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Topic: Stop a fan with your tongue
Message: Posted by: TAIT (May 5, 2004 12:26PM)
Hi, do any of you do this act, Is it a new act or an old act, and can you give me info on this act?
Message: Posted by: Lotus (May 27, 2004 07:00PM)
Never heard of it
Why don't you try it and give us some feedback
Message: Posted by: Eric Starkey (May 28, 2004 12:11PM)
I recently saw, the one and only, Harley Newman perform this at a convention in Pittsburgh. He is a truly amazing guy.

I don't know if he is the originator of this piece or not. He is the only person that I have seen performing it though - of course I'm sure that there are people here who are much more qualified to answer this question. It is definitely one of his signature pieces along with the bed of nails, which has to be seen to be believed.

Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (May 28, 2004 09:27PM)
I saw a guy do this on David Letterman back in the late 80's on "Stupid Human Tricks." So it's far from new.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (May 29, 2004 10:43AM)
I taught Harley how to do it and Docc Hilford has nice work on it too. It's very old and another one of these kinds of stunts that will fall flat if you don't have nice presentation for it. If this is lacking, then the whole thing is rather pointless and will leave the audience scratching their heads as to why you are doing it.
Message: Posted by: Eric Starkey (Jun 2, 2004 07:32AM)
Thanks for the information. You are (as always) a fountain of knowledge. I knew there were some of you smart guys lurking about who could provide the real details.

Message: Posted by: TAIT (Jun 10, 2004 12:38PM)
Hi todd is this like stoping a bmx tyre with your head or is it a special scill yes no ?
Message: Posted by: Svengali (Jun 19, 2004 08:27PM)
Any idea where may I find more information on this stunt?
Many thanks.
Message: Posted by: TAIT (Jun 20, 2004 11:03AM)
I'm not crazy. Whit Sean does this act. He might help you. His web site is http://www.crazywhitesean.com/
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jun 26, 2004 10:55AM)
Todd's statement above came true last night when some guy came out and did it on Leno...thud.
Message: Posted by: tylerdurden (Jul 5, 2004 02:33AM)
Are you talking about a regular house fan? If you are, I have stopped them with one of my fingers before, and would assume that using your tongue would only be a little baby step beyond that.
Message: Posted by: Magicusa (Jul 5, 2004 08:17PM)
I did this in high school about 30 years ago. Make sure its a Plastic Blade!
Message: Posted by: CamelotFX (Jul 6, 2004 11:35PM)
It's a big "duh." Since even a kid audience knows that, it just encourages them to "try it at home." That's where they find out that it really is a dumb trick. Makes you look dumb too. Don't waste your time, or the audience's.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 7, 2004 07:26AM)
I have to disagree. Many people have a fear of fans. They have an image in their minds that sticking a finger into a fan will result in the digit being chopped off. Like anything else, it's not the stunt,it's what you do with it. Docc Hilford does a very nice piece with it and Harley Newman can get screams from the audience when he does it. If people on this forum think it's nothing, well, that's good. It will mean that there will be fewer people doing the bit.
Message: Posted by: Matthew the Magnificent (Jul 7, 2004 05:33PM)
I first saw it on Letterman's long ago, and I AGREED that it highly qualified for the 'venue' as a 'Stupid Human Trick', since then I have seen a couple others do this, on Leno, et al.

The first time WAS effective, but again, to me DUMB. All the others now just strike me as sort of 'so what', seen it already.

Am I jaded? I am interested in seeing Docc or Harley, JUST to see if it would impress me. Otherwise...

And just as a personal note, I ate fire for more than 20 years, so I am not exactly opposed to such things.
Message: Posted by: jennieprice (Jul 7, 2004 10:14PM)
Hate to disagree with the great Todd here, but I personaly believe that it really isn't that big of a deal and not all that impressive. It seems to me that with this act, presentation is everything here. With that right, it might be good. Otherwise, it's not worth the effort.

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 8, 2004 10:05AM)
Jennieprice, you have said the magic words. Presentation is everything in all acts. "Taint what you do, it's the way that you do it".

I find that in this area of the business, performers end up having to learn a ton of skills because their presentation lacks impact. I've seen a guy stick his hand into an animal trap, then smash a can on his finger, then stop a fan with his tongue, then hammer a nail into his nose and then blow a huge fire ball. It was the most boring three minutes I have ever seen. It was pointless, and the audience took nothing away from the experience of watching this guy work.

Before Melvin Burkhart came along, no one thought much about hammering a nail into the nose. It was part of the Human Pincushion fakir act. In addition to running skewers through their flesh, needles through their tongues and sewing buttons to their chest, the Human Pincushions would also hammer a nail into the nose.

There's a lovely photo of Leo Kongee doing the full act. If you do a search you can probably find the shot online somewhere. Melvin took this one bit of the nail in the nose and made it into a stand-alone act. He performed it for more than 70 years (as a side note, his last performance of the act was at my wedding Oct. 8th 2001. He died one month later).

So, like the Blockhead, the fan bit can be a big nothing or it can be something if it means something to you, and you can convey that meaning to your audience.
Message: Posted by: jennieprice (Jul 8, 2004 10:57AM)
Maybe it's just my imagination, and not being savvy about magic may not be true. Reading the posts here, both about sideshows and magic, that people believe that the audience should be amazed at what they do no matter how they present it, I believe the thing to remember here is the audience. They have an investment in time and money in coming to a venue and are there to be ENTERTAINED.

Some "entertainers" are too interested in saying. "Look what I can do", which is what we are saying, but they are not even bothering to understand what entertainment actually is. You can learn many sideshow acts in a day, but it takes months, even years to learn how to be entertaining. Even people who've been doing it for years are still learning.

Any thoughts, Todd? Both Slim and I respect your opinion, and I'd like to hear what you say on this.

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 8, 2004 02:40PM)
The audience will tell you everything you need to know to become a good performer if you listen to there response. The only problem is that it is easy to play it safe and be a hack act. It's important to avoid stock lines and insulting your audience volunteers. These lead to easy laughs, but nothing comes with it. It's much more difficult, but far more rewarding on many levels, to figure out why you are doing what you are doing and then convey it to your audiences. This is something every major name in entertainment has done since the beginning of the business. Make your act about something.
Message: Posted by: jennieprice (Jul 8, 2004 03:13PM)
Thanks for your input, Todd. It's a shame that the people who need it most won't see it.

Message: Posted by: rkrahlmann (Aug 8, 2004 12:09PM)
You are right when you say presentation is everything. Too many sideshow performers (or wannabees) think that it is enough just to do the stunt. And I've seen them get hostile with the audience because they didn't react with thunderous applause over a boring presentation. Yes, even hammering a nail in your nose can be boring.
Message: Posted by: Mysterion The Mind reader (Aug 19, 2004 10:16PM)
I have a live Horror show based out of Toronto Canada that incorporates Live Burlesque, music and mentalism. One part of my show is a combination act of Double Human blockhead, Nail bed walking and laying under weight, and passing a glass bead from my throat into my eye.

By itself, it has no real purpose and I agree that doing these routines for the sake of "look what I can do" really has no point. I use them as a example of how my character is able to turn off pain, and as silly as this is, it works because my Horror show is really a comedy horror show but not billed as one. The audience love it everytime and it's only based on context and presentation. Be careful. Even if it's just me being "insane" it doen't matter, it has a reason to be there.

Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Aug 20, 2004 06:57PM)
This is something that I would really like to learn. Can anyone PM me some "instructions"? :devilish:
Message: Posted by: Bill Fienning (Aug 28, 2004 05:08PM)
I saw Docc Hilford do the fan stopping routine at a Weerd Weekend several years ago. The way he presents it is really funny. He also chops a carrot into pieces using the running fan blade before he stops it with his finger.

By the way, he uses an old, metal-bladed fan.

Go back and read Todd Robbins' responses to this. Presentation is everything.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 28, 2004 06:09PM)
Throwing it at the fan and stopping it wasn't the hard part...the hard part was the ripping it out with a pair of pliers...next I'm going eat 6 cans of beans and sit in molten glass and blow out little crystal balls...anything to give the audience what they paid for...

Thank The Great Zamora! Tim Cridland suffers for me or else I'd think the above would be necessary to entertain todays crowd...oh...and the fact that I saw a guy with a little puppet get big laffs from a hard core group of spiked thugs...

it is ALL presentation...100%...but if you swallow rusted auto parts, that's the part that entertains YOU...remember the same crowd that gets off on Fear Factor and acts shoving swords up their ass also watches The Lion King and the Olympics.

Btw: the above was not a slap at acts who go over the edge...far from it...I've been around sideshow since the '50's...with it and for it...my point was...and not well made either was that what ever you choose to do, do it because you do it well...enjoy it and not to impress people and be let in to a fraternity 'cause you are cool' and can hang by your eylid from a moving train...if you enjoy doing your act or rehearsal when NO ONE is present...then that's a good thing.
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Aug 29, 2004 12:11AM)
Well said, Xmosis... I'm pushing 70, and still widdit!