Adult effects morphed into kids presentations

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

Postby Guest » 07/11/07 09:13 PM

My only real professional experience was doing Kid's shows in Korea, and prior to that the only magic I really knew was stuff geared towards an older audience (heavily biased towards cards as well). When I got the job I didn't realize the adjustment I was going to need to make (both from hobbyist to pro AND adult magic to kids magic), and had to do it trial by fire.

Any thoughts on adult routines that translate well into presentations for kids? How about some that you thought would work but didn't?

I had some luck transforming the 8-card-brainwave (2 phase) and Chicago Opener into a challenge effect in which a random kid has to find the 'special card' -- four phases of magic, two really good surprises, and a chance to lead applause for the helper who successfully completed the challenge. Others that worked well included ashes on the arm, a basic rising card (comedy presentation, I have to find the perfect hair on the kid's head to pluck off to make it work), and 3 card monte with story patter.

In contrast, I never did get much luck doing Daryl's Ring, Rope and Wand, although I think that's because I couldn't hack that one presentationally.

How about you guys?
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/11/07 10:17 PM

Once I realized what kids found funny converting routines to kid routines was pretty easy. I actually wrote up a list and would put down things that either could mess up, hurt me, sound silly, etc. and then use those as the basis.

I know it has been said before and it will be said again. If you want to learn how to routine a kids show go out and get Seriously Silly by David Kaye. It expresses it better than any other book I've seen. I was a good entertainer prior to reading it, I was better afterward.
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Postby Guest » 07/11/07 10:19 PM

"Any thoughts on adult routines that translate well into presentations for kids? How about some that you thought would work but didn't?"

I do not understand what you mean by adult routines. In my eyes, there is no such thing as an adult routine, in the same way as there is no such thing as a children's routine. It all depends what you do with the prop. Obviously, doing card tricks for younger children might not work, but you can always transpose the playing cards for lexicon cards or animal cards. Apart from a trick which is obviously naughty(as in pornographic), I cannot think of a single trick which is sold as an adult trick by a dealer that cannot be done for childeren, or a single trick whick is sold for children, that cannot be done for adults. I challenge you!! JR
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Postby Guest » 07/11/07 11:47 PM

Dave-

"If you want to learn how to routine a kids show go out and get Seriously Silly by David Kaye. It expresses it better than any other book I've seen."

I totally agree. I especially liked his idea for adapting an ACR. What I was wondering about was where other people had success in trying to make similar adaptations, or had tried and failed.

Jolly-

"Obviously, doing card tricks for younger children might not work..."

If I can suggest something, maybe we can start here. What is it exactly that makes it obvious that doing card tricks for younger kids might not work? For instance, from an adult audience you can get great reactions for Triumph, Chicago Opener and some poker deal with a surprise Royal Flush Ending. I had no luck with Triumph (even though the kids played card games, understood the concept of shuffling, and it was done in a story about a boy trying to ruin a girl's card trick), I never bothered with a Royal Flush type routine because they don't know the game, but I found a way to reframe the Chicago Opener so that it worked fine. Is it the visual quality of the CO that makes it transcend age groups? (I argue yes) Are there other qualities that also transcend age groups? Are there some qualities that make certain routine adaptations impossible?
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 12:31 AM

Interesting points Melvin.

Card tricks can work if you have different pictures or book titles etc (for library shows).

If there is something colorful or that I can drop or hurt myself with, it will work for kids.
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 04:52 AM

I do not perform at this time and especially not for kids, but I'm interested to keep up on all styles of magic. What about some of Michael Close's stuff? I really like his Close's Clones, which is really like a Wild Card routine, but I'm sure could be a neat effect for a younger crowd. Like it was suggested previously with say animals, these cards have clowns printed on them that multiply and result in a comedy finish. He has some others that may be worth checking out as well. I agree that probably a lot of tricks could be turned into something more meaningful to kids, especially card tricks, if they are different with funny pictures, symbols, or what have you.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 07/12/07 11:06 AM

The reason card tricks usually don't work for kids is that a regular card trick assumes knowledge of playing cards, randomness of the deck, how hard it is to get certain cards when you really want them, etc. These are a bunch of somewhat abstract concepts to younger kids, even if they've played Go Fish.

But...if you treat cards as objects, and do color changes, pull a fan out from behind someone's ear, have a signed card come back to the top of the deck (show that the top card is different first) then kids will follow them easily. David Williamson's book has a funny version of the trick where you've got the wrong number of cards and keep re-counting the packet over and over. Also his routine for cards to pocket that ends with 51 cards from your pocket works extremely well.

But for a longer kids show, you should look into other visual routines, and figure out ways to make the routine fun for kids to watch and participate in.
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 12:21 PM

In my opinion the best kid show entertainers are the entertainers that "have" kids. And the best family show entertainers are entertainers that "have" a family.

Having said that making magic for kids should be easy because there are people in the world that "think" magic is "for kids" anyway.

So why is it hard for some magicians to do kid shows and come up with good kid show material?

The answer to that question is that they may not like kids. Or they may not be around kids that often.

Part of doing magic for the family and kid show market is "knowing" what the families and kids are into.

I do the linking rings and make the different designs with the rings. You know the garden swing, the flower and the butterfly.

The patter that gets the laugh for a family show was used when pokaman was popular. I said as I made the butterfly - "Butterfree I choose you!" At the time when pokaman was very popular that got a huge laugh from the audience - parents and kids.

How did I know about pokaman? My kids were into it and I spent a small fortune in little plastic toy pokaman because my kids were into it. This line got a laugh because butterfree was one of the pokaman that was being used a lot at time on the TV show. Both kids and parents knew about it.

YuGiOH is very popular and I have done the torn and restored card with the popular card blue eyes white dragon. And other popular cards. Buy two decks of cards and your set for a while.

I think that part of entertaining an audience is "knowing" what they are into and then using it in the show.

Just an opinion.

Onward and upward!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/12/07 01:32 PM

Not much really needs to be done to a good trick to turn it into a children's show trick. For example, the needle through the arm, the dagger chest and the shocking chair work fine, just as they are.

Follow those with some sword swallowing, and you will have a kid's show act that can't be beat!

If you don't like the swords, there's always the razor blade trick!
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 05:45 PM

Bill,

I find your ideas fascinating and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 06:29 PM

A very well known kid show magician once told me that if a magician could do an act called, "Boogers, Belches and Buttholes" he would make a fortune.
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 06:50 PM

I want to do a lecture called "Little Kids and Drunk People", about experiences and experiments in using the exact same tricks (actually in the same day) for small children in the am, and intoxicated adults at night.
That's when presentation is everything.
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 11:34 PM

Some years back, one of my better purchases was "The Funniest Magic Show in the World" by Al Lampkin. Al detailed his assembly programs with all the gags and bits of business. I think it was $10 and was nothing but solid, audience-tested material.

Then there's the video "Twenty Minutes with a Balloon" by Docc Hilford and Quentin Reynolds' marvelous "Five Minutes with a Pocket Handkerchief." The kids laugh and scream and you have great entertainment. Whatever you pay for them, it's a steal.

Some day I might write up the little thing I did at the end of my kid shows that almost always produced a nice tip, especially if I was working for Asian parents. I've never heard of another contemporary performer doing it and it almost always brought a tip...several times I received $50.
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Postby Guest » 07/13/07 12:04 AM

"Quentin Reynolds' marvelous "Five Minutes with a Pocket Handkerchief." "

I believe Quentin is a member of this forum, is he not? I have known Quentin for many years, and see him every year at Blackpool. I realise that he lives in Manchester these days, and has moved into mentalism. However, he was one of the top children's entertainers in Ireland for many years, and it would be great if he could be persuaded to contibute to this new children's entertainment area. I saw him doing a great Punch and Judy Show at the Spring Fair in Dublin years ago. He is a prodigy of Eric Sharp, who wrote "Specialised Children's Entertainment" amongst other things. I know Eric quite well myself, but do not have his email. Maybe he could be persuaded to post here. He is elderly, but very alert!! JR
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Postby Guest » 07/13/07 08:15 AM

Years ago at one of the Magic Inc. Christmas/New Years Parties that were at the church down the block from Magic Inc. A magician did a routine of fire eating followed by the razor blade swallowing.

Up close to the stage was a bunch of kids including Jay Marshall's grad kids.

Jay of course was the MC and after this performance he came out and said something like. "I want to thank (so and so) the magician for entertaining this group of children with such appropriate material. Such as eating fire and swallowing razor blades."

This got a big laugh and Jay made his point about selecting the proper material for the right audience.

To bad many magicians make light of the kid show audience and magicians that do them. Some think that they can get away with anything. One of the things that makes the family show market and the kid show market so tough is because there are a lot of bad magicians out there doing it.

There are people that put on a clown outfit or some kind of a costume and think that they can pull off a show.

To do a kid show or a family show it takes as much prep and experience as any other kind of show. If more magician's practiced a higher work ethic and attitude I think it would help magic and magicians in the long run.

Just my opinion.

Onward and upward!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 08:49 AM

Glenn:

I took my kids to a show for about 50 kids and their parents in South Carolina (no names mentioned.) I've always remembered the show for two reasons:

1) He proceeded to do fire eating.

2) His special magic word for the kids repeat in his premier routine? "I'm stupid!!"

Incredible............
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Postby Guest » 07/13/07 09:53 AM

Thanks for posting Steve.

What kind of a show was it? A Family show or a kid show?

If it was a kid show I would say that the performer did not choose his material correctly. But that is only my opinion.

It is my opinion that more juggler/magician/street performers seem to do fire eating. And some of them do the renaissance festivals as well as other festivals.

I have seen good performers and bad performers do this kind of a thing. Some look rather dirty and have sort of a street performers outside look to their costume and their look.

I do my own method of the needle trick for some adult shows as well as the bed of nails as a publicity stunt.

But I would not do them at a show that has little kids in the audience or a booking that is filled with conservative parents and kids.

Being remembered by and audience and the client in a positive way is a good thing but being remembered in a negative way can lose bookings.

Thanks for posting.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 10:26 AM

Hello All,

This is an interesting topic. I just put together a show for kids, and in the show I did a few things that I would normally do for adults!

I did an interview with Simon Lovell a few months ago and he said,"Aim to the highest denominator." I added a few effects that could have gone over their heads, like some mind reading effects and a new illusion.

I also found a little gem called bish bash bosh. So far I've only seen it at fantasma magic. It takes the smash and stab and makes it kid appropriate. They still get that rush from me potentially smashing the egg.

I was never sure I wanted to take that potential risk of stabbing myself. There are many better magicians who have. But who cares if I break an egg? haha.

I'd use it for adults too. The routine better be funny, cuz adults wouldn't care about an egg. But still, I'd rather not risk a holy hand.... get it? I'm not always this funny.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 10:56 AM

In case anyone did not get it, my remarks about what to do for a children's show were completely in jest. However, I feel that I should comment on Glenn Bishop's statement about fireeaters, sword swallowers and other danger acts at Renaissance festivals.

Renaissance festivals are the logical contiuation of the type of entertainment that was performed at the great faires that took place all over England and continental Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, such as Bartholomew Faire. This was the kind of entertainment that was presented in those places.

The management of these festivals books entertainers to do these shows, specifically for the kind of act they perform. Johnny Fox was booked into several of these specifically because he is a sword swallower. If he were to be booked into a festival as a sword swallower and he refused to do his act because there were children in the audience, the management would have every right to fire him.

Those of us who perform danger tricks always make it clear that children shouldn't do them. Renaissance festivals are not kid shows, even if there are kids in the audience.

If parents don't have the good sense to reinforce our disclaimers to their children, then perhaps a Darwin award would be apropos.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 11:35 AM

My Comment was - "It is my opinion that more juggler/magician/street performers seem to do fire eating. And some of them do the renaissance festivals as well as other festivals."

..........

Juggler/magicians/street performers... And some of these performers work renaissance festivals.

It is when the performance is booked outside the venue that it was originally constructed for is often when the performer and the client can have problems.

In my opinion there is a big difference in the attitude of the audience and the client in doing a public show booked by a renaissance festival and booked to do a public family show for a block party or a park and recreation picnic.

I don't consider the renaissance festivals a childrens show market. (But some in the audience may?)

Some consider block parties and other shows and even some festivals as kid shows - book a magician on a "children's stage in the childrens area". Often there are shows that book us with the thought in mind - the magician is there to "entertain the kids". And to entertain the kids is the "only" reason they book a magician.

In my opinion these kind of things should be considered in the choice a magician may make in their performance material.

Just a few more thoughts and opinion.

Onward and upward!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 03:54 PM

Glenn:

If someone books me into ANY venue on the basis of my renaissance festival act, that is the act I will do. Period.

Granted, I do not do kid shows. In fact, I haven't done a kid show for more than 20 years. I don't want the liabilities involved. So I make it clear to bookers and purchasers that they will get the same act they saw at the Renaissance festival, no matter who is in the audience.

It is the booker's responsibility, not the performer's responsibility to provide the entertainment that is suitable for the venue.

This said, it is very important for bookers and purchasers to understand the legalities of certain types of acts.

If you read the fire codes of most metropolitan areas, it is illegal for anyone to juggle torches, eat fire or even set fire to an envelope containing a dollar bill in a public place. Sometimes, a fire marshall will grant a permit for an illusionist or a magician, but this requires submitting the illusion or trick for inspection before the show. Even a dove pan can be illegal in certain places.

Most people who purchase entertainment have no concept of the laws, statutes and/or ordinances governing performing in public places.

The way the renaissance festivals get around this is that most of them do their own fire inspections. The one nearest to me is actually owned by the mayor of the town where it is located, and he instructs his "fire marshall" to simply look the other way as long as nobody sets a building on fire.

There are rumors that some venues that feature illusionists have a "special arrangement" with the fire marshall. This usually means free meals, drinks and cover charges.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 03:57 PM

Working from memory. On a Martin Breese tape, Peter Kane said he did the same effects for children that he performed for adults.He did wear his formal wear,too.

At dinner with Derek Dingle, many years ago,when a table-hopper came to the table (it was a one day magic convention) and commented to our table
that the effects he was about to do were for civilians and apologized that as magicians we might not enjoy his magic. Derek,who was sitting across from me said, softly, "good magic was suitble for all audiences" he didn't think one did one kind of magic for civilians and another for magicians.

I think his take on the subject was the same as Mr. Kane's.

A good effect presented in an entertaining way will appeal to all.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 04:46 PM

Glenn:

If someone books me into ANY venue on the basis of my renaissance festival act, that is the act I will do. Period.

Granted, I do not do kid shows. In fact, I haven't done a kid show for more than 20 years. I don't want the liabilities involved. So I make it clear to bookers and purchasers that they will get the same act they saw at the Renaissance festival, no matter who is in the audience.

It is the booker's responsibility, not the performer's responsibility to provide the entertainment that is suitable for the venue.
............................

Thanks for that information Bill.

In my opinion it is the performers responsibility to provide a show that "will" please the audience and the client to the best of their ability.

Performers today in my opinion have a hard time because often we are booked by people that don't know anything about shows or show business.

Story time - I have been to a few renaissance festivals over the years and I will talk about one story. It was in a children's area made for the children.

When parents go to a childrens area in my opinion they "expect" to see entertainment for kids. This festival had a punch and Judy show and in my opinion the show was very funny. But wrong for the children's area.

The puppeteers took a few liberties with the puppets using rod puppets instead of the traditional gloved puppets. Also they used the words "hell" and a few other words. In other words "it was not a kids puppet show"!

I would like to add that Jay Marshall was my punch and Judy teacher. He gave me lessons and helped with me getting the puppets and the building of my puppet stage.

Having said that, after the puppet show started the parents dragged the children out of the children's area because they thought the puppet show was not appropriate for children.

To bad there wasn't a disclaimer.

Having said all that there have been many shows that I have gone out and done and when getting there I have had to change my material a bit. I have arrived at shows that were suppose to be a mixed audience only to find an audience of kids. And I have been booked to do close up and then find after I had gotten there I have had to do some stand up magic.

In my opinion this kind of thing can happen being booked by an agent or inexperienced people that book shows. Even when the client agrees and signs a contract for close up - bending with the clients needs at the venue if the needs change is often "good business." The successful magician in my opinion should be user friendly and arrive on time or early so the little problems can be worked out ahead of time in a professional way.

Others may have their own way and their own opinion. But this is what works for me.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 11:10 PM

I'm very specific when I'm booked. Period. Sometimes when you bend to the needs of the venue, you lose all respect that you can have.

I will generally work with people as far as I can, but if I'm booked into a venue, I do my act. At my prices, there is virtually no chance that I will be booked into a situation where I have to perform for an audience that is entirely children, in any case. I don't just qualify my clients for price, I qualify them for audience.

If there is ANY chance that my material is not suitable for their group or venue, I have two other excellent magicians I use for these shows.

There are certain things that I am totally inflexible about.

For example, if I am working a banquet show, I must have a riser 12 feet deep by 18 feet wide, by 2 feet high.

There are to be NO balloon sculptures, potted plants, or other decorations on the front edge of the riser that obstruct the view of the audience.

There are to be NO ice sculptures on the stage.

You might wonder about that one. I was booked to do a show for AT&T several years ago. They had a beautiful ice sculpture in the lobby. The person in charge of the show decided that it looked so good, she wanted it on the riser. So she had the waitstaff bring it on stage. While I was working the tables, the ice sculpture melted and ruined some of the props I had stashed under the table she placed the ice sculpture on.

I added another one after I booked Ted Lesley in for a special benefit for the Parkinson's Foundation. Since most of the time, I arrive at the venue in my performing outfit, unless I am doing the Merlin act, I don't need a dressing room. However, Ted's needs are different.

I was informed that Mr. Lesley could change in the men's room. I replied that Mr. Lesley is an internationally famous performer, who had flown in from Berlin, and he does not change in the men's room.

He got a room.

Regarding the Punch and Judy incident -- Punch and Judy is terribly misunderstood by most people who hire puppeteers. It's a morality play. It's about a man who is so violent and evil that the Devil throws him out of Hell. And in that context, and the context of authenticity, it should not be changed. However, it should not be shown to children who are sitting by themselves in front of the puppet theater. Parents need to be able to explain this show to their kids. It's not a kid show.

When one of the local restaurants decided they wanted to have children's entertainment on Sundays, they asked me to do a magic show for them, followed by a Punch and Judy show. I asked the fellow who owned the place if he had actually SEEN a Punch and Judy show.

"Of course! I want Punch and Judy."

I asked him three times, knowing in my heart of hearts that he wouldn't know a Punch and Judy show from a Mongomery Ward's catalog. So I hired a friend of mine to do the show. He toned it down a bit, but it was still basically a standard P&J show.

We were also supposed to do a second show after a one hour break.

So I did my magic show, and Fred did Punch and Judy. The restaurant owner's eyes got as big as dinner plates. Finally, he rushed out of the place, his face red and steam coming out of his ears.

His assistant manager watched the second show, and looked just as angry.

So, on Tuesday when I came back in to do my regular show there, there was a "go up to the office to see the boss" notice for me. I went upstairs, and there was the boss. He was royally pissed off.

"WHAT WAS THAT CRAP THAT PUPPETEER DID?"

"It was Punch and Judy."

"AND HE DID THE SAME THING ON THE SECOND SHOW!"

"That's right. There's only one Punch and Judy script. It's a morality play. It goes back to the 14th century or maybe before that."

"WHY IN THE HELL DID YOU HAVE HIM DO THAT CRAP?"

"If you will remember, I asked you three times if you knew what a Punch and Judy show was. You said you did. I supplied exactly what you asked for."

"oh...well, I thought it was something like Kukla, Fran and Ollie."

then he added:

"You should have known better. You know what kind of clientele we have here."

"That's true. I do know better. But you insisted that you wanted Punch and Judy. That's why you got it."

"Well, get me a different puppet show for this weekend then."
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/13/07 11:41 PM

I have a puppeteer Friend who does an excellent Punch and Judy show, complete with twazzle. On occasion he takes it out to libraries for their summer reading programs. When he ventures to the more conservative side of the state he has to replace the Devil with Death. He finds it amusing that generally there are no qualms from these people about all the violence and savagery, just the representation of the Devil in puppet form.
A few years ago he went to one of the big Punch and Judy enclaves held in Covent Gardens where all the Punch and Judy men gather to do their shows. He told me about some revival shows from the world war two era that featured a Hitler puppet instead of the classic devil. Old scripts often have whoever the unpopular villian\politician of the time is in this role as well.
It's a very versatile play and I wouldn't have any qualms of any child of mine (if I had any) sitting through a well done rendition of the piece.
"That's what they like. Little things hitting each other"
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/14/07 08:01 AM

Thanks for the great story's Bill.

I was in the New York Lounge with Jay Marshall and Alan Hall the director and producer of the Bozo TV show and listing to their show business stories.

Alan Hall said that the only time the Bozo show got a complaint about an act was when they had Punch and Judy on the Bozo. Back then it was a live show so once the thing started it went from beginning to end.

Jay told me he swallowed the swazzle and choked a bit live on TV. He said he made Punch choke at the same time. He finished the show with a second back up swazzle.

Alan Hall told me that the Punch was the only time he ever got complaints about an act. And that Jay Swallowing the swazzle became a joke between them - as did this story.

While doing research on Punch and Judy I found somewhere that Victor Hugo based the classic work the Hunchback Of Notre Dame on Punch and Judy. Punch is an uneducated hunchback. With a wife and a baby that he has no idea how to deal with.

In a world that beats up the uneducated poor and Punch fights back with his stick.

At least that was my opinion on the research that I did. By the way The punch stick is a slap stick and many think that it was the Punch stick that became that gave us the term "slapstick comedy."

Getting back to this thread - My dad did a really great trick in his bigger kid shows called the silk blow. Instead of liquid he used candy.

In his hands it was a miracle.

Onward and upward.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/15/07 11:12 AM

The slapstick was a staple of commedia dellarte long before Punch got slapped in the back with it. The only part of the Hugo book that was really based upon Punch was the "King of Fools" celebration. The original title of the book had nothing to do with the hunchback. In fact the book is really about the Cathedral more than it is about Quasimodo. It was the movies that refocused the attention to the hunchback.

Regarding material that is appropriate for the audience -- this does not concern children's shows in the case I am about to relate. But it's basically the same principle.

Ross Johnson and Richard Belzer were booked into a show in Lake Geneva, WI for a corporate function. I don't know if you have ever seen Belzer work as a comic, but he is not blue. He is a very deep, paint-peeling indigo.

He was informed that he would not be paid if he did any obscene material.

So, Ross opened the show. He did his usual fine job. Everyone was pleased. Then Belzer came on.

"How many of you have seen me work before?" Lots of applause.

"How many of you are familiar with my style and my act?" More applause.

"Would Mr. ______, the man who booked me into this show, please stand up?"

The man stood.

Belzer continued:"Have you ever seen me work?"

"Yes."

"So you know the kind of material I do."

"Yes."

"Is the information I have, that you made a choice between going to Hawaii and having Don Ho perform his show for you or coming to this Godforsaken place correct?"

"Er...yes."

"Well, what kind of a @#$%ing moron are you? You ham string me. You bring your people to this place, and tell them that I'm going to perform for them, and then you tell me I can't do my act? Do you people want to see my real act?"

Overwhelming positive response. Mega thunderous applause.

"Well @#$% my fee. You guys want my act, I'll give it to you. And someone get someone else to book the entertainment next year."

And he did his show. He did not get paid. I don't know what happened to the moron.

But Belzer's an artist. He's not a hack that does piddly-ass jokes for the Rotary club.
Guest
 

Postby Russell Davis » 07/15/07 11:32 AM

Pick-a-card tricks work well for younger kids if you first get them to "sign the card with the first letter of your first name." So, little Cletus writes a C. Then you can refer to it not as the four of hearts for instance but as "The CLETUS Card"(said in a corny low melodramatic voice). The child's own name interests him a lot more than the boring identity of an irrelevant, perhaps even stupid, card. So a routine with an otherwise dumbass card plays much better, or as Cletus would say, gooder.

At restaurants in the late 1980s I did a "Coins Up The Sleeve" routine (Coins Across with pseudo-explanation) for older kids and adults. It finished with the last coin about to go from THEIR tightly-closed right hand up their sleeve and into their left. But they "squeezed too hard" and VOILA (which I am informed is French for DeManche Change), the coin was now BENT! So about ten years ago I did this at a birthday party for a four-year-old girl, who at the right time opened her hand and discovered the bent coin. She felt TERRIBLE that she had ruined the magician's money. She started to cry. Loudly. I tried to save the trick: "I HATED that quarter, and I'm GLAD you messed it up!" No luck. So I followed with The Bunnies and, of course, that saved the gig. Lessons: 1. Choose your material and its presentation to suit your audience. 2. Bring along the bunnies.
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Postby Russell Davis » 07/15/07 11:51 AM

"Any thoughts on adult routines that translate well into presentations for kids?"

Bill Palmer has a version of I think Chicago Opener that uses a Gummi Bear sticker on a playing card. A restaurant worker here has made a really good reputation with the younguns with that one trick.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 01:50 PM

I have also read that Punch came from an Italian puppet show that was done with marionette puppets and the lead puppet was Punachello (forgive what might be incorrect spelling).

Besides teaching me punch Jay Marshall told me a lot of the history of the puppet show. Also a lot of magicians did punch as a sideline. Frank Ducrot, Gus Rapp, Robert Heller and even Houdini is talked about doing Punch and Judy in an old Dorny book I have (Trix & Chatter).

As far as tricks that are adult tricks for kid shows - My best suggestion is to read Tarbell and Greater Magic!

Onward and upward!
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 08:03 PM

The Gummi Bear was originally worked out as a piece for my first German lecture tour. The first test audience before I went overseas was a banquet/convention for the Chaine du Rotisseurs, a hifalutin' group of chefs that makes the Cordon Bleu look like MacDonald's.

The reaction I got from these uptight masters of the kitchen told me I had a winner on my hands.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 10:20 AM

Looking at my current show, it probably would've been at home in a 1930's Manhattan night club, except I do the show for preschoolers. Opener and closer are John Booth suggestions from "Marvels of Magic", and a flexible but specific underlying script.

I'm spending the Summer testing the program out at the preschools with whom I work as a music specialist as I hone the thing, after having tested individual tricks and routines over the past year.

So much "adult" material can be made appropriate for even young children (many of 'em 3-and-4-years-old going on 25). I've played a wire-strung harp to Gordon Lightfoot and Don McLean and mountain dulcimer to Billy Joel at jam sessions so my own take is that almost any instrument can probably be used with any kind of music and most magic can be used for most ages. There are of course obvious exceptions magic-wise (toddlers and fire tricks, and I doubt a Kindergartener would care about the finer points of a headline prediction...) but for the most part, it's up to the performer to make it work.
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