The Magician's Choice

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Postby Guest » 06/07/06 10:20 AM

While i'm reading the David Britland book about David Berglas,
I think that his handling of the magician's choice is very subtle and clever.
Since i don't know very much this method..
do you know who was the inventor , if there is one, of the magician's choice?
And can you suggest me some books where i can find handlings and explanations of this technique?
Last but not least, do you think it is a still valid techinique, or it has been exploited too much, that there are better techniques to take its place.
Waiting for a lot of answer,

Postby Guest » 06/07/06 02:35 PM

The "magician's choice" began life, as best we know it, as "Hobson's Choice," first described in an article by Joseph Addison in The Spectator, June 14, 1712. The idea is that a "Hobson's Choice" is no choice at all.

Hobson ran a stable and found that several of his horses were being worked more than others. He began a sort of rotation program where the well-rested horses were put near the front of the stable. He offered people the "choice" of a horse near the front or none at all.

Magicians have been using a variation of Hobson's Choice for decades. Gene Grant, writing as Phantini, wrote his insights in "The Mental Key" in the 1950s. In the 1970s Phil Goldstein came up with "Verbal Control," which broke new ground. This book occasionally sells on eBay for $20 and more, even though it's still available through H&R Magic Books for $5.

David Berglas' approach is modern and contemporary, but for my money, the best, most sophisticated and intelligent version is "E'Voque" by Docc Hilford.

There is no hestitation or analysis necessary in Docc's version and the same short sentences are used each time. I worked it three times in succession for a well-posted young mentalist and he had no idea what I was doing since I said the same thing each time.

Postby Guest » 06/07/06 04:32 PM

There is a bar on Haight Street in San Francisco, called "Hobson's Choice" (where one can get Victorian-era rum-punches). Out of curiosity, I looked-up the origin of the phrase, and Mr. Alexander is spot-on: it was named after an old horse-owner Hobson, for the reasons he described above.

One additional tid-bit I gleaned, which helped me further grasp the concept, was a famous example of a Hobson's Choice offered by Henry Ford when he said that people could have a Model-T in whatever color they wanted, as long as it was black.

That doesn't add anything to your "magician's choice" research, but I simply HAD to pass on that bit of trivia.

Regarding "Eqivoque", a good approach was detailed in "The Magic Hedonists Brainstorm in the Bahamas". (The name of the effect in which the strategies are spelled out, unfortunately escapes me at the moment, but it is something like "The Hedonists Make All The Rules" or some-such.)
The permutations are laid out in a way that shows, though it may take a circuitous route, even the most uncooperative spectator can eventually be led around to the end you are looking for...

Postby Guest » 06/07/06 05:11 PM

In which book i can find the Docc Hilford E'voque, or his approach on the magician's choice?
Which was the first to name it that way?

Postby Guest » 06/07/06 05:28 PM

Docc's take on the magician's choice force is called "E'Voque" and should be available at most magic dealers. It is $25. Once you learn it, you'll always have it with you because there is no set up, no gimmick, nothing to carry...and it delivers a devastating effect because it looks real.

Postby Guest » 06/08/06 03:27 AM

So do you think it is the best approach to the magician's choice?
And what do you think about Max Maven's approach?

Postby Guest » 06/08/06 09:52 AM

Originally posted by David Alexander:

David Berglas' approach is modern and contemporary, but for my money, the best, most sophisticated and intelligent version is "E'Voque" by Docc Hilford.
I thought the above section of my previous post was clear and unequivocal.

Postby Guest » 06/08/06 03:58 PM

i thank you very much for your information.
Maybe i put the question not in the right way.
I was curios if the Max Maven approach is nearly as good as the Docc. Hilford approach.
Thanks again Mr.Alexander for your information.
I think i'm going to buy the E'voque booklet.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/08/06 04:55 PM

Max Maven can make any person select anything. I've seen proof.
I would say the same about David Berglas--I AM the proof!
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Postby Anthony Blake » 06/09/06 08:06 AM


The best choice is the one that works best for you and what you are attempting to do... each variation and viewpoint on equivoque has its plus's and minus's... while Docc's is certainly very good, it is not perfect, neither is Max's or the Berglas versions... read and check out the different variations, thinking, applications (and there are a whole lot more than just those three) and adapt and adopt that which works for whatever effect or outcome you are aiming for... some people have made a lifetime of research and thinking behind the "magicians choice" conundrum...

Also, don't forget to investigate the PATEO (point at two, eliminate one) force which is also variation on Equivoque and can be used quite effectively in many situations... likewise the equivoque/PATEO-like force used by Deddy Corbusier in his "Free Will" effect which can be applied to many effects and routines also...

Hope this helps...


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Postby Guest » 06/09/06 12:29 PM

Equivoque is, by its very nature, imperfect. The only "perfect" result would be that the participant choose the force object the first time, without any direction from the Performer other than "Please, choose one item". While this can happen in some versions of equivoque, it's not something upon which we can depend, unless we include another form of force in conjunction with The Magician's Choice, but then this would cease to be Equivoque as we know it.

Absent the ideal,what we must then address is the scripting of our directions to the participant(s), the nature of the force objects, their position in relation to each other, and the words and gestures we use to lead the participant to choose what we want them to choose.

Docc's routine is excellent in many respects, and will certainly do the job for any professional who wants to make it his own, while searching further for elements that will turn it into the Holy Grail of the "perfect" Equivoque.

- T. Baxter

Postby Guest » 06/09/06 01:25 PM

Jack Dean put out his book "The Equivoque Choice" with it's background, the best ways to USE it and effects to apply to it for practice as well as presentation.

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Paul Alberstat
AB StageCraft

Postby Guest » 06/09/06 02:19 PM

Has someone read or applied "the equivoque choice" by Mr.Jack Dean?
If so, do you suggest me to buy it?
So,for what i'm understanding a magician's choice formula hasn't been invented yet..
Don't you think that maybe the method in its self has become old, and maybe a lot of laymen are now used to it?
Maybe the same result could be obtained in another manner.
Or do you think different?
I'd like to know some opinions.

Postby Guest » 06/10/06 01:52 PM

Originally posted by crimsonking:
So,for what I'm understanding a magician's choice formula hasn't been invented yet..
Don't you think that maybe the method in its self has become old, and maybe a lot of laymen are now used to it?
Poorly done, the method is obvious. Cleverly disguised, as Docc's approach is, the method is well-hidden. As I said before, I did this for a well-posted young mentalist several times in succession and he had no idea what I was doing because what I did had no resemblance to the "standard" Magician's Force.

To lay people it looks like the real thing, especially when using Docc's suggested presentation with two spectators.

I use this all the time, in nearly every show I do. I have the Jack Dean book and the Maven book and use Docc's approach.

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