The Little Hand Ripoff

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Bob Farmer
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The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bob Farmer » March 18th, 2017, 7:17 pm

Several decades ago, around the very early 1980s or late 1970s, I invented what has become known as, “The Little Hand.” It’s been made famous in recent years by Michael Ammar, who has an exclusive written license from me to sell it as a standalone magic trick. The only other licensee, is the Hanky Panky Toy Company—they have an exclusive license to include the trick in magic sets.

I kept the trick to myself, but around 1984, I was in Tannen’s magic shop and I showed the trick to some magicians there. I returned to Toronto, and within a month, the trick was everywhere. It spread like a virus. A version ended up in the 1984 book, The New York Magic Symposium Collection Three (see “Hands Off,” p. 40).

At the time, I found this amusing, but as long as people were just going out and buying little dolls hands for 50 cents, I didn’t see any problem, but shortly thereafter some guy in Las Vegas began advertising the trick as his and selling little hands for $5 (see Genii, Vol. 48, #12, p.912). He even printed a copyright notice.

I sent this entrepreneur a letter and like most black sheep who get caught ripping something off, he was most indignant and accused me of being too aggressive or as he put it, I was guilty of “unnecessary roughness.”

Then to add insult to injury he claimed some guy at a toy company had invented the trick.

His ads disappeared and maybe he did too.

Time passed and along came Michael Ammar who asked me if he could include the trick in his lecture. He had seen it in Magic For Dummies, credited to me (and it’s also in The Idiot’s Guide To Magic, also credited to me and in the September 1992, Genii, also credited to me).

I’ve known Michael for a long time, so I agreed and we entered into an exclusive agreement as noted above. He also decided to go to a great deal of expense to manufacture specially designed little hands.

Michael is the single person who has made this trick popular and he deserves all the credit and the money if it’s to be sold as a commercial item.

A friend of mine was at the last Blackpool convention and he tells me there’s a guy selling the little hand. It’s this guy, Dave Bonsall:

http://www.propdog.co.uk/little-hand-gimmick

Note that my name appears nowhere, it’s now “Dave Bonsall’s Tiny Hand Prop.”

Dave says he’s just selling the prop, he’s not selling the instructions.

Of course, without my idea, Dave’s prop has no value. He does want about $40 for the little hand and nobody would pay that unless they would be doing my trick.

Common courtesy would dictate that if Dave wanted to sell a prop for my trick, he would contact me and ask my permission. He didn’t do that—like the miscreant in Las Vegas, he just decided he could make a few bucks from someone else’s idea (mine) and he could maximize that return by not telling anyone (i.e., me).

So I sent Dave a notice explaining that if he wanted to profit from my trick, he had to talk to me. Like the Las Vegas knave before him, his replies accused me of being too aggressive and paraphrased the Vegas varlet’s claim of “unnecessary roughness.”

In my other life as an intellectual property lawyer, one of the things I do is go after bootleggers and counterfeiters of merchandise. When caught, they always exhibit the same reaction: “Jeez! I didn’t know! You’re being too aggressive! I was just making a few bucks!”

At this point, a friend of mine aware of the situation, offered to mediate. He came up with a great proposal. I would receive credit on the site for inventing the trick. For each sale of the prop, £1 per unit would be donated to this children’s charity in Dave’s hometown:

http://www.hounslowtoylibrary.co.uk/

The credit would appear on the site along the lines of:

“Bob Farmer is the creator of the little hand trick, which in recent years has been popularized by Michael Ammar.”

There would be no sale of the instructions, just the prop.

I also suggested that I could put him in touch with Michael Ammar about doing a deal to sell the instructions. This was not a requirement, just a suggestion.

Well, guess what: the children at the charity are going to have to get donations elsewhere because Dave refused to agree to any of this.

He claims he’s just selling a prop. On his site he shows how to attach the little hand to your finger. Gee, where’d he get that idea? My name appears nowhere.

There are legal remedies available to me, but what’s the point? They are expensive and time consuming. I prefer something I call creative revenge. This is where you do something positive but at the same time show the benighted rogue for what he really is.

So here’s what I suggest you do if this makes you as angry as it makes me: donate a few bucks to the charity, that’s what I’m doing. That way something good will come out of this pathetic rip-off.

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Tom Stone
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Tom Stone » March 18th, 2017, 9:29 pm

Seems his original description has been edited to further diffuse the origin. This is what the ad copy said in 2013 (quoted by "Sealegs" at Magic Cafe):
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view ... um=4&13#20

And the handling shown here seems to be his dealer demo. The description below the video shows that he know there are predecessors, still he fail to name them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLGtun8T-Ow

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 18th, 2017, 9:37 pm

Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 18th, 2017, 11:57 pm

Bob, Perhaps you should make another version of the Little Hand, except with the thumb, first finger, third finger and pinkie clenched in a fist, and send it to him as a "new prototype," custom made just for him, with your compliments. (Although he might well try to copy it and market it, as "The Little Heckler Silencer," or something of the sort).

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 19th, 2017, 12:26 am

Mr. Bonsall has already marketed that classy item with the extended middle finger:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLGtun8T-Ow
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MagicbyAlfred
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 19th, 2017, 12:38 am

Ha! Go figure! I should have known!

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby BillMorrison » March 19th, 2017, 2:30 am

Probably not the best time to market my IRS - themed version: "The Little Pr*ck"

Pretty much what you think. And yep, it grabs the "tax money."

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Tom Stone
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Tom Stone » March 19th, 2017, 2:36 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Mr. Bonsall has already marketed that classy item with the extended middle finger:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLGtun8T-Ow


Released, coincidentally, 13 months after Barry and Stuart put one of their old little gags on instagram...
https://www.instagram.com/p/6MSNzUncFr/

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 19th, 2017, 3:03 am

BobFarmer wrote:Note that my name appears nowhere

The PropDog site does say this ...

Due to Bob Farmer in the USA owning the copyrights to any choreography of a small hand making an item vanish in a hand, we can not provide any instructions, videos, photos or any other material showing of the handling of the this gimmick.

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby performer » March 19th, 2017, 4:50 am

Nothing that can be done about it. Absolutely nothing. Mr Bonsall is in a foreign country which makes it far more difficult to sue and even if he wasn't legal action would be quite ineffective anyway as Mr Farmer well knows. One has to accept reality. This is what happens in the world of magic on a regular basis and there is no point becoming too agitated over the matter. One must put a white light of forgiveness around the offender. Besides complaining about it will only increase his sales. Oxygen of publicity you know. I would be rubbing my hands with glee at all the extra money that is going to roll in over this if I were him.

In my spiritual capacity I recommend this little rhyme to all angry sufferers

"For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy or there is none
If there be one try to find it
If there be none then never mind it"

Besides I expect Mr Bonsall will shortly be here on this forum to defend his alleged great wickedness. At least I hope so. I haven't had so much fun since the days of Snap Illusions. I wonder what happened to them?

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Tom Stone
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Tom Stone » March 19th, 2017, 5:23 am

performer wrote:One has to accept reality.

As far as I can tell from Bob's post, he's well grounded in reality.

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bob Farmer » March 19th, 2017, 7:53 am

I should get used to this but I can't.

Here are other effects, the essential elements of which I invented but I get no credit from the sellers:

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/329 (Sankey added flashpaper)

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S11459 (I added a mirror to the Fiedler die)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PGcSsObEqk

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S3765 (a complete and inferior ripoff of my “Tsunami”)

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 19th, 2017, 11:19 am

Bob, if the tricks weren't good, nobody would be interested in them.
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Bob Farmer
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bob Farmer » March 19th, 2017, 5:19 pm

The PropDog site does say this ...

"Due to Bob Farmer in the USA owning the copyrights to any choreography of a small hand making an item vanish in a hand, we can not provide any instructions, videos, photos or any other material showing of the handling of the this gimmick."

Actually, I own the copyright in Britain as well and Canada and any other country that subscribes to the various international copyright conventions. And I'm not in the U.S.A.--I'm in Canada.

The notice should actually read as follows:

"We need a faux-legal and flimsy excuse for not asking Bob Farmer's and Michael Ammar's permission to sell this trick, so trust us when we say that if we don't provide any instructions, videos, photos or any other material showing of the handling of this little hand, we'll be okay and Farmer and Ammar can't do anything. Anyway, they are way the Hell over in the U.S.A. or Canada or some place that's a long way from where we are here in Hounslow and they probably don't even know how to pronounce "Hounslow" or even find it on a map, so we're safe."

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 19th, 2017, 9:09 pm

Hey Bob, any thoughts on extending the notion into a puppet show using thimble sleights to manage the puppet switches?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Steve Bryant
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Steve Bryant » March 19th, 2017, 10:54 pm

Why was performer's last post deleted?

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 20th, 2017, 2:08 am

Because I'm the moderator and I chose to delete it.
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bill Mullins » March 20th, 2017, 2:18 am

Image
Last edited by Bill Mullins on March 20th, 2017, 2:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 20th, 2017, 2:20 am

Bob Farmer wrote:He does want about $40 for the little hand
$20.65 for non EU customers.

If I wanted to do a trick with a little hand, I would definitely go with the Ammar version.

It's just funnier looking than the other one.

In the words of David Letterman ... "That's among the stupidest things I've ever seen in my life".

You can't buy endorsements like that!

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bob Farmer » March 20th, 2017, 8:05 am

My mother, when she was alive, was a big Letterman fan. After he said that, she called me up, very proud and said, "You made David Letterman laugh!"

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erdnasephile
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby erdnasephile » March 20th, 2017, 9:35 am

PropDog has changed the text on the site again: http://www.propdog.co.uk/little-hand-gimmick

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Jack Shalom » March 20th, 2017, 10:08 am

erdnasephile wrote:PropDog has changed the text on the site again: http://www.propdog.co.uk/little-hand-gimmick


It's kind of a quid pro quo, I see. He gives them the small hand, and they give him the middle finger...

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bob Farmer » March 20th, 2017, 11:06 am

It's amazing that the guy shows absolutely no reason to stop ripping Michael Ammar and me off. It's sad that creative people have to suffer at the hands (big and little) of those who are not, and will never be.

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bob Farmer » March 20th, 2017, 11:14 am

Hey Bonsall, how about stepping up--here's my receipt:

Thank you for your donation

1.Your Details 2.Payment 3.Confirmation
Here's a summary of your donation:

Amount: £20.00
Gift Aid: £5.00
For: Hounslow Toy Library for Children with Disabilities
Donation reference: 2243769
Let others know you've supported a good cause by sharing your donation.

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby DaveBonsall » March 21st, 2017, 5:23 am

Bob, first of all, this was not about the money! it never was, I had told you my reasons for this previously, if it was about the money, then I would have mass produced this instead of making each and every one of them by hand, to order, in the dozens, not thousands! They take so long to make, that it makes no business sense at all, I do it because I love making things and love to provide the magic community with the very best hand made props available, not factory produced crap. If it was about the money, I'd still be performing instead of running a business where I work over a 100 hours a week and pay myself less than $1.50 an hour!!

Second, the charity donation was my idea in the first place! and to prove it is not about the money, I have made a donation.

Image

Image

Now as previously mentioned Bob, I am more than happy to credit you on the website and on the videos and box etc, I have always been ok with that, and would be delighted to continue to donate to charity for each one sold, but I believe I should be allowed to provide my customers with a video handling of my version, not just of making a coin vanish, but moves with a ring and playing card, doing a high/low five, using it as a gag movement, dressing the hand, the heat moulding for fitting to the finger, the heat moulding and moving of the fingers into different positions, and the vanish of the hand afterward etc, none of which you can do with Michael’s, so his instructions would be no use whatsoever! This is why I do not want the licensing agreement with him for these instructions.

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby DaveBonsall » March 21st, 2017, 5:26 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Ironic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agxmRG3A1LU


You say Ironic Richard, but you stole from me at the Session Convention 2016!! You asked to take a pack of my Bonsalopes and said that you would bring the money over in a few minutes. You never came back and when I went to find you on your stand, you had packed up and gone!!

Dave Bonsall

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby performer » March 21st, 2017, 8:09 am

I told you all that Dave would be here shortly. I am psychic and know these things. However, I saw on Facebook that Ian Kendall is going to attempt to mediate and patch things up. I understand he has ambitions to be a diplomat working for the United Nations.

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Bob Farmer » March 21st, 2017, 8:20 am

Dave has stepped up and done the right thing and Michael Ammar and I will now allow the continued sale of the little hand. I will be in touch with Dave for the details. And yes, Ian Kendall has been most helpful in all of this as a mediator not taking sides.

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Dave's Little Hand

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 21st, 2017, 10:59 am

The little hand is designed to be used on your middle finger

the image in the video shows "little finger/pinky" while the text says "middle finger".

Is the attractive feature built into this prop?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Tom Stone
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Tom Stone » March 21st, 2017, 11:48 am

This is good news, and I am happy for all involved, especially for the kids in Hounslow.
And nice of Ian Kendall to spend his birthday being a mediator!

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Ian Kendall » March 21st, 2017, 12:28 pm

Well, if we can clear up any amount of unpleasantness, that's a good enough birthday present for me :)

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 21st, 2017, 12:57 pm

Ian, Happy (belated) Birthday; I will be sure to have a minimum of 3 fingers of Glenlivet 18 year old in your honor at my Bar gig tomorrow night...

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby performer » March 21st, 2017, 1:05 pm

All we have to do now is send him to North Korea to calm things down a trifle.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 21st, 2017, 1:54 pm

DaveBonsall wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Ironic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agxmRG3A1LU


You say Ironic Richard, but you stole from me at the Session Convention 2016!! You asked to take a pack of my Bonsalopes and said that you would bring the money over in a few minutes. You never came back and when I went to find you on your stand, you had packed up and gone!!

Dave Bonsall


Did it ever occur to you that I simply forgot? It's not like I'm hard to find. You've had an entire year to drop me a note about it. I'm happy to pay at any time, and then you're going to apologize.
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 21st, 2017, 2:29 pm

And now I have paid for the item on your website. I'm waiting for your apology.
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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Philippe Billot » March 21st, 2017, 3:26 pm

I wonder if Mr. Bonsall knows what "Bonsalopes" means in french ?

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Evan Shuster » March 21st, 2017, 3:53 pm

Philippe Billot wrote:I wonder if Mr. Bonsall knows what "Bonsalopes" means in french ?


That's too funny! :)

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby Roger M. » March 21st, 2017, 4:01 pm

I don't want to say that there's a "type" who rip people off, and as their excuse for ripping people off they offer up the old nugget "yeah ... well you ripped me off".

----but there's a type....

That the accusation (actually, the excuse) was pointed at Richard borders on utter lunacy.

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby RevConfused » March 21st, 2017, 4:09 pm

I feel quite saddened that my first post on these forums since subscribing to the magazine is on this thread.

I have to say that Dave is one of the most genuine and generous people I have met in the magic scene. I purchased a second hand item of his construction from a third party which he serviced for me free of charge and wouldn't even take shipping costs to return it. His advice and helpfulness in other matters has always been exemplary and without motive.

I'm glad to see this appears to be drawing to a natural and amicable conclusion, there really is too much nastiness and backstabbing in magic.

...and, Mr Kaufman, with all due respect, it's not/wasn't the responsibility of the seller to chase payment for something that was taken on the promise of a payment.

And finally, the real irony wasn't the video Richard posted or the reply from Dave, it was that the video was a spoof in the first place..

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Re: The Little Hand Ripoff

Postby erdnasephile » March 21st, 2017, 4:50 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:Well, if we can clear up any amount of unpleasantness, that's a good enough birthday present for me :)


Thank you--I wish more disputes in magic could be reconciled as effectively.


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