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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » 15-minute flea circus (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

mk
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I'm putting together a 15 minute flea circus for the street - lots of fun, audience participation, and laughs. It can easily be seen by a crowd of at least 50 people. The finale is shooting a flea out of a cannon, breaking through a paper hoop, and being caught in a baseball mit by someone in the audience. Has anyone seen this type of street show before? Any comments or suggestions? Thanks.
BroDavid
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Sounds like a crowd pleaser to me.

But watch out for stray dogs, or they will become a "flea taxi", and you will lose your whole act.

You can get more fleas on a dog, than you can clowns in clown car.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
drwilson
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I just built a Flea Circus. It seems to me that while you are putting this act together, you have to make a decision about whether you intend to play the stage (like Adam Gertsacov), the parlor, or the street and festival setting. I aimed for parlor, meaning that I have to watch my angles and lighting. I can imagine building a FLea Circus for the street or for festivals, meaning an outdoor setting not sensitive to angles. I can play outdoors in a tent, which I will do if it ever stops raining up here in Maine.

The only other flea circus I've seen is the Cardoso Flea Circus (Google "Cardoso Flea Circus" for images and reviews), which played tents and indoor fixed installions like art galleries.

This could work well on the street, provided that you follow all the rules on building a street show. You are going to have to build a tip, bally the show, then when the time is right, do your show, not forgetting to GTFM. One way to do this in other settings is to sell slum associated with the flea circus, but this may not be viable on the street, where it is often illegal to sell anything.

Do you have photos of your Flea Circus? PM me or share with everyone, as you think best.

Yours,

Paul
Harry Murphy
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One of the few outdoor busking type of flea circus’ I have seen was Jim Frank’s. He has been playing his circus for about a dozen years. You can see a bit about it at:
http://www.snakeoilproductions.com/fleacircus.html

You can catch him, in character, with his circus each year at the Maryland Renaissance Festival
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TheAmbitiousCard
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What the heck is a flea circus?
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drwilson
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Frank,

Well, mine is an Extraordinary Entomological Exhibition Featuring Trained Fleas Executing Acts of Skill and Daring! You'll see trained fleas work the flying trapeze, walk the high wire, and see a flea shot from a cannon!

There is discussion of the act in this thread.

There's a fine account of the history in Jay's Journal of Anomalies and Ballantine's Wild Tigers and Tame Fleas.

Briefly, a tiny stage with circus props is displayed, and the human flea Pulex irritans is tethered to various small props to make things move, with a great deal of extravagant rhetoric from the performer and cheesy circus music from the stage. Then there is a pitch for souvenirs! Buy some now!

Yours,

Paul
Sammy the Kid
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Where can one get plans for building one of these gems?

Sammy the Kid
BroDavid
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Very Nice Dr Wilson!

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
TheAmbitiousCard
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I'll bet Dr. Wilson sells the plans.
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drwilson
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Actually the plans I used are from Walt Noon. You can get them from:

http://www.noonco.com/flea/plans.htm

You can also get Walt's plans from Stevens Magic Emporium. The set comes with a video or DVD, a booklet, and a CD of images, notes and music. This is one of the best deals I have ever found in magic.

Of course, you will tinker with it and do some things your own way. This will generate a box of failed prototypes but also a really cool final product.

My strength was in painting and sculpture, not shop skills, and mine came out all right. Use your strengths.

Yours,

Paul
TheAmbitiousCard
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What is unbelieveable to me is that I'm reading this thread, it's accociated theads, clicking on links, downloading clips, etc.

Someone please stop me.
Next thing you know Dr. Wilson's going to tell me he can shake a dice cup
and out will roll all 4s,5s, and/or 6s.
And that he can do it every time.

I'm leaving immediately. I'm hungry and tired.
And I'm starting to itch! Damm fleas.

:)
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drwilson
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Frank,

You would make an amazing flea circus if you put your hand to it. I imagine little leather circus props, some carved wood too. It is your destiny, embrace it.

Yeah, and let's play that dice game with the cup and five dice!

Yours,

Paul
TheAmbitiousCard
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Maybe if you made me some of your elixir
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v_alfano
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Flea Circus is a bug! It's about 3 months that I get the idea to build a Flea Circus. I can't afford the expensive Circus on the Net, and I'm searching for all material... I bought Tom Palmer Book, and I get the bad news that I knowed almost all the act! It was copied on an old italian clown book. Can someone suggest me some cheap ways to get plans, music, photo, idea, and anything about flea circus? I also know Noon, Hakan and Dr. Wilson excellent website. You can write me at v_alfano@hotmail.com. Thank you very much...
drwilson
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What is cheap? For some people, that is money. They perform all the time for money and can just buy a flea circus.

For others, shop time is cheap. As long as they don't spend much, they will spend a lot of time building stuff, throwing it away, building more stuff until it is right. That's what I did.

Here is another great flea circus performer:

http://www.sideshowworld.com/FCAlbertiFC.html

Yours,

Paul
Tom Jorgenson
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Ernie Guderjahn has been taking his Flea Circus out on the West Coast Fair Circuit for about a decade now, I think. His is gorgeous; props, backdrop and all done up to let a crowd of 50-100 see the whole show. He had an advantage in that he knew Hollywood prop builders and designers, and same for the banners and artwork. It's truly a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. His show and setup is in the final wrapup of a French Documentary on Fleas, called, I think, "FLEAS" (or something like that...).

The thing is, this type of show can be anything from the old Abbott's Trained Fleas act, which only required a single pencil to do, all the way up to a jillion-dollared extravaganza. It all works.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
v_alfano
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For me a cheap thing is a thing that doesn't cost too much! Anyone know any book about "fake" Flea Circus? I just have Tom Palmer's book. Any other?
thegreatnippulini
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Lotsa fake stuff out there... especially the flea circus bit.

With todays technology and some fundages, one could put together a flea sized studio around the setup, mini cameras set at different angles, close ups, etc. Then the whole thing could be projected onto a screen or wall or monitor, what have you. You would need a video tech guy to switch the camera angles while the show is going on, similar to any crappy TV talk show.
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Todd Robbins
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The great Johnny Meah used to do a performing flea bit in one ring circuses. He made it into an eight minute bit and the only prop he used was a small paper bag. That's about as cheap as you can get.
Harley Newman
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A drinking straw helps, also.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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