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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Tommy Wonder's Elizabeth IV (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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erlandish
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Here's the effect. I've edited it a little bit to get rid of any hints as to the method, because I just want to focus on the presentation.

Performer shows two cards and 40$ held together by a big paperclip. The challenge is put to the spectator to guess one of these two cards. If he's right, the crowd goes wild and he gets all the glory. If he's wrong, well, he gets the $40 to offset the shame. A card is named. That named card turns out to be the second of the two cards.

I'm a big Tommy Wonder fan, but even with that in mind this particular piece stood out -- not just for the usual Tommy Wonder reasons (ie: it's quite baffling on first viewing, and the principles in the routine construction are fascinating on a level that makes subsequent viewings beautiful to watch) but also because of the way that it puts the spectator in the spotlight. In this particular performance he actually uses the words "fail" and "shame" in the patter, setting them up for potential embarrassment, before leading up to the reveal showing that they were successful.

It also struck me as something that would make a spectator really, really happy to be a part of. A card he freely names turns out to be one of the two cards on the table (a 1 in 26 chance?), which is nice enough, but he also gets to be the focus of positive attention at the end. Now, the spectator in that performance is David, and we all know how he can be a little over-the-top expressive at times, but he really did seem genuinely pleased at the routine's conclusion, even for him.

It struck me that a lot of effects (ACAAN, Bank Night, etc.) could be framed this way (the Spectator Wins / Nobody Loses scenario), and I got to wondering why more effects aren't? Setting aside obvious answers such as "Magicians are greedy for all the attention and limelight", is there some more practical consideration? For instance, does the presentation risk coming across as contrived? Does the winner in Elizabeth the IV end up suspecting that the magician had something to do with the success, and that the applause the spectator gets isn't really deserved? What responsibilities does the performer have to make sure such potentially poisonous thoughts don't enter the equation?

One specific reason why I wanted to know about this was because for a while I was trying to figure out magic effects that make the audience happy -- not amazed, amused, mystified, bamboozled, moved, etc. but actually happy. It struck me that there are precious few routines that do this, and Tommy Wonder's Elizabeth the IV is the most prominent one to come to mind. I tried starting up a conversation on this over at Magic Video Depot with some interesting insights from contributors there... perhaps that's for another thread.



Bueller? Bueller...?

I'd be willing to simplify this discussion, if it helps.

Has anybody here watched Tommy Wonder's Elizabeth the IV? What's your opinion of the routine? Do you think it distinguishes itself as a different sort of magic effect than usual?
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travisb
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In my view, the spectator loses but they don't mind. (It's the losing to Tiger Woods thing. Most golfers would be happy just to play a round with him, and would fully expect to lose.) Think of what the spectator says on the video, something to the effect of, "oh, no, I won't be wrong, you will!" I think this shows that the spectator clearly understands that it's the magician who is in control of the effect. The magician having to pay out if the spectator gets it wrong clearly puts the onus on the magician to get it right.

I think the framing of the conflict is interesting, but it's a little complicated and I don't want to respond to that part of it without more thought. Interesting topic, I just don't have anything useful to contribute! Smile

-Travis
Robert Apodaca
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I personally don't find this to be a very strong piece of magic.

At the end the audience is really clapping for you, the magician, they know you are in control.

The problem with this trick is the fact that there are 2 cards. It should be done with just one card. In fact, with the invisible deck the same presentation can be done with a stronger effect.
erlandish
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Robert,

Okay then, hypothetically speaking, do you think that doing the ID using this approach -- wagering that the spectator will be correct despite the odds against him -- would be stronger or weaker than having the magician take all the credit for predicting the card you were about to name?

It's the presentational spin that interests me, more than any relative shortcomings in the method.
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travisb
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I don't think the presentational spin and the method are quite so unrelated. If the method were weaker (and I don't think it's perfect, but I do like it) you couldn't do the whole challenge thing at the beginning. Not without risking pity applause, anyways.

-Travis

P.S. BTW, if a trick is weaker because it uses two cards instead of one, I'm not sure how a trick with 52 cards is an improvement... Smile
Robert Apodaca
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Quote:
On 2007-11-18 21:56, travisb wrote:
I don't think the presentational spin and the method are quite so unrelated. If the method were weaker (and I don't think it's perfect, but I do like it) you couldn't do the whole challenge thing at the beginning. Not without risking pity applause, anyways.

-Travis

P.S. BTW, if a trick is weaker because it uses two cards instead of one, I'm not sure how a trick with 52 cards is an improvement... Smile

What are you talking about? Both tricks use 52 cards, the difference is the amount of cards the magician is willing to say will be the correct card. In Wonder's trick the magician is given 2 chances, in the ID the magician is only given one.


Quote:
On 2007-11-18 20:08, erlandish wrote:
Robert,

Okay then, hypothetically speaking, do you think that doing the ID using this approach -- wagering that the spectator will be correct despite the odds against him -- would be stronger or weaker than having the magician take all the credit for predicting the card you were about to name?

It's the presentational spin that interests me, more than any relative shortcomings in the method.

I think in the dramatic reality you create people will enjoy the fact that the spectator did the magic, however I think after the show people will still be thinking something along the lines of "how did the magician know what card I was going to say".

I also believe that brining the money into play gives the helping spectator a slight sting when he realizes that he will not keep the money, in fact some comedy can be found in the routine because of this.

I don't think this presentational theme is inherently stronger than a standard invisible deck or a standard ACAAN effect. I think it's just a matter of presentational preference and your performing persona.
kerpa
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This effect has always appealed to me a lot. One thing I have done to lighten up the onus on the spec is that I have used laminated phony 1 million dollar bills instead of the 20s.
I think the effect is constructed so that the revelation is a very entertaining surprise.
BTW, I recall there is an interesting story as to why the number IV is in the title - regarding the history of how this piece evolved from earlier effects by others.
Michael Miller
(Michael Merlin: original family --and stage-- name)
goldeneye007
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One of the best tricks ever!!! C'mon, Brainwave is not the same at all. What's important here is what the spectator remembers. And what he will remember is that you laid one card on the table, he named a card and boom it was the right one!!!

Having a single card instead of a full deck is what makes it so strong and what makes the difference between card sleights and mentalism. When you have a deck in the hands, one can always suspect sleights.

As for having two cards, I always take the Joker for the second card and have developed a patter that quickly discards the Joker. The presentation is very important for Elisabeth IV. Done correctly, for me, it's the best think of a card effect.
Ben Batov
squando
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I love this trick. The presentation is awesome because you are giving the spectator a financial incentive to miss...a 50/52 chance to take your money, but you frame it that the applause would be better. And sure a magician can do 1/52 but a layperson gets an easier shot 1/26.

I think there are very few scripts that can top this this with irony, humor, motivation, fun and spectator glory.
Frank
chernacious
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I love this trick as well... the motivation for it is just brilliant..
Lawrence O
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It's very wisely built on the fact that, for a large part, people who can afford to pay for watching a magician, seek money to gain social recognition in their life. Making them realize that they could get the fame directly without getting through the money places them in a dilemma.
There is more than meets the eye in this patter and it's one of the most appreciated routine in all of Tommy Wonder's repertoire.
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Jonathan Townsend
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Ill gotten gains kept in an insulated pouch - really ill gotten gains - but they are trying to reform. Let's see how well they are doing tonight...
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Riddle me that one Bat Man. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Money that's been lost so many times in gambling that it's cursed.
but these bills are trying to reform.
really.
so if they are keeping their word - you can't lose.
here, try your luck.
they've got a card and if you're lucky that will be a match to theirs.
lucky... well let's see
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Since money lost is money won it never feels unlucky really.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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? okay - just trying to contrive a just-so story for why one would carry some bills and cards in a paperclip.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Money is made from cotton, playing cards from wood. In the Shasta County town of Cottonwood, along the Cottonwood Creek, among of live oaks and "digger" pines, I met a fellow named Johnny be good. From his pocket he brought out some playing cards, some money and held together with a paper clip. Curious, I asked what’s the idea of that. He looked me in the eye and said. “It’s just a card trick, now do you want to see it or not? Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
BlackEye
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Tommy Wonder is my favourite magician.

His presentation is the thing that makes him so great.

To the discussion about the ID: I've seen a magician performing a similar trick with a ID. But he wasn't a good performer. The audience wasn't amazed. The presentation is much more important than the trick itself.

I absolutely agree with goldeneye007!

Greetings
BlackEye
landmark
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A very pleasurable performance of the trick by Tommy Wonder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsiH14VHuMo
RNK
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Just picked this up from Hocus Pocus. I really like this! A fun and easy effect to do that I feel will play great with your audience!



RNK
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