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DanTheMagicMan
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Edgewater, Maryland USA
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OK, this was a first for me. I was doing my Rocky routine and Rocky "jumped" out of my hands and into a child's lap (who was about 6 or 7 years old). She jumped up and ran to the back of the room crying (bad Rocky!). What would you have done in this situation?This was at a birthday magic show with about 15 kids (this was not the birthday child).

Here's what I did: I normally don't have Rocky "jump" for preschool kids, but I thought this audience was old enough for the surprise jump (ages ranged from 6 to 12). The incident occured at the very end of the routine. I exposed Rocky (no jokes, please) to the girl and the audience as a puppet (I think most of the kids knew that anyway). I think this was the best approach and I don't want to appear to be insensitive to the girl's feelings with the audience (both kids and adults). She did watch the rest of the show (from the back of the room in her Mom's lap). After the show, I went up to the girl and gave her a sticker and asked her if she wanted to see the puppet. She took the sticker but did not want to see Rocky. She appeared OK and her Mom thanked me for the show.

Does your Rocky "jump" out of your hands? It usually gets a big reaction with the kids since they do not expect it. My Rocky only jumps for school age children. Next time I will tell him not to jump on any kids. The only other problem I have had is with kids grabbing for Rocky, but it usually is not a problem in a small environment like a birthday show. Once a kid and I picked up Rocky at the same time and when the kid pulled on Rocky's tail, half of it fell off into his hand. The kids got a big laugh from this (funny, I was the only one not laughing!).

P.S. I have decided the Rocky tear trick is too expensive so I will stick to the paper tear trick where the price per trick is much cheaper.
Dan The Magic Man
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Peter Marucci
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I can see where Rocky frightening a child could be a problem.
But, then, just think what you could do with Rabbid!
Smile
Dennis Michael
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Yes, It has happened several times with me. Live with it because there is no way to prevent it. Young children cry at the drop of a hat.

My bang wand and the breaking of a balloon caused a child to cry. (Fact: loud noises frighten children, but many more love it.)

Once while doing a family picnic, I was doing the head chopper, and the victim was really hamming it up. Just prior to the final chop, she said to her grand daughter, "Say goodby to grandma, My head is going to fall off." Well you would think I stab the kid, she screamed, cried and carried on so bad I had to stop the routine until she calmed down. It was all in fun, but it happens a lot with small kids, especially during a halloween type show.

Don't lose any sleep and remember this when picking kid assistants. No need to have a wet stage!
Dennis Michael
JamesinLA
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Dan,
Since Rocky losing his tail played so well, why not reattach his tail with velcro and keep the bit in the act! What do you think?
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Steven Steele
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I prepare the children if something unexpected is going to happen. If I'm going to create a loud bang (e.g., Forgetful Freddie) I put earplugs in my ears and grimmance so they know what might happen. They love it all the more seeing that I don't like it either.

My puppet might jump but I prepare the children by telling them to catch him if he jumps. Children can handle a situation if they know what is going to happen and can prepare for it.

Sometimes though it just doesn't work because I can't anticipate everything...a few weeks ago I was performing Superfrog and everthing was going fine, but when the children started screaming the child with Superfrog on his back thought his friends were telling him there was a bug on his back. We got the situation handled everbody had a good time (even though he watched the rest of the show on his teacher's lap), I got two repeat bookings and the young boy is one of my greatest fans.

Ste3ven (the 3 is silent) Smile
Justin Flom
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I use Rocky often, and I always let him "jump" out of my hands. Only once have I had a girl cry. I try to let it jump in mid-air or almost at an adult before a child. This way, the children know that I'm just having fun with them, and the grown-ups.

Justin
Jewls
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I removed my rocky tail and put velcro attachment on it was very easy....There is the old shooting a straw out of rocky's mouth routine where you miss and the tail falls off. But with guns being so taboo in schools now I give him a bug kiss with him trying to get away. the old he loves my kisses with his head shaking NO, I look at him and get a tiny nod...I plant a LOUD one on him and his tail falls off. Yep they laugh...
The element of surprise with out the scare.

My skunk I tell folks I found a kitty by the road on the way, that it didn't have a collar so I kept him...then I start sniffing... make some faces. The kids are screaming skunk I jump around looking for one...when I realize it's my kitty I grab it by the tail and run around in a panic saying here you take it...you take it. Of course no one wants him with plenty of giggles going I stuff him away.
Smile Smile
DanTheMagicMan
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Good ideas, everyone, I will give it some thought.

Jewls, I use a skunk puppet as a production item in a square circle. I say what a nice bunny, then sniff, make faces, along the same lines as you. I end with quickly putting the skunk away and saying, "I don't want a skunk in my show... people are going to say my show stinks!"

There are probably some interesting variations with a removable tail for Rocky that I never thought about until now. Some that I can think of from a magician's slant:

Make Rocky disappear, leaving only his tail (Cheshire Rocky).Tail still wiggles without a body.

Sawing Rocky in half (I know it is kind of a lame version with the split at the base of the tail but there are some opportunities for comedy here and it is much cheaper than the zig zag version). Another possibility is to "stretch" Rocky inside a tube, where the tail is on one end and Rocky's head is on the other end.

Hypnotizing Rocky into believing he is a rabbit (tail falls off when he becomes hypnotized). You can pretend not to notice the tail coming off and have the kids point it out you with the usual by-play.
Dan The Magic Man
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flourish dude
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would using rocky and a zigzag along with the tail removal be a bad idea? I think so... they might think the tail had something to so with the illusion BUT then again after I pull rocky out his tail could fall off this might be funny what do you think?
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Dan Bernier
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I actually once saw someone perform Rocky Racoon for kids at a Children's Festival. I was appalled at what I saw him do with it. He was showing how Rocky can do tricks and one of the tricks was playing dead. Rocky was not willing so he smashed Rocky on the table then held him up by his tail. I'm not honestly sure how most kids reacted to this, but I personally was disturbed by it.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Children…..
who are not your own children,
should not be exposed to violence
of any sort while being entertained.

That’s my hard-and-fast rule anyway.

No hurting or killing Rocky to play dead.
No heads in choppers.
No “funny” bang-guns.

Children are:
A- Impressionable
B- Sensitive
Not all, but many,
and you are responsible for their well being…
emotionally, physically, and mentally,
when you are before them with your show.

I’m amazed there are not more lawsuits,
and outraged parents considering some magic acts.

In my world fire and toilet-paper
on stage are off limits as well.

“Only kid one in twenty cry”
is an outrageous thought to me.
If one cries, because of your choices,
that’s too much of a risk for a pro.

My thoughts,
Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

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Bill Nuvo
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Quote:
On 2008-06-13 14:40, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
Children…..
who are not your own children,
should not be exposed to violence
of any sort while being entertained.

That’s my hard-and-fast rule anyway.

No hurting or killing Rocky to play dead.
No heads in choppers.
No “funny” bang-guns.

Children are:
A- Impressionable
B- Sensitive
Not all, but many,
and you are responsible for their well being…
emotionally, physically, and mentally,
when you are before them with your show.

I’m amazed there are not more lawsuits,
and outraged parents considering some magic acts.

In my world fire and toilet-paper
on stage are off limits as well.

“Only kid one in twenty cry”
is an outrageous thought to me.
If one cries, because of your choices,
that’s too much of a risk for a pro.

My thoughts,
Walt

What are your thoughts on professional cartoons and violence? By your standard, no child should see Lion King, Looney Tunes, Sleeping Beauty etc...
I agree that it is a personal choice and I am not mocking it, but trying see if your views extend to other forms of entertainment.
Also, what age of children are you talking about? That can help clear any misunderstandings of what you have posted.

Now I don't perform for under 7 year olds although there may be some in the audience, it is not my target as I do a show for all ages meaning adults also. I have done said dead rocky routine (although a little different) over the past 15 years with not a single complaint and laughter from everyone (again my routine is slightly different and also this is in the middle of the show and they are accustomed to my persona and wouldn't expect anything less).
Jay Buchanan
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I would have immediately followed it up with "The Web" (to the same girl) and called it a night.

*ducks*
Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. ~ Shakespeare
richards
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I believe there is a happy medium.

Yes, kids are impressionable and we should be careful what we let them see. I try to stay away from head choppers and stuff that could hurt them if they try it on their own. Especially, with all those wonderful "sue happy" people out there.

However, kids that I entertain have already been bombarded with stuff that makes an impression, such as TV Ads, cartoons, games, etc... Very few, if any, these days are a clean slate. So, that is why I say that there is a happy medium.

I disagree with the notion that I, as an entertainer, am responsible for every child's emotional, physical, and mental needs. That is something that I place on the parents' shoulders. Yes, I need to make sure that they don't get hurt and I should also make sure that I don't hurt their feelings. But, I am guessing that Walt draws the line much closer than I do. My job is to entertain them, not be their guidance counselor.

On a funny side note, I had a really old Easter Bunny Costume that I took out of the attic and went over to my neighbor's house to deliver Easter Eggs. Their daughter totally freaked out. I mean cried like a baby. What is funny is that she is 17 years old. So...people cry about all kinds of stuff! Totally shocked me!

Brian
KyletheGreat
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I always make mine jump...BUT I ALWAYS make mine jump ONLY onto an adult or teenager in the audience (I believe it gets a better reaction anyways). I have noticed the kids squirming every now and then when rocky is produced. The squirming body language immediately says "Keep that thing away from me!!"

I have several moments of "sudden scare" in my show...but I only scare an adult. This usually gets a laugh from everyone. My favorite is with the square circle...I show the tube around so everyone sees that it is empty, and then I approach a female parent and ask them to stick their hand inside and make sure there is no secret compartments. As their hand just reaches the entrance I run my arm throught the other side and grab there hand while making a lound snort or growl...it always gets a great "frightened" reaction, followed by laughter from the person AND everyone else.
Kyle Jarrard
"Entertainment at its Best"

http://www.kylesmagic.com
http://www.hypnobilly.com
M-Illusion
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The only time that Rocky made a child cry during my usage was when, no joke, one of his eyes fell off. One of the younger children really did not like that!
derrick
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Dennis said at the beginning of this thread, some children will cry at the drop of a hat and I also believe this to be true. Once or twice while table hopping I've had small children get upset when I pulled a silver dollar from someone else's ear. They wanted no part of one of those things coming out of their ear. Even though it has made a child cry, I don't think I'll be taking this effect out of my performing repetoir.

I don't have a clue what one of these children would have done had Rocky jumped in his lap but I'm sure they would still be in therapy.

With every child we are making a judgement call about what to perform. I think one does their best to entertain and give the children a good laugh. Some kids like roller coasters and others prefer merry-go-rounds. The hard part is trying to figure out which one they want or like before you put them on the ride.
BIlly James
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Quote:
On 2002-12-16 17:42, Dennis Michael wrote:
Yes, It has happened several times with me. Live with it because there is no way to prevent it. Young children cry at the drop of a hat.



Too true. Especially with pre-school ages. I do a lot of pre-schools and I've had kids cry on numerous occasions just upon coming into the room and seeing the backdrop!!! Go figure...I guess the fact that the room is a bit different can tend to freak some of the sensitive ones out...could also be the picture of Linda Blair, not too sure. Smile

Having said that though, I myself have cried at Rocky...it was when I ordered one of the new ones and saw the quality of them now.
KC Cameron
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I think a problem we have here is the definition of "Children". Some of us perform mostly for the very young, others for an older crowd of kids. What I would do for a 3 y/o and what I would do for an 11 y/o can be very different, yet both are "children".

Another issue is more philosophical. Should we prepare kids for the world or protect them from the world. Since we are not their parents, I think a more conservative approach is best, but I think many over do it.

I certainly don't want children to cry.

On the other hand, this is life. Kids cry sometimes. Some kids cry all the time. Depending on their mood, a kid that normally doesn't cry can cry at the drop of a hat. Every parent knows this. My child has been known to cry over SpongeBob - and he loves SpongeBob. A month ago he got to have his picture taken with "SpongeBob". He hated it, and was scared - but now he is very proud of that Polaroid. 5 minutes later he got his picture taken with a giant snake - no problem. Kids often don't know how to react, so they use a default reaction in some situations - crying. Sometimes they get over stimulated. Kids love Santa, but anyone who has played Santa knows some kids are scared of Santa and cry. Like with clowns, the child is placed in a situation that is different than the norm, and if they are not sure how to react, they cry, and can be scared. Does this mean we should not introduce kids to new things?

Considering what is on TV, I think some magicians are way, way, way over protective - and a few others probably could be restrained. What I think is important, is what works for one may not work for another.

Presentation is important. A head chopper could probably play well for a real young crowd if presented in a soft, comical way. Kids copying it could be an issue, and it wouldn't be worth it for me to try. Still, I am sure someone can come up with a head chopper routine that isn't scary to young kids.
DJBrenton
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If you never have a child burst into inconsolable tears during your show, you're not trying hard enough.
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