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Rupert Bair
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Hello,
Just thought I would ask your opinions on this, I feel that a majority of flat pack items don't play well, Yes they are easier for the magician to carry with his roll on tables and all the the suitcases and bags but to they really 'Play Big?' as they say. I love a lot of supreme magic but I have a lot in the cupboards that Is think is not really that good effects, a few that come to mind
Snow white and the seven dwarfs
Space man Sam
Hocus pocus hare
Dressing doll
Maybe its me but I think the reactions you get from these effects is flat. Maybe its the presentation but other entertainers I have spoken to say the same thing.
what do you think?
Matt
p.b.jones
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HI,
As soon as you pull out such a prop you sterotype your self as a baby magician in my eyes. most kids over 5 tollerate such effects at best
Phillip
Rupert Bair
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What sort of effects do use then?
matt
Cheshire Cat
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Yes Matt, I basically agree with you. As entertainers who've always carried loads of equipment we feel that parents do notice. The old fashioned dinner suited, floppy bow tie magician with his 'easy to pack' props (purely done for HIS benefit), who arrives 5 minutes before the party and is gone in similar time is unacceptable these days. YES, I know you can entertain with silks and sponge balls etc. - but I personally feel that props as individualistic as possible (we've always won on this with our custom made puppets), that have the appearance of substance do get noticed.

Just one little exception here, - I always liked the Supreme "Eddie's Ghost House" strangely enough. All these 'baby' props others refer to I've always presented in a 'cod' manner - thus for us they work.

Tony.
Rupert Bair
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I was looking at that before in a supreme book. a lot of supreme stuff is nice but its hard to find it in really good condition. My mentor bought one of everthing of Larry Cadabra so sometimes I am fortunate to obtain mint cond. props.
Matt
p.b.jones
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What sort of effects do use then?
matt

HI,
My adaptation of David ginns Snake can routine, misers dream,linking rings, Dukes dye version, these are pack small play big with plenty to see (not sponge balls or scotch and soda) but things that make the kids the focus not the props also they are all very strong magic
Yes entertainment is important but so in my opinion is the magic. Why make a magicaly poor trick entertaining when you could make a great trick magicaly equaly entertaing
Phillip
Ron Reid
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Well said, Phillip! An excellent post. After all, if you're a magician, you have to fool them.

Ron
Neale Bacon
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I guess I must be a baby magician then. I use Sammy Smiths Deja Zoo which gets a huge reaction, as does Superfrog.
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p.b.jones
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I guess I must be a baby magician then. I use Sammy Smiths Deja Zoo which gets a huge reaction, as does Superfrog.

HI,
I think that Deja zoo is in a different catagory than superfrog or run rabbit run ext as you are just displaying pictures of animals and having one selected.

I am not trying to be cheeky by my baby magician statement it could well be your target market (up to about 5 years old) But personaly 4 is my bottom line age for birthday parties (unless I am assured there are lots of older kids there too). I have seen so many magicians that have problems with kids of 8yrs upwards and in my experience it has mostly been the performers poor choice of effects and not their performing ability. As I said above ultimately it is no harder and no more work to take a good strong trick and make it entertaining than it is a weak one like superfrog or run rabbit run.
Phillip
Joseph_Then
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Most of my items are pack small and plays big. But the problem so far for me is: "Pack small, play big, hard to keep"!

I've always love the following tricks for my shows:
1) Dream Bag
2) Botania
3) Mouth Coil
4) (Some others I can't think of right now, sorry...)

Mouth coil can be toss away but keeping botania and dream bag can be tough job.

I also used super frog and deja zoo once a while and they do play well too.


On a second thought, I felt that it would be important to bring "big items", even for birthday party.

From client's perspective, it will look nice if a magician bring big boxes to their performance area as it seems like they are getting their money worth.

That's why I've always used Joe Lefler's Pro Suitcase table (L) because it looks "big" enough and hold almost 1 hour worth of show (actual show plus back-up) plus my PA system.

Just my thoughts...
-----



Joseph Then

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Dennis Michael
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I've never subscribed tot he "Pack small play big" philophopy because it was not the way my mind remembered magic as a kid. I like the prop magic.

I use big Props, The Mak Magic chair suspension, Wiz-Kote, the Pro Viper II, and several rabbit production boxes such as the wringer rabbit, the circus wagon, and many other larger, carry in extra boxes.

I've done flower productions, rabbit productions, silk productions (Temple screen), Miser's dream, 20th century silks and variations of this (one of my favorite).

I also use a backdrop, sound, music and lighting. A mini-stage production. It does, in my opinion, make a difference in the minds of the parents, paying for the event.

Based on the age of the group, I'll switch in, age approriate items such as, the coloring book, What's My Job, Super frog, Pizza Box Surprise, Die Box, Hippy Hop Rabbits, and others.
Dennis Michael
NJJ
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I think these tricks have a bad rep because the attract lazy magicians who

a) don't want to lug stuff around
b) want to rely on the pictures to provide the narrative.
c) Don't have the skill.

That doesn't mean they are bad....in fact, I perform Rabbits, Carrots and Hats ALL the time.

Its a wonderfully made monte effect on plastic cards.

Essentially, you play a game of three card monte with the kids (two hats and a rabbit) with a fourth card (a picture of carrots) as a prize. The rabbit card turns into a third hat card and the rabbit appears on the carrot card eating the cards.

It looks great and KILLS kids!
Sammy Haydn
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The trend in this thread is to decry the "pack small, play big" philosophy. I also remember that Bob Markwood in his excellent books also decried it.

Let me be contrary here. It is the singer not the song.
If the magician understands kids and can ENTERTAIN them it doesn't matter a hoot what he does.

I will concede that there is a certain appeal to a booker when they see a lot of stuff brought in and set up. It makes a good flash and heightens expectations. However you still have to fulfill that expectation. All the flash and display of props in the world will do you no good whatever unless you are an ENTERTAINER.

When Ron says that you have to fool them -you actually don't.Well, I suppose you do but it doesn't matter that much. It is far more important to MAKE THEM LAUGH! You don't need fancy props to do that.

I know someone who frequents this board who is a master kids entertainer. He makes a six figure income doing mostly birthday parties along with a few other shows yet I don't suppose anyone in the magic world outside his city has ever heard of him. He has very few props except his table and he is finding that a pain to carry around.

This guy can hold an audience of kids for about 40 minutes with gags, bits of business and sheer nonsense. There is some good magic too but it remains secondary to his main purpose which is TO MAKE THEM LAUGH and entertain them.

I myself have a show in a small briefcase and I will immodestly put it up against any magician out there with a bagful of paraphrenalia. In fact I was once booked in a mall and had to work with another magician who had big props and a Punch and Judy fitup.When he saw the reaction I was getting with my bunch of nothing compared to the reaction he was getting with a virtual magic shop he was seething with fury.

He was seething even more when subsequently someone in the audience phoned him to get MY number. The spectator saw the guy's phone number on his Punch and Judy Booth. He didn't give the guy my number but he found it out anyway and told me the story to my great delight.

PB JOnes thinks that "Run Rabbit Run" is a weak trick. I don't think so. I will now horrify him by saying that it is probably the strongest thing in my act especially if the kids are 7 or under. No great mystery but it is ENTERTAINING.

If Matt were to concentrate on making the items he mentions ENTERTAINING he will get results from them. If he were to concentrate on making HIMSELF entertaining rather than worrying about the trick I dare say he will go very far indeed in his career.

I and the entertainer mentioned above are great advocates of the Shakespearian school of kids entertainment. Much ado about nothing. The unnamed magician uses what he calls "a load of rubbish" to entertain kids. I use even less magic than he does and still get great results. A friend once said I have a "no magic magic show". I laughed because there was some truth in it. I probably should have more magic but I discovered a long time ago that the "Magic" is in the performer and not the prop.

It saves a lot of lugging about too.
p.b.jones
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PB JOnes thinks that "Run Rabbit Run" is a weak trick. I don't think so. I will now horrify him by saying that it is probably the strongest thing in my act especially if the kids are 7 or under. No great mystery but it is ENTERTAINING.

Hi,
By weak trick I was refering to the magic, as you said
"No great mystery " so if you get great rections by making a trick that is no great mystery entertaining, just think how much better a great mystery would be with an identicaly entertaining presentation.
This is the point that I am trying to make..
Phillip
Sammy Haydn
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Hello, Phillip.
I am not too concerned about "great mysteries" It is a great mystery to me why magicians are concerned about great mysteries.
I am concerned about great entertainment not great mysteries. I would be happy to do a great mystery if there were one with the same entertainment potential as Run Rabbit Run. I don't think there is. Mind you I haven't looked at a magic catalogue for 30 years.
I suppose Hippity Hop Rabbits is the nearest thing to it. It is a mystery and very entertaining. Perhaps not a great mystery but a mystery nevertheless.
I don't think amazing kids is a big deal anyway. In the end all they want to do is have a good laugh. If you can mystify them all well and good. If you can't so what?
Of course if you follow the American style of kids entertainment you will want to create "wonder" in the kids. I have no desire personally to create "wonder" I have a desire to create ENTERTAINMENT.
Just a matter of personal style. I am not saying that creating "wonder" is wrong. I am merely saying I am wondering why magicians want to make the kids wonder instead of making them laugh which is what they want to do in the first place.
That should be no great mystery. And that is where we came in.
Chuck Lyons
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As a clown I agree with hydan, I have in several circus performances had to entertain a very large group with nothing but my physical being. I do beieve that that to is magic. Remember its what you do with any prop big or small large or flat that makes the entertainment. If this was not true there would not be close up magicians in tons of resteraunts performing all over the word. Some of the most miraculous things I have seen have been the smallest illusions done in the "bare hands".
Rupert Bair
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Thanks, a lot of good opinions.
I know that you have to put a lot into a trick for it to work but what I'm saying is its not me its the props that I think the actual trick is very poor. PB Jones what is the reaction like with the snake can routine. I found it doesn't play well of me maybe its just me. like think Nkthen said they are hard to look after. most of them are made of cardboard. possibly not the best material to use! I think I'm going to slowly reintroduce some flat pack items and work on my showmanship. Jungle jamboree went down like a sinking ship last time I performed it so it went away. any ideas for that its quite a nice trick.
matt
Joseph_Then
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I think that the original concept of “Pack Small, play big” is a LOGISTIC issue, not an issue of ‘weak magic’. Matt calls it “Pack Flat, play big” and I believe it refers to the same concept.

“Pack small, play big” does NOT mean stacks of cardboard that packs flat and plays it big. It could also mean packing tricks like Botania, Mirror Box, Pizza digitations, etc. into a box where you can carry it around. Of course, ‘small’ is a subjective term and it varies for different magician. If I can fit my 1 hour show in my Joe Lefler’s Pro Suitcase Table, I consider it “pack small” for myself.

To DenDowhy, he may not want to pack it small because it makes a difference in the minds of the parents and I fully agree with him because he has his reasons.


I do agree, partially, with Mr. Haydn that it is “the singer, not the song”. A magician can have only a few pack small tricks and still entertain BIG crowds. Ask Jeff McBride, and he will show you his “Commando Show”. :>

I’ll like to highlight that there are magicians who use BIG props in kid’s shows and achieve the same effect (Right, DenDowhy?). The main reason is that they know which tricks suit them and which does not. I can perform Deja Zoo but Jonathan Pendragon may NOT want to perform because that is NOT his trick. He can perform Deja Zoo but he chooses not to.


But I do not agree, Mr Haydn, that you don’t create wonders and say that “It is far more important to MAKE THEM LAUGH!”.

Think of it: If you don’t create MAGIC in your show, why call yourself a MAGICIAN?

The ORIGINAL intention of magic is to CREATE WONDERS. It is to make people believe that you have magical powers. MAGIC IS ENTERTAINMENT.

If I can produce a Rabbit out of my bare hands and I make my audience think that I’m Merlin-incarnate, I’ve done justice to the art of magic. If you produce sponge balls out of a child’s collar and he went home believing that his shirt contains ‘magic sponge balls’, you have done justice to the art of magic.


Years ago, my family and I watched David Copperfield TV shows and ALL of them laugh and are entertained by his shows. Everyone in my family is bewildered by his magic and my parents think that his is Satan-worshipper!

I say David Copperfield has done justice to the art of magic. Jeff McBride does it. Penn & Teller does it. David Blaine does it. The people in David Blaine’s show are bewildered and laugh too! That is entertainment and he brought the art of magic to its original intention.

If Matt creates BOTH wonders and laughter using his list of ‘pack flat’ tricks, that is HIS style of performance and he is A MAGICIAN.

I think Ron Reid puts it right in the end, “After all, if you're a magician, you have to fool them.”

Just my 10 minutes worth of thoughts. :>
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Joseph Then

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Neale Bacon
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I have to agree with Sammy Haydn. It's not the song. it's the singer.

I do tricks like super frog, deja zoo, jolly polly (not all in the same show) and they are VERY entertaining and the kids have a blast.
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GlenD
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The yellow bandanna is pretty much always a hit! It does'nt exactly pack flat but it does not take much room up in my case either.

GlenD
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
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