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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The May 2011 entrée: Mark Lewis » » Those blasted cards » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

James Alan
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Hi Mark,

I had a question about your Svengali routine. Over the years I've had a few people in my audiences (ordinary humans, not magicians) tell me about having bought a pack and about five seconds into the description it's clear they were purchased from Mark Lewis. So it obviously leaves quite an impression.

I assume you've been performing the same routine since before I was born, and I was wondering if you could share with us when and how the routine developed?
James Alan

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*Mark Lewis*
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I wish you and Destiny had posted in the same thread. Because the answer is the same. I am too bloody tired to explain it all and the whole history is explained in my terribly famous "The Long and the Short of It" book.
If I am in a better mood later (which I won't be) I might deign to give more detail. I am tired running around from thread to thread when I can answer a lot of people at once when it is all on one thread. If it is an important question which will take a lot of detail by all means form a different category. But if it is something simple then please put it on one thread otherwise I won't be able to get to everybody.
I hate leaving people out but if there are too many people all over the place I will probably have to.
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I shall try to fill in a bit more detail now that I am in a slightly better mood. My wondrous book "The Long and the Short of It" describes the history of each phase of the routine in detail. There will be no space here to do that. I shall simply say that the various elements come from Eric Ward, Jackie Cook, Johnny Neptune, Ali Bongo, and most importantly of all Ron MacMillan. It is sad to think that every single one of them has now passed away.

The actual routine can be seen in this interview. I warn that it is an hour long and in some computers take a little time to load. The Svengali routine is somewhere in the last 20 minutes or so and at the very end of the clip I actually do a card trick with a regular deck. 8 minutes into the interview I do my favourite trick which is the dotty spot paddle trick and I warn Mr Alan that I know what he is like. If he steals this routine I will put an almighty hex upon him. I shall allow him to do the dotty spots but he must use a different routine and show some originality since that routine came from my own sweat and ingenuity.

http://www.browsersden.ca/MarkLewis.wmv
ringmaster
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Welcome back reverent.
A couple of months ago, there was a thread here about svins. The big question was weather or not to show all the cards the same. Some thought that was too perfect or not perfect enough or something. I opined for doing like you do, and recommended buying in L&SOI.
Do you always do ay all the same display ?
Do you make any distinction between pitching, performing and deming the svins ?
Less than 2% of reported UFO's turn out to be actual interplanetary vehicles.
*Mark Lewis*
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There is a major difference between selling Svengali decks and performing it at a booking or for casual entertainment. It is your mental attitude that makes the difference. That is why many magicians make lousy pitchmen. They are thinking "magic show" instead of "ripping off the punter". A good pitchman is a street wise sharp character who when you shake his hands you have to count your fingers afterwards to make sure they are all there. A good entertainer is thinking "value for money" A good pitchman would be heartbroken if he thought his punters were getting value for money. A good magician believes in the Thurston philosophy of "I love my audience". A good pitchman believes in the Mark Lewis philosophy of "I utterly hate these verminous people in front of me who have my money in their pockets"

As to whether you do the same display when entertaining as you do when pitching of course you do! In the pitch business you have to if you want to make any money. It is the most important part of the demonstration. But in the entertainment business you have to also. There is utterly no point in using a Svengali deck if you don't show the display of all different and all the same because that IS the trick!
That is what the deck is made for.

Now I have read all the nonsense that if you do this you give the game away that it is a trick deck or that people will say, "I purchased those at a flea market". With regard to the latter they certainly won't say that if you use MY routine with the deck. No other routine is of any use whatsoever. I am the way, the truth and the light in these matters. They won't connect my fantastic routine with the dross they saw at the flea market I can promise you.

But how do you stop them thinking that it is a trick deck? Easy. You don't try! I even say at the very beginning "This is a trick deck of cards that I purchased at a magic shop" then do my routine. But you don't stop there (unless you are working a trade show or a paid booking which is an entirely different scenario). At the end you switch decks by the various means that are available. You can now continue making it look like a Svengali deck with certain moves described in "The Long and the Short of It" and then you leave the deck on the table. I can guarantee you that people will grab for it to see in what way it is tricked. You don't have to say a word. They will do this and be utterly flummoxed when they see that everything is hunky dory.

I use the Svengali deck every time I do a trade show for a company. It is a natural for it and in fact it is almost as if God had made the deck for imparting sales messages. At least with my routine. I finish my trade show act and the weirdest thing happens right in front of my very eyes. I always marvel at it. I do other close up magic first which I happen to be very good at. In fact unbelievably good at and I know that it is nothing to do with the trick since I only do standard tricks that beginners use. Anyway the reaction is fantastic but a strange phenomena happens when I do the svengal deck. It is the weirdest thing. The crowd's entire body language changes and not a single person moves. It is almost as if they are transfixed and completely under my control. It is a different reaction from the other tricks I have performed. And I am quite sure the reason is that a trade show is very similar to a consumer show where I have demonstrated the Svengali deck thousands upon thousands of times. So the demonstration comes to be second nature when I am working. And the factors that make people freeze their body language at consumer shows comes into play when working a trade show.

I tell the story in my book how I used to perform for a group of gangsters every night at a night club. I ran out of material and was forced to show them a Svengali deck which I just happened to have with me. I had never done it in a non selling situation before. The gangsters yelled and hollered and told the nightclub owner that the best card they had ever seen with my Svengali deck. And the bit that made scream and shout with amazement was the bit where you show all the cards the same.

One word of warning though. When you display them to be all the same please don't use that pathetic thing where you run, riffle or dribble the cards from one hand to the other. No. SPREAD them in a long line on the table as I describe in my book. A hundred times more effective.
Brent McLeod
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Quote:
On 2011-05-29 18:55, Mark Lewis wrote:
There is a major difference between selling Svengali decks and performing it at a booking or for casual entertainment. It is your mental attitude that makes the difference. That is why many magicians make lousy pitchmen. They are thinking "magic show" instead of "ripping off the punter". A good pitchman is a street wise sharp character who when you shake his hands you have to count your fingers afterwards to make sure they are all there. A good entertainer is thinking "value for money" A good pitchman would be heartbroken if he thought his punters were getting value for money.



Welcome to the Café Mark from your Fellow Svengali Pitchman in NZ!!
That top Paragraph sums it all up perfectly-Well said!!-surprising for a Canadian but you are right.

Words of great wisdom from the master-Thanks for sharing.....

Nice to see you here...

Brent
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I am NOT one of those mamby pamby Canadians although I do possess one of their passports. I am BRITISH and ripping off the public is part of our glorious heritage. We have been doing it from time immemorial. That is why when British market grafters imply that their merchandise is stolen (it actually isn't) people are more likely to purchase it. If I implied that in Canada they would call the police.
Dannydoyle
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I have to grudgingly admit that Mark has summed up the difference in the pitch and the show as well as I have ever seen it put. Very nice Mark.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
*Mark Lewis*
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Yes Danny. Even that old misery Don Driver would agree with that bit.
IanKendall
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I'd like to ask a question.

Mark, how would you compare your routine with David Cronin's (the one I learned from David in the 80s)?

Ian
*Mark Lewis*
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I can't remember David's routine. However, we were all doing variations of Ron MacMillan's routine in those days. In truth David told me that he preferred the stripper deck to the Svengali deck. He thought he could sell more of them. That surprised me because I have always considered the Svengali deck more spectacular for sales purposes.

However David Cronin was a superb grafter so I wouldn't doubt what he said. He was also the master of "The Blink Fake" which was actually an eyeglass cleaner but I think it cleaned other things as well. There was a certain villianous grafter in my memoirs whom I identified as "Hamish" to protect his privacy as he could well still be alive. He and I were both talking about David and his Blink Fake product and the price was mentioned. Hamish looked at me and growled, "Not bad for a tub of soap, Ronnie" (Ronnie was the name I was known by in those days)
IanKendall
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When I was learning from David (I was going to help on the Harrod's stand in 1986) his stripper decks were one pound more expensive than the Svens. I don't remember him selling significantly more, however.
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Potty the Pirate
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Mark, I thoroughly enjoyed that interview. I have to dip out from the MC for a few days now, as I have to attend to work....but I just want to offer my congratulations to you for a splendid week as "VIP Guest of Honor". I hope we will now read your insights and insults in the Little Darlings. As the old song goes: "Don't go changing, just to please me......I love you just the way you are."
Potty Smile
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I am sorry Potty. The feeling is not mutual. You really must do something about those dreadful nose emissions and wind emanations. Once you do that I will be happy with the way you are.
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