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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » A Good Dilemma (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

gmsmagic1
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Run Cookie Monster Run is my absolute favorite kids show routine as far as the reaction it gets. For those not familiar with it, it's identical to Run Rabbit Run in its mechanics but with a Cookie Monster that runs back and forth between his house and the cookie shop next door where he steals cookies - and also peeks around the corner driving the kids insane. I will never remove this routine from my show because it's so much fun for me and the kids.

That raises my dilemma. I also own Peek-A-Boo Rabbit and The Magic Pizza Box - two other great routines in their own right that I would love to include in my show. So if I intend to always do Run Cookie Monster Run at every show, in your opinion, should the other two routines always sit on a shelf collecting dust, or could anyone help me justify ever using them in the same show with the Cookie Monster? Yes, they are all labeled as "sucker routines".

The Cookie monster goes back and forth and eventually disappears. So does the pizza! But that is where the similarities end. One is a character while the other is a pizza. They both have totally different story lines to them and can be separate out during the show. Meanwhile, the cookie monster peeks around the house, just like the rabbit peeks around his hat.

I don't allow any of these routines to turn my audience into suckers, since we enjoy the ride together and I act as bewildered as them (a skill that Doug Henning mastered). I also always allow the kids to ultimately figure out what happened to the object that disappeared - turning me into the one that's fooled.

That all said, I know from my prior posting that many magicians hate sucker tricks, while others feel that you're breaking some magician law by including more than one sucker routine in the same show. If I strongly agreed with either of these mindsets, I wouldn't be posing my dilemma question here. So this question is more geared towards those magicians that are open-minded regarding this topic. Let's leave the debating for my prior posting on sucker routines in general.

Thanks in advance for your constructive, creative or candid feedback specifically regarding my dilemma!

- Gary
The Great Zucchini
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Gary, forget any 'golden ' rule, buddy. You do your show and if the kids react to all three, use them. If it loses its luster, take one one-The 'normal' rules should never apply pal.
Dynamike
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I agree with Eric. Remember it is "your" show. Go for it. The only way you know if it works is by performing at a few shows. If the kids give great reactions, and if you feel comfortable each time, stay with it.
The Mighty Fool
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It is your show dude. Of course, I'll admit I cant really see using all THREE of those things in the same show, but that's just me. The best suggestion I can think of is to do a little craft-work and make the pizza look like a big chocolate-chip cookie. Then, after doing the pizza(cookie) routine, use magic to make the cookie small, and 'place' it in the bakery across from cookiemonsters house, where you tell the kids "It should be safe there!" Then point to the house across from the bakery and say aloud "Hmmm...I wonder who lives there??" (cue cookiemonster poking out, and the kids SCREEEEAAM!!) And just go into the routine.

And honestly, if you already have RCMR and pizzabox in the show, I'd 86 the PABB unless you finish with a live production.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Gerry Walkowski
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I think the thing you may want to try and avoid is having too many of the same style of effects in your show. As an example, maybe it would be overkill to have 3 silk tricks or 3 levitating tricks in the same program. To me, it's sort of the same thing. (Have you ever been to a magic convention and the first 3 performers do the Zombie or Linking Rings?)

Could you do it and get away with it? Sure. But from a physiological point of view I think you get diminishing entertainment returns when similar styles or effects are repeated in the same program.

At least that's my opinion. Smile

Gerry
Ken Northridge
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I see your point. It is a good dilemma to have so much good material you don't know what to exclude. Personally I would not include all three, but I do meet you criteria for being open minded. In fact, you may be the wiser. I asked the notorious Mark Lewis if one could have too many sucker tricks in ones show and he emphatically said no. So, you're in good company. And I'm sure everyone agrees that being in the company of Mark Lewis is good company. Smile
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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Regan
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I would never do all 3 in the same show. But, it is your show and I'm sure it is much different than mine. If you do include 3 such tricks in the same show please find alternative endings for the reveal. It seems to me that it would become very redundant and the audience could catch on easily. You could get busted too as I'm sure all eyes would upon you after a while. I guarantee you that you'd have plenty of people 'watching your back'! (Pun intended!) Smile

You said you would never remove Run Cookie Monster Run from your show, but never is a long time. I don't know how long you have been performing or how often you perform but there may come a day when you want or need to substitute another routine for Run Cookie Monster Run. If you perform multiple shows per day at the same venue, or shows for repeat audiences you may need to switch things around. Any of the 3 tricks you mentioned are wonderful, and all would be perfect to interchange with one another and not lose any quality of your show.

Of course, that is just me. Ultimately you are the one that has to make the decision. Just remember this: Kids do like repetition if it is something they enjoy. I hear that argument all the time from magicians that do not like to change up their shows. However, when the surprise is gone, so is much of the magic. You have to keep the audience guessing! If they know the ending before the end it hurts the strength of the routine. Think of reading a book already knowing the outcome. It can even take away their focus from what is happening at the moment, and you run the risk of them pointing out the secrets they know.
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Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2013-06-26 07:05, Ken Northridge wrote:
I see your point. It is a good dilemma to have so much good material you don't know what to exclude. Personally I would not include all three, but I do meet you criteria for being open minded. In fact, you may be the wiser. I asked the notorious Mark Lewis if one could have too many sucker tricks in ones show and he emphatically said no. So, you're in good company. And I'm sure everyone agrees that being in the company of Mark Lewis is good company. Smile


Mark says that he isn't emphatic or dogmatic. In fact he was emphatic in pointing this out dogmatically.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Ken Northridge
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^LOL

Ok, emphatic may have been the wrong word, but this is what he wrote when I asked him if one could overdo the sucker concept.

"But to answer the question I think nearly every bloody trick I do is a sucker trick. But I am an exceptional human being. What is right for me is not necessarily right for anyone else. You can certainly have too much of a good thing."--Mark Lewis

So, here again, its up to you. If you really like this concept and feel like you can make it work for a large part of the show, then go for it! However, I prefer changing gears from slow to fast, loud to quiet, mystery to laughs, etc. I have just learned this is what Jolly Roger calls 'light and shade', and wrote an article in MUM about it. If you're interested there is a good discussion going on at about this at the Magic Bistro. Roger has also posted part of his article there.

http://www.magicbistro.com/index.php?opt......emid=158
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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JamesinLA
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If I understand correctly, they are not just the same type of effect, they are exactly the same trick. The only difference is the character. In that case, NO you shouldn't do more than one of them. Unless there is some specific theatrical reason to repeat the same trick three times. There are so many other great effects you could do. Use the other versions for repeat shows.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
gmsmagic1
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I really appreciate everyone's feedback. For whatever it's worth, the concerns raised by some were the same concerns I had. But I also feel that you can never have too much of a good thing as long as the kids are loving it. I wouldn't do the Cookie Monster effect if the same kids have seen it multiple times, unless of course they request and expect it. That's why I have a good dilemma here and can switch out another strong routine in its place.

I might do the Cookie Monster near the beginning of the show and the Pizza routine at the end of the show to logically transition into them eating pizza. I'm confident that the kids don't even recognize the similarities in mechanics since I make the story lines and handling feel completely different. While the pizza ends up on my back, the Cookie Monster appears in a Change Bag filled with cookies! Of course nobody can have cookies without milk, which naturally leads me right into my diminishing milk act while then grabbing my milk pitcher for a human pump routine. I tie everything together so that kids don't have time to recognize subtle similarities.

Peek-A-Boo Bunny is the one routine that I may opt out of completely depending on time or unless my gut tells me that it will get a strong reaction.

I would never say never when dealing with kids. I try to avoid scripting my shows ahead of time since you need to react to how they react and enjoy the ride with them in my opinion. Smile
PaulSharke
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Quote:
On 2013-06-25 17:58, The Mighty Fool wrote:
The best suggestion I can think of is to do a little craft-work and make the pizza look like a big chocolate-chip cookie. Then, after doing the pizza(cookie) routine, use magic to make the cookie small, and 'place' it in the bakery across from cookiemonsters house, where you tell the kids "It should be safe there!" Then point to the house across from the bakery and say aloud "Hmmm...I wonder who lives there??" (cue cookiemonster poking out, and the kids SCREEEEAAM!!) And just go into the routine.


I really can't emphasize enough how much I LOVE this idea.
Dynamike
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It sounds like you have confidence in doing all three Gary. Well what are you waiting for? The best advice I can give you is to do it. I have used three sucker effects in my shows plenty of times. Everything went well.
Gerry Walkowski
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Ken,

What you're describing is really an old show business (and other avenues) theory of peaks and valleys.

David Kaye talks about this in his book "Seriously Silly." Danny Orleans talks about this on his DVD set.

If you ever watch stage illusionists you'll notice they perform a huge illusion on stage and then the curtains close behind them so they can work a smaller, more intimate number on the apron.

Gerry
Michael Messing
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As many have stated, if it works for you, do it. Personally, I prefer to keep it to one "sucker" trick per show. (Have we figured out a better name for that type of effect?) I use Pizza Oven Surprise as my primary routine of this nature. For repeat shows, I switch to Hippity Hop Rabbits, Peanut Butter & Jelly, or Bookworm and I have, in the past, used Run Wolf Run. I find the Pizza Oven Surprise and Bookworm are better if the audience is younger (mostly 5 and under) as they younger ones don't necessarily follow how I am cheating when doing Hippity Hop Rabbits and Peanut Butter & Jelly.
gmsmagic1
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I really love the idea that The Mighty Fool offered above. By changing the theme from pizza to cookies, he creatively ties two strong routines together using their similarities as a strength at a time when I was struggling to hide their similarities in mechanics by spreading them apart during the show!

So I spoke to Dan Wolfe today, the creator of the pizza trick at Smoky Mountain. And it turns out that he's already one step ahead of us and was able to send me a picture of the oven and large cookie he created! : (click to view)

https://mail-attachment.googleuserconten......sadssc=1

While Dan has done a terrific job on this artwork, I personally like the artwork of the pizza boxes and pizza over the cookie and white oven since kids love color and it will show better on stage. But I of course love the cookie/oven theme for all the reasons already mentioned. He even offered to sell me another set of disks for $30 so that the pizza or cookie would be interchangeable in the oven. In my opinion, it actually makes more sense for a pizza or cookie to roll from one oven to another than from 1 box to another. People are used to seeing long ovens at bakeries or pizza shops.

So now let me turn to all the active pros in here and get everyone's opinion since I'm so indecisive! Smile Should I keep the more colorful pizza artwork and spread out these 2 strong routines during the show to make their similarities less noticeable, or should I tie them together with the cookie theme, sacrificing color for a more cohesive story?

Of course a 3rd alternative would be to stay with the pizza theme and turn the pizza into a large cookie at the end to transition into the other routine with Cookie Monster. But getting kids to believe that the large cookie was the pizza is probably less plausible.

I could also go back to Dan and ask him to make the oven and cookie more colorful since he does custom work (perhaps sprinkles on the cookie and red lines bordering the doors of the oven). But I don't want to turn into a royal pain with him or make changes that could ironically be detrimental since my 5 year old daughter was able to identify the current picture as a cookie and an oven. It may become less recognizable if color is added.
Dynamike
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Wrong link, Gary.
gmsmagic1
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That's strange - the link works for me.

I had to crop the heck out of this, but hopefully this will work.

Try this link instead:

Click here to view attached image.
Dynamike
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Thanks.
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