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Profile of jekyllandhyde
I use a stooge every chance I can (mostly for coding). No guilt a'tall.
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NADO - Mind reader
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Profile of Athos
I have a method that is very reliable and believable to pick stooges out of a group of people, PM me if you want it. But it only works in a couple of ''presentations'' so it merge in.

«How much of a gift it would be to really know what someone is thinking of?»
- Steeve Blanchet, news anchor, TVA
«Here is someone that truly uses his powers for good.»
- David Meclomesnil, weekend radio.
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Profile of oddsmaker
Would anyone like to shed some light on the "shirt trick" that was mentioned?
Michael J. Douglas
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Profile of Michael J. Douglas
The "shirt trick" is where the performer (many times a pickpocket) "steals" the shirt right off a spectator's back. If you do a search for "Bob Arno" on YouTube, you'll find his performance from World's Greatest Magic 3. The shirt pull is at the end.
Michael J.
�Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.� --from Shakespeare�s �As You Like It�
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Newark, CA
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Profile of EsnRedshirt
What with Criss Angel and all, I've noticed a disturbing trend among some laymen. I was watching someone's magic routine on YouTube during lunch, and my co-worker looked over and commented that the volunteer was probably in on the trick. "You can't walk up to a random stranger on the street and just do something amazing- over half the people magicians use are in on the trick."

I've always eschewed using a stooge, but if I can't even use a legitimate volunteer without the audience thinking "stooge", then all of magic's in deep trouble.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
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Geneva (Switzerland)
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Profile of NabsS
Myself, I am against stooges that actually are the only secret (i.e. if the audience discovers a volunteer is a stooge, it discovers the secret). I think one of the best times to use stooges is when there is another volunteer than the stooge. For example, for a mind reading effect. After all, the audience will most likely think you are tricking them, and they will not suspect a volunteer to be tricking them. But if they discover the person is a stooge, the trick won't be COMPLETELY spoiled. It's still a mind reading trick, and the actual volunteer will be baffled.

Another effect may be a sponge ball trick where a sponge ball actually teleports itself from the hand of a spectator to another's. It's impossible to make a ball vanish from a spectator's hand (and pretending to place two while really placing one actually isn't that easy). So, a stooge could be useful here.
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Profile of realorcy
If I am a layman, I will be very disappointed if I know magicians use stooges. Yes, you magicians get paid, but please be shamed at the very deep part of your heart. It isn't magic, it is acting.
Patrick Differ
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Profile of Patrick Differ
The sleight is not the trick. One doesn't have a card selected, returned to the middle of the deck, secretly passing it to the top just to say, "Wow! Your card has magically appeared on top of the deck! It's magic!" No... it's not magic. It isn't even close.

The same thing goes for confederates. Ask a person walking down the street to think of a number, they do. You divine the number in front of the other spectators. The person who thought of the number says, "Wow! You're right! How did you do that?" And everybody watching claps politely and thinks, "BS. They're working together."

Confederates are used like sleights. They cannot be the trick themselves.

In both of these examples, the sleights are the effect. And as far as effect construction goes, this construction is about as lame-brained as it gets because the distance between the effect and the method is only about 2 inches. That's close enough for 99% of all laymen, with their straight-lined, logical thought processes, to figure out pretty darn quick.

I saw a magician on TV magically cut a girl in half while they were in a park. The spectators went, "Ooooh! Aaaah! Whaaa?" and I thought to myself, "Dude, the sleight is just not the effect."

Most magicians have used or are using a confederate, but nobody likes to talk about it because some people think that their is someting 'dirty' about it. This baffles me. It's like saying, "I won't use an Ovette-Kelly Bottom Replacement because it's just wrong." I don't understand what there is to be ashamed about by using a confederate, unless they're used incorrectly and the audience figures it out. Now there's something to be a lot ashamed of.

Magic is acting, BTW. But I digress...
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
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Profile of yutszfung
With pretty good audience management, using stooge can be a miracle even for magician.
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Vancouver Island, British Columbia
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Profile of MagicMichealMan
I love stooges, I just get some people from the audience and prepair them 5 mins before a show, I know Copperfield does it. and it sure makes it a heck of a lot less nerve racking.

magic mike
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Profile of Marcel.Allen.van.Bulck
"If I am a layman, I will be very disappointed if I know magicians use stooges."

If I am a layman, I will also be very disappointed if I discover the secret of a trick. You're a magician. Either way, we're still lying to our audience. Or "performing theater," however you want to look at it. I'm not sure about this "is it ethical?" business because magic wasn't created to be ethical. It was created to be mysterious and entertaining. The question should be "Does it mystify and entertain the audience?" I say, if you can get away with it, and the audience is entertained and mystified...why not?
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Profile of stijnhommes
I've always hated extremes, so the idea that stooges are NEVER a good idea is something I just can't swallow. Now, what the right conditions are, I don't know. The only time I ever used a stooge was when I had my sister's boyfriend read someone's mind to determine a playing card. Somehow, the rest of my family never expected that I'd use him as a stooge....
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Jupiter, FL
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Profile of daver
So I just had an interesting discussion with a friend on this...

Let's say it's not a "stooge" in the pure sense, in that it really is not totally set up, but you bring someone on stage whom during the show you have determined would be a willing shill (rather than stooge) and during the patter of the effect, the participant gets a cue form you on what to do or how to behave. So they are in on it, but not a prepped, predisposed "this is the person".

First, while a stooge, although an impromptu and unpreshow'ed one, are you comfortable with this?

a) The person has to be trusted to actually execute the effect with you.
b) Does it diminish the effect when later on, or the next day, or whenever, they spill it to someone, and the effect you did was just a trick, and not "the impossible" bringing you down in their eyes as a performer,
c) Do you think that the participant will feel it in themselves to not spill it because either they want to make others believe they are really part of something magical or because they don't want to be thought of as lying to their friends?
d) Do you think the participant will spill it to "be cool and a know it all" and expose you?


What's the difference between a magician and a deck of cards? A deck of cards has FOUR suits...
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Profile of HMAC
I personally do not mind stooges too much.

However, I do mind people using bad stooges. Someone showed me a few Cris Angel's video lately. And it hurts. Really.

Please, when you use a stooge, make sure he can act.
Jason Fox
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Profile of Jason Fox
I think they can be a blessing and a curse. You could be the best performer in the world and use a plant that can't act and that can blow your whole set.

Not my favorite magician but for example I'll use Chris Angel. On His TV show Chris used several stooges for one trick(i'm sure more that once, but in his defense it is hard to come up with original magic) - Where Chris vanishes and shows up on the roof of a nearby building - the first thing that I notice was that 5 people walk up to a moving crowd of people with Chris in tow and peppered through the crowd, then immediately turned to Chris and volunteered to be a helper for the stunt. Chris only picked those guys to help. Now in effect they did accomplish the trick, but it was not graceful or was it magical. I felt less amazed and more like a con man took me for a fool.

speaking of plants - anyone know why L&L has the same people in all there videos to fill the crowd? I'd like to know, and that seems like a fun thing to know. PM me
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Shreveport, La
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Profile of DATMagic
A magician friend of mine used me as a stooge the other evening at a large gala function, I thought he was an idiot to do so since he is a competent magician and shouldn't stoop to stooges, was I ever wrong. He did a tie steal and a watch steal from me and I believe that is what everyone left talking about. I still don't like the idea of stooges, but it certainly opened my eyes to the possiblilities they bring to a large crowd.
David A Trombetta

DAT does the Trick

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Lawrence O
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Greenwich (CT)
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Profile of Lawrence O
Never used one but would have no problem doing it (properly as Patrick Differ underlines): we are professional liars after all
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Mr. Mystoffelees
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I haven't changed anyone's opinion in
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Profile of Mr. Mystoffelees
Like a one-way deck, used sparingly it kills...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Ms. Merizing
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Edwin Carl Erwin is digging postholes for
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Profile of Ms. Merizing
If Larry Fine wasn't deceased, he'd be a part of my new routine in a heartbeat.
Pleased to continue finding that all the world's a stage.
Doruk Ülgen
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Profile of Doruk Ülgen
I feel great:)
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