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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricks & Effects » » Anyone have "Little Man" yet? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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fib
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Can you combine Little Man with a finger chopper and magically save him from the guillotine?
runawayjag
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Okay, after a great deal of thought, I've decided to make a review of Little Man. I know it's been discussed over and over again, but I see several misleading statements by some who either don't really own one or who may just be speculating.

First, will you be happy having spent $300? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on some factors. Having now set this up and done if for half a dozen laymen, I can tell you it gets a "cute" response. The people I did it for were delighted and charmed, they were not puzzled or msytified. It does not get the baffled responses I see on the DVD.

I'll take a minute to explain some thoughts I have about this type of effect. I presently do a routine I call the Bionic Bunny (I named it, Anverdi did not.) It involves a rabbit that finds a chosen card. No effort is made to hide the fact that he is a mechanical device. There is no attempt to suggest that I have imbued an inanimate object with life. Because of that, it plays and is entertaining and delightful. Think along the lines of Del Ray's little animals. You know they are mechanical; still they are delightful to watch.

Now, when you fashion a figure out of clay, or allow a spectator to do it, and then have him shuffle along, you are implying a mystery. How can he walk? That would be good if he walked, per se. But, shuffling along the contrived configuration of the bag with the box of clay at one end only suggests possible methods to spectators. And, of course, as magicians we all know that a spectator does not need to know exactly how a trick works; he just needs to think he does. With Little Man, he will definitely think he does (and he will be pretty close, to be honest.) Despite that, with the proper routine, it could still be an entertaining experience, as are Del Ray's animals, but like Del Ray's animals, it won't fool anyone. The difference is that Del Ray's animals are not intended to fool anyone as to how the animation occurs; Little Man was sold with the strong implication that it will fool people.

One final point for those who say the type of trick I expect Little Man to be does not exist. On the contrary, take Nick Wenger's Spirit Bell. To laymen, and some magicians, there is no explanation as to how that little bell rings or what mysterious entity is pulling the string which they actually see move. They build it and take it apart and there is nothing to find. The animation created there truly IS a mystery, plus, of course, the routine is entertaining.

So, if you are looking for a "cute" trick that won't really fool anyone, yes, you'll be happy. And, so there is no misunderstanding, I do believe there are a lot of tricks of that type that are quite good. Rocky Raccoon is an outstanding example. Nobody believes he is alive, but he is a great piece of entertainment. But we are not trying to fool the audience into believing we gave him life, and that's why he succeeds as entertainment. So, if you're looking for a fooler that will leave them scratching their heads as to how a lump of clay could possibly come alive and walk, look elsewhere.

Okay, now to the misconceptions. I read somewhere a clear statement that there are no magnets. As I recall, the words were even in all caps. That is 100% incorrect. I read on another post that the "work" had nothing to do with the little paper clothes. That, too, is incorrect. Now, this is very misleading because I can already hear the justification for that last statement. I mean, after all, you can do Little Man "naked," with no paper clothing of any kind. True, but what they omit when they make that claim is that when you use the naked option, Little Man is no longer examinable and you cannot let the spectator just rip the clay figure apart and find nothing, nor can you give him away. So, it's one or the other, paper clothing or no examinable Little Man figure.

You won't be doing this on the street. The set up, even though it can be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time, needs to be done out of sight. As often happens, all the demos show Little Man standing there on the bag and then he begins to walk. What is not shown is getting to that point. It's not difficult, but does seem somehow contrived, at least to me. If he can walk, make him, stand him up and let him walk.

Mechanically, the prop is very well made. The component parts do seem to be well made, although I will never in my wildest dreams understand why it took well over a year to finally produce one. From a strictly material sense you are probably getting your $300 worth, when combined with the work in creating the concept, etc. When it goes up to $400.00, I would not feel comfortable saying the same thing about it, so get one now if you want one.

So, bottom line for me is that it's an okay trick and I suspect you'll see them pop up on eBay very soon, in fact, I have already seen three for sale, both here and on other venues. If I had to give it a 1 to 10 rating, I would give the brilliant idea for the effect a 10. I would give the approach to produce the brilliant effect a 6. And, finally, I would give the actual apparatus to make the effect happen an 8+.

Now, I know there are going to be those who are going to argue many of my points or claim that I must not have been doing magic for real people for very long which must explain how I could completely misunderstand the beauty of this effect. Well, we are each entitled to our own opinions. This is mine regarding this new little effect and I really don't care if anyone agrees or not, nor will I debate my statements with anyone. In my opinion, it's good, not great. It could be great with the proper presentation but that will rely on the inherent amusement factor of seeing a little Gumby-ish figure waddle and not on any mystery as to how it is accomplished.
jimhlou
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Thank you runawayjag. It's refreshing to see an honest, explicit review of an effect. I think this pretty much confirms what most of us were thinking all along (after seeing the promo video). I'm saving my money on this one and waiting for the next "must have" effect.

jim
takeachance
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Great review as always from runawayjag which is entirely accurate for the audience he used it for. This will definately help people decide if its for them and save disappointment. I also bought little man but purely for entertaining my granchildren and kids in the family (about 15 1-7 year olds) I have a couple of childrens story telling magic tricks that they luv and little man went down a treat especially since play doh in high on their toy box stuff. It really did bring excitement when he became animated and was snatched up by a very excited 4 year old at the end. For me I 'm glad of the investment as this will be something the kids will remember (and exaggerate) over the years as they grow, probably long after I'm gone. Its certainly not for everyone but for me its certainly a remarkable piece of appartus for childrens storytelling.
edh
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Excellent review runawayjag. Fair with it's pro's and con's listed.

takeachance, using the "Little Man" the you do I think maximizes the effect. I too would use this for children(if I had 300 smackers to spend Smile ).
Magic is a vanishing art.
takeachance
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I spent the best part of a year writing and re-writing a storyline for it while waiting for it to come out. Many many drafts till I was happy with the end result. This is a prop and not really something to just do as a magical effect. Without a fairy tale /moral to the story type thing it is not getting the best potential from it. As usual different strokes for different folks. That's why we are lucky to get reviews from guys like runawayjag
Potty the Pirate
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Runawayjag's review is fair and accurate. As I still haven't used mine yet, I can't give too much input yet. But I would like to make a couple of comments:
For kids, I think this WILL amaze them, and plenty of adults too. I don't' even think many magicians could possibly work out EXACTLY how the effect is achieved.
This is because there are a whole heap of little subtleties built into the prop to ensure that it's very clean in performance. I fully understand why the R&D took so long....I can imagine that at every stage, another small detail needed to be tweaked to ensure a simple and clean, effective performance.
Routined well, I really don't see the need to hand anything out for examination...surely, like plenty of other effects, you simply put the props away (box of clay back in the bag) after the effect (Little Man walks), and get on with your show.
The prop is entirely mechanical, a big plus in my opinion.
I totally agree that good presentation is the key to an effect like this. It's a delightful effect, and very unusual. If I'm able to perform it as shown on the CD, I'll be more than happy with my investment.
But I'd stress that I see this mainly as an effect for kids, although I'm sure some will find appropriate presentations for adults.
More to come once I've performed it in the real world.....
Potty
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Yes good candid review, thanks.
bobbyk
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I will say that I have performed this for adults and my experience was that while I know they knew I didn't really bring a ball of clay to life.....(who would?)...if they did, well, they would not be chosen to be the leader of any pack I know of Smile..... However, they were indeed entertained and didn't seem to know how it worked. The fact that they freely handled Little Man and put him together, were able to handle the Bag and tub of clay etc left them with some question marks for sure..... Yes, Magnets are used, I for one don't recall seeing anything saying magnets weren't used...if someone said that they clearly don't own Little Man. However, because of the material used the idea of magnets seems to be quickly discarded. I can only offer up what my experience has been.

For me, well, It's not the best effect I own and it doesn't bring the best reaction I have ever had.....("Fraud" & "Smoke" still seem to own that Title for me) Smile.......

I am completely satisfied and do not feel I was misled..... Is it worth $300???? That has to be left up YOU. I have no idea of the cost of the items used but considering the props supplied, the intricacies involved, the development etc... I'm guessing it would be difficult to sell it for much less and still make a profit...others may well know better on the subject. You know if you can afford an item like this....if you really can't then stop before you hit the order button.

I'm glad I have it....and I'm certainly happy I got it at $300 instead of $400.... For me $400 would be too much.

Lastly, in my opinion the key to getting a great reaction to anything lies within the presentation.... If you blow that, it doesn't much matter what you're performing....it won't bring the reaction it should. DUH....

If I have any disappointment I guess it would be that this won't be something I will be carrying around with me, I wish I could figure out a way to do it but that just won't work for me.... However, I knew that before I ordered it. I asked several questions to make sure what the limitations were before hand....so I can't complain about that. Also, I am a Hobbisit, not a pro.... a pro who doesn't carry most all in their pockets may not have any issue with that at all.

One thing I know for sure... I won't be selling mine Smile

I wish you all the very best,

Bobby
mrmagic0
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Mine is on order so I may be getting the card before the hoarse but it occurred to me that when presenting this to adults one could say they are using telekinetic energy to move it. I am sure this idea is not new and may even be mentioned in the instructions. It would make sense to me to use it that way for adults.


Ron
ralphs007
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Hi runawayjag
That was a fine review,thanks!
"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him".
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Dan Bernier
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Runawayjag,

How far in inches can you get LM to glide?

I too recall some ads saying no magnets at one time.

By the way, kudo's for your honest review.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
runawayjag
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The length of the folded bag is about 6-1/2" so his actual travel distance is less than that, about 6", but you'll never really need to have him move that far a distance.
Dr. Eamon
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Hope it´s better than on the video...
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