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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Step right up! » » Too hot for Magic Worms! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

sethb
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I went to a outdoor craft show this past weekend, in the middle of a heat wave -- temps were 90+ on the ground, and the air was very still. In such situations, my hands get sweaty and that is a killer for demoing Magic Worms with IT, because the damp skin creates drag, which puts too much pressure on the IT, and then it breaks.

To solve that problem in the past, I've normally used a little baby powder (cornstarch type) on my hands to keep them dry and smooth. And as emergency backups, I keep about 10 worms tied and ready to go in a little plastic bait box; usually I might go through 2 or 3 of them during the day because of tangles, inadvertant snaps, etc.

But on this day, nothing was helping and I was breaking IT's left and right. By 11 am I had gone through 8 worm setups, and I couldn't even get through one entire demo without a problem. I finally had to pull the worms off the table and sell other items, which was a shame because about half my take comes from the worms and they are also a great crowd puller.

Yesterday I went to a sporting goods store and picked up a $20 battery-operated portable Coleman fan that can be hung inside a tent to provide some air circulation. Anybody have any additional tips for solving this problem? I really don't want to go to a thicker gimmick if I can help it. Normally the IT is very serviceable and does a good job, this was really this first time in two years that I had major problems with it. Maybe I was just having a bad day? SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Tom Riddle
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In my youth I had familiarity with this product. It is a very old one you know. You must use thin fishing line my boy. And you must use a different routine than the one you use now so that the line cannot be seen. In the old days the routine was such that the hand was nearer the body and did not wander so far out as it seems to do nowadays. I do believe that such a handling is among the literature somewhere or other.

Invisible thread is quite useless you know and should never be used. However if you really insist on doing so then you must prepare half a dozen or so samples before you commence your work in case of breakage. That way you can immediately resume your duties without fiddling about in a most dreadful manner.

Do not worry about it too much my boy. No doubt you will eventually find more gainful employment in a less strenuous field. They always do you know. In the rare cases that they don't I am afraid the practicioners often become very decrepit. It really is a very working class way of making a living and I am sure that you are destined for far greater things.
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
Chelsea, UK
sethb
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Mr. Riddle -- thanks for the tip of working closer to the body, it is a good idea and I think a shorter "leash" might be helpful in preventing problems. I've heard there is a pamphlet about the Magic Worm and his relative, the Magic Mouse, by Mark Lewis. He also pitches Svengali Decks now and then, and doesn't seem any the worse for wear.

BTW, I do have other gainful employment, but unlike demonstrating Magic Worms, it requires too much thought. That's why I spend my weekends with chenille worms crawling all over my hands -- it's actually very restful and calming. <g> SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Tom Riddle
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I understand that he has indeed written a book and the shorter thread option is described. However the routine is not complete. He has neglected to describe in his shoddy pamphlet the fact that he makes the worm go into and around a little basket.

In my youth this item was demonstrated illegally in shop doorways. The demonstrator would have a little basket around his neck with nothing there but a glass and the worm. He would have the stock in his apron and a separate pocket to take the money. There was no blister package and neither were there any instructions. I expect there was no thread either. The worms were packaged in little freezer bag type things. The chappies that would do this would have a lookout at the edge of the crowd to spot the police coming.

Quite disreputable. I am afraid that being involved in this kind of work is perfectly dreadful and you will meet the wrong sort of people. I am quite delighted to hear that you are only doing it part time.

Carry on old chap, carry on.
"Yes, Virginia, there really are people named Riddle...isn't that AMAZING! And to think of all the royalties I'm missing out on! SCANDALOUS!"

Thomas Williamson Riddle III
Chelsea, UK
Mario Morris
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I found the wounder mouse wax melts in the heat.
sethb
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BTW, I may have found a partial solution to this problem. There is a good Kevlar IT available from James George (The Sorcery Shop) that seems to be synthetic and so doesn't absorb moisture. It also seems to be a bit slicker (less friction) and slightly stronger than the IT that I had been using.

The only downside is that it also appears to be slightly thicker and a bit shinier, so I need to be more careful with light sources (kind of tough when you're working outside). But the positives probably outweight the negatives here. For example, I recently did an inside show with the new Kevlar IT, and was able to use the same worm and gimmick for the entire six hour show -- very impressive (or just very lucky)! The real test will come next summer, when the temps rise into the 90's again. 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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Seth,

Maybe hit this new IT with a magic marker to take the shine out of it.Just a thought.

About the mouse wax,funny as Mario was talking about Jimmy Dixon on another thread,Jimmy and I were working a spot and the mouse wax got so cold that it wouldn't stick to anything.You had to rub it between your fingers for a few minuntes to soften it up before it would stick.That was the first and last time for that to happen that I remember.Jimmy was doing the mouse not me...I never liked it
Don
sethb
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Don, thanks for the thought, I will give it a try, probably with a black Sharpie marker, which might stick better to the synthetic line.

I have played around with the mouse for comparision. It's very cute, but I think the worm has it all over the mouse. The worm can be demoed at chest level or above for great visibility, while the mouse seems to work best at waist level or so. The worms come in bright colors, the mouse is gray. The worm can do a few more tricks than the mouse, and they are more intricate, at least in my opinion.

Also, the worm is very cute, especially Don's worm that has the rolling eyes. While a mouse might also have been cute in the early 1900's, today not too many people have or want pet mice and there is a certain "eecchh" factor, at least in most suburban and urban areas. So I vote for the worm as the better pitch item. 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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The worm is so much stronger than the mouse,they aren't in the same league together.

Don
Mario Morris
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Don which worm do you go for?
DonDriver
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The S.S.Adams worm.Adams call it a Wooly Caterpillar.

Just so you worms workers know.There are only three factories in China that make all the worms and they all are the same.Every once in awhile one of the factory will mess up and make a batch that aren't wind as tight,thats right the "fur" is wound around a string and when a batch gets though that aren't wound tight,the worms tend to fall apart.This can happen to any one of the three factories.

The S.S.Adams worm is less than .50 each wholesale,thats half than all the others and "pretied" a must for any worm pitchman.

Later,Don
Matthew W
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How many do you have to buy to get them for 50 cents each? Do you have picture of them?
-Matt
DonDriver
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Matt,
I'm not the guy to ask.You'll have to get in touch with S.S.Adams.
Bill Beach
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I'm glad to hear the Adams's worm is now available, I'll definitely check it out. It'll be great to have one source for both worms and decks. I've been on a bit of hiatus from pitching since moving in the fall but am starting to scout out possible venues in my new location an am anxious to get back at it.

By the way, I have had pretty good luck using Kevlar with the "Magic Fuzzles".
DonDriver
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S.S.Adams now has worms,decks and two card monte.So this means saving on shipping.

Don
sethb
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I have to agree with Bill on the Kevlar for demoing the worms. It is stronger than most other IT's I have tried, and it's also slicker, so the gimmick runs through the hands with less friction, even if your hands are sweaty.

I have tried all sorts of nylon fish line -- 2-lb. clear, smoked and low-vis green. Although it's much more durable, it doesn't come close to the Kevlar for overall effect, in my opinion.

Although the Kevlar is slightly thicker and a little bit shinier than regular IT, it works just as well if not better, since you don't have nearly as many breaks during the day. You just have to be a little more careful about your lighting, if you can (that can be tough when you're working outside). As many IT books have noted, the problem isn't that the IT itself will be seen, but that the reflection from the IT will be seen. (In bright sunlight or heavy fluorescent light, the darn stuff just about glows!) I have also found that keeping the gimmick perpendicular to the specs, instead of parallel, is really the best defense. Because there's less to see, there's less chance of anything being seen.

Don, I will have to check out the Adams worms, as the price sounds good and quantity isn't much of an issue for me. These babies really jump off the pitch table -- and they don't need a gimmick to do that, just a good demo! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Mario Morris
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Thanks Don
Bill Beach
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Seth, just when we have kind of settled on Kevlar for demoing the worms, I came across this: http://www.magic.org/6398

Haven't placed an order yet, but will probably give it a try. More pricey than Kevlar, but sounds like an interesting possibility.
sethb
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Thanks, Bill, for making the suggestion. Hmmm, at $1 a foot, that is pricey! Of course, the idea of "striping" the thread every couple of inches to help disguise its presence is not new, just this "factory-installed stripes" version.

For comparison, the Kevlar IT runs less than half the cost of the Tiger Stripe stuff; it's about 40 cents a foot if you buy the "economy-size" 40' version for $15. And one 2-foot piece of Kevlar is probably enough to tie at least 2 dozen worms or more, once you strip the individual strands out.

I would be interested to see if this Tiger Stripe stuff is as strong as the Kevlar. With a tent to control direct sunlight and a good plaid shirt as a backdrop, I really don't have any visibility or reflection problems with the Kevlar, and so would tend to favor strength over color or stripes at this point. The last show I worked with the Kevlar IT, I was able to run the same worm all day without breaking the gimmick, which I had never done before. That sure saved me a lot of time switching worms and explaining why Willie "needed a little rest right now, but here's his sister Wanda." SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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