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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Top Hat and / or costume (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Oliver Ross
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Inner circle
Europe
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Hello everybody,

My first post on "our "little darling". I was wandering if it would be important to wear and / or to use a top hat in today's kid show or are kids more aware today that a magician don't need to wear a top hat (i.e. due to television) ?

Same question concerning the costume : Is it necessary to be dressed like a clown or like a classix magician in black for a kid show ?

Does all this depend on the age of the children ?

If yes what is valuable for which age ?

Thank you very much in advance for your hints and comments.

Oliver.
Bradley Roberts
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Las Vegas
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It is all up to you. What character that you would like to do. I am more of a clownish magician. I think I would feel out of place if I was in a tux. Some guys just wear a bowling shirt and Levi’s. It is what you feel comfortable in and how you present you magical character.

I have done my shows for adults and kids alike in the outfit I wear. They have been entertain with it.

Cheers,
B-Rad
B-Rad "The Kids Magician"
Brad Kids Magic Website
"A child's smile is one of life's greatest blessings."
TRUMPETMAN
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Naples, FL
705 Posts

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B-Rad nailed it.

It really depends on what type of character you are trying to present to your audience. I portray a circus ringmaster, so I wear a tailcoat and top hat. I use this costume for every age group, since I am always projecting the image of a ringmaster.

There are other children's characters that wear top hats, for example, The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Many periods of history had costumes and clothes that used top hats as accessories. Do a web search of Top Hats. You will be amazed at what you find.

Most yonger children have not seen a David Blaine or Criss Angel special, thus they are not familiar with the bowling shirt or T-shirt and jeans look.

Most of the young kids I perform for have seen videos/DVDs that portray magicians in the old, traditional style, wearing a top hat.

Your mileage may vary....

Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
facebook.com/robbietheringmaster
jkvand
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Johnstown, PA
658 Posts

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For kid shows I wear very colorful clothing, either a bright red or a bright blue shirt, with a Looney Toons tie. This fits my character, but isn't too over the top. No top hat, just a sharp, colorful outfit and a BIG smile.
Kevin Mc Lean
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Kevin Mc Lean
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Hi Oliver,
the top hat and tails thing is something that is rarely seen in children's magic.

My opinion is that it's very hard to be the elegant magician for children. They prefer the zany guy, who the unexpected happens too, who gets them on stage to help, has them shout out silly magic words, and everything is slapstick and funny.

This last person is easier to relate to and sympathise with, less intimidating and fun! Kids love them.

I dress up in a tricorner hat with lots of badges on it, a red and white striped shirt, weird suspenders, flouro red beach trousers, striped socks and blue coloured croc shoes. I look a bit like Smee from Disney's Peter Pan; it's a zany, pirate look

Within the first minute or two of saying hello, something funny and silly happens to me (never does something funny happen to a child in a nasty way). The fun progresses from there. Streamers are pulled from the back of their shirts, I get a volunteer up and tidy them with a feather duster, I cough and a silk comes out of my lips, I drop props, spring snakes come out of the most unlikely places, etc.

Slapstick and funny plays well from ages four to ten. In my opinion, children get a bit cynical after that and it's more classic magic.

Anyway, to me it's more the approach. Either costume would work with slapstick (Johnny Thompson is the proof of that). However, it's harder to pull off in tails and top hat.

Anyway, that's my advice.


Best Wishes,



Kevin Mc Lean.
themagiciansapprentice
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Essex, UK
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My top hats are part of my routine, but they are never worn by me. One holds props, on my table; one turns into a rabbit hat, the other has my rabbit in the hat puppet.

If I'm doing a full paying gig then I wear a black suit and bow-tie. This gives me space to hide flowers, silks, silk pulls etc. OK it does have a large A-4 laminated 'L plate' on the back. Black also seems to be the best colour for my silks etc to be clearly seen. (Although some magicians are now wearing French blue jackets.)

If I'm performing outside in Summer then I've had black embroidered polo-shirts produced with my rabbit in the hat puppet on front and back. 50 degrees celsius is too hot for suits or flower productions.

But every magician/clown is different. I wear a suit for work so I'm used to it and feel comfortable. And restaurants here seem to expect performers to be smartly dressed (and it just improve tips!! Honest).
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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It depends on your character. I wear pleated baggy black dress pants, a tie, suspenders (braces), and my top hat. I have about six sequened hat bands that I change to match my costume, and over 20 different color suspenders. My wife mixes and matches my colors, and women notice it.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
The Awesome One
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Gold Coast, Australia
174 Posts

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As everyone has said, It depends on the type of character that you want to be and how you want to interact with the kids. Also important to consider is dressing appropriately for the climate and environments that you will be performing in and clothes that support the types of props you will be using, eg number of pockets, sleeves etc.

Also for me, I think it is important not to be dressed too an extreme. A party can be stressful enough for some young kids without some weird guy in even weirder costume turning up. I suspect that's why a lot of people have phobias about clowns. I like to dress in a way that suggests that I'm fun and exciting but not too different to other adults.
Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.
Kevin Mc Lean
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Kevin Mc Lean
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Hi All,
Re: clowns, the Awesome One raised a couple of good points.

A lot of littlies are scared by facepaint - I remembering reading somewhere that around 30% of three year olds are scared of clowns.

There's arguably a lot of reasons, but one of them is that while most people think facepaint hides you, my experience is that (for better or worse) it amplifies your expressions about threefold.

My approach is to not use facepaint. If anything, I use normal cosmetics to make my skin more tan and my features just appear a little more real. That way, I stand out a little, but there's no scaring.

I also tend to think I dress as a children's magician, not a clown. A lot of people mix up the two, but they are different.


Anyway, my two cents.

Best Wishes,


Kevin Mc Lean.
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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Costume determines what act you should be doing.

The Tails/Top hat kind of guy focuses on classic magic for children, and sometimes for adults.

Entertainers who want to focus on getting kids to laugh a lot and do lots of silly stuff, then the colorful outfit works well. There is a wide range of this character.

If you are doing a themed show then wear the costume appropriate for that theme, ie., pirate, fire safety, story teller, etc.

Costume is also individual, based on age and gender, I would look be out of character trying to pretend I am 20.

What is it you want to project to your audience?
Dennis Michael
Oliver Ross
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Europe
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Thank you very much for all your hints. I think this should help me to find the right costume.
I think I'll go or the colorfull, since I like the funny side of magic for kids.
Thanks again.

Oliver.
Bradley Roberts
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Las Vegas
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When you get it all together let us know and post a picture. I bet we would all like to see what you come up with.

Cheers,

B-Rad
B-Rad "The Kids Magician"
Brad Kids Magic Website
"A child's smile is one of life's greatest blessings."
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Kevin
Not once in your post did you say or even come close to addressing the question of wearing a top hat. It is good to know that you don't like to wear makeup, I don't either, but no one asked that question.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
magicone
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Doylestown, PA
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Al, but if only 30 out of 100 children are afraid of makeup then maybe we should all start wearing it Smile odds in our favor wouldn't you say Smile (sorry, had to)
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Magicone
I'll be looking for you at this Thursday night's SAM 4 meeting my friend I'll be wearing the top hat. I like a magician with a good sense of humor.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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OK
My mistake Kevin made two posts and in the first one he did talk about wearing a top hat. My mistake Kevin, and you are a good sport to take our American jokes.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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I also agree that it really comes down to your audience you perform for, your market and venue and what feels best for your style. I do ot wear a top hat but I do wear a black fedora and it just works for my look. Part of that comes out of necessity since I perform so often outside for festivals and fair events.

Kyle
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Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Just how many red jackets do you have, my friend. For the record I do have a purple suit that I wear with a pink shirt, tie and a matching purple hat, with a big pink feather in it.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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How many red jackets? shhhh Al I am never telling. It is a part of my big secret and success in magic. lol I actually amlooking for a new red jacket as I have had this one for a very long time.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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