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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Candy Butcher Pitch (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Todd Robbins
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Here's a spiel I have used in Burlesque shows to sell candy:



Folks, this is your lucky day, for it is at this junction in the proceedings that we give the young ladies of the show a chance to catch their breath and to change their wardrobe for the next big production number. And what a lulu it is. It’s the fabled Dance of the Virgins. Admittedly, most of our dancing girls have to do it from memory, but that’s another story.

Whilst they prepare, allow me to present unto all of you sophisticated patrons of the arts an opportunity to obtain some of the finest candy you have ever tasted. Mother La Rue’s Chewy Chocolates with the Nuts Inside. An Epicurean delight if there ever was one. It is a confection sold at all the finer department stores and is a favorite of those of discriminating taste. You’ll notice representatives are located here and here. You can try the this taste tempting treat for only one dollar. Each and every box of Mother La Rue’s Chewy Chocolates with the Nuts Inside contains not quite a pound but enough for two people to enjoy.

But that’s not all. Perhaps you noticed on the way in the sign that said that tonight is bank night at the theater. What does that mean? Well, I’m glad you asked. Within various box of candy we have covertly inserted prizes of various size and value. These include leather wallets, writing pens, imported watches, designer ashtrays, ID bracelets, various and sundry novelties and the nicest gift of all, cold hard cash. You heard me right. Distributed amongst the boxes you will find ten five dollar bills, five ten dollar bills and two twenties. It’s our way to say thank you for coming tonight and to encourage you to try Mother La Rue’s Chewy Chocolates with the Nuts Inside. Try it once and your be a fan for life. The best part of all is that you can have a box of this fabulous confection for only--. You heard me right.

Now’s the time to buy it. It will only be on sale right here and now, so act fast. Take your money out of your pocket, hold it up in the air and the little lady will come right over to you. With a smile on her lips she will hand you a box of Mother La Rue’s Chewy Chocolates with Nuts Inside. And who knows you might be the lucky fellow that gets the big prize. Don’t just buy one box. Buy two, three, four from the little lady. The more you buy the more you’ll win. Heck, buy them all and she’ll come home with you…that is to help carry all those boxes of Mother La Rue’s Chewy Chocolates with the Nuts Inside. And now, on with the show.
drwilson
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Dear Todd,

That's wonderful! In "Step Right Up" by Brooks McNamara, he gives the story of "Prize Candy" at medicine shows. In this pitch, the goods are on stage, and there are tickets in the bags of candy. People see folks from the audience going up to get blankets, dishes, practical things. Besides being a money-maker in its own right, it gets the audience used to taking out their wallets and being relatively pleased with the outcome, setting them up to buy elixir later. The same idea is used in a jam auction, as you know.

I'm sure I'd buy a few boxes of these delights in the right setting...

Yours,

Paul
Doug Higley
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Thanks Todd. Good stuff.


Ah a Jam Auction!!!!! THE most complicated (and wonderful) bit of business ever! I wish someone would write it down. There used to be jam Auction every weekend in the 50's at the farmers market next to the Staten Island Drive-In. What a blast it was to wach.
The last one I saw was in Sacramento at a renegade Flea market which was right next 'door' to the big F. Market in Roseville. But this jam wasn't a full on 'blood letting' with big prizes like the old one was.
I'd love to see one these days now that I have some miles under the belt.
I've never even read a good description of a Jam Auction...want to tackle it Todd?
In detail?


Doug
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Clifford the Red
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That is some great stuff! Love those pitches in the grand style.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Todd Robbins
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I have another pitch that I use when I lecture. It's "novelty envelope" pitch and I give one away with my lecture notes. I have is on an disk somewhere. I'll post that when I find it.
drwilson
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We just tried Prize Candy for the first time at an outdoor event. It went very well!

I know these crowds and how much they will spend on impulse. We made bags of individually wrapped candy, caramels, butterscotch, sesame seed candy, fruit candy and so on, each piece individually wrapped. No chocolate, because we figured it would melt in the summer heat. The candy in each bag was worth about $1.20, and sold for $3.00.

For the prizes, we had coupons for free stuff from our booth (a Fortune Telling Fish or Two Card Monte), or one dollar off anything (of course, we had just raised our prices). I also talked two local businesses that I have had good dealings with into giving me some discount coupons that we used as prizes. For cash, we put in half dollars (which to a kid looks like a lot of money because it's big) and a couple of five dollar bills.

Those of you familiar with psychometry know that it is possible for the operator to know which bags contain the five dollar bills, and to make sure that these are discovered at exactly the right moment: when there is a good crowd that has just gotten started spending. A kid that got a five spent the whole thing at our booth right away. Of course, when the kid gets the five, lots of people want to buy candy.

Before the Prize Candy pitch I did something in the flavor of a jam auction: I just asked people to hold up a dollar bill, and kept saying who'll be the first to hold up a dollar bill until people were racing to do it. I then showed Two Card Monte, then had the person with the dollar hold up the Monte set while I held up their dollar. Then I'd say well you've got something of mine and I've got something of yours, and Two Card Monte sells for only two dollars, so if we both kept what we have you would have gotten 50% off and that's a good deal, but here's an even better deal: an instant cash rebate of one dollar.

Even just doing this one thing loosens up the crowd, so when the Prize Candy ptich comes, they are ready to buy.

Yours,

Paul
Todd Robbins
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Paul,
This is great. I love it when someone takes something from the past and makes it work today. I hope it makes you a bundle. Keep it up. You are living the dream.

Todd
Harley Newman
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Paul has a sense of the pitch, that's rarely seen these days.

Sell!
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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Paul is the most pro active showman I've ever run into in 35 years. Give the man an idea and he actually gets out there and does it...with gusto and succeeds at it. He took my Grind Show How-To plan and did it to a T so that now I include a photo of his set-up...and by his energized eMail report back to me on his experiences this past weekend doing the show he proved once again it really works and Sideshow/Grindshow is not fading at all...just as he got out there and proved that the old Medicine Show is still a viable ENTERPRISE with the correct approach.
Nice going my friend. Todd put it perfectly (as usual)..."You are living the dream."

Doug
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drwilson
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Thanks guys! Todd, Harley and Doug, you are all great teachers. The Café is a living library, there is so much here that can be put on the road with just a little work. I think that once I let go of the idea that everything has to be a magic trick, my show spread out in many directions: pitches (even for candy), fakirism, 'zibits...

Yours,

Paul
MattTheKnife
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I must agree! Paul, you really do put nearly everything that you're given to good use. And kudos to you for doing that! Smile

Cheers,
-Matt (TK)
dpe666
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Thanks Todd. That is a GREAT pitch. I always love hearing a good one, and you always present the best.

I have a question though, I know that the guy outside the tent to draw the crowd is the "Talker" but where did "Barker" come from? Is it maybe someone heard "Barker" when what was said was "Talker", and it just stuck? Smile
Harley Newman
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There are inside talkers and outside talkers, and some variations in style that apply to each. Outside, your job is to do a bally, gather and turn a tip. Inside, you present the show, and do the pitches for the blowoff.

I read the derivation of "barker" recently, but forget what it was. It actually was a show term.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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Talker is a Carney & Sideshow 'insider' term.
We were Barkers before we all got an elite language going on.
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Harley Newman
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For some reason, I think "barker" had something to do with a mitt camp, around 1920. I wish I could remember this.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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I'd go back to Jolly Old England and look for the origin. Smile

In the late 60's when I worked the topless (& bottomless) joints in SF...we were 'Barkers'...in 71, I was a 'Talker' when I fronted my first Grind Show in Alaska.
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drwilson
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Here's a site of carny lingo by Wayne N. Keyser:

http://darkepurple.us/karnival/karnie.html

Here's a quote from there:
______
The term "barking" was in current use in mainstream culture in the early 20th Century to mean drawing customers by talking in a continual flow of repetitive lines and phrases. "Barking" was also called a "grind pitch" by some professional talkers. "Thirteen pound potatoes for a quarter, come on we got tomatoes today girls, a tisket a tasket, I sell them by the basket." Used primarily by vendors at a stationary spot, such as a vegetable stand or the doorway to a show (perhaps most recently heard from the doorways of Times Square sex shows.) It is easy to see how the general public applied the term to the carnival talker.
______

If that's true, someone with an OED can look up "barker" and discover whether it referred to the vegetable seller's pitch. Less authoritative online dictionaries have assimilated the modern application to an outside talker.

I am wondering whether the term applied to a vegetable seller has anything to to with the trade of "barker": one who strips trees of their bark. Poetically, that is what a good pitchman does to the marks.

Yours,

Paul
Doug Higley
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I think it's more simple than that Doc...one Barks orders...or intructions or in the case of those walking by..."Come on in...see the Carrots! Strip an Ear of Corn...Don't Shuck about...it's all right 'ear love...that's right...this way..."

Dogs bark in the street and so did the doorway hucksters.
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drwilson
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Your right of course, Doug, I was just looking for some poetry.

The OED defines barker as:

1. One who or that which barks; a dog.
2. fig. A noisy assailant; also, an auction room or shop tout
3. The Spotted Redshank (Totanus fuscus)
4. slang. A pistol; occas. a cannon.

In support of usage #2, there is a citation from 1832, "As shopmen and barkers tease you to buy goods." This supports the idea that the term is one in general usage by the gaji, who applied it to outside talkers.

Yours,

Paul
Doug Higley
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I like #3

I AM a Spotted Redshank. Though I'm not quite sure where my Totanus fuscus has gotten to...
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