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Ken Northridge
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I had been doing the rings for 15 years when I saw Dick Gustafson and his wife on a full stage take the time to pass every ring out for examination. Now, I know not every ring was examined but at the time it fooled the heck out of me!

Therefore, to me, I think the examination of props may heighten the level of mystery. This same line of thinking is why I, and many others, choose to do close up magic in short sleeves.

Quote:
On 2010-08-03 21:04, The Great Dave wrote:
I never let the spectator's examine my props. Ever. Period. No exceptions. If you can't entertain around this rule then you really don't know how to make the trade offs that theatre requires when doing magic.

Although some good food for thought, I think this view is a little extreme, and I would point to the above as an example of how handing out props can heighten the mystery.

Thought should be given to how they are handed out. For example, I am currently doing a 4 ring routine with music. I don’t hand out the rings, but at the end, with three rings linked, I walk out in the audience and have someone grab the middle ring. Then, all three rings seem to unlink right before their eyes. To the audience it seems that the rings unlink at the same time an audience member is examining them. I never say, ‘will you examine this,’ but the impression is there.

Incidentally, I believe this is a Chris Capehart move and I have a very short clip of it on my promo video at the 42 seconds mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzSMcEZbXPU
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bishthemagish
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I have been doing the Vernon 6 ring routine since about 1976. I almost always get a person up - a helper to look at the rings - try to link them. The routine makes a great first trick in many performing situations (like the coin bucket misers dream - shake the bucket it makes noise) clink the rings they make noise - so getting a crowd in certain performing venues - this helps.

Getting a kid up - breaks that wall between the performer and the audience - the stage and the seats. Letting them look at the rings is a basic idea that is part of magic and it's roots.

The whole thing of using the audience helpers and having them look at the props in my opinion it goes back to the basic fundamentals of the art of magic and why it is a little different performance theater than a drama like a play. Magic uses the art of audience participation and the audience plays and it's members can play a part - and parts in the program. Using audience members is the opportunity for great situation comedy to happen that can be the most entertaining parts of the whole show.

Magic with a conversational performer where the magician talks and the audience talks back - connecting and having fun with the audience and helpers as they look at props and then something magical happens.

I like that kind of magic.

Just a few thoughts and opinion.

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Laurent van Trigt
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I am still undecided whether handing out the rings is the only way to eliminate the obvious solution. I like Whit's idea that viewings of different performances are not perceived as isolated pieces and would sort of overlap in their memory. This is reminiscent of what Tyler Erickson described to me as canceling methods at a macro level. If I had to apply that here, if you would follow up the Linking Rings with similar effects, like linking the keys from a spectator onto a keyring, they may conclude the rings are not gimmicked, since you managed to do the same effect with borrowed keys.
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My opinion, which others may have already stated...

As a mystery? I think its always stronger if the audience can inspect the equipment.

But as an experience? Not necessarily. After all ,the audience knows in their heart of hearts that there is *some* trick to it all. All you've really done is shown them what it isn't. They still know its there somewhere.

The audience, beyond the very very young, come along with us not because they believe what we show them is real, but because they *want* to believe it is real. And stopping to show them what it isn't can often beak the flow and hurt the experience.

So, I think it depends on the illusion. But in general I don't think audience participation adds that much unless the audience is very small and very tight.

Otherwise, the audience is never 100% sure whether those picked to participate are real audience members or stooges. (I actually got recruited from the audience to stooge for the last magician I went to see, mostly because I was there early and I'm friendly looking, I think. It wasn't really a full on stooge role, though I would have been happy to do that, but I was given a couple of lines and actions to do to make his jokes funnier.)
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Laurent van Trigt
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Quote:
On 2010-08-04 19:38, Cyberqat wrote:
My opinion, which others may have already stated...

As a mystery? I think its always stronger if the audience can inspect the equipment.

But as an experience? Not necessarily. After all ,the audience knows in their heart of hearts that there is *some* trick to it all. All you've really done is shown them what it isn't. They still know its there somewhere.

The audience, beyond the very very young, come along with us not because they believe what we show them is real, but because they *want* to believe it is real. And stopping to show them what it isn't can often beak the flow and hurt the experience.

So, I think it depends on the illusion. But in general I don't think audience participation adds that much unless the audience is very small and very tight.



I brought a friend once to see a well-known magician at the Magic Castle. One of the things he performed was The Miser's Dream. Personally, I was quite pleased with his performance. At the end I turned to my friend and whispered something like "That was good!" She replied "They just came out of his sleeves" and looked pretty unimpressed to say the least.
Yes, they know it is a show and that the magic is not real. But if they have a solution to what they observe, a lot of the experience can be taken away. It's a bit like watching a movie with Aliens. We want to believe in it emotionally. But if the Aliens look fake, when the special effects are crummy, we easily loose interest.
Cyberqat
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Well sure the illusion has to be good.

And I hope you told you friend that th miser's dream can be performed with bear arms. (Thats how I do it.)

But honestly, with a good enough story, I don't care if the aliens look fake. The fact that I know that the reason all Tom Baker doctor who scripts have only 2 speaking on screen at a time was because the BBC could only afford two fitted latex masks doesn't diminish my appreciation of the cleverness of the story one iota.

Either the magician didn't do a very good job of drawing your friend in to the wonder (which would surprise me a bit at the castle, but much as I'd like to I've never been there), or your friend just didn't want to go there. In which case he probably is the type who would have been walking away from the miracle of the loaves and fishes counting how many fishes could be hidden under a robe Smile
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mtpascoe
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Quote:
On 2010-07-07 20:17, Whit Haydn wrote:

If it were real, you would only need two rings: Have them examined, link them, have them examined. Why would you do it again? Why would you do it with more than two?


Whit is correct. When I was a kid, I saw Dai Vernon on television do the rings. As I misremembered it, Vernon only had two rings and handed them out before and after they were linked. Of course, that's the way I remembered it.

I always thought it was unnecessary to pass the rings out after I saw Richard Ross' routine. It was still stunning to watch. I came up with my own version of the four ring routine and that's the way I have been doing it for years.

Then I worked at a magic shop. I was doing the rings and a young girl wanted to examine the rings. I gave her the linked pair and the unlinked pair and hid the key. She wanted me to link the rings which I did by switching the linked pair for the unlinked. She was not convinced. She wanted me to put the others off to the side and only link just the two. She also wanted to examine them before, during, and after the linking process.

If I was on stage and not at a magic shop, I could have had more control of the situation.

I then used Whit's routine which gives the appearance of the rings being examined. Here, I have more control. I once had someone ask me to examine the ones I was using, but I just ignored her and went on with the routine. Such is the beauty of Whit's routine.

I think the only reason that they need to be examined is that the trick is too perfect. There is only one way the rings can be linked and unlinked. And that is that it has a gash in it. That's why my thinking now has changed on it. But as I am still going back and forth with this argument, I still do Whit's version and not worry about it.
Cyberqat
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So... I think of Metamorphosis.

Would this illusion be strengthened if you did an audience inspection first?

I think the break in flow wouldn't really be worth it.

As I mentioned above, I think a lot of it depends on the size of your audience.

With an audience of 1, it adds a lot.

With a small audience who are intimately familiar with each other, I think it adds something, but not a lot.

In front of an audience of 50 or more strangers? I don't think it adds much.

Now if you are doing something which causes shock or surprise in your volunteer, I think that's worth more. I do a signed card from sealed box to spectator's hand that is a lot more powerful then if I did it to my own hand. That genuine look of wonder on my volunteer's face says a lot to the audience.
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jazzy snazzy
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Chris Capehart's routine ends with a spectator pulling one ring to unlink three.
Very powerful.
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Laurent van Trigt
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Quote:
On 2010-08-04 22:31, jazzy snazzy wrote:
Chris Capehart's routine ends with a spectator pulling one ring to unlink three.
Very powerful.


Quote:
On 2010-08-04 21:21, mtpascoe wrote:
I once had someone ask me to examine the ones I was using, but I just ignored her and went on with the routine.


This raises another question. If you only have some of the rings examined, will someone think that they may be different from the other rings in use? I am also not sure if 'just ignoring her' is the way to go when confronted with a question in magic that puts us in a position with no out. It seems the same to me as saying "No, you may not examine those, because they are gimmicked!"
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I once did a routine starting with a Ring on Rope with 5" ring, then split that ring into two rings and those into four. I linked two of these and asked someone to hold the pair and one single, which they did. I then "stretched" the remaining ring into a 10" one and displayed some other rings I had Stetched in previous shows. I asked a lady to hold one and she said, "I wouldn't dare -- that's too much magic for me!" So, I did my final routine without passing any out.
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mtpascoe
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That’s true, ignoring her would only emphasize that the rings are special or fake. I was doing Whit’s routine at the magic shop and didn’t do the entire dialogue. When I perform it on stage with Whit’s wording, I have never had a problem with the spectator wanting to use “my” rings.
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I was just scanning Fitzkee's book "Rings in Your Fingers" in which he describes many routines by old timers using 8-12 rings in which ALL of them are passed out to the audience. Many do not require a Key, and for some the Key(s) is switched in. This was not considered a way of having the rings examined, but of having the audience directly involved in the effects.
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Cyberqat
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Quote:
On 2010-08-07 13:57, funsway wrote:
I was just scanning Fitzkee's book "Rings in Your Fingers" in which he describes many routines by old timers using 8-12 rings in which ALL of them are passed out to the audience. Many do not require a Key, and for some the Key(s) is switched in. This was not considered a way of having the rings examined, but of having the audience directly involved in the effects.


And I think actively involving the audience is very different from just an "inspection" and a lot stronger. Having said that I do think the "proxy" effect for the rest of the audiance is weak in a packed house of strangers.
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Laurent van Trigt
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Quote:
On 2010-08-04 21:20, Cyberqat wrote:
Well sure the illusion has to be good.

And I hope you told you friend that th miser's dream can be performed with bear arms. (Thats how I do it.)

But honestly, with a good enough story, I don't care if the aliens look fake. The fact that I know that the reason all Tom Baker doctor who scripts have only 2 speaking on screen at a time was because the BBC could only afford two fitted latex masks doesn't diminish my appreciation of the cleverness of the story one iota.

Either the magician didn't do a very good job of drawing your friend in to the wonder (which would surprise me a bit at the castle, but much as I'd like to I've never been there), or your friend just didn't want to go there. In which case he probably is the type who would have been walking away from the miracle of the loaves and fishes counting how many fishes could be hidden under a robe Smile


In order to draw an audience into 'the wonder', isn't it required that we fool first?
I think my friend's reaction was rather natural. I remember Al Schneider describing how human psychology tries to figure things out when confronted with a magical effect. You will naturally replay the scene in your mind, almost like a reflex, and look for a solution, a logical cause to the effect. If you can't, you have been fooled and can experience magic. If you found one, you have not been fooled, let alone get a magical experience. In the case of my friend, all it took was for the performer to roll up his sleeves while performing the Miser's Dream, and she would have had a different experience.
Cyberqat
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Quote:
In order to draw an audience into 'the wonder', isn't it required that we fool first?


If that is true then how do you explain the illusion that every viewer knows is fake called "the movies"? Are you saying the movies don't inspire wonder, let alone a whole gamut of other feelings?

Quote:
I think my friend's reaction was rather natural. I remember Al Schneider describing how human psychology tries to figure things out when confronted with a magical effect. You will naturally replay the scene in your mind, almost like a reflex, and look for a solution, a logical cause to the effect. If you can't, you have been fooled and can experience magic.


I think that's psuedo-psychological gobbldy gook and total nonsense. It certainly bears no resemblance to any cognitive psychological theory I've ever heard.

And I am the existence proof that its nonsense, as I expect many of us here are. I watch Copperfield fly across the stage and I can conceive of all sorts of mechanisms to do it... but I still find it a magical experience because I *want* to find it such.

The audience is not forced into belief by us. They have to come willingly because they want to. that's why its called "suspension of disbelief."
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The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2010-08-08 01:12, Cyberqat wrote:
Quote:
In order to draw an audience into 'the wonder', isn't it required that we fool first?


If that is true then how do you explain the illusion that every viewer knows is fake called "the movies"? Are you saying the movies don't inspire wonder, let alone a whole gamut of other feelings?


Movies can do a great many things, but at the end of the day, we're not left pondering if Tom Cruise is really a secret agent.

Quote:
Quote:
I think my friend's reaction was rather natural. I remember Al Schneider describing how human psychology tries to figure things out when confronted with a magical effect. You will naturally replay the scene in your mind, almost like a reflex, and look for a solution, a logical cause to the effect. If you can't, you have been fooled and can experience magic.


I think that's psuedo-psychological gobbldy gook and total nonsense. It certainly bears no resemblance to any cognitive psychological theory I've ever heard.

And I am the existence proof that its nonsense, as I expect many of us here are. I watch Copperfield fly across the stage and I can conceive of all sorts of mechanisms to do it... but I still find it a magical experience because I *want* to find it such.

The audience is not forced into belief by us. They have to come willingly because they want to. that's why its called "suspension of disbelief."


Well, that "psychological gobbledy gook" has been a foundation for some of the strongest routine constructions and magic theory of the latter half of the 20th century, so perhaps it's worth considering.

Also, "Suspension of disbelief" doesn't work the same way in magic as it does with film or literature. In a story, we have to suspend disbelief in order to accept certain premises that allow us to absorb the plot as it evolves. In a magic act, the premise has to be made good on. We don't need to check Superman for wires in order to appreciate the story, but at some point David Copperfield has to offer evidence he doesn't use them in order for his trick to achieve its fullest impact.

And Copperfield, for all his style, has been very diligent about making sure that he's able to offer evidence that what seems to have happened has actually happened. Consider that he boxed himself in during the flight illusion, or showed he could move his feet during Death Saw.
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funsway
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Quote:

In order to draw an audience into 'the wonder', isn't it required that we fool first?


If I have a number of rings already in the hands of spectators before the effect, have them stand up and two volunteers collect them, the audience is already in a state of "wonder" even though no magic effect has occured. Now I show that two of the rings are mysteriously linked together -- causing a confusion of messages and possibly "magic" for some. Then I separate these rings and immediately hand one each to the volunteers. There is no longer any "wonder," but knowledge that magic is going to happen with the rings. Everyone should be in a state of "Wonderment" in which any moves will seem magical and any claim made by me legitimate. All that is required to sustain this "sense of magic" is to occasionally exhange the rings held by the volunteers with others and to demosntrate somethign considered impossible. It doesn't matter if each spectator has a "Sense of wonder" or dilemma over each effect or movement -- only that the overall impression leaves them with a story of wonder to tell their grandchildren.

a "suspension of disbelief" is only required if I present a character or setting that requires a leap of imagination. What I aim for is the creation of a new platform of believing in which the linking of metal rings is "normal," the ideal situation being one in which the spectator is the cause of the magic rather than me.
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"And I hope you told you friend that th miser's dream can be performed with bear arms. (Thats how I do it.)"

Seriously???
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Ken Northridge
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Along this same line of thinking, I see many ring routines that begin with the magician slowly rubbing their fingers around the rings as if to prove they are solid. Is this necessary?
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