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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Different styles, different props - same reaction . . . (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
941 Posts

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I think some of us in recent days have had friendly disagreements of what type of props to use for children who are past the age of 5 or 6. First of all I think it's a fair comment that an entertainer should use what works best in his or her hands and gets the best reaction. (Does anyone disagree with this?). My own personal style is to project myself and my patter to the children primarily and use props as a vehicle for this. In other words I'm not just standing there telling a scripted fairy story or whatever, with a magical ending.

I saw a children's magician briefly a few weeks ago on a UK TV programme (forget what it was about). He was magnificently dressed in a wizard's cape, pointed hat, - immaculately turned out etc. However, he was just simply a good prop. manipulator, because all he said to the children was "I'm now going to . . . " "and when I count to three it will . . . " In other words no comedy, no injection of personality, no acting, no phrasing of patter (hope you all understand what I mean by this). I think I'm correct in assuming that this is the type of person the 1950s/60s scripted Supreme and other routines were intended for? Maybe I'm doing the guy an injustice here as possibly this is what the TV company told him to do (however, I would have declined the job myself on this basis). So ok, I agree, - all that is old hat isn't it? But yet with imagination and a free mind these very said same props can be used for 2004 children, as they were basically sound (and some extremely clever) ideas. Some also lend themselves to re-working or cross working with other props so well in my opinion.

Any comments?

Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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I think the mistake people make is thinking the entertainment is in the magic. Or in the props! Bookers make the same mistake. They are the ones they hire the clown for 3 hours in the great costume at the great price who canˇ¦t entertain. (Iˇ¦ve been to a Christmas party that had two clowns entertaining each other because the kids ignored them).

Props, on their own are not entertaining. Good magic on its own is not that entertaining. Amazing magic presented like a high school science experiment is not entertainment either.

Magic, fancy props, music & humor are just some of the tools we use to entertain. Like any tools they are no help unless you have the skills to use them.

Personally I think gimmicky looking props detract from the magic. I hate funny looking props that exist for no reason other that to do magic (i.e. change bags & jumbo playing cards and yes a lot of Supreme stuff falls into this catagory).

Looking right however can be very important. Bookers put a lot of emphasis on what your show looks like when determining your value. Polish your shoes, use a nice backdrop. If you use puppets have beautiful looking puppets. We still have to compete against the clowns who offer 3 hours in a great costume. Using big gimmicky props however is different.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
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Profile of Tyler_Magician
I agree with most of what you said except for change bags are used in my church for offering. I should use one and make a gimmicked one.
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Eternal Order
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Good points. I think the magical looking props is for the parents. I do use them but I don't put a lot of faith in them. I close with a square circle done to music.

Just look at John Zander's school show DVD. He shows up with less than a suitcase in props and puts on an entire show in LA.
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