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DavidThomas
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Over the years, I have had some pretty bad mess ups during a live show. Some ended up funny and some made me want to "disappear" As illusionists we are dealing with assistants, techs, mechanical, and a myriad of unforeseen circumstances.

1) Twenty years ago, I had my mini illusion show and was touring the region with phone room operations. My opening illusion was Crystal Box and a Thin Model sawing, The thin model was performed in a very high energy style. My assistant (who was a great performer!!) was always in charge of putting together the illusion. My main guy usually went around and double checked. As he was not there I was oblivious to the fact it needed to be double checked. As I performed the illusion, I split the box, and all the legs fell off, and to the floor the boxes went. The audience laughed, my assistant was still smiling, so we played if off as it was supposed to happen. Later on I said to her, why did you not put on the "wing nuts". She said what are "wing nuts"?

2) This year I was performing the "bumps in the night" with the M*********r box. At the right moment the d******* did the release of the cloth, and the velco did not stick. I was unaware of this and there we were. Oh boy, I wanted to bury my head in the sand at the Meet and greet. Now we have tripled the velcro.

What are your biggest messups?

I am so glad that a video camera was not there, I could have been a "star" of Paul Osborne's "World's Worst Magicians!"
David Thomas
TheWorldofMagic.com
TaylorReed
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Branson, MO
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I find that industrial snaps work better for some things.. Like the curtains that I pull off he Moto illusion are snaps..
Just a thought..

When I was a kid we were doing the stacking boxes and as the assistants put the top box on..
My assistant was moving in the up position and the top box fell on the floor..

That was fun... lol

Newspaper tear and the g----- falls to the stage floor at same time as the restore......

THese things are never fun, but do happen in our world of magic..

If your doing thousands of shows.. Your going to get a chance to be one of these guys..

The best way to play this stuff off is to have a great attitude about it and move on..

That is what I do when something goes wrong..


There are a few other guys that I know of that kick, cuss and stomp their feet when this stuff happens..
And sometimes yells at people over the mic and lets the audience in on the mistake that someone just made..

Or even sometimes, just walks off the stage to pout .....
And then restart the show once the As- cools down..

What a creep.

Anyone that would act that way doesn't deserve to have a show in my opinion..


Thanks

Taylor Reed

It is not the audiences fault that the magician messes up.. SO don't take it out on them..
www.taylorreed.com
www.usedmagicillusions.com
taylor@taylorreed.com
(979)482-0714
See: The Magic and Comedy of Taylor Reed, Live in Branson, Mo
freefallillusion1
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Cincinnati, OH
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I do my own version of a sword box type illusion that involves my assistant sitting in a very tight container and she is then pierced in every direction by blades. Well, one time something was "not-quite-right" and neither she nor I knew this until it was time to put in the swords. So, I get the first two in, and suddenly all I know is that I'm getting yelled at from inside the box and the swords are being pushed backed out at me. Could have been a great comedy thing if we weren't so serious with the setup! The worst part is, there was no way to fix this during the performance. Taylor is right, sometimes you have to smile and just move on!
w_s_anderson
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One time my assistant went into the thin model wearing grey pants with a pink stripe and magically changed into green pants with a grey strip while cut in half. ;-)

I was performing the modern art with me inside. We had just strengthened the doors with brass ball catchers. it made them a bit harder to open and close, but much more secure in the closed position. My assistant did not close the door tight enough and I stepped out of the illusion to see the bottom door swing open and expose that half of the illusion.
DavidThomas
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Taylor, I totally forgot about T and R papers. I used to make them about an hour before shows, so the restore was the best it could be....but I have found lately the rubber cement has changed...humidity sometimes won't let it dry for hours. It totally sucks with the packet falls to the floor!!!!! So now I make the the day before or in a pinch leave it sitting in the sun for a hour or so..
David Thomas
TheWorldofMagic.com
Pop Haydn
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
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In the Zig-Zag in the late Seventies, at a Western theme park in Kentucky, I caught my first wife's leotard with the blade, and she was grazed under her breast. It was only a shallow scratch, but she was uncovered on one side, and bleeding profusely.

I was involved in the presentation, and didn't notice her attempts to tell me not to open the box.

When I swung open the doors, she was standing there half-naked and bleeding.

It was not a good show for me...nor a good evening, for that matter.

Nor a good week, really...
paulapaul
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Nevada
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Darlings, I managed to have that once every 10 years moment where I overshot the g****c of the newspaper tear. The paper restored, but the pieces went to the floor. The thing that distinguished this as a moment to remember was that it was at the Magic Castle, Irene Larson and Vernon were in the front row. Mind you, I had been doing this effect twice a day for years with no mishap. The only thing that “made it better” was that Goldfinger came backstage afterwards and said “You made a lot of friends tonight when you just kept on doing your act”. This was 25 or so years ago. Wonder why I remember it like it was yesterday? (wink)
cafeinst
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I took a course in magic from Dick Christian in the early 1980's. Then he said that every magic trick he had performed had failed at least once in a show. But luckily, not all in the same show.
wanmagic
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tulsa, ok
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I had my assistant fall into the sub trunk. She stood right on the area and I couldn't hold her. Flop right in with me.
Stu Turner
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About 10 years ago my partner and I staged our own evening show at a local theatre. The opening number was supposed to be a production of us on stage.

The stage set was made up of wooden garden trellis painted red against a black background. One of the panels was gimmicked with b***k a*t and a secret door.

At the end of an elaborate build up and dance routine by 2 of our dancers, they were supposed to hold up a cloth in the centre of the stage, a stage hand would open up the door with precision timing, my partner and I would dart out, position ourselves behind the curtain as he whipped the door shut, before the girls dropped the cloth to reveal us centre stage.

Only one night the stagehand's timing wasn't quite so precision. He opened the door half a second too early and my partner and I peered out from the opening in the trellis to see a watching audience briefly, before the curtain was lifted.

Whoops!
Frank Simpson
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About 28 years ago I was performing an Abbott's (à la Blackstone) vanishing birdcage that didn't. NOTHING to do in a situation like that but laugh it off and KEEP MOVING! In a minute it was all-but forgotten and the audience was great for the rest of the show.

But perhaps the most humiliating was trying to do the gigantic 18" needle through a balloon, and I could not for the life of me get the needle to penetrate the balloon! The balloon just retracted again and again, as the (very sharp!)needle refused to penetrate! I ended up just jumping ship on that one!

Equally important as a lesson in performance was the first time I ever performed my floating lady illusion, and the lighting director botched the cue and lit up "the works" like a Christmas tree. I was so mad, and I just rushed through the motions of the effect, finishing it as fast as I could to get off the stage. After the show people came up to me, one with tears in her eyes, to tell me how beautiful they thought it was, but that I should take more time with it. Initially I thought that my leg was being pulled, but I came to realize that at the time of the botched lighting there was no attention being focused (other than my own) on the props, so I was the only one who saw "the business".

If you work to have a likeable personality on stage, and can genuinely endear yourself to an audience they will be so forgiving and perhaps even respect you more for it!
jay leslie
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I told the custodian to leave the gate, on the side of the theatre, unlocked. SOooooo When I ran out the back door and hit the gate, I had to jump it. The top of the gate had very sharp wires protruding.

Entering the back of the theatre, I removing my jacket and ran up on the stage wrapping my jacket around my bloody hand like a giant cue-tip.

Three rolls of electrical tape later, the slice was temporarily dam ed. The custodian was however, permanently dam ed.

- - -
Another.
The spectator did not push the stem, on the Perfect Time, all the way back in after spinning it. The watch would not budge.

I watched the watch,
and watched the watch,
finally, I watched the clock and decided to move on.
Michael Baker
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Epic fail #1 - Spilled acid from a smoke gimmick inside my coat right before curtain. Watching it eating holes in the lining, I attempted to dilute it with water-soaked towels. This did a so-so job but the resulting humidity played havoc on all my cigarette and card loads, as I soon found out when I started producing soggy clumps of paper, tobacco, and cards that fanned like wet card board. It didn't do my skin any favors, either.

Epic fail #2 - Had a stage rigged with several silks that were to fly off in various direction via motorized reels right before I enter through a flash portal. Since I was behind the set, I couldn't see that they did not fly. Apparently, the circuit that they were connected to had blown earlier. As I entered, with both hands completely occupied with IH dove loops, I ran into an invisible spider web of more or less unbreakable black thread. I had to very openly pull two doves out of my coat to keep them safe while I dealt with the tangle of thread I was caught in. Things went downhill from there, compounded by the fact that earlier in the day I had completely lost my voice from an asthma attack brought on by the New Orleans humidity.

After the show one woman came up to me, with a big smile on her face. I figured when she began her sentence with "I really liked..." that she was at least going to say something that might soften the hurt and humiliation. She finished her sentence with, "... the music you used. What is it called?"
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Matt Adams
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These are awesome. Smile

One of my first fairs I worked I was using a floating table with m****t gimmick on top. The m****t quick sticking (due to my own error) and the table crashed to the floor shattering the base. I was so stunned (and secretly mad), but quickly said "Stupid termites!!" Everyone roared...except me as I threw the pieces off the stage onto the side. Funny enough, I was able to glue the table that night and it worked again. Now THAT was magic...

(No, it was not a Losander and it was before I knew anything about knockoffs. I ditched that piece of crap so fast once I learned about Losander's tables. I have now owned three or four Losander tables and I still have two of them. LOVE them and him...he's the best AND the rightful creator so give him your business!)
Website: www.MattAdamsMinistries.com

Instagram: @mattadamsministries

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mattadamsministries
illusions & reality
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I once produced a dead dove. Grabbed the body and gently moved it up and down to make the wings flap as if it were alive.

In university, 30+ years ago, I closed the show with Abbott's Canvas Covered Box. Somehow the lid was put on backwards, but my assistant didn't realize it (nor did I). She was locked inside and couldn't get out! No switch!

Once while performing Origami, (John Gaughn model), and slowly spinning the illusion while my wife was in "folded position," the mirror fell off of the back shelf! It wasn't fully engaged in the holes, and I didn't know it until it fell off. Of course it fell of while the back was facing the audience so that my mistake was broadcast to everyone!

Do enough shows and things will go wrong! However, they can serve as great learning opportunities so that it doesn't happen again - hopefully! Smile

Lou
jay leslie
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Lou. I saw a show, when I was 14 where the first performer also produced a non-living dove. It was 100 degrees outside and the host was talking for ten minutes while the poor dove sat in a Cristal Silk Cylinder.

To make matters worse, wireless michrophones were a newish technology AND the performer didn't realize that EVERY word, on his new electronic toy, was broadcast.

He moved the wings up and down and walked to the edge of the stage. His wife was waiting there. He said "Take this dove, Elizabeth. I don't think they know it's dead."! She responded "No. I don't think they know it's dead, just continue with the show".

Everyone, and I mean everyone, heard every single word and watched the rest of the show with their fingers partially covering their eyes.

Note: This is not a testimonial for the sound system. All names of sound systems have left off this tale of woe on purpose. NADY.
tophatevents
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When I was 15, I did a charity performance for the children's ward at the hospital (where I now work as a nurse).
I started with a fantasio appearing cane and it got caught in the sleeve of my jacket, propelling it far into the audience.
Later that year I attended a lecture of Ali Bongo and he told me to produce the cane in a different manner. I still use the method today. Thank you Ali Bongo.
Have a scarf around your neck, show it empty, take it off, place the appearing cane into the scarf and slowly open it under the cover of the scarf. The scarf stands rigid with the cane and then "peel" of the scarf to reveal the cane. Another pro is that the cane doesn't "wobble" when just appeared.
I love this way of using an appearing cane.
And since then no mishaps with this effect.
Michael Baker
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Speaking of sound systems, this reminds me of a real doozy I pulled...

I had been contracted to perform for a corporate association convention, but was also asked to make the 12 top brass from the various companies "appear" onstage. Figuring it was better to produce them all at once, I designed a stage set that contained 6 flash appearance doorways. Each would produce 2 people, and all at the same time. Big stage in a grand old restored theater (the Alabama Theater for anyone possibly familiar).

Knowing that 6 flashpots would also produce a LOT of smoke, I discussed this at length with the theater manager. He assured me that there was a sufficient ventilation system and that it would very quickly pull all the smoke up and out. OK.

I was also going to using a wireless mic. The soundman told me he would turn this on when I came onstage, and off when I exited. OK.

So, it comes time for the big bang. WHOOSH! All the pots went as planned, all the people appeared as planned, the audience was astounded as planned, and all the smoke was sucked from the stage... no it wasn't! It just hung there like morning fog in the Smoky Mountains.

Figuring there was nothing I could do about it now, I let the show continue on , as I was finished with my role. So, I stepped out the back door of the stage, onto the sidewalk outside, and was talking with one of my male assistants.

Shaking my head, I casually said, "There is so much !@#$%^& smoke in there right now."

Yup. The big F-Bomb...

What I did not realize was that my mic was still hot. My little side comment was broadcast out to the entire theater. I was watching a video of the show later, and yup, it was me alright. The speaker onstage at the time said, "Sounds like the phantom is still haunting the theater."

I never worked for that group again.

Moral: Too many to count here.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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Edit: double post
~michael baker
The Magic Company
illusions & reality
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Hi Jay,

My dove was a body load, but similar problem. Fortunately, my wireless mic was off!

I have been using Kevin James' Bowl-a-Rama for many years. Once I produced the bowling ball and when it hit the stage, it cracked perfectly in half into 2 pieces! Since then I drill only one hole in the ball and use black stickers for the other 2 holes. Using only one hole gives the ball greater structural integrity.

We used to do Crystal Box where I turned my Maltese dog into my assistant. Covered the box and he peed all over the base. I produced her dripping in dog pee!

While performing in India for several weeks in very high humidity, I didn't realize how the humidity had affected mybsalt for the long pour salt trick. Instead of producing a stream of salt, I produced "clumps!" Doesn't have the same effect!

These and more make great stories and funny memories now, but they sure got the adrenalin going in each situation. Smile
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