

3) It is fun and amusing as well as amazing.

4) It is not a card effect. Now, I am a big fan of card magic (pun intended), and have written four books of almost exclusively card effects. But, many people have "walls" against cards or card tricks. So I start with a couple of non-card routines, and after they see that I am skilled and fun, I introduce the cards.

5) It doesn't require the spectators to "do" anything until well into the routine. I think it is a big mistake to walk up to total strangers and immediately "put them to work" (shuffling, holding, mixing, counting, etc.) I think you need to give them an opportunity to size you up and get to know you before you try to involve them. In my sponge routine, some time passes and several amazing things happen before I ask them to do anything more than speak.

6) It is an effective trick for all ages, so both kids and parents enjoy it. I have always held that in restaurant work, you'd better have some effects for the kids--but they should be strong enough to amaze the adults as well!

7) It is--at least partially--visible to other tables. they see how magical and fun it is, and they want me to come to their tables as well!

8) It is modular. I can stop after any phase should the food come, etc.

9) It has a powerful finish, making it the perfect effect to do for those tables who only want to see (or only have time for)
"one trick."

10) It is a perfect vehicle for my personality. It shows them the type of magician I am, the type of humor I have, and the kind of (non-confrontational) magic I do.

For me, it's the perfect opener!
Message: Posted by: cataquet (May 25, 2002 03:00AM)
For virtually the same reasons as Scott, with the exception of #5, I do C&R rope. It plays big and the magic happens very quickly. However, I like to involve the spectators right from the beginning. So, I have them examine the rope and scissors.

Bye for now

Message: Posted by: Shawn D (May 25, 2002 04:04AM)
I am with Scott, A sponge trick lets them know right away this is going to be fun and lets them know what kind of personalty you have.

I start out with my Sponge Bunny routine.
It has some great lines, great for kids and adults love it also, and for the finish I need a magic wand, and I only have a pencil in my pocket for my magic wand, which is by the way the #2 pencil trick. So when I am through the sponge bunny trick I go right into the #2 pencil routine.
From there you can go anywhere from coins to cards.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (May 25, 2002 10:13AM)
Like Scott, I do not like to open with a card effect, I also agree that your first effect should be a spectator just watch type effect (unless the assistance comes late in the routine) usually for me are Profesors nightmare or a Gary Kurts coin routine from his Flurious video but not Flourious the other one a bit like Korans Hankey Pankey with two Jumbo coins as a climax,
(I sometimes add a further kick. By producing a drink pint if possible or a bottle of wine).
Message: Posted by: DaveVegas (May 26, 2002 03:35PM)
Although I agree with much of what has been said, the invisible deck/brainwave is still the strongest effect that I believe one can do to grab an audiences attention...it doesn't really require the spec' to do much other than use their brain and one can inject quite a bit of humour too....and then at the end get rid of the cards and go into something completely different. It has never failed to either gain the interest of a crowd/table I'm working, nor failed to introduce my style either - it's the delivery that counts.
Message: Posted by: omnibozo (May 27, 2002 12:30AM)
As demonstrated by those talking about using a Brainwave opener, card tricks are not inherently poor as openers. I don't find that real people are put off by card tricks per se. What they dislike are the endless counting tricks their Uncle Ernie shows them... over and over.

My opener depends on my quick read of the people at the table. My persona uses light humor, so I invariably talk with them before going into any routines. If I open with cards I do a series of four effects where no cards are taken at all... then go for the take-a-card stuff. If I do cards at a table that is usually all I do... then on to something else at another table.

With kids or women at a table try Catapillar Love (with a butterfly sticker). Great for walkaround, too, as you can immediately tell whom you have worked for already.
Message: Posted by: Geoff Williams (May 29, 2002 02:31PM)
I agree with omnibozo: I chat briefly with the guests before performing.

I am also in the habit of letting the audience choose what they'd like to see (I'm menu-driven, just like the restaurant):

"A card trick, a coin trick or some completely different kind of trick?"

If they answer "card trick" I might continue "A fancy card trick or a strange card trick?"

Should they answer "coin trick," I give them the option of "A 1-coin trick, a 2-coin trick, a 3-coin trick or a 4-coin trick...and before you answer, keep in mind the 4-coin trick isn't necessarily better than the 1-coin trick."

If they opt for a "completely different kind of trick," I'll launch into sponge balls, rubberbands, ring & string, etc.
Message: Posted by: phonic69 (May 30, 2002 01:24AM)
I like my first effect to combine introductions and magic, for example a multiple signed card effect that gets everybody to share their names.

At present I perform a mentalism rountine with a stacked deck for my opener, very strong and not to long!

Message: Posted by: jmcgrath (May 31, 2002 08:56AM)
And now for the answer that no one likesÖ

I donít do magic for my opener. I spend about the first 20 seconds introducing myself and getting a bit of a rapport going with the table. This allows me plenty of time to see if they are interested and get a feel for the mood.

For me, and I donít pretend that itís for everyone, this is the best opener that I have. My first trick however is generally Kaps Money or if the table is really lively my sponge ball routine.


Message: Posted by: J R Thomas (May 31, 2002 12:04PM)
Dittos Scoot Guinn... for the most part.

For years I opened with Chicago Openers. It's simple, easy to follow and startling... sounds like some women I've dated. That's another story.

Lately I have been using Steve Freeman's Time Traveler. All the spectator has to do is say stop. The story is interesting and it is short. I have found the slower I do it the more amazing it is... sounds like some women I ...wait I'm off the subject again.

Harold.... I'm curious... why didn't you like Scott's #5? You made a point to mention it but never elaborated. Given the effect you do, the reasoning would seem to support it, even if there is no audience participation.

Geoff... have you ever opened with Carl? This is not one of my lame humor attempts at your expense. Given what you have said about him in other posts... he would seem like a possible opener.
Message: Posted by: Joe M. Turner (Jun 1, 2002 12:21PM)
I have used a variety of effects as openers, and frequently will use several different routines as openers even on the same night. Often it depends on what the table looks like.

Some of my most frequent openers:
1. A simple sponge ball routine
2. A torn & restored sugar packet routine
3. Troy Hooser's "A Charming Chinese Challenge" (a coin routine)

I have used Crazy-Man's Handcuffs and other routines, but the above are my top three. For a couple of weeks I used a Lippincott Box and vanished an initialed quarter to begin, then found it at the end. It didn't seem to play as well as I hoped, though. I had several people guess that it would be in the box. (Heck, at that point why even bother to open it?)

Yes, I know that's probably just a routining problem on my end... sigh.

Doing good magic is hard work.

Message: Posted by: bumbleface (Jul 23, 2002 05:11PM)
I'd always open with something that will get the audience interested and not make it too long, yet it should have a powerful effect. :bikes:
Message: Posted by: knightmagic98 (Jul 23, 2002 10:15PM)
here is my .02

I almost always open with sponge balls...here are my reasons why....

(1)it is unique: I start with a purse frame, and then make two out of one...this tends to catch them off guard.

(2)It is VERY visual: Depending on the atmosphere (like the other night when karaoke was blaring in the background) this is something they should have no trouble following

(3)It get's someone involved and everyone else wants to be involved

(4) cuz I want to ;)

thats all
Message: Posted by: Scott (Jul 24, 2002 04:20AM)
Heres mine,m

I usually approach a table for the first time holding a bunch of lottery tickets which are actualy made up for the Kaps paper to bills effect.

I tell them my name and explain that I am collecting the tickets for the management, that one was left on each seat and have they filled them out yet as they are all guaranteed winners. When they have stopped looking under the seats etc I show them the paper to money change and then put them into my fire wallet by which time they know what I am there for.

Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Jul 29, 2002 05:18PM)
I tailor my opening to the table; I may use half-a-dozen different openers in an evening, depending on my assessment of the patrons. Amongst the openers I use, and the reasons, are:

1. Number 2 Pencil: I like to use this when there are children at the table because they can immediately participate. I'll tell them that I'm the "cheap" entertainment, then bring out the pencil, saying that this is what the host gave me with which to entertain everyone, and asking if they know what it is.

2. Coins Across: I learned a routine from Doug Brewer using a Chinese coin and three English pence. When people tell me they like magic with money, I'll start with this because the money is unusual, and I can begin by asking "Have you ever seen one of these?", holding up the Chinese coin.

3. Crazy Man's Handcuffs: Another "cheap entertainment" opener. I always start by asking if people know what these are; they'll usually answer "rubberbands" but tentatively, so their interest is piqued.

4. Darwin Ortiz' Newest Tens: If I want to do a card routine this is a great opener because I can ask "Have you ever seen a magician do magic with a deck of cards?" and, when they answer "Yes", say, "Well, I [i]don't[/i] do magic with a deck of cards; I do magic with only two cards: the two black tens."

So what's the message? Start with whatever effect you want, but start by getting them involved. Notice that every one of the openers I listed starts with a question to the audience.
Message: Posted by: Marcus Selle (Aug 4, 2002 05:36AM)
I open with Crazy Man's Handcuffs or a color changing knife routine.
Both are neither too long or too complicated and the magic starts to happen almost immediately.

Message: Posted by: Andy Charlton (Aug 4, 2002 10:44AM)
I either open with Invisible deck, or a Rubberband routine.

If it's the band routine, after my greeting I say "The first Miracle I always do is called the borrowed ring Miracle.......... It's great, the only drawback to this is that I have to borrow a ring........" Sooner or later someone offers and I am into ring on and off band (Ammar's book) Crazy Man's Handcuffs and maybe band around wrist (Greg Wilson, On the Spot I think)

VERY IMPORTANT. However much or little hinting/asking/Begging I have to do I ALWAYS make a big thing about how easily they lent the ring to me, how much harder it usually is, how this means they are great people and we are going to have a lot of fun together for the next few minutes. Very occasionally It becomes obviouse early on that I'm not going to get a ring, At that point I make a joke of it "I don't blame you, sooner or later someone will lend me one, then I can get out of here, till then I'll have to carry on working" etc. then into CMH. I NEVER Push if they don't want to lend one, and I NEVER NEVER make them feel bad.

My thoughts

Message: Posted by: Mauro (Aug 16, 2002 05:02AM)
Hi everybody...

I usually start with sponge balls routine.. but it may change: often someone call me and ask for a specific magic they have seen (or glimpsed) me performing in a previous table... I usually satisfy their desire.. ;)

Message: Posted by: PMVIVA (Aug 20, 2002 09:47AM)
Hello, I've watched a Doc Eason Bar magic video, I don't know how the video is called, but he opened his bar routine with a nuts effect, is about the plot two in the hand one in the pocket, is enternained and very fun, is quickly and you do magic with a very unusual prop to do magic.

I think is the best.
I also do a four coins production and then I begin with coins across or coins trhu table.

I also like the idea of opening with an sponge ball routine.

I also like the Card cash effect when a $10 bill appears in the middle of two cards, when you have show both cards empty, and then I perform an Bill routine, like cut and restored bill, floating bill with ITR, and the dissapear of the bill.

That is my opžnion about the opening effect.

Message: Posted by: Joshua Lozoff (Aug 20, 2002 12:41PM)
Some great advice and reflections here so far. I usually start out with a card effect (since I only use cards...)

I like starting out with Fechter's "I've Got a Surprise for You" because it plays with people's idea of what card magic is. Twice. First they think you have brought a card to the top of the deck, which is kind of neat, but expected. Then it's the wrong card. Then They think you're bringing it out of your pocket. A little more magical, but still expected. So it plays with their expectations which most folks find very fun. And the magic is great, too.

I love Invisible deck/Brainwave, but unless it's presented kind of cornily, it is flat-out the most amazing and impossible magic ever. I can't imagine starting with it because where would you go from there? After truly reading minds, are you going to make a card jump from one packet to another? What a let-down.

For those who open with this, how do you follow up?
Message: Posted by: Elwood (Aug 20, 2002 12:41PM)
I found that approaching a table with either a sponge ball or length of rope in your hand kind of suggested to everyone that "Here's the magician!"
Message: Posted by: Bascomb Grecian (Aug 20, 2002 04:28PM)
I use a suggestion "that is not on the menu",
I then produce my brainwave deck.
Message: Posted by: Genio (Aug 20, 2002 08:00PM)
I think that opening with a flying card is nice. It gets peoples attention VERY quickly.
Message: Posted by: Andy Charlton (Aug 21, 2002 04:13AM)
The Doc Eason Effect is called "All Screwed up" and is available for$5.00 from his website at http://www.doceason.com/ As mago said It's also on volume 3 of his Rocky Mountain Magic Video's (However I recommend buying all 3. IMHO The best set of "Real world" Magic Videos anywhere.)


Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Aug 21, 2002 05:46AM)
"All Screwed Up", that has become a signature piece of Doc Eason's, originally appeared in Genii magazine in the '70s; it's by Gary Frings.
Doc Eason has repeatedly pointed out that he is not the originator of the trick, but it doesn't seem to do much good!
Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: MagiclDave (Aug 21, 2002 10:17PM)
I use the trick called Your name here and it is a really great effect that i got from adam rubin, the maker of the trick i would deffinetly recomend this, it really catches their attention.

-Dave :bikes:
Message: Posted by: sleightly_impressive (Aug 31, 2002 04:22PM)
One of my favorite openings is to walk up to the table carrying a small bar tray w/ a deck of cards or a silk or what ever on it. I then introduce myself to the group and say, "I'll be your entertainer this evening. Would you like to see some magic". THis gives the group the chance to opt out and you haven't totally annoyed them.

SI :bluebikes: