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JamesinLA
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I thought it would be fun to have a place for us to share experiences on an ongoing basis. Here's one from me:

Last weekend, I was doing my Cut and Restored Rope. I told the girl as a joke, "Remember, white is rope, pink is skin." And she cut me.

My thumb bled through the rest of my show. It was night already so I don't think anyone could tell as I did my cups and balls routine. Ruined a white silk. Had to clean the blood off my cups, balls, and table fabric. The cops gave me a Bandaid. I did one more show and called it a night.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Bill Palmer
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Quote:

Last weekend, I was doing my cut and restored rope. I told the girl as a joke, "Remember, white is rope, pink is skin." And she cut me.



That's what happens when you lift other people's lines.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JamesinLA
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Thanks for those kind words of concern, Bill, however, I take exception to you characterization that I "lifted" the line. (Whose line is it anyway?)

I got that line from Harry Allen's book, which he sold to me so I could use the line. In much the same way that Johnny Carson had joke writers, etc. I also heard a very well known magician use that same line at the Castle a couple weeks ago, and, upon hearing it, knew it to be an old standard line that people use.

I do have a lot of original lines in my routines that I write myself. But I also have other material gotten from other sources. My street show is becoming more and more "all me." It's a process. I do use a lot of comedic material in the street, because I'm talking non-stop.

I can say that Tony Vera once told me (a couple weeks ago actually) that all street performers "borrow" lines from each other. But that is another issue that this thread is not meant to be about. But thanks for raising an interesting point. Even if it's off topic.

Here's another story from this past Sunday on the promenade. I was halfway through my show, when my partner showed up with his sound system. While I was in the middle of my show, he came up and attached the mic to me, while I continued without skipping a beat. Fifteen seconds later, my crowd had doubled, thanks, I can only assume, to the amplification.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Harry Murphy
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Now that is a good, simple pre and post test of the impact of adding amplification to an act!

On the other topic…I doubt if there is an original line in my street act. I like to think that my act is entirely original to me but I know that it is not. My presentation and style is entirely me (who else could it be?)! But most of my banter, quips, etc. have come from years of reading and watching other guys doing the work.

Heck, watch Jim Cellini work the streets (as I did in Amsterdam back in the 70’s) or Gazzos act (watched him during his Maryland Renaissance Years in the early 90’s) or Johnny Fox’s act (I have been watching him every year for over 20 years!) and you will hear a lot of the same lines.

I remember when I heard Cellini back in the day thinking, “Man those are some old jokes”. Truth is, that most of the really clever tag lines, trick specific joke lines (the white is the rope, the pink is my thumb!), and general joke lines (I didn’t leave when you got here!) have been around for decades and their origins have been lost in time.

Maybe there is a joke and gag line historian out there who knows the origin of each old bit of corn and odd joke. It would be interesting who said it first.

Maybe a tale or two later!

...I wear a shaggy mustache. I have worn a mustache since I was 18 years old (with only a few months of clean shaven face throughout my entire life). I also play with fire!

Last year I was booked to perform at a small town Autumn Fest. It was basically a street gig with three platform shows a day for the two days of the event. I get a small fee and am allowed to pass the hat when I do the street show.

I decided to do a little fire eating to gather a crowd. There is nothing like waving a couple of torches around, sticking a torch in your mouth, and blowing a fire ball to draw a crowd.

OK you see it coming, wait for it! Wait for it!

Now when I do a bit of fire eating I brush my mustache away from my lips with my fingers and I wet it with a bit of water. Normally I don’t get so much as a singed hair. Normally! (I said wait for it—don’t get ahead of me).

It was a typical autumn day in West, By God, Virginia, with a chill in the air and only the slightest of breezes. A perfect day for playing with fire! Everything went well until the fireball (fire-fountain). My mustache had dried out and got a bit saturated with the fuel as I made the spray.

The fireball went well, the crowd had gathered and was cheering (a good start to any show) and I went to extinguish the torches in my mouth. First torch went well, second torch caught a bit of breeze and flamed a bit higher as it went in (no problem really except…) and caught my mustache alight! I stood there for a good two seconds (an eternity!) with my face on fire and a torch handle sticking out of my mouth. I pulled the torch out and it relit from the mustache, patted the fire on the face out and put the torch back in my mouth to extinguish it.

No permanent damage was done. I just had to perform for the rest of the day smelling burnt hair! That is not a pleasant smell!!! That night I shaved the stubble off and performed the next day clean-shaven.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Roland Henning
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Stange, the story, where the pink part was cut instead of the white part. I've heard at least nine times from different performers.

Probably a common error.

mmG Roland
vernon
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Wierd stuff from the street...huh. Well there I was with the balloon swallow, and would you know it, I'd picked from the bunch an unprepared one. I didn't realize it wasn't going to go down the gullet (hmmmmm) until it started to push its way in oh so slightly...Still no harm done, split the balloon and whizzed it past two kids. Not really exciting but just my two cents.

Oh James, I am in Florida due to be in Vegas 18th then up to the Castle for my stint...22nd 23rd and 24th. Will call you before.

Cheers
Vernon
Pete Biro
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Yah, when I saw Cellini's tape and lecture I was amazed at the old standard lines he used.

My take on the line is, "The rope is the white and my fingers have nails on the ends."

Another I use I developed doing shows in the US Army, "The Nomenclature of this rope...one each, wool, white with two ends and one middle, located at the center..."

This was in the 1950s.

James, try, "The rope, the white, er...a little soiled gray, stuff, won't bleed if you cut it but my fingers will..." Smile
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
the levitator
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My guess is that entertainers use stock lines because THEY WORK. Show me one magician performing in the world today who has a completely ORIGINAL act, every move, every word, every gesture. I find it hilarious when magicians quibble about stolen lines that are being used as they all go out and perform the same effects that SOMONE ELSE created that are upwards of hundreds of years old.

I always thought that our goal was to entertain, and you can't beat the classics that have stood the test of time. I feel that if you think it's wrong to use stock lines, then you should also stop using stock magic. No more double-lifts, One Way Decks, and keyed rings. Just try to create a COMPLETELY original magic act that doesn't use one single move or gimmick that has already been invented, used, and refined over the course of history.

If magicians spent more time making people happy and sharing the experience of magic and less time quibbling over originality, credits, and who has the biggest "deck", the world would be a much better place. I'm not saying that we should neglect our history, nor am I attacking anyone here—as I've seen this argument on several different boards and forums—I just can't figure out why magicians feel it is OK to steal (are you giving public credit for every move you do in your show?) moves and effects, but some are appalled by a borrowed joke or two. Is this for real?
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
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JamesinLA
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Harry, thanks for sharing that great story about the lighting your moustache on fire. It sounds like you'll do anything to gather an edge.

Vernon, thanks also for the fun balloon swallowing anecdote (look forward to seeing you at the castle, James!)

Pete and Roland great feedback.

Bill, Roland, and Levitator, let's get a busking story from you. Nothing is too small; just fold it up and drop it in the hat.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
ed rhodes
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In his book Out of Your Pockets Merlyn Shute suggests, "...the pink is me" as a line.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2003-12-09 00:54, JamesinLA wrote:
Thanks for those kind words of concern, Bill, however, I take exception to you characterization that I "lifted" the line. (Whose line is it anyway?)

I got that line from Harry Allen's book, which he sold to me so I could use the line. In much the same way that Johnny Carson had joke writers, etc. I also heard a very well known magician use that same line at the Castle a couple weeks ago, and, upon hearing it, knew it to be an old standard line that people use.

I do have a lot of original lines in my routines that I write myself. But I also have other material gotten from other sources. My street show is becoming more and more "all me." It's a process. I do use a lot of comedic material in the street, because I'm talking non-stop.

I can say that Tony Vera once told me (a couple weeks ago actually) that all street performers "borrow" lines from each other. But that is another issue that this thread is not meant to be about. But thanks for raising an interesting point. Even if it's off topic.

Jim

I almost hesitate to take this any further, since it wasn't the original intent of the topic, but since you can't put the toothpaste back into the tube, I'll answer all of the issues you raise here.

First of all, I'm glad you have the ethical consideration to have at least paid someone for the line, even if he wasn't the originator of it. This line was actually originated by MarcoM, who has been using it for well over 30 years. The first time it saw print legitimately is in his book Lord of Legerdemaine, which I published. He has used it at conventions and Renaissance festivals for a very long time.

I apologize for not showing more concern for your fingers than for the line.

In his various compendiums of "stock" lines, Harry Allen has published much material that he did not have the right to publish. He as much as admits this in the introductions to his pamphlets. I suppose that he figures that if several other people have pilfered a line, what difference does it make if he publishes it. Harry is not the only person who has done this. I'm not singling him out. He is simply the one you have referenced as your source.

There is a big difference in this kind of book and the use that Johnny Carson made of his team of writers. They were paid by Johnny to write material for Johnny. They spend a lot of time and creative effort to give him original material. They don't compile it from other comics.

The fact that you heard some other fellow at the Castle use the line does not diminish MarcoM's authorship, by any means. Nor does it make it right for anyone else to use it. It just shows how many people have copied it. Now the fellow at the Castle may have purchased MarcoM's book. In this case, he would then have the right to use the line.

Tony Vera's statement does not speak highly of the creativity or the ethics of street performers, does it?

Sure, the lifting of material goes on. There is a juggling team that I worked with for a long time at Renaissance festivals and street faires, who shall remain nameless. I was working street at Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, when I heard another juggling team using their entire show. I spoke to my friends, whom I considered to be the originators of the material and told them what I had heard. They said, "Well, we can't do anything about it." Later I found out why. They had lifted the whole act from the very team that I had assumed to be the thieves.

So, don't assume that just because you see something in print, that it belongs to the guy who put it down first. Sometimes, it doesn't. And never believe that just because you have heard a line from one or two other performers, that it is a stock line.

Every "stock" or "standard" line has an originator. When their "children" are kidnapped, they don't hear them go kicking and screaming into the night.

If you will PM me your snail mail address, I'll send you a copy of MarcoM's book, gratis, so you can use his line with a totally clear conscience.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JamesinLA
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Bill Palmer wrote:

Quote:
I apologize for not showing more concern for your fingers than for the line.

Bill,

Apology accepted. Now, can we finally get back to what this thread was meant to be: a place to share fun, interesting, educational busking stories.

I would enjoy hearing one of yours, Bill. Whattaya say?

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Bill Palmer
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Good idea.

Here is an experience that I had back in the 1970's. I was doing a street show, with my wife acting as a helper. My closing item was the "Card Named Clyde." As I was finishing the introductory lines, I said, "I don't want you to think of an easy card, such as the ace of spades or the king of hearts. Think of one of the less popular cards, such as the nine of diamonds or the four of clubs."

I pointed to one of the gentlemen in the audience and said, "That fellow over there was thinking of the four of clubs."

He nearly had a heart attack. He yelled, "He's right! I was thinking of the four of clubs!"

My wife said, "How in the HELL did you do that?!"

"I'll tell you later," I whispered back.

It was a case of taking advantage of an opportunity. Although the fellow was standing a good 20 feet from me, I read his lips when he told his girl friend, almost silently, "I was thinking of the four of clubs."

Show no mercy!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
the levitator
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I would have loved to have seen that one! That shows what an experienced performer you are, because a lot of guys would have been concentrating so hard on their act, they would have missed the chance to read the guy's lips.

My weirdest moment was right after I did a barehanded goldfish production at a Ren Faire. Right after I produced the goldfish and poured it into a glass, one of the more intoxicated fighters competing that day took the glass, pulled the fish out so everyone could see it wiggling, and promptly swallowed it. The audience loved it!

Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I asked for the fish back, but he really swallowed it. So I grabbed the top of his head, bent him over sideways, and started pretending to hit him on the head, over the glass, and gave the illusion that the fish fell out of his ear. As soon as he had grabbed the glass I put my other loaded TT on and seized an opportunity to bring it back. The audience roared, but the look on HIS face was priceless!
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
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Bill Palmer
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That's beautiful!!!

One of my favorite Renaissance Festival stories concerns the photo of me that was on the cover of the November 1999 Linking Ring. That picture was taken much longer ago than I care to mention!

I had just gotten a big Swarovski crystal installed on the top of my staff, and I had learned to position it so that it would cast rainbows all over the place.

A fellow with a big Nikon camera came up to me and asked if he could photograph me. I said that he could, and he started to focus. So I said, "Wait a minute, maybe I can shoot a rainbow up your lens." I rotated the staff, and suddenly I saw the elements of the lens light up. He put his camera down and started fumbling around in a big cardboard box that had "Craig Busch" on the side in big, black letters.

I asked what he was doing, and he replied that he was getting out a star filter. He put the filter on the lens, I rotated the staff, got the rainbow for him, and he took a couple of photos. One was the one that was on the cover of the Linking Ring. (It won the photo contest that year.)

When he started to put up his filter, I said, "Craig, if that picture comes out, please let me have a copy."

He was really startled, "Do you know me?"

"I never saw you before in my life."

"How did you know my name?"

"Your name is Craig...Busch! Right?"

"YES!!! HOW DID YOU KNOW?"

"Well, it was partially luck. You remind me of a friend of mine named Craig, so I took a chance on that. You know, some people say that you look like your name. And as for the last name, well, you have dark hair, but you don't look Italian, so I figured that maybe your ancestors came from north of there, perhaps Bavaria, and I thought Bavaria...Busch Bavarian...it made perfect sense." He was really believing this nonsense! "And when I saw your name on the side of the box, it confirmed my suspicions."

He said, "Oh, man. That was really disappointing."

So I learned a very important lesson. When you can pick information like that out of the air, NEVER, EVER give them a hint of where it came from, even in jest.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
vernon
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Bill, that made me laugh...love the way it flows and when I saw your name on the side...very, very, very funny. And you are right, don't let on.

Vernon
Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2003-12-10 12:14, Bill Palmer wrote:
This line was actually originated by MarcoM, who has been using it for well over 30 years.

Bill,

I am going to double check this when I get home but I am fairly sure I have this line (or something very close) in a book of patter from Geo. D. Lawrence from the 1920's.

This does not in any way mean that MarcoM snitched it from old George both may have come up with the line independently.

I have always tried to write my own stuff for my shows but time and time again I have found myself re-inventing the wheel.

If a line is so obvious that it is funny such as this one is, "White is the rope the pink bit is me."

I would not be surprised to find that it has come up before.

I could also be wrong.

Just my two cents.

Best,
Dan-
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Harry Murphy
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Good point Danny, I remember when I was a kid in junior high school (the late 50’s folks, and I had already performed two seasons with a carnival) a local magician was booked to do an assembly show at the school.

I actually got to be the selected spectator to help him do his cut and restored routine. I remember clearly when I went to cut the rope that he warned me to cut the “white, that’s the rope, the pink is me!” The reason I remember it is because I made a note of it in my notebook (still have it by the way!) and started using the line the very next season with the carnival (all over Oklahoma and East Texas).

According to my notes, the magician’s name was Ed Mischell. Ed was local to El Paso, Texas, at the time and was performing school assemblies in many Texas school systems. Ed told me that the cut and restored routine (he called it a “trick”) he used was a Monk Watson routine. He probably got the line directly from Monk’s act (it kind of sounds like something Monk would have said).

I suspect the line is something that has been discovered, used, and written independently over the years. I would bet a paycheck that MarcoM did indeed come up with the line without hearing it or reading it. I think that the line screams to be said just by performing the routine. It makes intuitive sense to give a warning and a clever performer or sharp wit probably has it jump into their head and out their mouth without much thought, however, I freely admit that at 13 years old I took the line from Ed Mischell.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Doug Conn
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My favorite street stories involve "Sunny Holiday" (some of you may know him...or know of him as the street magician featured on Cellini's Art of Street Performing). Alas, telling those tales are likely to get me kicked off this board (it's hard to tell a Sonny story without at least one cuss word).

Then...there are a few tales involving nudity. Lots of that down here in the big easy. Smile

Just to keep it safe, I'll tone it down and tell the tale of my first $20 tip:

It had been a slow day, but I'd earned enough to make a visit to my favorite local pub; the "Alpine" (a street performer-friendly French Quarter Pub).

A few hours (and a few beers) later, the cash ran out...Somewhere after midnight, I drunkenly decided it would be feasible to go out and make enough $$$ for another round (I was at the bar with a few friends). I boasted that I'd be back in 10 minutes with $10.

I stepped out of the bar in to the darkness of Jackson Square...with no one in sight.

Not wishing to go back empty handed, I set-up my stuff and within seconds (like a group of angels sent from heaven) a group of English-folk strolled by my table. I did the cups and balls. The English gentleman made a complimentary remark as he dropped the bill in the hat...my first $20!

Within minutes I was back in the Alpine buying drinks for the table. At that moment, there had never been a prouder busker. Smile
Harry Murphy
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Now that is MAGIC! Great story! Gotta love those Brits!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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