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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ballooning 101 » » Blowing up balloons - SOMEONE CONVINCE ME! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Starrpower
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For years ( two decades now - EGADS!) I have blown up balloons by mouth. Lately, I have become more and more aware of the disgusting nature of this ... however, it's just too darn convenient! Old habits die hard.

Not only can I not justify carrying a cumbersome pump with me -- heck, one of the reasons I even DO restaurant work is it's easy with very few props to carry -- but I find it just takes away from the entertainment value. It also slows down the pace. Besides, I've never found a pump I'm comfortable with, and the balloons don't seem to twist as well with the air from a pump (could the warm, moist air from my lungs be more condusive to twisting?) I also find it to be awkward removing the balloon from the pump nozzle without losing air and/or retaining a good grip on the balloon (although I'm sure that would come with use.)

Okay, you anti-mouth-blowers -- CONVINCE ME! I just gave six reasons (6. Count 'em. 6) why I don't want to switch. I don't want to hear about the health and sanitation reasons -- I know those! I want to hear how to hear how you deal with the entertainment/presentation/convenience factor.

My name is Starrpower, and I thank you.
johnnymagic
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We recently had a balloon twist lecture at our magic club. The two guys had air pumps on the side of their suit cases. But that was for working a line.But I can say they were fast. I once saw a guy at the fair that had a goat blow up his balloons which was very funny. I for one just can't blow the darn things up without a pump.My lungs are too weak or I haven't the nack to do it yet. As for your question I say keep blowin 'em up the way your comfortable with.
Out of all the magicians I know, you're one of 'em...

www.johnnymagicmemphis.com
magicgeorge
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Belfast
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I use a pump now, but still blow the occasional one up by mouth. I'm not a hardcore anti-mouthblower but I'll match your 6 and raise you 1:

1)I feel a lot less tired at the end of the day and a long day mouth blowing often gave me a headache. (Dunno if you where including your own health in "health and sanitation", if you were, I've only got 6).

2)You can get attachments for hand pumps that are like those pull keychains. This means the pump hangs out of the way by your side until it needs to be used and then can be put quickly into action.

3)A good quality hand pump really isn't that cumbersome. I don't know how some folks lug giant floor pumps and motorised jobbies around but a hand pump isn't much of a hardship.

4)For visual gags there are as many, if not more, using a pump as there are with your mouth. Start using a pump for about 3 months, I'm sure you'll find most of them. Here's a few (and if you count them each as a valid point then I'll be over the quota of 7):
*Use a squeaker to pretend you have a squeaky pump. Hand it to someone else then discover it's actually your elbow that is squeaking.
*Twirl it around like a gunslinger and warn your balloons that your going to pump them full of lead...or maybe air..whatever comes out.
*You can pump a small amount of air out using one hand this means you can talk to someone on one side and secretly blow into there opposite ear with the pump then much hilarity ensues as you accuse the person sat on thier other side of making advances.
*Pretend it's a baseball bat or a cattleprod.
*Stick a balloon in your mouth and the pump in your ear and apparently pump it up via your noggin.

5)It may take longer to blow up a balloon with a pump but it doesn't really matter as you can talk while you're doing it.

6)The pump has an entertainment factor as a talking point. Kid's ask if it has helium in it and you can use your pump to poke them in the eye for asking such a stupid question. I don't know if it's a local thing but round here kids are convinced that if you blow air from a pump on someones face it will give them warts.

7)If you are accused of cheating for using a pump you can always fall back on your mouth blowing talents. Throw one out to them and have a race.("Actually we were having a turn purple race, you won.").


George
Donald Dunphy
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That's a great question, Starrpower. I am in the same position that you are.

Something else I might add, is that I have never had a customer say that they were turned off that I inflated the balloons by mouth. The only people I have heard comment on the issue are other entertainers, whether they are magicians or shrine clowns, etc.

Customers do seem a bit in awe that I can inflate by mouth, without using a pump. They comment about that often.

I have also heard that the warmth of the inflation by mouth makes twisting easier.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Starrpower
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I have never had a customer say anything, either. But this summer a clown made a balloon for my daughter, and I thought it was kinda gross that he handed her something he had in his mouth. Then I thought, "Hey! I hand things out that I had in my mouth!" Not only that, sometimes they POP in a restaurant where ther's food, and stuff from my mouth is spreading across the place! Maybe it's just a "Monk moment", but it's starting to bug me -- just a little!
Skip Way
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I've never had anyone comment on blowing balloons by mouth in my restauants...but, I have received the occcasional "Look" from mothers & fathers in the nicer places. I actually empathize with them...so, I always use a pump now...even for the simpler balloons like the hearts, bee-bodies and 5" rounds. I just feel better about handing the balloon to a child.

On the other hand, I have had parents comment admiringly on blowing the balloons up orally. Still...I just feel better handing a "clean" balloon sculpture.

My two cents,
Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
graemesd
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I'm a mouth blower - cos I can make snakes (curly q's) on with my mouth. but I think that there can be great comedy potential with a pump
Lofty
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I went to a pump(I was a mouth blower for 15 years).
- you can talk and tell jokes while pumping.
- you WILL have more energy (it takes a lot to blow up 100+ balloona in a day)
- for some more complex balloons I will use my mouth (I know what you mean by they twist better)
- think of this - the balloons have power in them, how good can it be to breath it in as you blow by mouth
- I've noticed I don't get sore throats or colds since using a pump, I think the pressure of blowing on your throat causes damage.

Your audience couldn't care less whether you use mouth or pump.
ANd hey, If someone challenges you, hand them an orange balloon to try and you show them by blowing up 2 at once just for fun.

As for the pump, you can attach a colorful rope with a clip and just let it hang from your belt.

Lofty
Bill Nuvo
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I have advised a lot of people with using pumps about a cool way to keep the pump out of the way but still handy. I create a strap that goes over my head/shoulders out of balloons (not blown up). This is great as I can release the pump as soon as it has blown the balloons and it drops down to my side. I have seen far too many performers fiddle with putting it into a side pocket or even limiting their movement by putting it under their arm.

And because of the elastic nature of the balloons, one can do some neat tricks with the pump too.

By the way, I use only T Myers hand pumps as they seem to be the most rugged (I have had one that I use regularly for over 7 years without a repair yet). Never use dollar store balloon pumps. They are way too fragile.
Lou Hilario
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Blowing those long balloons is a skill and feat to many people. It is still amazing to many. Even those muscled hunks can't blow them. I sometimes do a balloon blowing contest with the dads and big men present in my shows and sometimes not even one can blow those balloons. Be happy you and I could.
Magic, Illusions, Juggling, Puppet & Parrot Show ^0^
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The Bonnie Kids
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In my opinion there is no choice anylonger, at least here in Europe (I have experience in Italy, Austria, Germany, Sweden). Kids do not usually care if you blow balloons by mouth. Some comments might pop up from older kids (12, 13 years), especially girls.
But ONE thing you should carefully check: the eyes of the parents. Their body language VERY often tells me that they do not like mouth blowing. Not all of them, let's say 10 ... 15 % of them. Have you ever tried to drink from the same bottle where somebody else has drunk already? Most of people don't care, but those who care... well, they have the same eyes of the parents...

Blow up one balloon, or maybe 2. Model them, give them to a big kid. Then use the pump.
My regards
/Andrea

Bonnie Kids
brandonford1982
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If you read the outside package of the Qualatex Ballons it tell you not to blow up by mouth.

Also there is a powder inside the balloon that is dangerous to your health if inhaled.
Dreams are a matter of choice, not chance. Live your Dreams. -DC
todsky
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After 20 years of blowing as much as 75 balloons at one show by mouth, I have started using a pump most of the time. As Andrea mentioned, I'll usually blow the first two or three by mouth, because it impresses the audience, and then I'll do the rest by pump. (I use a tubular qualatex pump, virtually indestructible). Blowing up too many by mouth can also cause blood vessels to pop, if you overdo it. It;s true that the warm air from the mouth makes it less likely the balloon will pop, but not that much difference, I find. I never had complaints or dirty looks from parents when I blew up balloons by mouth, but then again I wasn't around after the show when balloons may have burst and splattered the kid with my stinky breath condensations.
So there.
We carry Murphy's Magic, Ellusionist products, Bizarre Magick, etc.
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p.b.jones
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Your audience couldn't care less whether you use mouth or pump.

HI,
I do not entirely agree, many times I have had kids an adults consider me a better ballon person simply because I blow by mouth. actualy they usualy say that they saw a guy at x but he wasn,t a proper modeller he used a pump. I personaly don't see the difference but lay people do.
Phillip
Bill Nuvo
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I use a pump and have been told many times that I am the best at what I do.

Now I am truly not the best balloon artist (far from in it) but what these people are referring to is the entertainment factor that I provide plus the quality of the sculptures.

for more info on balloon art go to http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/twister_acts.html

I do appreciate those who can blow em up by mouth. It is a nice touch and looks more impressive unless you are doing the balloon factory and you pass out!
Stevethomas
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I have a fantastic pump (along with the nice portable Qualatex pumps), matter of fact it's the very last Balloon Master pump ever manufactured, and I still inflate by mouth. I've been doing that for almost 12 years now, sometimes up to 600 in a day, with no health effects. I get better control over the softness or fullness of the balloon by mouth. The powder (or POWER, as listed by some) is bad for you when you inhale it, it can force you to be put on steroids (usually a pyramid schedule for 5 days) and show spots on your lungs in an x-ray. The pressure can also move things inside you in directions they're not supposed to go. It's all in the training and breath control. I've given good reasons for both types of inflation. It's a matter of personal preference, and in knowing your audience and venue. Heck...I can even still inflate a 160 by mouth, and I'm 43 now.

Steve Thomas
Alan Munro
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It may be that you need a small pump, that will inflate a balloon quickly. I use an Italian made pump that is distributed by Gala - I got mine from http://www.hippityhop.com . When the owner of Hippity Hop showed me how indestructible the pump was, I was sold. The pump is quite flat, so you can have it under your jacket. Pumping with it is effortless - it won't tire you after making many balloons.

Qualatex pumps are awful, because they break too easily. Not to mention, that pump has some resistance, so it will tire you after a while.
Ron Reid
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Hello Starrpower:

I have to agree with Donald and Phillip concerning the "blow by mouth" method. I made a decision to learn to mouth-inflate when I first started doing balloons, and have done it that way ever since. I first learned from a Brian Flora tape, and he made a big deal out of NOT using a pump. Like others, I have never had anyone comment negatively about this - only heard about situations on this forum.

I do receive a lot of positive comments like the others. People are really in awe sometimes that I can blow up these long balloons. I'm not the best at it either - just average, I'd say. For people here who can't do it, I'd suggest going to http://www.balloonhq.com and reading the information there; learning to mouth-inflate is a process that will take time, though.

The ONLY negative I can think of is perhaps the talc powder in the balloons may be a hazard to your health. I've heard some speculation, but nothing that I'd say is real credible, yet.
JesterMan
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I personally prefer to use an electric pump. I have a story line that brings it into the entertainment. I also like that the balloons tend to be a little less fat than they are when I blow them by mouth. Oh, and that curly balloon for snakes and other figures that feature it; easy to do with this type of inflator.

Unless you are John Cassidy, or going after his record, any difference in speed is negligible, when you are fresh. After an hour or two, the pump wins, easily. After 8 hours. . . No contest! It is faster than the hand pumps, and leaves your other hand free to work the balloon, rather than having to hold it on the hand pump with one hand, and pump with the other. I do think that the electric pump might actually ADD an (ahem) air of professionalism, whereas they might view the hand pump as something like what they have to use, and can buy at Walmart or the party store.

I get comments from the audience on both sides; ("you're cheating", which I turn into a bit of the story, and others who like the machine.) I have never had anyone think less of me, and certainly, after they see the balloons I do, they know I'm not a hack. (I am WELL beyond being a one-balloon wonder, or, as some say around here, "the Poodle lady"!) On the other hand, I've had many people ask me about the pump's workings, and have even had people offer to buy it. If they really were worried that I was not a 'real' balloon artist, I can blow them up; I keep in practice in case my 'squirrels' go on strike.

As for comparing it to mouth inflation, I can only think of one positive for that VS the electric pumps; the noise. If I have a little one who is frightened by it, I do it the old fashioned way; but, I could use a hand pump at that time, and sometimes do.
JM Smile Smile

Balloons, Magic, Mayhem & More!
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"... destined to take the place of the MudShark in your mythology... " FZ
Alan Munro
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My reason for not using my mouth is simple. I broke too many blood vessels in my face when I worked a balloon line - that's a lot of pain! I just use the balloons for the balloon swallowing, so I couldn't care less about whether someone wanted me to use my mouth to blow it up.
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