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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » It's time to Get Rid of Antiquated Magic Tables! (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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DarryltheWizard
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No matter how advanced our technology becomes, quite a few magicians still use the P&L tables with the tripod legs and the suitcase tables with the unsightly picture of a tophat, cane and gloves.

Why do companies not produce a spaceage, clear lucite table that breaks down easily, is light and looks like something out of "Star Wars"? Why?

Well, companies don't make things they don't sell, and according to Owen Magic, their reproduction of a P&L table is as popular as ever. And what is even more traumatic is that I've seen magicians place colourful drapes over their one-stemmed ancient tables.

I wish it were only older magicians using these antique tables, but no. I've seen younger fellows use them as well. In my opinion, a suitcase placed on a waiter's tray would be more modern-looking with a nice silk-screened banner attached to the open lid than 3 or 4 tables with drapes.

I personally have made a table using clear 1/4 inch lucite, plasticized velcro and some casters. It sets up in a minute and looks very modernistic with the star decals.

I also prefer the velcro compatible suitcase tables, for each performer can decorate them with his poster, picture, etc. My biggest problem with suitcase tables is they're heavy before they're even loaded with props.

Is there nothing out there made with material or fiberglass for we more mature magicians?

Darryl the Wizard Smile Smile
DarryltheWizard
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Scott F. Guinn
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I would take issue with your statement, "we more mature magicians..."

While I don't use the tables you describe, I wouldn't use one of lucite or with a Star Wars motif, either, as they wouldn't be suited to me. But surely this is merely a matter of personal preference, style and type of show, and not "maturity."

If others use cases that you don't like or vice versa, who cares? Use what you want to use. If you can't find it, make your own or pay a craftsman to do it for you. But be careful about being condescending simply because you don't care for a style someone else uses. The cane and gloves or clown tables, for example, would (I imagine) be ideal for some B-Day show performers.
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Paul Budd
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I'd really love to hear more discussion on this matter.............
His face isn't really this long in-person!
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Magical Dimensions
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Quote:
On 2002-04-28 18:12, DarryltheWizard wrote: (in Part)
No matter how advanced our technology becomes, quite a few magicians still use the suitcase tables with the unsightly picture of a tophat, cane and gloves.


I had one of these tables for YEARS! I bet that my table is older then you are. After having it for five years I was thinking that I needed a new (hip) table. I was doing a show for an Army Recreation Center back in 1983 and learned a very good lesson in magic that day.

As I walked around among the spectators as they were finding their seats I happen to overhear a man say something. He had a gleam in his eyes and slapped his hands together in anticipation for the show. He said this to his family and to those near him. He said, “Man! This is going to be a real professional show!”

I stopped right where I was and tried to find the reason why he said this. I looked around the room and then up on the raised platform. There center stage was the very same table that you mention in your post. The lights were reflecting off it making it look magical. It was as this moment that I smile to myself and realized that only a magician would think like you. To the spectators this was what they expected to see. A table that screamed look at me I am the magic table!

I used the very same table until 3 years ago. It is magicians who see a table like this and say, “Look it’s a beginners or kids table”.

I did 20 years in the Army and found myself in places that had no magicians. Matter of fact I had no magic friends to hang with or to show new effects to. I taught myself everything. The people I did shows for probably never seen a magic show before I came to their town. To them a magician was a person who could do magic. Using this table for YEARS I have had no one say anything to me about it. (Because there were no other magicians) But once I returned home after I retired from the Army it was my twin brother who commented about my table. He said the very same thing you did. That people and other magicians would think that I was a beginner. After all I had a beginners table! LOL

Stop looking through the eyes of pride or I am better then others. The best magic that I have found uses very few words and is direct in plot. This type of table does the very same thing.

As a side note I think that I might still have a Power Ranger decal from one of my kids to go with your star decal.

Best
Ray Noble


P.S. Mr.Guinn sure is nice to see you coming back to the Café from time to time.
Mark Rough
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While I applaud what you're saying I have a difficult time seeing a lucite table with star decals on it any sort of improvement.

Mark
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Autumn Morning Star
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Want a lightweight carry-on case that turns into a dollie which supports about 180 lbs of luggage? Click here: http://www.portercase.com/index.html

Want an easy lightweight table that sets up in no time and holds up to about 18 lbs (no stars OR top hats and gloves)? Click here: http://www.pctabletote.com/about_us.htm

I own both of these items. I fly to almost every show so space and weight are at a premium for me. I cover my lightweight table with a cloth and use it as a side table along with an unobtrusive Owen's Supreme single-stemmed table to my right.

The Mark Wilson "Triangle table" also works great, but I made mine out of lightweight material without the 1" boards on the sides. Makes a great place to put a black art well or simply a deep inner pocket for stashing props. You can find almost anything online to buy or make if you just search with the correct terms and are willing to think outside the box. Enjoy!
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.
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Ms. Morgan
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There is a school of thought that says "If people are looking at your table when your performing than you have bigger problems than your table...."


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SpellbinderEntertainment
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That school of thought is only partially correct,
it is the whole picture that makes our shows first rate.

Have you ever seen a great painting in a museum in a bad frame?
It can ruin the art.

We can't let our tables do the magic or work for us,
but each and every aspect of what an audience sees is very important!

Magically,
Walt

Posted: Dec 8, 2006 1:23am
Hello,

This is sort of a continuation or addendum to a thread I began about a month ago.

Search around the café for:

The Magic Café Forum Index
» » Boxes, tubes & bags
» » A few thoughts on “Magic Tables”…

And let’s keep this thread going,
so we can innovate on

Style,
practicality,
look,
function,
form,
and designs,

to develop ideas for future tables….
that look and act like real tables!

Thanks, Walt

Posted: Dec 8, 2006 1:39am
Here is a very contemporary,
very practical, Lucite table for magic.

It can fit easily into carry-on luggage,
it is stable and can hold some weight.

It vanishes into the background,
good for trade shows, close-up, or stage.

http://www.vikingmagiccompany.com/?nd=full&key=815

---------------------------------------
>“Harbin-type Folding Table”
>
This is a table that will surely add a touch of class to any act. Based on a Harbin design, it stands 30-inches tall with top measuring 161/8 x 113/8-inches.
But note this: because of its unique design, it folds to 161/8 x 10? x 2?-inches!
Expertly constructed for us by the craftsmen at The House of Magic; constructed of 100% crystal clear Lucite-even the hinges are Lucite.
You'll be delighted with the craftsmanship, artistry, and functionality of this folding Lucite table. Special construction details make this unit superior to those produced by others.
>Guaranteed to please and highly recommended.
---------------------------------------

It was designed and hand made by
Mark Burger of Buma and House of Magic,
and I reviewed one of the first ones.

This may solve some problems for performers
looking for a very clean, modern, contemporary look.

My two-cents,
Walt
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2002-04-28 18:12, DarryltheWizard wrote:
No matter how advanced our technology becomes, quite a few magicians still use the P&L tables with the tripod legs and the suitcase tables with the unsightly picture of a tophat, cane and gloves.

Why do companies not produce a spaceage, clear lucite table that breaks down easily, is light and looks like something out of "Star Wars"? Why?

Well, companies don't make things they don't sell, and according to Owen Magic, their reproduction of a P&L table is as popular as ever. And what is even more traumatic is that I've seen magicians place colourful drapes over their one-stemmed ancient tables.

I wish it were only older magicians using these antique tables, but no. I've seen younger fellows use them as well. In my opinion, a suitcase placed on a waiter's tray would be more modern-looking with a nice silk-screened banner attached to the open lid than 3 or 4 tables with drapes.

I personally have made a table using clear 1/4 inch lucite, plasticized velcro and some casters. It sets up in a minute and looks very modernistic with the star decals.

I also prefer the velcro compatible suitcase tables, for each performer can decorate them with his poster, picture, etc. My biggest problem with suitcase tables is they're heavy before they're even loaded with props.

Is there nothing out there made with material or fiberglass for we more mature magicians?

Darryl the Wizard Smile Smile


I haven't seen any reproductions of the P&L Tables in Owen's catalogue. I have seen their reissues of the Thayer tables, which are possibly some of the ugliest designs on the market. The "Colonio" and the "Oriental" are great museum pieces, but they don't look great on a stage.

The kind of table you use depends on what you are using it for. It also depends on the character you are portraying. I have a large book that holds a lot of my story props. It's a big, leather bound box that looks so much like a book that even close-up it will fool you. The table is made from a side table I purchased at a nice furniture store. I made a special top that fits it, and that does the job.

For renaissance festivals, I use my trestle table.

I don't see "star decals" as particularly "modernistic."
"The Swatter"

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Autumn Morning Star
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It must be a more personal decision than we realize. Maybe our table selection serves to define something about ourselves as magicians. One thing is clear: What works for one will not necessarily work for another. My own three biggest needs regarding tables are: Sturdy, unobtrusive, and lightweight. I also like the feeling of owning and using a lovely old Owens table.

Nice lucite table link, Walt. That is what DarryltheWizard was looking for in his original post. As Walt said, it is the whole picture that makes the show first rate. Bill, I bet your trestle table looks great at renaissance festivals!

Ms. M your comment reminds me of a video I recntly saw. The magician had a huge table behind him where he stashed his props. The table was so big that it clashed with his act and pulled my eyes away from his show. I kept expecting the table to DO something!
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.
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Plexiglas and lucite are not hard to work with. Why don't you design your own table like you suggest. Older tables stay around because they still sell. Why, obviously they still meet the users demands. There used to be a book called the Table book that had various table designs, Maybe what we need is some new table books, or new designs from magicians who find something different works for them.
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Mark McDermott
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Darryl,
I would agree that if you don't want to use a P&L table and you need one with stars on it for you type of show that is just fine!
But I do use a P&L table WITHOUT a big drape on it. because it is sleek and breaks down to almost nothing and most of all I don't like a stage with five to ten tables set up with one prop on each table. LESS IS MORE! if you need to use different props on the same table that is what an assistant is for.if you don't have an assistant, routine your show so you don't spend most of your time digging for props instead of doing magic.
I also use a HARBIN type table and they are also pack small and quite sturdy.

Mark
jakeg
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I think that it's all 'eye wash'. IMO It comes down to what perception you want your audience to have. I would never used a suitcase to table in my mental show no matter how it was decorated, because I feel that for me, it's out of place. In my schoo act it was another story. I wanted as much magic flash I I could get. Lots of visable props and a stage full of junk. I think that it helped sell the show.
Alan Munro
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For kidshows, I work out of a large plastic tote on a wooden tray stand. It's a very lightweight setup and very durable. The tote is colorful and the end that faces the audience is decorated with colorful wooden plaques and my name.

For other standup shows, I work out of a large duffle, on a tray stand.

The stage furniture sold at magic shops tends not to be very practical, considering that I won't duck behind a set of shelves to get a prop. I'm not going to go out of site for a second. I've seen other performers retreive things from the backs of roll-on tables and it just looks like the show wasn't thought out.

For a working surface, I like using a packaway table, if the show is indoors. If it's outdoors, I use a folding tripod base with either a cutting board or an upholstered box as a top. I have elastic wound around the cutting board, to hold down objects, and the upholstered box is velcro compatible, so that it can have signs and decoration attached.
Bob Sanders
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I remember the 60s and 70s when the Plexiglas tables were aggressively being marketed. (Hardly modern!) I even have some Plexiglas props of that era (or should it be error?).

If they played well, I would have continued using them. Talent buyers vote with dollars. I immediately recognized what good taste they have. The tables I use are like the ones I did in the 60s. When it comes time to replace them, I want more of the same.

Perhaps I just like old paying audiences better than new free critics! I'm just not in the welfare magic business. Maybe the government could require non commercial magic props for non paying audiences? Paying audiences have expectations.

The usual reason things become the classic, is because they work. It's usually cheaper to change to something less effective. But funding certainly becomes the next problem when the revenues vanish.

If we are really looking for ways to change to "easy", why not have firemen walk to the fires instead of taking that big old noisy, fuel drinking, old fashion truck? We'll just change our objectives so our methods will fit! Government would jump on that!

Sorry, I apologize for playing with you here. But our objective is serving the talent buyer. I like audiences that own an unsightly tux and top hat although I've never had pictures of them on my tables. (They can afford me!) Elegant truck stop magic has just never appealed to me as filled with commercial opportunities. What am I missing?
Bob Sanders

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Stanyon
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Bob,

I'm just glad that you remember the 60's and 70's!


Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
AndyComic
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When I switched from juggling to magic,I looked around for a while for the table/case I wanted. In the end, I ended up making my own: http://www.andycomic.com/products/showitem.php?item_id=4. I am not pushing my product here by the way as they are all sold out and wont be made again for a long time.

Andy
Bob Sanders
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Stanyon,

Remember in the 60s and 70s when we wore ruffles and colored shirts? Wasn't that to get rid of those "antiquated" white formal tux shirts we have gone back to wearing thirty years ago for paying adult audiences?

After going over my props, top hats only appear on Hippity Hop Rabbits. The custom towels and bath cloths in the theater bath are monogrammed with top hats, canes and gloves but also they never go to a real show.

Therefore, my response to the originator of this thread has to be:

Are you saying professional magicians use these top hat props in professional shows? Aren't you really talking about hobbyists? With all due respect to traditional retail magic vendors, pros also use other sources. They usually have acts built to their specifications. Mass markets are a different animal.

Over the years, most of us have played with the fad stuff. There is a lot to be said for playing your "Greatest Hits" versus changing the show every month. Marketing orientation would say start with what the audience wants. Follow the effective demand. Don't be surprised to learn that the tables are not the important part of the show.

Bob Sanders
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Stanyon
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If I got rid of my top hat I'd have to eighty-six my "Die Box". I had to dump my ruffled shirts when I started losing the lavalier mic in them. Speaking of lava...,
lava lamps have made a comeback, why not colored ruffled shirts and top hats? It's all on the wheel!

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

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"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
Zack
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Ruffled shirts have a nice retro appeal if you pull it off -- if you are camp about it.
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