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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The March 2006 entrée: Tim Ellis & Sue-Anne Webster » » Do you have a funny story? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Sue-Anne Webster
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V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
97 Posts

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I don't know what some of these corporate people put in their drinks, or maybe it was too much sun, but 1200 people in a big marquee on the gold coast, Australia for a real estate agency resulted in some strange, yet endearing, moments for Jeannie.

It was one of my first gigs and I was nervous to say the least. There was no way I was getting around that many people in 2 hours. My nerves were quickly abated and concern set in when, after a few people were shocked to see "their favourite TV character" in real life and started pointing and staring and getting excited, a lady in her seat - as I approached her - just looked at me and dissolved into tears. I mean heart rendering sobs.

I was dumbfounded. What did I do?!

She started bawling as she looked up at me and said "I... love... you... so much... I ..used to watch you... all the... time ... and you're here... you're really here in ..front of me".

... oh - kayyy ....

In the end we had a photo together. Imagine it. Jeannie and Alice Cooper!
IT Magic
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Regular user
Australia
113 Posts

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Is that the "welcome to my nightmare" Alice Cooper?
Magic, Illusion and Data Management
www.stardockmagi.blogspot.com

I picture a world of love and peace, a world without war where people live together in harmony.
I also picture us attacking that world 'cause they just wouldn't expect it
Sue-Anne Webster
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V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
97 Posts

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I wasn't fast enough to edit that. I meant her mascara ran down her face from crying so much she looked like Alice Cooper.
Tim Ellis
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Melbourne, Australia
1233 Posts

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Traveling through outback Australia with the ‘Star Magic Show’ in 1981 was a very educational experience. One school we performed our show in was a caravan. Try to imagine the scene, climbing up on top of the sub trunk but staying crouched because your head is already touching the roof. Lifting the cloth and holding it pressed firmly against the ceiling while you do the exchange. The small audience was positive that we’d put a trapdoor in the roof of their caravan!

Later we had to fly to some remote mission stations in Arnhem Land at the top of the Northern Territory. Four of us, plus the illusions, crammed into a four-seater Cessna. They had to remove one of the seats to cram all of the equipment in, and I traveled lying down inside the Zig-Zag. Next time you don’t get the business-class seats you requested, don’t complain, it could be a lot worse!
rikbrooks
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Inner circle
Olive Branch, Mississippi
1317 Posts

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My wife was a Director of Nursing at a nursing home in Waco. One day she asked me if I would volunteer to do a show for them with only a couple of days notice. Apparently they had entertainment lined up and the families were notified but the entertainer DIED and only a couple of days before the show. She was my girlfriend at the time and I was still trying hard to impress her so of course I said sure, even though I'd never done a show at a nursing home before and didn't know what to expect.

What I got was no stage! There was nothing to seperate the audience and me. I had a big dining room and they had moved some of the tables and chairs to make room for me. I also didn't take into account that some of the residents have dementia. In other words, don't think that clearly.

Everything went well - or fairly well and I was doing my Zombie, just getting started with the whoosh, whoosh! When this tiny, impossibly old lady in the front row just stood up, walked right up to me and snatched my Zombie AND the foullard! She left me standing there with a stick hanging out into space and a funny look on my face.

She just teetered back to her room with it.
Brad Burt
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Inner circle
2675 Posts

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This is one of those stories about a show that never happened. I had done a show for the deaf. VERY slow as I would say something and then the signing translation. It totally destroyed my timing, but I got through it.....swearing I would never do that again. Wonderful people, but the stress was terrible.

So, I get a call....you do magic for the hearing impaired, right? Well, once, I reply. Well we have a group and want to hire you...a group of 25 blind folks. Blind? Like really, really blind? Yep. I call all my friends. Anyone do this before??? No, not really. What do you mean not really? Well, ok, no.

The folks trying to hire me are being very encouraging, but I am frankly MUCH more freaked out than before. Exactly what am I supposed to do here I ask them? Well, you will do your act and explain what is happening! Really.... I ask them if I could not do the act, but just pretend and explain what is happening? They didn't like that idea as there would be SOME sighted folk there and THEY would get to see what happened.

The upshot is that I just couldn't do it. To weird at that time in my life...I was pretty young. I gave them the name of a friend who did the show and thought it was pretty cool....Brad, he said, you should have seen my Classic Force...I just couldn't miss! Yes, he was quite the cutup. Best,
Brad Burt
Chrystal
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Inner circle
Canada/France
1552 Posts

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Hi,

I once was hired to perform at a banquet hall for a couple hundred people. It was for a particular ethnic group whom are known for having large parties. As a result of this, some enterprising person decided to build a number of huge banquet halls in one particular area. It filled the need, as every hall would be booked each weekend. I discovered it is a nightmare for entertainers to find which hall a particular event will be held in if they are unfamiliar with this area - as the address is the same for all of them but they are numbered differently. Thousands of people are milling around and the huge parking lot is filled with cars. Thus I found myself on a Saturday night lugging my huge suitcase around trying to find the right hall. Although I arrived early I spent a lot of time walking around trying to locate the right place as each time the place I was directed to was not the correct one.

As a result I arrived mins before the show was to start. Luckily no set up for me as my suitcase was packed and I was to perform comedy magic. I'm wisked up on the small stage which stood a few feet off the main dance floor. The adults remain seated and the children approach and sit a few feet below me. I begin my show.

During the show I notice the children occasionally looking a bit off to the side and upwards. This hadn't happened to me before and finally I had to ask "what are you guys looking at?". They all say "Me" and "you" in unison, while pointing. I turn around and realize I had neglected to notice the large white screen which was displaying my image on power point. LOL! Fortunately I hadn't had to set up anything so was pretty sure I hadn't flashed anything. In my rush to get on stage I had completely missed the huge 12 by 12 screen which allowed everyone in the hall to see me.

Chrystal
Tim Ellis
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V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1233 Posts

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That reminds me of a story from my 'Young Magicians' days Chrystal.

We were teenage magicians doing a show as a group in a shopping centre. The audience always seemed to be looking at us just above our eyeline while we performed. As we discovered later, at the back of the stage was an angled mirror on the ceiling (part of the design of the centre). From the audience's pov if they looked into the mirror they could see right into the temporary dressing room we had set up behind the stage and they were more interested watching the others getting changed than the one on stage performing!
Brad Burt
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Inner circle
2675 Posts

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The two above just reminded me of one....Booked for a show in a night club. I am not a clubber and though I knew the name I had never been in before. So I show to my bit. The manager walks me out on the floor...I would be performing for three sides of the place. He walks me out and shows me where to set up. Much to my chagrin the entire back wall, the one that would be BEHIND me is mirrored! I was literally stunned almost speechless as I ran through my entire act to try and see if I had anything at all that was angly. Since it was my stand up act the answer was no! I knew the answer before hand, but I just was so freaked at seeing this huge expanse of mirror that it threw me. Did show, got great reaction, collected check, had sushi.

Here's a quicky...how many have done shows in homes. Show up, set up in front of a glass window or door. Still light out when you do, but sun is going down. Show starts late and suddenly you realize that the sun has set and now you are in front of a huge mirror and not a clear window. Sigh.....Best,
Brad Burt
Tim Ellis
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V.I.P.
Melbourne, Australia
1233 Posts

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Brad, another thing I found is that it’s very important that you test everything before you go on stage. Now some people take this to extremes, like my colleague Andrew Gill. Just before the audience came into the theatre, I explained to Andrew exactly what he needed to do to set a pyro off during the show. “Just touch this wire to this battery.” “Right. Like this?” POOF! “Never mind…”

The lack of testing the strength of a milk crate also gave me one of my most memorable introductions ever. The music started, Andrew stood at the side of the stage on a milk crate so he could be seen over a large podium. “Ladies & Gentlemen” he announced, “Please welcome to the stage, the incredible magic of Mr…aaaugh!” Needless to say, no-one saw me as I entered as every eye in the room was focused on the podium looking for the compere who vanished… the exact same moment the milk crate collapsed under him.

However, not testing can occasionally result in some more pleasant surprises. Who would have thought to test the strength of a ceiling? At the end of an egg bag routine I was performing for Andrew in a toy store, I threw the egg out into the audience for a spectacular mid-air vanish. What normally happened was the hollow egg would shatter as it hit the ceiling and scatter confetti all over the audience. This time, as the egg hit the ceiling a ceiling tile opened up, swallowed the egg, then closed instantly. By the time the audience looked up to see the egg I’d just thrown, to all intents and purposes it had vanished! Every person in the audience gasped in amazement at this incredible vanish of an egg in mid-air. Well, everyone except Andrew Gill who was doubled over on the floor at the back cacking himself laughing.
Ron Giesecke
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Special user
Redding, Ca.
944 Posts

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I was performing a beer and wine festival, one block away from one of our hospital helipads. I was halfway through my cups and balls routine, when the medi-copter buzzed the event on its way to a situation.

Of course, the entire crowd looked up at the whole cacophany--then looked at me to resume my cadence when the noise faded. I sponatneously said "by the way, while you were looking at that helicopter, I stuck a plum, a turnip and a lemon under the cups." They laughed. I hadn't, and finished my sequences with the small balls, confirming this was a "joke" in their minds as they saw my cups were empty. I had no idea how powerful this setup was going to be.

So there I was; cups deftly loaded, no one the wiser, and the lingering depth charge of a "goofy passing statement" ready to explode.

I thanked them for coming out. I then said "I'll need to thank that helicopter too." as I lifted the cups to reveal the fruit.

The sound was incredible. Possibly the most visceral, crowd-splitting moment I've ever experienced with the cups and balls.
Tim Ellis
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Melbourne, Australia
1233 Posts

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That's very funny Ron!

The helicopter prompts me to tell my MOST embarrassing story of all.

At EXPO 88 in Brisbane, I was performing my Spellbinder show with Wendy Richards and our outdoor stage was right next to the helipad! We co-ordinated the shows so it ended up not being a major problem, but the story is this...

During the subtrunk routine we were doing at the time, the plot line was that I "accidentally" locked Wendy inside with the key (similar to the way Sue-Anne and I still do it) but the difference was that I would give the volunteer a key to unlock the trunk which wouldn't fit. So he would go to let Wendy out of the trunk and say "Tim, the key doesn't fit?!" which would prompt the magical solution of Wendy and I changing places so she could use her key to open the trunk and let me out.


However....


One fateful day a volunteer somehow managed to get that darn key into the lock. Not only that, but he turned it with such force that it broke in half while still in there.

So Wendy is in the trunk, and there is NO WAY to unlock it even with the correct key....

At a loss as to what to do, I thought "on with the show".

We did the exchange, a little slower than usual as I explained to Wendy - in passing - what had happened.

She came out and said "Thankyou everyone for coming, I hope you enjoyed the show!"

Everyone clapped... no-one moved.


It was an outdoor venue, lots of families sitting on the sloping grassy embankment on a nice warm day looking at us on a stage with a roof, but no wings, backdrop or anything.

We had engaged the audience and they wanted to see what was going to happen next.

Wendy bowed and went over to our stage manager. She explained the situation quietly and the stage manager rushed off.

No-one in the audience did.

Wendy came over and spoke to me through the trunk. "They are waiting to see you again Tim!"

We did the exchange again.

They applauded and I bowed, but Wendy was now in the trunk.

It was a ridiculous game of cat and mouse that looked like it was never going to end.



A few days passed.


No, just kidding, though it felt like that! Finally the stage manager came back with a pair of bolt cutters. She cut through the padlock, Wendy was released, we all bowed and the audience went home satisfied at the outcome and pleased they'd seen something quite unique.

I went straight out and bought a new padlock and NEVER tried to stick things where they weren't supposed to go again!
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