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abigkahuna/1
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Hrummph! I won't reveal what I did in 2006 with my zibit--wasn't quite as much as Ken-Baby, but then I had to slog it out in the wind, rain, dust and snow, uphill mind you, without a prince or royal, or, fancy hat! Smile

The Professor
Doug Higley
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Truely the Professor Big Kahuna holds the USA record.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
dough
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Gee. . . 13 years, and only
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Smile
"One of the Last Ten in One Sideshows"
drwilson
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I was in a Vaudeville show last night in Bucksport, Maine, to launch a four-day festival there. We had a nice crowd in a small theater. The first act was singers and musicians; the director let us have the second act. Professor Miller, the other magician that I work with, was out of town, but I had the good fortune of getting one of our belly dancers. I guess they don't see a lot of that out there, they weren't quite sure what to do. For her second dance, she did a sword dance, balancing the sword on her head while dancing. That's when she really had them.

We had papered the town with flyers promoting a Rope Challenge Escape. We had three big guys up on stage and let the crowd pick its champion by applause after they stated their qualifications. They gave the fireman and the schoolteacher polite applause, then they went nuts for the guy from the Merchant Marine. We started with a wrist tie with eleven feet of rope, then topped that with 100 feet of rope. The guy was a real artist, and my hands were purple when he was done. Let's say that it wasn't necessary to fake the tension as the clock ticked. It wasn't really the thought of public failure that drove me, it was the prospect of going home without my hundred-dollar bill!

I gave the guy a big handshake when it was all over. He was a good sport about it, I guess that he didn't think that the chances were very good of going home with $100.

Yours,

Paul
Stephon
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I know it may be contrary to the overall theme of the thread, but I'd like to post a story about when things went surprisingly well. A moment of deus ex commedia:

I'm doing my final show of the evening, have a nice-sized crowd, and it's gotten to the point in the show where I do the blockhead, and I bring up a pretty, young lady to help me.

"Hi. What's your name?" I ask.

"Gina" she replies.

"Thanks for coming up, Gina. Everybody say, 'Hi, Gina'."

"HI GINA!"

"Wow, sounds like some kind of feminine product:

'Mom, I've got that not-quite-fresh feeling.'

'Well, dear, have you tried HYGIENA?'"

Big laugh from the audience. Terrific reaction from Gina.

Happy little moment.
~Les S. Moore, The Dapper Dipper
Swami Yomahmi and Cheeky Monkey Sideshow

"Comedy is a man in trouble." ~Bill Irwin
dave_matkin
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And you should always practice good hygina when you do blockehead!
Doug Higley
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Va Va Va

voom.
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drwilson
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Maine State Police Detective Gerry Coleman defeated escape artist Dr. Wilson in a challenge rope escape at the Riverbend Players Vaudeville Revue at the Alamo Theatre in Bucksport on Sunday, July 27. Dr. Wilson had papered Bucksport with flyers offering $100 cash to any person who could tie him with 100 feet of rope in such a way as to prevent his escape. The challenge rope escape was a promotion for the Vaudeville Revue, which also featured magician Professor Miller, the barbershop quartet A Little Off The Top, and a host of singers and musicians.

In the first performance on Thursday, July 24, Dr. Wilson selected three men from the audience who were given a chance to state their qualifications. The audience chose a champion by applause, and selected a Merchant Marine. Dr. Wilson increased the difficulty of the challenge by having his hands tied with ten feet of cord before being secured with 100 feet of rope. He also improved the challenger's chances by offering to get out in less time than it took to tie him. The challenger took just over five minutes to secure Dr. Wilson, who escaped in under four minutes before a packed house.

Dr. Wilson's fate took another turn on Sunday, July 27, before a crowd of over 100 people. Once again, he picked three men to join him on stage, including Detective Gerry Coleman, whose wife had been gesturing enthusiastically during the selection process. When the audience heard the qualifications of the three men, they went wild for Detective Coleman, who at over six feet tall towered over the Houdini-sized (5'4") escape artist. Once the clock started, Coleman worked swiftly and efficiently, securing Dr. Wilson with professional detachment. Coleman took his seat as Dr. Wilson writhed, fell prone to the stage, kicked off his boots, and tumbled to escape the bonds. Free of most of the rope, he was still struggling to free his hands when time was called. Detective Coleman once again took the stage to receive the prize money, a crisp $100 bill. Dr. Wilson offered Coleman the bill from his own hands, still bound and discolored.

It is the first time that Dr. Wilson has been defeated in the challenge rope escape, which he has performed regularly for over three years. He congratulated Detective Coleman on a job well done after the show, and smiled as Coleman's son proudly held up the $100 bill. Dr. Wilson will perform the challenge rope escape at the Acadia Music Festival in Southwest Harbor on September 6.

Dr. Wilson and Blue Hill magician Professor Miller present Miller & Wilson's Theater of Marvels every Saturday night at 7:00 pm at Otter Creek Hall in Bar Harbor. This year, they have been joined by one of three different bellydancers for each performance. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for persons 12 and under, and benefits the Otter Creek Aid Society, which maintains the historic hall.
gsidhe
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Well done Paul!
That should certainly pull them into the next show!
Failure makes for great PR!
Gwyd
Kondini
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Hey Doc, you gottem on a roll now,,,,increase the stake, make everyone in the US know you failed,,,kick ass = Publicity = Entertainment and more work for you. Great going,,,all power to you.

Ken
thegreatnippulini
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Failure=proof!

Of course in my situation my failure led me to permanent nipple disfigurement.... but it was definite proof!
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
dave_matkin
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HOW MANY people going to turn up for te repeates - at chance of winning 100 a show I should immagine lots!
Fitz
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I was doing a straight jacket escape with 100 feet of rope on top and I would escape faster then it took them to tie me up. However I did not challenge them with money, that is a great idea.

My point is I would get stuck about once every 3 years. I knew it would happen eventually. My first time was during a street show in front of my largest crowd ever. The man that tied me up was in charge of restraining hospital patience to their beds when needed. (I didn't know this until after the show) I thought it was going to be a piece of cake because he was done in about a minute and a half. Ten minutes later my crowd was gone and the guy loosened one not for me and I was able to get out. I made a dollar on that show... and wanted to burn my straight jacket.

Three years later its Ring55's Houdini night and I was asked to perform. I decided to perform the straight jacket rope challenge. I had Kevin Ridgeway (He is a Café member and an illusionist married to an escape artist) and Craig Davis (A local illusionist and eagle scout) tie me up, in front of a group of magicians. The crowd watched me struggle for about ten minutes and needless to to say no one there will be stealing that act anytime soon.

Its been about three years now and I'm thinking about cutting it from my show...

Fitz
I have a daily web show all about magic at http://FitzMagic.info
Kondini
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I used the Deval method for challenge acts and got five years out of it,,,culminating in Annapolis with exposure on NY1 and many other leading press spots.

The angle is similar to Docs, but not mine to give away. It started in the year 2000 with the challenge at £2000 and rose by a £1000 each year. The Press loved it and the mileage from it far outweighed the work behind it. It sets the imagination on fire in the minds of laypeople and is an easy way into the press via a public info story.

The challenge escape has taken me to a lot of places in the world that a normal!! Escape act wouldnt,,,in fact I still eat out on the stories from it even now.

Ken.
dave_matkin
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2000 is that teh year Deval died or was it 2001? I bet he was chuffed to bits that you were using it! Smile He was such a nice guy - I wish I had known him better - not like that foul mouthed n0b Ken Dean Smile WHo ever he is!

its ok I know him really after the verbal whilst on teh phonet o his other half earlier I think he deserves a bit of abuse......... well I get enough from him. Smile but I take it cus of hte good stuff I get as well!
Stephon
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So, I'm doing my final show of the evening, and it's gotten to the point in the show where I do the blockhead, so I go into the audience to find a pretty, young lady to help me. (Hmmm, sounds familiar.)

The woman I choose is a little hesitant to volunteer, but with encouragement from the audience, she comes up on stage. Her name is Michelle, she chooses the nail for me, we josh a bit, and I send her back to the audience.

I do my routine, the nail is in, and I go back to get Michelle (who is standing with her large, frat-boy-looking boyfriend) so she can come up and pull the nail out. She's not too thrilled with that idea and says no. I playfully try to encourage her. Michelle is smiling. Boyfriend is *very* serious looking and never stops giving me the stink eye.

Me: "Oh, sure, c'mon--it'll be ok."

Michelle: "No, I don't want to."

Me: "But if you don't come up, you'll be like one of those actors that does the first movie, but doesn't come back for the sequel."

Boyfriend: "She's done."

Me: "What?"

Boyfriend: "She's done."

Me: "She's done?" (At this point I'm surprised, but amused by Boyfriend's very aggressive attitude)

Boyfriend: "Yeah."

Michelle (to Boyfriend): "Stop."

Me (to Boyfriend): "Wow. You're really angry. Don't be angry; everything's ok. I'm not trying to shove her in the trunk of my car. It's just a show. We're all friends here."

Boyfriend: "She's not gonna do it."

Michelle (to Boyfriend): "Just stop."

Me (to Boyfriend): "Relax. She doesn't have to come up if she doesn't want to. We're just having fun. Take a breath. Calm down. Breathe."

The absurdity of the situation--me standing there, dressed like a fool, with a nail sticking out of my nose, and likely about to get hit--is so bizarre that I don't even feel any danger (probably not the best defensive reaction). But I can't help poking a bee hive with a stick. . .

Me: "Besides, isn't Michelle an independent, self-actualized woman? Can't she decide for herself what she wants to do?"

Boyfriend: "You want that nail in your eye?"

Michelle: "Stop!"

Me: "Really? You seriously want to do this? In front of all these people? We're just doing a show and having some fun. Seriously?"

I shake my head and walk back to the stage area. "Someone is feeling a little insecure tonight."

Michelle takes Laughing Boy and leaves.

It all worked to my favor tho. Later in the show, as I'm setting up the bed of nails:

"Folks, I'm going to finish up with the most dangerous act I'll be performing tonight--That's right, I'm gonna find Michelle and ask her to come back on stage."
~Les S. Moore, The Dapper Dipper
Swami Yomahmi and Cheeky Monkey Sideshow

"Comedy is a man in trouble." ~Bill Irwin
drwilson
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So, following Stephon's lead, here are some bright moments from my weekend of Beltek 08 (my first rave) on Friday, Theater of Marvels on Saturday, and running the Feejee Mermaid show at the Farmer's Market on Sunday in Bar Harbor.

So, I was doing the cups and balls as a come-on for the Feejee Mermaid show at the rave. I already have a big advantage because the tent is brightly illuminated inside. Everything else is dark so that lighting special effects (rather dim), glow-sticks, and fire performers will stand out. At the end of the routine there is a small crowd cheering and applauding. One person, convinced that he has figured it out, demands to see "that table." I remove the cloth drape over the busker's table, revealing a wooden plank that is the table top. I pick it up off the folding waiter's-stand legs and hold it up. "See," I say, "It's just a piece of wood."

He's completely gobsmacked. That's my favorite part of the routine, when it happens.

At our show on Saturday night, we have two bellydancers who have never met. Within minutes, they are trading sparkly makeup and helping each other to get ready to go on. We have a setlist for the show taped to the wall backstage. We have all studied this to make sure that music cues and prop cues are solid. The intro music is playing, curtain is in about three minutes. I turn to the other magician and the two bellydancers and ask, "OK, who wants to open?"

The blood drains out of all of their faces for a second before they realize that I am kidding. "OK," I say, "I'll open."

It turns out to be a great crowd, obviously there to have a good time. Later in the show, Professor Miller is doing the Chinese Rings. I am backstage with the two bellydancers. One of them has done both of her dances and is done except for curtain call. The other is set to go on after the Rings. She is really, really nervous. I tell her, "OK Natalie, we got them where we want them. Now put the hammer down!"

The other bellydancer says, "Yeah, Natalie, take it home!"

Natalie smiles her million-dollar smile, goes out and completely smokes them.

The next morning, at the Farmer's Market, I am showing the mermaid once again. A girl, maybe eight or ten, comes into the exhibit with her dad. She stares hard at the mermaid, then announces sternly, "It's fake. Mermaids aren't real."

"Not real?" I ask. "Then why do we have a word for them?"

Her dad smiles, but she is really stuck. "Mermaids aren't real. Selkies are real."

We talk about selkies for a while. Her dad is really enjoying the mermaid.

Later, a noted scientist walks by while I am doing my pitch for the mermaid show. I announce, while looking straight at her, that the specimen inside the tent has been examined by noted scientists. She gaffaws and keeps walking. I am known locally as a threat to your wallet if you stop to listen to the talk.

The weather was off, showers here and there. I made more than some of the farmers. We all like each other. Some of them accept my offer to see the mermaid for free (professional courtesy). They want me back every week. The rent is zero. Life is good.

Yours,

Paul
Doug Higley
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Me and my 'showman/women have lots of 'academics' into the shows. They usually fall harder (don't know of any that didn't).

Selkies ARE real...that's why a 'blind pitch' can work in your favor.

We don't itdentify the Mer as a Mermaid and let the customer make up their mind as to what it might be...the other day I got an eMail from one of the showfolk who said that a Biologist had come in and looked for a LONG time...really studying it...at the end of the vist the conclusive identification was that IT was a Mermaid. haha. I love this biz!
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drwilson
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I could tell the story, or you could just watch the video:

Dr. Wilson's Feejee Mermaid at Beltek 08.

Yours,

Paul
dave_matkin
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So I'm on my way back form a gig in the isle of man (United Kingdom) have flown over and back. The flight was rather cloes to the end of the gig so it was a bit of a rush. I packed quickly.

I didn't think! And had my block head stuff in my pockets! She asked if I had any sharp objects etc in my carry on. So I start to empty my pockets! The look I got! I explained about being a performer..... tehy looked quizical .... so I demonstratted Smile

We eventually (after a BIG line has built up with some people starting to look angry as to why its taking so long. ....... but then amuzed as I perform!) but the check in girl start to proceess my detials..... only to find my ticket had been cancelled for some reason. SO I had to see ustomer services - of course the check in girl calls over to them get him to do teh nail trick.,.....


SO I did.... the woman started to sort the ticket and couldn't so needed to call a supervisor. She comes over and sorts it juast as we finishe the manager is told you shoudl see him do this nail trick......... so I do! She looked comepltly grossed out and said "if you do that agin I wont let you stay in the airport let alone board the plane........" not amuzed. Smile Then she cracks a smile and says she really was impressed. Bless the staff of Flybe! Great fun!
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