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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Performing With Fire For Kids (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Shadow Dancer
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Melbourne, Australia
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Thanks guys for all of this useful info on this discussion. I think that I might use some fire in my children’s act, but only tricks where they don't know where the fire comes from, so that they don't just light matches and try to use paper as flash paper etc... I think for that I will use thumb-tip flame or "flash it".
Cheers,
Shadow Dancer
'The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.'
<br> AlbertEinstein
drosenbe0813
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Long Island, NY
404 Posts

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For Evan...I produce my rabbit out of a duck pan, with the birthday child holding the pan. I use a David Ginn idea of pantomiming everything that I put into the pan. Another child (usually a sibling of the birthday child) 'picks' flowers and places them into the pan, then 'cracks' 2 eggs (they always seem to put the shells in too!!), then milk and sugar. Of course, nothing is going into the pan. Then I still say that children should never, ever play with fire, but we must light the cake on fire to cook it. I pantomime lighting a match and the wiggle my fingers over the pan ('that's the fire, kids'), Then the 'flame' gets out of control and I dash to my case to get the 'cover' for the cake pan. The birthday child is still holding the pan (with my support) and then I lift the lid to reveal the rabbit. The bunny has actually appeared in the birthday child’s hands and... I don't have any cleanup of the pan...I just put it away!
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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There are so many fine effects that do not need fire - JUST DON'T DO IT!

Fire is fascinating, and a stupid excuse like "I don't use matches" is just that: stupid. Chances are, sooner or later, some kid will think "well, he did it right in my living room, so it can't be all that dangerous!" and try to recreate the experience - NOT THE TRICK, THE EXPERIENCE! He won't think twice about your warnings or the effect. He just wants to see those flames.

Friends, I have been to see children in burn wards in hospitals - it's something you never forget.

PICK SOME OTHER EFFECT!
jlibby
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I think everyone has to use his or her own judgment here. As Jim Snack says, "If in doubt, leave it out."

Personally, I've used a Hot Book in kids’ shows many, many times. And for young kids especially, I think a mechanical self-lighting Dove Pan is a great idea! There are a lot of fire effects that I would never think of using for a kids show, however.

See ya!
Joe L.
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magic4u02
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I just prefer not to use fire in my children's shows. It is just a hassle I do not want to have to deal with and I do not want any kids getting the wrong idea from something they saw me do while at one of my performances. It is just my own personal opinion but I have found I do not need fire gimmicks or effects to win a crowd over.

Kyle
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Cabrera
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Seattle
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Maybe you could tell the kids that the dove pan is like a barbecue grill at home. Only an adult can light the fire. As far as I know, quite a few kids have seen an adult light a grill or even a fireplace. Fire is nothing new to them. It's a great time to mention some fire safety rules.
"The quilt of life is woven with many different threads"
pradell
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Alaska
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If you do decide to use fire, knives, guns, swords, balloon animals, or other potentially dangerous items, you might want to make sure you're insured. The SAM and the IBM offer magician insurance. You don't want to go bankrupt because a house burns down accidently. Also, don't take lighter fluid on airplanes.
Autumn Morning Star
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Yes, lighter fluid is a no-no on the planes. Not only is it a danger, you can be severely fined. I buy a small bottle when I fly in and I give it away to an adult when I leave. It is not safe to throw it in the trash due to the obvious fire hazards and environmental issues.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Dennis Michael
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My thoughts and rules relate to fire in children shows:

I retired from a full-time position as a fire officer after 28 years with well over 30 thousand alarms, 8 thousand structure fires and seven rescues (All died from the toxic products of fire within five minutes of the fire ignition.)

This is a fact: Children will play with fire. The most recent craze is putting that Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer on their private parts and lighting it for "kicks" and a laugh.

We can do everything to prevent children from mimicking us. Fire is intriguing, especially to boys. As a parent we have a duty to teach our children fire safety. Smokers have a difficult time because the kids see their loved ones striking matches every day. Matches and lighters are easily accessible.

As a magician I use fire in my shows but under these following rules:

I use no visible matches: The "fire book" is a good example of lighting a matchless fire. This effect cannot be duplicated.

I use hidden fire and smoke: The Wiz-Kote uses flash paper and smoke power ignited by pushing a button and it is unseen.

If you're going to use fire, it must be difficult to duplicate. No matches to light candles or dove pans.

I do own lots of fire effects but reserve there use for other than children shows.

One exception: A fire safety show, where the dangers of fire are well discussed.
Dennis Michael
chris mcbrien
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Chicago
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I only use fire for adult shows. No fire for kids, and that's not just my opinion, it's my audiences opinion as well after hearing complaints about other magicians. People may not say anything to you because they don't want to offend you, but they may say "no fire" by simply not having you back. Keep in mind I don't think this is the case all the time, as audiences are different everywhere and if the client knows you do fire tricks and wants that, then they know what they're getting into. And, most kids and parents have enough common sense not to go and try to emulate your fire routines at home. However, for me, I just don't like thinking about that one kid that actually tries something dangerous because I did it, and hey, I got away with it, right?
I'll never forget our neighbor's kids when I was in high school...they got ahold of one of the parents lighters and were hidden in the bushes around OUR house lighting up paper...after it was stuffed into our siding!!!! They almost burned down our house! I think that's why, for myself, I always avoided doing fire tricks for kids....
Chris
The Great Smartini
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Quote:
On 2006-08-02 06:50, Dennis Michael wrote:
My thoughts and rules relate to fire in children shows:

I retired from a fulltime position as a fire officer after 28 years with well over 30 thousand alarms, 8 thousuand structure fires and seven rescues (All died from the toxic products of fire within five minutes of the fire ignition.)

This is a fact: Children will play with fire. The most recent craze is putting that Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer on their private parts and lighting it for "kicks" and a laugh.

We can do everything to prevent children from mimicing us. Fire is intriguing, especially to boys. As a parent we have a duty to teach our children fire safety. Smokers have a difficult time because the kids see their loved ones stricking matches every day. Matches and lighters are easily accessable.

As a magician I use fire in my shows but under these following rules:

I use no visable matches: The "fire book" is a good example of lighting a matchless fire. This effect cannot be duplicated.

I use hidden fire and smoke: The Wiz-Kote uses flash paper and smoke power ignited by pushing a button and it is unseen.

If you're going to use fire, it must be difficult to duplicate. No matches to light candles or dove pans.

I do own lots of fire effects but reserve there use for other than children shows.

One exception: A fire safety show, where the dangers of fire are well discussed.


Thanks for sharing this very thoughtful and reasoned post. I only wish that more performers considered the message they send before they perform for kids.

I'm wondering about the Wiz Kote Machine and what practical performance issues this prop poses ie. smoke detectors being activated. I'm wondering because I've long considered purchasing this prop. Thanks for your help with this.

Smartini
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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It has been a rare case where I cannot perfom the Wiz-Kote, however, because of my history as a fire fighter it is natural for me to look for one.

I can adjust the amount of smoke by putting only a little powder in and it will still work without setting off the detector. (So far I haven't set one off.) I also watch who I get and my audience. For the daycare crowd I won't do it. It is easy to get a child that would cry so I try to temper my selection of the child based on age (About 7 or 8).
Dennis Michael
daffydoug
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I know this is an old thread. But I had to chime in about kids and fire. When I was a small boy, we lived in a duplex. We went on vacation out of state, then got a phone call to come home...except the home we returned to was just charred black remains. Lisa, the little girl in the duplex attached to ours had been playing with matches in her bedroom closet, and she burnt the house down. Simple as that.

Her bedroom closet was basically my closet separated by a thin wall. So where the fire started would have first went to my bedroom and that little boy who was me would surely been the first to die.

I never, never use fire in my kid’s shows.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
TrickyRicky
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TrickyRicky
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As the saying goes---you're playing with fire.
In my 65 years of doing magic shows, I've never used fire in any of my routines. There are thousands of tricks that are specially made to perform for children, why would anyone put themselves in a position that could destroy everything they worked for.
Because of Insurance policy restrictions, customers are making sure that performers don't use fire in their performance. There are no safe way to use fire in a magic show, it's a recipe for disaster.
Tricky Ricky
Neznarf
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NY then AZ now
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Kids love seeing fire but adults frown on you using it.

I use to have a torch to cane, Fantasio Candles & Flash powder wrapped it flash paper.

I even painted my Lighter Fluid container Black so It would not alarm people.

It all looks cool and impressive but no more fire for me. Had some close calls.
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
Dick Oslund
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When I was a teenager (1940s) I bought the "Atomic Candle". I had done it several times, when I realized that kids might try to "vanish" a real candle, and cause a real fire. I red lighted the candle, and, have NEVER done any fire tricks, since.

CHICAGO HAS VERY STRICT LAWS ABOUT ANY SORT OF FIRES IN SCHOOLS. KIDS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN SCHOOL FIRES.

I had insurance, but, no insurance can restore a child's life.

I get five minutes of laughs, with a golf ball! I don't need fire props.
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