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Profile of NJJ
Last night I stole a watch (preshow) hoping to bring it back again DURING the show. It usually kills because no one sees me take the watch!

2 minutes before going on stage I see her on her hands and knees looking for her watch! She'd noticed it missing! I returned the watch BEFORE the show with a smile, explaining that "most people don't notice it missing until I give it back during the show!"

Does this happen to others?
James Harrison
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Ontario, Canada
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I was asked to do walk around pickpocketing for two hours.

The man who hired me asked if I could 'borrow' her wife's watch and have him give it back to her at the end.

Everything went well and many compliments later, he returned it.

I found out later she didn't enjoy the party because she spent most of it looking for her watch, she thought it fell off.

I felt horrible.
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Profile of jlevey
As you suggest, Nichols, stealing watches pre-show can prove to be risky and potentially embarassing business to be sure.

What if the person you took it from pre-show "doesn't" notice their watch missing and this same persopn gets an unexpected phone call during (or just prior to) your show --their child is sick and they need to rush out of the event earlier to go home.

Answer... you find the host after the show and apologize, assuring them that this has never happened before and kindly asking them to please contact the owner of the watch at home, letting them know their watch is safe and returning it to the missing person the next day.

But in the meantime, on their way home they realize they "lost" their expensive and/or keepsake watch. Now, not only is their child sick, but they are also distraught over their lost (and precious) heirloom watch.

Years ago, I developed a routine where (after stealing 8-10 watches pre-show) I made them all appear in my show in one shot --dangling down from a long golden chain. Very exciting and amazing, with great audience response --but (yes) risky.

At the time, I developed a system for secretly tagging the back of each watch with a tiny sticker with a id number on it. I would steal each watch form each table and after performing some close up and stealing (and marking ) the watch, I would hand the "victim" a coupon, instructing them that they are entitled to claim a very valuable prize during my show, so please be sure not to leave the room under any circumstances until they claimed their prize.

Then, after displaying the string of watches on stage, I invited the owners of missing watches to come up on stage with their coupon and claim their prize. By taking the coupon and matching it to the numbered watch, I would be certain to avoid a confrontation from any mischievous (or drunk) spectators that might come up on stage to try to fool the magician and claim the Rolex (that was never theirs to begin with).

Cautionary food for thought.

The above method and string of watches routine did work for me for a while, but I found it complicated and "timely", so I dropped it from my show. From that point on, I always prefer to take one or two (or three watches maximum) and make sure I remember the exact person that belongs to their particular watch as I steal it. Then, I make sure that only a few minutes elapse before I reveal the steal and return the watch to their rightful owner. Since I know whom I took the watch from, if it is pre show, I keep a close eye on them, so that if I see them head towards the door, I can stop them politely before they leave the room and return their time piece.

Hope some of the above proves helpful.

I chuckle with the memory of how I spent two summers back in the mid-80’s performing my comedy show on the street, passing the hat, and working at my watch stealing abilities with the passing crowds… in retrospect --talk about risky! But in spite of my naivety, I was very fortunate and never had a bad incident.


PS: Many thanks for these many wonderful memories, and for showing me the watch-steal to begin with Michel!
Max & Maxine Entertainment
Magicians with a touch of comedy!
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Profile of NJJ
I know a guy who does that every show. He steals one watch from each table during pre dinner walk around and then, two hours later he reproduces them all.

I guess I've just got to be on my toes!

In was a VERY smooth butter.
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Profile of mjdowden
I know a guy who steals watches at tables and doesn't return them for ages! I tried this a couple of times but the main reason I stopped doing it wasn't because they might realise that their watch was missing; it was because a couple of times they didn't realise and I forgot I had it!!

The thing is, when you take a lot of watches and you get into another routine etc, if its going well its very easy to get completly distracted and forget. A few times I have reached into my pocket to get something else and I say to myself "what the heck is that next to my invisible deck!"...Then to my HORROR I realise its someones watch.

The worst part is if you have forgotten who you took it off! A couple of times I have been frantically retracing my steps to try and remember where I took it. Once at a new years eve party, a gentleman came up to me and asked if he could have his wife's rolex back and I laughed thinking he was joking. It was only when I reached into my pocket that I realised I did have it! THANK GOD he came over to me because it was near the end of the gig and I had COMPLETELY forgot.

So that is why I generally don't wait too long before doing the reveal...just a thought...but there again my memory is terrible and I'm sure most of you wouldn't suffer from this!
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Profile of parmenion
Yes, I agree, last night I was to fort knox and I forgot to bring back some gold metal stuff Smile
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Gerald Deutsch
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Profile of Gerald Deutsch
I’ve been doing a watch steal for many years and was doing it when I was in college. At a fraternity party I came up with a great idea. I would take a girl’s watch as I introduced her to my friend Eli and give the watch to him. He would then give the watch to the girl who would have to be amazed as he hadn’t even touched her. Great idea!

Well the girl was beautiful and I would have like to have been with her but she thought Eli was so clever! How did he get her watch??

Great idea? No!
James Harrison
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Ontario, Canada
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It is a good idea, but now you don't get the girl.

I'm not huge on ego, but I think one should get applause for what you do.

Which would you prefer? Your friend thanking you for helping him get the girl? Or the Girl amazed that you got the watch off her?

Just something to think about.
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