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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Pardon me, sir... » » Why to steal a watch and give it back??? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Zac Vee
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HI all,

First let me tell you that I have been doing watch steal on and off (I do it for a time then I drop it from my repertoire then I add it to my repertoire again and so on) for long time, even before I start doing magic. However, now a days I only do it for entertainment. Smile

I still have no idea, what does it mean when you take some one's watch under misdirection, and then give it back in funny or any other way. This could mean many things.

This could mean 'look how clever I am, I took your watch without you knowing' so what?? People expect magician to be able to do that, in fact comparing to other stuff magicians do, watch steal is the least magicians can do.

Or it could mean, 'you see you are not aware for your stuff, and your watch can be stolen easily', specially when people are drinking alcohol.

The list goes on, and of course at some times and countries could be really funny, specially to those around the one who's watch is been taking. Here in England, watch steal gets really cold reaction most of the time, people do laugh, but then , when doing magic people usually laugh with anything.

Anyways.. Do you do watch steal all the time, because once you get good at it, it can get really addictive and you will be removing people's watches all the time, what reactions do you get, what you do or say when get caught if you do get caught (I have only been caught very few times, and I still removed the same person's watch later on).

P.S. The people I target to steal their watches ar , security guards, police officers (if you get the chance and start performing for them) do not walk to a police man and nick his watch lol, body guards, just people who are more consciously aware of things. It really gets better reaction than removing some one's watch in a wedding or in a bar. IMHO


Zac
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James Harrison
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Why do I take people's watches?


Mainly, because of the reaction. I usually get them to say WTF, and get a headshake.


Later on they could not believe I got it, mainly because they thought they would notice.

When people are drinking, and you are performing, sometimes you need that extra punch to get them. The Watch provides it.

Quote:
P.S. The people I target to steal their watches ar , security guards, police officers (if you get the chance and start performing for them) do not walk to a police man and nick his watch lol, body guards, just people who are more consciously aware of things. It really gets better reaction than removing some one's watch in a wedding or in a bar. IMHO

Better reaction from who? You nick an officer's watch, they laugh it off, then remember you the next time, and will probably hold a grudge. (I know, it happened to me).

Where as, I had people come back again, and again, just for me to steal it again. People will bring friends for me to try and get their watch too.

Officers holding grudge vs. repeat business.


I know which I would choose.
Doug Arden
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I also lift watches because of the reaction it gets. People love it! I think they expect magicians to be able to take their watches and wallets at will and I'm only too happy to perpetuate that myth for entertainment purposes.

After I've lifted someones watch and returned it, I always tell the crowd that if I need their wallets, I'll get them before I leave. That makes for great fun during the rest of the show.

As for targeting police officers and security guards, I agree with James. All you're going to do is make them look stupid and inadequate in front of other people. I don't think that's such a great idea.
Witness4him
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Perhaps I am just being silly, but why not do something really magical with it, as long as you have it. Instead of just pulling it from a pocket. Why not produce a locked box and have the person open it with the key to find their watch? Perhaps, take off your watch, which you make sure looks quite different, and transform it into theirs. Rather than be upset they'd be amazed and glad to recieve it back so they can tell everyone about the illusion it was used in. You could put your own watch on their other wrist then tell them you will magically remove it, opps I got the wrong one! There are hundreds of possibilities although I have rarely seen things like this done. Why not?
jlevey
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You're not being "silly" Witness4him.

The Watch Box is perfect for such a "reveal".

Method 1: Often I prefer to steal the watch, produce it from another spectator's pocket (pointing out that "he" is the thief, with tongue in cheek). Then, just as I am about to hand it back to the "victim", I vanish it, only to have it appear from the locked up Watch Box. This is a bit anti-climatic since the spectators can anticipate that the vanished watched will end up in the box, but it's still great entertainment.

Method 2: Sometimes, I steal the watch when I ask the spectator what time it is and he/she realizes that his watch is "missing", I go right to the watch box and have him open it to find (to his/her great relief) that it is inside the box.

This too works well.

Method 3: Simply stealing the watch, not cueing the victim and having him/her open the watch box to reveal "a" watch, which he take out of the box and suddenly realizes that it's his own watch, is another way to reveal it for sure, with strong impact. But this is not really a routine and lacks a storyline with beginning, middle and end.

Personally, I still prefer the Method 1, which includes a climax, "dénouement", and finale (final production of the watch from the locked up box).

I hope the above ideas help in thinking through various presentations.
The possibilities for producing the watch with impact are endless.

Personally, one of my favorites is to produce the watch as the final load in my cups and balls routine. This is really a magical reveal for the audience and pure fun and entertainment all around.

Of course the traditional and time proven method for the "first" reveal is to hold the stolen item (ie. watch) hi above the victim's head to let everyone but the victim in on the fun, then hand over the goods at a later point in the routine, once you "let" the victim know that his watch is in fact "missing".

In my opinion, the main aim is always to amaze and have fun without making the volunteer (victim) feel like an idiot.

Another words, treat him/her with respect throughout the routine and when you return it, communicate (even non-verbally) that it was all in "good fun" and that his/her willingness to participate and even "lend" you his watch was most appreciated by all.

Another words, you make sure that you let the volunteer know that you greatly appreciate his willingness to be a good sport.

In this way, everyone's a winner (you, the volunteer, and your audience) and joined in a common and unforgettable experience of fun, "magic" and wonder.

Just my two cents, and a bit of my own approach on how to maximize the impact of pickpocketing while maintaining goodwill all around.

All the best.

Jonathan
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Witness4him
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That sounds great. Often though, I have seen pickpocketing done as though it were a trick in itself. Simply, "Look what I did and you didn't see it." To me, it is a secret move, and in no other form of magic do you say look at the secret move I did. It is a means to accomplish the magic moment. The magic moment should be more than I have your watch, ring, wallet, belt, hairpiece...etc. Smile
Just my thought.
Peter
jlevey
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You're right Peter. The magic moment should be more and making their watch appear magically from a locked box or beneath a cup as a final load is a double whammy and raises the effect to a magical moment that's filled with wonder and long to be remembered. That's why I often present my pickpocketing in such a fashion.

However, this being said, I still believe that although stealing their watch without them knowing and flashing it above their head may not be a "true" "magical moment", it is "beyond" cleverness, defies explanation (ie. lay people often cannot phathom how this is humanly possible) and because it holds our (the audience's) attention and amuses to the Nth degree, this type of "reveal" has the ability to become entertainment at the highest level. That's why they call it "Theatrical Pickpocketing (aka Jim Ravel's wonderful book).In addition, such a reveal also creates great impact and memorability...and there suddenly becomes a "magical moment" that is electrifying, between the auience and the performer since the two are "in this together"-- with the volunteer (victim) if handled respectfully, joining in the fun and complicity full throttle at the end.

The fact that the entertainer removes the volunteer's watch with out detection still communicates to the audience a sense of wonder and unbelievablity that is akin to being "magical". In fact, when the audience sees the volunteer at the end of the routine looking at his watch in pure astonishment as it dangles from the hand of the performer, then reaching to get his watch back as he shakes his head in utter disbelief, the audience shares in this "incredible" almost magical moment. Again, pure entertainment at a very high level.

Another words, both are "good" and have solid purpose in a "show" situation.
The ultimate goal being to entertain.

Just my humble opinion.

All the best.

Jonathan
Jonathan
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Comet
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I do it because of the reaction. nothing better than the look on someone's face when you return thier own watch and NOBODY knows how or when you got it. I had a couple of friends in Germany (sadly passed on now) who used to work large rooms together. One would take a watch from a table and pass it off to the other one who would produce the same watch when he worked the table a few min later. the best part is that the one who produced the watch NEVER went near the person who owned it in the first place. Very powerful to say the least.
enjoy!!
Joe Comet
Doug Arden
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That's a great idea when working large strolling gigs with other magicians. Thanks for sharing it!
Gregory The Great
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Where can I find good info about watch stealing?
I want to try it out.
Doug Arden
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Get Chappy Brazil's DVD.
sheepster
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I just watched his video. It's very informative and takes you through it step by step. I just cannot understand how they don't feel it. Especially the expandable band watch. It has to slide off over the hand! The guy must've been a genius. I can only hope to be even half as good as him one day.
Pal Bodnar
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I learned the stuff from James C. material, the Mastering the Art of Watch Stealing is creep but the Mastering the Art of Pickpocketing is so cool and I have an other volume set, right now I am to tired but I think it has 4 DVDs and it is so cool, maybe called the Encyclopdie of Pickpocketing, I can realy recommend it!!

Regards,

Paul
Pal Bodnar - In Magic We Trust
DSmagic
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Read the section in Absolute Magic where Derren Brown manages to get the woman to 'hallucinate' her watch. Of course this sort of chance won't happen too often but it is amazing just how strong a watch steal can be when all the right circumstances fall into place.
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