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harry the snail
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I was taken aback to read a review by Bryce Kuhlman on another site about a book on the Svengali deck. A review is one thing but he actually said in it "I wonder if there is a different set of ethics for these people"

I wonder what he means by the phrase "these people"?
rossmacrae
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Well, he sure didn't mean Mexicans (or whomever) - he meant pitchmen, as regards the whole pitching-of-Svengali-decks thing being [*shudder*] EXPOSURE!!!!! Booga-booga! Mmmwahahaha!

The answer is, YES, there is a whole different set of ethics for these people. They are there to sell, not to "perpetuate the mystical art of prestidigitation." In other words ... "Exposure? You're a magician, are you? Well go away kid, you bother me."

There is something to be said for the fact that your local magic shop doesn't make you pass a qualifying test before you purchase a Svengali, and "exposing" the secret to somebody who has purchased the item is an essential part of any sale.
harry the snail
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Actually he seems to be making those remarks because of what he sees as the author of the book describing techniques that he didn't invent. This particular author is quite open about the fact that they are not his techniques and credits virtually everybody connected with each move. Getting permission from the inventors would be impossible since I gather that 90% of them have passed away.

The reviewer feels that this is a breach of ethics. Fair enough but I don't see where the remark "these people" applies. It seems to me to infer that all pitchmen are tarred with the same brush as the author who may or may not come up to the strict standards of the reviewer.

Personally I would have thought the inventors of the moves would have been delighted to have been finally credited with their creations.
MagicSanta
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Huh? <---directed to Ross

Harry, which book are you refering to? The only real Svengali book I can think of is The Long and Short of It (distributed by Murphys so you should be able to find it) and that is more of a Svengali routine, an excellent one by the way, more so than pitching. The best pitching material I've seen is the Don Driver material, which I believe must be had through magicpitch.com, not sure if Don is still carrying them himself. I think Dave Walker, big daddy himself, has some material out as well.

I don't think pitchmen are unethical at all and certainly shouldn't be called 'these people'. They have a different job than a magician and many a child has gone from Svengali to magic. Rock on homeys.
harry the snail
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That is the book I mean. There is certainly an atmosphere of the pitchman in the book although I wouldn't call it a pitch book per se.
There does seem to be references in the introduction about the author writing fake horoscopes, disappearing from unprofitable shopping malls without paying rent and associating with gangsters in his youth.
Perhaps that has made Mr Kuhlman feel somewhat dubious about "these people"

I did see Mr Don Driver make a post on another forum concerning these matters. I understand he is also one of "these people". He said that it was necessary to "lie, cheat and steal" in order to be a successful pitchman.

Of course he was merely joking. Or was he? Sometimes it is hard to be sure with "these people"

However if anyone on the Magic Café would like to aspire to being one of "these people" I can recommend his DVD on the subject as well as the book which is the focus of this thread.
DonDriver
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Hi Guys,

Yep,I'm one of "these people" I'll cover the two topics in question here.

First off "exposing the secret" to the Svengali deck.We Svengali pitchman have been accused of that forever from other magicians.If you have ever watched a Svengali pitch or have my DVD on the pitch,you'll see the Svengali ISN'T exposed in the pitch.However we say to the tip we are going to TELL the SECRET "move up close...the secret is very small" ( I love that line) We never expose the D.L. that is the most important move for a Svengali routine or pitch.

Ethics of a pitchman.Just telling a tip "I'm going to show you the secret" and than don't is lying. So yes you have to be a liar.

I wonder how many magicians have to "lie" while doing a show.( I'll put your card the 6 of hearts on the table,turn it over..oh it turned into the 4 of clubs)

When a pitchman goes out to pitch there is only one thing on his or her mind...MAKE MONEY.

Do I rip kids off ? I give them a Svengali deck with 25 tricks and a two card monte for $5.00. Do they go home and learn how to do all 25 tricks NO ! I would say that out of 100 decks I sell 99 wind up in the land fill.Do I sleep good at night...you bet I do.

How about the magic shops in touriest areas that sell the Hummer card for $20.00.The kid gets a piece of IT,a card and a some wax and will never be able to do it.I wonder how many kids magic has lost forever over that sale.Now that's a rip off.

Did I ever run out on rent from a Mall ? NO Would I..in a heart beat. Did you ever know what Malls get for rent over Christmas ? As much as $10,000 for one month.(talk about ethics)

Does any cooreration have ethics ? I can answer that question NO it all about profit.

Yes I'm one of THOSES PEOPLE...I rest my case.

Santa..you were right,the only place to buy my two DVDs is http://www.magicpitch.com

Later,
Don
harry the snail
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Thank you Don for putting the case for "these people" so well. You could have been a lawyer. Of course lawyers have a lot in common with "these people" and could almost be one of them.

Actually the thing that bothers me about this section is that Don is actually the ONLY one here who IS one of "these" people. Everyone else is "not qualified" and that includes myself.

I once heard talk about a union for pitchmen. It never came to anything because it was agreed among them that the public wouldn't have any sympathy for them if thy went on strike!
MagicSanta
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Thank you Don. Back to The Long and Short Of It. It is a routine with the Svengali deck but has components that can be part of a pitch. It, as it stands, can be part of a pitch but that might make the pitch a bit long and you might lose your tip. If someone is daft enough to read The Long and Short Of It and think it is a pitch then they know nothing about pitching and certainly do not have a pedistal to stand on to make unkind comments about pitchmen. If you want a great Svengali routine get the Long and Short Of It. If you want to learn how to pitch, or just have the info for its historical significance, and there is one, then do go to magicpitch and get Don Drivers material. It isn't done in a studio, it isn't done with multiple cameras and fancy editing machines, it is just done from a position of authority on the subject and it is the real deal not some product put out to make a few bucks. The one making the bucks will be the guy who watches the material then goes out and pitches Svengalis or squirmels and becomes one of 'those people'.
DonDriver
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A Union for Pitchman...thats funny.I can see a pitchman paying dues to another pitchman...LOL (Trust HIM with my money...are you crazy!)

Than we all work for ourselves so who would we strike against ?

Don
drwilson
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I am one of "these people" too, although I'd be proud to do a tenth of the volume that Don Driver does.

What are we selling? Dreams. A kid has a good time watching us with the deck, and thinks maybe he can wow his friends if he buys one. "No skill required," it says that right on the decks that I sell.

As it turns out, there is a big difference between knowing how the thing works and being able to entertain people with it, let alone being able to get them to buy one. Anything worthwhile takes effort. Maybe that isn't such a bad thing for a kid to learn, for $5.

Why is it that magicians (synonym: liars) are always looking for a lack of ethics in their brethren? Everybody hates mentalists because they are unethical unless they start the show with a disclaimer that they don't actually have psychic powers. Pitchmen are unethical because they expose magic, but tourist magic shops are not. Let's not even start on the seance workers.

Face it, there's only one show business, and we are all selling dreams.

Yours,

Paul
sethb
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Quote:
On 2007-04-15 23:19, harry the snail wrote:
Actually he seems to be making those remarks because of what he sees as the author of the book describing techniques that he didn't invent. This particular author is quite open about the fact that they are not his techniques and credits virtually everybody connected with each move. Getting permission from the inventors would be impossible since I gather that 90% of them have passed away. The reviewer feels that this is a breach of ethics.


I am also one of "those people," on a much smaller scale than Don, but still qualified to add my two cents here.

If this is about properly crediting people for certain Svengali moves and techniques, then I fail to see anything unethical because all sources in "The Long and Short of It" were acknowledged wherever possible.

If this is about "exposure" of Svengali decks by pitchmen, then I also fail to see anything unethical, since no good Svengali pitch actually discloses the secret, nor does it need to. Even showing that all the cards are "the same" is a part of the effect, not part of the secret -- people still have no idea how the effect is accomplished. That's one of the reasons they buy the deck, to see how it works!

If this is about just selling Svengali decks, then I also fail to see anything unethical, since as far as I know the exact same deck is sold in every single magic catalog I've ever seen. Millions of Svengali decks have also been sold on television as "TV Magic Cards." So what?

Sorry, but I don't see any issue here at all, and also agree with Don and Doc Wilson that many a child has started with a Svengali and progressed to bigger and better things, including DL's and more. I have zero problems selling a quality trick at a fair price, and one that could potentially interest someone in the fine art and hobby of magic. And I sleep real good at night, too!

I stay out of malls (sorry, Don!) and do mostly fairs, craft shows and street festivals. But I have gotten plenty of compliments from the organizers on what a great addition my tent was to the show, and how entertaining it was (and profitable, too). I have also gotten invited back to the same venues numerous times, so I must be doing something right, in additional to paying my booth rental. And as Don will tell you, pitching Svengalis is not always a piece of cake, and we work just as hard if not harder than a "regular magician."

By the way, if anyone wants to see some of the real work on Svengali moves, "The Long and Short of It" is as good as they come, and for an fine Svengali pitch, Don's DVD is unbeatable and the one to get. End of rant and end of pitch! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
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DrWilson,Seth..I keep looking but I haven't gotten your union dues as of today.Please paypal them to me by the end of next week.

Thank You,
Don
harry the snail
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Actually the fellow who had the idea of a union was Harry Mathieson who is featured on a tape about pitchmen that Don owns from what I gather. British guy who used to work with Ron Popeil. Those that knew Harry would not want to send their union dues to him I can assure you.
Talking about malls Harry wouldn't sneak out of them. No. His technique was to bribe the mall manager privately for the best locations and special exclusivity.There were all sorts of strange deals going on. Shh..............don't say I said so although I shouldn't think it matters anymore since it all happened about 30 or so years ago and Harry must be extremely dead by now.

Now to be fair to Mr Kuhlman here is the actual review in question. I do admit we have been taking it a little out of context here. We will be in a better position to comment once we read what he actually said in it's entirety. However the "these people" comment is indeed there. And overall he does like the book.

http://www.mylovelyassistant.com/index.p......rid=1115

I would comment on what Magic Santa said. That routine IS the actual demo used in the pitch. And it IS long enough to hold the crowd. However the book does not give away the important mechanics of the actual selling techniques so in that sense it is indeed just a magic book. However if it is purchased in conjuction with the Wit and Wisdom e-book then a lot of dynamite info is laid bare. The selling techniques are all in the Wit and Wisdom book. The only thing missing is the details of doing business such as stock suppliers, where to work, how to get the best price, how to get free booths, how to deal with noisy and difficult neighbours,how to work in foreign countries etc. Oh and how to skip out of unprofitable venues............!
sethb
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Quote:
On 2007-04-17 20:47, DonDriver wrote: Dr. Wilson, Seth ... I keep looking but I haven't gotten your union dues as of today. Please paypal them to me by the end of next week. Thank You, Don


Very cute, Don! But as you have told us and as we all know, a pitchman pays his dues by getting out there and pitching, learning what works and what doesn't, how to attract and hold a crowd, and then getting them to open their wallets because they need to buy this wonderful miracle deck right NOW (and remember, the cards do all the work for you)!

Yes, we are selling a secret, but so are Hank Lee, Murphy's Magic Supplies and all the other advertisers on the Café' and in Magic Magazine. So did Professor Hoffman, Edwin Sachs, Walter Gibson, Bruce Elliot and Harlan Tarbell, so we are in pretty good company. And at least we are not gratuitously exposing secrets for free, like the Masked Magician on the Fox Channel, or the dopes on YouTube. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
drwilson
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How many want to pay Union dues? OK, that's one in the back. Who else?

Yours,

Paul
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