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Bill Palmer
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On 2003-12-11 13:07, Harry Murphy wrote:

I suspect the line is something that has been discovered, used, and written independently over the years. I would bet a paycheck that MarcoM did indeed come up with the line without hearing it or reading it. I think that the line screams to be said just by performing the routine. It makes intuitive sense to give a warning and a clever performer or sharp wit probably has it jump into their head and out their mouth without much thought, however, I freely admit that at 13 years old I took the line from Ed Mischell.

You are probably right on all counts. I KNOW you are right that MarcoM came up with it independently, he prides himself on not using anyone else's material.

I'm not quite as picky as he is, BTW, but I always do ask before I use. If you have Ted Lesley's Paramiracles, read the last paragraph in the book. It is a philosphy that Ted and I share.

Here's another story from the trenches:

One of my favorite pieces is Grandmother's Necklace. If you do it right, you can thread everything from borrowed rings, watches, gimme caps, coffee mugs, anything that has an opening in it, can be threaded onto the ropes. So it makes a great audience participation piece, and audience participation generally helps build a bigger hat, especially if you treat the volunteers with a modicum of respect.

I had a rather small crowd this one morning. One of the spectators I called on had rather odd-looking spectacles on, and when he came up to me, he whispered, "I'm blind. Good luck!"

So I whispered back, "This is great! Now you will have a chance to experience magic first hand."

He minutely inspected the ropes by touch and tugged on them quite hard to make sure that they were not going to come apart. The audience began to suspect that he was blind as he played with the ropes.

After everything came off the ropes, the expression on his face was worth a million bucks!!! He had just had a first-hand magical experience.

I mentioned that his glasses looked odd. He was not totally blind, but he had such limited vision that he was more than just legally blind. He held the ropes up to a special magnifier that was built into his glasses. I had extra rope, so I let him keep the ropes as a souvenir.

This paid off quite well all around. He'd had a wonderful time, the spectators had enjoyed themselves and were quite generous, I felt good because of the good time they had all had.

And about two years later, he signed up for magic lessons through a sundry school I taught at.

Good karma goes a long way.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
Harry Murphy
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Bill, that’s a great story!!! Good karma indeed! I would have paid to get to see the expression on the gentleman’s face. He honestly got to experience magic first hand (pun intended!)!

I don’t have a copy of Ted Lesley’s brilliant work handy, however, I remember most of the book and especially remember much of Mr. Lesley’s philosophical discussion. I respect and regard Mr. Lessley highly and remember agreeing with most if not all of his general discussion, ethics, and philosophy.

If I remember his final chapter correctly it was about the ethics and theft in magic. It was also about the performer doing what is right by the inventors of any given trick, effect, or presentation. I believe Mr. Lesley described his practice of getting permission from the originator of an item (any item) before using it. Including getting permission to use a published item (that would include items on videos and DVDs). It is a goal to aspire to and a practice that merits modeling.

I never had the privilege of meeting MarcoM or seeing him perform. I do know other performers that did have that privilege (Renaissance fair world is not that big!) and he has an impeccable reputation. I understand that he produced a book on performing at Renaissance fairs that must be about the only such text available. I suspect that he was one of those few gifted and witty performers that saw the obvious where the rest of us (ME!) have to be shown it! I have no doubt that he independently came up with the line.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Bill Palmer
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You are right on both counts. I have spent a lot of time with both Ted Lesley and MarcoM. I worked with MarcoM for 13 years at Scarborough Faire, and spent a lot of time with him and Gloria after the shows were over. I still call him about once a week.

Ted is one of those people who asks for permission for everything he does. And he usually gets it.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
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My most recent trip to New Orleans had a "moment" in it.

I was doing my first set, and all was going well. Good crowd, good interaction, everyone having fun. I wasn't really wound up yet, as I am after a couple of sets, but it was going well enough for a first time in New Orleans. It was a bit cool and quite windy, but no problems with any effects I did.

So it came time to collect the tip, and I set my hat on the table. And the crowd was gratefully dropping bills in, after about five or six dropped the tip, whoosh, a big wind and my hat went off in one direction, and the bills started off in all of the other directions.

So there I was; chasing my hat, chasing the money, and still trying to hold the rest of the crowd so they could tip too.

My wife was video taping the act, (I like to critique my act from video) and she just lost it. She was laughing like crazy as she filmed me scrambling across Jackson Square in chase of my money, she also taped the top of some buildings and somebody's feet while she was laughing at me. The crowd apparently thought that was the end of the show, as they simply left.

I just watched the video a few minutes ago, and now I understand why my wife was laughing so hard. Jackson Square is a strange enough place without a fat, balding magician chasing his hat, and trying to stamp down and catch a bunch of runaway money.

I was just happy it happened on the first set as that hat was going to be a bit thin anyway, so I didn't have to chase that much money. And for later, I always grabbed two decks of cards from the shelf on my magic table, and dropped them into the hat as I gave the final hat line, and I incorporated a line like, "Just drop it here, like this," as I dropped the decks into the hat.

The decks held it fine and the line gave me a visible reason to drop them in (in addition to my real reason...) and I think it gave them a good subliminal message and clear instruction as to what to do.

If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
nick nickolas
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Staggering back to door 117 one early morning, finally finding my key after searching through an array of assorted coins, receipts, tissues, playing cards and pizza, I enter the digs.

This week's accommodation isn’t as plush as some we have had recently. I don’t know how long I have been on the road of late or how long the road is, I don’t know exactly anything anymore, the last weeks/months have become a blur.

I am at the end of a Canadian tour, days/weeks/months on the road, hours on stage, hours being on, off stage...and a multitude of nights with assorted vinaigrettes.

Room 117, four paces long by three and a half paces wide, single bed tucked under some cupboards and heading towards the venetian covered window.

This is one of about 200 rooms situated amongst a maze of concrete halls and tunnels connecting gymnasiums, conference rooms, tennis courts, canteens and students...well normally students. Not this week though, no, this week it is home to 30 or so professional purveyors of personal polished percepticals which to the untrained eye means street performers, travelling troubadours, vaudevillian vagrants, buskers, techno gypsies...unicycles, stilts, make up, trunks, cheese, emotional problems and dirty underwear are their accoutrements.

Inside this concrete maze they are allowed to reside on the proviso they go out and perform in the streets of Waterloo NB, the home to the Amish people who could be described as professional purveyors of personal polished percepticals.

Yes here we all are, many have been together on the road for weeks/months, pranks have been played, card games won and lost, gags eaten, stolen and thrown...There are some newcomers to this merry flock of jokers who can be easily spotted by their inane grins, constant twirling and clean underwear.

Now where is all this getting to you may be saying to your self, mmmmm, back to the beginning I think.

Clambering over my three-day-old kit scroon across the room I declothe. Clothes are off and carefully filed in the floor folder and I’m ready to close another showbiz day. Sleep encompasses me and I enter a mental cloud of skittles, mountains, road signs, turtles, coloured concrete croissants, character clowns, tea leaves, gerbils...Gerbils!!

I wake up in a fluster with a book on How to Care for Your Gerbil stuck to the underside of my head with a mixture of sleepsweat and earwax. How to Care for Your Gerbil? Tossing the manual aside I drifted back to the cloud of rainbow tiles and onion bread.

Nothing was mentioned about small rodents the next day at breakfast, lunch or dinner, in fact there wasn’t a hint or flicker about gerbils all day. Everyone seemed to have their attentions waning towards the group of 19-year-old cheerleaders that have taken house.

This seems strange amongst this gregarious gang. Shows have been shown and drinks been drunk but not a whisper...

I know I have to be on guard but as of yet there seems to be no tell tale signs from the flock about small mammal instruction manuals.

“Stay stum, keep it all under your hat, say nothing,” I think to myself, thinking that if something is afoot the best tactic is silence, the culprit will then be revealed...

Sniggers and evasive looks go by the next couple of days amongst the circus chaos the few times I quietly drop the "G" word but not a whisper of information.

The subject has been dropped from the forefront of my thinking as I sit down in a quietish corner with a bottle of Poets beer and a cigarette.

It’s the wrap party; cheese on sticks, ice in bags, a fridgeful of booze, platefuls of sarnies, bodies dancin’ and bouncing to the beat of the box attached to the wall, a swirling kaleido-fog of egos and talent has filled the room.

I take another sip of Poets and look out, the bottle leaves my lips...half full, a shadow makes itself known, entering from the kaleido-fog.

“Have a seat,” I gesture.

“Do you want a Poets?” I’m asked.

He sits there staring, I sit and stare back, the lighting of cigarettes, breaks the silent tension across the table.

“Why didn’t you look under the bed?” he asks.

“What bed? Whose bed? My bed?...What...!?” I exclaim.

The fellow troubadour puts down his beer unzips his jacket and proceeds.

“Okay, I own up, I put the gerbil book in your room last week, had a gerbil hidden in my room for days ready for stage three, but you didn’t even flicker, not even a nibble,” he replies.

“Stage three?” I question.

He continues, “You could have taken the bait mate, I’ve been through madness the last few days...Look,” he says putting the beer down again. “You were meant to react, start freaking out, asking questions making enquires but not even a peep. Then I was going to put the gerbil into your room for stage three, a live gerbil in your room what a prank! But that was not meant to be was it?”

He then goes on to explain the last few days of his life, “After travelling and searching for a pet shop in this hicksville town I scored a gerbil, keeping it alive in my top drawer feeding and watering it and letting it out for runs around the room under supervision."

"All the time the instruction book was in my room,” I jut in.

“Yeah that as well, then one evening as I went in with its daily rations of food and water I found that it had gnawed its way out of the drawer and escaped into my room. I searched, man I searched, under, over, in, out, left and right for hours. Then in the corner of the skirting board I noticed a hole...a perfect gerbil-sized hole in the corner of the ******** floor, the little ***** had escaped into the compound!”

“Then what?” I query trying to stop beer from exiting my nose.

“Then what! Then What! I had a gerbil loose in the compound, a ******* up gag and my ego on the line. So I went and told the producer who then told the campus security who then told the rodent now everyone knew but you! Eventually the rodent men did what rodent men do and caught our little friend amongst the hysterical cheerleaders, walkie talkies and concrete tunnels,” he explains.

“What happened to the gerbil” I ask, by now giving up on my bodily functions and letting the beer spurt from my nostrils to join the tears of joy exiting my eyes.

“They took him away my friend, took him away,” he says sitting in a sullen slump.

“Why didn’t you look under your bed?” he again enquires.

“My bed? What’s that got to do with gerbils?” I once again ask inquisitively.

He then concludes, “I left an overturned box of straw and droppings under your bed, that was stage two. You were meant to find that, freak out more then I was going to release or little friend into room 117. Badaaaaang! badooom! What a prank it was to be.”

“But why me? Why gerbils?” I ask drying the mess on my face.

“I don’t know. Why? That's the problem, I don’t know why?”

He replies with an inane grin.

I couldn’t help noticing Martin’s fresh clean underwear trying to exit through the tear in his rear his Levi’s as he twirled off into the kaleido-fog in search of a couple more Poets.
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Now THAT is a tale well told!

Thanks for sharing it Nick! Smile

If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
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Yesterday, I woke up to the sound of rain. I was scheduled to perform at a fair and thought it might be canceled. I got ready anyway and by the time I was loading my car, the clouds had parted and the sun come out.
I worked only one show because of prior commitments. But it was my best show in many ways. I used some new jokes for the first time that I had written to fit my character. The jokes worked very well. And, I'm happy to report, I had my best hat ever. (Probably not so impressive to the pros.) Very satisfying seeing those bills filling the hat. These are the reasons I am guessing contributed to the bigger hat:

* The new jokes throughout kept the crowd laughing.
* I did not think about the money!
* At my climax, revealing my final loads and the hat load, I think I used to immediately start talking my hat lines. This time, I took my time and let the people have their moment of wonder and a moment to applaud. I did not "step on" that moment. I had been doing that before.
* When I did start talking about the hat, I considered it as part of the show, and had put together a lot of funny hat lines, not just one or two. So it kept the people there (and giving) because the entertainment (jokes) were still going on.

What do you guys think of that anaylsis? Thanks.

Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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I was doing a show last summer at the Fringe. I work with an assistant and brought my 6 and 3 year old kids. Everything is set and ready to go so I start gathering a crowd with a card trick. As I'm trying to do this my boys grab my leg and start pulling me around! Tim trys to get one to sit while the other is still running under my legs. When he gets the second son the first goes after me. This vicious cycle went on for a while. I was starting to get a little frustrated until I noticed that their shenanigans were attracting people! The crowd thought it was really funny. Finally my sister (who was visiting from another city) showed up and the boys sat with her (the original plan) perfrectly for the rest of the show.

About what has become the sub topic. We all say things in the spur of the moment that surprises us all the time. Sometimes these are things we have heard elsewhere. I think that's a little different than ripping off someone's entire show. Having said that sometimes I hate seeing other peoples shows because because I don't want their performance to influence mine.
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