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wisdom
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I have worked both the squirmle and the mouse for years.
The worm (squirmle)takes more money than the mouse. It is more colourful and draws people over better.
It should sell for around $5. It has been worked in Holland and England more than anywhere else. It may surprise people to know that Tommy Wonder used to work them in the street.
There are moves with the worm that magicians simply don't know. I notice Al Cohen in his demo didn't use the methods that professional worm pitchmen know.

With regard to the mouse I have done away with the cigarette trick usually used in the demonstration and have substituted something known as the spooky pencil.
This pencil is a good pitch item in its own right but combined with the mouse is a very powerful money taker.
I package the pencil (just an ordinary pencil) and the mouse together and can easily get $5 this way. It would be hard to get much more than $3 (if that) for the mouse on it's own.

It might surprise some of you to know that it is possible to take in $500 to $1000 a day with the mouse or worm ALONE. No other magic product at all. Just the one item.

This is not to say that every starving magician should rush out and try to sell them. You do have to know the art of the pitchman. And that is not an easy thing to learn. It entails a completely different mentality from being a magician and in fact many, many magicians just do not make good magic pitchmen.

You either have it or you don't.
Comet
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I'm looking for the squirmle wholesale. I've seen them in quarter vending machines so I know you can get them that way for a bit cheap.. thanks for any help anyone can provide in advance.
Joe Comet
Oklahoma City
wisdom
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I would rather not say. I hope you understand.
Comet
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I do understand. I was hoping a fellow performer would be able to help me out but I understand there are a few online who really just want to know the secret. If it's that you're wondering rest assured I am really a magician. I've been performing for several years. (started in Wyoming, moved to Germany and performed while stationed there and now here in Oklahoma Cit) I give away small tricks like this in my kids shows (sometimes fourune telling fish or I'll order a bulk of something small from D robbins through a friend. I'll just keep looking but thanks for your reply just the same.
Joe Comet, Oklahoma City
wisdom
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I mean no offence. It is obvious that you are a magician. Your tiger has convinced me! I admire people who can do tricks with tigers. I shall stick to card tricks.

My reluctance to provide sources for the worm is purely a business decision. I am a professional pitchman and like magicians we have our secrets too.

You will find that most pitchmen are somewhat territorial over information. If they are not they should be. I always cringe when people sell courses on pitching magic and give out information about sources of supply and even worse information on where to work.

This is because there are limited venues to work and limited sources of supply. If I teach people how to pitch then one day I would go to some venue and find I cannot work because someone has taken my location.

If I reveal sources of supply then one day I will call up the supplier and find they have run out of the item because the person I have revealed the source to has just walked in and cleaned the supplier out.

Again. I hope you understand.
Comet
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No offense taken at all. The tiger is one I use from time to time when the venue calls. For the most part I make my living with smaller shows and close up. I studied for a while (years ago) with Eric Mead in Ft. Collins CO. Eric kind of got me into the cards. I ONLY use the Cat if they're willing to pay a bit. I have a few pics I use with the cat grabbing my bald head through the illusion bars. LOL. I'm not sure where you are but as for me I base out of Oklahoma and NY. (grew up in NY) I do hope you didn't think I was upset just wanted to let you know I wasn't just an info seeker. I'll find a source for them soon enough. As I said I'm not much of a pitch man and don't even think I could make a living with that. I give little tricks away at my childre's shows and an Illusionist I work with has a magic shop in the lobby before during and after the performances.
If you'd like to just send a note to talk magic please feel free. I'm always up for good conversation.
enjoy
Magicly
Joe Comet
Oklahoma!
DonDriver
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I just have to put my two cents in this.

Wisdom: I do understand where you are coming from, However, I'm always willing to help guys get into the pitch business.

With all the guys I've helped, I have never once ran into another "magic" pitchman anywhere I set up. Second, it's hard work, as you well know and most fall by the way side when they find out. Their is plenty of "pie" to go around for anybody who wants to stick to it.(Last I heard the head count for the U.S. was 200 million).

Out of 11,293 members here at the Café, 28 ordered my Svengali pitch tape, so not many are even interested in learning the pitch business.

I've been pitching for over 20 years, and have had a GREAT life doing it. If I get only "one" person to stay at it and have as much fun as I have had, then I will have left something behind. (What more could a guy ask for?)

Now for the "pitch". Visit the website in my profile for more information.

Have a GREAT Day.

Don
wisdom
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Hello, Don.

You are certainly more generous than I am. I am very territorial about venues. There may well be 200 million people in the USA. However, there are only about six suppliers, I imagine. I can't afford to have that supplier run out of stock because of some Mushroom (you would call it a JCL-I come from a different country) starting out.

Perhaps you don't travel about as much as you used to. Or perhaps work as much as you used to. So you are less proprietorial over this stuff.

I don't travel the way I used to either. Or work as frequently as I did. However it is a grafter's instinct not to want venues taken up. When you travel you are more likely to find upstarts taking up the best spots. I personally don't think the pie is big enough. If I hear of some Svengali pitchman in Bangladesh I would still get irritated.

You are correct in saying that 90% of people who try it will give up. It is indeed hard work. Johnnie Neptune the famous Scottish pitchman once said to me, "Working down a coal mine is easier than this!"

That is the only consolation I feel when I hear that information is given away. If 100 people buy your course I suppose that only one or two will actually do anything about it.

Still, I am uncomfortable that even one or two learn about this stuff, especially when information about sources of supply are given away. I hope to God you didn't give info away about where to work. I bet you did, though. You sound a nice guy. I wish you weren't.

I have written about the deck. I have also just written a book about the mouse and the squirmle. However there is no business information whatever given away, and this is quite deliberate.

I suppose my post will be a bigger advertisement for your tape. People always want things when they see that others don't want the info revealed.

I have been pitching Svengali decks for about 40 years. I wish I could say it has all been "fun". Sometimes it has been, and sometimes it hasn't.

It is much more fun now than it was. That is because I don't have to do it anymore. The pressure is off, so I quite enjoy it.

How about a deal? I will send you my book in exchange for your tape. What do you think?
Comet
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Wisdom,
I really don't think you have much to worry about. Like I said I have people working on a supplier for this myself. We will sometimes send away and have things made, as long as there's no copy right infringment, so we can package them with our own logo and directions. I think you'll find that there's a LOT of people out there pitching decks and wonder mouse who loose thier butts on it even after watchign Expert at the ptich table or any other such tape or DVD. why? because they don't have what you have. I've bought stuff from pitchmen who KNEW THIER Stuff. When I got the things home I couldn't even come close to getting it to work like they did. It's like going to a magic lecturer. You see Daryl do it.. you love it. he explains it and it's "easy" you buy it and can't get it to look nearly as well as he did. You put it away.. go to another Daryl lecture two years later and find you end up buying the darn thing all over again.
I Can appricate your worry about the supplier running out but the truth is what I'm goign to do with them isn't even close to what you do. you make GOOD money with them. for me I just want them at a price that's cost effective to give them away for advertisement and at birthday parties. At the moment I carry Fortune teller fish with my business card either on the packaging or in the package. This quiets a child while mom shops and makes all the kids at a show I may be doing happy. I do a lot of corp events where parents end up bringing children. I give them something to play with (with my contact info on it of course) and Mom and Dad can enjoy the show. the 150 or 200 worms I may give away won't hurt your business as far as I know.
I must say that I admire what you do. I've seen people at the Fair and other carnivals pitching little tricks such as the worm and even some strange card looking thing that danced (via floating bill or worm I can't even remember what they're called) that looked so darn good. I don't knwo how you do it but your pockets will get much bigger by pitching these than mine will I can assure you. thanks for the info you contribute to the Café
Joe Comet
DonDriver
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Hey Guys,
Thought you would like to see this.Whit Haydn sent it to me.Its French 1890.
Don

[outdated link]
drhackenbush
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Don -
Thanks! That is cool!

I wouldn't be surprised if a papyrus were discovered from like 2500 years ago showing how to make a life-like mouse... But only the Pharoahs were allowed to perform it. Smile
swatchel-omi
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I just stumbled onto this topic. Great stuff !

I once saw Dick Koornwinder do the squirmel pitch. It was amazing. The worm jumped out of the package, it would squirm around a pencil and jump into a glass and do all the "in the hands" moves. The ease with which Dick handled the props showed years of handling.

( His handling of his little car was pretty amazing as well. He had some pretty cool ideas.)

Joe
constantine
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This is not a squrmall,but the price is right.

http://www.osv.org/kids/crafts8.htm
Constatine 49%er
“The way of the transgressor is hard—to quit.”
—Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith
Comet
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Ok I know this is going to end up WAY off topic but I'm looking for a couple things. First of all the Dancing dolls you saw at the fair. They didn't use the balloon head and I think (If I'm talking about the same thing) I saw them used for a bit on this past American Idol's series. I'm looking for a source for those and the big question is this.... I have a sword through the neck and had my sword stolen. (why they'd want that I'll never know) I am looking for the tape measure materal UNPAINTED so I can make a new one. If anyone has a source for any of those please feel free to email me at joe@cometmagic.com I'll check back here as well.
Hope your summer is kicking off everyone.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
Joe Comet
Oklahoma City
GypsyZin
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Although I have arrived at this post a little late, I would just like to thank Don Driver for mentioning Jimmy Dixon. I worked with him and Emile in the 60s and 70s, they were both great at the Wonder Mouse pitch. I will point out to those wondering about the money making possibilities of the pitch that mister Dixon made enough dough from selling mice to finance the construction of some of the best looking and most successful carnival attractions in the US and Canada. He gave us the original (and often copied) "Arabian Giantess" as well as the "House of Wax" movie star and custom car show. This all started with the "Chamber of Horrors" built in an old doniker trailer and made entirely with mouse money (I believe). I first saw Jimmy at the Expo in Del Mar in the early sixties, then being introduced by Emile as 'The Young Professor', I remember him as an expert performer. I no longer work as a pro magician but still pull the Wonder Mouse out of my pocket now and then and it always delights my audience. I wonder if he remembers a guy names Gary Moore who I saw win a bucket of money with the mouse in a bar in Detroit. Just betting the marks that they couldn't discover the secret.
"I never hit the big time,
but I was in that scene."
mghia
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Is there a discussion on working the mouse on this forum? Tips on secret material and such? I did not see any when searching. When I bought this and the Squirmle I was always disappointed in the visibility in some lighting of the secret.

I bought a bunch of TV MAGIC wonder mouse kits org. sold in 1975 which came with nice mouse (more detail) instructions for that and the other tricks and three water tricks (three plastic glasses one gimmicked)
Do pitchmen use the secret as provided or do they modify it to make it less visible? I would assume modern materials might work better but do not know if they are strong enough.
Any thoughts? Any DVDs cover more details?
Todd Robbins
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Mouse pitchmen always have what is known as a "worker". This is one of the pitch items that is modified to be better than what they are selling. The "wire and wax" gimmick you get is not worth much. Try using invisible thread. Though pitchmen will claim it's easy to use, to get it to look as good as their handling takes a lot of practice.
drhackenbush
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So I just realized I pretty much use the Mouse on a daily basis in my programs. I'd be curious to hear who regularly uses it as a trick as opposed to the pitch item it is (not that it isn't a trick, but...). Firedice, as I recall, started using his to find a selected card. I have toddlers now who ask for the mouse every time they see me, and the teachers want one (well now, there's a good set of potential customers if I ever saw one!) I can say getting the mice is amongst the best investment I've made magic/marketing-wise for all the good will they've brought me.
stuthardgranddaughter
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To amagician, who wrote below on 2004-02-03,

Thank you for posting your e-mail. I did a search on google for my grand father and was so excited to find your e-mail, that not only did I sign up as a registered user, but I made an old lady happy (I'm sure she won't mind the "old" reference) when I rang my grand mother and read out what you had to say.

Regards,

Rebecca Warnecke
Grand daughter of Joe Stuthard


Quote:
On 2004-02-03 08:14, amagician wrote:
I remember seeing Joe Stuthard demonstrating his small range of items through a four hour session at a store here in Tasmania many years ago.
He did the mouse and the Svengali (as well as his other items) pretty good.
Joe always showed the mouse gimmick.
A real gentleman too!Otherwise I wouldn't have spent an hour pulled off the highway to tape a radio interview that he did.
He and his wife left the state the day before it was broadcast. Sad thing, they taped about half an hour and finally broadcast about one and a half minutes.
Joe Stuthard's Grand Daughter
Please e-mail me your memories of him to anniesavoy23@hotmail.com
Spellbinder
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As long as I am reviving this old thread to pitch my new Wonder Mouse on Steroids replacement, I might as well answer the original question regarding what I have learned about the origin of the Wonder Mouse:

The Wonder Mouse, or Magic Mouse, or Animated Mouse was a popular novelty sales item with street pitchmen in the USA as early as 1874. No one knows who invented it. It first appeared for sale to pitchmen in an 1874 Union Purchasing Agency catalog.

Now that that's done, I might mention my "Pompom Critters" have been released in The Wizards' Journal #13 (on my site). These make the Wonder Mouse look quite tame, especially when they break free of the string and begin running around on your body. The Critters are not just confined to the street or to pitchmen. They can be housebroken and brought indoors to use for kids party shows, and even stage shows.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
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