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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » The Wonder Mouse (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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stine
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Thanks Don, izim wizithit tizoo.stine
Reis O'Brien
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I have a small rubber mouse that I just bought at a drug store (impulse buy). Can I find the method for the Wonder Mouse act using my mouse or is the gimmick self-contained?
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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irossall
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Quote:
By the way if you saw his pitch, the bit about SHOWING the wax pellet as the gimmick that makes the mouse go is BRILLIANT!!! People think they're buying a little engine or bug or whatever...genius!!

WOW, the showing of the wax pellet is the "hook" that got me to purchase the mouse. I was 12 years old and at the time I believed the skill required was beyond my level of expertise. When the pitchman showed "how it was done" I knew I could perform it right away. I would not have bought the mouse if the "gimmick" wasn't revealed.

Well, needless to say, I was wrong. To truly make the mouse come alive, lots of practice is needed and it was beyond my level of expertise at that time. The hours of practice required to perform this effect, and to make the mouse "come to life," is worth the effect and the appeal it has on an audience. This is one of those great effects that is easy to learn but much more difficult to master, and can ONLY be shown when it is truly mastered.

In answer to Firedice27: The mouse is not gimmicked but if you use another mouse it can't be too large (as it is doing tricks in your palm) and it can't be too heavy.

Iven Smile
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stine
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Irossall, I wasn't sure by your post whether you were disappointed with your purchase or not.

What I found so interesting about "exposing" the gimmick is that is exactly why it works! People THINK it's self-working, buy the mouse (which is the whole point of pitching) and then feel frustrated and NEVER DO IT! They are given instructions and STILL bring it back complaining it doesn't work. They are told about IT and STILL think the pitchman is using something else. You're right, the mouse can only work with a pro at the helm, but when you see a pro do it, IT'S MAGIC!

I think they don't really want or expect anyone to do it so they sell the secret and nobody ever uses it. It's the only routine I know where the gimmick becomes an act in and of itself. I don't think that principle has ever been exploited before and I just love it.
drhackenbush
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When I watched Jimmy and Kim Dixon doing the Mouse Pitch on the Pitch Table video, I couldn't quite figure out WHY they were showing the secret, and these most recent posts have made me understand. On the same tape, there is a Svengali Deck pitch, and the pitch also includes showing the exact secret and explaining the construction of the deck, which I was surprised to see. I now realize why this is done, and the whole thing makes much more sense to me (thanks, Stine!).

Once again, I am learning so much from everyone, and really want to thank everyone who has posted on this thread for all the great info, stories, advice and all-around good vibes!

Charley
stine
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Glad it helped. Remember it's the context that is important! A pitchman only gets payed if people buy his product. He has to make it almost too good to NOT buy. (That's also why pitched items are cheap, the spectator reasons he can't afford not to get it.)

A magician is selling his personality as well as the feeling a spectator gets from experiencing the magic. He WANTS to know how it's done and that is what intrigues him. The pitchman is exploiting that very desire to sell a product. It's such an impulse buy that the trick is rarely ever used.

For example, they have been pitching Svengali's for what? 100 years?? They must have sold hundreds of thousands. Have you EVER seen someone show you a Svengali routine? Except maybe at a magic store. Where did they all go!!!???
Reis O'Brien
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Ahhhh yes...I think I get how it's done. And I think my mouse is light enough and he's definitely small. I'll give it a shot and see how it works. Thanks Iven!

-Reis
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irossall
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Quote:
On 2003-09-03 16:05, stine wrote:
Irossall, I wasn't sure by your post whether you were disappointed with your purchase or not.

What I found so interesting about "exposing" the gimmick is that is exactly why it works! People THINK it's self-working

Stine, I was disappointed that the mouse wasn't self-working like I was led to believe (I was 12 at the time) BUT I was turned on to IT. The rising cigarette, which was another effect the pitchman showed, became a favorite of mine. (No I was not a smoker but my understanding parents had no objection to my doing cigarette magic.)

The pitchman removed the wax and said that it was a special blend of magician's wax and nylon and then had the ball of wax crawl up his hand.

Glad that these threads were of some help to you Reis, let us know how it goes for you.

Iven Smile
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stine
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This has been a fun thread. I found out where an old acquaintance was, met a carnie, helped a guy enjoy his wonder mouse, and found out I can get the the pitch on video, so I can reminisce about an old chapter in my life.

Only one thing hasn't been cleared up for me. I ask again, after the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of old Svengali decks that have been bought by LAYMEN over the years, where are they!!!

Has any working pro had a laymen come up to him (or even if they didn't know you were a magi) and perform the Svengali Deck and/or Wonder Mouse for you? If we could find all those old decks, we could buy 'em back for a dime and re-pitch 'em. Anybody in? Smile
irossall
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Where are the thousands of Svengali decks sold in the past? They are in that fabled land of misfit props. As we all know, it is in the presentation and the imagination of the performer that really counts. I really only do a rising card effect with my Svengali, so the lay person who may have owned a Svengali doesn't recognize the fact that I am using a Svengali. Most people (not magicians) buy the Svengali because they want to know the secret and they may want to show it to a few friends and are led to believe that the deck does all of the work. In a sense this is true but the real work is coming up with something "new" and different.

The Svengali and the TT will always be a valuable tool for the magician and just when we think we have seen it all, someone will come along with a new and exciting effect and we will rush home and dust of our old deck or TT and once again have fun with it all over again. When I first saw a rising card effect done with a Svengali I couldn't wait to get home to play with mine.

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Reis O'Brien
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Ha-HAAAAAAAAA!!!!

My mouse works great! He's really cute. I rigged it up so he finds a chosen card on the table. Jumps right off my hand onto the card. Maybe I'll make him the star of my show. Thanks everyone. This post is great!
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drhackenbush
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Fire -

Congrats on making and using your own Mouse! I think these Wonder Mice are like Tribbles. Once you see them, you can't help but want one! The great thing is, you don't have to worry about 'em eating all of your food up, or cleaning up after 'em. My kinda pet.
Reis O'Brien
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Thanks folksingmagic!

I worked the Wonder Mouse for the neighborhood kids at my work today. They loved him (the mouse, not me). But they all named him "Clumsy" because he kept falling off my hand! Ahhh...good times...

I suspect in German he would be "Vunder Maus"...just a thought.
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The Village Idiots
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Now just what did the pitchman tell you the wax did? How did he dupe you to thinking it did all of the work? I am sure I saw it the same way but that has been too many years ago. Dying to know what he said.

Will
Some are born idiots.

Some are made idiots.

Some have idiocy thrust upon them.
irossall
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The Pitchman just removed the wax from the mouse and had the wax run up the back of his hand. All he said was (paraphrase), "The secret is this special mixture of magician's wax and nylon". As in most good cons, it is the imagination of the beholder that gets them "hooked" into the con.

In my case, I was buying more magic that took more skill than I had at the time and I was always looking for effects that were very easy to do or self working. It was my laziness that hooked me, my looking for the easy way instead of working for my goals. What the pitchman said was basicaly true. It is wax and nylon. Just not quite what he insinuated.

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Erik Anderson
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One of my favorite hooks in the old pitches was done while showing the gimmick and running it hand over hand or with a coin attached. As near as I can recall, it went something like:

Quote:
The secret of the Wonder Mouse is this amazing little gimmick made of magician's wax. Why, with this little beauty, you can make abolutely anything come alive. That's right ma'am, you heard me. I said anything. But whatever you do, don't stick it to a quarter and put it in a pay phone. Ma Bell wouldn't like you very much.

At that point people would line up to buy them thinking they could make free phone calls. Nothin' motivates like greed. You gotta love it! It was definitely an art.

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Erik "Aces" Anderson

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highmagic
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You can buy the Stan Kramien Wonder Mouse Pitch Book at [outdated link]

The Go Book Yourself is slightly more expensive, but it contains the whole Wonder Mouse Pitch Book.
Stuart Cumberland
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Better still, email Kramien for his DVD that teaches the entire pitch. Everything you need to know. Here's the link at Stevens: Kramien Pitch

Stan used to pay cash for his Cadillacs with the money made from the Wonder Mouse. His pitch is direct and effective.

Best,
Blair
Stuart Cumberland
drhackenbush
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I finally found a copy of the Expert at the Pitch Table book that goes with the video (already had the video, but couldn't find the book for the longest time). They actually give directions for making your own Wonder Mouse molds, sounds like a neat weekend project!

I learned from reading the book that my all-wax mouse (from the 1939 New York World's Fair) was probably one of the wax ones that pitchmen made for when they ran out of the plastic ones.

I've got an old copy of the Kramien Mouse Pitch Book too, it's like seven pages but gives his pitch, a little background, and mentions wholesale sources for the mouse, as well as how to make a pitch tent/display. Very neat...
Slim Price
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Now, who remembers pitching "Dancing Dolls"?
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