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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Creativity: Put your thinking cap on. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dennis Michael
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Well we all heard about the Vanishing Bandana and how powerful this effect is on kids. Also, it was said, this was from the "Trick of the Month Club". Let's think of other routines like this.

Can you come up with a similar idea which elicits humor, except not with a banana? A borrowed item (personalizes the effect), or a do-as-I-do routine, etc.?

Something that a cassette, or CD can be used and it is self-working like the Vanishing Bandana.
Dennis Michael
Frank Tougas
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Minneapolis, MN
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You could probably adapt quite a few tricks to a presentation using a cassette tape. One that immediately pops into my head would be the Confusing Crayons (a great do-as-I-do) except it is the magician who always gets it wrong rather than the spectator, and the magician continues to be upbraided by the voice on the tape. "...NO Frank! Yours is upside down, now turn it over and do it again."

If it is for a birthday party you could also add the name of the birthday boy or girl, giving them glowing complements while you look like the goat. This would certainly meet the personalization criteria.

I'd think up some more but my brain hurts. Smile
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
p.b.jones
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Hi,
Naturally a Bake a Cake routine would work well with an instructional tape recipe!
Phillip
Dennis Michael
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Those two are great!

Trick of the Month: Confusing Crayons

I have seen the Confusing Crayons being sold at many auctions. This is an indication that the owners do not fully like the effect. However, this idea for a tape and the Confusing Crayons brings new life to this kid's trick.

Trick of the Month: Magic Birthday Cake
Same goes for the Cake in Hat routine. It could work well with a dove pan and a sponge cake.

Now, I don't expect anyone to do all these in the same show but they can act as replacements for each other and can be used in repeat performances with the same client.

Keep'em coming!
Dennis Michael
Snidini
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I have in the past used a tape to instruct the making of a milkshake on the child's head, whereby the instructions for making it are on the tape and the child holds a container on their head. It gets turned upside down with the tape telling the performer that the last instruction is on the card between the child's head and container. This uses an old routine but I have always liked the idea of being instructed with the tape and then things falling apart with my assistant. Very funny stuff!
Peter Marucci
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I do a routine about cooking a holiday turkey with instructions read from a "recipe" book by a volunteer; it could just as easily be a tape.

It uses a dove pan and the instructions include things like "dust with flower" (I dust the pan with a wilting feather flower and have it go upright at the end: "Oh, it must be that self-rising flour."); "add dates" (I tear up a page from a calendar); "a splash of oil", (I squirt in some liquid from a can labelled WD-40; actually, it's lighter fluid.) "a handful of nuts", toss in some metal nuts; and so on.

Finally, after "ignition" and the lid is on, I remove it and pull out a rubber chicken.

"Hmmm, reminds me of the question of why did the chicken cross the road."

Turn the chicken around and show a tire tread across one side:
"Seems like not all of them made it!"

Believe me, if you can't get laughs with this routine, you'd better take up stamp collecting!

Smile
0pus
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I don't mean to put a damper on the creativity here, but I think that I prefer that the "instructions" effect be performed WITHOUT a pre-recorded tape or CD. I think that the instructions should be read by the magician or a helper. The pre-recorded stuff feels more like lip synching than performing. (Can you say "Milli Vanilli?") Just my personal preference.

0pus
Andy Wonder
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My show involves a lot of talking. I am always looking for ways to add music or non-verbal messages that not only give me a break from talking but break the monotony of having my audience listening to my voice for 45 minutes. At a show recently one 5-year old boy yelled out "You talk to much Mister!". There is honest feedback and he was right. This is one of the reasons I like this routine. Having said that I do kind of agree with you 0pus. This might not be the best routine to open with or even to add to a short show. For a 45 minute magic show I think listening to a different (and female) voice for 2 minutes is a nice change.

I really like the idea of having a helper read out ambiguous instructions that the magician takes the wrong way yet obtains a magical result. I like the idea because I am planning a new reading themed show. So having a helper actually read something aloud seems like it would fit very well into a reading themed show.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
p.b.jones
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Hi,
Almost any torn and restored or cut and restored rope would work. How about you and a child assistant learn a cut and restored rope from a tape apparently performed by palming an extra loop of rope however the timing and wording of the tape is such that the ropes actually get cut (yours using any sleight method). You realise your rope is in two so you swap with the assistant thinking his is not so for the finale the assistant's rope is restored in their hands but yours is left in two! (Marketing rights reserved.)
Phillip
Dennis Michael
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Opus,

I agree with you that any effect can be done with someone reading the instruction, including the Vanishing Bandana.

Simon Aronson's Side-Swiped is a close up version with cards which uses an instruction card. A great routine. Here I am trying to elicit ideas and concepts which can go either way if one chooses.

With a cassette tape/CD, a lot of extra background sounds and funny bits bits of business can be added which normally would be left out such as Frank's comment above, "...NO Frank! yours is upside down, now turn it over and do it again."

In the realm of showmanship and presentation, what makes an effect funny is when one looks, acts, or is perplexed by the tape's instructions, or misinterpets what is being said.

The drawback with reading instructions can backfire with kids very easily. What if the kid can't read? Of my five cub scouts three of them have reading problems. It is the wrong time to find out this problem exists on stage.

In Peter's excellent example above, that bit can be performed with any audience and an adult reading the instructions is fine. In a kids' show, and using something like the ShowTech, a pause can occur and a little bit of business can be introduced into this trick, such as looking for flour and magically pulling a flower from the kid's shirt or sleeve. The tape can continue with "..if you're finished playing around with that flour/flower, can we move on?..."

Thanks Peter for that excellent routine.

And Phillip's concept can be expanded upon. The Professor's Dream (rope with magnetic attraction effect) where the magician can't cut the rope, it keeps coming back whole. Or using a tape perform the classic cut and restored rope in a comical method.

Keep'em Coming.
Dennis Michael
JamesinLA
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Phillip,
I really like your idea of doing a cut and restored rope like the "I can, you can't" linking ring phase. Or in this case, "You can, I can't." Great idea. I'm always looking for ways to boost audience/spectator involvement. Don't know why I didn't think of this before for the rope!
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Reg Rozee
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As I was reading, I kept imagining this as something that might have been on I Love Lucy or something similar. The recorded instructions sound like a wonderfully happy 1950's instructional movie, with the voice regularly saying things like, "There! Doesn't that look marvelous?" or "Doesn't that smell terrific?" Of course, the magician keeps getting farther and farther behind like Lucy with the candy conveyor belt, or keeps getting results that are far off the tape's description. In order to catch up, he starts taking "short cuts" or ignoring or forgetting parts of the directions, with disastrous/hysterical consequences.
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick



Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
Dennis Michael
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Reg,

That's the concept this line of post is trying to bring forth. Like Frank's, Peter's and Phillips Post.

And Andy,
It was never the intention to replace a comple show. The the very most one tape and one read the instruction bit would be the max, howver, for repeat performances, it would be nice to subsitute a similar effect, that appears to be new but has the same elements of comedy.

With kids, they must be interactive with the emtertaininer or you will lose audience control.
Dennis Michael
0pus
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One routine that lends itself to this kind of treatment is the old "Lesson in Magic" routine. This appeared in Devant's "Our Magic," and Alan Shaxon, Trevor Lewis and David Ginn all have their own approaches to the trick. It may be known to you as the "Sun and Moon" handkerchief trick. I think it appears in the Mark Wilson course in Magic with tissue paper in place of handkerchiefs.

Another approach might be to do the tape/instructions bit with a hand puppet. The magician would be reading instructions to teach the puppet how to do a trick, say the vanishing handkerchief. When the magician goes to read the next step, the puppet could cause the handkerchief held by the magi to change color. Or, the puppet could pull a different color handkerchief from the magi's breast pocket when the magi wasn't looking. (The magi should have a large number of differently colored handkerchiefs in his pocket that will "pop up" in sequence as the puppet pulls out each one.)

0pus
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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There are a variety of puppet magic routine with CD/Cassette from Axtell Expressions
Dennis Michael
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