Bullet Catch Illusion!??

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Ernesto Pacifico » 03/30/08 04:00 PM

I am seriously considering adding this to my set up in the next two years. I do not see many people doing it, and it would be fitting for myself. What are the safety issues, I do not know much about this giant illusion.

Discuss!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/30/08 05:00 PM

The safety issue is the obvious one. The trick kills people who perform it. Considering all the other great things you could do, I would seriously avoid this one.
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Postby David Alexander » 03/30/08 06:27 PM

I've always thought the psychology was wrong for this or any "roulette" type effect.

In essence you're trying to convince your audience that you're willing to risk your life or serious injury for the fee they pay you....nightly. I don't think this sort of behavior speaks well for the performer's intelligence.

This, I think, is the great flaw in this sort of performance. If you did it once a year, say, or only a handful of times during your career for a huge fee or massive publicity (or both) then the dangerous aspect can be played to its maximum and the risk taken seems to match up with the reason for doing it...but not every day.

One of the strongest performers to walk on stage was Maurice Fogel who did a very strong Russian Roulette effect with rifles. He was shot accidentally twice, but his daughter once told me that she thought he'd been shot more than that, he just wouldn't admit it.

There's a viral video working it's way around the Internet of knife roulettes gone bad. One unfortunate specatator actually trusted to performer enough to allow him to use her hand. Not a good idea.
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Postby DrDanny » 03/30/08 06:27 PM

Ernesto Pacifico wrote:... What are the safety issues, I do not know much about this giant illusion.


Man, if that's not a recipe for disaster, then grits ain't groceries.
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Postby castawaydave » 03/30/08 07:25 PM

Hee hee--good one DrDanny.

--Getting your face blown off seems to be one safety issue to consider right off the bat...
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Postby Ernesto Pacifico » 03/30/08 10:38 PM

Please relax.
Believe it or not I am trained in firearms handling, and have completed several safety courses. I would never introduce an actual fire arm in front of an audience. I am curious as to whether or not there are bullet catch variations that are completely safe! catching a bullet in my teeth is not a priority. Throw some ideas at me ....or delete this thread Richard.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/30/08 10:50 PM

I won't delete it--maybe someone will give you a good idea. The method which Ted Annemann used was actually published in Genii by its creator, Orville Meyer, many years ago.
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Postby Jim Martin » 03/30/08 11:13 PM

Ernesto,

I'd like to agree with David's post regarding Maurice Fogel. If you haven't read it yet, check out 'Maurice Fogel: In Search of the Sensational' (Hermetic Press). It might change your impression of the effect.

He was nicked (to say the least) a couple of times.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/31/08 12:38 AM

It is not an illusion; it is very real. That's what makes it so dangerous. If it were "just an illusion" then everyone would be doing it and you would be able to buy it at your local magic shop. But just as you can't buy juggling skills, although you can buy juggling equipment, you can't buy the skills you need to 1) convince people that it is real, 2) present it in a dramatic way that makes people want to watch it and not watch it at the same time, 3) convince people after it is over that it wasn't "just a trick" and that you really could have been killed. However, anyone of age can buy firearms and work out his or her own method for safely living through what is essentially a close-up sleight of hand trick converted into a sort of "grand illusion type" of presentation. If you get killed in the process, make sure that you take full responsibility for your actions in presenting it, and leave papers behind which leave no blame attached to the innocent people you conned into participating in your death.
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Postby JimChristianson » 03/31/08 01:54 AM

Ernesto, head to Vegas and check out Penn & Teller's bullet catch. It's smart, compelling, and every word in their script is absolutely true.

Could they get shot? Sure, but the screwups would have to start backstage with their crew, and continue in a HIGHLY unlikely chain of screwups onstage by P&T.

However.......
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Postby David Alexander » 03/31/08 11:46 PM

Your knowledge of firearms does not necessarily make you proof against human error or folly by others. I was at a performance some years back at a veterans hospital. A performer I knew brought several volunteers on stage and one was handed a pistol.

As soon as the weapon was in his hand he pointed it at the audience and pulled the trigger rapidly, emptying the weapon at the audience. Fortunately, it was a blank and no one was close enough to be injured. The point being, you never know what sort of crazy is going to come out of your audience.

Larry Becker has a clever method for Russian Roulette, but, as I understand from mutual friends, he's almost been injured a couple of times when he lost focus.

Bob Cassidy, who also did a strong version of Russian Roulette also lost focus one evening. Fortunately, he had a secondary method that he could fall back on that saved him.

As I mentioned previously, Fogel lost focus and was shot at least twice with his own rifles.

Part of the problem of having your own marksman is that they are always trained to hit the target. It is extremely difficult to vary one's ingrained training to deliberately miss a target. A second's lapse in focus and it's all over.

Then again, if you REALLY want to make headlines, do the genuine article. I believe there was a performer in Germany who had a metal box that he put in his mouth and had a rifle bullet shot at him. He "caught" the bullet in the metal box. Everything was very precise and there was no trick. He made certain that the load in the cartridge was low enough and he made certain he aligned his mouth perfectly with the trajectory of the bullet. I suppose that could be done today with a laser sight, but if you do it enough times, something unforseen will happen because in this sort of thing you can't compensate for every circumstance because you cannot imagine every possible situation.

There are lots of other effects in magic that are more entertaining and far less dangerous.
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Postby Ernesto Pacifico » 04/01/08 05:31 PM

Hey,

I am really appreciative/sorry about this post. I honestly did not think they used actual bullets! I have been developing a routine using a silk "bang gun" and some sugar glass. More of a fun safe approach.
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Postby thecardman » 04/02/08 06:23 AM

David Alexander wrote:There's a viral video working it's way around the Internet of knife roulettes gone bad. One unfortunate specatator actually trusted to performer enough to allow him to use her hand. Not a good idea.


David

She didn't trust him one bit!

Best wishes

Peter
:)
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Postby Dale Shrimpton » 04/02/08 10:24 AM

you know, Karoll fox published a bullet catch in one of his books, that looks on paper very much like the P&t version.( well, part of it anyway)

Bottom line is, you will have to buy every book, watch every film of every version you can lay your hands on, speak to everybody out there that does, or did the bullet catch, find out every pit fall going, and then sit down and work out a version that you feel safe with.

And your going to have to remember that you may be a fire arms expert. the person pointing that revolver at you however, may not be. and your life , and well being relies on that person.

personaly, id forget it.
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Postby Spellbinder » 04/02/08 11:26 AM

A fun routine using a "Bang Gun" is to demonstrate the Bang Gun, and then "reload it" and give it to an audience member to aim at your mouth. When they pull the trigger, instead of a bang silk, a transparent piece of plastic unrolls (made from a baggie). The silk Bang flag pops out of your mouth and unrolls from there. Much safer!
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Postby Brandon Hall » 04/07/08 06:49 PM

I just don't get, either it's really dangerous, or it's not. If it's not dangerous, why are you doing it? This reminds of the method for pulling a thread from your stomache...which requires pulling a thread from your stomache.
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Postby JimChristianson » 04/07/08 06:57 PM

If it's not dangerous, why are you doing it? >>>>

Why do ANY trick that looks dangerous? Any kind of Sawing, Spike Table, Lance and his Roller Coaster, etc., ad nauseum.
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Postby JimChristianson » 04/07/08 06:59 PM

Look, no one's ever died from "Buzz Saw Gone Bad" to my knowledge.

The Bullet Catch HAS killed people, and is therefore GREAT theater if you've got the guts to do it.
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Postby Brandon Hall » 04/09/08 05:27 PM

What I meant was that it only works if you convince the audience of the danger. If P&T are doing this every night it hardly seems dangerous, does it? Even if it truly is.
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Postby JimChristianson » 04/09/08 05:29 PM

Brandon, how is that different from ANY trick with implied danger. Buzzsaw, Guillotine, Spike Table, etc, ad nauseum?
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Postby Brandon Hall » 04/11/08 06:41 PM

Now that you mention it...I was never a big fan of those illusions. When thsse effects are performed, in the manner they are performed and as often as they are performed, they don't cause any real suspense. No one really believes that someone may get actually cut in half. An authentically dangerous "stunt" should be performed only rarly with as much fanfare as was afforded cards shooting out of a houlette. Just my opinion.
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