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Topic: The Nerf Connection
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 20, 2004 06:23PM)
I would like to ask a couple questions.

I am kind of familiar with the bit where the magician throws a nerf airplane, or a nerf ball out into the audience, one person catches it, then tosses it to another, and another, etc., until it finally lands "randomly" on a person who is then the volunteer. I always thought this was a fun way, and a commercial way to get volunteers, but I was wondering, is the final person who catches it really a random person, or is there a force going on here? This has puzzled me for a long time.

Can anybody here expand on this, or do you know of a source where I can read and learn?

Also, I would like to hear comments and advice on the best, most graceful, non- confrontational ways to get volunteers to come up on stage.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (May 21, 2004 11:39PM)
Your question implies that you are having problems getting volunteers on stage. Then you should look at your method of asking or what you are doing wrong and possibly scaring your audience that makes them distrust you.

I have never had a problem getting a spectator on stage. Even when they shake their head, they still come for the fun to assist.

In all my years in magic, I have never heard of stooge being choosen in this manner. Not that someone would not use such a method. It is just that I have never heard of this method.

If someone really refuses to come up, just pick another person and move on. The worst thing you can do is insist that someone complies.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 22, 2004 07:13AM)
It's not that I really have a problem per say, it's just that smoothness that I am looking for, both in presentation and action.

What I'm saying is that there has to be a more graceful way than just saying "Now I need a volunteer from the audience." That sounds lame and dumb.

It amazes me that I have actually seen Copperfield just go out into the audience, take someone by the arm, and they follow like a little sheep. He doesn't even have to ask, it seems.

How does he do that? Is it just the fact that he is "David Copperfield" that makes them want to follow so obediently?

To reiterate, I'm just looking for a more graceful and "fun" way to recruit volunteers. A more sure fire way, if you will.
Message: Posted by: macmagic (May 22, 2004 08:03AM)
Not too sure about the plane method you were talking about. Saw this once and it was a riot (forget who did it). Magician said something about to make sure he gets a random helper from the audience he will be throwing an object into the audience (as he is talking he opens a briefcase and casually takes out a huge meat, clever). The audience really laughed at that one then he puts it back and took out a foam brick I think and threw that into the audience. That doesn't answer your question but I thought I would share it with you! LOL
Message: Posted by: MCM (May 22, 2004 08:28AM)
Fun way to get a stooge on stage:

Throw out a "fake" brick or other object. Hits stooge on head, loud FX sound of collision, stooge falls to floor. "Medics" run from the back of the audience, load the stooge on a stretcher and bring him/her onto the stage for the illusion.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 23, 2004 07:41AM)
MCM,

Man, did you ever actually DO that?

[quote]
On 2004-05-22 09:03, macmagic wrote:
Not too sure about the plane method you were talking about. Saw this once and it was a riot (forget who did it). Magician said something about to make sure he gets a random helper from the audience he will be throwing an object into the audience (as he is talking he opens a briefcase and casually takes out a huge meat, clever). The audience really laughed at that one then he puts it back and took out a foam brick I think and threw that into the audience. That doesn't answer your question but I thought I would share it with you! LOL
[/quote]

I know for a fact that Henning used the nerf plane idea. Not sure about Copperfield.

You know what? I could start another topic called "Most interesting things magicians can throw out in the audience to get a volunteer." I mean, so far we have nerf airplanes, roses, sponge bricks, meat cleavers, .... (LOL)
Message: Posted by: Julie (May 23, 2004 11:09AM)
It's reasonable to acknowledge that DC has plants in the audience, but that's OK because good theatre is all about a smooth, satisfying performance.
Message: Posted by: MCM (May 23, 2004 05:18PM)
No, it was just a crazy idea I had.
Message: Posted by: what the...? (May 24, 2004 01:27PM)
I believe I remember Jim Pass'e, or is it Jim Pac'e, anyway, it wasn't Jim Pace, did that. I think he threw out a ball. But the ball wasn't passed on or anything. Also, awesome idea MCM. I might want to try that! :applause:
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (May 24, 2004 02:26PM)
Copperfield has used a rose. Glen Gerard pulls out a "Jart" lawn dart .... great for a laugh.

BTW, it's not so much a technique for getting someone to volunteer as it is proof of a random selecton, i.e. after three tosses, the final recipient MUST be randomly chosen.
Message: Posted by: spkrosky (May 25, 2004 08:33AM)
Or you could produce a bowling ball from a suitcase and threaten to throw it into the audience...
In any case, I find that even the most reluctant volunteers will get up and come on stage when you encourage the audience to give them a round of applause.
Message: Posted by: what the...? (May 25, 2004 08:42AM)
The Amazing Johnathan did that, didn't he? My friend told me about that. I was also thinking of trying that, although not to get someone on stage.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (May 25, 2004 11:52AM)
Amazing Jonathon may have done it, too.

Actually, very little of what AJ does is original. Most of his act can be found in old magic and humor books, or old comics (going all the way back to vaudeville). I've seen a lot of Red Skelton bits in his act ... not done in the Red Skelton manner, mind you, but the same material.

Not that that's wrong -- very few of us have a 100% original act -- and he does present it in the "Jonathon" way.
Message: Posted by: Rob Johnston (May 25, 2004 12:42PM)
You could always use one of those cool Nerf Bows (with the foam arrows) to select your volunteer.
Message: Posted by: Evan Williams (May 25, 2004 08:04PM)
Something else DC did at the show I saw him, was he threw pickles out into the audience.

When he introduced the gag it was actually pretty cool; he first used a production briefcase that had to be about 4 inches thick, and opened it to reveal a glass jar full of pickles about a foot high with maybe an 8-inch diameter.

From there, he reached in and threw two pickles into the audience. He used lines such as "who has a hold of my pickle" and so on... I think you get the idea. Another gag involved was that one of the two pickles in it had a bite mark taken out of it. He gave the man a funny look when he handed DC the pickle back once he made it to stage with the bite out of it. I believe DC also said something like, "what have you done to my pickle! You bit my pickle!" and on it goes...

It made a pretty good gag for him. Hey, it made me laugh :lol: .

Evan
Message: Posted by: AmazingEARL (May 26, 2004 09:36AM)
Years ago when working on the sideshow (a very tough place to get volunteers to come up on stage, for some reason), I discovered that if I tossed someone an object to inspect...a rope, deck of cards, etc...they'd gladly come onstage to return the object when asked. Then, I've GOT them!

I don't know if it was as though they were "tricked" into getting up there or if psychologically they felt that by catching the object, they were already commited anyway. Either way, it worked...99.44% of the time. I still use it.

If memory serves, it was how Harry Anderson got his volunteer out of the audience for his 'Topsy Turvy Bottles' routine YEARS ago on a Saturday Night Live appearance.

Dan Wolfe, aka. "The Amazing EARL"
http://www.AmazingEARL.com
Message: Posted by: almagic (May 26, 2004 10:05AM)
Most of the audience that DC selects are stooges. Markings are on the chair of the audience if you have noticed. He uses a stooge even if the trick doesn't need one. But by using a stooge, his show will be smooth, and that's why his show is ever entertaining.

[quote]
On 2004-05-22 08:13, daffydoug wrote:
It's not that I really have a problem per say, it's just that smoothness that I am looking for, both in presentation and action.

What I'm saying is that there has to be a more graceful way than just saying "Now I need a volunteer from the audience." That sounds lame and dumb.

It amazes me that I have actually seen Copperfield just go out into the audience, take someone by the arm, and they follow like a little sheep. He doesn't even have to ask, it seems.

How does he do that? Is it just the fact that he is "David Copperfield" that makes them want to follow so obediently?

To reiterate, I'm just looking for a more graceful and "fun" way to recruit volunteers. A more sure fire way, if you will.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Farrell (Jun 6, 2004 03:34AM)
One thing you can do is what DC does a lot just say CONFIDENTLY I need someone out of the audience, if you'd like to help raise your hand... and then put on some kool music and go out and look. then when you find them ask their name tell the audience to give them a round of applause and bring them up by holding their arm. this works one, because they volunteered, and two the audience is applauding them and they don't want to let everyone down so the go along. but the key is confidence. you have to know something is not lame. If you don't think it's lame your audience won't think it's lame. and once you get tem up there let your material do the work... but that's what has to be strong. don't worrie about how you are gunna get someone up, just sorry about how your material is that you are going to perform. and throwing things in the audience is most times very very unsure.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jun 6, 2004 02:26PM)
[quote]
On 2004-05-22 08:13, daffydoug wrote:

It amazes me that I have actually seen Copperfield just go out into the audience, take someone by the arm, and they follow like a little sheep. He doesn't even have to ask, it seems.[/quote]

and:

[quote]
On 2004-05-23 12:09, Julie wrote:
It's reasonable to acknowledge that DC has plants in the audience, but that's OK because good theatre is all about a smooth, satisfying performance.
[/quote]

Yes it's reasonable to assume that but not always.

Have you noticed (to answer daffydoug's question too) how DC seems to easily find the most attractive and cooperative volunteers in just a few seconds? There's a reason for this. He has "pre-show" workers go into the audience before the show looking for suitable volunteers. If they aren't in the best location, they'll ask them to move to a better seat near the front or near an aisle. They then place cue sheets on the floor on stage (Blond girl, green dress, third row) These workers are nicknamed "Fox Finders" for obvious (but not necessarily politically correct) reasons. What if he picks someone who doesn't speak English? Or is deaf? You get the idea.

Yes, the chairs could be marked, but that's just for location not that "stooge" will sit there. Why would a Stooge need to have his chair marked? He knows what to do beforehand. The markings would give him away. It's there to help the "Fox Finders" place their volunteers.

A Stooge works for the show, and is usually "in the know." A volunteer who is "coached" a bit to better the flow isn't in on the workings of the effect and I wouldn't technically consider them a stooge.

When you do as many shows as he does, nothing is left to chance. Dead time while he searches for someone can kill the flow of the show. The binocular gag? It's placed there for him to find. Borrow a purse, or cut up a tie? "Here, can you hold this for David? he'll ask for it later."

Yes, stooges can be used, but don't assume so quickly.
Message: Posted by: MCM (Jun 6, 2004 04:58PM)
I saw a show of DCs back in the 90s. He was doing his death saw, and needed the hairpin for the "escape". Well, noone had one at first, so he mentioned "This could be a looooonnnggg show!" as he walked down the aisle. He eventually did find one, though. Was that staged?
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jun 6, 2004 07:38PM)
Probably not, could have been a slip up in the pre-show. It's not as critical in a live show as it is on one taped for television. I saw one time where he asked "We've never met, have we?" and the person answered "yes" prompting him to return her to her seat and start over.

Unless it's there for a laugh, you'll probably never see that sort of delay in any of his TV shows.

I've had a "helpful" Maitre D put me in the "hot seat" (Lance Burton's name for the usual place to recruit volunteers. Every show I've gone to since, this is where Lance goes for his volunteer)and was brought onstage. I played along as best I could, but he would have gotten a much better reaction with someone who wasn't familiar with what was about to happen. In this case, a little better "pre-show" work could have helped make the whole show play better.
Message: Posted by: dsilverfield (Jun 7, 2004 05:23AM)
MCM your idea is good no very good. I am going to suggest it to a friend of mine. Hope you don't mind.
Message: Posted by: MCM (Jun 8, 2004 12:18PM)
No problem, DO let us know how/if it works out.