Stuck Snakes

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

Postby Damian Odess-Gillett » 03/02/08 06:48 AM

Hi all,

I've been having a problem with the old snake can gag, wherein the snakes sometimes get caught inside the can. You pop the top, and nothing shoots out, or just a few inches of spring wrapped in plastic emerges. Are there any children's performers out there that know what i'm talking about? I'm using what i believe are standard snake cans--the ones that run about 10 bucks apiece and feature a brown "peanut brittle" advertisement from about 1950 on the can. Each can comes with two snakes, but the diameter of each spring is considerably smaller than the diameter of the can opening, which allows the spring to curl in on itself, effectively jamming it...

Very frustrating. Does anyone have any tips for avoiding this potential bomb? (Just yesterday, what i had been fearing took place when, in performance at a kids' party, the finale was less then surprising--i opened the lid and nothing happened!) Or, are there other brands on the market that have a better track record?

Thanks for your :help:

Damian Odess-Gillett
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Postby Mark Pettey » 03/02/08 08:56 AM

I use Barry Mitchell's Can O Wands on every birthday show. They are much more reliable than the plastic covered snakes. They appear to be covered with a silk or thin nylon fabric. Once in a great while, they do get stuck coming out. If this happens, I just make a funny face, peer inside the can, and poke around in it with my finger. Usually, they will then explode right in my face, which is even funnier to the children.

I also use Derek Rutt's giant snake wand on every birthday show (30 foot snake). It has never misfired yet, though one time a young guest at a party snuck up behind me and fired the trigger while the wand was still inside my table. Needless to say, it exploded all over the place, knocking props over and making a mess. Before I could comment or even make it back over to the table, the child's mom swooped in, scooped her up, and smacked her soundly on the rump. That child behaved very well for the remainder of the show !

I love spring snakes....
Mark Pettey
Naples, FL
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/02/08 06:48 PM

The reason they get stuck is from the curled-in lip of the can at the opening. A can with just a smooth edge works flawlessly. I use a Pringle potato chip can, for example. It is not as suspect as the old Peanut Brittle cans, but face it... who really likes peanut brittle anyway?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/02/08 07:12 PM

Now ... ANOTHER really good reason to buy Pringles!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby Amos McCormick » 03/03/08 05:46 AM

... but face it... who really likes peanut brittle anyway? [/QB]
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Postby Russell Davis » 03/03/08 07:35 AM

How about lining the can with some cardboard mailing tube to more closely match the diameter of the spring snakes?
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Postby Damian Odess-Gillett » 03/03/08 08:09 AM

That's a great idea, Russell, i didn't think of that. Thanks.

Spellbinder, i don't think the lip is the problem in this case. The snakes actually clear the lip, but are pressing the sides of the can farther down, jamming themselves.

Thanks for for drawing my attention to the Barry Mitchell and and Derek Rutt stuff, Mark. I wasn't really familiar with either. Found some great stuff on Derek Rutt's site.

Will start with the cardboard suggestion...

Thanks, everyone!
Damian Odess-Gillett
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Postby Damian Odess-Gillett » 03/11/08 10:33 PM

Russell, the cardboard tube works brilliantly. Not only is it now impossible for the snakes to jam, but they compress much more efficiently. I can actually fit twice the amount of snakes in the can!

Can't wait to scare the crap out of the Cub Scouts this weekend... THANK you.
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Postby Jolly Roger » 03/21/08 01:42 AM

Just so you know, I have all sorts of snakes and cans on my website. I can also supply the snakes seperately in various colours. Sticking is never a problem. JR
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Postby Damian Odess-Gillett » 03/24/08 12:13 AM

Good to know, thanks, JR.
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