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David de Leon
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This is a silly, but fun, idea I came up with last night. This might be good to perform in the wake (pun unintended) of Derren’s planned Russian roulette stunt.

You start to talk about Derren’s stunt (or perhaps someone will ask you about it) and you offer to demonstrate. You too perform this daring feat of Russian roulette. After a pause you bring out three cans of Schweppes Russian! This should get a laugh (or groan). You could of course bring out a six pack -- if they come in six packs -- for further parallels with revolvers etc., but I think the routine would get too long.

You then asks for a volunteer. Instead of picking someone with whom you have a special rapport, and who you can read, you need the strongest guy (or girl) in the house. If you can, get someone BIG to help you. You then explain that for this stunt one of the three cans will be shaken to the brink of explosion, charged with untamed natural forces. What happens next is that you turn your back and the volunteer chooses one can and shakes the hell out of it. You really want to make a scene of this (how you direct the action with your back turned I’m not sure). Ask the volunteer to place the can back on the table and mix the cans around until he doesn’t know which is which (it is crucial for the trick that the spectators don’t know which of the cans is the one that was shaken. How best to do this? You tell me).

Next you turn to face the audience, give a brief recap then, with suitable drama, pick up one of the cans. (There is a small finesse in the handling of the cans that can be found in the sources for the method. More bellow). Place the can on the table, lean over it, crunch your face up as if your were expecting the worst. Play this up and do what you can to build suspense. Pop the can open. Let out a sigh of relief. Repeat with a second can, but with more build up. You have still been spared. Take the last can in your hand, hold it away from your body and pop the top. A jet of fizzing Schweppes puddles the floor (better ask the person who’s floor it is if you can make a mess).

That’s it. Silly, but free of charge. What I would really appreciate is a discussion here of the dramatic elements of the trick. How to build up drama and suspense for a thing like this. Same goes for a Russian roulette with a real gun. I’m also curious about how best to handle this mix of comedy and suspense.

Aside form the fact that this is an open forum, the method isn’t mine to give. Paul Harris and Eric Mead have a method for a different routine in one of the Art of Astonishment volumes (I don’t know which one) and Pen and Teller give the same method in their book How to Play in Traffic. I would love to hear any refinements to the method.
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I like that idea it has good humour and could be a good impromtu stunt at a party or in a bar. I don't know the method though unless you somehow mark the live can. I do know if you tap the top of a can firmly a few times it won't explode when you open it.
David de Leon
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Let me add that this can be done under so called test conditions. The selection of the can, the shaking of it, the replacement and mixing of the cans, can all be done with you out of the room. That would be boring, but possible.

And Shrink, you don’t need to tap any of the cans. That would surely look suspicious!

I had two more thoughts about this routine whilst describing it to my wife over lunch. It occurred to me that some people will think that the ”loaded” can is marked in some way, or that there is some other tell tale visible sign (a slight swelling of the can for instance) and I need to eliminate these options in the minds of the spectators. Any suggestions on how best to do this? The method used would actually allow a spectator to chose the order in which I try the cans, but then it is unclear (even more unclear than it is now) what the effect is. And this leads me to my second thought: what kind of demonstration is this? Is it precognition, or am I (as suggested by Shrink in a PM) supposed to be sensing the energy given off by the volatile can, or what? Any ideas?
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Yet another nice idea!

I've had some thoughts.

In order to get to the point where no one knows where the fizzy can is (thus creating "test conditions"!) why not have two spectators involved in the mixing up? Both stand at the front, one turns their back as the other does the shaking. Then the other turns back round and does the mixing whilst spectator number one has his back turned. You can justify this by explaining that you don't want anyone in the room to know which is the fizzy can in case they unconsciously communicate this to you.

In terms of what it is that you are doing perhaps you could explain that you've always had a knack of sensing danger, even the minor danger of getting a soaking! By holding your hand over the cans you can sense whether there is danger within...

Just an idea. Sure there are plenty of other presentations out there!

David de Leon
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Andrew, thank you very much, you have answered two of my concerns. Now we have more people mixing the cans. This gets more people involved in the action and also ensures that no one gives away (by body language, or eye movements) which can is ”loaded.”

I also really like your suggestion for the ”power” being demonstrated: a knack for sensing danger. That’s great and suggests more patter ideas! Furthermore, with that particular power we can also have someone in the audience select the order in which the cans are opened (which removes the possibility that the performer can see which can is loaded).
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You could put the cans on a Lazy Susan, covered with a cloth, and spin them around ala Larry Becker's routine.

I guess it wouldn't be an impromptu effect that way.

See ya!
Joe L.
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On a related side note, does anyone know how Derren Brown's Russian Roulette is going to differ from Larry Becker's rather dangerous (but strong) effect?

BB Smile
Lee Darrow
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One way would be for you to, with your back turned, have the spectator HAND you the can you call for.

Have numbered cards on the table and after the mixing, have the spectators place the number cards on ANY can they want, just so long as each can has a number.

This way, you can claim to be actually doing remote psychometry (or whatever) and the test conditions are EXTREMELY fair in the eyes of the audience.

Something like this would play well for Gallagher!

Come to think of it, I may just use this one at an upcoming company picnic I'm working next month!

Thanks for the ideas and getting the "leetle grey cells" to twitch on this one!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Didier Chantome
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Very nice idea David,

I've not read the books you mention in your first post, but I'm wondering if the process could not be modified like that :

you've, say, five cans, and you ask spectators for mixing 4 out 5, then you find (and drink) the only one not shaked...

I'm sure there are many methods for this.

David de Leon
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Thanks everyone for your ideas! I’m glad you seem to like this little thing! I have yet to try it in front of people, but I think I know now how I’ll play it.

If anyone else tries it, please post something here about how it went: what worked, what didn’t, and your personal little touches of course. Lee, let us know if you try it out at the company picnic.

And Didier, the method I have in mind will allow you to do just as you suggest.

In another recent thread Tom B informed me that my routine is pretty much like the one published by Eric Mead in MAGIC April 2001. No surprise really that the inventor of the method thought of this use for it, even though this was unknown by me.
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