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Sam Sandler
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I got to thinking we all talk about which illusions we like and why we like them but I don't think we ever talked about what illusions play best for a school assembly.

so here is my question or out line of what I am interested in and maybe others as well.

1-specifically illusions not things like snow storm actual box stuff etc
2-must be used in a school assembly show educational or otherwise is fine prefered school grades k-8 but any grade is ok
3- why you think this illusion works best in a school assembly show

as I know you all hate some one to ask this question and not offer any suggestions up front I will start

sub trunk is my fav for my school show although I perform a few others as well.
no set up really and no break down easy load in and load out
eye candy
jaw dropping experience for the audience

Twister- this is another one I like to use and its odd I got rid of my Konundrum Kube and got the twister and the reactions have been worth it!!
Its just a fun illusion.

I leave it set up there for again no set up or tear down just wheel it in and away you go.
also very visual

for High schools I will perform my spiker and once again you will note the trend easy in and easy out with no real set up or break down.

when you have a show that travels you need to have illusions and other equipment that is quick to set and use.

so what other illusions are out there that you think will play well in schools?
oh and I am not concerned if you use it specifically as an educational piece or just as a magic piece but feel free to share either way

thanks
sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Michael Baker
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If you can get the principal or well-known teacher to submit to a sawing in half, or a chopper, you'll have the kids 110% in your corner.

Similar to above, Boy to Rabbit for younger kids, because the audience gets to see something happen to one of their own.

You might also refer to Ken Griffin's book and the illusions that he used. He performed for schools for decades.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
w_s_anderson
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Mini cube zag, for the same reasons as you have stated already.
Sam Sandler
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I have used my head chopper with the principle for my middle school or high school shows but not my elementary schools.

I am working on a production for a principal and thinking JC sum blinds might be a good one as it is pack flat and easy set up.
but also a modern cabinet would even be easier as you just wheel it in no set up. and all the principal has to do is stand there.
hmmm choices choices.


anderson- although mini cube zag does meet those standards and would work it is the one illusion that I don't really care for. although it is not what I like but what the audience likes. that is why I got rid of the kube it never got really good reactions.

thanks for the shares.
sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Ryan Price
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I have always thought origami would be a good illusion for school assemblies. Could discuss Japan while doing it. The only potential concern is the idea of using the swords. A lot of the best illusions have spikes, swords, or blades. What is your thought on items like that?

I am considering adding illusions and an assistant to my school show offerings. One thing that must be considered is how high it plays. Most of the time in elementary schools you will not have a stage and the children will be sitting on the floor so anything that plays really low wont be seen past the first few rows.
Rainboguy
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Well, now that Dick Oslund is on The Magic Café.....you might want to ask him....

Dick's THE MOST EXPERIENCED SCHOOL ASSEMBLY MAGICIAN IN THE WORLD>>> and he just joined The Magic Café today.

Please welcome Dick to The café!
Sam Sandler
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I don't know who Dick Oslund is but will look into it.

I have been performing for schools for over 15 years and have presented several different illusions thru out the years.

my twister and sub trunk remain the top two that have played the best for all ages.

several of my other illusions I would not use for elementary grades.

I am still looking for one or two new illusions that have that wow factor of the sub trunk.

thanks for your comments.

now to search out this Oslung Guy:)
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Scott Burton
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Dick mentored me a little (informally) when I was in my pre-teens at my yearly visit to "Wizard's Weekend". He was one of the guys I'd always know and talk to. I remember always having great conversations with him. Around that time I bought a decades-old school show magic book and, to my amazement, that book had a picture of Dick right near the front where they talked about how he was one of the all-time greats of kids show / school show magic! I got the book auto-graphed and I thought it was so great. That was over 20 years ago and haven't seen him since (he likely wouldn't remember me) but his help did have great lasting benefit to me.
Murray Hatfield
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Although I don't do a lot of school shows I do have to say that whenever I do perform in schools, both Mini Kub Zag and the Bo Staff Illusion are very visual, very strong and able to be performed in literally any circumstance. They can be totally surrounded (although this takes a little creativity at a certain moment in the Bo Staff Illusion) and although they use a blade and/or bo staffs as part of the routine I find that they don't play as "dangerous" as illusions that use swords.
Sam Sandler
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Thanks Murry

yes that is the kind of thing I am talking about. I like the bo staff illusion it is easy to follow as well as very visual.

I am also working on a vanish for me to then appear in the back of the auditorium to close the show. I have one working idea but open to others

mini kub zag does nothing for me but I realize it is not for me but for the audience.

some food for thought.

I am also thinking of a modern cabinet for producing the principal or teacher as it is pretty simple and would only require a few minutes with them before the show starts.

oh the stuff I want to do and the choices I have.

thanks again for the suggestions.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
Dick Oslund
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Rainboguy just forwarded this 'conversation' to me. Since "joining this show" in mid December, I have been giving it a "look over". --I did not see this topic in the GRAND ILLUSION area. So, I will need to store it temporarily in my in box.

I did my first school show in 1945. (Oct. 24) I was almost 14. Show running time: about 35 minutes. I worked on a %%% basis with the school. I grossed $26.00. (in 2013 $$$ that would be from $250-300.

All thru high school, I worked 40 milers in schools. Throughout 4 years in the Navy, I booked my off duty time, When I was near discharge, I booked a "string" of schools in the Norfolk VA area (60/40%) and did "rather" well. Enroute home to Michigan, I wrote ahead to schools and worked my way home.

College years--I did mostly club dates and family shows. I was a professional executive for the BSA for a few years. I did an occasional school and some club dates, and, as I managed summer camps, I did a lot of campfires!

When I left professional scouting, I showcased for the School Assembly Service, and I'VE NEVER HAD TO "LOOK" FOR WORK AGAIN. The assembly bureaus called me! After about ten years, The manager of SAS asked me to be a program consultant. (a "booker" or salesman) I spent about 10 years, booking in the fall and performing in the spring. I worked with every bureau in the U.S.,except ANTRIM & INTERNATIONAL LECTURES. --I had too much work being offered, so I couldn't have accepted any offers from them,anyway.

After the first year on the road, the bureau managers would "send me" to SQUARE THE BEEF with a school that had had a program that they didn't like. In the old circus days, they would have called me the "patch".

I spent many of the summer seasons booking and "fronting" circuses. I also spent some time booking and managing phone rooms for promotion shows. (Stan Kramien,s MAGICAZAM, Jerry Conklin's family illusion show, and my own little family show.

In all those years, >>>>>>I NEVER DID A "KID SHOW"!!!<<<<<<< School assemblies are NOT BIRTHDAY PARTIES. I wrote a 'post' a couple days ago and, I hope, clarified some thinking on this. I have worked some of the toughest HIGH SCHOOLS you can imagine. --AND GOT STANDING OVATIONS! I have worked REFORM SCHOOLS, and YOUTH 'HARD TIME' PRISONS. I HAVE WORKED SCHOOLS FOR RETARDED STUDENTS (BOTH BOARDING SCHOOLS AND "REGULAR" SCHOOLS. I HAVE WORKED FOR ALL KINDS OF PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED SCHOOLS. I HAVE WORKED "ALTERNATIVE" HIGH SCHOOLS,I HAVE WORKED MENTAL HOSPITALS (INCLUDING ONE FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE) I HAVE WORKED A STATE PRISON. I'VE HAD GROUPS OF THOUSANDS, AND A SCHOOL WITH SEVEN KIDS. I'VE HAD AUDIENCES
OF PRE-SCHOOL/KINDERGARTNERS,AUDIENCES OF KINDERGARTEN THRU SENIOR HIGH. --AND EVERY COMBINATION YOU CAN IMAGINE. >>>I HAVE NEVER DONE A "KID SHOW"!!!<<< I'VE DONE SOME COLLEGES, TOO--AND GOT STANDING "Os".

In my FIRST SCHOOL SHOW IN 1945, I had "built" a Gen Grant VICTORY CARTON SWORD BOX! A friend was the "box jumper'. I had learned the gaff on the box, in Arthur Bros. Circus Side Show in 1941 (I was 9). (I paid the 5 cent "ding" and was "in"! That was the first and last time for the box. It got "red lighted" after the show. It got bumped because I had made $26! and I spent $15 on an Abbott DISECTO. (I've since "worn out" two Disectos, and am now using the third one only occasionally.) Since retiring in 2003, after an estimated 20,000 school shows (Bobo and I had once compared notes--we were "tied"!). I do an occasional "knowledge box" -- mostly elementaries, and an occasional Junior High. I use the chopper for Jr. and Sr. Highs.

After a couple of years of doing spot dates, etc. I thought I would do one more tour. I phoned one of the old managers, and asked: "Can you use a broken down old magician?" He laughed, and asked: "How much time do you want, and how soon can you start?" I did a "final triumphant tour"!

So, SAM! You may not have heard of me, but, I have been "around".

Anyhow, "them is my credentials". I realize that I haven't said a thing in response to Sam's original question. After Sam's comment that he didn't know me, I thought it over and decided that it would make sense to "duke in" the "Johnny Come Lately" people. ("THOSE WHO DON'T STUDY HISTORY, ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT")

Please note: I didn't write up all that stuff to "three sheet"! I sure as h--l am not the world's greatest. I did make a good living all my life, doing what I love. --I haven't really "worked" a day in my life.

I'll do a little contemplating, and in a few days, I will attempt to share some of my thinking regarding "big prop tricks" ("illusions" have no relationship to the size of the prop -- if any prop.)

Yr's, 'til the Lota is empty!

Dick Oslund (sneaky, underhanded, devious,and surreptitious itinerant mountebanc)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
w_s_anderson
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Thank you so much for that Mr. Oslund, It's an honor to have you here. I can certainly appreciate you working your shows around your military service. There is a "military Muster" thread in the "Not so magic section." It'd be great if you added your name. You might get a kick out of this.....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKPt6Jbix74
Dick Oslund
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Thanks w-s-! I've been "wandering" around the back yard, and I found the military muster "tent" a couple days ago. I re-enlisted for another "4".

Thanks for the kind words, too.

When I was the Ordnance Officer's Yeoman on NAS NorVa, he had two children attending the base elementary school. When he "found out" that I was a magician, he asked me if I would do a show for his kids' school. I figured "quid pro quo", so I just said "Yes, Sir!" I never had a problem getting a couple hours off!

When the first TITANIC (black & white) had its world premier, Navy Relief seized the opportunity to have a BIG Officers' Ball to raise money. A bunch of movie stars were involved in a floor show. Any Navy talent was invited to audition. I did. I got a spot on the show. ED SULLIVAN was the MC. That didn't "hurt" my reputation around the base, either.

I have never been a big props man. (My school show weighs a litle over 20 lbs. I'll talk about it when I get back on this "thread". It's possible that a lot of the fellows will find it hard to believe that a school show could be that small! (prop case is 13" x 20" x 8" -- the mutil. parasol carries separately in a zippered nylon case, and I usually use a "shrunken" waiters tray stand for the case to sit on. In booking, I sell them: ME!

Down the Road...
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Sam Sandler
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Hi there Dick Oslund,

so sorry that I had not heard of you before. I did read up on you since and enjoyed the info you shared here.

I have been performing in schools for about 12 years have presented my educational shows in about 1500 schools and over 8000 other shows around the country. for the past 2 years I have been putting my main focus on school assemblies with my newest show DEAFinitely Magic.

you see I am Deaf. just over 3 years ago I became profoundly deaf and at first gave up on my shows but later embraced my Deafness and created the new show which has been a huge hit and have plans for a national tour coming up soon.

I currently use 2 illusions in the show but wanted to have a few options and as you know some things that work in elementary schools will not work in High schools or colleges. I have played them all and enjoy inspiring others to believe in themselves and to never give up. some of my other illusions that I own are not school assembly material so picking the minds of the Café members to help my thought process.

so I welcome your insights and thoughts and appreciate you sharing with us all.

you can learn more about my new show at http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
I will be releasing details about my national tour later this week.

thanks

magically yours

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
Amazing Binky
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Sam-Mini Cube Zag is my fave! The first time I saw it was by Magic Unlimited. As they were "eliminating" spaces, I was figuring where the assistant was. The best part of the routine (which few people do) is to put a fabric skirt around the bottom. I had convinced myself that the girl was down below and then "ZING!" , they rip off the skirting and blew my mind! The one thing that kills the illusion for me is to leave the assistant's hand sticking out of the hole. I would not do that because that affirms the whereabouts of the missing person. I can't wait til I can get one!
Dick Oslund
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Hello Sam!
I should state at the begiining that I have AIDS. (One for each ear) I started to lose my hearing about 20 years ago, so I can empathize with your situation.

I was 18 when I attended my first convention (SAM/IBM)in Chicago. The first day, I met DANNY JOHNSON who was 19. Danny was almost totally deaf at birth. At age 6, he had a very small usable vocabulary. Due to the speech problem, he had to use mime. He was a fine performer. I had had a minor speech impediment (psychological, not physical) in Junior High School. Doing magic shows was the catalyst that freed me of my problem. So, we teamed up for the convention.

A few months later, I was in the Navy, and we lost contact. When I started working with the assembly bureaus, I learned that he had been doing that for 5 years. He used a music background, and did an exelllent progran for Kindergarten thru Senior Highs. When he retired, I heard that he moved out west. I'm 81, he would be 82 if he's still living.

Now, back to the comments and questions above. I've been extremely busy, but I promise to make some comments and suggestions, -- and, very likely, I'll submit some questions, too! (Socrates taught by asking questions!)

O
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Sam Sandler
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Sounds good.

one of the things I pride myself on is that although I am deaf I perform my show the same way as I did when I was hearing.

I still use music and still hold conversations with volunteers on stage. as a matter of fact most people don't know I am deaf till the end of the show where I share my story of losing my hearing and then present a special illusion to share my story and inspire everyone in the audience.

I have had to develop hidden cues such as using lights and hand and foot signals from my assistant while on stage.

I just don't know when to put her in the box any more LOL. so there is a hidden foot cue that means nothing to the audience but for me I know that its now time to open the box and get her in there.

also I had to alter my questions to volunteers in that I now ask questions that will result in YES or NO responses verses the back and forth banter I used to do. (and miss) but it works.

we have some sneaky ways for me to know the names of my volunteers and many other things that happen "invisibly" to the audience to help me function on stage as close to normal as possible.

I am looking forward to more info from you and what questions you might have.

thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
Dick Oslund
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SAM..I took a look at your website. I'm impressed! I'm no expert in electronic media, but if I were looking to book somebody, I would sure call you to talk it over!
See your note just above. You have done your homework! The "invisible" cues, the lines that get a "YES" or "NO" etc., mark you as a pro!

RE: THE MODERN CABINET>>>This is an extremely bulky prop that, in my estimation, is not good as a PRODUCTION. It's too darn big--and therefore fairly obvious. (My friend,Doug H. used it for THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT". Good. But not for a "Look it's empty, Oh look, now it's full!". CHECK OUT THE BRYCE SCREEN. More on using teachers or principals in the next "chapter" of this epic.

JC sum blinds ??? "sum" = "I am" in Latin. JC? blinds? Explica mihi! (Explain to me)

I also have no idea what a BO Staff is.

You mention the audience "run around" (disappear from stage and reappear in back of house) This can be very effective. I remember doing it when I worked with Karrell Fox in the Fox Follies at Abbott's Get Together about 15 years ago. However! not every school has the "facilities" (doors, hallways, etc.)I would give this a serious look before I planned on it as a regular bit. It may very well, prove impractical.

Ryan Price suggests ORIGAMI, but, also notes thet the "CONVINCERS" ARE SWORDS --and wonders about the advisability. I think you would have all kinds of problems. Boy Scouts are no longer allowed to have a pocket knife in school! Years ago, I had a very funny gag with a blank gun. Then the tragedy at the high school in Colorado occurred. The gun gag was OUT the next day.

Ryan also raises the point of "how high it plays". An important point! The "correct" term in the theater is "what are the SIGHT LINES?" It's not just "how high". In a theater,can the person seated at the extreme left of right in the house, see the action upstage left or right? Ryan points out that most elementary programs are in multi-purpose rooms. SOME have a curtained stage, but the majority don't even have a bare platform. Hippity Hop rabbits are usually worked ON a table. If the kids are seated on folding chairs and the magician is standing on the floor. The table is about 30 to 36" high. After the second row, who can see the prop? Even if seated on the floor, a problem can exist.

For years, I used INERTIA (the eggs, tray and glasses juggling bit). Ditto, I used Disecto. When I was on a floor sans platform, I had to sub. someting else. If kids were seated on bleachers, it was OK. EVERYTHING ELSE THAT I USE, WORKS IN MY HANDS!

ORIGAMI, THE HARBIN SAWING, ETC. would not be "visible" past two rows. The average Doll House, Temple of Benares (which uses swords) would also be hard to see. Zig Zag could work. I think you understand.

Except for the arm chopper (Disecto)everything that I currently use, works in my hands. The Disecto is in only for high schools--and only if on a platform or bleacher seating.

This is getting too long. I'll now hang up the (COME BACK TOMORROW FOR THE NEXT EXCITING CHAPTER). I do want to talk about: using teachers or principals in the show, illusions that were used by other school show magicians over the years, and PRESENTATION!

I'll be back! (I hope you come back, too~)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Donald Dunphy
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In school shows over the years, I have used illusions such as Chair Suspension, Guillotine (Mak), Sub Trunk, Sword Basket (Sommers), Stocks of Zanzibar (Abbotts), and even a Santa Appearance via Chimney prop. I've even used a Super-x Suspension instead of a Chair Suspension, when the performing environment is optimal.

I no longer have a Sword Basket or Stocks of Zanzibar, but if I were to get replacements for those two, I'd buy the Stocks that Fairchild makes, as well as the version of the Sword Basket that Fairchild makes (uses bamboo poles instead of swords).

http://www.fairchildmagic.com/fairchild_magic_092.htm

http://www.fairchildmagic.com/fairchild_magic_040.htm

I've also had a Bow Sawing Illusion at one time, that I no longer own.

I also have some of the Creative Magic Illusions (B Screens, Flip Switch, Cube Squared, Victory Cubes... and at some point this year, I'll also have a Shadow Tent). Those illusions may or may not get used in school shows. I may possibly upsell an appearance illusion such as B Screens (compact version of Bryce's Screens) as an alternate to my guillotine or head chopper (I own both), because there are some schools that don't want a chopper illusion nowadays.

- Donald

P.S. Tip for Dick Oslund. Before clicking "Submit Reply" on a post, highlight your post and copy it into your browser (Ctrl+C). That way, if the reply doesn't work / fails, you can simply open another window and paste it (Ctrl+V) and try again. All your work is not lost. Another idea is to copy it temporarily into a document.

P.P.S. Here's a link to JC Sum's "Blinded" Illusion, that some were discussing: http://www.illusionbooks.com/blinded.html
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Sam Sandler
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Mr Oslund I am enjoying your replies and thank you for your willingness to take the time to chat with me and others.

as for the "run around" it would only be used in shows that it was feasible. the production item that I use for the effect can still be used just as a production of myself so it is not a big deal. when I can do it great when I cant life goes on.

I have been looking into JC sums Blinded and think this might be the perfect solution for producing the prinicpal. however I will need to look into if it needs to be set on stage first or if it can be wheeled on "ready to use". I mention this as some schools don't have open close curtains therefore restricting the use of some props. I carry my own back drop and side wing curtains so I can have cover but if the prop can not be moved easily and ready to go then it wont work.

I will have an assistant so I can easily have the curtains close and then open when ready.

the illusions that I currently have for the show are Twister and sub trunk. reason being both get Great reactions and can be performed any where easily and there is NO set up for either one. well not really. yes you need to put the locks on and stuff but each illusion does not require being set up as they can travel put together which is how I have always done it.

Donald- I did look at Fairchilds bamboo box especially because it has a Zebra print which my daughter loves but honestly I hate the sword basket in any form LOL

I have several original routines in the show that involve students and teachers. some are just for fun others are educational effects or tricks that will teach and help the kids understand what I am talking about.

I have several hilarious sight gags and funny moments as well.

while were on this subject I wont to announce that I am taking my new show DEAFinitely Magic on a national tour leaving september 2013 visiting over 300 schools in 37 states. I am excited that over a 1/4 of a million students will experience this show bet even better I will have the honors of inspiring them to believe in themselves and to never give up.

watch this little promo video here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eayPgqvVsKI&feature=youtu.be

thanks again

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
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