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Topic: Pick pocket magic
Message: Posted by: giggalo183 (Aug 11, 2002 11:21PM)
Anyone know any good books or videos on pick pocket magic :pepsi:
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Aug 12, 2002 12:53PM)
This has been discussed here before.

The link is:

Message: Posted by: Genio (Aug 12, 2002 01:20PM)
The watch Steal video
Chappy Brazil
Message: Posted by: misdirection master (Aug 20, 2002 05:43PM)
Some good refrences on pick pocket magic would be in Gregory Wilsons "On The Spot" video "Playful Pick Pocketing". Also in one of Worlds Greatest magic Bob Arno did a pick pocket act as well as any Watch Steal video.

Misdirection Master :baby:
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Aug 21, 2002 09:11AM)
The bit that Gregory Wilson does on his "On the Spot" video is fun to watch. It also gives you an idea of the timing necessary for performing some really easy pickpocketing stunts. It is not, nor is it intended to be an in depth instruction on pickpocket acts, routines or stunts.

Arguably the best video out on the topic is Mark Raffles' instructional video on the subject. All aspect including building an act are covered. It can be had from Stevens magic. If all you want to learn is the watch steal, then the references have already been given.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Aug 21, 2002 09:18AM)
Maybe it is time to try a full pickpocket act on the streets! Maybe the performer would not be arrested! It would be full of audience participation that's for sure!

A ton of years ago I tried a Pick Pocket act. It involved some standard set-up tricks (tie and shirt pull) using one stooge, some bluff pick pocketing (a fake wallet steal, you examine the wallet and fake putting it back repeatedly) and some very easy but genuine stunts (suspender/braces removal, glasses from the face, belt, pencil/pen from the pocket) and of course, the watch steal.

The act was very basic act. I purchased a small mimeographed booklet by Eddie Joseph for technique. I had watched only two other pickpocket acts (one on the old Ed Sullivan TV show the other a live performance) and I followed their template. Both sort of followed the same pattern. They may have performed some different stunts but did so within the same outline. So I guess I copied the act. Both acts used a minimum of 6 volunteers. Both acts used at least one stooge. How do I know they used a stooge? Simple, both acts finished with the shirt-pulling stunt and the only way to accomplish the stunt is with a set-up requiring a stooge.

I decided to use fewer volunteers, do a faster paced show, and still use a stooge. Depending on my time spot and venue I would use three or four volunteers (one of whom was a stooge).

I would go into the audience to select the volunteers from the many who raised their hands to participate. I would take a persons arm and lead him or her to the platform and steal their watch in the process. The show progressed with a combination of bluff and real stunts. It ended with performing the 20 Century Shorts (audience participant) and the shirt pull (stooge). Stolen watches were given back during the act and I would "bluff" putting them back on only to be steal them again in the process (it is easy to take off a watch that is not on in the first place!). The watches would be finally given back to the spectator as they were thanked and sent back to their seat.

I tried to keep it fast paced, fun, and funny. This act was performed from 1970 to 72 mainly in the Southwest USA, in college towns, at clubs/bars. I did get to perform it in Britain once (military base) and Germany once (military base) when I was contracted as an entertainer to perform at a series of U.S. Military bases. It was a fun act to perform.

The real skill in a pickpocket act is audience management. You have to have real flair. You have to be able to keep moving, keep talking, and keep touching people even when not stealing. Most steals are easy to execute with only the slightest misdirection. You are stealing from one person while talking to the next person. You overwhelm the volunteers by bombarding them with multiple stimuli. Their brains simply cannot process all the information coming at them.

In terms of technical skills (actual physical skills) needed it is easier to learn than card and ball manipulation. In terms of effective presentation skills, it is one of the hardest acts to successfully pull off.

Could it go on the streets? Hummmmmm...