Thanks to Mr Gunn

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Postby mrgoat » 08/21/11 05:28 AM

Here's a lesson for some...

I posted recently about having a week long residency at a bar as part of Arundel Festival. Mr Gunn emailed me and told me to get sponge bunnies. He said it worked and to forget any preconceptions I had about it being a little, um, lame.

I bought it, worked out a little routine, did it yesterday.

I also yesterday did some of the (I hope) great card magic I've been working on for 30 years.

What was talked about after?
What was requested (THREE TIMES) as I was going round?

The bloody bunnies.

He was right. It slays. I know WE all think it's cheesy, but the public don't. If you don't do it in your act for the snobbery that I had about it, abandon that, and give it a go. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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Postby Terry » 08/21/11 09:45 AM

JC Wagner said the same thing on his 7 Secrets DVD.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 08/21/11 10:22 AM

Sixty, or so, years ago, when I was pitching Svengalis, I would often get the tip (crowd) with the bunnies. Then, of course, I'd sell those along with the Svengalis. HL.
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Postby George Olson » 08/21/11 05:16 PM

I've used Mike Rogers Bunnies forever. Without comment, many times I would add a red bunny or two. Great reactions!

GO
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/22/11 09:14 AM

mrgoat wrote:Here's a lesson for some...

...What was talked about after?
What was requested (THREE TIMES) as I was going round?...


An important lesson. Items that weren't requested were dropped from my working set after a week's inclusion in shows. That left the questions:

1) What's their takeaway from the item?
2) How can they ask to see the item without tipping the surprises to others?

It seemed that from their perspective what's left, after eliminating the entirely self indulgent, is the working material.

So let's hear it for the twenty one cent trick, the sponge balls, copper and silver transpostion in a volunteer's hand... :)
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/22/11 09:43 AM

George Olson wrote:I've used Mike Rogers Bunnies forever. Without comment, many times I would add a red bunny or two. Great reactions!

GO


George: I like the Rogers' bunnies too (their shape works for Daryl's routine also). Question though: aren't all the Rogers bunnies red?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/22/11 10:09 AM

erdnasephile wrote:... Question though: aren't all the Rogers bunnies red?


http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/m ... iplying-3d
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/22/11 11:26 AM

Thanks Jon.

Actually, I was talking about the first Rogers' bunnies that were "2D" and made of red foam (not the later supersoft ones).

My favorite these days, however are by Eddie Ace which are little works of art IMHO: http://eddieace.com/spongecarvings.html
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Postby Joe Naud » 08/22/11 11:32 AM

What did the Ace bunnies run you. There are no prices on the website. They are very nice looking!
Peace, Joe
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Postby mrgoat » 08/22/11 11:42 AM

Here's a question.

After 3 days of my residency at this pub, several people have made a reference to baby rabbits right when the first one is produced.

What are good ways to cope with that?

Thanks in advance

Damian
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/22/11 12:00 PM

Joe Naud wrote:What did the Ace bunnies run you. There are no prices on the website. They are very nice looking!
Peace, Joe


Hi, Joe: I ended up getting 2 sets (for the extra babies)--I seem to recall they were about $40/set--pricey, but they are really neat. (They can be seen close-up on the Bob Sheets Hospitality Act I DVD). I think Kenna Thompson carries them as well.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/22/11 12:36 PM

Ah that number two question. :) Most folks don't want to spoil surprises for their friends. What seemed to work was having a line in the script/presentation that they could remember and use to request the item. Do you have anything special to say when you put both rabbits in the volunteer's hand? That might be the place for the line with the words they can use to refer to the item. That works especially well if you use those words to refer to it beforehand and again a few tricks later as a callback when they have their hand on a prop. The sound of a pill in a bottle when you shake it? Whoops that must be the wrong bottle?

Back when the red cutout rabbits were it, there was also a black bunny in the set.
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/22/11 12:42 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Back when the red cutout rabbits were it, there was also a black bunny in the set.


Interesting...my sets never came with the different colored bunny.
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Postby mrgoat » 08/22/11 12:47 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Ah that number two question. :) Most folks don't want to spoil surprises for their friends. What seemed to work was having a line in the script/presentation that they could remember and use to request the item. Do you have anything special to say when you put both rabbits in the volunteer's hand? That might be the place for the line with the words they can use to refer to the item. That works especially well if you use those words to refer to it beforehand and again a few tricks later as a callback when they have their hand on a prop. The sound of a pil in a bottle when you shake it? Whoops that must be the wrong bottle?


Happened the same way both times, I produced one rabbit, and someone made a joke about rabbits and baby rabbits. They had not seen the trick, they didn't know what I was doing, they just made a gag based on seeing a rabbit.

It was right at the start, both times. All I did, was call back to it at the end and said something like 'and as predicted by Tom, if you open your hand, you'll see they have made baby rabbits. He was right all along.'

Which wasn't that great.

Maybe something like

"Oh what, and are you gonna get baby rabbits?"

"That would be awesome, wouldn't it, thanks for the idea"

or

"What do you think this is, a magic show?"

or

well, I just don't really know...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/22/11 01:21 PM

Damian, you don't have to say anything--the joke is visual, and the call-back to what the spectator said is obvious. Simply smiling (a charming smile, not a smarmy smile) makes your point.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 08/22/11 01:25 PM

I discovered that (for me), when I used to open with the bunnies, everyone would ask if I did kid shows. BUT if I did the bunnies after establishing myself as a magician, then I was seen more as a charming, eccentric with a bit of whimsy.

I have been using them (again) for the past couple of years. I never have people tip the surprise.

I'll share my opening frame, maybe it leads people to ask to see "the bunnies" (which they do) and not describe the surprise.

"Every magician needs two things to do their magic. What's the first thing a magician needs?"

(this can get some funny replies depending on the crowd, but most will say wand)

"This is my magic wand." (remove wand, sometimes I will make a joke at this point depending on how the audience reacts. Oddly, most think it's cool that I actually have a wand.)

"We wave the wand over our hat, and what comes out of the magician's hat?"

(they say, a rabbit. I reach into my pocket and say)

"and this, is my magic rabbit."

(I hold it up and use my thumb to make it "bow" a little - just to give it a little animation)

"A little imagination goes a long way. This is pappa bunny."

(I reach into pocket for second rabbit)

"And this is . . . . (I look at the bottom of the second bunny)

"Sorry, THIS is pappa bunny and this is momma bunny."

(I switch the bunnies from hand to hand.)

"Do you know how I tell them apart? Momma bunny has clean feet."

(Wish thanks to Del Ray)

Then I go into the routine, which is basically Bob Sheet's handling. I think going from the hand appearance, to the single baby production, to the multiple baby production also helps to encourage people to think of the experience as "the bunnies" and not "that trick where all the bunnies appeared in my hand."

FWIW
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Postby Doc Dixon » 08/22/11 02:28 PM

Brad Henderson wrote:I discovered that (for me), when I used to open with the bunnies, everyone would ask if I did kid shows. BUT if I did the bunnies after establishing myself as a magician, then I was seen more as a charming, eccentric with a bit of whimsy.


That's a smart observation.
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Postby George Olson » 08/22/11 02:48 PM

I have about 5 sets left of the "2-D" bunnies. To my very limited knowledge, they've always been white.

GO
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Postby mrgoat » 08/22/11 05:11 PM

I love this forum. Thanks for treating noob questions politely. 30 years of magic experience and never once having done the rabbits, this is really great advice. It's appreciated.

Oddly, I improvised the telling them apart gag today as someone asked me how I told them apart, and I held one upside down. The Del Ray touch is LOVELY.

To stress though, what I am talking about is not someone tipping the ending, but just making a little gag about rabbits. On both occasions I am sure they didn't know the effect, because both were very surprised at the ending.

I also love the idea of establishing yourself first. I always open with a short card colour change routine. It works for me because I am primarily a card magician and the first 'magic' happens within 3 seconds. Great point you make though.

And RK, yes, that seems a great solution, I just wondered if it was a common occurrence that audiences would guess what was coming and how to handle that.
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/22/11 07:17 PM

Question for the group: If the bunnies are done well for an intelligent/attentive/sober audience, do you think it really fools them?

(I honestly don't know--it's clear they love it though).
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/22/11 07:37 PM

They function the same way spongeballs do, and that genuinely mystifies people in a DEEP way. That's why magicians use spongeballs even though they are a stupid and weird prop. Sponge bunnies get rid of the strangeness, and keep the magic.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 08/22/11 08:21 PM

If you can vanish an object effectively, then yes.

The bunnies are not self working. If the false transfer is not deceptive, then it's obvious.

Likewise, loading the baby bunny/bunnies is not unlike a chop cup load. You need to get them from the pocket and into position without it being obvious.

"Done well" is an interesting turn of phrase, and I'm sure many might argue as to what that means.

Do the the bunnies deceive intelligent, attentive, sober audiences?

No.

They are inanimate pieces of sponge.

Can a skilled magician deceive an intelligent, attentive, sober audience WITH the bunnies?

Absolutely.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 08/22/11 08:26 PM

Damien,

In Sheet's routine, a single baby appears first; then the finale.

While I rarely have anyone make a rabbit/fertility comment, the nice thing about Sheet's routine is that a single baby bunny appears first; and that has a nice effect of "addressing" their thought, while, if anything, putting them off the bigger surprise which will hit after.

I may be over thinking that, but it seems to work out that way.

But, to echo RK's comment, I don't really make a big deal if they say anything. I just kind of smile and continue on, allowing that magic moment to be my "commentary."
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Postby mrgoat » 08/23/11 08:04 AM

Brad Henderson wrote:Damien,

In Sheet's routine, a single baby appears first; then the finale.

While I rarely have anyone make a rabbit/fertility comment, the nice thing about Sheet's routine is that a single baby bunny appears first; and that has a nice effect of "addressing" their thought, while, if anything, putting them off the bigger surprise which will hit after.

I may be over thinking that, but it seems to work out that way.

But, to echo RK's comment, I don't really make a big deal if they say anything. I just kind of smile and continue on, allowing that magic moment to be my "commentary."


Gotcha, thank you. I will seek out the Sheets routine. Appreciate your help.

D
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Postby Ryan Matney » 08/23/11 02:21 PM

Sponge Balls was the first magic I learned and I have done a version since I was 10 years old.

I've used the bunnies on and off.

Damien, you might want to vary your methods if you are doing this a lot for people that may hear of it or maybe just for your own amusement.

For example, 90 percent of the time I do a false transfer and then load both bunnies into the hand. But, I may use the extra bunny and secretly load two bunnies before the vanish.

I like Daryl's routine but I use the goshman 3d bunnies. Daryl's gag transposition covers the false transfer rather well.

I don't think it's a problem if the spectator's mention babies before they appear. It could be almost like you produced the babies because they mentioned them.

Can't decide if I like the Sheets routine. The appearance of one single bunny by having the spectator mash them onto the table doesn't seem 'right.' Something off about it.
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/23/11 02:42 PM

Mike Rogers taught me his routine for the sponge bunnies when I met him at a convention in Vegas: it's very straightforward: one rabbit goes across to join the other in your hand, then one jumps from your hand into their hand, and then the little bunnies.

However, he made a strong point to me that the time to steal the little bunnies was NOT when the spectator opened their hand and two big bunnies jumped out. He said you should always wait a couple of beats, then go to the pocket for the little bunnies. He said he wasn't sure why that delay was important, but that experience had taught him it was the best way to do it. (I've found him to be correct about this, and over the years, I think I eventually figured out why it works that way.)

He passed along a bunch of other fine points, gags, etc. and generously spent a fair bit of time with me because he wanted me to learn to do it right--just a great guy--I wish he was still around.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 08/23/11 04:22 PM

Please tell us if you think you have figured out why waiting for the steal works, I'd like to know the thinking behind it.
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/25/11 11:19 AM

In response to Ryan's request, I reviewed the notes I wrote immediately after Mr. Rogers taught me the routine. (I had written the notes in my copy of his book).

Interestingly, the timing of the steal written in the book (circa 1973) is described as the traditional steal "at the very moment" the two bunnies are revealed in the spectator's hand.

The version he taught me (circa 1987) was much different. He loaded the 2 bunnies into the spectator's hand, said a funny line, and at the laugh stole the babies BEFORE the spectator opened her hand to reveal the two bunnies. In my notes, there are a bunch of his other fine points regarding choreography of the steal and final load as well as some funny lines/business.

I'm embarassed to realize now that this is exactly the opposite of what I posted above. My memory is clearing going, but now that I review the actual notes, I can see that stealing before the reveal is what he originally taught me.

However, what I wrote in the above post is what my handling eventually evolved to (partly because the line he used didn't suit the audience (kids) I typically perform the bunnies for). Also, I just have found it's easier to do the steal at the moment of lower tension (relaxation) after the bunnies jump out and people are laughing. Finally, after the reveal, I suspect some think the trick is over, so they relax their attention as well.

For some reason, I've always thought that doing a steal under very broad misdirection seemed too easy to backtrack for the audience. For example, a number of chop cup workers kick the little ball forward with the cup and then do the final load--even as a little kid watching magic, to me it just signaled something sneaky must have happened when I was looking at that rolling ball.

One might argue that the bunnies jumping out of the spectator's hand is a form of "natural" misdirection, and given how many people do it this way successfully, I certainly can't argue with that. However, for me waiting a beat just feels better. YMMV.

(The next time I do the bunnies though I'm going back to give Mr. Roger's way another try just to compare all these years later.)
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Postby mrgoat » 08/25/11 12:39 PM

whodathunk a thread about the bunnies would be this interesting?

Thanks again guys.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/25/11 03:27 PM

Nobody has yet mentioned Chuck Smith's handling, so I will. It is one of the few to take an entirely different tack, and it does so in a devious way.
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Postby pixsmith » 08/26/11 02:21 PM

Curtis Kam wrote:Nobody has yet mentioned Chuck Smith's handling, so I will. It is one of the few to take an entirely different tack, and it does so in a devious way.


I had actually thought about it several times, but it's pretty good, and I got selfish...
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Postby Denis Behr » 08/26/11 02:30 PM

It's described HERE.
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Postby erdnasephile » 08/26/11 04:00 PM

See: MAGIC, January 1995
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Postby mrgoat » 08/26/11 07:33 PM

Denis Behr wrote:It's described HERE.


Just got back from my first every comedy club gig, so am high as a 1967 san francisco hippy, but I can't work out how to use that site...

I clicked on him, I clicked on the name of the routine...

Clearly I am being a nob, what am I doing wrong?
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Postby Joe Pecore » 08/26/11 08:35 PM

Mr. Behr's site contains only references. It does not provide that actual contents of the sources. (I like the new design of the website!).
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
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