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Topic: Russian Roulette
Message: Posted by: Pit_Finn (Sep 9, 2003 07:46PM)
Hi everybody!

I’m currently researching different methods for “Russian Roulette” as well as the “Bullet Catch”.

Does anybody know of any books / notes that discuss one or the other method (not the history)? Any hint where to look for stuff like that?

Best regards,

Peter Tögel (aka Pit Finn)
URL: http://www.pitfinn.com
E-Mail: info@pitfinn.com
Message: Posted by: Lee Marelli (Sep 9, 2003 09:59PM)
Good to see your post at the Café, Peter. One of the best Russian Roulette routines is Larry Becker's Russian Roulette. It is found in Stunners and Stunners Plus. Stunners Plus is should still be available.
Message: Posted by: Anabelle (Sep 9, 2003 10:40PM)
I don't know too much about this, but doens't Bob Cassidy have a Russian Roulette type effect in one of his early books. I thought I read that somewhere. If I'm totally wrong, don't mind me.

Anabelle :giving:
Message: Posted by: Mark Strivings (Sep 9, 2003 10:57PM)
Hi Peter,

Don't forget that Becker's routine is genuinely dangerous. Effective, but dangerous. Cassidy's routine is much safer (although virtually any routine of this type has a genuine element of danger, that's part of the fun!) It was originally published in the original Invocation Magazine back in the Tony Raven (editor) days.

There are other routines of this same ilk (good word, use it often...). Cheating the Gallows (Fogel), the classic Acid Test (of which there are several), the knife or spike through hand (there are a bunch of these running around at the moment), and (if I may be immodest) my own 'Human Cigar' which uses fire as the danger element. There are a few others, but these are the main ones.

As far as the bullet catch goes, that's a tougher one. I know you're not particularly interested in the hisory angle, but I would get 'Twelve Have Died' and start there. Anytime there's an entire book devoted exclusively to one effect, especially when it's an effect you're looking at possibly doing, you'd be wise to thoroughly check it out. You could certainly do worse.

Just my two cents....

Message: Posted by: ThomasBerger (Sep 10, 2003 12:59AM)
An easier reference for the Cassidy routine is
The Art of Mentalism 1, available as an ebook on Cass' site.

I love the Christopher Carter take on this as seen on his promo video on his website. No guns, but still an element of danger, very visual, and great TV.

Tom B.
Message: Posted by: jiggyjer (Sep 11, 2003 03:37AM)
Mark, are you really sugesting that the more risks the performer takes, the more fun it is? I'm not sure these are the type of tricks that should be discussed on internet forums since they are definately not for amatures, and one would do well to remember the many performers who've died doing the catch with less than safe methods.

Pit, you're question seems timely. Are you motivated by Mr. Brown's upcomming stunt? Please proceed with caution... if at all!

Message: Posted by: David de Leon (Sep 11, 2003 04:11AM)
Here is my suggestion for a totally safe Russian Roulette routine:

Message: Posted by: ThomasBerger (Sep 11, 2003 04:50PM)
A great idea.....and I am sorry to have to tell you this, but you were beaten to the punch by 2 years!!

Eric Mead published this very routine with 6 cans called Fizz Master Roulette in MAGIC April 2001.
He contributed 5 or 6 effects to that issue.
Most of the effects mental in nature, all of them brilliant. He is one smart guy. I would buy any book he ever publishes in a heartbeat. His tie opener is brilliant, IMO.

The routine is essentially the same as you describe, but the cans are opened in the spectators face after the spectator picks each can. And the final can is not opened, but given to the spec to take with him, but he is cautioned..."wait for 90 minutes before opening it."

This is a classic case of independant invention.

Tom B.
Message: Posted by: Mark Strivings (Sep 11, 2003 09:32PM)
On 2003-09-11 04:37, jiggyjer wrote:
Mark, are you really sugesting that the more risks the performer takes, the more fun it is?

Sorry, it never occured to me that someone might take my comment literally at face value. I was being facetious as well as speaking in more generic terms meaning that the danger is a big part of the dynamic of the effect. Otherwise it certainly wouldn't play with the same impact. The same exact dynamic (albeit on a much lower danger scale) is present in the Mead routine mentioned above. There is definite danger there, just not the lethal kind.

Furthermore, the danger element present for the performer is far from being the main consideration in choosing whether or not to do one of these effects. The Mead routine fits Eric like a glove, while it may not work at all for other performers. Likewise I have a hard time seeing Eric doing Becker's handling (although Eric is a very talented performer and I have no doubt that if he decided to use Becker's handling it would be very effective, it's just not an obvious choice from where I sit). This is true of all choice of material. While the element of genuine risk to the performer (or the lack thereof) is one to be seriously considered, it's far from being the only consideration.

Furthermore, lest anyone think I'm taking this type of routine lightly, please re-read my original post. You'll see I warn most strongly about the dangers inherent in this type of presentation. I do these types of routines and have for years and I never take any of it for granted. Just as I did in my original post, and along with the others above who said the same thing, always be very careful and be sure to leave nothing to chance. It's not worth getting hurt (or worse) for any effect.

Mark Strivings
Message: Posted by: Lee Marelli (Sep 11, 2003 10:05PM)
Mark makes some excellent points. There are risks in just about every Russian Roulette type effect. (The "poison" effect being the exception unless you have an allergic reaction) Just ask Gary Kurtz about the scar on the palm of his hand, Mark about his burn or Becker's near disaster.

When you review the writeups of these effects, there is almost always stern warnings about the danger of the effect. These must be taken literally or the perfomer risks some degree of serious injury. If one is extremely diligent in preparation and performance every time, then the risk is diminished, but not eliminated.
Message: Posted by: vratkins (Sep 11, 2003 10:09PM)
Now that we're lumping any "danger" type effect in with the real revolver type russian roulette, there is one effect I'd like to know about. In a issue of "the Linking Ring" someone mentioned the idea of hiding an egg under a row of styrofoam cups, and crushing them one by one. A more comical version of the knives. Unfortunately, he gave it as an example of another's performance, but didn't say if it was published, marketed, or otherwise obtainable to be performed.

Does anyone know a source for this presentation?

Message: Posted by: kuffs (Sep 12, 2003 12:20AM)
I don't know if this is what your are looking for but, i've remember Jonathan Pendragon publish this same plot with a egg, in a old Genii magazine.

The routine his called " EGGSTRAORDINARY ", Genii March 1986

The routine is based upond the fact that the egg use in the routine came from a collection of hand-painted eggs and have some personal value. The routine also use regular Styrofoam cups.


Message: Posted by: ThomasBerger (Sep 12, 2003 01:24AM)
I can't help thinking that if you need a disclaimer to perform this type of thing, don't do it.

Kind of like Blaine pulling his heart out in one of the TV talk shows...then a message appears on the screen...don't try this at home!!!!

All part of the dumbing down of the masses.

Tom B.
Message: Posted by: David de Leon (Sep 12, 2003 02:33AM)
Tom, thanks for alerting me to Eric’s effect; I’ll be sure to get that issue of MAGIC if its still available.
Message: Posted by: Robert Black (Sep 18, 2003 12:25AM)
Back after a long absence, and glad to be here again. If nothing else a word of caution to the wise. If you wish to fool with this be advised DO NOT under any conditions make the mistake of thinking you can use a real revolver with full or half load studio blanks. YOU WILL BE SORRY! I have been around guns my whole life and have an extensive collection of firearms. I have repaired, customized, and rebuild many weapons and I am intimately familliar with all manner of firearms and thier workings including starter guns. That said.....I still wouldn't do it. Does Jon Eric Hexum ring a bell here?? For those who don't know he was an actor in the late 70's who was killed on set by mishandling a half load shotgun blank.

Robert Black
Message: Posted by: Mesaboogie (Sep 18, 2003 12:56PM)
On OCT 5th, Derren Brown is performing a version of Russian Roulette LIVE on UK TV. No idea as yet whether we will be witnessing a new method/take on this effect, but, knowing Brown, it'll be a thing of beauty to watch him perform it.
Message: Posted by: vratkins (Sep 18, 2003 07:52PM)
Thanks for the reference. I'll look it up.
Message: Posted by: masterofmindcontrol (Sep 20, 2003 02:49PM)
I have only perfomed Russian Roulette with guns once and even thought there was no danger as such in the method it was still nerve racking. It was a christmas party at a gun club and well to cut a long story short, imagine five guns all very real, four get filled with a round of BLANKS and one gets a LIVE cartridge. They are then placed in balck velvet bags and mixed up at random whilst you are genuinely blindfolded. You then remove from your pocket five colured numbered discs and they are placed along the row of five bags numbering them 1 to 5, then the envelope which has been in full view at all times in opened by an audinece member and lets say the paper inside says number 3, this dictates which gun will not be fired at you. The other four guns are then fired (at you) and turn out to be blanks, Then you remove your blindfold remove the last gun from last bag and fire it at a target to prove it contained real ammo, this presented right is a mindlowing edge of seat routine, best of all done correctly there is no dnager at all, think along the lines of Pseudo Psychometry bags and Fogels Cheating the Gallows number selections and I am sure knowledgeable ones will work ot this amazing idea! :bubbly: :bubbly: