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Tim Ellis
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Melbourne, Australia
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Profile of Tim Ellis
I had the honour of being invited to perform on the Close-up Gala Show at FISM in Dresden, Germany. I was on the bill with Eugene Burger, Pit Hartling, John Carney, Paul Gertner, Ramblar, David Williamson and Ali Bongo was MC.

I realised I'd have to do something people would talk about to get noticed in this company.

I thought backwards... the audience has just seen the show and they are talking about a performer... why? Because someone threw fruit at him! (Don't ask me why, it just seemed logical to me at the time).

The first part of the act was 'Runaround Sue', the closer was 'The Six Card Rap', I decided I'd get the audience to throw fruit at me in the middle.

So before the show I gave a member of the audience an orange and asked him to throw it TO me when I called for it during the show. Little did anyone know I'd done the same to another 20 people as well.

After 'Runaround Sue' I had a card selected, signed and returned to the pack. I explained that I would find the card in the classic Malini tradition, with a blindfolded card stab.

A wooden chopping block was put on the table, a knife was introduced and I was blindfolded by having gaffer tape put over my eyes. I spread the cards on the table and, unknown to me as I was blindfolded, I spread all of the cards onto the floor so when I stabbed, I came up with nothing on the knife.

I stepped forward and spoke to the audience, ready to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I explained, still blindfolded, that before the show I gave an audience member a piece of fruit and I'd now like that person to stand and throw the fruit to the tip of the knife where I would catch it.

I was pelted with 20 oranges.

The comedic impact was very strong and, apparently, the visual was great. Eventually I tooked the blindfold off, looked around and explained I hadn't given out any oranges, just a lemon. We found the lemon and the signed card was indeed inside it.

Now the reason I tell this story is to set the scene for what happened the next night! Word had spread and, unknown to me, an Indian magician who saw the act returned to see it again. He had spent a fortune earlier that day buying fruit and, after I handed out my oranges before the show, he snuck through the audience handing out oranges, grapefruit, apples, bananas, even a watermelon.

That night, I called for the fruit and it didn't stop coming! I told my blindfold off and there was fruit of all varieties all over the stage. I was pelted with so much fruit that the set was destroyed!

Then I had a sudden terrifying thought... I hope he didn't hand out any lemons!!!

Thankfully he didn't and the chosen card was found.

Since then I've only performed that trick a few times. At magic conventions it goes over quite well, but with laypeople it's a different story! I did the trick at a football event just prior to a big match. Foolishly I handed out some oranges to actual footballers and at least one seemed to mistake my nose for the tip of the knife. Have you ever been hit square in the face with an orange... blindfolded? I was sure my nose was broken (thankfully it wasn't) and I still had to complete the show and race across the road to another venue and do a second show! That was the last time I ever did that trick!

(SIDEBAR - I just remembered another very similar incident. Andrew Gill was the mascot for a top Melbourne Basket ball team called 'Melbourne Magic'. Often, at halftime, they'd have a "shoot out" where they get someone out of the crowd to try to make a basket from the centreline to win a big prize. We decided that would be our premise to do an unexpected suspended straitjacket escape as halftime entertainment. My seat number was "randomly" chosen and Andrew called me up to take a shot. Each time he would ask a question like "Have you played basket ball before?" and I'd answer yes, so Andrew would make the shot harder for me. At first, just by moving further back, then by facing the other way, then by putting a hood over my head to blindfold me, then by putting me in a straitjacket as well! Once I was blindfolded and wearing a straitjacket Andrew, who was really into his role, got a really silly idea. He threw the ball to me! It hit me square in the face and I was "knocked for a six" as we say. Immediately he had my ankles tied and started hoisting me to the ceiling as I finally started to get my bearings back. Looking back at it now I'm amazed I got out of that thing at all!)
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