Love to do Zombie Ball and Dancing Cane

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 01/06/04 01:19 PM

If you check my web-site you can see me doing them. http://thumbtip.home.comcast.net/jerrys ... cian1.html go under the heading of illusions and enjoy.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/06/04 02:17 PM

Devil's Advocate here.... these are pretty stock presentations. I would suggest thinking hard and long about OTHER THINGS you can do with the Zombie ball.

Just as I was watching this I had the following thought (of course I lean toward the absurd and perverse) why not attach a small tab on the rear center of the ball, and as it floats up in front of your face, you grip it with your teeth and then lower the cloth and the gimmick.

My personal feeling about the Dancing Cane is that three seconds is almost too long. Once you start swinging it around the audience REALLY FIGURES IT.

The best I have seen were two routines. One was Ken Brooke, who was A FUNNY ECCENTRIC DANCER and he moved onstage dancing and when he got to center stage threw the cane offstage (in cabaret shows he tossed it to a waiter he set up to catch it).

The other was a French performer that started to do the cane and the cane took on its own life and started to beat him up and knocked him to the floor. Now that was funny.

I have always like the Walsh Golf Club version. But again, three seconds and "next trick".

It is just my opinion... but as I have said before, "I may not always be right... but I am never wrong!"

:D :p :D
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Postby Guest » 01/06/04 03:05 PM

I thank you and appreciate your input and candor.
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Postby GAMOLO » 01/06/04 04:58 PM

No intention to start an argument here....but there are some tricks that a mature adult magician should realize are for Magic Conventions only, i.e. are to be performed before ONLY other magicians.... presumably to establish their skill level, their appreciation of the development of the art, yada, yada, rationizations, self-actualizations, etc., etc.
HOWEVER, they should not be performed (unless a comedy act) before lay audiences because they are a BORE and more important....are SELF EVIDENT in method (save, apparently to some "in denial" magicians). HIGH ON THIS LIST are the Zombie effect, Linking Rings, Dancing Canes, most rope tricks, billard balls, etc.,etc.
Frankly, so are virtually ALL CARD routines....though I know this is far too much for magicians to accept....and they will all scream that so and so was put on the bill because "his manipulative skill" is so tremendous that audiences respond favorably. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Magicians liked it....but speak to the lay audience and they will tell you 1) Couldn't see [censored] and 2)BORING!
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Postby opie » 01/06/04 05:20 PM

Jerry, see what happens when they don't take their Prozac?

If the lay folks you do it for love it, do it!!!!

(sshhhh...is the lady a friend of yours?...hehe)

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Postby Guest » 01/06/04 05:27 PM

I see you are from Arlington Virginia. Do you belong to Assembly 23 or Ring 50? These two pieces which I guess I failed to mention are on the IMS DVD. This is a teaching DVD 50 volumes, produced by Tony Hassini. I am on chapter 47 however the portion not covered on the site is the teaching method. Since I did not mention that the performance part on my site was originally used for those interested in learning does this change your opinion. On the DVD the format is performance then a teaching segment. My true intentions were for those that wanted to learn to remember the classics. There are 49 members on this DVD, I would be interested to see what you had to say about them. You can see them on www.learnmagic.com Or do you think the project is a waste of time.
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Postby Guest » 01/06/04 05:35 PM

Hello Opie:
Not a problem. I asked for it and I can take it. When we spoke, and I needed your assistance, you saw how fast, I acted. People will have their own opinions good or bad. Besides twenty years Navy, (I know you hate that word) nothing will rattle me. By the way hate to differ, but maybe Xanax is what is needed.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/06/04 05:58 PM

I totally disagree about the fact that Linking Rings are NG for laymen.

Ask Whit Haydn
Ask Jeff McBride
Ask Me

That effect, as old as it is still knock's audiences for a loop.

They not only REALLY DON'T KNOW how it is done and the three of us get lots of audience reaction feedback as to how good the trick is.

I won't do a stand up show without the Rings.
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Postby opie » 01/06/04 06:04 PM

I don't hate the Navy....I am an honorary submariner, remember? (Charleston, Red Rooster, three days to recover; complete recovery with all membranes in tact...hehe)

I like to watch Melinda do Zombie; I seldom watch the ball; I love her until she speaks...

Dancing Cane, a tough one to put over; You should see Ray Anderson's routine. He has been a headliner here in Austin at Esthers Follies for twenty years...He has been doing the routine a while...

Lady lawyers lack levity but love licks on the face.....hehe

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Postby Jim Riser » 01/06/04 06:10 PM

Gosh Gale;
Should we add linear actuator powered levitations to that list? That seems to be about all you missed. I really can not agree with you - except for the dancing cane.

You mentioned manipulative acts...I can well remember seeing Alan Wakeling's billiard ball routine as part of an It's Magic (full theatre - no visibility problems). Fred Kaps did "small stuff" easily seen and appreciated in large theatres.

If you think linking rings are no good, you might view Jonathan Pendragon's routine, Rick Thomas', as well as, those mentioned by Pete.

Mr. Pendragon even does a linking finger ring routine that was seen and appreciated by a casino small sized theatre audience. A little originality goes a long way!

There are reasons why certain effects are classics. One reason is the option for individual creativity being inserted into the routines.

Gotta disagree, Gale.
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Postby Guest » 01/06/04 06:25 PM

Jim:
Thanks for the feedback...I too never leave home without the linking rings. I enjoy performing the rings and received quite a few compliments. I have the Dai Vernon Chronicals, and he teaches some poetic moves, and have learned a lot. I am very glad I opened this forum, as it seemed to trigger quite a bit a feedback.
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Postby Guest » 01/06/04 06:53 PM

Gale:
As a matter of fact you live about a 1/2 hour away from me. Open invite for a magic session. Show me what you got, and I'll do the same and we can compare notes. That's the way we learn. Let me know, my door is open and you are welcome in my home.
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Postby opie » 01/06/04 10:51 PM

Jerry: We have undercover lady cops on the streets of Austin who will put you in jail with an approach like that....hehe....Well, you might have to add that you would do a one to a hundred dollar trick...opie
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 01/07/04 08:00 AM

Yep,Mr.Biro is right,the linking rings are very strong piece of magic. I put it in my adult stand-up act a few years ago and that's what everyone talks about. Those rings.

The Zombie.
It has to bulid.If it floats right away the trick is over very quickly.Get Tim Wright's zombie video,Tommy Wonder's video and books,Al Schneider book and a mime book will help too. Also get a longer cloth.

Mr.Biro is right about the cane too.

Gale,
Most card stuff is boring??
Ricky Jay did almost a whole show on card magic!
So................ it does not look like the tricks that are boring,it the perfomer.

So look at other performers,get some acting books or lessons and Joanie Spina's tapes are not a bad idea.
Do your homework.
I'm still doing my homework .There's so much to learn about this great art.
I hope this helps.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 01/07/04 08:12 AM

BTW
Here a thought,drop the "demented" you don't look demented to me .You look like a very nice guy. I don't think anyone what's to hire a demented magician? Do you? It's a thought.
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Postby Guest » 01/07/04 08:49 AM

Thanks Andrew:
The Demented is only within the web-site. On my normal advertising the word is dropped. That goes into a bit of a story, but many years ago within Ring 50 I was doing a Halloween Show for my bit. This happened in 1988. My act was very unusual, and worked very hard to make it different. First time ever performed for Ring 50. To make a long story short, Christmas of 1988, I was again performing The Christmas Show for Ring 50, and was introduced,"Here's a real demented magician for you." So it became a nickname. The name stayed with me with Ring 50 and also The Virginia Magicians Society. So all these years I have kept the name, but not within the advertising world. Thus far it has never created a problem.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 01/07/04 08:52 AM

I was thinking of the dancing cane and magicians who performed it very well.
I heard Peter Pit did a great job
Stuart MacDonald does a great job with it.In the 80's in Genii, Bill Larson said, "it was the best he has seen".
Shayna Reed ,the middle of Reed sisters,does a very short and sweet yet powerful dancing cane that gets a great react from the audience.
And Pete what about Doug Henning doing the the dancing broom stick on his 3rd special? You where there.
McBride
Copperfield as well.
and my son, Eli!
All good "performers" :D
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Postby Guest » 01/07/04 09:02 AM

Interesting, I use The Creekmore Cane. I contacted Creekmore and they also sell, dancing pool cues, golf clubs, all kinds of goodies. I enjoy using the cane whenever I have the chance.
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Postby Guest » 01/07/04 09:05 AM

Opie:
I was watching Cops and saw them busting all those folks looking for action. :whack:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/07/04 09:05 AM

I've been next to a few laymen at various times when watching a performer do the Dancing Cane. It has always been quite obvious to them that the cane was on a thread, even if the thread couldn't be seen.
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Postby Guest » 01/07/04 01:18 PM

Interesting you mention that. I posted a poll just to see what magicians think. Is the dancing cane something we should continue doing or not.
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Postby Guest » 01/07/04 03:12 PM

Dancing cane...to perform or not perform? Depends upon who is performing it? If it were Salvano, or Neil Foster, I would say definately yes! I saw too many people performing it badly in the late 70's and early 80's (and I use the word perform with tongue firmly planted in cheek) who looked like they were preparing for the olympic hammer throw.

I have seen people bore others to tears with large scale illusions, and I have seen Karrell Fox astound people and have them rolling on the floor using nothing but a half dozen imp bottles.

As per the linking rings, another routine to add to the list. I had the priviledge of watching Richard Ross perform his routine at the 1983 Desert Magic seminar. This was definately MAGIC. Nuff said!

Bob
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Postby Guest » 01/07/04 04:15 PM

Some very interesting tidbits here about the Dancing Cane. The routine itself should only be a minute or so in length, more is better. Then there is whether or not you want to do a dancing cane or more of an acrobatic cane. Before Peter Pitt had passed away we were discussing the cane after showing a young fellow some pointers on it during a WMS and surprisingly we agreed on everything we both talked about in it's handling.

1.) You must forget that the cane is connected to you at all. Forget about the thread.

2.) There is a particular way to handle the thread. that is that you keep the thread on the first joint (closest to your fingernail) of your middle finger. This can be tricky at first BUT it is a knack thing you will get after a little practice.

3.) If you want the cane to move when the thread is in this position, you simply pump it using the middle finger. In this way, you can put your free hand on top of the other hand, arms extended and simply by the one fingers movement - the cane moves with NO movement of your arms or hands which helps to dismiss the possibility of a thread connection.

4.) Listen to the music you are sing. Don't hear the music, listen to it AND conduct the music with your hands. Allow the cane to move to the music as you do. It WILL do amazing things for you at that point.

I hope these points are clear enough to follow and make enough sense to you all.

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Postby GAMOLO » 01/07/04 06:58 PM

Yo all:

Jerry: Been in the local clubs since 1968...President and all that....just guess we cannot place a face with our names....but undoubtedly, have spoken to one another.

Jim: Cute retort....but you are, in principle, absolutely correct about the levi. Of course, no one really believes the lady is floating by "magic"....all realize some "mechanism" must be employed....but they are dazzled by the (usually accompanied)production values, the sheer spectacle & audacity of the performer's conceit to present this effect....AND laymen are not cognizant of the S bar principle and hence genuinely confounded about the hoop pass phase of the effect. HOWEVER, perform a levi (i.e., real rising, not a sword/broom/carpet suspension)in a living room, sans music, lights, atmosphere, etc. and you will lay an egg. Go over the top.....as Copperfield does with his "Flying"...and you invite the kind of snickering that Blaine recently got in London with starving himself in a glass box hung above the Thames...Jesus, what were these guys thinking? The apparent challenge of mastering the effects involved blinded them to the predictable audience reaction....not of bewilderment & entertainment but of ridicule at the execution.

Pete: I love you....but I think you really spend a great deal more of your time in the company of magicians than lay people. I'm telling you....I see a lot of magic shows....and lay people are always telling me they start to groan inside when the rings come out. Magicians telling one another that lay people just don't "get" the rings are deluding one another.
I am not talking here about the possible entertainment value with an EXCEPTIONAL performer....Karol Fox had a crowd pleasing routine wherein he would take a little girl out of the audience and (they would) sit on the edge of the stage (in one) with a spot and interact with her....but all the entertainmnent value came from the byplay with the kid....not the rings themselves. And whenever he did it....I always felt had he chosen another effect for the spot he would have gotten an even better response....instead of milking the crowd with an obvious setup in his favor for a somewhat (on the very edge) of a maudlin response he could have stayed in usual character and gotten belly laughs with something else. I suspect he performed it just to show guys he was not just a clown but could also carry off a "heavy" persona and sell an image with "gravitas" but it always seemed patronizing, incongruent, and forced when presented before and after the usual mayham...i.e., suddenly out of nowhere....he did this bit which had all of the subtlety of a circus calliope. The audience was really forced, as when a performer finishes with an American flagpole production, to applaud what, was really, on the edge of kiddie porn.

Still say...bag the card manipulations. Lance Burton has his big$$$ deal with the Monte Carlo NOT BECAUSE of his card act....but because of the big show....presented as a family show. Yes,his card bit is presented therein....but BRIEFLY...as a personal vanity trip homage to his origins. Get real guys.
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Postby Guest » 01/07/04 09:06 PM

The best zombie routines I have seen are those that have some good puppetry skills. It's not about levitation as much as giving the ball (or cane) a 'personality' that is seperate from your own IMO.

Another suggestion for you Jerry (from watching clip): watch your grips. If one hand looks like a tight grip while the other is holding loosely. It may advertise the method.

good luck

jr
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Postby Guest » 01/08/04 06:43 AM

Jim that seems to be the best advice I have heard so far. The unit you viewed is something I built. The ball was actually once a big Christmas Ball used on a very large tree. It's quite heavy. While I can if I want switch it up with a Don Wayne Ball, that's too light. I can however switch up the way I grab the gimmick and do the same with the left hand to even it up. Also under the right conditions and when wearing the right colored shirt I can have the ball go over and around the foulard. Unfortuneatly for the taping of that particular piece it could not be done. I do like the weight of the ball, because at times I'll wobble it which causes the gimmick to bend slightly and it gives it a very mystical look.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 01/08/04 11:29 AM

Originally posted by Gale Molovinsky:
Yes,his card bit is presented therein....but BRIEFLY...as a personal vanity trip homage to his origins. Get real guys.
When I caught his act, he got a really nice audience reaction from the manipulation material. I think it's a bit unfair to relegate presentation of such material to "personal vanity".

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Postby Pete Biro » 01/08/04 11:27 PM

Jerry, if you stay with doing Zombeeeeeeeeee, you gotta check out Tommy Wonder and Losander's work. Totally different look to the FLOATING.
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Postby Jim Riser » 01/09/04 12:34 AM

Yes, Pete, and they use a totally different gimmick to achieve the different look. I really like Tommy Wonder's idea of supporting the ball and the look it has when floating. As a matter of fact, I modified the gimmick by taking Tommy Wonder's ball support principle and combined it with the support idea from another effect to get even more floating movement with extremely little hand movement. I know...I can make anything I need - from the special ball to the custom gimmick; but merely putting a curve in the gimmick changes the appearance of the floating. You can do this with no special tools. Experiment until the equipment and the effect fits you and your performance style.

Losander's presentation of the floating table is excellent. It really seems to have a life of its own with his handling. This is where the magic happens.

Jerry, if you want to do zombie, redesign the gimmick to fit you and what you want the ball to do. Then practice, practice, practice. Take videos of your routine from all angles. Modify the routine as needed and practice some more. Then repeat it all until it is the effect you are working for.

For years I took my brother-in-law to the It's Magic shows and the Magic Castle whenever we were in the LA area. He has even been in the cabinet with Francis Willard! He has seen quite a bit of magic over the years and the only effect he ever asked me how it was done was the zombie. Do it correctly and it is a great effect. Throw away the instruction sheet that came with your zombie and think for yourself. Read and study what has been done by others.

BTW - the Don Wayne ball can make a nice zombie (hint: use a different attachment method).
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Postby Guest » 01/09/04 07:13 AM

The Tommy Wonder methods is this on a DVD? If so what it the name please? I thought the concept of having the ball float in front of the foulard would be something different, but if I can improve on it by redesigning the gimmick, I would be glad to. Also I do have a Don Wayne Ball which I can convert to a zombie. This is one of the reasons I asked people to check the routines out. Most have been helpful. Now I ask, what I need to purchase to make this better. :help:
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Postby Guest » 01/09/04 08:06 AM

I love the Zombie...

Wonder & Losander, eh? I need to know more about them. Not familiar with their work...

I also do the Astrosphere, but I've modified the hookup a bit. Ralph Wichmann's Invisible Thread Manual shows the one-point method, and I find the best I.T. to use with Astrosphere is Sulky "smoke" I.T.. Using a sheer blue foulard, it eliminates any idea of a "gimmick".

Those in my family who "know" how Zombie is done were astounded! If you do Zombie, you might want to follow it with Astrosphere, somehow combining the two...I don't know how you'd routine it, but it's just an idea...

Doug
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Postby Guest » 01/09/04 09:07 AM

ASTROSPHERE! There was a guy that many folks don't know today, though he's young and still in magic in some way, as I understand it. His name is Palmer Tilden, and he was the original owner of Sterling Creations. Palmer was also a student of Slydini. One of Tony's best students, in fact. Palmer learned and perfected a presentation of Astrosphere, with Tony's help and encouragement, that was superb! I was acutely aware of the modus operandi for this effect, and can say without hesitation that I watched Palmer's presentation and was convinced beyond all doubt that he had secret knowledge that allowed him and him alone to control the natural laws of gravitation. This sphere floated! It danced. It rose and sank, no, it PLUMMETED to the depths and SOARED to the hieghts of its' environment, and all at Palmers' command! No mere magic trick this - no, this was supernatural, and fun, too! Just goes to show ya, with the right teachers', and the proper work, a simple thing CAN become a miracle. Thanks to Palmer, and to Tony, for giving me a magical experience that I remember after twenty-five years have passed...

Best, PSC
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/09/04 10:02 AM

So PC// where be Palmer Tilden these days? He was "one of our group" in those golden days when all we saw was wonderful and baffling and exciting... where have those days gone? :confused:
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Postby mrgoat » 02/26/04 05:24 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
I totally disagree about the fact that Linking Rings are NG for laymen.

Ask Whit Haydn
Ask Jeff McBride
Ask Me

I won't do a stand up show without the Rings.
Couldn't agree more. When working close up I do a mini linking rings. When doing stage I do linking rings.

The nicest reponse I had was from a chap who had seen the trick exposed on some Masked Magician nonsense who said:

"I saw a show that taught me the secret of this, but you must have been doing something different as your rings don't have that obvious hold in."

This just goes to prove what I have always held firm, that exposure shows make no difference to magicians as long as they are vaguely competent.

The crash link is still one of my favourite magical 'moments'. I fool myself sometimes.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 02/26/04 09:53 AM

Amen. The rings have the potential to be boring, but in the hands of a master ... Best I ever saw, as far as audience reaction, was Martin Lewis in a comedy club. Got a huge ovation for each link.
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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 02/26/04 12:15 PM

Personally I don't like either Rings or Zombie. BUT...two performance have stayed in my mind: Al Schneider did a "kinda close-up" version of zombie that was awesome. As far as the rings?
Two words: Richard Ross. Outstanding did not cover his performance.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/26/04 01:22 PM

Some years ago a mage asked "What can I do with a new zombie I just bought?"

I replied (and in a way I really meant it) something like:

"Find a rehearsal room. Place the ball on the floor near the middle of the room. Move back as far away as you can get, run toward the ball, jump in the air and land on it with both feet, smashing it to bits."

OK, that's a little radical, but -- for the most part -- just buying a zombie and doing it like the instructions tell you, IMHO, is a waste of time. It is overdone. It is really hard to do it and fool anyone. And I would really like to see people NOT do the same old stuff.

The same goes for the Dancing Cane. Why oh why do so many young magicians go for this?

And why do they just go on and on and on with that stick swinging around?

Does it fool anyone when you do it that way?

I doubt it.

And WORSE... they turn the LIGHTS DOWN... what a tip off.

Anybody that does any research with threads finds out it is best done with a bright front lit spot.

And more than 3 seconds is too much.

Ken Brooke did one of the only dancing cane routines I ever saw worthwhile. What did he do?

He entered when working on a cabaret dance floor DANCING. A comedy eccentric dance, full light, and the cane was just coming along. When he reached center stage he threw the cane off to a waiting helper (usually a waiter).

One other fella did a funny routine where the cane got out of control and began to beat on him hitting him on the head, etc. and knocking him to the floor.

Otherwise, everyone else I have seen looks just like those NY City Cops, standing around at a Parade, swinging their billy clubs on the leather thongs. Same moves, same effect. Think about it.

Rant over. Thanks. :rolleyes: :cool: :rolleyes:
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Postby Guest » 02/27/04 12:13 AM

As Jim knows my 20 year hiatius from magic ended about 12 years ago -- when I walked into a shop and felt nothing had changed...so I was at home.

And that is the problem facing performers. Either routine or method MUST be updated and personalized after the trick or principal has been learned and tried. Otherwise we are cloning into a line that will bring us to the same end as dodo birds.

To make Gale's stuff work for me I had to modify IT substantially from the opriginal -- but I never did end up with a routine that pleased me (even after working through some stuff with Jim here in Tucson) and ended up selling the modified version.

I have been using Wonder/Losander stuff for quite a few years now and feel that it is time to go further to incorporate teeth grips, wire transfers, finger flites and new methods of production and climax (on and off) for the whole idea of animating objects -- much as Sean Bugonia did with Don Wayne's hank gimmick. I thank Jim Riser again for helping me with adding some stuff to the tables.

As far as linking rings go - Caveney's hangers are still not widely used here and I feel they are less graceful but much more relevant The agasin with my lack of talent or delicate graceful touch on rings - or Whit's boyish charm -- I have worked out a wonderful (with costume change and rip apart) use for Quadro and Lazar's Quadro Vicious rings -- and I am sorry to see that Murphy's picked up the license to make more sets -- as I really prefer to have exclusive type stuff. This ring send up -- takes the same stuff and more timing for laughs than is acceptable to true ring (and cups and ball) affacianados.

Now if someone would just do something with the Chinese Laudry machine...
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Postby Guest » 02/28/04 08:42 AM

Pete in your very early post were you talking about Tommy Wonder's Sphere. I saw a film byte on it already. Have you seen the film byte on it yet. If not go into www.hocus-pocus.com type sphere in and check it out then get back with me on it please. If you have seen it tell me your opinon.
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Postby Guest » 11/23/04 09:04 PM

Just like to take a moment to introduce my self and to recommend to all who are interested in Dancing cane to my new Dancing Cane 101 Dvd. It has been recieving teriffic reviews. The fellow in the Video needs my DVD in the worst way. By the way my act is only two effects Dancing Cane and Zombie Ball. For the most part I believe magicians shouldn't perform the dancing cane because they don't have the skill level required to pull this trick off. My intentions is not to insult but to say that 3 or 4 moves does not a trick make. What if you only knew three card flourishes does that make you a card magician? I think not. My Dvd was done to bring our brother magicians to a new performance level with new skills most haven't even imagined yet. If you want to see a demo goto... East Coast Magic
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