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EsnRedshirt
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Spirit Slate? Yeah, that's one of them.

I'll probably have some people here breathing fire down my neck, but (apart from "Not Another Card Trick" tricks) the worst trick, in my mind, is any number of straight "mentalism" effects.

Call out people's names and identify their items? I'm not impressed, unless you call out my name and tell me what's in my pocket (and not the one containing the other half of my ticket stub.)
Have the whole audience guess a random number or which celebrity is behind the curtain? It's a "math trick" which anyone who knew the script could do- I don't care about it.
I saw one television special where Max Mavin used "psychic vision" to walk blindfolded around the back lot of Universal Studios. He "proved" he was really blindfolded by saying he was. Zzzzzzz.

Mind reading, spirit reading, object reading- for all I know, it's the exact same script every single night. Don't tell me something impossible. Talk's cheap. Show me, then I'll be impressed.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
cinemagician
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It's "Max Maven"
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Mitchell.Stafiej
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Hold all the faces of the cards towards yourself, then ask for the spectator to select a card, name the card.

Now THAT'S the worst trick.

Mitchell
Josh the Superfluous
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Mitchell, I think you missed the "in general use" part of the question.

BTW I've had tremendous success with the visual card naming trick that you described. I find the method to be very direct. Smile
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Mitchell.Stafiej
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Josh, trust me, I've seen some magicians perform it Smile....

But if you would like my other answer, I would have to say the spin change, too impractical.

Mitchell
GWGumby
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This is more of a gag than a trick: Snake in a nut can.

It's a great, classic gag--but why oh why would anyone leave the snake(s) in that tired old fake mixed nuts can? Or even worse, the can of peanut brittle.

Seriously, who even asks for peanut brittle?
Bill Palmer
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It's kind of funny. This thread hasn't really improved much, has it. We still have people confusing the map with the territory.

To correct a few misconceptions.

1) There is no printed spider on any of the cards in "The Web." There are two magical effects. The webs show up on the blank cards. Then the spider appears on the back of the spectator's hand. There can be a third effect -- a kind of production -- if the person is really arachnophobic. It's better to criticise a trick if you really know what the trick is.

2) Sponge balls. I hate 'em. Sponge bunnies. I hate 'em more. But they are still great to produce astonishment in the mind of a spectator.

3) Change bag. IT'S NOT A TRICK. IT'S A TOOL. IT'S A UTILITY DEVICE

4) The Raven. See Change bag. If anyone knows what the method is the trick sucks anyway. But THE RAVEN IS NOT A TRICK.

5) Paddles. There are paddle tricks that will blow you away.

6) Gold or silver shells. They make a great basis for a gambling story. I'm glad you don't like them. It makes it easier for me.

7) Jack -- it's 26 years, not 25. But you were close.
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JackScratch
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Knew it was somewhere around the "Silver" Anniversery. I still dispise all these "Best"/"Worst" threads. They realy lack perspective.
cinemagician
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OK Bill Sir, thanks for the clarification.

Since I was the one to make the remarks about "The Web" I take responsibility for not checking my facts and therefore being incorrect about it's actual plot. Furthermore, just because I don't like the effect does not mean that Jim Pace does not make quality products. I think his line of pyro gimmicks are excellent magic.

What I was trying to get at was that the "worst effects in general use" are really items that tell the spectator that you bought them in a magic shop.

Furthermore, there seems to be an overall lack of "clarity of effect" with many of these kinds of dealer items.

One of my biggest gripes about magicians is that they are not particularly clear about what effect is supposed to be taking place and by what proposed means.

To put a phrase to this condition let me say that they are often, "lost in the shuffle"

There is a kind of "overload" of information that can become confusing

don't believe me- look at the quote below - NO gumby- it's NOT an effect,



Quote:
On 2006-06-14 17:04, GWGumby wrote:
This is more of a gag than a trick: Snake in a nut can.

It's a great, classic gag--but why oh why would anyone leave the snake(s) in that tired old fake mixed nuts can? Or even worse, the can of peanut brittle.

Seriously, who even asks for peanut brittle?


Well, who asks for cards with webs on them and appearing plastic spiders?

Catch my drift?
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Bill Palmer
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Yes. I understand you perfectly.

But speaking as a person who is very critical about the material he does, I can say that I got a LOT of mileage out of The Web. They start out as blank cards. If I were to start doing the trick again, I would use pieces of card stock, not blank - faced cards. The "plastic spider" as you call it looks very real. It's been "dolled up" so it looks like a fairly big, realistic spider. On the back of the hand of an arachnophobe it will produce predictable results.

Why knock something that works very well?
"The Swatter"

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cinemagician
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O.K. I never tried the effect. So, I'll tell you what- I'm gona get one and try to make some sense out of the routine and give it a shot- that way I can be fair to Jim Pace and to those who use it.

After I try it I'll be able post an informed oppinion-

I really didn't mean to attack the effect, only to use it as an example and maybe I should have given it some thought or a least tried it before using as an example of a bad effect.

As far as sponges go, I realize the mileage a worker can get out of them.

I have used them myself in the past-- and they are far from the worst items in a close up workers arsenal- but they simply are not for me- especially the bunnies or anything that looks like it came from a magic shop-

Cinemagician
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Bill Palmer
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I've mentioned this elsewhere, but it is so topical that I feel compelled to put it here. There used to be a club called "The Sponge Bunny Club." This was made up of magicians who had undergone the following experience.

They had been sitting in a diner, and their waitress came up to them and said, "Are you guys magicians?"

"Yes."

"I do some magic. Wanna see it?"

And she did the sponge bunnies.

The founders of this club were Bev Bergeron, Jay Marshall and Karrell Fox.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
cinemagician
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Yes, just last weekend I attended a graduation party for a young cousin of mine. There was a "magician" who arrived (a friend of the graduate's family) who had apparently just returned from a gig- a childrens/ family show.

My Mother was talking to him, and remarked, "Oh my son is a magician, he's been doing it for years."

So she approached me and told me that there was a magician at the party, did I want to meet him?

My first impulse was "No not really" I knew what to expect-

After meeting him (he was a nice guy) my suspicions were confirmed, he was not really a magician, but one who had bought a lot of stuff at the magic shop and was out "demonstrating" what he had picked up to audiences for money...

His repertoire consisted of...

"The D'Lytes"
"The fake thumb"
"Coloring Book"
"Invisible Deck"
"That trick with the three ropes" he did not know the name-

After chatting I found out that he charged $300.00 for the show!

Moral of the story- when you use items that are widely available to the general public, even though they may be affective, you run the risk of lowering yourself to the level of the rank amatuer, in the eyes of your audience.

Don't let one bad apple spoil the whole ***ed bunch!
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
JackScratch
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Cine, I can't help but wonder what impresion you would have of me, were we to meet. What effects do you feel it takes to make a "magician"? Personally, I don't feel that effects make one a magician. For the record, I do that "trick with three ropes" that he didn't know the name of, as well. I know what you are saying about the person, and I also know there is a good chance you are correct, however, I don't feel like the reason you gave for thinking it is a very just one. It makes you sould like a "Sleight Snob".
cinemagician
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Jack, I also do the professors nightmare. It is a great effect, I use Jim Lewis's handling.

I was NOT Saying that the professor's nightmare, the invisible deck or even the coloring book were bad effects. The record shows just the opposite- that is WHY they have sustained while other effects have become extinct.

I think what I am trying to say is really more like what Kenton Knepper was saying on volume II of Wonder Words.

He repeatedly stated, "What does ________ suggest to the audience" ?

For example what do sponge bunnies suggest to the audience? (about who YOU are and what you do)

What does a box with red and green dragons painted on it suggest to the audience?

And on and on...
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
JackScratch
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No, I knew what you were saying, and "mostly" agree. I was simply stating disgression with your wording.

I must tell you, I don't feel that those things suggest anything to an audience. They suggest a lot to us, but that's different. I think a lot of what those things suggest to us will have symptoms that the audience will suffer from, but they, of themselves, are not a red flag.
Bill Palmer
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A couple of thoughts. First of all, unless the economics of your area is widely different from the economics here, I seriously doubt that this uneducated hack magician was actually getting $300 for the show.

The decoration of the props we use speaks volumes to our audiences. If you walk out before a group and you have one of those boxes with red and green dragons on it, and there is no context for that in your act, you look like a fellow who picked up a piece of magicrap at the local shop. I don't use that kind of prop in my act, anyway. It doesn't fit my show or my style.

I don't know what the sponge bunnies would suggest. I suppose it would have to do with your message when you performed them. If you performed them.

I don't worry as much about what magicians think of my act based upon the names of the tricks or the props I use as I do about what laymen think of it. Magicians generally don't hire me.

I also don't do Professor's Nightmare. I prefer to do Quad-Rope-Lets. I find it far more mysterious, entertaining and impactful.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2006-06-16 02:49, Bill Palmer wrote:
The decoration of the props we use speaks volumes to our audiences. If you walk out before a group and you have one of those boxes with red and green dragons on it, and there is no context for that in your act, you look like a fellow who picked up a piece of magicrap at the local shop. I don't use that kind of prop in my act, anyway. It doesn't fit my show or my style.


That was more or less what I ment by "symptoms" of that stuff. For example, it would not be hard at all to have an act that those props would fit perfectly in. It is, however likely, with the aformentioned list of items being given, the this individual doesn't have such an act. Drawing conclucions base on limited info, is one of those things that works almost every time. It's the "almost" you have to watch out for. That list doesn't actualy make one a bad magician.
tanselkaya
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Any kind of cheap looking, brightly colored, self working contraption on stage, which the spectators are not allowed to inspect further. This can be plastic flowers, a dove pan, a sword box, whatever. It's a magicians duty to clean up any evidence and leave the audience in astonishment. Even with all props available the spectator should not be able to reconstruct his experience and in the "worst case" blame himself for not paying attention, when he could have done so. I'm not a purist, but one should have a limit on the use of crappy magic store gimmicks.

As an engineer I'm insulted when people think that I would take the inner workings of a mechanism for magic.
Bill Palmer
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That is a typical engineer's point of view. I say this as a "reformed" engineer.

In the first place, why should any spectator be allowed to inspect any prop? Is it because you are ashamed of the prop? Is it because you have designed a prop that is fully inspectable? Is it because you have a prop that is ungimmicked?

Props on stage should look innocent enough that inspection is not even warranted, whether it is possible or not. ANY prop that does not look like what it is supposed to be -- whatever that is -- is not a good item to have on stage.

However, inspection of props slows a show down. You have a limited amount of time to perform. So, do things that look like they could not be accounted for via engineering.

Would you allow a spectator to examine someone's guitar, so he could find out how he made a certain sound? Would you allow a spectator to examine someone's violin or bow, to find out if it were really the violinist making the music -- or a hidden recording backstage.

The performer's attitude will take care of a lot of the discrepancies. A good sense of decoration, proportion and set design will take care of others.

But ANYTIME your props get credit for what YOU are doing, it's not the fault of the props.

I'll give you an example of a bad prop that is in fairly common use among small illusion shows. That's the Owen Bow Sawing. I had one of those that was a real booger to work with. It didn't work but 75% of the time. I went back and forth with Owen about it. I had bought it used, so I had no warranty. I heard from some people who worked with Blackstone that he had the same problems I did. When it worked, it was dynamite. When it didn't, I was standing there with my face hanging out. I quit using it.

OTOH, the MAK Magic sabre saw sawing, hackneyed though it may be, is an excellent piece. All you need to do is modify the frame a bit, change out the blades, and you will have a really strong, small illusion. And it works every time. Not 90% of the time. Every time.

Granted, they can't sit up with the saw around them, like they can when the Owen sawing works!!!! But it works every time.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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