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Jolly Roger
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Sedona, Arizona
1654 Posts

Profile of Jolly Roger
Can some of you wonderful children's entertainers out there explain why you have a live rabbit in your show? I have never understood this, as there are so many more lower-maintenance illusions that have an even greater effect on the little ones. Maybe I am missing something? On the rare occasions someone asks if I have a rabbit in the show, I always say yes. What the client does not know is that it is a cardboard cut-out rabbit!! I have never yet had a complaint, as they love the show anyway! JR
magicbob116
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Inner circle
1523 Posts

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JR,

I do not use a live rabbit. My show has plenty of simulated rabbits (plush, wooden, silks, etc.), as well as other critters at times (to include a fairly realistic, albeit rather undersized, white tiger). But I do clearly establish with the client that there are no live animals in the show.

In my area, if I said, "Yes, there's a rabbit in the show," and then it was just a plush toy and not a live bunny, I'd be refunding a lot of money. Even though the show met expectations from an entertainment standpoint, it would not have met the SPECIFIC expectation of having a live bunny present. They would be expecting a live rabbit and would feel I had not delivered what was promised. Think about it... the parent might spend weeks building up the child's anticipation that there will be a bunny at his/her birthday party. That kid is going to be mighty disappointed if it's a cardboard cutout.

If someone is going to not hire me on the basis of there NOT being a live rabbit in the show, so be it. But I'm up front about the reasons I don't use livestock in the show, and they are generally OK with it.
B. Robert Pulver

The "I Hate Card Tricks!" Book of Card Tricks Vol. 1, 2, and 3
Kards for Kids
Sticky Situations
Sleightly Wacky
http://www.magicnook.com/magicbob
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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If one doesn't understand why one uses a rabbit and the impact it has on children, then one needs to study Basic Children Entertainment 101. I just don't want to get into a debate about it.

Some prefer doves, some prefer snakes, others prefer Bengal tigers, and some prefer cardboard cut-outs. I prefer a live, pettable, cute bunny rabbit. Do what you think is best for your audience.
Dennis Michael
keeblem
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Essex, UK
1167 Posts

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Quote:
On 2006-11-25 21:49, jolly roger wrote:
On the rare occasions someone asks if I have a rabbit in the show, I always say yes. What the client does not know is that it is a cardboard cut-out rabbit!! I have never yet had a complaint, as they love the show anyway! JR


I would think saying this is a bit misleading to a potential booker.

I personally don't have a rabbit, but have thought about adding one to the show. Without getting into a massive debate on whether one should use live animals, one obvious point comes to mind: kids love animals (usually!), so having a rabbit it your show, kids are going to love it!
Mark
Potty the Pirate
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Kids love animals, and if they want a party with animals, a local zoo offers to bring around a selection of cute and pettable animals, as well as snakes and slimy critters too! The kids do love this party, and tell me all about it sometimes. But they also get a bit bored once they find that there's no "entertainment" provided.
It's very, very rare these days for someone to ask if I have a rabbit, since most mums in this area would rather I didn't bring livestock along (it's seen as cruel and unnecessary by many). Instead, I offer a great selection of puppets, who are also cute and pettable, and they do tricks and say funny things as well! To my mind, there's no comparison - most live animals aren't entertaining, though with careful and dedicated training, they can become so.
If you have the rabbit habit, good luck. I do fine without the worries. And the stories I've heard over the years of rabbits dying in the backs of cars, in the production box, etc., convinces me that these animals suffer a great deal of stress being taken all around the place. Puppets are MUCH better all around.
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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Quote:
On 2006-11-25 21:49, jolly roger wrote:
On the rare occasions someone asks if I have a rabbit in the show, I always say yes. What the client does not know is that it is a cardboard cut-out rabbit!! I have never yet had a complaint, as they love the show anyway! JR


This is blatant deception to a customer. It is this type of deception that gives magicians a "bad rap".

There is much said on the Café on the importance of animals in your show.

Quite simply, having been involved with the top children entertainers in the country, David Ginn, Ken Scott, Barry Mitchell, Trixie Bond, Steve Taylor, Julian Franklin, Dave Rizley, just to name a few, all use rabbits, all are full time magicians, and they make a decent wage at it. They all care for their rabbits properly.

The biggest drawback with rabbits is their care. It's an extra daily chore one must be willing to take. We all are in this business because we love what we do, we love the joy the kids get when the rabbit appears, and when they pet it. It's an internal feeling one gets that make it so worth while. If one does not know or have that feeling, then animals are not for them.
Dennis Michael
Bill Scarlett
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Vermont
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I stopped using a rabbit because it was starting to be viewed as a negative in my area by many parents. I live in a part of the country where there are a lot of animal rights people and, even though I took very good care of my rabbit and treated it well, the parents would get this sad look on their face when I made the rabbit appear. Times change, and our audiences change. I stopped using a live rabbit because my customers didn't want me to have a live rabbit.
Smoke & Mirrors
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Quote: What the client does not know is that it is a cardboard cut-out rabbit!!


I, too, think you are misleading the client. Just because they don't SAY something doesn't mean squat. Most unhappy customers don't verbalize their complaints. I cannot imagine the parents getting the kids excited by telling them there will be a rabbit, and then you pull that on them! Weird.
SeaDawg
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The Lunatic Fringe
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Every Bunny loves some Bunny sometimes....LOL

With my wife, 2 teenage girls, and 5 cats... I just don't think I am up to a "Bunny".

The merits of bunny versus no-bunny could turn into a free for all. I think it is a matter of personal choice, but trying to pass off a "cardboard" bunny as having a rabbit in the show if they specifically asked...Nope, that is not a "switch" I am comfortable with. What if the mom promised "Little Johnny" or "Janie" a real rabbit this year? I am not going to tread those waters.

My show is my show... Fun, interaction, madness, and mayhem for all...
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
chris mcbrien
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Chicago
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JR,
I will give you some information that goes a bit deeper than our own professional experience.
Among many cultures, including Native American (rabbit in the moon...just look and you'll see it during the full moon), Northern European, and Icelandic cultures, the rabbit is seen as a symbol of mankind and it's dependency on God...the little rabbit is dependent wholly on mother nature and is always in a state of fragile existence. While Rabbits depend on speed for their defense and survival in the physical sense, mankind depends on its "speed" of ingenuity for defense and survival.
The fact that many cultures use rabbits as symbols of Spring (when you see new rabbit offspring in abundance) is simply a carry-over of the above, as mankind emerges from harsh winter and is renewed with the promise of a new season.
Rabbits are vulnerable, mankind is vulnerable.
In the "super-conscious" of our collective humanity, the rabbit as a symbol of mankind's struggle is heightened when the rabbit is seen to do "supernatural" feats and takes on an almost "underdog" role as a person can. A small animal with few physical defense mechanisms and inherit "cuteness" doing magical things is endearing to us. Picture a dog or monkey, and it's just not as "Awww, isn't that cute and magical" as a rabbit.
Also, rabbits are seen as "moon" creatures and have been associated with Goddesses for eons, being a symbol of procreation and gentleness...decidedly feminine characteristics. The moon, as well as various Goddesses, are seen as magical, especially given the moon's reign over the mysterious night-time. Most magical, spooky, or supernatural stories happen at night.....also keep in mind most "magical" ceremonies of past religions were performed at night and focused many times on the moon.
Hope that gives you some background to work with as far as the answer to a very good question concerning our venerable art form...

Best,
Chris McBrien

BTW: Having seen video samples of JR's show, I could see how he could play off the two-dimensional rabbit in a "Flosso-esque" way...and it could be very funny!
"Now scram, kid!"
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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I think that Roger just doesn't want to share the billing with a rabbit. It would mean surrendering some of his fame and glory. Smile

- Donald

P.S. I also think that when a customer asks if you have a rabbit in your show, they mean a real one. I tell them "no" (to tell them otherwise is lying, when you know they mean a real one), and then tell them why it's to their advantage that I don't have one. I wrote another post a long time ago, telling how I sell about not having a rabbit. BTW, I think having a rabbit can be a strong sidekick (and strong selling feature), and I have a lot of respect for those entertainers who wish to keep one and work with it. Some performers play off of their co-star's personality and special talents.

P.P.S. Thread some might be interested in reading: Cafe thread titled... Live animals
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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I don't use animals in my show. It's not an artistic choice, but a practical one since my wife is allergic to most animal hair. Whenever I get asked about animals, I indicate to the client that I don't use animals because some children may be allergic, and I don't want to do anything that will put them at risk. Most parents fully understand the reasoning behind this and fully support the potential "benefits" of not having an animal in the show.

On those rare occasions where the client really, really wants an animal, I simply refer the client to my good friend and Café member, Brian Lehr.

Kent
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haccis
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I don't use rabbit in my show, cause most of my shows are birthday magic shows in someone's living room. I can't imagine a more stressing situation for live bunny than 15 screaming and toward-jumping kids who all want to pet it at the same time.

Haccis
itsmagic
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middle earth
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Sure JR is partly correct in telling the parent he has a rabbit, but by omitting to tell them that it's NOT a real rabbit, it's FALSE advertisement.

I just booked a couple of school classroom shows because a lady enjoyed my show and the bunny, dove, and hamster. After the show, she asked if I had more animals in my show! I was taken aback. She also mentioned she hired a few Magic Castle magicians in the past who didn't know how to entertain the children and had no animals in their show.

I don't think there's any "lower maintenance illusion that has a greater effect" than a LIVE bunny in a children's show. Since childhood, the image synonymous with a magician is one that pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Ask any child to describe a magician.
chris mcbrien
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Chicago
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As I do think it's bad business to purposely mislead people, or lie to them, as far as what they'll get.....I don't want to lay judgement on JR. I don't know the circumstances, exactly. However, I do know that generally when a client asks if I have a rabbit and I say "yes", it means a real, live rabbit.
I have a little Dutch/Dwarf Rex mix. He's adorable! I used to have two, but one had complications and had to be given another home.
I get great reactions when I produce him, and I am currently working on a unique production that will be very memorable to my audiences.
Having a rabbit has pros and cons like all other things in any show. Yup, he's messy, and he has dander and sheds. That would be part of what a rabbit does...besides constantly eat, and then get rid of what he eats in that special rabbit way.
I have talked many clients out of using him when I think it may be an issue, including schools. I listen to what a client wants, and then only offer him in the show if they specifically ask for a rabbit...and even then I tell them the pros and cons and ask if their children have allergies (of course, in a school or library you take a risk).
Overall, my rabbit, Marshmallow, is one of our family pets, like our cat, Lilith (named after Frazier's ex wife when they were still together on Cheers...yes, she's a very old cat), and Rosy, our dog. So, I'm very protective of him and where I take him.
Chris
boppies2
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Arizona
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I currently have two bunnies and three doves. Why? Because I enjoy their company. They are not my livestock - they are my friends. It takes time to clean the cages and play/work with them on a daily basis. But for me, it is well worth the time to have this interaction. Oh yes, and I also talk to them regularly.

No, I am not Dr. Doolittle, but I thoroughly enjoy my little friends. The are my pets first and foremost - their performance in my shows are secondary.
Max
Potty the Pirate
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There's a part of me that would love to own an animal, perhaps a parrot, and to train the bird to talk and do tricks. (Did you know that you can train a parrot to do a REAL card trick? He'll walk along a line of face-down cards and always pick the right one!) I do love animals, but I'm also really busy, and my time out tends to be getting exercise or getting away. That doesn't leave time for animals, so I'll leave them to those that can find the time.
I like the idea that the animal doesn't have to attend EVERY show. Might as well make the animal an "add-on" and charge extra?!
raywitko
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western Pa
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Not only do I work with a live rabbit in my show, but doves and chickens as well. It's a good feeling to see the young people's faces light up when the animals make an appearance. Not only the young, but the older folks enjoy my family of pets.
Ray
Sometimes it seems there are more than one of me.

Tabman USA
magicdmv
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magicbob116
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To clarify my original reply... I'm not against using a rabbit or another animal in the show. I just don't use one in my show. As someone else mentioned above, it's strictly for practicality reasons that I don't have one. I might add a live rabbit at some point in the future, but until then, I will just continue to be up front with clients about not having live animals in the show. In explaining my reasons to them, I do NOT criticize magicians who do use live animals.
B. Robert Pulver

The "I Hate Card Tricks!" Book of Card Tricks Vol. 1, 2, and 3
Kards for Kids
Sticky Situations
Sleightly Wacky
http://www.magicnook.com/magicbob
kimmo
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Sheffield
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I've kept rabbits since long before I started doing magic, and I love performing with one. I don't include him in every show and would agree that it is perfectly possible to provide a fantastic show without one. Having a rabbit is a huge selling point for me, but like Donald, I could easily turn NOT having one into a selling point. Do whatever you feel is right for you!

I personally feel that leading your customers to believe you have a live rabbit in the show when you don't is a little dodgy. Roger tends to be provocative in his postings on here, so I'm not 100% sure whether he is seriously misleading his customers or not.

I have purchased items from Roger and found him to be very reliable, and the after sales support was excellent. His views on kids entertainment may be a little unorthodox, but they are always thought-provoking and I enjoy them, even though I suspect he is sometimes winding us up. Smile
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