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Billy Whizz
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Plymouth, UK
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I'm thinking of buying a new puppet from Axtell. If you use a hand/arm puppet in your show, does your puppet do any magic? If so, what tricks do you use? I'm not after routines, just an idea of what tricks work one-handed, I'll create my own routine to suit my own style.

All the best,

Oh, and what kind of puppet are you using? Thanks, Billy
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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I have Axtell's Vern the Bird and it came with a magic routine. One of my favorite entertainers is Steve Taylor and he has a book with three routines and a Axtell Drawing board routine.

  • Metamorpho Spot Can Routine I saw Steve do this at the Komedy Klinic and loved it.
  • Happy Bird Day with a bird puppet, it reads well.
  • The Great Mind Reading Dummy with a vent dummy.


Steve is very skilled at developing conflict with his characters. (He has a book on it) As with any book related to magic or vent work, it is an individual choice on what is good.

I DON'T DO VENT WORK YET! but I want to because I have so many to play with, a Flower the Skunk, a Ricky the Rabbit, Rocky Raccoon, Axtell Vern the Bird and Rodney Rabbit, and Chetta the Chimp, Marvin the Magician, a Freddy the Firefighter, a rabbit in the hat, a bird, a dragon, barney, a smiley, are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. So many to choose from I haven't focused on any one to be good at that one. (Trouble with voicing them and giving them their own separate character.)

My four favorite choices are Axtell Drawing Board, Vern the Bird, Rodney Rabbit, Freddy the Firefighter for my fire safety show.

Good luck Billy, and (Read my lips) I won't recommend the book to you! (Its got to be your choice.) To the rest of you... Steve's stuffs is good!

Smile Smile
Dennis Michael
cmwalden
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Cedar Park, TX
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I've done a vent routine with an Axtell Cockatiel puppet. I really like the Axtell puppets. They are very expressive.

I've only used it in a single show, so far. I played with him about a year before that. My reluctance was that I didn't want to do a typical Edgar Bergen straight-man-asking-questions routine. I wanted it to be more of a comedic piece between two actors.

I worked out a sort of silly psychic routine which ultimately resulted in the bird fooling me and everyone. It still needs some mechanical work, but overall the routine went well. I like to see things where you write for the puppet just like you would write for another person. they just happen to be a puppet for performance.

One note, you must remember you'll be one-handed when you perform-- probably your off-hand, too. This is not a place for exquisite sleight of hand. (At least not for me.)

I read one interesting routine where a small super-x suspension was built to float a ventriloquist figure.

This was not a very coherent post, but hopefully you'll get the idea.
"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our reality."

- William Shakespeare
Billy Whizz
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Plymouth, UK
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Thanks Den, I do value your advice about books **Honestly**. We have a local magic dealer here in UK who sell's Axtell puppets, at first I was thinking about 'DinoStar' but after going onto their web site last night, I fell in love with 'Rodney Rabbit'. Does anyone have this one? If so, does it looks as good as it does in the picture? I imagine it will.
All the best, Billy

I should also mention that I won't be doing vent, it will be a silent puppet, talking only to me. Billy
DanTheMagicMan
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Edgewater, Maryland USA
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Billy,

Axtell has a video catalog for $10. U.S. which contains a video of all the puppets in the paper catalog (he has a PAL version too). It's a good way of seeing all the puppets in use and interviews two customers at the end (one is with John Kimmons "Kimmo" from the U.K.). I have "Vern" with the arm illusion and the kids love him. You need to find magic tricks that work with one hand (not an easy thing to do). I feel the bird is better for magic tricks than a vent figure like Rodney Rabbit because the bird can hold items in its mouth. I have a routine where the bird steals a silk from a can while I am not looking. In the end he "helps" me display a 36" silk with his beak. Axtell has a bit on his video where the puppet steals the performer's hat (pith helmet) several times. I use it in my routine and the kids get a big laugh from it.

I agree with Dennis about Steve Taylor. I have several of his routine books and they are very reasonably priced.

Mark Daniel's "Book Magic" video contains a routine using the dinostar puppet as a silent puppet in a library reading show. This video is produced by Sammy Smith's company, SPS Magic. I don't know if they produce a PAL version (you need a PAL version in the UK, right?)
Dan The Magic Man
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Dennis Michael
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Like Dan I bought a pith helment, arm gimmick and play Jungle Jim with Vern the bird and do the same bit.

Yes, Billy, I do have Rodney Rabbit and bought him an idential tuxedo to mine ($100) so we look alike, except he is better looking. A real Chick magnet! The whisper bit works but you might want to make your own CD version with less talking but a short routine. It is much more easier to do than the long version that comes with the puppet, that is if you want to give him/her a voice.

I bought Axtell's puppets at the Kidabra Conference at a real bargin rate. His chimp looks so real. I got the larger one for around $50 and it plays well to. (In practice) Haven't going public with them yet.

I have all of Steve Taylors books and the magic tricks that go with them. Steve is a funny person and I would classify him as "gentle" and serious magician ventriloquist.
Dennis Michael
graemesd
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dinostar is fantasti - have used him fro 3 years mine has the wings and is used as a dragon. he has a voice and the kids love him - i do get bookings on the back of him
p.b.jones
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D0 we have a link for Axtell?
Phillip
Emazdad
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Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Billy Whizz
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Plymouth, UK
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I ended buying Rodney Rabbit in the end. And WOW, he's fantastic, I can't wait to build a routine together and use him, probably about 4 weeks time.
The only downside is, he cost a LOT more over hear than in the states to buy. On Axtels web site, Rodney Rabbit cost $299, I ended up paying £280 over here. I'm not exactly sure, but at a guess I think that would be approx $500. But, I'm happy with it all the same.

All the Best, Billy & Dusty (Rodney's new name)
Cheshire Cat
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Like the Crying Baby Puppet - I for one could get a lot of mileage out of this. Smile
Dennis Michael
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That crying baby always gets a laugh, and you are right, one could say things like "stupid brat" and set him off. Just about anything could set him off. Steve did a 5 minute routine with it when demo-ing it and it was received well. Nothing magical, but sure is funny.

Congrads, Billy, I ended up paying $100 for a look-a-like tux and want to use him with the giant rabbit. He would be great in delivering an important messages to the kids. A quick vent trick would be to have him make sounds not words. A trick I pick up from one of the Mortimer's book on using Axtells Drawing Board.

Review Steve Taylor's Stuff and you might find something which matches what you do.
Dennis Michael
gizmoetheclown
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I have been fortunate to actually meet Steve Axtell at a conference in Tulsa Oklahoma, and I can tell you that if he makes a puppet 1) it is very easy to manipulate, 2) it is very durable, and 3) its funny. His puppets actually have their personality before you ever put them on. He has a parrot that looks so lifelike it is eerie, and a shark that is so comical it just demands that you laugh - and you can even pull things from out of his mouth that he has "eaten"

Rodney rabbitt is one of the best, I'm sure you'll love him.
Body by Nabisco...a Waist is a terrible thing to mind
Andini
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I would absolutely hate to take ANY business away from Axtell because they are simply THE BEST company I have ever worked with. They are so friendly and always willing to help.

However, http://www.kritterville.com offers a large selection of hand-made full-body puppets. I have one of them and it is just great! They are also quite inexpensive.
Brendan Byrne
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Hi Billy,

Check out Ron Bishops book, Laughter all the way. Theres a routine in the book with a rabbit in hat puppet. No vent needed. Plenty of gags etc, its basically a mindreading effect.

Hope this helps.

Brendan
flourish dude
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where do you find such a book?
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
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Brendan Byrne
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http://purpur.dk/opslagstavle/alakazam/boeger.html

this is a link i found by doing a search on google for u,, it s for some german site bu the looks of it and unfortunately im not a german speaker, but it will give you something to work with, you could also try some of the second hand book stores in england as it was published there by Goodliffe.

Hope this helps

Brendan
wally
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What do you think of Axtells Parrot/ MACAW.
Powermagic
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Quote:
On 2004-05-08 14:54, wally wrote:
What do you think of Axtells Parrot/ MACAW.


I think it looks very real. So the issue is what is the point? If you play it as real than you can not do as many goofy things without ruining the illusion of the "real" parrot.

I fear that some will take the illusion out of it by at first making them think it is real then exposing it is fake.
Much like the bit where the magician appears to produce a dove from a silk.
The audience coos over this magic production.
But just then the magicians horribly takes the rubber dove and steps on it, shoves it in his mouth or toss it around the room. Saying " It just fake" or something else.

That saddens me to no end. Here it did not matter that it was not fake. But magicians who can create the illusion of reality should never then make it a SUCKER BIT.
WHY on earth do that for a cheap laugh when they response of the production worked.

I can only imagine what some might due with his Macaw.
If it was me, and I was far enough away, I would let them think it was a real bird but maybe smarter than the average bird.
I am not sure I would ever make it a chatty bird as the Axtell puppet I use now. It is obvious to anyone over 6 that a Vern or Dodo is not real but they have fun anyway. The look of the puppet just allows it to be and do whatever you want.
BUT for the realistic puppets, I think there needs to be a different use.

Maybe a pick a card trick is great or prediction effect since you can still play it as it was a real bird.

As to tricks to do with hand puppets, anything one handed works.

The puppet mouth can reach into a one handed change bag and do a trick as an example.
macmagic
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Well I have been using the rabbit in the hat puppet for many years now, he only talks by whispering in my ear and the kids absolutly love it! I am actually on my 4th one from them just wearing out!
I have some ideas for anyone using this puppet(if you have never used a puppet in your show I would recommend this, because it is cheep but plays really well, why spend tons of money and find out you don't enjoy using a puppet or just can't make it play well)
you can attach a small piece of velcro to one of the rabbits paws so during the program he can hold things, just attach the opposite type of velcro to whatever you want him to hold, a running gag in the show could be to have some one pick a card, and you can not find it, between every trick you try but still cant find it, then you bring out the rabbit and he whispers in your ear that he has something to show you, put the velcro paw into the hat were there is the chosen(forced card) with velcro on the back so he can pick it up and show everyone.......they love it! for kids you could use animal cards etc.
"Its a magic thing...........you wouldn't understand"
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