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greatscott
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I was just curious what type of tricks/effects others use as an opener/warm-up for their kids shows. What is your favorite. What gets you the best reaction from the audience.
I have a couple that I like, and both were inspired by David Ginn. One is the "blooming bouquet", and the other is "the wilting/drooping flower". The second one was done also by Steve Taylor.
seadog93
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Coloring book (Docc Holfrod's)
TT vanish (Silly Billy's)
and/or Fiber Optic
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

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Mumblemore
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I pull coins from kids' ears with Miser's Dream, and then go on to "full" opener, which is usually Barry Mitchell's Trash to Treasure (a magical square circle with "endless bead" production climax).
MarceloElGrande
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Bill Abbott's The Thing
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shomemagic
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Silver Scepter!
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aussiemagic
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I like:

Off the Meter, TT silk vanish, What's next?
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Amazing Magic Co
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Bowl-a-rama followed by either a change bag silk routine or the 5 Card Opener.

Dan.
keeblem
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Off the meter. I use it nearly every show.

Mark
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I second the "Silver Scepter"------KILLER!!!!
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Max Krause
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Magication
magic4u02
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I do not mean to be a downer or to cause any problems. However, I find listing what your favorite opener is is kind of like asking what car do you drive. It does not mean anything unless you know the reason behind it or even the style of the person or his or her character.

Without reasoning, this simply becomes a list of what tricks people like. Now I know many of you (or I at least hope all of you) do not perform "tricks" at kid's shows. You perform routines that entertain.

If that is the case then the power and learning of this thread would be much better if people started giving not only the trick they do but the reasoning behind why it works for THEM.

What is it that you do that makes it work for you so well?
Do you use it as a warm up or to teach the kids how to react?
What is your character like and how does this effect work in your routine?

Answers in this fashion start to get us thinking beyond a list of tricks and get folks to understand what it is that entertains.

Ok ok I am getting off my soap box now. lol

Kyle
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Scott O.
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Excellent Kyle. With that let me say one of my best openers for kids shows is the Wilting Flower. Here's why. Steve Taylor does a version of this on his Fabulous Friends DVD, and it looked like fun. This is a warm up and is good for me with kids up to age 9 --possibly 10 if conditions are right. The 'routine' gets kids in a clapping competion which is good to let get them involved straight away. It also turns into some 'look don't see' fun at the end that gets all the kid laughing and excited. It's simple as can be, and frankly not MY favorite opener -- but it is effective and helps set the tone for the fun about to happen.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
magic4u02
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Excellent!! this is what I am talking about. Now we know more of why it works for Scott and what he does with it and the purpose it has in his show. let me ask you if you use this as the first routine in your show or do you use this as a warm up before the show starts? It is interesting cause I have seen many do it both ways and curious to see how you use it in the context here of your show.

It is great to see that it does indeed teahc the kids how to react and lets them know the show is going to be fun. in a way it also warms you up as well. Good stuff.

Kyle
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Scott O.
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Kyle, this is more of a warm up. However, if the kids are on the older side -- say 8, 9 or especially 10 I always introduce myself and ask if they like magic. Then I say "do you like silly stuff?" If I get a positive response I've just gotten their permission to do a wilting flower and be a bit silly. And everyone can let down their "I'm too old for this" persona because they agreed they like silly stuff.

Now if the show is for older kids, I avoid this thing like the plague. It's really not very magical and sets you up to be more clown than magician. I have other routines and ways to open shows for older kids and adults.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
magic4u02
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Aww wonderful. It sounded like a warm up to me as it seemed designed for it. really getting the kids to know who you are and showing them it is ok to react. Does indeed seem to be a younger age warm up as opposed to an older one (as you mentioned). It is good to see the thinking behind why you chose this.

I am hoping others will chime in and take your lead by telling what their opener is and why it works for them the way it does.

Kyle
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john pert
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A variety of things work for me:

1. I present three quick tricks stating, "Warm up trick number" and the kids fill in with "one". This happens for each of the three quick tricks. Right away there is magic and the kids are involved. This is sometimes done to music.

2. I present three quick tricks that each have something disappear. I cue the kids that when I say I'm going to make something disappear, they are to say, "No way John." (idea from Silly Billy's book) This happens for each of the three tricks. This works well because there is audience interaction and some quick magic to start things off. Alternatively, it can be done in the middle of your show.

3. Years ago I saw Steve Taylor lecture. He said that his warm up explains that there are two ways to have fun at the show (rather than saying there are rules). The first way is by clapping. I follow with leading the group through a series of clapping jokes/gags. The second way to have fun is to laugh. We practice this using a sequence of knock-knock jokes. This works well because there is interaction and comedy built in right away.

John
Sam Sandler
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Alright kyle I will share my open formmy lecture I am doing this weekend in grand rapids michagan for IBM.

any who

I walk out front of my curtains and stand very stil and quiet jsut looking at the kids... they quickly quiet down and look at me I then say rather loudly HELLO I am the hilarious magic of sam sandler are you ready for some fun?!!
this gets a jump and a bunch of giggles and laughs.
I then tell them there are 3 things they need to know to help make the s how even more fun.

one stay seated that's for your safty and mine this way when the balls of fire and juggling knives happen your there Iam here and were all safe... jsut kidding but it is important to stay seated unless I call for you to join me up front and I alwasy pick the kids that are sitting down.

two I need to know if I am doinga good job and your having fun and you can do that by apllauding.(i mimic applauding) and everyone follows suit. even mom and dad.

3 and now before I start the show we need to have the magic test! THE KIDS ALL SIT UP AND LOOK AT ME LIKE iM CRAZY WHAT A TEST AT A MAGIC SHOW??
I perform my good friends color changing shoelance (David ginn) by far the best warm up trick out there. you get the moans and growns form the parents and some of the older kids which is great because in just a moment your gonna fool them.

this helps establish not are you only funny but yed you can do magic too!

I have used this in about 2000 shows now and it has worked very well.
it covers all the bases. what I expect of the kids and the kids now know what to expect form me with out giving a list of dos and don'ts or Rules. its a party and we want the kids to feel free to laugh and crack up.

the key to any warm up is to make sure you demostrate your the entertainer and you are entertaining! the warm up will set the tone as well as the very first routine you perform after the warm up.

h ave fun and good luck to all.

oh one other side note when I do the warm up I am not in full costume I am not wearing my jacket at this point I feel the jacket should go on when I actually start the show. jsut my thoughts and my preference but my thinking is this.

when I am done the warm up I walk through the curtains while behind them my music starts and I am putting on my jacket when I now walk through there is a visual change to the audience and this will draw attention to you the performer!
sam
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johnmharris
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Great thoughts and comments here! I'd like to hear from someone who has used Bill Abbott's Five Card Opener to open a kidshow. Does it work well in some of the ways that are mentioned here?
RodHousley
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I let the music intro me with a voice over recording.. after a build up in music.. I then make my appearance and perform a few flashy appearances and vanishes with the music.. This year is appearing cane, large sponge balls that appear over and over again, then finally I produce the principle.. This is all done to music like a manipulation act for kids with an illusion tossed in for good measure... Then the music stops and the curtains close the principle walk in front and with a prepared script which is only a few line about the kids are to behave and then re introduces me again to the kids. Then the next track starts and I enter stage again to begin the stand-up show. This is when I begin my first real routine for the kids.

This structure changes a bit from year to year but it works well to build hype and get the kids excited. Plus make you look like a real star with the silent act in the beginning and then making the kids wait to hear you speak until almost 10 minutes into the show.
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