Robert Orben addresses rip off dealers and the cost of doing business

Discuss aspects of the new digital access to all back issues of Genii and anything therein.

Postby Oddly Bent » 02/16/12 09:05 PM

I started perusing the old Genii magazine beginning with the 1949 issue, vol 1. Robert Orben, who wrote a bunch of gag books in the fifties, has a column addressing the forming of the Magic Dealers Association two years previous because of complaints by magic buyers of being ripped off by unscrupulous vendors. Mr. Orben talks about the cost of doing business in a magic shop, the cost of tricks and gimmicks and how some vendors are profiting from the lack of knowledge of buyers. Especially noted was the cost of the props which amounted to only a few cents, like a wire and some thread, and being charged a large sum of money for what turns out to be worthless in the eyes of some.
This sounds familiar in today's market where huge amounts of money is charged for props that cost little with the promise of astounding your audience.
I saw a funny T shirt today on a six year old when I went to see my eye doctor. The message was: "Big ideas always gets me in trouble."
I wish I could come up with a magic big idea like producing a bowling ball out of thin air. Or has that already been done?
Oddly Bent
 
Posts: 136
Joined: 02/10/12 02:24 PM
Location: Hudspeth County, Texas

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/16/12 09:21 PM

Has been done by Don Alan, and now performed (with the originator's permission) by Johnny Thompson.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20522
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Oddly Bent » 02/16/12 10:00 PM

I was being flippant. I saw Mr. Alan and his garbage can at the New Orleans Playboy club in the 60s. The current prices for bowling ball productions is beyond my pay level.
Oddly Bent
 
Posts: 136
Joined: 02/10/12 02:24 PM
Location: Hudspeth County, Texas

Postby Mark Collier » 02/16/12 10:12 PM

Oddly Bent wrote: The current prices for bowling ball productions is beyond my pay level.


Have you seen this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myzvYrHQP3E
Mark Collier
 
Posts: 374
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Santa Barbara, Ca

Postby Oddly Bent » 02/16/12 10:44 PM

Yes I did see it and it got a fairly good review over at My Lovely Assistant. Something to consider thank you.
Oddly Bent
 
Posts: 136
Joined: 02/10/12 02:24 PM
Location: Hudspeth County, Texas

Postby oldmagic » 02/17/12 10:21 AM

Unfortunately the effect is ruined by all the cuts ... makes it appear as though it's a fake.
Bob
aka oldmagic
oldmagic
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 02/07/12 10:00 PM
Location: Maryland

Postby oldmagic » 02/17/12 10:48 AM

Regarding Bowling Ball Productions
First I'm new to the forum after being away from magic for 40 some years. I've never been a performer (except kids shows when I was in my early teens) but still enjoy practice and reading about effects as well as designing and building parlor apparatus (I'm thinking of going into building custom effects now that I'm retired). I'm curious ... I know we're not to discuss how effects are done so I'll just refer to other published works if that is permitted. The bowling ball in briefcase is an effect I'd like to produce and sell. Am I wrong but is it essentially the same as Mark Wilsons presentation of the "tilting trunk"? If not could someone lead me in a direction for the workings of the effect (off list if necessary). One of the things I find that doesn't work with this trick is the fact that when the performer comes on stage it is obvious that he's carrying a lot of weight since bowling balls tend to be around 15 to 16 pounds. My suggestion to those using this is to use the lightest ball you can find ... there are 5 1/2 pd bowling balls that would still thud when you drop them on the floor but would not look so obvious when you arrive on stage. I've always thought that a better sucker gag would be to load the case with 2 different balls. One would be hollow plastic that would be dropped and bounce ... the audience would scream that "it's a fake ball" ... then you'd pull the real ball out of the case and drop it. That presentation would add a great punch to the effect. Thanks for any guidance you can provide. Bob C.
oldmagic
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 02/07/12 10:00 PM
Location: Maryland

Postby Oddly Bent » 02/17/12 03:57 PM

The briefcase bowling ball thingy is patented so I don't think you could make it even if you knew how it works and I doubt anyone here would tell you.

An even better version is presented by the Great Kaplan here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeN-ujhTgIw

The bowling ball is probably already being over done.

No comments about the Orben piece?
Oddly Bent
 
Posts: 136
Joined: 02/10/12 02:24 PM
Location: Hudspeth County, Texas

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/17/12 05:02 PM

Discussing how things are done is usually fine here - and making stuff that actually works also happens as evidenced by James Riser's posts.

The heavy production item issues were addressed as long ago as the visit of a Chinese Conjuror and his Goldfish Bowl productions. The basic methods available and their attendant practical concerns are timeless.

No need to reinvent the wheel when matters of context and craftsmanship drive the market.

-J
Mundus vult decipi
Jonathan Townsend
 
Posts: 6635
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Westchester, NY

Postby Oddly Bent » 02/17/12 05:22 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Discussing how things are done is usually fine here - and making stuff that actually works also happens as evidenced by James Riser's posts.

The heavy production item issues were addressed as long ago as the visit of a Chinese Conjuror and his Goldfish Bowl productions. The basic methods available and their attendant practical concerns are timeless.

No need to reinvent the wheel when matters of context and craftsmanship drive the market.

-J


well, I didn't know that. In that case the Tarbell books and I think GM has a method for the fishbowl and large objects. I'm from the old school maybe a bit behind the times.
Oddly Bent
 
Posts: 136
Joined: 02/10/12 02:24 PM
Location: Hudspeth County, Texas

Postby ericafogal » 05/18/12 02:08 AM

Cost of doing business - Low cost vs. high prices. Having worked Tannen's in Times Square - my own business in Amherst MA - and for Bob Long in Davenport IA (yes this was MANY years ago but the basics still don't change). It is a painful fact that at least 75% of time and money invested in magic store customers generates zero income. You bet on what you hope will be the winning effects - invest the cash - and are often left holding unsellable/unsalable inventory sometimes for YEARS. You make up what you can by manufacturing the best products you can at the lowest cost. Example - The Haunted Pack is an excellent effect when presented well - but all you need is a piece of thread, an anchor and the ability to stage the routine properly. If a short manuscript (4 pages?) with GOOD instructions is added, it can be produced for a unit cost of less than one dollar. In a simplistic business model I would sell this for at least $10. To someone who is going to USE the material this would not be a bad investment. AHA you say "but in quantity" you could have a much better profit margin. Quantity - Quantity - Quantity - that's the rub. How many can you sell, how fast. Looking at ads in the magazines my guess is that many price out the product to recover their cost with less than a dozen sales. Then, after that, you START to make money.

What drives prices so high?

1 - Magic junkies looking for their weekly/monthly fix of "what's new" - with money to burn
2 - Magic "dealers" looking for uneducated newbies still high on everything magic
3 - Crap shoot economics - you produce a dozen different items with all the necessary costs up front and MAYBE ONE sells well - you have to eat the rest.
4 - High ticket items - cups and balls - are not economically produced in quantities of a dozen or even 100 sets at a time. What happens when the 10 customers who buy EVERYTHING make their purchase and you are still holding inventory months/years from now?
ericafogal
 
Posts: 6
Joined: 01/01/12 08:38 PM
Location: Tucson, AZ

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/18/12 11:47 AM

4 -
in a perfect world, at least one of the ten learns to use the item and shows it to some peers/newbies - some of whom in turn decide to buy their own.
Jonathan Townsend
 
Posts: 6635
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Westchester, NY


Return to iGenii