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Daniel Ulzen
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I am doing the hand-shake gag (explanation see below) for about 30 years now and get the impression that in earlier times the gag was easier to perform. Nowadays often the child tries to pull his/her arm away. Don't know maybe the reason or one of the reasons is that in our times children often are afraid about body contact. Has anybody similar or different experiences? And does anybody have a good method to get the cooperation from the child?


The handshake-gag (if I remember it right it is described in the book "The Bobo Magic Show") goes like this: The performer shakes hands with a child on his left with his right hand. At the same time his left hand grabs the right elbow of the child. After that the performer looks into the audience and at the same time he moves with his left hand the underarm of the child so it looks as if the child waves or wants to shake hands again. This can be extremely funny especially if the child hits the performer in the face. Give this gag a try it is great.
Gerry Walkowski
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I think it all depends on the child.

Sometimes the gag works better on some individuals than it does on others.

It's a throw-away gag anyway. If it fails, you just move on to other bits of business.

Dick Oslund
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I agree with Gerry.

I used this old bit for "umpteen" years. I never had a problem with it. It always played well.

I've been retired since 2008, so, I don't have any recent experience.

I always did the gag with a boy. "Men" shake hands! --Generally speaking, "women" don't. --at least, not with men.

You mention that in "our times, children are afraid of body contact". This may well be a factor!

Up until a few years ago, one of the old standard comedy bits, was to reach into a boy's coat, or even shirt, and "produce" (in the old days) a baby's nursing bottle! --Or, a "string of Charlie Weller's Wieners. (I would follow that with a rubber chicken from another boy. "We" would never have considered reaching into a girl's blouse or sweater to "produce" anything!!!

(Here comes the "but"::: BUT, in the past few years, due to concerns about child abuse, it is no longer "proper" to be that "familiar".
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I stopped trying to shake kids' hands a while back, and, therefore, don't do any handshake gags (there are several others besides the one you mention). My experience is that many kids aren't used to shaking hands as a social courtesy. It's unnatural to them, no longer part of children's culture even though adult males still shake hands with other males. I do, however, still do a number of hand slap "give me five" type gags, which kids will respond to.
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Gerry, you're spot on. I do it in every show--just did it this morning at a Winter Camp for small children.
Chose a child who is not too shy and not too young eg 4 years and up, even some 3 years old will do.
Daniel, use your years of experience to pick the right child. You're not going to win every time, but most of the time.
If the child goes "OUCH" as if it hurts, I will have him go sit and pick someone else.
Usually, the first thing I do when I raise the child's hand at right angle, Is to move her forearm up and down as if she's waving to someone. Their wrist will be hanging loosely and flapping up and down. I will say "stop waving to everyone" this will break the ice and most times they will also giggle.
Tricky Ricky
Jef Eaton
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I saw someone have the kid tap the magician's leg with the back of his hand like he was trying to get the magician's attention, and then he would shake hands again.The magician was in control, and it was very funny. It was a very long time ago, so I can't remember who it was to give credit to.
<BR>Creator of what my Mom thinks are the funniest kid show props around!
Daniel Ulzen
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I often let the kid tap my stomach to get my attention to shake hands again, that works too.

But the biggest laugh is always at the end the strike in the face.
Geoff Akins
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There was a hand-shaking gag I saw and loved and used for awhile... you ask, "May I shake your hand?" and when they say yes you hold their wrist and actually shake the hand back and forth by shaking them at the wrist.

I eventually dropped it because it didn't fit my charactor and I didn't want to do anything to make my volunteers appear silly. Just a personal preference.
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