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Justin Flom
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I have noticed kids think it's very very funny when the magician screws up, then magicially makes it all better. What are your favorite tricks or routines where the trick goes wrong, but turns out ok in the end because of magic?

Justin Smile
Jeff Haas
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Related to your topic is when you have a character (like a puppet) in your show who gets a little out of hand.

One of my strengths is reacting to I make the puppet act a bit wild and out of control, and I'm the "straight man" for it. This works with anything, even the mouse you make out of a handkerchief. It runs around and jumps out of my hands into the audience. See Quentin Reynolds' excellent tape on "Five Minutes with a Pocket Handkercheif" to understand this.

It's not quite a screw-up, but it is the performer getting out of control of his show, and kids find it funny in the same way.

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Justin you are so right. I think it has to do with the fact that children inately don't expect adults to make mistakes, and when they do it is hilarious to them. Another odd quirk about children is that they will laugh like crazy if you hurt yourself (or pretend to). E.g. bend down to adjust a microphone on a stand and bang your head on the mike. It is visual and audio since the kids hear the noise of you hitting the mike.

David Ginn's book "KidBiz" has an entire chapter devoted to this topic which he calls MIT (Magician in Trouble). He also refers to the MIT many times throughout the rest of the book. The book has a wealth of ideas for childrens magic shows.

Best wishes,
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing."
Drew from Spotlight
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One of my favorite routines that illustrates this is the Blooming Bouquet. I usually use this as a controlled warm-up for the kids t let them know up front that it’s ok to react to what is happening during the show..

First you’re showing leaves with no flowers and you’re upset. When you apologize and attempt to move on to another routine the kids see the flowers blooming and scream for you to look at them (the flowers). When you do look all you see are leaves.

This happens a number of times and the kids love to see that things are happening (flowers there and then not there) that don’t seem to be under your control. When you finally do notice what has happened the kids let you have it for not listening to them in the first place.

Justin Flom
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I love David Ginn and his books on kids. They are awsome! I even keep it in the car, because I got it a month ago and I'm still finding great things!

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For my H. Potter show I am a bumbling wizard. The kids love it as I make it look like I am trying to pull a fast one. An example is at the end of the show I am going to make a rabbit. I use wrong and sour ingredients for the effect and at the end I produce a skunk, unknown to me, instead of a rabbit. I make jokes about the smell asking if someone took off their shoes...etc... the kids are screaming it is a skunk(a beani babie type skunk) and not a rabbit....
I too learned this from David Ginn.
Most magically yours,
WR Smile
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
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Harris Deutsch
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During my warm up for my Nearly Normal Magic and Puppet Show for the younger ones, I get a lot of mileage and fun out of getting out
of my street shoes into my over sized slippers. I use these in order to turn into
my Nearly Normal Clown Persona. The shoes come in a wide variety of colors and shapes ie animals, birds .......

I try to get my regular shoes off without
untying them. The kids tell me to untie them.
I of course untie one of the slippers.

They shout NO the other one.

I then untie THE OTHER SLIPPER......

YOU get the idea.

I do things backwards or as I put it Nearly Normal til the kids help steer me in the right direction.

Another idea is trying to blow up the wrong end of a 260 E balloon.

After some silly alternatives the balloon IS blown up slightly from the wrong end.

Thanks to all of you who take the time to share YOUR ideas.

YOU are appreciated for helping me on my mission of "BRINGING MAGIC AND LAUGHTER TO THE WORLD, ONE GROUP AT A TIME!"

Harris Smile
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
music, magic and marvelous toys
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The Mis-Made flag. I don't know if there are versions of this in countries other than the USA.
The kids scream at that blue silk which fluttered to the floor ...unknown to me the magician.
Georgia Boy
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Sucker Die Box, yes it's more of a sucker trick but they really think your messing up when they can hear the block sliding around inside the box.

This relatively inexpensive item has produced more "Whooaahhs!" from the audience at the end of the trick then I can remember!
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Im not sure if this counts because its with cards but if you put there card on the bottom of the pack and make three piles then glide the card over when you come to there card and put the next one down they think you messed up and start laughing.. that is until there card is somewhere else
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In the "blooming bouquet" routine suggested by Drew, what happens is what is refered by David Ginn as the "Look don't see" situation.
I also receive great feedback from the "Die Box" routine I do. By the way, the routine from Schenk and Sondermeyer from the book "Performing MAgic for Children" is perfect.

Rui Fernandes
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"Carpe diem" - Horatius
Cheshire Cat
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Adults will sit and passively enjoy magic as an art form, they know it's NOT magic as such and don't care how a routine works. Kids are uniquely different. Their lives are dominated by adults showing and telling them what to do, therefore to give them priceless moments where they believe THEY know better or THEY are in charge is all part of being a Specialist Children's Entertainer. Sucker Tricks are essential, there are so many 'die box' versions - probably the best for children being the ones like Lunar (moon travels from one side to another), or ghost castle, rabbit run etc. There is also the quite clever breakaway die box routine. Other tricks like Sucker beaker vanish, Magic Gardening - which can incorporate magic seeds, wilting flower etc. and culminate in production of a floral botanica. Chinese washing machine also a brilliant prop. as is Norman's Elusive Rabbits - usually called ColourChanging Rabbits etc. these days. We have studied catalogues since 1978 on kids magic from Tannen's New York to Davenport's London. Simply THE BEST was Supreme Magic which has now gone. The art of working with kids is not to present yourself as look at ME and what I can do, - rather HELP ME as I'm not too good at this!! - in other words show a few moments of fake vulnerability to 'suck' them in! hence sucker tricks. Smile
Peter Marucci
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Yes, kids love it when the magician screws up.
That's because you are an "authority figure" of sorts and they love it when ANY authority figure screws up.
But -- and it's odd that no one has said this yet -- it is VERY important, for your own image, that you re-establish your position as magician after everyone has had a laugh at the magician screwing up.
In other words, the magician screws up something but works it out finally -- because he's a magician!
This is for more than just your own image, though.
Kids will feel cheated if they are told there is going to be a magician and someone shows up who screws up everything; they WANT to be amazed and, if you don't make it right in the end, they will be sorely disappointed in the show and in you and in the organizers of the event (that's important, since the organizers are the ones paying you!).
So, yes, screw up for laughs.
But know when to pull the show back on track again, too.
Justin Flom
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You make a great point Peter. Don't commit suicide on stage for laughs!! Smile

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Another suggestion: NEVER embarass the children. It's better you are in trouble!
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I think Peter's premise holds true when you are doing "teach-a-trick" as well. A little surprise at the end reestablishes you as a magician, not just a guy doing tricks.

Check out Mark Wilson's course for my favorite to see what I mean. It's the sucker torn-and-restored tissue. Basically, you tear and restore a tissue, then you show them how to do it (by switching a palmed tissue for the torn pieces). They love this, and it silences those "how did you do that?" questions you often get. At the end, I say "You have to be very careful not to let them see these pieces hidden in your hand. If they do, your only way out is to use real magic."

At which point, I show that the torn tissues are restored. For me, this is the ultimate teach-a-trick routine. It just works on all levels.
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The Sucker Torn and Restored Napkin is one of my favorites as well. The kids really get into learning the trick but still get to be amazed. It is wonderful.
"The magic of the tongue is the most dangerous of all spells."
-Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton
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This is an old thread but I wanted to ask some opinions on this very thing... How do you pull this off in a mixed age venue such as a church, with out coming across as seeming arrogant to either the kids or the adults. I am not interested in coming across with the attitude, "Hey look what I can do!

flourish dude
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only do 1 of these routines.
In fact I have been thinking about this and I have 3-4 routines in my birthday show like this. I think I will change it to 1 maybe 2 at the max. If your show is full of these them you become a clown and not a magician.
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
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when i was young ithaght it hilarious when ever the clown let go of a ballon and it goes flying off. perhaps you could lose a balloon or two and then have one reapear under a hankerchief or somthing
bike during the day,
do magic at night,
and very early the next morning,
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