Supreme Magic

Discuss the art of Children's Entertainment with your fellow performers.
performer
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Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 6th, 2017, 8:52 am

Here is a great video. I found it fascinating:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq6bhbfTF_4

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 6th, 2017, 2:09 pm

Yes, Performer, fascinating indeed! Wonderful to see a dealer who adhered to a code of ethics that overshadowed the profit motive. He sold only to professionals, because he wanted to protect the secrets from the mere curiosity seekers, or having them be seeped to the public at large.

It is inspiring to see a gentleman just brimming over with a love of magic emanating from every pore. While he was an exceptional businessman who emphasized prompt and impeccable customer service, it was clear he was in it primarily for the sheer joy and fun of it. Very poignantly, he told the BBC interviewer, that the most important key to being a successful magical performer was personality - to imbue the tricks and routines with the stamp of one's own unique personality.

He also wrote patter for each and every one of the many effects he created, astonishingly, averaging the creation of about a trick per day. The inclusion of patter was true value added and gave his world-wide customers a starting point, because coming up with great patter and an entertaining presentation is more often than not more challenging than getting the moves and mechanics down.

His favorite effect of all was the egg bag. It is a delightful routine which I have recently gotten back into doing, after unconscionably leaving it in the drawer of forgotten items for many years. I am so happy that I did so! It is overlooked by many magicians, both professional and amateur; it is is truly a winner for both kids and adults, and has endless presentational possibilities.

Edwin was also a fabulous kids' magician, as you yourself are, Performer, from what I have seen. I encounter many kids in my restaurant work, and love performing for them. It is an art in itself.

What a delightful man Edwin was, and it was a real loss to the magic world when he dematerialized into thin air and reappeared upon the great stage in the sky in 1993, where I am sure he still joyfully creating and performing his magic.

performer
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 6th, 2017, 2:23 pm

Oh, he would sell to amateurs too! If he didn't he would have gone out of business! However, he did not sell to anyone and everyone the way dealers do nowadays. They had to be seriously interested in magic. But then in those days virtually all magic dealers operated this way . Nowadays with the internet there is far less secrecy in magic and very professional tricks are sold willy nilly to laymen.

I have never been a rabid anti exposure fanatic but in recent years it is bothering me quite a bit to see this trend. I find it deplorable. Alas time marches on and that seems to be the way of the future. I am glad I am going to miss most of this trivialization of the art.

As for Edwin I think he had a lot to do with the superiority of British kid show entertainers in the past. I don't think it is a coincidence that since his business came to an end the standard of competence in the UK where kid show entertainers are concerned has alas gone down the drain considerably from some of the videos I have seen. In the old days I hardly ever saw a bad children's entertainer in Britain. Now I see them all the time.

Yep. Times have changed.

performer
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 6th, 2017, 2:29 pm

Oh, and I love the egg bag too! I use the Roy Benson routine which for some odd reason you never see nowadays. Come to think of it I never saw it in the old days either! Which is odd since it is out there in print for all to see in Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott. It takes a bit of dexterity so perhaps that has something to do with it. You finish with five or six eggs.

The odd thing is that I have come across quite a few magicians who detest the egg bag for some odd reason! Competent performers too. I guess they instinctively think it doesn't suit them. I remember Harry Stanley telling me he just didn't like the trick and he wasn't the only one.

I have two routines for it. One for kids and one for adults. I think it is a great classic trick and takes up very little space. One of those things that pack small and play big.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 6th, 2017, 7:26 pm

A few years ago, the following article, by Denny Haney, appeared on the Denny & Lee Magic Studio site:

"MOST PERFECT TRICK IN MAGIC"

THE MALINI EGG BAG is the answer. ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED??? Perhaps you were expecting some hidden secret trick. As I said, “It’s right under your nose!”

The Egg Bag goes back much earlier than 1913 and was always a popular trick. In 1913, Max Malini changed the design of the bag to make it the perfect trick.

The fact that you all had an egg bag when you were starting in magic sometimes makes you pass over the Malini Egg Bag becasue you think it is the same thing. IT IS NOT! The Malini design takes this from a good trick to a mind blower.

DO YOU ALREADY OWN A MALINI BAG? Some who called said “Oh, I already have that.” I then asked “Are you doing it yet?'” The answer is usually “No, I haven’t got a routine for it yet.” It is surprising as to how many of you have this effect in your drawer and again are searching for the Holy Grail of presentations. JUST LEARN THE MOVES AND START DOING IT. The routine will
develop as you perform it. The effect itself is so strong that your audiences will love it even while you are still learning it.

YOU DON’T LIKE THE EGG BAG?? I have heard that statement before...Once you see how much your AUDIENCE loves it, YOU will
love it also. Remember, most who have never owned a Malini Egg Bag think it’s just another egg bag. I don’t care how many egg bags you own, if you are not familiar with the Malini Style bag, IT WILL AMAZE YOU!!!

STILL NOT CONVINCED?????

The only way you will ever really know is to LEARN IT. Just ask Johnny Thompson, Jeff Hobson, Tom Mullica, John Carney, Harry Riser, Danny Tong, Wayne Dobson, Eric DeCamps, Bob White, Gazzo, or any of the guys who are doing it. But then again, what do THEY know??

I think Denny has some really good points there, and I never dreamed of the reaction it could get until I started performing it.

***Luminaries (past and present) that can be added to Denny's above list include: Trevor Lewis, Bill Malone, Charlie Miller, Jeff Busby, Martin Lewis, Ken Brooke, Obie O'Brien, Jay Marshall, Billy McComb, U. F. Grant and, of course, Max Malini.

IMHO, the primary secret to success with the egg bag is in how you handle and interact with the audience, especially the audience members(s) you have as your "assistant(s)." Also, using a blown egg (easy to make) is a great advantage - very light, but still looks and feels like the real thing. But like anything else in magic, there are certain tricks certain magicians just don't feel drawn to or natural performing. Not necessarily right or wrong; just different strokes for different blokes. I mean, I never really cared for Twisting the Aces...

performer
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 6th, 2017, 8:39 pm

Let me get Twisting the Aces out of the way first. Try it this way. Instead of using the four aces use an ace, two, three and four of the same suit. Have them in 2, ace, 4, 3 order and do the trick as normal They will turn face upwards in Ace, two, three,order and you will find that far more effective. With aces only the spectators may forget which card came up first. I think this is a Brother John Hamman touch but I can't swear to it.

With regard to the egg bag I have never used a Malini Egg bag. I just used a simple egg bag which would be too difficult to describe here. I have two of them. I purchased them in England. I have never seen them over here but it is just a plain, simple bag with an almost crude design of the pocket all across the bag. Just cloth folded over in itself in fact. I have found it all I need. I tried the Malini bag but found it a bit of a nuisance.

I agree with the blown egg but it is too much messing about and preparation for me. I have seen a real egg being broken and poured into a dish and it is very effective. But not for me since I can't be bothered with all that mess. However, the reason I like a solid wooden egg is that I can bang it on a plate and make a hell of a din. And when I produce 5 or 6 eggs a la Roy Benson I can make a lot of dramatic clatter each time I produce the egg and bang it on a plate. Of course nobody will think it is a real egg if I do that but I don't give a stuff. And if I used a real egg it would deprive me of my awful joke that nobody laughs at. I say, "It is not a real egg. It is a wooden egg" And I bang it on the plate to show that it is wooden. However, I continue, "after all it wouldn't be wooden if it wouldn't be wooden, would it?"

I do one thing which is a bit different to most egg bag routines. I don't use an assistant at all! I like the fact I can leave everyone in the audience and do the entire thing without any help from anyone at all. I do often use people on stage but whenever I get a chance not to I jump at it. I am a great fan of David Bamberg's philosophy on this. He did a full evening show and thought that it is best to use audience participation only twice. Once in the first half and once in the second half. Of course you have to adapt this philosophy for a smaller act and I am not always able to do it but when I am able to I jump at the chance. The ideal in say a twenty minute act is to only get someone up once from the audience. Naturally this is not set in stone and I often have to break this guideline. However, I try to follow it whenever I can. Better contrast and better structure that way.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 6th, 2017, 10:19 pm

All good points, my good friend.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 7th, 2017, 2:50 pm

PERFORMER WROTE: "I do one thing which is a bit different to most egg bag routines. I don't use an assistant at all! I like the fact I can leave everyone in the audience and do the entire thing without any help from anyone at all. I do often use people on stage but whenever I get a chance not to I jump at it. I am a great fan of David Bamberg's philosophy on this. He did a full evening show and thought that it is best to use audience participation only twice. Once in the first half and once in the second half. Of course you have to adapt this philosophy for a smaller act and I am not always able to do it but when I am able to I jump at the chance. The ideal in say a twenty minute act is to only get someone up once from the audience. Naturally this is not set in stone and I often have to break this guideline. However, I try to follow it whenever I can. Better contrast and better structure that way."

The contrast and structure concept makes a lot of sense. That said, I cannot imagine doing the egg bag without the spectator(s) assistant(s). They can verify that the bag is empty, and they pull out the egg, both of which I believe build an exponentially higher level of conviction in the audience. Plus, the interaction with, and the reactions of, the assistant, provide tremendous opportunities for comedy and heightened entertainment.

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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 7th, 2017, 8:38 pm

OK. The egg bag. I have seen many, many good performances with the egg bag using volunteers from the audience. I just prefer to do it without - not by design but simply because that is the original way I learned it. It took me ages and ages to get a routine I was happy with and now I am delighted that I have finally found it. In the past the reactions were lukewarm but now they are terrific.

However, Alfred has inadvertently provided me with the answer to a mystery that I have already alluded to and which as always puzzled me. Why on earth do so few people, (I haven't seen ANY!) do the wonderful Benson finish to the egg bag where you end up producing 5 or 6 eggs depending on the size of your hand. After all it has been published fairly prominently so one would assume somebody noticed it.

But Alfred has given me the answer without knowing why he gave me the answer! The truth is that virtually every egg bag routine I have ever seen, particularly when the Malini bag was first marketed, is done with spectators from the audience. It seems to be the most popular presentation. The Benson finish would be a bit awkward to do when you have people on stage with you. I suppose you could dismiss them back into the audience then pretend you were going to reveal the secret and then do the finale but I suspect the momentum would be lost because of the lack of continuity.

The routine I learned in The Classic Secrets of Magic requires no assistance from audience members and I think in the old, old days that was always the way it was done. In fact I don't think Malini himself got anyone up to help him with it and neither did Paul Rosini as far as I know.

I enjoy the trick a lot and get a lot of great laughs with it. It is a perfect trick because it is so compact and gets great reaction. But then so do all the classics. I am a great believer in performing the classic tricks of magic. They have passed the test of time and I have always thought that originality is quite over rated. The only thing that needs to be original is your personality but that comes automatically anyway. It does have to be somewhat unique though.

Incidentally when I do the egg bag for kids I DO get a volunteer up to help. A child of course. I have a very simple routine with only two phases but I milk it dry! It lasts around ten minutes.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 8th, 2017, 3:43 am

Performer, I would love to see your egg bag routines sometime - both the adult and children version. Any routine that ends with the production/appearance of a half dozen eggs, wooden or otherwise, is bound to garner a fantastic reaction. I am not going to mention my own final load for the egg bag on here, but suffice it to say it is a huge, jaw-dropping surprise...

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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 8th, 2017, 6:42 am

I have added a touch to the Benson finish which works really well. It is not my idea but belongs to the late Peter Marucci. It is just about the only thing I have ever learned from a magic magazine which proves the old adage that the best place to hide the secret of a good trick is a magic magazine. Oh, one moment please! I do remember where I once learned something else in a magic magazine. Richard will be happy to know it was in the Genii magazine. The Max Malini issue. It mentioned in passing that Malini used to pretend to eat the balls in the cups and balls routine. I thought that was great so I tried it out and have been doing it ever since. The expression on the spectator's faces as you apparently put the balls in your mouth and swallow them is priceless! I bet I am the only one doing it even though it was printed for all to see. Maybe now everone will be doing it and it will serve me right for blabbing about it on here.

Oh, talking about blabbing I got so carried away with it that I forgot to blab about the Benson finish or should I say the Marucci finish. This was from his Linking Ring column. The very last egg I produce is not an egg but a little plastic duck! It gets quite a laugh and makes a good applause cue to finish the egg bag off.

Yes, there is a video about with me doing the trick but I won't post a link to it since I don't like it that much. You can search it out though and you will find it.

Now when I do the trick for kids I downplay the mystery and the ten minute routine is just an excuse to do the breakaway want and sliver sceptre. It gives me a chance to growl at the child helper for lousing up my magic wand. I do find it important to growl at children and traumatise them early in life to prepare them for the tough road ahead.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 8th, 2017, 1:55 pm

The gag of pretending to eat the balls in the cups and balls is quite clever and conjures up a jolly funny image. Sounds like something that would be quite adaptable to the egg bag - especially for kids. Place the egg in the bag, come out with a suspicious looking hand, pretend to cough, simulate having the egg in the mouth (literally tongue in cheek) pretend to swallow the egg and gulp. Then proceed to show it has "vanished." Although I suspect that this or something similar must have been done by someone somewhere along the line.

By the way, at the risk of eliciting deafening groans from the audience or of them angrily rushing the stage, after producing the plastic duck, you could quip: "As you can see, this trick is not all it's quacked up to be" [and/or] "there is more than one way to quack an egg."

Please forgive my wise-quack - I couldn't resist...

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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 8th, 2017, 8:48 pm

The quack gag sounds quite good and I can see myself using it. However, I am not overly keen on putting things in the mouth in front of children as they have a tendency to copy and are liable to choke themselves. I have no intrinsic objection to children choking of course but alas I deem it to be bad for business and that tends not to be a good thing. After all, money is important and I like food with my meals.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 9th, 2017, 12:09 am

Very good point, Performer, as far as kids having the tendency to copy. I hadn't thought of that. I guess I would be comfortable doing the egg-swallowing gag with kids about 8 and older, but probably no younger. One has to be careful in this litigious society we live in today - after all, I don't think the premiums on my Magician's Insurance Policy are paid up...

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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 9th, 2017, 2:48 pm

I am overly paranoic about these things. I shudder when I see magicians use fire in their kid shows for example. And I won't take anything from the mouth, even mouth coils. Mind you I saw a magician when I was about 8 years old doing the mouth coil thing and I never thought of copying it but it makes me uneasy all the same. I sometimes see magicians doing multiplying ball routines in front of kids and swallow the balls and I just don't like it.

I am actually quite astonished at how many magicians use unsuitable material when entertaining children.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 9th, 2017, 4:07 pm

performer wrote:I am overly paranoic about these things. I shudder when I see magicians use fire in their kid shows for example. And I won't take anything from the mouth, even mouth coils. Mind you I saw a magician when I was about 8 years old doing the mouth coil thing and I never thought of copying it but it makes me uneasy all the same. I sometimes see magicians doing multiplying ball routines in front of kids and swallow the balls and I just don't like it.

I am actually quite astonished at how many magicians use unsuitable material when entertaining children.


I think you are being suitably, as opposed to overly, paranoid. Performer. I never thought that I would get into kids' magic - it was always adults only for years and years. That all changed when I started doing restaurant magic 5 years or so ago. Many adults bring their kids (and bring them back again and again) specifically to see the magician. Now I love it! They are so real and enthusiastic and in most cases, and depending on the age, possess the wonder many adults somehow lost along the way. I do several "safety tricks, which the parents loves - and boosts gratuities.

performer
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 9th, 2017, 6:26 pm

I will tell you something that I have always believed about children's entertainment. I have heard that in the US it is looked down on a little by magicians. Lower status or something. I have not particularly noticed this in Canada although it may be true for all I know. It is certainly not the attitude in Britain where it has always been accepted very strongly possible because of Supreme Magic for all I know.

And yet here is something I have always stated and it may surprise some. I strongly believe it is the most profitable branch of magic from a money point of view. Sure you can now and then garner a high paying corporate booking but I bet you the average humble (or in my case not so humble) kid show worker earns more money overall than the hot shot corporate performer. It is the quantity and consistency of the bookings that is the secret. Lower money on the birthday party circuit certainly but a hell of a lot more opportunity and easier to book work, week in and week out. While the people who look down on kid shows are starving the children's entertainers are thriving.

And they are the best audience in the world!

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 9th, 2017, 6:43 pm

Yes, 4 out of every 5 offers for bookings I get are for kids shows, and I have been accepting most. I never thought I would see the day! But, this has resulted in a significant increase in my bank account, and consequently, my magic library. And yes, I agree - they are the best audience in the world! I have also gotten work from a substantial number of parents, who have turned around and booked me for their "adult" parties - a wonderful added bonus...

performer
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby performer » January 9th, 2017, 7:00 pm

This might interest those who do children's shows. I wrote about it in my Wit and Wisdom book.

THE LETTER
Start the show by saying that you have a letter from someone or other telling you about the
birthday child.
Remove an envelope with a letter inside. This can be any old letter typewritten or handwritten.
In a pinch I have just used an instruction leaflet from some trick or other.
Tuck the letter under your right arm momentarily and say, “Boys and girls, someone sent me a
letter. Shall I see what the letter says?”
The kids yell, “Yes!”
Of course you cannot find the letter. “What did I do with the letter?” you plead. Look around,
wondering what you did with it.
The brats will yell, “Under your arm!”
Say, “Under your arm? What is it doing under your arm?”
They will yell, “No, under YOUR arm!”
You say, “That’s what I said, ‘Under YOUR arm.’ ”
After a bit of this byplay you catch on to what they mean.
Look under your left arm. No letter.
Say, “There nothing under my arm.”
They will yell, “No! the other arm!”
You can now draw this out by saying “Which other arm? YOUR other arm?” and go through
that nonsense again.
Finally, you look under the lower part of your right arm.
The kids will yell, “No! Higher up!”
You say, “Higher up? What? On the ceiling?” Look up at the ceiling.
The urchins will now shout, “No. Higher up under your arm!”
Lift up the arm, letting the letter drop to the floor. Now check under your arm.
You will hear yells of, “It’s on the floor!”
You mishear and say, “On the door? What’s it doing on the door?
Then take a step back and stand on the letter covering it. Time it so that you do it as the kids
are shouting, “It’s on the floor!”
When they see you stand on the letter this will change to “You’re standing on it!”
You then counter by saying, “Of course I’m standing on the floor. Where am I supposed to
stand?”
As you look down you will see no letter since your feet are covering it.
You will hear shouts of, “You’re standing on the letter.”
Step forward in front of the letter and say, looking down, “I’m not standing on the letter.”
They will shout, “Behind you!”
Eventually you find the bloody thing.
Pick it up, saying, “It’s a long way down…” and on the way up say, “…it’s a long way up” It
will be if you get to my age. Going down to the floor and up again is hard work.
You now say “Someone sent me a letter. I wonder what it says.”
You now draw all this nonsense out further by removing the letter from the envelope and look
at the blank side that has nothing written. You say “There’s nothing here.”
The kids will say, “On the other side!”
You look at your side, peering at your ribs.
You will hear, “The side of the paper!”
You look at the SIDE of the paper looking puzzled. Or you can look at the envelope since that
is “paper,” too.
Eventually you read the letter and complain that it is written in Chinese. Then realize the letter
is upside down.
Now you just come out with some waffle about what the letter allegedly says.
This is one hell of an opening sequence. You will get the kids warmed up straight away. It may
be advisable to follow with something a bit quieter since the kids will now be a bit hyper. Five
minutes of nonsense and you haven’t even done a trick yet.
There we are. A sample from my no-magic magic show.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 10th, 2017, 9:40 am

Quite a bit'o business for what I am assuming would be an age group of roughly between 5 and 8 years old. When I started racking my limited grey matter for what the letter might say, I couldn't help but think that after a schtick lasting several minutes, there would ideally be some magical pay-off. For example, the letter (which could be from Harry Potter, the Wizard, Merlin the Magician or whomever) could state that there was a gift for the birthday boy/girl inside the envelope, wherein a dollar-sized piece of blank paper is found. After the initial disappointment and/or confoundment, the paper could then be changed into a dollar and given to the child.

Taking it a step further, the magician could announce that the letter does say one more thing - that the birthday boy/girl must come up and help the magician do a magic trick for everyone, but only if everyone stands up and applauds for him/her. You could then bring the child up and proceed with the egg bag routine.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 11th, 2017, 2:26 pm

PS Regarding Supreme Magic and its founder, Edwin Hooper, the subjects of the fascinating video posted on this thread by Performer:

Edwin was on the cover of the May 1968 issue of Genii. It was a special issue prepared by Supreme Magic. Edwin's lifelong love of, and enthusiasm for, magic is positively infectious.

Robert77
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Re: Supreme Magic

Postby Robert77 » March 4th, 2017, 3:59 pm

I've always loved Supreme Magic. As an adult I still find their tricks for kid shows to be fascinating to look at, due to the art. Back in the day I'm pretty sure I was ordering silk magic from them. It was expensive due to the pound vs. dollar, but they used high quality silks.


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