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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Arm Chopper on street as closer?? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Amon
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Chicago, IL
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I'm considering using the arm chopper as my finale of which I'll take an apple I produced from my cups and balls (thinking about making those my opener). I figure these two effects might even flow togethor well... Does anyone with busking experience have opinion about using the arm chopper as the closing effect to entice the crowd to stay till the end for? More importantly using the arm chopper on the street period? I'm brand new to busking...thx -Amon
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Northern California
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I have an arm chopper now that I recently got and fixed up.
I don't have a routine but I'm starting to write down lines, bits, gags, etc.

It will, one day, be a lot of fun. If you're looking for good ideas, look at rich marotta's in his dynamic duo video. if you want one, I think I have an extra.
they're cheap.

I'm very much looking forward to using this routine in a stand-up show but it sort of seems kind of big for the street. plus the angle problem depending on the type.

You could do the finger chopper on the street. . .
Harry Anderson has a very funny routine, though his ending is difficult to do unless ... well, if you have the book, you know what I mean. If you don't have the book, well, it won't matter anyway.
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Amon
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Chicago, IL
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Thanks Frank for the ideas. I've been using an arm chopper for a number of years now and it really does get good mileage with the audience.The only thing I've had a bad experience with is making the mistake of using it for too young of an audience (must of been a good 10 years ago now.) I don't do that anymore for younger audiences,and I'll never forget that. Seems like all of the kids were really getting into it, but this one child just started crying his eyes out..I ended up bringing him up after the show to explain to him that it was just a trick. I did switch from a "disecto" model to one of the more traditional models (fully enclosed), so I don't think I'll have a problem with angles. My main concern is probabaly with audience participation, trust, and interaction, since this is going to be on the street, I wasn't sure if it would be harder to pull out an "arm chopper".

Posted: Sep 27, 2006 12:42pm
Follow-up: I did have very good reactions with this when I recently used it. I noticed as I put it up on my table the crowd grew. I actually did this after my cups and balls and it turned out nice.
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TheAmbitiousCard
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How long is your routine?
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Amon
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Chicago, IL
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Hi Frank..it's approx 18-20minutes usually
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Kent Wong
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I saw a busker this summer using a guillotine style arm chopper as the finale to his show. Early on in the show, he explained that he was going to end his show by cutting the head off of one of the most feared creatures on Earth. He then pulled out a large stuffed Barney dinosaur for everyone to see.

To make sure nothing went wrong, he tied a rope to one of Barney's legs and strung the other end through the hole in the guillotine. He then tied the end of the loose rope to the wrist of a volunteer to make sure Barney couldn't get away.

The entire audience was then led into singing of the magic phrase (the Barney theme song). As they were doing this, the magician went to pick up Barney (for the ostensible purpose of putting him in the guillotine). Just then, the volunteer seemed to give the rope a tug. Barney's leg (to which the rope was attached) was literally ripped off the rest of his body and fell to the ground to the absolute shock and surprise (and cheers) of everyone.

The ever caring magician said not to worry. He called a second volunteer from the audience. The magician untied the rope from Barney's leg and tied it onto the arm of the second volunteer (to make sure the first volunteer didn't get away). The magician then went and stuck a wooden leg back onto Barney before putting him back in the box (again, to huge cheers from the crowd).

During the body of his show, the magician continued to involve the two assistants who were effectively tied to one another, with the rope running through the arm chopper. He explained that, at the end of the show, he's going to cut off the arm of the first volunteer instead.

Near the end of the show, the magician pulled out a $5 and asked a young boy to run over to a nearby vendor and buy a hot dog - no bun, no toppings, just the hot dog - and bring it back to him as quickly as possible. Upon the boy's return, the magician explained that he was going to insert the hot dog into the hole contained within the guillotine to prove that the blade actually does go through the arm.

But, upon trying to put the hot dog into the hold of the guillotine, it obviously won't fit since the hot dog was too big around. The magician looks slyly to the crowd and says "Well, that's a first". He then warns the men in the audience that they may not want to watch the next 20 seconds of his show. He then goes about biting off the excess of the hot dog in a very animated fashion until it finally fits into the hold of the guillotine.

The volunteer's arm is placed through the guillotine and the magician delivers his hat line before the anticipated finale. The blade comes down, the hot dog drops to the ground and the crowd goes wild. That was one of the best performances I have seen in a long, long time.

Kent
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Amon
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WOW! That's all I can say. What a cool idea...I'd love to see that one. I love it. Did you catch who the busker was? -Amon
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TheAmbitiousCard
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That is very very good. I love it. Where did you see such a thing?
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Harry Murphy
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Wow! That sounds like a good routine. Frankly I think it would play better in the middle of an act than at the end. Especially for a busking street performance.

The problem I have (and it is only my problem and not something locked in stone) is that I like to end up alone, center court/stage with no helpers stealing my show. The idea is that all focus is on the performer and the acknowledgement of his/her skills as a showman. A helper up is diluting that perception.

Audience participation tricks tends to break momentum in an act (any act) when you excuse the helper to return to their place in the audience. The old theater strategy of asking for a round of applauding for them as they leave was designed to cover the dead time. Momentum has still come to a halt. And you have to build again. True a good show builds and releases tension to maximize effectiveness. But where you don’t want a release is at the end! There the only release is in the thunderous applause and then the show of appreciation by tossing a frog skin or three into the hat.

With an arm chopper you have two climaxes. The first when the blade is slammed home and the arm is found unharmed (build tension to relief) then again when you send the helper back to the audience. (tension has already been released and it is only downhill from there).

I find that particular rhythm steps on the hat. I think that a good performer could double his/her hats just by putting the helper based tricks in the beginning and middle of the show and end standing alone.

Again, this is just my experience and my thoughts on the matter. Remember, I could be wrong.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Amon
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I definately see what your saying Harry, good point. Now I'm just theorizing (is that a word?)Is this issue worth compromising if it is an instant crowd enlarger? It's almost like your one last shot at growing the crowd right before you collect? You still deliver a kicker and they walk away with a good memory of your show.
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Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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I would use it to build the crowd and then use another strong, “in one” trick for the finale with the hat lines. Check out see my use of the Iron Garrote elsewhere on the Café it‘s basically the same thing - a danger trick foisted on an unsuspecting audience member. I get very strong reactions and build a great crowd using it. It promises even stronger things to come.

However, you have to do it your way. If it works for you, if it’s the strongest trick you have, and proves to be the best closer for you then use it. It will be what makes your show unique.

Just when someone says that “X” won’t work on the street along comes someone and kills with “X” and makes the fattest hats ever.

Me? I like ending with all attention on me as the star and not sharing the applause with anyone. I share the applause earlier in the show. But I’m selfish in that way! It’s all about me, isn’t it?!?
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Amon
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LOL (ending with all the attention on you is a good thing). I tend to agree with you Harry. It probably is worth having one last (even if it's a quick visual) trick as you go into hat line. Thanks for the advice. -Amon
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theonejimmie
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Thanks for the post guys also thinking of adding this to my street show as a crowd builder and a comedy piece. think the idea on not closing with this one is right on.
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Although I put in as much detail as I could remember about the performance, words can't do the routine justice. The rhythmn and timing of the act as well as the endearing personality of the performer really made the show unique. I saw this act during the Fringe Festival held yearly in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The performer was a magician from Calgary (about 3 hours away) - and believe it or not, he's actually a lawyer by profession. This guy was truly inspiring!

Kent
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Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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I used to do the arm chopper all the time. Carried one for a couple of years in the Army... my favorite line was (as I was about to finally drop the blade) was: "and now for the ANTI-CLIMAX".
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
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