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Topic: Magic Wands - How Many Is Too Many?
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Jul 18, 2013 02:26AM)
Reading the recent Tommy James posting in here got me thinking about a topic unto itself - Magic Wands!

Nowadays, there are so many terrific magic wands on the market - Breakaway Wands, Ker PLUNK Wand, Measel Teasel Wand, Popaway Wand, Silver Sceptre, Silly Wand, Feather Duster Wand, Jumbo Inflatable Wand, and Can-O-Wands just to name a few.

So how many wands do you use in your kids show? I mean, at some point is it overkill to be constantly pulling out different wands - or can you never have too much of a good thing?

In all fairness, the answer may very well rely on how well you creatively intertwine these specialty wands into your act so that they don't become redundant. Are any of you willing to share your creative uses for these wands beyond their standard application?

- Gary
Message: Posted by: Oliver Ross (Jul 18, 2013 03:20AM)
Hi Gary,

Personnally I'm using 4 different magic wands in my kids-show for the moment : The Ker Plunk Wand as a stand alone routine in the beginning of the show, the Feather Duster Wand, the Break-away Wand and my own first normal magic wand I ever got in another routine in the middle of the show.

Your question is a very good one and justified.

At the moment I'm putting a kids-show together with the goal to use as many as possible different magic wands. The idea came to me by watching Harry Potter's first movie. The goal is to find the perfect magic wand to make all kind of things work, like a real magic wand should do by using different magic spells and words, like in Harry Potter.

During the search for the perfect magic wand all different kind of things are happening that shouldn't happen. Tricks are going wrong, funny situations are created...

Message: Posted by: Robin4Kids (Jul 18, 2013 05:42AM)
I think that more the merrier! The nice thing about gag magic wands is they can be used with almost every routine. If you use several in your show, just try using a standard "unfunny" wand and watch the disappointment in the kids' faces! I believe it gives you the opportunity to add more laughs to your show and the kids come to expect "what's this wand going to do?"
Message: Posted by: TommyJ (Jul 18, 2013 06:37AM)
Put me ion for the: I love wands!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 18, 2013 06:47AM)
I watched a very good performer two days ago who had a hat with several wands sticking out of it. As the show went on, several were used, each doing something different and funny. The only disappointment for me was that he didn't use all of them. I wanted to know what they all did!

The funniest thing though was when he was doing the nesting wands. By the time he got to the third wand, he looked at the girl holding the first two, and she was nesting them back together, and continued to do so with all of them until he got to the last one, which he just tossed over his shoulder in a gesture of defeat. Pretty hilarious and unexpected.
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Jul 18, 2013 07:12AM)
Current show I start with a silver sceptre, and I get hit with a small 10" one later in the show by the puppet

then use breaking wand, multiplying wand and fishing pole wand for the magic colouring

** Next term (Autumn) I'll use only a small 10" wand with my puppet

for magic colouring my volunteers will wear humourous sun-glasses

** At Christmas, I'll use a large dog-toy candy cane
Message: Posted by: Robin4Kids (Jul 18, 2013 07:28AM)
TheMagiciansApprentice, You should check out Tommy James' Comedy Christmas Wand for your Christmas show.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jul 18, 2013 08:01AM)
Tommy James actually has a wand for every occasion.
Message: Posted by: MoonRazor (Jul 18, 2013 08:43AM)
Why not a different wand for every trick
tommy's wands are great!
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jul 18, 2013 09:36AM)
Personally I think one wand is the absolute most that should be used. Would a real sorcerer have several different wands? Of course not.

I have been known to use a Silver Scepter, because I like it. It comes out of the bag occasionally. But normally I perform wandless.

When I see a performer with several wands I normally think lack of imagination, and too much budget at his disposal.
Message: Posted by: gmsmagic1 (Jul 18, 2013 09:57AM)
Everyone has an opinion... and apparently a magic wand! Lots of good feedback here. Keep it coming.

Tony, keep in mind that imagination is not measured by the number of wands you use in your act, but by how you use them. Based on many of the comments I'm reading, it seems that many of the wand users here have tons of imagination in how they are implementing these fun props.

I personally don't want to deprive kids of any prop that contributes to the success of the party and to their overall fun. Novelty magic wands are probably one the least expensive props a magician can add to their show for enhancing routines, so I certainly don't think this has anything whatsoever to do with flaunting an excessive budget around.
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Jul 18, 2013 12:21PM)
I love wands! Particularly the break away, the spring wand, and, for lack of a better term, the bopping wand like the one Silly Billy uses.
Message: Posted by: cwbny (Jul 18, 2013 01:03PM)
Tony makes a good point. I feel that way about change bags and other devices. If you have a magic bag, why would you need a magic box later in the show? That being said, I'm currently using three different change bags in my show (and it kind of kills me cause I can't figure out a way around it).

As for the wands though, I like to think of myself more like a cartoon than a magician. And I could definitely imagine a cartoon running to a cabinet, opening it up, and choosing one of hundreds of wands. I've seen the joke with a cartoon's clothing: they open the closet and have a closet full of the same outfit they always wear.

That being said, I currently only use the breakaway wand in my show. Although I recently resurrected Bigger Wands for one show. I had forgotten how HUGE the reaction is with those wands.
Message: Posted by: ChrisG (Jul 18, 2013 04:16PM)
Just like a Golfer going to their bag of clubs, a hat full of wands, one for every situation.
Message: Posted by: LMLipman (Jul 18, 2013 04:49PM)
In my first trick with a volunteer, I bring out several different wands. The premise being that I just get things wrong, though in my mind I'm kind of feeling like the Olivander scene in Harry Potter. The first two "wands" aren't even wands.

I first ask the child if she/he has a wand on them. Of course they don't because I make them leave any wands they may be carrying at the door. I say they can use one of my wands and hand them a giant toothbrush -- I always say you can't brush too often. The next thing I hand them is a giant stick of dynamite -- Dinah Who?-- which gets quickly thrown in my dump box. Next is the feather-duster wand from Silly Billy. I brush off the child and then bush it across my butt -- no that won't work. Next is the silly wand (stretches) from Silly Billy. I give the kid the wand and when he/she grabs it, I make it stretch. Then I pull out a second silly wand and say that since I'm the big magician, I need to have the big wand that the kid gets the small (unstretched) wand. I then admonish the kids in the audience not to tell the child to stretch it -- which of course they do. About 90% of the time the kid stretchs the wand. I get all flummoxed and take it away and hand them an unstretched wand. This goes on three times.

Finally I put the two silly wands away and pull out what I describe as a very expensive wand that cost me $1,000 so the kid must be very careful with it. This is a wand made by the late Warren Stephens that collapses like a car antenna when held perfectly straight upright. I never actually give it to the child (a la breakaway wand) but when it collapses and the kids start hollering, I say "this wand cost me $2,000 and you're laughing at it." I again admonish the child to be careful with it and it collapses again. I say "this wand cost me $3,000 and you're laughing at it," which makes them last even more. I do it a third time and say the wand cost me $5,000 or $10,000 etc.

Finally, I bring out the Silly Billy inflatible wand "ta dah." The kids scream it's not a real wand. I say "Oh, you want me to blow on it?" and give a loud raspberry as I blow at the wand. "Oh, you want me to blow INSIDE the wand." Then I blow it up with a lot of body motion. I use it to hit myself on the head a few times and then give it to the kid helper saying the wand doesn't seem to like me. Then continue on with the trick, which in this case is a hat tear and mouth coil production.
Message: Posted by: randyburtis (Jul 18, 2013 05:01PM)
How many do you own/ versus use per show..
My wife made me count the other day...it was surprising
fishing pole
tipple topple
feather duster
flash wand
pop off wand
rising wand/silver scepter idea
bigger wands
biggest wand
spring wands in a can
mini wand
silly billy stretch wand
squeaker wand
spring wand(black metal spring)
flower wand

other than the last 2 I use all the rest, not all in one show, but in regularly used routines...
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Jul 18, 2013 06:04PM)
I go through about seven wands within the first ten minutes of the start of my show

The second trick of my show is an explanation of "forgetting" to bring my wand with me and the need to make another wand before the show can continue.

The Magic Wand Machine from practical Magic is between ten and fifteen minutes of great entertainment for the children, laughing at the mis-made wands and at the conclusion of the routine they cheer and feel good that they have made a wand.

Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jul 18, 2013 10:49PM)
Message: Posted by: Herr Brian Tabor (Jul 19, 2013 01:47AM)
On 2013-07-18 10:36, TonyB2009 wrote:
Would a real sorcerer have several different wands? Of course not.

Really? I'd very much like to meet this real sorcerer you happen to know. Until such time, WE are the magicians and sorcerers, and WE decide how many wands it takes to do magic. One of my wands only makes balls disappear to and from cups. Another makes a red hanky turn into a blue hanky. Took me a long time to charge those wands with those spells, yes it did.

It's for kids. We can be as eccentric and mysterious and odd as we want, and they love it.

Also, I doubt a REAL sorcerer would be doing birthday parties to begin with.
Message: Posted by: Herr Brian Tabor (Jul 19, 2013 01:51AM)
That sounded all snarky. I meant it to sound fun. I should have used emoticons. Like this :lol:

But seriously, I didn't mean that to sound mean.
Message: Posted by: jcrabtree2007 (Jul 19, 2013 02:05AM)
I use 5 or 6 different wands in my kid's shows. They seem to enjoy them all. Its easy to do overkill on an area in magic but I don't think wands are one of them (IMO) . Wands are a source of magic (to kids) and they are always anxious to see what the different wands to. I'm with Michael- show me what they do.
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Jul 19, 2013 02:20AM)
Trying to find a wand that works without backfiring is a running gag in my show. I use

appearing 8-foot

Plus a number of objects mistaken for wands (a slinky, a monkey-puppet, a banana, etc.)

Too many wands??? No. Such. Thing.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jul 19, 2013 05:07AM)
On 2013-07-19 02:51, Herr Brian Tabor wrote:
That sounded all snarky. I meant it to sound fun. I should have used emoticons. Like this :lol:

But seriously, I didn't mean that to sound mean.

Don't worry, it didn't sound mean.

My point is that as magicians a wand is a tool of our trade. So if we have one, we should have a good one. ONE. As well as being a magician, I am a writer. The tools of my trade are a biro and a word-processor. I have one of each. I don't take out a biro to interview someone, and it breaks apart. Then I don't reach into my pocket and remove a second biro that has feathers springing from the end. A biro is the tool of my trade, and it works as it should.

A second point to consider is uniqueness. I am probably the only magician in my territory who has never owned or used a break-away wand. When kids come to my party they do not get a generic magician who does what the last generic magician did. Be honest with yourself; how many of your competition use the same wands as you? And how does that make you stand out?
Message: Posted by: Robin4Kids (Jul 19, 2013 11:34AM)
I agree that wands are a tool of our trade, but I also think that there is a lot of difference in our trade as a kids' entertainer than a magician for adults. If you were to go strictly by the premise of all trades only using one tool, then work may be much harder for doctors, mechanics, chefs, and many others to do their job. I certainly believe that everyone has the right to perform they way they think best...1 wand or 10! Using one wand may be more professional for adult entertainers, but I think that for kids you are going for laughs...and a variety of some of the great comedy wands we have available can deliver more laughs.

I believe if I was worried about using the same props as my competition, I would never be able to buy anything from the magic creators that are much more talented than I. If you use the same wands or tricks as your competitors and perform the same routine as they do, the kids may notice. But if you use your creativity to take the same props and make it even funnier, I think it is your performance they will remember, rather than the props. It's your creativity and performance that makes you stands out.... not your props!
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Jul 19, 2013 12:03PM)
I think it all depends, like others have said. If you do it well, you can use a lot, but if you don't present them well it can seem like you are overdoing it. If you don't present them well you could be telling the same basic joke over and over, kind of beating a dead horse, and seem un-creative. It can slow down your show as well and not give you as much time to do tricks - if you want to do a lot of tricks in addition to gags. Of course gags and tricks often go together, but you know what I mean.
Message: Posted by: LMLipman (Jul 19, 2013 04:17PM)

I notice you use the pop off wand. I've had one for years but never put it in my show because I couldn't get it to consistently pop off when I wanted it to. Sometimes it seemed to fit too tightly. Sometimes it just didn't seem to have enough pressure inside when I put the other side on to make it pop off.

Have you or others had this problem of getting the pop off to work consistently?

p.s. In my lengthy dissertation, I didn't mention that I also use the nesting wands for a different trick.
Message: Posted by: randyburtis (Jul 19, 2013 09:12PM)
Mine works well 99% of the time. I wonder if the black tube is too soft. I found once when it was left in my van for too long in the heat it was too soft and wouldn't work at the show. Maybe some time in the freezer might firm it up(I don't recommend trying to pop it when it is too cold, I suspect the tube might split). I put the cap on lightly on the end, even with slight angle to it. Maybe put your hand lightly on the end not to be popped when you press ,so it moves the pressure up to the top?? Not sure if that will help or not, hope it does it is a fun wand. BTW I tied the ends with a string so it doesn't shoot out of my control. I know other guys let it fly off(Like Great Zuchinni), but I like it to pop off and me not have to try to keep kids from grabbing it, or it ending up under and table and me having to bend down and hunt for it...
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jul 19, 2013 09:59PM)
There is no right or wrong. It all depends on the magician. If you feel uncomfortable by using several, take certain ones out.
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Jul 20, 2013 02:52AM)
On 2013-07-18 10:36, TonyB2009 wrote:
But normally I perform wandless.

Must......resist......wisecrack......impulse!!!! :angelflying:
Message: Posted by: TommyJ (Jul 20, 2013 06:50AM)
On 2013-07-19 22:59, Dynamike wrote:
There is no right or wrong. It all depends on the magician. If you feel uncomfortable by using several, take certain ones out.

Perfect answer!
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jul 20, 2013 11:40AM)
On 2013-07-20 07:50, TommyJ wrote:
On 2013-07-19 22:59, Dynamike wrote:
There is no right or wrong. It all depends on the magician. If you feel uncomfortable by using several, take certain ones out.

Perfect answer!
I knew the answer because I asked myself "What Would Tommy Do?"
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Aug 12, 2013 09:51PM)
I use several and all in the same trick. The birthday child trick.
There's something 'wrong' with all of the wands.
Each wand that comes out corrects what's wrong with the last wand but then has it's own issues.

can't remember the name
Wibbly Wobbly (best wand ever)

As far as "too much of a good thing" goes.. that is ABSOLUTELY something we need to try to get a feeling for.
Just because 1 wand is fun and 2 wands are more fun doesn't mean 20 wands are 20x the fun.

This is the part of being a magician where we must change our role from "lover of magic props" to "director of a show".
Message: Posted by: Gerry Walkowski (Aug 13, 2013 02:51AM)

I have 3 of the Wibbly Wobbly wands and wouldn't sell them unless I was on my death bed.

I like the way you think.


Message: Posted by: milesart (Sep 12, 2013 01:01AM)
I use at least 8 different wands at the beginning. I act like I have a problem today with my wand, but I am prepared and always carry my extra wand. then this one has also a problem....and so on. kids love it, magic wands are a must and great to start a show.
Message: Posted by: Zargo (Feb 13, 2014 04:54PM)
I think different wands can enhance your kids show lots! I have around 12 different wands (most of them mentioned before). Some I use as a single "act" (silver cepter and ker-plunk), some I use to give the kid. For my kids party at private homes, I have 3 different shows because some gonna book me again. So I have different shows, but all of them use the wand theme. I just use different gags/wands in the 3 different shows, so the spectators/kids never get bored from seing the same magic.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 13, 2014 04:57PM)
That's good Marko.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Feb 13, 2014 04:59PM)
43 is too many.

42 is exactly right.

Any less and you're a cheap amateur.
Message: Posted by: Quentin (Feb 13, 2014 05:21PM)
I've always used a specific gag wand for its own specific trick. For example the Pop Away Wand always went with Dom Dom Domino and the Breakaway Wand with the Rabbit in Hat routine.

TonyB made the point that the magician should only use one wand and I agree with that if it is the magician doing the trick. But in a children's show it is usually the audience helper (your instant apprentice) who is doing the magic, so it is only right that they get a wand suitable to their purpose.
Message: Posted by: harris (Feb 13, 2014 05:51PM)
Wands can also be used during "preshow-warm up".

At summer library shows I have used.
A. A harmonica
B mine range from about an inch to a foot in length
C. Tide pen. Pause ... and my wife's favorite magic words are "SPRAY AND WASH.
D. A Legit feather duster. Used to wipe nearby books, kids clothes(while not actually making contract)
and making comment,"my wife says I should use this more at home.

I really like the way some great old threads are resurfacing. Sort of like your old clothes,said Nigel the puppet that rocks and talks.

Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Feb 13, 2014 06:34PM)
I'm kind of old fashioned with my wands and like the old use 3 funny wands in a row bit. It just seems to work well for me that way.