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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Operation Rudolph. (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Caleb Strange
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Today, in my local paper, I read of what were called 'scrooge scientists' and their Santa calculations. Apparently the big man's sleigh would have to weigh a massive 321,300 tons, and he would have to visit 822 houses per second. When local schoolchildren were presented with these, and other party pooping facts, they witheringly replied, 'But he's MAGIC'. As a bizarrist I found this very reassuring.

The children also had some Santastic ideas, which I'm not too proud to steal. 8 year old Jake says, 'He has a huge magic bag, which keeps filling up with toys'. Others suggest that he has a 'magic key', or 'shrinks himself down to fit in the chimney. If he gets stuck, the elves just give him a push down'. He can even 'walk through walls'. And Hannah, 11, says, 'He does have a bag, but it has glitter in it and he sparkles the glitter over houses and presents appear'.

Now, this got me thinking. What, as bizarrists, can we do to extend and enhance this Yuletide magic? Brace yourselves, it's a biggie.

On Friday the 9th of February 1855, in the English county of Devon, locals woke to find the countryside snow covered with thousands of strange footprints. To many, it seemed that to add to all the troubles the winter had caused them, they had had a visit from the Devil. Servants would not go out after dark. Gangs of men, armed with guns and bludgeons hunted the beast to no avail. More strangely, marks were seen on rooftops, and high window sills. Tracks would seemingly walk up walls, and continue on the other side. 'No known animal could have traversed this extent of country in one night, besides having to cross an estuary of the sea two miles broad', an anoymous correspondent wrote.

Now imagine, it is Christmas day 2003 or 2004. People all over the world wake up to find strange hoof prints in sand, mud or snow. Deep lines, as if made by some kind of sleigh are also discovered. Half eaten carrots litter the world, and late night Christmas eve revellers report hearing the fairy dust sound of sleigh bells, borne to them on a gentle wind. Children wake up in hospitals, and care homes, and excitedly see the tracks themselves. The centres of towns and cities, suburban streets, farm yards and deserts, all have been visited. Excited scientists confirm the prints are those of reindeer, and calculate that millions of prints have been found worldwide. Adults smile. Children dream and glow.

Okay, now I've probably got a bit sentimental here for my fellow bizarrists, but what better publicity could the belittled and ignored art of magic get? Kind of like our gift to the world, and a gentle reminder that magicians are the music makers, and the dreamers of dreams. But how to do it? Well, for straters, we'd need a forum where thousands of magicians from all over the world could plot and plan. Where on earth do we find that?

Any comments?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
bigplumbz
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GREAT IDEA! absolutley stunning...
we should well do that....It would be soo cool..like the crop circle fiasco, yey miles better!
children would be chuft!
c'mon guys..whatya say? Smile
Kathryn Novak
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I say it's impossible. What about the areas of the USA, or the world even, that don't have sand, mud or snow? Say an area is surounded by rock for miles. Making sleigh tracks and hoofprints becomes a bit of a problem. There are plenty of children who don't believe in Santa or don't celebrate Christmas. And some scientist would eventually disprove it. It's a nice idea, however.
If anyone sees my sanity, please return it to

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Caleb Strange
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IceRaven02 I wouldn't dream of having this done in areas where it's not culturally appropriate. I'd want to liaise with community leaders in parts of my own city, for instance, before doing this. I know some people of different faiths in Manchester who happily go along with the 'secular' parts of the festival. And I know others who don't. If a network of interested people were to be founded, ground rules would need to be established early on. And, I'd guess, a sense of local cooperation, and even participation, would be necessary. Remember, that in Santa cultures, adults already collude to some extent over Santa. Tales are told, and in my country, mince pies are eaten.

As for scientists, in the season of goodwill and all, I think any scientist zealously rational enough to start disproving the magic would be howled out of town. Skeptics might not like the idea of beliefs being imbued in children, but they're wise enough, and generous enough to shut up over Santa. Besides, I see it, not necessarily, as some GREAT secret. It's more along the lines of putting a tooth under the pillow for the tooth fairy. It's not a question of taking the method seriously. It's the effect on children, and the adults who think 'How charming' that's the serious thing.

As for tracks in rock, I was kind of hoping that local groups would provide the 'magic' that was appropriate for the location. I would even imagine that come Christmas morning, many parents get inventive themselves, like spoons getting bent at home during the psychic's TV special.

Any other thoughts?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Tom Cutts
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NO Snow, sand, rock or....

But does anyone know where I can get some Raindeer droppings on the Internet/ Smile Smile

TOM
DavidEscapes
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Hi Caleb

You have an ally in Manchester who would be willing to help. It sounds like a great idea!

PM me about it Smile

Have fun

Duncan
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Dark illusionist
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"On Friday the 9th of February 1855, in the English county of Devon, locals woke to find the countryside snow covered with thousands of strange footprints. To many, it seemed that to add to all the troubles the winter had caused them, they had had a visit from the Devil. Servants would not go out after dark. Gangs of men, armed with guns and bludgeons hunted the beast to no avail. More strangely, marks were seen on rooftops, and high window sills. Tracks would seemingly walk up walls, and continue on the other side. 'No known animal could have traversed this extent of country in one night, besides having to cross an estuary of the sea two miles broad', an anoymous correspondent wrote. "


WO BABY thats spooky... and it gives me an idea hehehe

You guys are crazy by the way. That paragraph scares the hell out of me. Im thinking a good routine would be to tell this story and about how santa may not be as jolly an idea as i used to think it was. what if santa was a horribly misfigured beast trying to do good? like the phantom of the opera or something? before everybody gets me wrong my goa with this routine is not to frighten little kids. im not that mean. Im thinking of presenting it after the hollidays (i realy have no choice considering that i dont have this routine yet) i could present it at the Café i sumtimes perform at for mostly adults and some college students. it would be like payback for makeing you kids believe in santa. well no it wouldnt it would be like one of those ferrytale horror movies that i havn't watched in a while. in case you didnt figure it out yet im writeing every idea thats poping into my head in an unorginised fashion. Ill stop now....

Jonathan
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Caleb Strange
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Bigplumbz and Straightjacket Guy, thanks for the positive feedback. I'm going to think some more about this, and pm you if that's okay, and we'll try and push this forward.

Tom, I love the reindeer spore idea! There must be thousand other ideas out there as to how we can suggest Santa and his presence. As bigplumbz suggested, look at the excitement and theories a bit of flattened corn produced.

Jonathan, great bizarre idea. Not QUITE what I had in mind for Christmas 2003, but sounds perfect for where you plan to perform it. All the best for developing it into a routine.

Now, as for Operation Rudolph (OR). Lots of us are agreed that we magicians, jugglers and entertainers have been culturally marginalised, and that we seem to be losing our societal relevance to some extent. We keep asking ourselves WHY this is, and don't always wonder HOW we can address and correct this unhappy state of affairs.

The thinking behind OR is that a global publicity stunt would not do any harm, and maybe do us some good. At last, the global communication and coordination required for such a stunt/effect is now a reality. One day a group of performaers will exploit this medium, and make the world smile. Why not make it be us, and exploit the tremendous resources at our disposal?

For most of us, it would mean no more work than a a giggling hour early Christmas morning. And having been involved in such night-time sheenanigans myself in the past, I can tell you it's great fun! Just imagine the rush of a performance going global the next day! If no one notices, though with a bit of quite pre-publicity I'd doubt this would be the case, we'd have lost an hour's sleep, and be in the same largely ignored position that we are at the moment.

Now I know how creative all we performers are, and there might be a reluctance to working on somebody else's idea. Well, friends, the beauty of OR is that we would be working on our own effects. It's a place to take off from, and nothing more. Maybe a little bit of central coordination, so we worked the same year(!), and maybe some guidelines as to not breaking the law, and incurring harm doing our bit. But other than what we'd centrally agree, we'd be free to do our own thing. Rudolph poop on some streets in Oakland, candy and magic dust sprinkled outside a hospital in Madrid. Pixies seen dancing in Cape Town, and anomalous giant snow figures discovered in Sidney.

Let's make it happen?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Dr Mage
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Absolutely! Great idea.

I think it is probably a bit too late to get things going for this Christmas, but next year...this could be really big. I think that we could all recruit enough "helpers" by then to make this into something significant.
:xmas: Smile Smile
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Dark illusionist
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ok but i dont know anyone here from poughkeepsie so ive got a lot of ground to cover by myself!

Jonathan

O wate i forgot i have freands
Check out my brand new website:

www.ovationmagic.cjb.net

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Wil Castor
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IceRaven; Remember, we specialize in the impossible Smile

Caleb; a fantastic idea, Im in seattle, count me in. Lets start planning now... I have wanted to do a full on hoax city or state wide and have thought about using the resource of computers and fellow scoundrels but this is much more grand and even a little nobel, keep me posted. Smile
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Caleb Strange
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Thanks for the support everybody, and the pms. Keep 'em coming. The more we have, the more we'll get. I appreciate it's a busy time of year (professionally and personally) for us, and I'm gratified that so many people have taken the time to respond.

Any suggestions would be warmly welcomed. If you think it's a dumb idea, tell me why, and we'll see if we can work something out. I know that the footprints thing might not be to everyone's taste, or even do-able in some areas of the world, so what would YOU do? Droppings (thanks Tom), circles of nibbled corn? How can we make it work? And how can we get this thing snowballing in the new year? Who should we tell? What can we do?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Stephen Long
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If you could bend Michael Bailey (president of the Magic Circle) to your will, you would have a lot of support.
A letter, perhaps?

(And a fine idea, by the way. I only wonder at the number of people needed for a conspiracy this big and consequently, how to prevent leaks into the world of children.)
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ptbeast
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This is a great idea. I have a Christmas tree farm (though we won't be open yet next year), so how could I pass this up? Looking forward to ideas for those in non-snowy areas. Lightly trampled plants w/
'Reindeer fur', a knocked over antenna (does anybody still have antennas on the roof? - and with the parents permission of course),
some spilled corn or oats... hmmm what else?

Dave
Smile Smile Smile
MOTO42
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As a member of the Grown Up Conspiracy, I don't think it will be that hard to keep the kids in the dark on this one. Smile
After all, they WANT to believe (don't we all?) and I think the few parents that learn of our rightous plot will gladly not say a word.

I'm in, you now have one (1) magi in Tyler Texas. I beleive I can obtain at least 3 local allies to execute the plan as well. And probably work the local news-station for support. (They've been hurting for interesting news stories ever since they went to an "all local news" format.)
"One man's miracle is another man's warm-up"
Wil Castor
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what about starting this year with a little plotting... maybe a false report or two (hundred) about a strange craft that jingeled or maybe some hoaxed photos sent to everyone that will listen... inother words start it out like all other mysteries, witha few fringe "nuts" who believe and have shreds of proof, setting us up next year for somthing everyone has to notice.
Pain is the craft entering into the apprentice.
Kathryn Novak
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Ok, I was most worried about the religious differences. I mean, there are over 200 of them in this world! Magic is made to amaze and entertain, not to offend. Smile
If anyone sees my sanity, please return it to

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Caleb Strange
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Great ideas, everybody. Keep 'em coming!

Now the small print. IceRaven02 has made a very important point about religious differences, and perhaps we can think about how we can address this issue. For me, the notion of community involvement, albeit mildly secret, seems part of the answer. What are your thoughts on this? Could we, for instance, encourage participation by people of all faiths at OTHER times in the year, and in ways appropriate for them? Imagine, for instance, your town square filled over night with a million candles during Divali. The local press send a photographer, and the picture goes national. Something equally magical transpires at the end of Ramadam, and the public sense, excitedly, that something is afoot. The media are partly clued into to what's going on, and the story builds...

Aside from religious differences, there are racial and cultural differences to take into account, too. Could we contact community leaders and workers, and get things happening locally? Do we want to? Imagine, for instance, your local carnival committee secretly producing gorgeous antler hats throughout the year. And when we wake up on Christmas morning, every municipal statue has been Rudolphised! I can see there being many benefits to this approach. Interest in the performance arts could be generated in those parts of the community, that traditionally miss out on our fun. New ideas, fresh faces, great friends.

And of course, there's the amount of work involved. Some of us would have to write letters, and shake hands. How secret do we want to keep this? Is it performers only, or do we enlist others? What's our code of conduct? How do we organise ourselves? The (unfortunate) model of individual 'cells' comes to mind, with structures at city, state/area/county/ and national level. Stephen has a fine suggestion. Can/do we want to get clubs and societies like IBM, or IJA, or the Magic Circle on board? It might help with establishing our bona fides, and be a lever to prise open the feature editor's door. If we decide to contact such organisations, how and when do we do this? Do we wait to get thousands of us committed to this, and if so, how do we go about getting such numbers? And do we go for 2003, and strike while the iron is hot, or do we give ourselves more time, and go for 2004? Finally, how do we communicate with each other? It'd be nice to stay here, for central business, and if it all happened it'd be great publicity for the Café. What does everybody think?

And now the Christmas cheer. Imagine...

It's Christmas 2004. You've finished your last show, and you're chilling out at home. Tonight is THE night, and over a little mulled wine, you happily recall the twists and turns of your journey. You've been in on Operation Rudolph since the beginning. You wrote the letters. You went round local societies and did your talk which always started 'This is a really dumb idea, but...'. You have worked with people all over town. You've made many friends, and got more contacts and offers for work than you can handle. But that's not really been the point. You just want to make a frowning world smile.

You turn on the news, and reports are coming in of strange happenings 'Down Under'. Two miles of reindeer prints have been found on Bondi beach. The groundsman at the Melbourne cricket ground has found half a ton of reindeer poop on the outfield. 'It kinda reminded me of the Poms' team', he grins. A lunatic has put a giant red-nose on Sydney Opera House. Online, stories are being posted from all over the world. Operation Rudolph is dancing East to West with the rising soon, and warming the planet. A carefully prepped 'expert' on the news is wondering whether these events are connected to the Santa flap of 2003, when thousands reported sightings (great idea Wil) of supersonic sleigh like craft. And maybe, your planted 'expert' speculates, there's a link to the other outbreaks of wonder that have bloomed in every culture of the world this year? You chuckle. The publicity people are doing a great job.

In your own country, you can't wait for what you know is coming. Down south, a giant hillfigure Rudolph, a hundred yards long, is about to do wonders for a small town's tourist trade. Radar traces of some unknown craft travelling at great speed from the north pole have been arranged with friends in high places. There's a woman in the west who's been supplying many groups in the country with reindeer poop. No one has dared ask her where she gets them from. To your certain knowledge, at least fifty miles of Rudolph tracks are going to magically appear, nationwide, on this glorious night.

In your own town, the hospital and children's home groups are already at work. Beautiful Santa sacks have been made, and local businesses have filled them with gifts. Reindeer dust is being sprinkled outside ER/A&E, and personalised taped messages from Santa are being made to be played on the children's wards in the morning.

In the town centre, late night revellers are about to be treated to the enchanting sound of invisible hoof steps and sleigh bells. There's this a weird guy three streets over from you, who even now is baking 'Genuine Rudolph Poop Cakes'. They look way too realistic, and he's been flogging them in the pubs and clubs to one and all this last week.

And your own little group. What a marvellous, maddening journey it's been. The planning, the plotting, the wild ideas. Tantrums, and dreams, and beautiful schemes! And perhaps that's been the best thing about Operation Rudolph. Everyone contribution has helped make it happen. Okay certain guidelines that were drawn up and argued about in spring 2003, which you've all followed. But at level of the individual group, people have had exhilirating freedom. If you could think, and find some way to do it, then you've been warmly encouraged to go for it.

And your lot have come up with something wonderful. A gentle, beautiful performance is about to transform your town. It'll take thirty three minutes, if the trial runs can be relied on. And folks will be talking about it for years.

This is it. Your biggest show. For one night only. You get your bag of stuff and take a deep breath. Once again you're about to step out into that delicious spotlight. But tonight, the WORLD is your stage.

The problems I mentioned, and the hundreds we haven't even thought of yet, let us call point 'A'. The pretty picture of the future is point 'B'.

And all we have to do, is draw a line...



Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
M. Perk
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I remember about 8 or 9 years ago in New York City, purple foot prints started showing up on sidewalks and streets in the downtown area of Manhattan. The press got hold of the story and reported it for a few days. Finally they tracked it down to an artist protesting the Government cut backs of the National Endowment of Arts. He used a rubber paint roller with imprints of feet on it. I remember they were all over the place. If something like that made the news, perhaps Operation Rudolph wouldn't be so bad.
MOTO42
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A friend of mine one said "Better we remain a small, dedicated group of madmen." And I think he had a point. I think that each cell should be a small group of entertainers who do the actual planning of the operation in their area. If these people so choose, they can seek the aid of trustworthy people outside the group in their area to help do the deed. All cells should report in to a cental authority, just so that everybody knows what everybody else is doing and for coordination of our little miracles.

These are just my current ideas, and I'm only suggesting them. I reserve the right to change them or even deny the very existance of this post at a later date. Smile
"One man's miracle is another man's warm-up"
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