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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Helping hands » » Is it morally wrong to use stooges? (12 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dick Oslund
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Inner circle
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Profile of Dick Oslund
I should have gotten back to this thread sooner! (I am busier, now that I've been retired for a few years, than when I was on the road!)

I find myself agreeing with David Thomas, Terrapin, "13" steps,Steve Mollett, and Dorian, especially. Dorian has summed it up, it VERY WELL.

When I was a teen, I learned how to use st**ges very successfully. Later, when on the road, it was not practical to use the conventional "system".
From my mentors, I had learned how to use "instant" st**ges, and, I used them throughout my working years. Heqq! I even "horsed" for Dominique when I caught his act in Paris.

All of the old pro's. knew how to ENTERTAIN. --and they used whatever techniques were necessary!!! THURSTON,the BLACKSTONES, and MANY OTHERS, knew that ENTERTAINMENT was necessary,if they were to succeed. As an 18 year old, I was "on" the "committee" for Harry Blackstone Sr. I learned some very worthwhile techniques!

I do think that Jugglestruck has some extremely narrow concepts. I would like to see his act/show.

MAGIC is NOT INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING! The performer's PRESENTATION (and THAT includes "doing what's necessary" is what makes his performance ENTERTAINING!
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Profile of oweosc12
I think that magic is about the overall effect, not about how you do it. Thus, stooges are fine...
R. Steiner
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Profile of R. Steiner
So long as it is clear you are entertaining, using a stooge is not something I consider morally wrong. Is it cheating the spectator? I would argue it is no more cheating the spectator than is misdirection.
Bill Hegbli
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Magic is an entertainment form, that is what the Café is about theater Magic. Not scam artist. The trick or effect of a trick on an audience, and using whatever means available to create the illusion of real magic on stage is justification for using stooges.

There are just to many people that sign up on the Café and think there is such a thing as real magic, then start asking questions or buying magic and find they are disappointed when it does not give them some super power to perform the trick they purchased.

Magic is theater, not anything else. It is entertainment for the general public. It is acting like someone you are not. It is bring joy to the masses. It is just like going to see a movie and Clint Eastwood shoots all the bad guys. Do you think he really does that, of course not. It immoral, I don't think so, as you are cheering for the good guy.

There is nothing about the art of Magic that is immoral.

It is all just an Illusion created on stage and in your mind to stimulate your senses to take all the dull worries to the forefront of our mind, and put them aside for a little while. To make you laugh and smile, and capture your imagination.

If the find out, who cares, they had what they paid for, entertainment.
T.G. Jones
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I've used stooges in my stage shows and never been caught. I don't see any reason why anyone wouldn't, with the proper care and attention applied.
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Profile of Madman13
A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician and a stooge is a part of the Play.
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Profile of MagicSA
I think audiences are becoming all the wiser when it comes to stooges. It's also very difficult if you do different shows and have to either run the risk of using the same person or find a different one. In the era of social media different audiences can actually communicate about the different shows.
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Eh, so I've made
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Profile of Steve_Mollett
Someone (Annemann, maybe?) said he would use an entire audience of stooges to fool one person.
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
Dorian Rhodell
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On Jun 15, 2015, Bill Hegbli wrote:

There is nothing about the art of Magic that is immoral.

I agree. The fact remains, however, that there are people out there who DO believe it to be immoral. Why? Maybe it's a religious belief. Perhaps it could be categorized as deceitful because we, as magicians, have to lie (for lack of a better term) to make an effect come to life.

There's nothing we can ever do to change people with that mind set. If they believe magic is immoral...then let them.

I suspect it would be even more immoral if we tried to change their perspective because of how we feel.
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Profile of pradell
So when I did a holiday show for BP many years ago my assistant worked there. Noone knew she was my assistant. She was sitting at a holiday bar in the BP atrium with a guy flirting and drinking when I asked her to come up and join me in the show to help with a trick. She refused. I asked the audience for help urging her to come up. They obliged and clapped and cheered her on to do so. She reluctantly agreed and was visibly not happy to do so. The others knew her, empathized with her discomfort and could feel this basic tension between us. When I cut her into pieces in the magic box (probably interlude or zig zag lady) the audience was mistified. For them, it wasn't how I did it. It was how did she do it? How did she know what to do? After that I turned the second in charge of BP's Alaska operations, a big man, into an equally large well known entertainer who sang The Alaska Flag song. I used a simple illusion using a blanket which is set forth in Mark Wilson's magic book. Of course, the BP guy was in on it. One of my most memorial performances. The audience went nuts. Use what it takes to get into the hearts of your audience and move them. People are not watching a magician to see if you are ethical. Your whole show is based upon false promises. What you are doing is entertaining them. Breaking the barrier between audience and magician. Plan accordingly and, if you move them, you have succeeded in your craft. America's Got Talent wasn't won because of the flashiest coolest illusion. It was won because Mat Franco won the hearts and minds of the judges and moved them. Vicariously. The tension between the broken and lost iphone and the judge was moving. You felt her pain. If a well placed stooge helps to set up the drama, so be it.
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Profile of Bamboozled
In my mind, the real moral issue has nothing to do with what technique we use to deceive an audience, because at the end of the day it is ALL deception. The real moral issue is whether or not we claim that we accomplish our feats through natural means or supernatural means.
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Profile of philraso
Any ideas for effects using stooges?
Adam Meier
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Profile of Adam Meier
I would be careful using a stooge. If the word gets out it could ruin your business. Lots of things you could rather do with a secret helper behind the scenes.
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Profile of critter
Wait... do magicians lie or trick people or something? This is like that time I learned the Easter Bunny is actually just Santa Clause's fursona.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
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