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Regular user
Muskogee, Oklahoma
131 Posts

Profile of Russ
What opening effects do you do in a restaurant set that says "I am a magician"?

I am looking for fast and visual effects. If one could do an effect like John Lovick (SP) does on his tape Reparation (appearing drink). Of course the effect needs to be quick reset. I don't think appearing drink is going to be quick reset. This is only an example of fast and visual.

Thanks in advance,
"All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum
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Inner circle
1566 Posts

Profile of Kaliix
I open with Crazy Man's Handcuffs, Short Hop (Mark Jennest's Hopping Half routine) or sponge balls. Sometimes I'll do Color Monte, depending on the table.

I don't think the opener has to be a quick routine, but the first bit of magic should happen early on.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
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Elite user
Southern California
499 Posts

Profile of BenSchwartz
I do my own version of Dishonest Abe... it's very visual since it is a jumbo coin routine. It's funny, quick, resets easily and is just absolutely amazing. You can pick it up from MagicSmith for 20 dollars. Tell em I told ya!

"The experience of astonishment is the experience of a clear, primal state of mind that they associate with a child's state of mind." ---- Paul Harris
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New user
91 Posts

Profile of Baz94
A basic brainwave opener sets me up.
I just ask 'em to name a card and then they say "Red" or "Blue".
Then I pull out the brainwave deck.

Short and sweet routine but gets their attention Smile
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New user
79 Posts

Profile of armagic
I am also looking for an opener, but I am thinking that I'll use an effect from the Carl Cloutier video Expert Topiting, entitled "Don't Take Any Wooden Eggs" It is an effect in which the performer takes out an egg from his pocket and tosses it to an audience member, they find out it's a wooden egg, but when you take it back and give it too another spectator, they are able to feel that it is a real egg, and perhaps I'll then crack it into a glass. It seems relatively quick, somewhat visual, and it is not something that has become a cliche in magic, ie: cards.

Let me know any opinions!
Andrew Smile
Mr. Ed
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Veteran user
337 Posts

Profile of Mr. Ed
I think you might check with the restaurant manager. It may be that he/she would not care for eggs in the glasses, and you would have the problem of having to cart off the glass to the kitchen after every table. I would not care for a raw egg sitting on my table during my dinner. I saw a magican do this to end an egg bag routine and the manager did not care for it. He started to spout something about health code violations, but I don't know if this is true. At any rate it sounds great but I'd cover my bases first.
He who laughs, lasts.
Dr. Jakks
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Special user
832 Posts

Profile of Dr. Jakks
Knuckle Cracker/Thumbs - David Copperfield uses this as an opener. IT WAS MINE FIRST!!!!!! Smile
Matt Graves
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Special user
Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
504 Posts

Profile of Matt Graves
Maybe if you could produce a salt shaker or ketchup bottle, something like that . . . in lots of restaurants, they don't have a ketchup bottle for every single table, so they have to be passed around anyway. If you notice the party you are about to perform for is missing one . . . just snag one from an empty table and produce it - as for how to produce it, I can't say I've ever been there or done that, but in the world of magic it seems that very little is impossible. It would let the audience know you were on their side, for sure - especially if fate smiled on you and say, they had ordered a steak and you produced some A1 sauce . . .
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79 Posts

Profile of armagic
I guess your right Mr. Ed. I also decided it had a pretty bad reset since Im not goin to be carrying a dozen eggs around in my jacket, haha. Points well taken. Serling, you too, ketchup or Steak sauce is an idea.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Inner circle
Seattle, WA
4354 Posts

Profile of Philemon Vanderbeck
You could also take the ketchup bottle from their table, do a quick switch, and then make it 'vanish' in a paper bag.

Later in the routine, you could make the ketchup bottle reappear in your shoe...

No... wait... that might not be too appetizing. Better make it appear from somewhere else.

But you get the idea...

Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
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Profile of armagic
Smile Smile
Ill think about it, thanks for the idea.

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New user
Manchester, UK
59 Posts

Profile of J_C
I haven't got this, but I saw an advertisement in Magic Magazine a few months ago for "Adam Rubin's - Your Name Here!"

>Imagine walking up to a table with a blank name badge. Of course, people are bound to comment on it but by simply waving your hand over the tag, your name MAGICALLY BECOMES PRINTED ON IT!!

That's what it says, sounds like an excellent opener.

In case you're wondering it's $20.
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
6583 Posts

Profile of Scott F. Guinn
I do my sponge routine as an opener, for a number of reasons:

1) The magic begins to happen fairly quickly.

2) It starts off by introducing a unique item and asking a meaningful question, both of which create interest.

3) It is fun and amusing as well as amazing.

4) It is not a card effect. Now, I am a big fan of card magic (pun intended), and have written four books of almost exclusively card effects. But, many people have "walls" against cards or card tricks. So I start with a couple of non-card routines, and after they see that I am skilled and fun, I introduce the cards.

5) It doesn't require the spectators to "do" anything until well into the routine. I think it is a big mistake to walk up to total strangers and immediately "put them to work" (shuffling, holding, mixing, counting, etc.) I think you need to give them an opportunity to size you up and get to know you before you try to involve them. In my sponge routine, some time passes and several amazing things happen before I ask them to do anything more than speak.

6) It is an effective trick for all ages, so both kids and parents enjoy it. I have always held that in restaurant work, you'd better have some effects for the kids--but they should be strong enough to amaze the adults as well!

7) It is--at least partially--visible to other tables. they see how magical and fun it is, and they want me to come to their tables as well!

8) It is modular. I can stop after any phase should the food come, etc.

9) It has a powerful finish, making it the perfect effect to do for those tables who only want to see (or only have time for)
"one trick."

10) It is a perfect vehicle for my personality. It shows them the type of magician I am, the type of humor I have, and the kind of (non-confrontational) magic I do.

For me, it's the perfect opener!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Veteran user
362 Posts

Profile of cataquet
For virtually the same reasons as Scott, with the exception of #5, I do C&R rope. It plays big and the magic happens very quickly. However, I like to involve the spectators right from the beginning. So, I have them examine the rope and scissors.

Bye for now

Harold Cataquet
Shawn D
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Elite user
436 Posts

Profile of Shawn D
I am with Scott, A sponge trick lets them know right away this is going to be fun and lets them know what kind of personalty you have.

I start out with my Sponge Bunny routine.
It has some great lines, great for kids and adults love it also, and for the finish I need a magic wand, and I only have a pencil in my pocket for my magic wand, which is by the way the #2 pencil trick. So when I am through the sponge bunny trick I go right into the #2 pencil routine.
From there you can go anywhere from coins to cards.
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Inner circle
Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
2642 Posts

Profile of p.b.jones
Like Scott, I do not like to open with a card effect, I also agree that your first effect should be a spectator just watch type effect (unless the assistance comes late in the routine) usually for me are Profesors nightmare or a Gary Kurts coin routine from his Flurious video but not Flourious the other one a bit like Korans Hankey Pankey with two Jumbo coins as a climax,
(I sometimes add a further kick. By producing a drink pint if possible or a bottle of wine).
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89 Posts

Profile of DaveVegas
Although I agree with much of what has been said, the invisible deck/brainwave is still the strongest effect that I believe one can do to grab an audiences attention...it doesn't really require the spec' to do much other than use their brain and one can inject quite a bit of humour too....and then at the end get rid of the cards and go into something completely different. It has never failed to either gain the interest of a crowd/table I'm working, nor failed to introduce my style either - it's the delivery that counts.
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Regular user
Boulder, CO
150 Posts

Profile of omnibozo
As demonstrated by those talking about using a Brainwave opener, card tricks are not inherently poor as openers. I don't find that real people are put off by card tricks per se. What they dislike are the endless counting tricks their Uncle Ernie shows them... over and over.

My opener depends on my quick read of the people at the table. My persona uses light humor, so I invariably talk with them before going into any routines. If I open with cards I do a series of four effects where no cards are taken at all... then go for the take-a-card stuff. If I do cards at a table that is usually all I do... then on to something else at another table.

With kids or women at a table try Catapillar Love (with a butterfly sticker). Great for walkaround, too, as you can immediately tell whom you have worked for already.
Geoff Williams
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Special user
St. Pete Beach, FL
617 Posts

Profile of Geoff Williams
I agree with omnibozo: I chat briefly with the guests before performing.

I am also in the habit of letting the audience choose what they'd like to see (I'm menu-driven, just like the restaurant):

"A card trick, a coin trick or some completely different kind of trick?"

If they answer "card trick" I might continue "A fancy card trick or a strange card trick?"

Should they answer "coin trick," I give them the option of "A 1-coin trick, a 2-coin trick, a 3-coin trick or a 4-coin trick...and before you answer, keep in mind the 4-coin trick isn't necessarily better than the 1-coin trick."

If they opt for a "completely different kind of trick," I'll launch into sponge balls, rubberbands, ring & string, etc.
"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

(Hungarian for "My hovercraft is full of eels")
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560 Posts

Profile of phonic69
I like my first effect to combine introductions and magic, for example a multiple signed card effect that gets everybody to share their names.

At present I perform a mentalism rountine with a stacked deck for my opener, very strong and not to long!

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