Credit for Celebrity Prediction Gag?

Discuss the tricks and sleights which appear in Genii.

Postby David Acer » 06/16/10 03:31 PM

Does anyone know who came up with the old celebrity prediction baby gag? All I could find was an envelope with a photo of the originator... at three months old.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 06/16/10 04:02 PM

The Organization has dispatched a kill squad with your name on a warrant of doom for that joke.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/16/10 04:12 PM

It seems to be an idea of Ken Brooke in the 1980s
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/16/10 04:13 PM

Oh Bob; you're just ticked that you didn't think of it first.

At the Castle Awards show, Jim Steinmeyer showed proof that the gag was created by Dedi using a hieroglyph of King Tut as a baby.

Phillippe, it wouldn't surprise me if it was Brooke's, but it certainly predates the 1980s.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/16/10 04:48 PM

It's described in Ken Brooke and Friends (1986), page 172, The Baby Gag but as I haven't this book, I don't know if there is a date.

Also there is an ad in Genii no. 5, May 1984 but it's called The New Improved baby Gag.
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Postby David Acer » 06/16/10 06:04 PM

Philippe Billot wrote:It's described in Ken Brooke and Friends (1986), page 172, The Baby Gag but as I haven't this book, I don't know if there is a date.


Thanks Philippe. I don't have that book either, but if there's someone out there who does, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me whether The Baby Gag falls under "Ken Brooke" or "and Friends."
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/16/10 07:04 PM

Peter Pit's review of Tannen's Jubilee in Sept 1974 Genii says:
"Ken Brooke's picture of a baby star was another bit he made work."

Brooke refers to it in a 21 Jan 1973 letter to Sid Lorraine.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/17/10 02:43 AM

Thanks Bill
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Postby Max Maven » 06/17/10 11:42 AM

So far as I'm aware, Ken Brooke never claimed credit for coming up with the Baby Gag. His marketed version may well have been the first, and was certainly the one through which it became so popular. But, the name of the actual inventor seems to be lost.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 06/17/10 12:06 PM

I have the Brooke book and "The Baby Gag" is on page 172. There is no mention of who invented it. I recall seeing it at his studio when I was there in the mid-1970s.
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Postby Michel Huot » 06/17/10 12:16 PM

Acer; i'm a bit dissapointed...you always told me YOU invented that gag. Ok tell me now...who invented Quartemain???
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/17/10 12:35 PM

In Genii, Vol. 20, no. 4, december 1955, page 155, there is an allusion to "the baby gag" but I don't understand exactly what does that mean (because of my poor english).
If someone can check...

Thanks in advance.

PS: Michel, for Quartemain, ask to Mr. Henry Ridder Haggard.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 06/17/10 01:53 PM

Philippe, I believe this is the baby gag they are referring to (on the previous page):

"Yes, the baby will arrive shortly and will look like you. But cheer up your wife will love it just the same".
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Postby David Acer » 06/17/10 02:50 PM

Hi again folks,
Thanks for the information. Marc DeSouza has an interesting take on the gag that should run in the September Magicana.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/17/10 03:18 PM

Thinking of context here (open wallet ... joke) when was the "pride and joy" photo thing invented/popularized?
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Postby mrgoat » 06/17/10 03:26 PM

I've always thought it was a [censored] joke. So there you go.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/17/10 03:40 PM

mrgoat, I'm looking for what was being used in the early to mid 1970s and thinking that the baby gag and the "pride and joy" might have been close.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/17/10 03:49 PM

The Pride and Joy Gag is attributed to Lee Jacobs.
See ad in Genii, Vol. 40, no. 6, June 76, page 392.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 06/17/10 04:35 PM

Have you seen a picture of my kids?

I remember when I first say both the above gag and the pride and joy. Do they even make pride or joy anymore?
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Postby David Acer » 06/17/10 04:38 PM

mrgoat wrote:I've always thought it was a [censored] joke. So there you go.


I realize this isn't what you mean, but it's the kind of joke stand-up comedians hate magicians for because it doesn't require any investment on the part of the teller.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/17/10 05:18 PM

David Acer wrote:
mrgoat wrote:I've always thought it was a [censored] joke. So there you go.


I realize this isn't what you mean, but it's the kind of joke stand-up comedians hate magicians for because it doesn't require any investment on the part of the teller.


It is exactly what I mean :). Along with the fact that personally, the joke doesn't amuse me*, it is the low-rent nature of it that leaves me cold.



*I apologise for the tautology, but it's late and I cannot be arsed to write a more elegant sentence.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/17/10 07:02 PM

Brad Henderson wrote:Do they even make pride or joy anymore?

No and yes (though there is a cheap laundry powder called "Pride" now).
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/17/10 11:15 PM

David Acer wrote:I realize this isn't what you mean, but it's the kind of joke stand-up comedians hate magicians for because it doesn't require any investment on the part of the teller.


And magicians hate comedians because they don't have to buy expensive props, don't know any cool moves with a deck of cards, and don't know how 3-fly is done. All they have to do is have a personality, a point of view, and something to say.

But at least they aren't getting my balloon-twisting gigs.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 07/25/10 01:24 AM

Lee Jacobs told me that the Pride and Joy gag was created by Tommy Windsor. Lee purchased the rights from him.

As far as the Baby Gag is concerned, check with Johnny Thompson. He has been using it for a very long time and has created some original bits of business to go with it, as well.
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Postby fkaps1 » 08/18/10 04:58 PM

Hi All,

I do not believe that Brooke created the original gag. I first saw it as a B&W photo of a generic caucasian baby back at least as far as the early 60's. Brooke added the idea of doing it with a cartoon of a baby, first with the African-American baby on the back, then later opening it to show and Asian baby and one that had more of a reddish tint to it's skin, which could be referred to as an Indian babay.

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Postby Steve Walker » 10/08/10 10:06 PM

Hi Guys,
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Postby Steve Walker » 10/08/10 10:25 PM

Hi Guys, I was born in the north of England in a town called Dewsbury in Yorkshire. The local society was called the Mystic 7 which I wasn't allowed to join until I was 16 but I did go and see their Annual Shows or "Night of Magic " as it was usually called. I remember the Compere [M.C.] one year around 1956/7 doing the Baby Gag with a photograph, he said he'd invented it. His name was Cyro billed as the Clown Quince Of Magic his real name was Cyril Brighton and I think he came from the neigbouring town of Wakefield which is also the birthlace of Mystina .She would be too young to remember him but her Father the late great and wonderfully funny Georgie Powell certainly would have. Cyro used to write a monthly column for the Gen back then so if anyone has access to the file he may even have mentioned the gag. He also wrote for the Max Andrews Magic magazine 1954-56 I think with a series called Cyro's Pearls.
I agree with Marc DeSouza that Ken was probably the first to do it with a cartoon and add the African-American Baby to the rear of the card.
Hope this helps and someone can find a reference
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Postby Steve Walker » 10/13/10 12:53 AM

Further to my posting above I located the original instructions that came with the effect which Ken called "Perk Up With Perky" He refers to it being a twist on a very old gag by Ken Perks of Cardiff [Wales]. It is possible that Ken saw the original gag as done by Cyro [who incidently complained about others "knocking it off"]
Remember around the early 1950's Ken would still have been in or around Bradford [Veroni House of Magic] which is only 12 or so miles from Wakefield.
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Postby Steve Walker » 10/13/10 05:07 PM

Just after posting the above i received this from well known UK Comedy magician and old friend Terry Herbert.
"I am afraid I have to correct you regarding the Baby Gag. You probably did not know it but I originated the Black Baby Gag on the reverse side of the White Baby Picture. This was the only thing that Ken Brooke and I fell out about although we made it up afterwards because I was Ken's greatest fan and he was my mentor.
It was in 1966 that I had a photographer make me up a photograph with a White Baby on one side and a Black Baby on the other and I still have the original picture. This was because I used to do the Baby Gag with just the White Baby when somebody actually did call out Nat King Cole so I covered it by saying 'This was him when he was white' which was weak but it got me out of trouble.
So then I came up with the idea of having one on each side, and I remember very clearly performing it at an IBM Convention in the sixties(reported in The Budget) and had Paul Graham call out Sammy Davies Junior knowing full well that all the magicians knew the standard Baby Gag. I acted all embarrassed finally producing the Black Baby and it went a storm. It was some years later that Ken put it on the market advertising it but not saying what the gag was. He claimed that Ken Perks gave him the idea and I am sure he did but where he got it from is open to question
It is water under the bridge now and the only people who knew the facts were Ali Bongo & Vic Pinto but like many gags and tricks, the originations get lost and forgotten over the years but I just felt I should put you in the picture.Regards Terry."
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Postby Joe Pecore » 10/13/10 09:12 PM

To support Terry Herbert, I found this mention in an article on the British Ring Convention in the THE WORLD'S FAIR dated Saturday, September 23, 1967 "Then came Terry Herbert, with added sidewhiskers, and amusing gags: a Glass of Beer production and vanish, the " Baby Photo " leg-pull, an " Up the Garden Path" type of Borrowed Ring routine culminating in a Davenport Crystal Casket, and introducing pretty Averil to have her lovely neck placed in peril from the fearsome Diamond Guillotine "
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