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mplegare
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Forest Grove, Oregon
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Just a random gibbering about Ye Olde 10 Foote Pole...

I've had one and used it for a few years in my stage act, but just recently found the right routining for a good one-two punch. The initial hook involves my new sign (all RenFaire performers need one, otherwise they just think you're some lout what wondered onto the stage—which is how I got my *first* show, come to think of it). I hold up the rolled-up sign, then rummage for something to hang it on. A small burlap sack is produced, opened, and then I yoink the TFP out of it in one gesture, a la Sylvester and his hat.

(Note: it *really* helps to give the end of the pole a good heave upwards. The 'action' of the gimmick will help it along, but without that initial toss, you're very likely to wind up with a pole half-produced, which isn't good for anyone.)

I let the bag drop away as the pole comes free, then *thump* the end of said pole on the stage deck (which, being a good 4 x 8 sheet of plywood over 2x4s, makes a very realistic sounding noise). Give the audience a sec to catch up—if I get a gasp out of the crowd on this, I know I've got 'em. Smile I can also talk about how half the audience is female, they *have* purses, so they *know* how this works, right?

Right. Now I have this pole... where do I put it? I wander around the stage for a sec, trying to decide where it can be set, then give up and put it 'away' in my trunk.

The trunk in queston is a $35 basswood number picked up at a local craft warehouse on a folding table, and inside the trunk is one of the downright nifty 'Total Recoil' units tacked in (later on when I'm feeling clever, I'm going to remove the nails and use heavy duty velcro for ease of removal/replacement). As I 'push' the pole down into the box I babble a little about how one should always put one's toys away, etc.

(Another note: since the initial insert into the TR device puts some wacky leverage on the side of the trunk the unit's attached to, it helps to brace the opposite side by leaning against it a little. This keeps me from suffering 'trunk tip over and expose all the gaffs' syndrome. Smile)

"The last two feet are always the hardest," a little pantomime skill helps here as you 'force' the pole down into the box, with no visible place for it to go due to the open space below the table. Finish with a grunt, then walk away from the box dusting off your hands...

... which I found is a really nice subtle applause cue.

Just doing that sharing thing.

Tobias!
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
PROFED
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Chicago,Illinois
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Where can I find information about a total recall unit?
NJJ
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I've never seen Total Recoil and know nothing about it but I have heard that it is over priced and pretty simple.

I made an easy ten foot pole holder from a postal tube cut down to about 15cm with a 12 cm slot down the side. The ends of the postal tube are put on and the pole comes out of the slot and can be put back in as well.

I like your idea! The main problem with the ten foot pole is that 9/10 people produce it, get a gasp, and then ruin the magic with a STUPID oneliner! I like the fact that you WAIT when the pole comes out so the audience can appreciate it. I also like the fact you don't result to puns and instead do a bit of observational humour!

I have three poles like wands of different sizes. I have the audience clap to show their appreciation for the trick. the first is 75cm, the second is about 1.5m and the last is 2.5 metres! The third one blows them away because they were so impressed with the first two.
mplegare
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Forest Grove, Oregon
310 Posts

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When I first got the recoil unit, I had the usual "I paid how much for THIS?" response... and then I actuallty started using it and, well, I'd say it's paid for itself after the first 12 shows this month... I've certainly made enough in pass the hat to pay it (and a second one) off no worries. It's an investment, and the booger's built to last.

(You can buy direct at http://www.bobmillermagic.biz/ and now, I'm not getting anything from Bob for the plug Smile )

Something we tend to forget when we perform is that we *do* have to let the audience catch up when something wierd happens on stage, that moment where the tension can be released and the audience can gasp, or laugh, or cheer, or what have you...
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
PROFED
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Chicago,Illinois
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Thanks for the information. I can see that the TR can really expand the possibilites.
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