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Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 8:07 am
by CraigMitchell

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 11:40 am
by Richard Stokes
She screams like Yoko...

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 1:48 pm
by Bill Marquardt
Why on earth would anyone attempt this using the spectator's hand? Just plain stupid.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 3:52 pm
by Anthony Vinson
Agree with Bill: Why indeed. And why did it take them so long to cut? Surely the PD didn't think it was a goof?!

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 4:26 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Enough people have now been injured doing this effect, be it spectator or magician, that it should be clear that whoever uses it with a spike or nail is incompetent.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 4:30 pm
by erdnasephile
I have never cared for the presentational conceit (with two rare exceptions) of putting the spectator at risk of bodily harm. At best: the average magician looks like a jerk for putting the spectator in peril without having the courage to put themselves at risk, all while spewing hackneyed bon mots. At worst: the magician ends up committing assault and battery (as in this case).

I hope the victim here sues that idiot out of performing existence.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 5:18 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Isn't "assault" verbal and "battery" physical?

That aside, who does the magician sue when he stabs his own hand? His common sense? His brain?

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 8:10 pm
by James
Many years ago I made the decision that if a magician picked me as the volunteer for this and was going to use my hand, I would just sit down.

I'm not sure if we can crate surveys on here, but if you were a volunteer and the magician wanted to use your hand (even if it was a magician we all respect) would you let him?

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 9:05 pm
by erdnasephile
Richard Kaufman wrote:Isn't "assault" verbal and "battery" physical?


I believe (and I could be wrong so I'll defer to the lawyers and police officers on this one) that "assault" occurs when the assailant causes someone to become apprehensive that they might come to physical harm or experience unwanted physical contact.

While I don't speak the language in the video, I do think the magician was making the lady pretty apprehensive (and rightly so, it seems).

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 3rd, 2016, 9:14 pm
by erdnasephile
James wrote:Many years ago I made the decision that if a magician picked me as the volunteer for this and was going to use my hand, I would just sit down.

I'm not sure if we can crate surveys on here, but if you were a volunteer and the magician wanted to use your hand (even if it was a magician we all respect) would you let him?


An interesting question. Not me for sure!

Then again: how many of us have blithely shoved our upper extremities in a hand or finger chopper?* Who has used a Walsh vanishing cane? ;)

One time I saw my first magic teacher (who will remain nameless), deliberately bring down a finger chopper blade on an annoying kid's finger just to keep the kid from asking for one more trick demo. As a teen, that seemed pretty funny, but now I can see that was probably not such a smart move on my teacher's part.

(*The one finger chopper that I think should scare anyone not familiar with the gaff is the Hades Improved Finger Chopper. Very diabolical in construction.)

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 4th, 2016, 12:51 am
by Jonathan Pendragon
"Those who do not study the past....",,,, The past? My article of a few months ago addressed this very problem and gave a free and generous solution with this caveat, "First! Never use an audience member as the smashie!" I did use those exact words but my meaning was plain.

"Use horticulture in a sentence?"

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 4th, 2016, 3:01 am
by Q. Kumber
Billy McComb told me he would never put his finger in a finger chopper nor his head in a guillotine.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 4th, 2016, 9:21 am
by erdnasephile
The other routine which I hope no one will ever do on a spectator (or on themselves for that matter) is Larry Becker's Russian Roulette routine. He has a horrifying story in his book, Stunners!, where he messed up a performance and unknowingly played Russian Roulette for real.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 4th, 2016, 10:28 am
by AJM
I recall one of the Gala Shows at Blackpool a few years ago.
Can't remember the act, but the illusion featured large spikes.
It was obviously the final piece as everyone was taking a bow.
Unfortunately one of the lovely assistants was too near the prop and inadvertently spiked her rear-end as she took her bow, gouging a hole in her leather/PVC pants (as I think you call 'the trouser' in your part of the world) as well as, I would imagine, her gluteus maximus.
All credit to the young lady as she managed to maintain her smile, which gradually became a grimace, as she exited stage right a tad quicker than usual.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 4th, 2016, 11:38 am
by brianarudolph
I was at least somewhat relieved when I heard that the Academy of Magical Arts banned the performance of such presentations at The Magic Castle.

There's plenty of other ways to present an engaging 1-of-3, 1-of-5, or 1-of-x prediction effect without literally risking life and limb - especially that of a spectator.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 5th, 2016, 8:12 pm
by Smurf
I had my wrist struck while being the participant in a MAK wrist chopper demo. We had just had one delivered to the magic shop I helped out at part-time. The owner wanted to show it to me and another person in the shop. As I put my hand in from the back of the item, I noticed a window that was already down behind the velvet catch bag. I didn't know this item, but it seemed odd so I asked if he was sure he had this set up right. The owner assured me it was right....until the blade came down on my wrist. Thankfully, the edge was so dull/thick so there wasn't any real injury, but it made me leery of chopper effects.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 6th, 2016, 10:49 am
by erdnasephile
I should mention that there are two presentations of related themes that I do like:

1. Max Maven's humorous sequence with Eugene Burger in "Multiplicity"
2. Rob Z's performance of Tom Stone's "Of Dice and Men" (which in turn is a version of Andy Nyman's "Diceman")

To me, one of the key differences is that in both routines, the spectator is already safe at the time the potential "danger" is revealed. They are also played tongue and cheek by superbly talented performers, unlike the atrocity on the video referenced in this thread.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 7th, 2016, 8:35 am
by Joji Matsuo
Jonathan Pendragon wrote:"Those who do not study the past....",,,, The past? My article of a few months ago addressed this very problem and gave a free and generous solution with this caveat, "First! Never use an audience member as the smashie!" I did use those exact words but my meaning was plain.

"Use horticulture in a sentence?"


I read this article and it helped me respond intelligently to an innocent laymen who posted this link on my FB wall. Thanks for the article.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 7th, 2016, 6:21 pm
by John LeBlanc
brianarudolph wrote:I was at least somewhat relieved when I heard that the Academy of Magical Arts banned the performance of such presentations at The Magic Castle.


When I read that notice a while back I was repulsed a bit. I realize there are layers of legal responsibility at play, but the purist in me expects the performer to demonstrate professionalism in the structure and performance of each trick. I'm glad Jonathan piped up because his article is the first thing that came to mind.

brianarudolph wrote:There's plenty of other ways to present an engaging 1-of-3, 1-of-5, or 1-of-x prediction effect without literally risking life and limb - especially that of a spectator.


There are plenty of ways to do most of what we do. It's in my nature to be averse to nannying behavior as a solution to what is, at its root, personal responsibility. And that's not even addressing the obvious. I think the technical phrase is, "slippery slope." If there was a way to quote the essence of Niemöller's quote without being disrespectful, I would.

John

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 10th, 2016, 7:05 pm
by brianarudolph
John LeBlanc wrote:When I read that notice a while back I was repulsed a bit. I realize there are layers of legal responsibility at play, but the purist in me expects the performer to demonstrate professionalism in the structure and performance of each trick. I'm glad Jonathan piped up because his article is the first thing that came to mind.

There are plenty of ways to do most of what we do. It's in my nature to be averse to nannying behavior as a solution to what is, at its root, personal responsibility. And that's not even addressing the obvious. I think the technical phrase is, "slippery slope." If there was a way to quote the essence of Niemöller's quote without being disrespectful, I would.


You're totally welcome to be averse to such "nannying" behavior, John. But if the Academy's ban has saved even one spectator's hand or even one magician's hand from being accidentally punctured, it was well worth it. You want to do the effect on America's Got Talent or in your own shows, that's fine. But it's gone wrong far too many times and the last thing the Academy needs is for it to go wrong in someone's performance at the Magic Castle.

I agree it's a slippery slope for magic overall, but in the case of the Academy of Magical Arts and performances at the Magic Castle, I applaud their decision.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 10th, 2016, 7:45 pm
by Richard Kaufman
As should be obvious by now, there does not appear to be any way to guarantee that this trick will NEVER go wrong. It has gone wrong too many times to too many different people. NO ONE should be doing this.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 8:18 am
by Jon Allen
Richard Kaufman wrote:As should be obvious by now, there does not appear to be any way to guarantee that this trick will NEVER go wrong. It has gone wrong too many times to too many different people. NO ONE should be doing this.


This can be applied to other effects too: Ring Flight comes to mind. In fact, any effect using a borrowed ring.

Due to the stupidity of this Polish performer, I have added an extra layer of security to my Nail Roulette which, if you ignore and fail to make it safe, you deserve to impale your own hand!

Here's a note from my time filming Penn & Teller: Fool Us in which I performed a slight variation of The Pain Game (due to nobody warning me that Penn hates the effect). I was told that after making it safe, I was to say a phrase with which the producers would know all was good. If I had made it safe but forgotten to say the phrase, they would cite technical problems and stop filming. If you do choose to perform this effect on TV, make sure you have this safeguard in place. You may not even need to tell anyone the method; just that if you do not say a specific phrase they are to stop you from carrying on. It may ruin the performance but it may save your career.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 10:26 am
by brianarudolph
Jon Allen wrote:This can be applied to other effects too: Ring Flight comes to mind. In fact, any effect using a borrowed ring.


Ring Flight? The only way to end up in the hospital after screwing up Ring Flight is if you fail to instantly offer to fully replace the ring you inadvertently destroyed and you fail to throw in some extra cash to compensate for your screw up - and her husband kicks the crap out of you either on stage or in the parking lot. Or the wife does. Or they both do.

Then again, in such an event, you probably should have the crap kicked out of you. So Ring Flight really is another version of The Pain Game after all. :D

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 1:29 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Ring Flite is a good example of a trick that doesn't inflict pain, but could end up ruining you financially if you borrow the wrong ring and a loose stone flies out (which has happened enough times that everyone knows not to borrow a ring with a big diamond in it!).

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 1:47 pm
by Ted M
John LeBlanc wrote:
brianarudolph wrote:I was at least somewhat relieved when I heard that the Academy of Magical Arts banned the performance of such presentations at The Magic Castle.

There are plenty of ways to do most of what we do. It's in my nature to be averse to nannying behavior as a solution to what is, at its root, personal responsibility.

I expect it's a basic economic decision by the Castle.

A notable fraction of Castle clientele can hire some mighty high-powered lawyers to sue the fancy venue if they get stabbed through the hand by a recklessly negligent magician.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 3:22 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Ted M., it's worse than that. Let's forget that a spectator is even in the picture, and the magician stabs himself through the hand. I could see a case being made by someone in the audience that they have been psychologically damaged by witnessing the trick!

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 4:12 pm
by Bob Farmer
I've got an idea for a similar effect.

First you need an electric chair, preferably a very old one that looks really nasty.

You have a box with five large knife switches.

A thick electrical cord runs out of this box into a 220 volt receptacle.

A dummy is placed in the chair and the magician pulls one of the switches: the dummy is fried, bursting into flames.

The magician then explains that the box can be rewired so one of the other switches feeds the juice.

The spectator then rewires the box so only he knows which switch is the killer.

The magician then gets strapped in and selects switches one by one to be thrown. He survives.

This could be safer since the dummy is the method. There is no electricity going to the chair. The dummy is gimmicked to catch fire.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 4:52 pm
by Doug Thornton
Bob Farmer wrote:The dummy is gimmicked to catch fire.


Is Criss Angel the dummy, or can you use anyone?

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 6:17 pm
by erdnasephile
Bob Farmer wrote:I've got an idea for a similar effect.

First you need an electric chair, preferably a very old one that looks really nasty.

You have a box with five large knife switches.

A thick electrical cord runs out of this box into a 220 volt receptacle.

A dummy is placed in the chair and the magician pulls one of the switches: the dummy is fried, bursting into flames.

The magician then explains that the box can be rewired so one of the other switches feeds the juice.

The spectator then rewires the box so only he knows which switch is the killer.

The magician then gets strapped in and selects switches one by one to be thrown. He survives.

This could be safer since the dummy is the method. There is no electricity going to the chair. The dummy is gimmicked to catch fire.


Regrettably, I think this plot has already been done: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=335_1217434387

Thankfully, at least he didn't stick a spectator in the noose.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 11th, 2016, 6:52 pm
by Ted M
Bob Farmer wrote:I've got an idea for a similar effect.

First you need an electric chair, preferably a very old one that looks really nasty.

You have a box with five large knife switches.

A thick electrical cord runs out of this box into a 220 volt receptacle.

A dummy is placed in the chair and the magician pulls one of the switches: the dummy is fried, bursting into flames.

The magician then explains that the box can be rewired so one of the other switches feeds the juice.

The spectator then rewires the box so only he knows which switch is the killer.

The magician then gets strapped in and selects switches one by one to be thrown. He survives.

This could be safer since the dummy is the method. There is no electricity going to the chair. The dummy is gimmicked to catch fire.

If I'm reading correctly, at this point the magician is still strapped to the electric chair.

Depending on how likeable the magician is, and whether there's a trained electrician in the audience, this may still go very badly.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 12th, 2016, 10:41 am
by Bob Farmer
For the finale, the magician, streapped into the chair, is covered with a foulard and turns into a horse.

Re: Smash & Stab Goes Wrong

Posted: July 12th, 2016, 10:46 am
by Richard Kaufman
Well that clears up everything!