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Topic: Birthday Party Opener (replacing the coloring book??)
Message: Posted by: JAEIII (Feb 15, 2010 10:52PM)
Hi all,

Need some suggestions. For the last 10+ years I have always opened with the coloring book for my birthday show for kids. I know it has always been overused, but I love it because it's quick, it sets the tone that I'm funny and that I'm also a real magician. I've never had any problems with it and it ALWAYS starts my show with huge 'oohs' and 'aahs.' HOWEVER, I'm starting to think that the coloring book is now in fact overused and overseen. The last FIVE shows I have performed, at least one child in each audience shouts out "I've seen that," or even worse, "I own that." It happened again in a show I did today. Even my mother, who is an elementary school teacher, told me that one of her students ask if she could bring her 'magic ooloring book' for show and tale.

So, after years of loving this trick, I am now wondering if it is time to retire it and find a new opener for my show. I don't care if a child has 'seen' the trick before, but now that I'm running into more and more kids that actually own it, it's not something I want to perform anymore.

So, my questions is; does anyone have suggestions on really great tricks they use to open their show. I'm looking for something that is quick, funny, and quickly points out that not only am I a talented magician, but they are in store for a fun show. Please share your thougts!
Message: Posted by: Christopher Lyle (Feb 15, 2010 10:58PM)
Why not take the same idea and put into something new and original that they can't buy in a Magic Kit.

Why not make a photo album and come up with a story line using it. I know they also make a Coloring Book that's a Stamp collector's book.

Change it up...remember...it's NOT about the trick...it's about how you present it...

Message: Posted by: LVMagicAL (Feb 16, 2010 12:15AM)
Bill Abbott's 5 Card Opener. I use it for Daycare shows through senior center shows. It's a GREAT opening effect and sets the stage for the balance of your show. Lots of psychology built into the effect and it's the best opener I've ever used. I imagine using this effect as my opener for a long time to come.
Message: Posted by: Rodney Palmer (Feb 16, 2010 12:25AM)
Don't think 5-Card Opener works on the young ones. I cannot see using this for DayCare Shows unless the Children are over 8 years of age.

Message: Posted by: LVMagicAL (Feb 16, 2010 02:35AM)
OK, Rodney....you're welcome to your opinion, but it works for me. It's not a card trick, it's a story and a counting trick....and it creates great enthusiasm initially and works well as an enthusiasm call back for later show routines. It may not work for you, but it DOES work for me, from daycares (4 and 5y/o+) to senior centers and everything in between.
Message: Posted by: Futureal (Feb 16, 2010 03:46AM)
Also sounds bizarre to me to do that trick for daycares.
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Feb 16, 2010 05:50AM)
I don’t know where to begin in recommending an opener as there are many effects that would work very well. Rabbit out of hat silk (Laflin), The hand eye trick (Mitchell), Mouth coil are just a few.

But before throw away the coloring book, a routine you obviously enjoy doing, try this:

After the show is over and after you’ve packed all of you equipment in your car, walked back in the house with the coloring book. This is usually when I thank my clients once again and possibly get my check. The kids are usually sitting around the table eating cake with all of the adults in close proximity. I say my farewells to the kids and then say, “Hey would you like to see one more trick?” Of course they say yes. Then I do the coloring book.

This gives everyone the feeling that they received a bonus. If they’ve seen the trick before they are less likely to be disappointed because its not part of the show, it’s just an after thought. And if they have not seen the coloring book, it’s a really good trick, even for adults. So, you’ve left on a high note and fulfilled one of the most important things you could do for any customer in any business…you’ve given them more than they expected.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Feb 16, 2010 05:54AM)
I agree with Chris. Don't throw away the routine, just change it. Make your own colouring book using unique pictures of yourself.
At the very least, just change the cover on the book you are currently using so that none of the children recognise it!

I stopped using the book and replaced it with the Vanishing Painting board. The exact same routine, but uses a board rather than a book. It stops that shouting out moment.

Message: Posted by: mcharisse (Feb 16, 2010 07:05AM)
I, too, open with a coloring book, and always ask up front who has seen the trick and who knows how its done. I then co-opt those in the know "to help me fool the adults." This works well for me, and helps set the tone that we are in this together, rather than "catch me if you can."

Message: Posted by: Paul Rathbun (Feb 16, 2010 07:08AM)
What is the hand eye trick by (Mitchell)? Thanks.
Message: Posted by: BIGmagiclV (Feb 16, 2010 07:16AM)
I recently watched an excellent children's magician do the 5 card repeat as an opening trick for 6-8 year olds. I felt it didn't play well. Now, it could have been that particular group but as I watched the reactions, It just didn't hit hard enough, in my opinion. And I don't think it was presentation as I have seen the trick presented many times and it does well for an older crowd.
As for an opening trick, ALmost as worn out as the coloring book is the stiff rope but it still kills for me. It allows me to be funny right off(I say I will "make the rope stay straight with just my mind" and then balance one end on my head), then do the magician in trouble with it not staying straight. Then the third time I ask the kids whats missing (the magic word) and then it works but I don't notice. I jokingly berate the audience that not everyone said the word and they all need to for the magic to work. I keep the rope above my head so I can't see that it did indeed work.
Message: Posted by: Bill Abbott (Feb 16, 2010 07:30AM)
The FIve Card Opener is a call back trick and is perfect for 'daycare' aged children. In fact on the Five Card instructional DVD there is a performance of the routine for....3-7 year olds at a summer day camp. If you have the DVD you will notice that at the end of the last 'call back' that the entire group is on their feet yelling the word 'Amazing' in unison. What you don't see is the call back used throughout the rest of the show, at the end of the each routine/magical moment. If you haven't seen the DVD it may be hard to imagine that it would play so well, as most 5-6 card repeats have been historically performed for adults or mixed audiences. As LVMagical stated, "It's not a card trick, it's a story and a counting trick." which always plays well for this age group.

Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Feb 16, 2010 07:59AM)
On 2010-02-16 08:08, Paul Rathbun wrote:
What is the hand eye trick by (Mitchell)? Thanks.

Here it tis...:)

Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Feb 16, 2010 08:23AM)
I would recommend the crystal tube, where three silks are magically tied together. Silly Billy has an excellent routine that makes this a perfect opening trick for kids.

I use diamond cut silks in mine, they fit fine in the tube but look much larger when you blow them out.

Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Feb 16, 2010 10:08AM)
The overuse of the Coloring Book (but loving the concept) was the reason Jim Gerrish and his Wiz Kids came up with the routine you'll find in his Kid Magic section on my site. It uses an ordinary coloring book, colored in with real crayons. At the end of the routine, he pulls the colors back out (restores the vanished crayons to the crayon box) and hands the book and the box of "magic" crayons to the birthday kid. No one ever saw THAT done before.
Message: Posted by: magicman1 (Feb 16, 2010 10:13AM)
Sounds good Spellbinder, have to take a look at that one

Message: Posted by: LVMagicAL (Feb 16, 2010 11:12AM)
Abbott's 5 Card Opener isn't for everyone....and frankly, that's fine with me. It makes MY shows stand out even more with such a dynamic opener and tool to use throughout the rest of the show. I've said it several times, in several posts over the past few months, the props included with the 5 Card Opener are worth about $10, but the psychology and downright brilliant work that went into the development of the routine by Bill Abbott is PRICELESS. I wish he'd raise the price even higher to dissuade even more performers from using the effect. But for those who have studied the DVD, read the manuscript and ultimately personalized the effect to make it their own, you know what kind of dynamite you have in your hands. It is indeed PRICELESS!
Message: Posted by: LMLipman (Feb 16, 2010 02:03PM)
David Kaye (Silly Billy) addresses the issue of the overused coloring book and explains and demonstrates how he gets around it in his book and DVD "Seriously Silly." He has a very entertaining routine that works well--if you adopt his type of silly kids magic--even in front of audiences that have seen the coloring book before (and almost all of them have if they're over 5).

Larry Lipman
Lorenzo the Great!
Message: Posted by: wbzwolinski (Feb 17, 2010 12:18AM)
I used to feel the same way about the coloring book. I got tired of watching all the magicians in my area doing the trick and doing it the exact same way. Every show some kid would yell out "I've seen that before, I've got that, etc". So, I stopped using it for several years.

Then a couple of years back I was performing a Christmas party at one of our local Daycares. I had come across the coloring book earlier in the morning while looking for some replacement silks in my inventory and decided to take the coloring book with me. There were several teenagers that help out at the daycare at the party that evening. Do you know which effect astounded them?...the coloring book. At first I thought they were just being "wise" with me (some typical teenage smart-alecness) until, while I was packing up, they started bringing their friends and family up asking me to do the trick with the "coloring book" for them and wanting to know how do I do it.

Well, a few months later I was asked to do a high school graduation party...it was one of those teenagers from that Christmas party. They told me not to forget the Coloring Book. Again, I am thinking that I am being "set up" for some teenage mischief. My effects for the teenage crowd are obviously different then the ones of the daycare...except for that day - I brought along what my client wanted - the coloring book. Well, a quarter of the way into the show I pull out the coloring book and low and behold I have a teenager yell out "oh you have got to be kidding me!" Obviously this group had seen the trick before. I just responeded with "oh no I'm not!" and went into the routine. It went on for 10 - 15 minutes and it was the silliest and funniest part of the show. They were all taking part in the effect...I was making them laugh....they were making me laugh - and quite honestly that silly old overused coloring book was the best part of that show that afternoon.

I now always carry a coloring book (I have several) with me. As for kids that shout out "I know that trick or I know how that's done"...I let them come up and do the trick for their friends and/or classmates. They are the star and you would be surprised how humourous kids can be when you let them be themselves.

Well, I have rambled on long enough. I just wanted to convey that even though it has been beaten to death "it is not the trick or prop - it is what you do or don't do with it that will determine its entertainment value". Look at the rubber chicken. All I have to do is pull that silly thing out of a box, do a double take and people are on the flour. To me the coloring book is a simple prop and sometimes simple things can be the most entertaining.

Thanks for your patience!
Message: Posted by: wbzwolinski (Feb 17, 2010 07:47AM)
...actually the people were not on the "flour" they were in the floor....never mind -
Message: Posted by: TheMagicianGuide (Feb 17, 2010 11:06AM)
For the younger audience set, we try variations on the change bag (even having several set with different items throughout the show - identical change bags and you can just keep going, haha)
Message: Posted by: harris (Feb 17, 2010 11:22AM)
And of course their are variations to the Coloring Book.

From Motivation...New Ideas

to 4-6 way Mother goose and other such variation.

To be honest, I haven't used any for a while. Don't know why I stopped, the routine
got a good reaction. The prop was always used with something else, colored streamers, noise makers, harmonica, hats and yes even mouth coils. (oops you must have missed the books in "throwing the colors".
Message: Posted by: tiriri (Feb 17, 2010 11:35AM)
I find it interesting that doing magic for kids parties here in Ecuador I have encountered exactly the same problem with the coloring book as JAEIII. Here I have found that the kids from wealthier families own it because their parents travel more and buy it for their children in places where magic shops are more common than here. So I have not used it already in a few parties.

On the other hand, as an opener I use a quick silk appearance from flash paper. I think anything with flash paper is a good opener because it amazes the kids from the beginning and catches their total attention for whatever follows that simple effect.

After that I usually do something funny with the same silk and a TT.

Best regards,

Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Feb 17, 2010 01:01PM)
Wolly's story is interesting.

Because things are everday and common to us we forget how strong they actually are magically.

I've always thought handle change bags are a lot stronger than flat ones. It's more of a contrived method so far less obvious.

The colouring book, like the Svengali deck, is amazing for people who've never seen it before.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 17, 2010 04:24PM)
On 2010-02-17 01:18, wbzwolinski wrote:
... I pull out the coloring book and low and behold I have a teenager yell out "oh you have got to be kidding me!" Obviously this group had seen the trick before. I just responeded with "oh no I'm not!" and went into the routine. It went on for 10 - 15 minutes and it was the silliest and funniest part of the show. They were all taking part in the effect...I was making them laugh....they were making me laugh - and quite honestly that silly old overused coloring book was the best part of that show that afternoon.
:applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:

That's what you call an entertainer!!!! I can guarantee it nothing to do with the book and everything to do with your attitude and showmanship. Great to hear.
Message: Posted by: MagicB1S (Feb 17, 2010 05:54PM)
Take a look at this video, I think you can get the same reactions as the coloring book. I am considering buying this myself
Message: Posted by: magicman1 (Feb 17, 2010 06:51PM)
I like it , but..coloring book..$10 this $125?

Just saying hard to compare the two

Message: Posted by: magicman1 (Feb 17, 2010 06:51PM)
Well, my 900 post..thank you...

Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 17, 2010 07:45PM)
On 2010-02-17 18:54, MagicB1S wrote:
Take a look at this video, I think you can get the same reactions as the coloring book. I am considering buying this myself

You think? Of course you could. Why buy a prop that gives you no more entertainment than the plain old coloring book. Neither are any more magical to little kids and you save yourself $100+.

The reactions were standard look-don't see right-out-of-the-magic-shop-buy-it-today-and-do-it-in-my-next-show reactions. It was a good performance but a bit sterile and still very out-of-the-box-script-heavy. A performance that has been done for less than a year or so.

No disrespect to the performer. He did well and will probably do much better once it's been done for a couple more years.
Message: Posted by: MagicB1S (Feb 17, 2010 08:28PM)
The point I was trying to make with this prop is it is different then the coloring book, you don't get every little kid saying they have one or saw it yesterday at the "other Magicians Magic show" As far as the script, you don't have to use there patter , WRITE YOUR OWN. and as far as saving Money you can say that about almost anything, I love Chance wolfs products but why buy his take apart Vanish Box for $225.00 when you can get the same reactions from Daytona Magic's Take apart Vanish for $48.00 You Buy chances Products because they are Different they Look Different, The Magician Next door doesn't have one That's why, Its not about saving money it is about investing in your show and making yourself different from the rest giving the customer an experience they can"t get with Magician "B"
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 17, 2010 08:46PM)
Seems like a big expense to me for very little magic just to keep kids from saying "I've seen that before".

I'd rather take the coloring book and add some surprises to it that they've never seen before.

Anyone thought about using some zone zero techniques and produce things from inside the coloring book like an orange, a box of crayons?
Message: Posted by: LMLipman (Feb 18, 2010 01:26PM)
A friend of mine makes his own coloring books, often using popular characters such as Harry Potter, Spiderman, etc. It's the same effect, but the kids don't shout out: I've got that! when he does it.

Larry Lipman
Lorenzo the Great!
Message: Posted by: wbzwolinski (Feb 18, 2010 01:57PM)
On 2010-02-18 14:26, LMLipman wrote:
A friend of mine makes his own coloring books, often using popular characters such as Harry Potter, Spiderman, etc. It's the same effect, but the kids don't shout out: I've got that! when he does it.

Larry Lipman
Lorenzo the Great!

I've often thought of doing this myself...maybe not with the coloring book but with other props. I always thought that there would be a copyright issue though and so never have pursued it.

Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 18, 2010 04:03PM)
The Perverse Coloring Book Routine:

Let's color the book together... "yippee".

"Ok, everybody grab some orange out of the air and throw it at the coloring book." They do. You all look. no luck. magician looks like an idiot. show both sides of the coloring book. Completely flat. Roll it up and out drops a huge orange.
Same thing later with a lemon "yellow". Someone shouts out "yellow" one too many times. You tell the kids "that's enough yellow. no more". they keep shouting. you beg them to stop. frustrated, you stop and pour yellow liquid out of the coloring book into a pitcher to reduce the amount of yellow. then scold the kids. you beg the kids not to say green. they do. the book is still uncolored and you laugh at the kids expense but you pour ALL the water out of the pitcher (cuz you're now thirsty) into a bucket but it's suddenly now green. they say green later. once again, the pitcher is full of green liquid. and it happens again. more green. nothing works like you expect it too but magic is happening all around you.

lots you can add to this:
color changing tie, comedy funnel, colorful mouth coil, etc.

It would be a great perverse routine. Tons of surprises for everyone. I think "i've seen that one before" would be the least of your worries or half encouraged.

Perhaps in the end the book never does get colored at all, or candy of all different colors pours out. or it just ends up blank.

There's a routine in 5x5 Japan where a deck of cards appears from just a flat piece of cardbox that is shown on both sides as flat. You could use that same technique with a box of crayons. Takes 3 boxes and some glue and scissors. A very nice production.
Message: Posted by: wbzwolinski (Feb 18, 2010 06:46PM)
Oh Frank that is beautiful....I hope you don't mind if I "steal it".

Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Feb 18, 2010 07:36PM)
Do a switch with a real "ungimmicked" coloring book and let the one who says he knows how its done, do it in front of the kids.
Message: Posted by: JAEIII (Feb 18, 2010 10:51PM)
I appreciate everyone's messages. I know I can change my coloring book routine up to make it more original, however, if I did want to get rid of it completely can anyone recommend a good proven trick they use to open their childrens show with? Someone has recommended color changing silks, which sounds like a good way to go. The Abbot card routine sounds interesting. I'll have to research that. Any other suggestions?
Message: Posted by: harris (Feb 19, 2010 01:08PM)

I use the mosquito whistle(not really a traditional magic trick) to create a buzzing sound...

It goes into

a. story about fly
b. production of a cane to swat the fly
c. picking up of my ukulele to swat the fly..and then sing There ain't no bugs on me
d. choose a volunteer to use later in the show

2. For younger ones I simply roll a ball back and forth between me and the kids
Seems I got that one from a Sammy Smith lecture
then I
a. juggle
b. make it disappear
c. make it change to something else....

3. Squaring the circle ...for older group...
a. My face inside the circle..change it to a square...reach into the square and produce a coin...go into coin routine...
Message: Posted by: magicone (Feb 20, 2010 08:33PM)
On 2010-02-17 18:54, MagicB1S wrote:
Take a look at this video, I think you can get the same reactions as the coloring book. I am considering buying this myself

I purchased this from Dazzling Magic as they are the authorized resellers in the USA for this prop that is sold by Practical Magic in the UK.

My reason was the same as stated above... I use the coloring book quite frequently but wanted something that the children wouldn't say they saw before or own. It is bulkier but I go to my local kinko's and create my own color images for little to nothing and the child gets to take the colored one home.

I'm also going to start customizing the photos and have the child magically write his/her name on the picture so the final display of the colored photo will contain the name of the assistant (the birthday child) What a great souvenir (and it will have my contact info at the bottom :) )

I just created a pirate (B/W and Colored) for my Pirate show coming up. Very versatile prop.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 23, 2010 11:15AM)
On 2010-02-18 19:46, wbzwolinski wrote:
Oh Frank that is beautiful....I hope you don't mind if I "steal it".

Yes, use it if you want to. I don't think most would attempt it because it takes practice and rehearsal before you can do it in front of an audience.

Even if you don't do all the bits you can come up with some other ones on your own that would work for you. Most of my tricks have some perverse elements to them.

Notice that it includes a host of interaction techniques and not just one like the standard book routine does.

Some questions a magician could ask themselves is "how can I layer the interactions/responses from the kids" as opposed to just throwing colors and clapping at the end. What about look-don't see? What about engineered disobedience? What about enough-already? What about magician-in-trouble?

What other magical effects can be acheived besides the standard surprise ending? Production? Vanish? Surprise appearance? Transformation?
Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (Feb 23, 2010 11:32AM)
For really young kids, I've started using Jozo Bozo's Mixed Up Birthday and am quite happy with its flow so far: http://www.timsonefelt.com/cgi-bin/magic_store/cp-app.cgi?usr=51J8402324&rnd=1216383&rrc=N&affl=&cip=

For older kids I use Abbott's 5 Card Opener.

Message: Posted by: vincentmusician (Oct 14, 2021 12:41AM)
Ah! The Colouring book. I do it. Maybe one in a hundred times someone says I've seen that before. Why? I do not place it at the beginning. Also, I do it differently. It does not matter what you do, but how you do it. This applies to all Magic. Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Russo (Oct 14, 2021 07:53AM)
Just a thought - maybe a page with the birthday Childs' name or ?? on it - then, if good, pages full of presents - -- if bad, blank pages - also for Christmas - Your own coloring books are Easy to make.