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Topic: Flea Circus
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 24, 2006 05:39PM)
Does any one have any experiance in acutally busking all pitching with a Flea Circus?
Love to pick your brain. Perhaps you know some one that does that you could put me in touch with.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 28, 2006 06:37AM)
Thx for the private repounces interesting stuff.
Message: Posted by: walid ahumada (Nov 28, 2006 10:19AM)
I was waiting for any respounce, can you share the interesting stuff ??
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 28, 2006 07:22PM)
I was sent a clip but it was private, so it is not my place to share it sorry.
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Nov 29, 2006 06:55AM)

Message: Posted by: Royston South (Nov 29, 2006 08:25AM)
Now that's a great flea circus and about 1500. cheaper, really got me thinking.

Thanks JoeJoe.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 29, 2006 08:35AM)
Thier you go, thanks Joejoe very worth while.
Message: Posted by: SeaDawg (Nov 29, 2006 09:21AM)

What a great spin on the rising card effect. It is so great to see some outside the box presentations.

At our magic club the other night, a guy did the "Chinese Sticks". So what, we all have seen it a bunch of times, and it can be pretty mundane. This guy had the place in absolute stitches. His spin: He bought the "Chinese sticks" while on vacation in Germany and he read the 'instructions" out loud , in "German" while doing the trick. I almost peed myself I was laffing so hard....
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Nov 30, 2006 10:53AM)
The routine is normally done on the streets, with the hanky on the ground ... it produces really tight crowds, as people really do move in close to see the flea. It was modeled after several carnival ballies (including Don Driver's), and was always the pitch of last resort (meaning I would do it when all else failed to draw a crowd).

I havn't done it in a long time, the biggest problem with the routine is when I kill the flea I also kill the crowd. I took that part out, but still had a rough time converting the crowd into a magic show. I think the only thing to really do is create more flea tricks and turn the show into a full flea show - I have ideas on this, just no time to work it all out. One day...

Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 30, 2006 12:43PM)
Sounds great, can you share what your Iders are perhaps?
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Nov 30, 2006 02:54PM)
Animated self cutting deck before the rising card ... the strong flea can lift a match over his head (via the floating match) ... dancing hanky could be the amazing flying flea - because the flea is so small, you hand her the hanky so the audience will be able to see better. The list goes on and on and on ... you do the coin that falls up? Well so can a flea ... and then there is the fat flea - he can eat this entire silk hanky before I can even open my hand (the old TT trick). Oh yea - he can reguritate it also. Ok that one might be a stretch - hehe. But you get the idea.

There are many tricks that can be done by a flea - as magicians, we perform our effects by "magic". There is no reason the effects can't be performed by imaginary fleas instead, the fleas become the magic.

All I've done as of now is experiement with the idea ... I spent the summer filming a performance magic DVD, and the flea routines didn't fit in. Once I achive other goals, I plan to do a full length flea circus out of the pockets.

Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Dec 1, 2006 02:53PM)
Joejoe that is fantastic.
Message: Posted by: ttorres (Dec 1, 2006 08:43PM)

Thanks for the video. It was good seeing my old ring. There was even one quick shot were I got to see some familiar faces.

Sorry Mario, not trying to digress.


Message: Posted by: carbone1853 (Dec 22, 2006 05:02PM)
Try this site. http://www.trainedfleas.com He has been doing a flea Circus for some time now. And is an expert in flea circuses, clowning and variety arts. He has a clip of his show on the site.

Message: Posted by: v_alfano (Jan 8, 2007 05:50PM)
Very nice clip! Do you still work on flea circuses? Does anyone else work on it?
Message: Posted by: Adam J (Jan 8, 2007 06:14PM)
Wow, I never knew flea circuses actually existed. I always thought it was just "one of those things" everyone jokes about.

That video really is excellent. It shows how an old trick that a lot of people can be made new again by creative minds.

Seeing as I've just found out about this, I have a question since I've never seen these "flea" tricks in real life. Those of you who do them: do you actually have a black "something" to act as the flea? Or do you just not have anything, so people will move in closer trying to see?

Message: Posted by: Mr Amazeo (Jan 8, 2007 07:30PM)
I put together a circus a few years ago, based on a video I bought from Walt Noon (I think that's who I got it from - can't remember right now). It showed how to make some circus-like props, and I've seen completed ones that you can buy on sites like Stevens Magic for around $1500 or so. I used it for a summer in a library gig I put together, but I never busked with it. I always thought that would be too hard to do on the street, mostly because the controls were on the rear of the suitcase, so you couldn't be surrounded. Although, I've heard that remote controlled ones are available, but spendy.

Here's what I learned - they have to actually believe there's a bug there, otherwise it sort of turns into puppeteering. So, suspension of disbelief was critical. Also, kids seemed to think fleas were actually flies, which they can see, so they couldn't figure out why they weren't seeing the fly. So I changed the bug to an ant, Howard, and created a little cartoon story that they could relate to (libraries want them reading). Ants are pretty easy to find in the summer, so I'd have him in a matchbox, which he opened ala that animated match box trick. I'd dump him out on the platform and sort of move him around where I needed him. I'd start with some cool tricks like The Strong Man, in which you hold the ant in your hand and then have it do a PK 50 cent piece coin flip over, and you were off and running. They're fast and don't stay where you put them, so it all got to be kind of a hassle.

If I was going to do it again, I'd go with ideas like what JoeJoe's mentions, those are really good. Plus, I wouldn't have to lug around that suitcase. (It had, like, 12 D cells in it for dogs sake!)

I've retired it as an act, so I guess I've got a little cannon for sale that I made to shoot your bug out of if you're interested. You have a kid catch the bug with a catchers mitt at about 20 feet out. It uses flash cotton. That was actually pretty cool. The kids love the high dive, as well - the front row would get splashed, which always created a scream.

Good luck, just keep it simple.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Jan 9, 2007 05:53AM)
Thanks for your input.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 9, 2007 01:33PM)
Ken Brooke used to sell a very simple Flea routine that could be built upon.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jan 9, 2007 04:23PM)
It was called "Fred the Flea" and is now put out by Practical Magic.
Bob Lunn had the mother of all gag flea routines, and he dressed the part in Pith Helmet and Leopard Skin!!
Message: Posted by: Mr Amazeo (Jan 10, 2007 05:43PM)
Magic, Inc., in Chicago, still carries The Famous Flea Act for $10. Cute stuff. Their description:

A complete act. Material on this subject has always been scarce, yet there has always been someone using this delightful hoax, somewhere in show business. The Flea Circus has been done indoors and out, on stage, in theatres, at fairs, close up, in circuses, in Ten-In-Ones, and more recently, in trade shows. Presentation: The audience see a table or stand set out with all the fascinating gear and trappings of a miniature circus. An arched sign at the back, proclaims the name and merits of the show, lit up by small lights. The performers on this apparatus and in the air above it are talented fleas - so the Ringmaster says. By the time the exciting and action packed show is finished, many spectators are sure about the fleas, while others are doubtful, but nobody knows for sure! The entertainer never loses sight of his job for a moment - which is to present a flea circus - a three ring show of performing fleas! Every detail covered with illustrations to make all props, signs, carrying case, etc.

No affiliation, just passing it along.

Message: Posted by: marknem7 (Feb 6, 2007 11:58PM)
Richard Kauffman pointed out in a Genii issue a year or so ago a German flea circus creator he had seen perform and liked.

His name is Hakan Varol, and is selling his circuses and a variety of accessories (approx. $2,000 if you were to buy everything) on his website: http://www.hakan-varol.de/

The site is all in German, but you shouldn't have too much trouble maneuvering yourself around it. Look for the "florzirkus" buttons. There's a one-minute video demo of some of the accessories in action.
Message: Posted by: ssucahyo (Feb 15, 2007 04:51AM)
I have my own flea circus, I built it myself.
I learn from Walt Noon video, this video will teach you very clear how to build your own. Now I install remote system. and you can buy the remote direct from Walt Noon. he is very nice guy...

Message: Posted by: bobn3 (Apr 19, 2007 10:10AM)
Stevens Magic has a lot of material on flea circuses, from complete ones to building your own.

Bob Phillips



Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Apr 24, 2007 03:17PM)
Thanks once again for all of your valuable input.
Message: Posted by: Ben Whiting (May 14, 2007 05:51PM)
You could try contacting Jim Alberti. He's been traveling with his flea circus since the 80's and has been using it as his sole source of income for a long time. I've seen his show multiple times, it's funny, charming, and the way he left hand pitches the mouse is a thing of beauty! He could definitely answer any questions you have.

Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (May 17, 2007 12:51PM)
Thanks all.
I now finally have my flea circus and it has been going down a storm.
Training the little fellas has been hard but the result is pricless.
I will provide you with some pics at some point.
Fat Hats to you all and have a great season.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (May 21, 2007 03:26AM)
I just wanted to add, I have been busking with my flea circus and it is all what I invisioned it to be and more. I have been creating huge interest with it. The main diffrence I have found is that I can keep rooling the show over and over again. Not stopping even for a coffe hard work but great fun. My partner has been standing to the right of me making ballons while I just draw them in. It means I can hat twice and they still come forward and tip for a ballon.

I beleave this is an old approach to busking, no need to queue for for window at a pitch. Rather finding our own pitch, perhaps not worked as much but working it for the day.

Well I am chuffed, about 5yrs ago I developed the desire to perform the flea circus. It seems to take advantage of my experiance as a performer and grafter. Yes I even had Svengali deck weaved into the show.

The responce I am getting is priceless children and adults just stairing with their mouths wide open. Street kids seem to be won over as well, full of attertude at the begining smiles and laughs by the end..

Their is only one way you can deliver this show on the streets. You have to totaly beleave in trained fleas. Oh and it helps if your nuts as well.

Many thanks to Walt Noon.
Message: Posted by: Anverdi-museum (May 27, 2007 05:06AM)
Hi All! Flea Circuses seem to be the 'buzz' nowadays. I am a builder of such novelties, you can check some of them out at: http://www.freewebs.com/caputocollection/

There is a link on the homepage.

All the best,

Chuck Caputo
Message: Posted by: Martin Duffy (Jul 27, 2008 04:38PM)
If you want classy looking Flea Circuses built in either real old cigar boxes or Mossman luggage trunks go here...

"These are by far, the mite-iest Flea Circuses I have ever seen. Nothing lousy about it."
Charlie Frye

"Martin showed me his amazing Flea Circus at a magic convention recently and I have been scratching my head ever since"
John Archer
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Jul 28, 2008 08:31AM)
Hi Martin
I am working with a walt noons at the moment, I little to big for sure but one great collectors item. I do like the cigar box size nice. You can see a pick of mine under Themed Shows on my web-site.