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Topic: Best Kids Magic
Message: Posted by: Nat (Apr 19, 2015 08:02PM)
Please help me select the children show opening and closing effects. Your suggestions will be appreciated.


Message: Posted by: krowboom (May 23, 2015 12:03AM)
Often I will open with a routine I do with a gag bag. In the zipper part of the bag is one of those cards that open up several times into a big card at the end. I force the card that matches this to open the trick. I then say I already knew what you would pick and put it in my blue bag (or whatever the first bag color is). I pre-load each part of the gag bag with silly items (sponge carrots, bananas, ice cream cone, mushrooms, etc., fake hand, $50 spring load bills), or any other silly stuff I can think of. Each time I go into the bag I produce a silly item and then say, "oh no, I left it in my red bag", etc. etc. The gag bag allows 5 changes. The fold up card I use has gags on it also like one part of it has the 52 cards in one, another part says "your card", etc. You could always make up your own.
At any rate this routine takes 5 to 7 minutes, takes no skill so it's all showmanship, and has the kids laughing the whole time. It works for me.

Hope this helps
Message: Posted by: JoshRyan (Jul 31, 2015 01:01AM)
I try to open and close with my best material ... and put the live animal tricks first. So I open with a dove production and I close with 20th century silks - it's not my best magic but the routine gets the most laughs from kids and adults.
Message: Posted by: ProfessorMagicJMG (May 12, 2016 02:56PM)
Ok this is old but I thought I would chime in; I have had good luck opening with a "party popper" and saying "Let's get things started with a BANG!"
I also have started with a bright red silk hank to appearing cane; it's very visual and shocking to the kids, and they know they're about to see some MAGIC when they see that. I have heard that funny sponge ball routines are great opening routines, too. I mentally separate my "opener" which grabs the kids' attention, from my actual first opening routine.

To close, I have used a stage-filling Houdini Chain Escape that uses 5 volunteers plus me; four kids hold the corners of my "magic bag" where I secretly get out of the chain shackles, and 1 adult to lock me in and hold the key. It gets great reactions. The other big closer is my "invisible rabbit" production, followed by pictures with the rabbit still in the circus wagon and then a line for kids to come and pet the rabbit one at a time. Another great closer if you can find it is "Bigger Wands" by Creative Magic, with any quick visible trick like the appearing cane or a flower up sleeve bouquet production.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 17, 2018 06:02PM)
I have a little ink left in this "infernal electrisch peckenclacker", so I'll inject a thought that may revive this thread.....

Those reading this, who don't know me, might learn an old truth about performing, whether you are performing for senior citizens, Kindergarten children, Cub Scouts at a Blue & Gold Dinner, a Rotary Club Ladies Night, a 7 year old's birthday party, a Senior High School after Prom "lock in", an American Legion Annual Banquet, a Day Care Center, or several hundred school kids, Kindergarten thru Senior High School. in a rural school in South Dakota.

Kindly notice that I made sure to include some "kid" groups in there so I wouldn't "cut and not restore" this thread!

What far too many forget--or, don't even realize, IS: THAT THOSE IN THE AUDIENCE, (ANY audience) JUST WANT TO BE E N T E R T A I N E D!!!

Our "task" is therefore fairly obvious: MAKE SURE THAT YOUR P R E S E N T A T I O N of the tricks that you do, (ANY TRICK) IS E N T E R T A I N I N G.

Entertainment has nothing to do with the size of the prop! (Entertainment doesn't "come" by the pound or by the yard.) It comes by the smile, giggle, and LAUGH. (SURPRISES do help!)

A good magician can get great laughs with a simple sponge ball, or no prop at all. (The late Fetaque Sanders quote comes to mind: "Patter packs easier than props!")

There have been a half dozen or more suggestion about specific tricks to do, by very fine performers with a lot of experience. I'm NOT saying that those tricks are no good, or that those who have suggested them, are not fine performers. What I'm saying is that most didn't emphasize that the one thing that MAKES THE DIFFERENCE for any of those groups that I mentioned in my first paragraph is: the PRESENTATION of those tricks!.

When we understand that "magic" only happens in the mind(s) of the audience, and the creation of that "magic", depends on the performer's PRESENTATION,
it should be rather obvious, that, IT AINT W H A T YA DO, IT'S H O W YA DO IT!
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Feb 21, 2018 12:55PM)
Dick Oslund is absolutely correct. I have been entertained by him with some very old effects. His advice would be well-taken: Focus on how you present the effects, and you will have a winning act!

Naturally, you have to pick material that is appropriate for the audience, and present it at their level. Being flexible is also key.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 28, 2018 06:05AM)
Thank you Mike, for your kind words!

Yes! I do "old stuff"! --Much of my "repertoire" came from Doc Tarbell. Of course, Doc wrote his course in 1927 {91 years ago} so, the reader will learn PRINCIPLES, but, the PRESENTATIONS, need updating!!!

THAT is where the magician needs to think, "today"!

I use several silk tricks (knots, vanishes and productions,20th Century, etc.) rope tricks (knots cut and restoration) paper tricks (Lyle's tissue paper to paper hat, Laundry ticket) cards (fancy shuffles, and flourishes) egg bag (Mardo/Sterling) linking rings (3 rings) coins (Misers Dream).

Check out YOU TUBE! --for the 20th Century Silks. You will see dozens of DEMONSTRATIONS, n o t PERFORMANCES! I spent several YEARS, searching for a PRESENTATION that had laughs, and a surprise! I "found" it. It's next to closing in my school show!!! (I wrote up my routine in my book.)

I wrote up my PRESENTATIONS for most of the tricks/routines, in my book. --They "kept me working" for 50 years!!!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 11, 2018 11:33AM)
Gee Mike! There have been about 400 views of our comments, in the past 3 weeks! --And, nobody has added any negative, or positive comments! Maybe I should write a book! heehee
Message: Posted by: Blackington (Apr 23, 2018 09:29PM)
I have to agree with the premise that the "story" or "presentation" is the key to delivering an enjoyable performance. Magicians can use the structure of a Fairy Tale or Myth (or any story) that begins with a question (aka, the problem) to provide the structural framework for delivering the "magic" to the audience. Usually the important parts/phases of a Fairy Tale have all the elements of a storyline that are both interesting and 'logical', in the magical sense of the word. The very nature of a Fairy Tale's structure has allowed it to withstand the test of time- and it's well-worn progression is ingrained in our consciousness. If a "transformation" occurs in the tale, it can act as an ideal structural template for organizing, developing, and presenting an effect that ends with a transformation, or any other magically derived development and ending. It's important to point out that the familiarity with the "storyline" approach allows the magician to enter the audience's world. And, in exchange, the audience will gladly allow the magician to "drive the car" - simply, they'll follow the magician because he/she has earned their trust. And, as soon as they trust, members of the audience give the magician the 'car keys'. They'll willingly go along for the ride because they're willing to leave their own reality in exchange for the one that is provided by the (capable) magician. When this 'exchange' takes place, the members of the audience will be convinced that it's been done on their own terms. Now, for the magician, that is a welcoming room to be in! He's now their host, and tour guide -- he has the keys! Add to it, once the audience's trust is earned, they'll even root for the magician to succeed. That's not a small feat -- and it creates "theater". With all of that in mind, the usage of old effects/apparatus will work well because it'll add to the visual interpretation of the 'story', without overpowering a magician who might otherwise be upstaged by apparatus.

That's all for now - I really do hope that this resonates with you! Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 26, 2018 11:41AM)
I'm glad that you realize the importance of PRESENTATION over just the "bare bones" of the TRICK! I'm sure that, as you progress, you will "grow" in your ability to develop good presentations.

Yes, "Fairy Tales" can be a good premise, BUT, you must keep in mind that the Fairy Tales of OUR CHILDHOOD, are now just a wee bit outdated. Grandmas don't always live close enough to tell the little ones, those (now) ancient stories.

Experiment! --but, don't be surprised, or concerned if the moppets have no idea of what you are talking about, if you are talking about the "little red hen"!

Watch a few of the current cartoons on TV. "Tom & Jerry", "Bugs Bunny" et al, are pretty much gone. "Attention spans" are extremely short, nowadays!

I'm 86, and, the presentations that I used as a teenager, are long gone!!!

The big "thing" is to talk WITH them, not TO or AT them. Get into a CONVERSATION! People, even tiny ones, are much more interested in participating, not just watching. If they are talking WITH YOU, they wont be talking with each other!

Involvement, mental and physical, is critical to your success!

One final thought....In general, SITUATION COMEDY plays much better than funny patter, when you perform for kids.
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 1, 2018 08:17PM)
Hey Dick -- yes you're right, the "fairy Tales" of the past are much different than today's tales. And, it'd be a misstep to base the patter around some obsolete tale. It won't entertain the kids who (naturally) will want to hear references made to the stories that they're familiar with....that IS what entertains them.

I'm at the very start of developing a show- it's an enjoyable project to pursue, and it will take work! At this early stage it's easy to dream of what a show should be like. LOL... and, at this stage, I know that more can go wrong than will go right.

Thanks - Chris
Message: Posted by: magicvincent (May 11, 2018 11:03AM)
I find that verbal exchange and engaging your audience keeps them interested in what you are doing. If you show them that what they do is important, then they will give you the response and interest that is needed for a successful Show!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 13, 2018 08:54PM)
Yes! I've been "preaching" what you mention, for eons, and, I think it may, at last, be "sinking in". I call it "communicating with your spectators by talking WITH them, not AT, or TO them.

That's a nice picture, but, how does it make your point??? Or, how does it "fit" your point?
Message: Posted by: magicvincent (May 18, 2018 10:22PM)
I was trying to add the photo to my profile. I did not know it just adds to a comment instead. Also a good presentation that you mentioned can elevate and also strengthen a Magic routine. In addition, I also used to believe that there must be that one great prop to buy to make me better as a Magician then the others. It took me years to realise that the Magic is in You, not your props. It is not what you do but how you do it!
Yours truly, Vincent
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 19, 2018 03:00PM)
Yeah! We had a guy visit the Café last year, who wanted suggestions for a prop that would make him a big success, and also make him famous! Some of us managed, I think, to explain that it wasn't a prop, that would make him a success, and, famous, but talent, and presentation. I haven't seen his name since! Yup, you are right! (Some, never ever realize that "the magic is in YOU!", the performer! You are correct! "It is not what you do, but how you do it!" --ONLY, Ya said it wrong!!!!!!! (Here is the "correct way:::"It aint WHAT ya do, it's How ya do it!!!!! hee hee hee
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 20, 2018 08:15PM)
I live near where the thoroughbred horses race. I've noticed that there's a reoccurring type of comment/question here that asks "will this trick make me successful?" ..as if it was like the magician was betting on a horse to win a race, and then that's what will wind up being called a 'success'. Unfortunately, the horse doesn't know that the magician has followed someone else's advice before placing the bet (aka, invested $$ on faith), and doesn't know what $$$ is to begin with. But the horse cost its owner $200,000 … with absolutely no guarantee of profit. LOL - it's just a musing!
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 20, 2018 08:21PM)
But here's what I really wanted to say -- Does KIDabra sell videos on performing magic for children? I feel that I learn more by watching others, and it seems that KIDabra would be a good starting point for it. Any and all comments welcomed! Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (May 20, 2018 10:47PM)

Here is a good place to start, these are well worth the investment if plan on performing for children!



Best of Luck

Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 21, 2018 04:22AM)
MBI -- Thanks for the note -- yes I'll give Danny Orleans' videos a try. I'd seen his Kidshow book, the vids are probably excellent. Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 21, 2018 04:58AM)
I have known Danny for more years than I care to count. He is very talented, and very successful.
Message: Posted by: magicvincent (May 22, 2018 01:20AM)
Although I have never met him, I have communicated with Danny. I found him to be very professional and helpful to learn from. You can learn from watching other entertainer's videos as I have. However, I would like to recommend one thing. Do not try to be a copycat. There is only one Danny Orleans and only one you! Be the best You that you can be. Learn from others but make the Magic and routines your own. I change patter, props and presentation to fit who I am as a performer. Also, listen to your audience. Experience is your best Teacher!
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 24, 2018 05:31PM)
It'd be a learning experience to imitate the basic steps that Danny Orleans has provided, by way of watching the videos. I think it'd be unethical to become a "copycat" -- besides, there's too much room for the fun of inventing a show of one's own, rather than imitating someone else's. I'm at a starting point, and I don't have enough experience to copy (and use) what a professional knows how to do. That process would grow, and live a life of it's own.

The basic steps probably are very clear in the videos he's made available -- imitating the basic steps is a natural first step. Elaborating on them so that the steps "fit" in with my own ideas is WHAT I HOPE will be the path taken. Fortunately there's always room for improvement. And, the fun of entertaining others makes it worth while.
Message: Posted by: magicvincent (May 26, 2018 09:57AM)
Yes. Learning the basic structure of a routine from a video or DVD to start is fine. It is also fun to not only change the presentation to your own style, but find ways to strengthen the Magic or reduce weak points in the routine. There is always room for improvement.
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 27, 2018 11:49AM)
Thanks magicvincent -- I appreciate the input! Yes, the structure is important. And (for me) at this point, I'd prefer to have a show be like a conversation with the kids.. it's a story-telling situation, and that kind of structure would inherently provide a variety of magical avenues (deviations). My thinking is that the overall "show" would be improved by doing that.
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 27, 2018 11:53AM)
Also, I think that it'd be a mistake to get too fussy too soon! LOL, … I/we have to rely on what 'works' rather than become lost in concocting something that'd fly over their heads.

Thanks - Chris
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 27, 2018 12:29PM)
[quote]On May 27, 2018, Blackington wrote:
Thanks magicvincent -- I appreciate the input! Yes, the structure is important. And (for me) at this point, I'd prefer to have a show be like a conversation with the kids.. it's a story-telling situation, and that kind of structure would inherently provide a variety of magical avenues (deviations). My thinking is that the overall "show" would be improved by doing that. [/quote]

YUP..I've been "preaching" THAT sermon for a long time. Surveys have shown that the "watch me do these clever tricks" types of performers, won't last long. Adults, as well as kids, need to feel "involved" in the program, or they tend to lose interest.

I learned, years ago, to talk WITH them, not TO, or AT, them!!! I even ask questions (to which I KNOW the answers!) to get a shy group of kids, to respond. Sometimes, it's just a nod, but, often, it's a very vocal response. Note: I don't promote SCREAMING. I want LAUGHING!

I wrote a big essay about "sucker" tricks, in my book. I open with a "sucker" trick, BUT, it's a "soft", even, "gentle" "sucker" trick. The audience (even High School groups)realize that, I'm going to fool them, but not, make fools OF them. At the finish, there's a nice LAUGH, AND, APPLAUSE.
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 27, 2018 04:54PM)
Dick - what's the name of your book, and is it recent or still around?
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 27, 2018 07:47PM)
I'll probably be spending all summer reading/planning what should go into a show. However, it's fascinating to read about how the changes in beliefs and technology have occurred, and how 'Magic' has evolved with those changes - yes, that may seem academic, but it's a good way to transfer the magical language of the past into a present day performance. Like many other art forms, there was probably a time when the magic-type show (rituals, seances, etc.) were meant for adults. But now? - it's all entertainment!

Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 29, 2018 06:07PM)
I don't know if others do this... but recently I've been reading through The Jinx. IMO...The era, and the nature of staging/presentation, offer a lot to spark the imagination because there's a real sense of theater that was built into magic at that time. Nice stuff.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 30, 2018 03:23AM)
[quote]On May 27, 2018, Blackington wrote:
Dick - what's the name of your book, and is it recent or still around? [/quote]

Hi Chris! I'll PM you with details about my "magnum opus"!
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 30, 2018 04:57AM)
That sounds good, Dick. I'll keep a look out for that. Thank you.
Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (May 30, 2018 09:07AM)
I just finished reading Dick's book for the second time. It is a GOLD MINE of information.

It is one of best investments you can make (the other being the TARBELL course)!

Buy it, read it and APPLY it and it will change how you perform magic...for the BETTER!!

All the best

Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 30, 2018 11:35AM)
MBI - I'll put it on my list... thanks for the recommendation.

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 30, 2018 01:23PM)
Chris...PM me your mailing address, and, I'll send you a review by David Seebach.

My book has been mailed to four continents.
Message: Posted by: Blackington (Jun 2, 2018 07:34PM)
Dick - PM me the review by Seeback - thanks!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 3, 2018 02:15AM)
Chris---It's a whole 8 1/2 x 11 page from MUM! (My fingers are getting "old & rickety"!) It's easier to mail it!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 3, 2018 06:42AM)
I should explain that....I don't have the slightest idea of how to scan "stuff", etc.!!!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Blackington (Jun 6, 2018 07:57PM)
I wonder if you can take a picture of it, and save it to your computer -- then, upload it in a PM to me. Let me know if that's possible.

Thanks Dick - let me know. We'll figure something out.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 7, 2018 01:30AM)
HI Chris...I haven't owned any sort of camera for "eons"! I use a "dumb" phone! J

I do manage to get this "infernal electrisch peckenclacker" turned on (booted?). But, I haven't the slightest idea of what makes it work! --Oh yes! ELECTRICITY is what makes it work!!! (heehee)

I made a "deal" with the Postal Service! (I buy their stamps, stick 'em on an envelope, and, they take it to where it's addressed. I also made a deal with UPS. They copy stuff with their machine, and, I can send it, via the USPO! I realize that, it's an out of date system, but, I'm out of date, too!

Message: Posted by: Blackington (Jun 8, 2018 04:23AM)
Dick, I understand your point. I thought it'd be easier for you to use a cell phone/camera, but apparently it's not. To be honest, I've already read and gleaned some of your ideas from the comments you've put in MC. There's no need to send it snail mail...but, I do appreciate the offer.
Thank you.
Message: Posted by: Blackington (Jun 8, 2018 04:29AM)
BTW -- Do you have a webpage, Dick? A comment by Seebach would be a great link for you to provide online, if you haven't already tried doing that.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 8, 2018 07:27AM)
I have a web page, started by Norm Barnhaart, who helped publish the book. Unfortunately, it's very "out of date", as, I know next to nothing about how to keep it up.

When first published in the summer of '15, I did a "book signing tour, and sold a BUNCH of the books. It has been mailed to four continents. (Nobody has asked for their money back!) MUM had two nice reviews by David Seebach and Master Payne. Linking Ring's "reviewer" thought it was terrible, and, did not recommend it! I never even heard of the guy! I think he took the "position", 'cuz, he gets free copies. After 67 years in the I BOTHER MAGICIANS CLUB, I QUIT.

I have a "shoe box" full of "thank you" letters!

Denny Haney maintains a stock of the book, and the dvd. So does Joe Stevens. I keep some here in Escanaba. Magicians who do shows, seem to be very pleased. The Post Office girls are getting accustomed to my "visits" with packages of books and dvds!

I wish that I had had a book like this, when I was starting out, in the '40s. It would have saved me a lot of money, and, time.