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Regan
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I have been using live rabbits in my show for a long time. I hope to get time to add doves someday. I would hate to think about doing my show without my little magic partner. Kids and adults love to see him. I have never had any real problems with kids and allergies. I have had a few that turned down the invitation to pet the bunny at the end of the show because of their allergies. Nowadays, I always let them know I am bringing the bunny to them and remind them that it may not be a good idea to get too close if they are allergic.
Mister Mystery
John C
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Quote:
On 2006-11-25 21:49, jolly roger wrote:
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


If you SOLD rabbits, would it be a different story perhaps?

J
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Donald Dunphy
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I can see them understanding "tiger" as a joke. I sometimes comment about an "elephant" in my su-table to the kids. But I don't really joke with the customer, unless it is obvious to both of us.

- Donald

P.S. - Roger,
What are some of the tricks/routines that you personally recommend that have greater impact than a live rabbit, but are less maintenance? (Not a "canned" answer, please. Smile )
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
chris mcbrien
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Why do I hear the song "Why can't we be friends" going in my head........

Once upon a time, there was a cawdboawd wabbit named Willy.
While Willey was a-wawe of his cawd-boawd stawe, the others all said it was silly.
Then one day, while the wabbits all pwayed, lil' Willy, why he had pwan that was gweat.
He'd make more money attwacting others with honey, instead of spweading his hate.
So he cwimbed in a box, labelled "Jolly's Bagels and Lox", and went off to schling some schtick.
He made kids laugh and gasp, some even wipped their wittle pants, so jolly was that wabbit...and qwick!
So if you laugh at poor Willy, then we'd call YOU silly, cuz Jolly, he knows what pways well....
And for those who can't smile, and wead between the schlamile, then you can all go to .....

I'm completely just doing this in jest...
To all...the BEST! And Lord knows, I love free speech!!!
Chris

PS - JR,
If you use this poem, you have to pay me in a free Ridiculous Ravioli set! Smile
Donald Dunphy
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BTW, you will see a mention on that other thread I linked to that Sammy Smith has a theory that a puppet can have almost as much impact as a live animal. Because Roger has a wonder mouse in his show, he essentially has a puppet of sorts.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Chance Wolf
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Roger,
Your specific question was as follows:
"Why would 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."

In most cases, including mine, the answer is quite simple.
Some folks do not mind the extra effort. That is really about all there is to it.
Given the extra effort, in the end, the kids go WILD when the Bunny hops out.

Unlike anything I think I have EVER seen. That reaction, to me, is worth a million bucks...and some extra effort Smile
Chance
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Potty the Pirate
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I realise that kids adore animals in general (and often some of the most "difficult" kids love animals the most). But to imagine that a live animal has greater impact than a puppet is missing the point, in my opinion. A puppet can be petted just like a real animal, the reactions can be controlled, and the puppet can make jokes and all kinds of funny remarks. Steve Axtell's "Sammy Seal" is SO cute and cuddly, do you really think a live rabbit has as much impact as one of these creatures?
It seems to me that it's only for older kids, say 8 years +, who really bother to differentiate between a real animal and a puppet; the younger ones are fascinated by both. And with a puppet, there is virtually no maintenance, no allergy worries, no creature to worry about and care for while out performing.
Of course, lots of magicians still like to use live animals, but I do feel that attitudes are changing towards performing animals. Many circuses in the UK now have no animals due to strict legislation being enforced. And a great number of adults do not like to see a live animal being used for entertainment purposes - unless it's in the guise of "dog borstal" or something similar.
Just my opinion, and of course, I don't mean to criticise those who still use livestock in their shows.
Doug
Dennis Michael
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We have discussed the differences in culture, and how that plays an important part on our choice of routines. I understand Punch and Judy are popular overseas, but such violence with puppets (slapstick humor) would not be tolerated in our school systems. We also have a wide range of "political correct" actions, which we have to take into consideration.

There is also the PETA police, who like to flex their muscle and have come after magicians. The choice is individual. Rabbit or no rabbit. I even came across a person who took offense to twisting an alligator puppet's tail.
Dennis Michael
Tony James
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I find this fascinating. For years, I used rabbits in the show. Three, in fact, at one time. Well, two were twinned, so the audience thought there were only two.

There's no difference between rabbits, horses, dogs, chimps, or cats. Some will enjoy working, some won't. You sort out the ones who do.

You live with them and discover what each is best at. I had one which would sit quietly in a top hat until I tapped the table with the wand. Then, he would sit up and look out straight at the audience. Never looked the wrong way, don't ask me why. It's the same with all the other animals I mentioned. It's how a circus works. Out of ten horses going round, one or two possess specialities.

I've known circuses send in, at the end, a horse that might look like the others, but in fact does one thing only. Can't even do the general routines. They keep it for that one trick.

Use what comes naturally to an animal. Realise, too, when they go, the trick goes with them.

Eventually rabbits die and are replaced. In the 80s, I used just one, and when it died, this coincided with Punch & Judy taking more of my time. These days, it's Punch which earns me my corn.

Now, here's a funny thing. There have been odd skirmishes, usually involving UK local authorities, considering Punch unsuitable. That appears to have stimulated the demand for Punch, who is now declared by the UK government as an 'Icon of Britishness'.

Sadly, rabbits and livestock are frowned upon. I was in a local village hall recently where a local authority inspired notice forbids the use of any animals for entertainment purposes.

Your side of the pond has no particular problem with performing animals, but there are issues it appears with a puppet show. Very curious.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Donald Dunphy
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Just to clarify my position on the matter of live rabbits, you will see on the link I posted earlier that I shared, I don't work with livestock either. You revealed how you tell customers that you don't work with live animals... on that other thread, I revealed how I tell customers I don't work with live animals. I feel my show is strong enough without the animals. (Yes, I also use cardboard cut-outs of animals and their drawings on silks, etc.)

Do I wish I had one? In some ways, yes; in some ways, no.

Do I admire those who work with animals? In some ways, yes; in some ways, no.

Do I wish I had your flair for jesting with customers and getting away with it? In some ways, yes; in some ways, no.

All the best,
Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
chris mcbrien
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Knowing what I know about Punch and Judy (and having seen my share of performances while in the UK), it's amazing to know what's on TV primetime here in the states, and yet Punch and Judy aren't welcome.
Fortunately, it seems "Political Correctness" is wearing thin with many clients I've had lately..."Common Sense" is coming back into vogue.
I would love to see the UK government do a study to see if Punch and Judy actually inspired children to commit crimes later in life, or actually taught them positive lessons about being responsible for one's actions.
Chris
magicbob116
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Three cheers for common sense!
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todd75
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I personally use a live rabbit in every show. Just this past year, I decided to do my show without any live animals just to see how it went. The client never knew that I had live ones to begin with, so all was well. I did the show, and we all had fun, but......I went straight home and put the live bunny back into the show. It just is not the same without him.

Not to sound like a money hungry person, but that little bunny has made me more money than I can count. I cannot count the number of times that I have had calls from b-day moms that say something like, "Oh, my daughter just loves bunny rabbits." It seals the deal!
todd75
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I have also used, and still continue to use, a rabbit in the hat puppet. And YES, kids love him too, but not as much as the live one.

Taking care of and transporting live animals is not the most fun thing in the world, but it is worth it...at least, in my opinion. Try explaining to the desk clerk at the hotel when you check in that you have a bunny and a bird....it's fun!
Dennis Michael
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I am not a full-time Fire Fighter any longer. I was a full-time magician before becoming a fire fighter, then my schedule allowed for me to do both, but I choose to cut back on the magic. When I retired 10 years ago, I went back to full-time children's magician. Well over forty years of experience.

I can name you hundreds of fire fighters, who know very little about their job even after 30 years of experience. This is also true of magicians. Many have been doing the same show for years and never attend any educational conferences on their trade. This is not questioned, only the observation of the topic posted here.

I do not question full-time status, nor am I judging a person. I merely stated an observation on what was written. If one cannot see this, then they are missing the point of that observation.

The question is : "Why you have a live rabbit in your show? I have never understood this," in a subtopic called "Ridiculous Rabbit?" from a person who has 30 years experience, then deceives another using a card-board cut-out".

Am I wrong here to question the logic in that statement? It's not a personal attack. I don't do that. I just can't fathom how someone can deceive another for a gig, and then make it clear he doesn't understand why magicians use a rabbit when one can just use a cardboard cut-out. Is the assumption, "The customer will never know the difference"?

As for my qualifications, that's another topic. I get paid very well for my advice on business management and people relationships for far more than I could make doing birthday parties for a year, and much easier work. It just lacks that wonderful joy the kids give when one performs.
Dennis Michael
magicgeorge
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I don't use live animals in my show. I'm busy enough without having to worry about their upkeep and welfare. I do, however, think there is a very special place for live animals in a performance. They are a very unique selling point to a show, and although they might not get the same verbal reaction as other additions to your show, that doesn't necessarily mean they get a lesser response, just a different one.

I quite often get asked (by the kids and adults) if I have birds/rabbits in my show, and they are a little disappointed when I say I don't. After they see my show, they have forgotten all about it and will be telling me about how they enjoyed all the other aspects of my show that have now over-ridden the fact I didn't have livestock.

Coincidentally, I have an anecdote from last Sunday which kind of relates to this topic. I was booked to do a show, and when I turned up, the booker was looking at me in a very funny way. Apparently someone else is going under the name of Magic George in my area (and that's a whole new topic on it's own!), but in this case, it had worked to my advantage as she had booked me thinking I was him. Well, she told me she had booked the wrong Magic George and that the other Magic George was "wonderful and had birds and a rabbit". I assured her that I was as just as wonderful and, although I didn't have either, I had lots of other items in my show that the kids would love. She went off to the kitchen to prepare the food while I did my show. The show went very well, the kids were great, and I was on form. After the show, the father congratulated me on the show saying that last year half the kids had lost interest and wandered off during the show. The children all told me how I was funnier than the other George. However, when the mum came in from the kitchen to pay me, she still saw fit to mention that the other Magic George had birds and a rabbit.
I don't really know what the moral of this story is, but there you go.

I, too, agree that claiming to have a live rabbit in your show when you don't is very misleading. When I am asked, I say, "No, but I have a raccoon in my show, which all the children believe is real."

All the best,
The original Magic George
Donald Dunphy
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Roger -

You have never encountered a person who asked about the "real rabbit" they were expecting? Or have you had that question, and then joked back that you provided the rabbit in the show (indicating your cardboard prop rabbit, etc.)? Those are two different things.

What if they ask if you have a "real rabbit" or a "live rabbit" in the phone sales conversation? Do you change your answer when the qualifiers are used?

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Jolly Roger
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Good question, Donald. Of course if ever I get asked if I have a live rabbit in the show, I will tell them that I do not. One should never lie about anything, in my opinion. I also go into details about being an animal lover, and that I do not like to have to carry a live animal in a car to my show.....especially, in the hot Arizona sunshine. I also talk about the various puppet animals I have in my show, and that the children frequently believe they are real. When I describe the rest of my show, and mention things like floating myself in the air and becoming invisible, a live rabbit really seems insignificant to them anymore, and they nearly always book.
I would have to point out though, as I mentioned at the beginning of this thread, I rarely get asked about a rabbit. Nearly all my bookings are old clients or referrals, so they know they will be getting a wonderful, entertaining, inspiring, and memorable show without any bunnies!!
Danny Hustle
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Roger,

It's very funny you mention this. I owned a rabbit as a pet, and I just loved that little guy! The thought of cooping him up in a cage and lugging him around in my car all day made me week in the knees! I just couldn't do it. I wonder if I am the only magician to ever own a rabbit who didn't put him in the show! Smile

I am against it, personally, and in my area, many people feel the same way. BUT I know guys who work with rabbits and are great to them, and the rabbit is integral to their show. I really do not have a problem with that.

I am more put off by guys who just go out and buy a rabbit to "up sell" a show, know nothing about rabbits, and are not looking for a pet. I'm an old softy that way and think a bunny should be a pet and a family member first, then a partner in a show if you put him/her in the show.

I personally couldn't do it, and I do not think my show has suffered for it.

Best,

Dan-
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magicgeorge
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I don't really understand the thinking behind that, Roger. Just because they don't actually use the word "live" or "real", it is still obvious that that is what they mean. When they ask if you have a rabbit in your show, why not just use the same response you use for when they ask about a "live" rabbit. "You can argue about semantics all day long", but saying yes to the rabbit question is a deception, even though it may not 'technically' be a lie.

Incidentally, if they ask if you use a "live" rabbit, the best response is:
"No, I use a dead one. It might smell a bit, but at least it keeps the flies off the Birthday Cake."

George
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