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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Arm Choppers (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kevin Bethea
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Hi Guys,

I am looking to purchase an arm chopper to put in both my adult and kid shows. I am considering either the French Arm Chopper or Disecto. Both effects look different. Can anyone advise which one to consider? I have read all the risks in doing these types of effects and will certainly take the necessary precautions. Which do you feel looks the best, or are there other choppers that I should be looking at?

Thanks.
Kevin Bethea

"If they like you, they will LOVE your magic."
Mike the Amazing
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Depends on the effect you want. The Disecto has the appearance that the blade goes THROUGH the hand, while the FAC appears to actually chop it off. The Disecto is a little smaller, if size is an issue. It also needs carrots (or something similar) for maximum effect. Do you have a rabbit in your show? Take a couple of his, or give them to him afterwards.

Price is also an issue. Generally, Disecto is about $20-50 cheaper than the FAC. Personally (as you can see to the left), I use the French Arm Chopper. It gives that added gasp as they look on and think that the hand was actually chopped off. I personally feel that the FAC is safer. The arm might actually move, but with the Disecto's blade goes to a set size, so if the wrist is too big, the blade can scrape the hand and you would have to adjust it (tried to say that the best I could without giving away the secret).

Speaking of blades, with Disecto the blade cannot be removed and inspected so people sometimes suspect that there is something phoney about it, whereas the blade on the French Arm Chopper can be totally removed, banged on to show it's real, and passed around (for adults. I don't let the kids touch it even though it isn't sharp). Also, it sticks out both sides when it goes down, so it's easy for them to keep their eyes on.

As for my experience, I have both and switch them in and out, and tend to get better results with the arm chopper.

Sorry for being so long winded on this. Hope it helps though. Smile
Dennis Michael
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I have the Disecto and have read where a fat arm can easily scratch the wrist.

Given the choice, now, I would go for the French Arm Chopper. I've seen it done and it is more powerful than the Disecto.

An added bonus is the "living arm illusion" gimmick arm which looks like you are holding the dismembered arm.

That fake hand looked really great with the French Arm Chopper. So much so I want to get rid of the Disecto in favor of the FAC.
Dennis Michael
Kevin Bethea
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Thanks guys. I have a funny feeling that I am going to wind up purchasing both of them.

Mike, you were not long winded, and your comments were very helpful. Thanks. Dennis, I also respect your advice. I have seen other threads from you and have always found them to be very informative.

I am aware of the workings of both choppers. My dilemma is that I have never seen them performed, so I don't know which effect I want yet. Obviously, which ever looks the best to the audience and is more powerful. For this reason, I am leaning more towards the French Arm Chopper. Also, I am curious on how the effect looks to the volunteer. With the French Arm chopper, is your volunteer more aware of what's going on than with Disecto?

And finally, can both choppers be performed in someone's living room, or do you need more distance from your audience? Thanks again.
Kevin Bethea

"If they like you, they will LOVE your magic."
p.b.jones
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Hi,
Personally I would go for a third option,
an arm chopper like the French chopper but without the hand falling bit (a penetration effect). I see the hand drop French chopper as more of a joke item than a magic effect.
Just my personal view though.
Phillip
Kevin Bethea
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Thanks, Phillip. Is there any that you would suggest? I am not familiar with what's out there.
Kevin Bethea

"If they like you, they will LOVE your magic."
Dennis Michael
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I watched John Kaplan perform the French Arm Chopper (his 2003 new video of his show) and he blindfolded the volunteer so she really had no idea of what was going on. It was done with music and was humorous in tone.

Phillip is right, the FAC can be presented in a more of a joking manner. The Disecto is over once the blade is pushed down. The FAC can be played with by looking into the bag and pulling out that Living Arm Illusion.

As with any effect, presentation is the key. I personal like the humorous angle as opposed to the serious side.
Dennis Michael
p.b.jones
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Hi,
I am in the UK, but I think that MAK magic in the US do one with extended blades. I do not have a link, though.
Phillip
Snidini
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Kevin, if you want to see a performance of the French chopper, go to Martin's Magic site
and you will see a funny version of a great routine. He may have the other "chopper" there also for you to view. I have the FAC and was talked into getting it by two magic shops over the Disecto chopper. I have not regretted it and it has played very well and looks great.

Snidini

Martin's Magic link
keeblem
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Hi Dennis
Does this 'living arm illusion' actually come with the FAC or is it a separate item? I did a search on it and it came up with nothing.
Mark
Kevin Bethea
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Thanks, Snidini. I will check it out. I appreciate everyone's help. I will keep you all posted on what I decided.
Kevin Bethea

"If they like you, they will LOVE your magic."
Mike the Amazing
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The living arm illusion did not come with mine, and usually won't unless for some reason a seller packages them together on their own. As for the view of the volunteer, they are more capable of seeing how it is done, but measures can be taken to prevent that, such as having them stand in front of it slightly, or blindfolding them (which adds to the suspense). I also agree totally with Mr DenDowhy about the longer use of the FAC. You can draw this trick out longer than would be possible with the Disecto.
Dennis Michael
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The Living Arm Illusion is a seperate item. Do a search in quotes "Living Arm" (Google Search Engine) and you should get several locations where you can purchase this prop.

It did not come with the FAC, but it really adds to the effect. It can be a gory effect for a Halloween type show or used as a comedy prop.

As for revealing the trick, everyone knows you don't chop off the arm. A blindfold can add to the humor and prevent the secret from being exposed; however, like the miser's dream and a child, they will generally keep the secret to themselves and if they try to explain it, it will be difficult.

Please take note of the link in Grand Illusions on an injury related to the Disecto. This is the 3rd such injury I heard about with the Disecto scratching the wrist.
Dennis Michael
Kevin Bethea
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Thanks again for all of your help guys. I wound up buying both the FAC and Disecto. Based upon your suggestions, I think I will probably use the FAC more in my shows.

Snidini, thanks for the video link for the FAC. It was great to see it in action. And Dennis, thanks for the Living Arm Illusion idea. You guys have given me much to think about.
Kevin Bethea

"If they like you, they will LOVE your magic."
Ron Reid
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Hi Kevin:

You may have already purchased your chopper, but if not, I recommend the Mikame Wrist Chopper. It is more like the French Arm Chopper, but the blade penetrates the wrist.

The Mikame Chopper is beautiful, but expensive ($275.00). It's pretty rugged too.

As much as I like it, someday I'm going to get the Owen Karson Two Hole Chopper. It's the most beautiful chopper I've ever seen - also the most expensive at $1650.00! Well, I can dream about it.

Anyway, two real big thumbs up for the Mikame Chopper.

Ron Reid
0pus
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I have always thought that the French Arm Chopper would be a wonderful effect for a children's show for children at that difficult age (around 9 or so) that think they know it all.

I would suggest having a puppet that the magi has on his hand put its head in the chopper, cut the head off and bring the headless puppet to the front. Magi can slowly poke his hand out of the headless puppet body, much to magi's relief. I think the kids would roll on the floor laughing, especially if the puppet was something like a Teletubby or Barney, or any character beloved by the little ones, but reviled by their older siblings.

0pus
Peter Marucci
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I'm a bit amazed that a discussion of "mutilation" tricks in kids' shows can go on this long with no one pointing out that rather obvious fact!

Should we do the head/arm/wrist/finger chopper before or after the Head Cremation?

Good grief, folks; these are kids we're talking about!

And before anyone points out that most kids know the difference between real and fantasy, let's not forget the potential tragedy that may ensue from the few who don't!

Is ANY trick worth this sort of risk?

(And, for those who plan to "flame" me with personal examples, yes, I believe the kids you do shows for just love the chopper effect that you do. Just as much as a bar mitzvah audience would "love" your anti-Semitic jokes!)
Mago Mai
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I was reading down some post and as I kept reading, I really got impressed with some comments. The more I read, the more vivid a bad experience kept coming to my mind.

It happened when I started working with kids.

I had bought a wonderfull trick.It looked so real. I couldn't wait to include it in my show.

A real Jigsaw through the spectator's neck. I finally had a chance to perform it. I asked a parent to be my helper. I had him kneel down with his head inside a wooden frame. As soon I turned on the Jigsaw, and Kids listen to the noise, some started to cry and scream. It was hilarious...until one of the kids begged me not to kill his father.

I couldn't believe what was happening. Kids were stunned and afraid to death. I had to do something real fast. I turned off the Jigsaw, released the helper and apologized with the audience. Only after a few minutes I could go on with the show.

When I got home that night, I promised not to do any trick that could become harmfull for kids to watch or if they try it at home after the show.

Is not a matter of mentioning "do not try to do this at home".

Remember, We are magicians and kids will believe that with just saying the right magic words they will be able to do the same.

Now-a-days, I am so concerned about kids getting harmed trying to copy what a magician does that I don't performed any dangerous trick that have to do with:

Guns
Cigarrets
Fire
knifes
Swords
Ropes around my neck
Pulling coins out of their ears
Why not give kids other Ideas to play with?

I hope you all think a little about this matter.

Mago Mai
I invite all of you to share some of my magic on videos.Please, CLICK HERE
BryanDreyfus
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I was amazed too Peter.


After seeing kids in my audience cringing and crying I decided it wasn't good entertainment for them. I dropped all "dangerous" effects from my act(s).

I do the death defying egg juggling, "if you think it isn't dangerous, drop a raw egg on your mom's carpet"


Bryan
Oh sure, I can spell "Antidisestablishmentarianism", but I can't type t-h-e.
Snidini
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I had the opportunity this past week to see a young magician perform for around 200 grade school children at the local grade school. He used an anti-drug theme with a Disecto but something went wrong and the young lads arm was cut to the point of bleeding and needed attention.

We cannot stress enough that what we present, as performers to the young children, can be dangerous and hazardous to their health. I had the opportunity to talk to the young magician after the show and he said he had just purchased it a couple of days before and really never gave it any thought that something like that should not be used on a young person.

He also admitted to not practising his routine very much for this effect. I just can't imagine the life long scaring effect this must have left on the young person or others watching.

I was hoping to book this school myself but I am sure there will not be any magicians back again anytime soon. Please folks, give careful thought into what you will present to the young minds that will be impressed with your actions.
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