The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Jason Ladanye
Posts: 38
Joined: February 10th, 2018, 10:50 pm
Favorite Magician: Erdnase

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Jason Ladanye » February 11th, 2018, 8:26 pm

I think this has been mentioned already, but worth repeating. I believe that any effect that happens in their hands is an absolute miracle. They're part of the magic and they'll remember it for a lifetime. It doesn't matter if the card is changing, or the signature is disappearing, or w/e. That's what I've noticed in my experience.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24889
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 11th, 2018, 8:42 pm

Spongeballs.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 11th, 2018, 10:05 pm

Jason Ladanye wrote:I think this has been mentioned already, but worth repeating. I believe that any effect that happens in their hands is an absolute miracle. They're part of the magic and they'll remember it for a lifetime. It doesn't matter if the card is changing, or the signature is disappearing, or w/e. That's what I've noticed in my experience.


Welcome Jason! I couldn't agree more with you (and with Richard re the sponge balls, although for me, it's the rabbits). As far as cards, I would have to say though, that there are two effects in my experience, that are right up there, impact-wise, with a transformation in the spectator's hand, and those two effects are: (1) Signed Card on the Ceiling and (2) the good old ID. I would be quick to add though, that for one on one, it"s tough to beat OOTW, which I would think qualifies as "happening in their hands."

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » February 11th, 2018, 11:05 pm

I agree with this but I swear I read somewhere recently someone notable debunking this. I wish I could remember who it was.

Uh oh! I have a suspicion and a vague memory who it was! I had better check first in case I have it wrong.

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » February 12th, 2018, 10:01 pm

OK. I have searched and can't find it. And I read it fairly recently. I suppose I can't swear to it but I am almost certain it was Eugene Burger who was somewhat lukewarm about the principle that tricks done in the hands of a spectator were stronger. Mind you, he also thought the double lift was "an abomination". I suspect this was because he couldn't do it very well himself. In truth I was never overly excited about Burger's performing style but I will concede he was probably the best of the bad bunch that are seen around nowadays and admired by magicians. And of course magicians usually admire other magicians for the wrong things anyway.

But this brings up something I have been thinking about lately. When I first started magic I thought that everything everyone said about theory was gospel. 60 years later I think half of it is complete balderdash. Too many conflicting opinions by all the "experts" and too much not practicing what they preach. I still resent the awful Henning Nelms book on showmanship which guided me the wrong way for several months. Of course I didn't know at the time that Nelms had never done a show in his life.

But I have read fairly thoroughly the other theorists. I do find the Darwin Ortiz book "Strong Magic" pretty good except for his advice on hecklers. But overall it is an excellent analysis. I do think he is better at the preaching rather than the practicing but that is of no concern to me if the preaching is good. On the other hand I have read Jamy Ian Swiss's theories and find them mostly nonsense. He is at his best when describing stories and reminiscences of performers of the past. I think he should stick to that. Ironically I understand he panned the Ortiz book!

Of course that is an example of contradictory opinions. Here is another one. Burger wrote that you should perform magic in such a way that people don't want to analyse your secrets too much. He said you should try to avoid audiences being put in an analytical mood and gives an example of not having things examined because of this. On the other hand David Berglas likes to perform a trick and delays performing any more until people chatter about how the trick he just did might be done. In other words he WANTS them to be analytical! Different theories. How the hell is a beginner in magic supposed to know what is right or what is wrong? Oh, and just for good measure I found the Tamariz book "My Magic Way" full of tosh too!

Talking about David Berglas whom I have admired for decades I have just been reading Richard's excellent book on the great man. There is one section written by David himself on personality and presentation. I dearly wanted to agree with him but I couldn't quite manage it. I found that 75% of what he wrote I thought a load of old cobblers!

Here is another example: the much vaunted book by Ken Weber "Maximum Entertainment". I think 50% of it is fine but the other 50% is not so fine and I don't know why. I keep rereading it to see what I am missing. Perhaps I am biased by the forthright and in fact downright rude tone of the author so I keep trying to be objective and put that aside. But alas, I find that half of what he says is a load of old balderdash.

Now I don't know who is right or wrong. Me or the authors. It is all very subjective. The only point I am making here is that it is very unwise to take all you read as gospel just because it is in print. I do tend to do that myself until I either think about it or see the authors actually at work only to find they have a lot to learn themselves.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 13th, 2018, 1:42 pm

It seems inevitable that there will be, as Performer might say, "tosh, old cobblers and balderdash" within the annals of magic theory literature, and certainly priceless gems, as well. For my own part, my greatest teacher in magic has been Experience, and the most important institution of higher magic education, the School of Hard Knocks.

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » February 13th, 2018, 2:21 pm

Experience probably IS the best teacher but I have even seen that theory debunked! The logic was that by the time you get the experience you are too old and decrepit to put it into action! I will concede that this wasn't iin a book about magic and it wasn't quite the way the author put it but I know what he meant.

I think the only response to that is that you had better get the experience quickly! Be a fast learner in other words!

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4088
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby erdnasephile » February 14th, 2018, 10:39 am

Jason Ladanye wrote:I think this has been mentioned already, but worth repeating. I believe that any effect that happens in their hands is an absolute miracle. They're part of the magic and they'll remember it for a lifetime. It doesn't matter if the card is changing, or the signature is disappearing, or w/e. That's what I've noticed in my experience.


Welcome, Mr. Ladanye! (I'm a fan of your work!).

I don't think I realized the power of this until I had a spectator ask me to do that trick where "I [emphasis mine] make all the sponge rabbits appear."

I do think there are two main presentational paths to take on this: 1) where the magician causes the magic to happen in the spectator's hands and 2) where the spectator themselves do the magic. One seems more of a canceling strategy, while the other is allowing the spectator to be the star of the show. There are, of course, variants of these main trunks, but IMHO, which one you go with depends largely on your personal definition of magic.

I've also seen this handled badly, where the magician turns the spectator into meaningless, glorified shelf space (this seems to happen in kid shows not infrequently). However, done right: screams.

PS: While I'm on a rant: I'm not sure that all intelligent adult spectators are necessarily thrilled with taking home trash from our shows (torn envelopes, mangled cards, etc.). Certainly there are people who cherish this stuff, put them in frames, carry them around to show their friends, etc. but I wonder how many other people are thinking: "How in the world am I going to convince my bank to take this soggy $100 bill with my signature on it that's missing a corner?" I suppose like any other performing strategy, one must pick their participants with skill and care to make sure the effect intended is what will ultimately be produced.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1565
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Joe Mckay » February 14th, 2018, 11:20 am

Andy has some interesting thoughts about what makes a good souvenir for the end of a magic trick:

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2017/4/28/remembrance-of-things-past

He also came up with the best souvenir in the history of magic.

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2017/3/15/pixelatedpixilated

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5110
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Bill Mullins » February 14th, 2018, 11:48 am

Joe Mckay wrote:He also came up with the best souvenir in the history of magic.


There used to be a guy in our club who had an honest-to-goodness, real shrunken head.

Top that.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1565
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Joe Mckay » February 14th, 2018, 12:06 pm

Ha - you got me beat!

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 14th, 2018, 2:53 pm

erdnasephile wrote:[quote="J

I don't think I realized the power of this until I had a spectator ask me to do that trick where "I [emphasis mine] make all the sponge rabbits appear...

...I do think there are two main presentational paths to take on this: 1) where the magician causes the magic to happen in the spectator's hands and 2) where the spectator themselves do the magic. One seems more of a canceling strategy, while the other is allowing the spectator to be the star of the show. There are, of course, variants of these main trunks, but IMHO, which one you go with depends largely on your personal definition of magic...

...PS: While I'm on a rant: I'm not sure that all intelligent adult spectators are necessarily thrilled with taking home trash from our shows (torn envelopes, mangled cards, etc.). Certainly there are people who cherish this stuff, put them in frames, carry them around to show their friends, etc. but I wonder how many other people are thinking: "How in the world am I going to convince my bank to take this soggy $100 bill with my signature on it that's missing a corner?" I suppose like any other performing strategy, one must pick their participants with skill and care to make sure the effect intended is what will ultimately be produced.


I first began to develop my appreciation for the Multiplying Rabbits when I worked at Malone's Magic Bar in the Boca Raton Resort & Beach Club back in the 90's. There was a fine magician I worked with there, named Cory Allen, and the rabbits was a staple of his strolling repertoire. The reactions he almost invariably received were uncanny. I desperately wanted to do the routine, but protocol and courtesy dictated otherwise. But I started doing it at private events and it virtually always killed. Imagine sophisticated Palm Beach Millionaires imploring a magician to go over to friends' tables, with the entreaty, "Please do the rabbits for them!" I have been doing it ever since, and if I was told that I would be limited to doing just one trick all night long, well, it would be bunny city! I am not surprised that Michael Ammar has referred to it as "possibly the greatest close-up trick of all time."

As far as Erdnasephile's mention of the "two main presentational paths...1) where the magician causes the magic to happen in the spectator's hands and 2) where the spectator themselves do the magic," I think the strongest of all is when both paths can be converged. OOTW would be an example; Poker Player's Picnic, another. (For the latter, before having them begin the cutting and dealing sequence, try first palming off the 4 Aces, letting them shuffle, then replacing under cover of a question or remark directed at the spectator(s). Since the trick has not officially begun there is minimal-to-no heat as to the palming or replacement). You wanna talk about strong?!?!

I don't know how many magicians give back the spectator volunteer a soggy bill with the corner torn, but it would certainly be a tacky thing to do. Why not do a bill switch for a new one which they are then given, or just give them a nice crisp new one and take the used one. It'll dry out and very few, if any banks (especially your own) or vendors, are going to refuse it.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 14th, 2018, 2:57 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:
erdnasephile wrote:[quote="J

I don't think I realized the power of this until I had a spectator ask me to do that trick where "I [emphasis mine] make all the sponge rabbits appear...

...I do think there are two main presentational paths to take on this: 1) where the magician causes the magic to happen in the spectator's hands and 2) where the spectator themselves do the magic. One seems more of a canceling strategy, while the other is allowing the spectator to be the star of the show. There are, of course, variants of these main trunks, but IMHO, which one you go with depends largely on your personal definition of magic...

...PS: While I'm on a rant: I'm not sure that all intelligent adult spectators are necessarily thrilled with taking home trash from our shows (torn envelopes, mangled cards, etc.). Certainly there are people who cherish this stuff, put them in frames, carry them around to show their friends, etc. but I wonder how many other people are thinking: "How in the world am I going to convince my bank to take this soggy $100 bill with my signature on it that's missing a corner?" I suppose like any other performing strategy, one must pick their participants with skill and care to make sure the effect intended is what will ultimately be produced.


I first began to develop my appreciation for the Multiplying Rabbits when I worked at Malone's Magic Bar in the Boca Raton Resort & Beach Club back in the 90's. There was a fine magician I worked with there, named Cory Allen, and the rabbits was a staple of his strolling repertoire. The reactions he almost invariably received were uncanny. I desperately wanted to do the routine, but protocol and courtesy dictated otherwise. But I started doing it at private events and it virtually always killed. Imagine sophisticated Palm Beach Millionaires imploring a magician to go over to friends' tables, with the entreaty, "Please do the rabbits for them!" I have been doing it ever since, and if I was told that I would be limited to doing just one trick all night long, well, it would be bunny city! I am not surprised that Michael Ammar has referred to it as "possibly the greatest close-up trick of all time."

As far as Erdnasephile's mention of the "two main presentational paths...1) where the magician causes the magic to happen in the spectator's hands and 2) where the spectator themselves do the magic," I think the strongest of all is when both paths can be at least implicitly converged. OOTW would be an example; Poker Player's Picnic, another. (For the latter, before having them begin the cutting and dealing sequence, try first palming off the 4 Aces, letting them shuffle, then replacing under cover of a question or remark directed at the spectator(s). Since the trick has not officially begun there is minimal-to-no heat as to the palming or replacement). You wanna talk about strong?!?!

I don't know how many magicians give back the spectator volunteer a soggy bill with the corner torn, but it would certainly be a tacky thing to do. Why not do a bill switch for a new one which they are then given, or just give them a nice crisp new one and take the used one. It'll dry out and very few, if any banks (especially your own) or vendors, are going to refuse it.

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » February 14th, 2018, 6:32 pm

I really wish I could find that lukewarm evaluation of the theory that tricks done in the hand are better. I swear it was Eugene Burger who wrote it. I am going to keep looking.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1870
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 17th, 2019, 8:00 pm

On the subject of Frank Garcia and sponge balls, an effect that gets a strong reaction, a copy of Garcia's 1976 Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic is up on the eBay at an opening low bid. It appears to be in good condition:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1976-THE-ENCYC ... :rk:1:pf:1

Tom Gilbert
Posts: 771
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: NH
Contact:

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Tom Gilbert » February 17th, 2019, 9:59 pm

J. C. Wagner used to bemoan the fact that you study SOH for years, all the tough moves, and all they care about is the f+++++ rabbits.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8079
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 17th, 2019, 10:42 pm

Means and ends. It gets "better" when you hear what they think the story of a trick was.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 18th, 2019, 10:11 am

Tom Gilbert wrote:J. C. Wagner used to bemoan the fact that you study SOH for years, all the tough moves, and all they care about is the f+++++ rabbits.


An excellent example highlighting the differences between what magicians like, versus what appeals to laymen.

The day I decided to keep the rabbits as a staple of my repertoire for good was in the mid-nineties. It was after the sophisticated (age 60+) millionaire host sought me out at an event at Club Colette in Palm Beach and implored me to "please do the bunnies for my friend's table." I like to do the routine as a love story ("The Greatest Love Story since Romeo and Juliet"), with lots of comedy, bits, and gags. Not surprised that Michael Ammar called it, "Possibly the greatest close up trick of all time." Well, it's difficult, if not impossible, to say what "the greatest" is, but if layman reaction (of all ages) is any indication, I wouldn't quibble with Michael's proclamation at all...

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1870
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 18th, 2019, 7:22 pm

There must be something going on beneath the surface that makes the Sponge Bunnies appealing to audiences. Maybe the rabbits remind people of love, relationships, companionship, and having children. Those are things folks relate to. Songs have that power.

Bill Duncan
Posts: 1529
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Bill Duncan » February 18th, 2019, 8:06 pm

I've been told by people who have done both that The Sponge Bunnies are "better" than simple sponge balls, nearly 100% of the time. I have no reason to disbelieve that.

But I remain unconvinced that The Sponge Bunnies play so strongly because "the magic happens in their hands." If that were true then The Anniversary Waltz or Roth's Fugitive Coins would be stronger because in addition to happening in their hands, they add the creation of an impossible object, or the additional condition of coins being non-compressible and so more fooling that the same effect done with sponges. So "in their hands" plus 1.

I believe that the reason the Bunnies get such a strong reaction is that they are surprising, which is fun for spectators. But more importantly, because they are silly, which eliminates the feeling so many people have that the magician is trying to be superior. People who haven't seen them before find them delightful, not because they are strong magic, but because they aren't.

The original question was:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:What trick or routine that you do gets the best reaction for laymen?


So I think we're talking about two different bests here. One which is the effect that our audiences perceive as the most "magical" and which they like the most. I'm not sure they're ever the same.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 18th, 2019, 9:26 pm

Bill Duncan Wrote: "People who haven't seen them before find them delightful, not because they are strong magic, but because they aren't."

Bill, I think you made some really good, even profound, points and observations in your post. However, as the saying goes, two things can be equally true. The bunnies are still, at bottom, the sponge balls, albeit with characters. And the sponge balls is one of the strongest pieces of magic in the close-up arsenal. The effect of one object (be it a sponge ball or a sponge bunny) vanishing from the magician's hand and appearing in the spectator's hand to join the "one" they were holding, is an absolute killer. This is not merely my opinion; there is consensus on this. And the "final load," the appearance of a whole bunch of baby bunnies springing out of the spectator's hand (or, in the case of the sponge balls, a slew of balls ala Eugene Burger's routine, or a giant ball, as some do, or other surprise ending) - Is that not strong magic?

Al Schneider
Posts: 133
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Al Schneider » February 23rd, 2019, 9:49 am

Ok guys, here I go again; trying to be real in a universe of imagination and “Entertainment.”

I once lived in LA. I was a member of the Magic Castle. One evening I took a date to the castle. She was a lovely lady that happened to be a director of a legal department at some medical company in the LA area. I bumped into Al Goshman of whom I have been friends with for many years. He did his sponge ball routine with those very large sponges I think he manufactured. She was his helper. In the routine the large sponges popped out of her hand. She was very surprised.

However, after Al walked away, she looked at me, her eyes rolled up, and she said, “He just jammed the balls into my hand!”

I am attempting to relate what I saw. I suspect you all will have interpretations of this.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 23rd, 2019, 12:07 pm

I am not sure that I understand whether the word "Entertainment" in between quotation marks is being distinguished from what is "real" in the performance of magic. I can only say, based on my personal experience, that the sponge balls and rabbits (and of course the magician doing the routine can be a variable) is both entertaining and very magical. Many other magicians I've worked with and talked to feel the same. Unless, of course, the spectators for whom I've done these routines for are virtually all tremendous actors who are faking their exhuberant and astonished reactions.I don't know that one person's reaction to one magician's (Goshman's) performance provides any reliable indicator of the impact of the sponge balls in general, either magic-wise or entertainment-wise.

Below is a link to a video of Goshman performing his sponge ball routine. He may well have used different balls at the Castle performance in question. But in this performance (and others I have seen of him) he's using one large sponge ball, one medium and one relatively small one. IMHO, he makes a classic mistake by using the same spectator for both phases. In the first phase, she "learns" what a large ball and small ball together in her hand feel like. So, in the second phase, when he stuffs the large, small and the added medium all into her hand, I would think she could feel a significant difference from when she had just the large and small balls in her hand shortly before. This may account for why the spectator at the castle perceived that he "crammed" the balls into her hand. This would be especially true if he used all large balls. In the video here (and the sponge balls starts around 3:50) he was performing for two spectators. He could easily have used the other spectator for the second phase, instead of repeating with the same spectator. But he inexplicably chose not to.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1oaVZADKDM&t=286s

Al Schneider
Posts: 133
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Al Schneider » February 23rd, 2019, 1:57 pm

Alfred
I looked up the use of double quotes on a single word on the internet. This is what I found.
“Quotation marks around single words can occasionally be used for emphasis, but only when quoting a word or term someone else used. Usually, this implies that the author doesn’t agree with the use of the term.”

What I am trying to say is that many use the word entertainment when discussing magic. My point that what was supposed to be “Entertaining” was not entertaining.

However, I happen to be old now and some of my grammatical understanding is failing from favor. And, I never was good at it. The use of double quotes has changed. I would appreciate a comment from the head genii (genie?). Then perhaps we should change this thread to discuss grammar.

However, I appreciate that you have expressed your opinion in the other comments in your post.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24889
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 23rd, 2019, 2:18 pm

This is a simple matter. Putting quotations around a word indicates that its use is in opposition to the word itself.
In this case, that "entertainment" is so-called entertainment.
And, Al, I am the Genii. I I, sir.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Duncan
Posts: 1529
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Bill Duncan » February 23rd, 2019, 3:14 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Bill Duncan Wrote: "People who haven't seen them before find them delightful, not because they are strong magic, but because they aren't."

[snip] ...the sponge balls is one of the strongest pieces of magic in the close-up arsenal. The effect of one object (be it a sponge ball or a sponge bunny) vanishing from the magician's hand and appearing in the spectator's hand to join the "one" they were holding, is an absolute killer.
[more snipping]

I have not doubt that anyone who's never experienced the sponges, will find them very entertaining. I take exception with the phrase "one of the strongest pieces of magic" because what we call "magic" encompasses considerably more that what is momentarily puzzling and surprising and fun. Certainly, if you goal is for people to laugh, have a good time, and book you again (or return to your venue) then some version of the sponges is warranted. I wonder why the standard Copper/Silver isn't stronger than the Bunnies... it sure seems like it should be. Unless I'm right about why people like the bunnies so much.

One of the strongest magic acts I've ever see would be absolutely ruined by any sponge ball antics. Can you imagine Max Maven presenting them as part of the show that appears on the KAYFABE DVDs?


[Actually, now that I write it, I can imagine a script for Max doing sponge balls what would be wonderful to see, but it probably still wouldn't fit into his act.]

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 23rd, 2019, 6:25 pm

Bill Duncan Wrote: "Certainly, if you goal is for people to laugh, have a good time, and book you again (or return to your venue) then some version of the sponges is warranted. I wonder why the standard Copper/Silver isn't stronger than the Bunnies... it sure seems like it should be. Unless I'm right about why people like the bunnies so much."

Bill, you couldn't have possibly summed up my own goal better than in the first sentence, above. And, of course, everyone has their own personal goals and enjoyment in magic, whether it's just the sheer joy of mastering a sleight, writing and/or publishing books, teaching/lecturing, sessioning with other magicians at the club, fooling P & T, or what have you. I think you are right - as a pure magical effect, the Copper/Silver, when done well, is arguably stronger than the sponge balls. But there is that which is strong in and of itself, and then there is what is commercially strong, and that's where I think the sponge balls, and especially the bunnies, fall on the spectrum. As you suggested, there is an intrinsic delight factor to the bunnies; they are characters, and are cute, and a coin can't do or be that. That is not to say that the Copper/Silver cannot be made commercial, highly entertaining, and a vehicle for making people laugh and have a good time. That is where the performance and presentational abilities of the individual magician come in - and that is a huge variable...

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 23rd, 2019, 6:47 pm

For what it's worth, this is the routine I do with the bunnies, with credit to magician Chuck Smith for the basic plot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVjLHcz9w1w

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1870
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 24th, 2019, 1:17 am

Nice routine Alfred! The components are there: The two bunnies are an inseparable male and female couple who wind up copulating inside the spectator's hand. Audiences can relate to this.

I noticed one of the baby bunnies fell to the floor. It might be a good idea to get the spectator to hold her fist closer to the center of the table for the finale. This should make it more difficult for one of the baby bunnies to fly beyond the edge of the table when they spring out.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 24th, 2019, 9:22 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:Nice routine Alfred! The components are there: The two bunnies are an inseparable male and female couple who wind up copulating inside the spectator's hand. Audiences can relate to this.

I noticed one of the baby bunnies fell to the floor. It might be a good idea to get the spectator to hold her fist closer to the center of the table for the finale. This should make it more difficult for one of the baby bunnies to fly beyond the edge of the table when they spring out.


Thanks Leonard, I appreciate it. Very good tip as to placement of the spectator's fist. I never could trust those bunnies, anyway - at the first available opportunity, they will jump ship and make a beeline for the bar - which puts the proprietor in a potentially compromising position, considering they are underage.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1870
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 24th, 2019, 10:57 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Thanks Leonard, I appreciate it. Very good tip as to placement of the spectator's fist. I never could trust those bunnies, anyway - at the first available opportunity, they will jump ship and make a beeline for the bar - which puts the proprietor in a potentially compromising position, considering they are underage.
:D

You're welcome Alfred! As a precaution you might want to keep the male and female bunny in separate parts of your close up case, for obvious reasons. You don't want to deal with a problem of Tribble like proportions. ;)

User avatar
Q. Kumber
Posts: 1637
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Manchester, England

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Q. Kumber » February 24th, 2019, 11:37 am

Any trick that has creatures copulating in a spectator's hand will always get strong reactions.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24889
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 24th, 2019, 12:32 pm

Someone needs to create a gimmick that will cause a sensation of tickling or movement in the spectator's hand when the bunnies are in there.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 24th, 2019, 2:05 pm

@Leonard:"You're welcome Alfred! As a precaution you might want to keep the male and female bunny in separate parts of your close up case, for obvious reasons. You don't want to deal with a problem of Tribble like proportions."

Sounds like a very sensible precaution, Leo, although they are sure to hate it, and may go on strike...

@Q "Any trick that has creatures copulating in a spectator's hand will always get strong reactions."

Indeed. Perhaps we should consider adapting a classic coin trick and repackaging/repurposing it as "Cop(ula)enetro"

@Richard: "Someone needs to create a gimmick that will cause a sensation of tickling or movement in the spectator's hand when the bunnies are in there."

Love it! A gag I do at the very end of the bunny routine, on a discretionary basis (and failed memory prevents me from giving appropriate credit) is to use an implement called a "finger cot." It is is a medical device, usually made from latex rubber, used to cover one or more fingers in situations where a full glove seems unnecessary. In its rolled up form, it looks exactly like a miniature condom. You offer to repeat what they just witnessed with the appearance of the baby bunnies. They totally relish the idea and are watching with bated breath. As you place the two adult rabbits slowly and fairly into someone's hand, you sneak the finger cot in with them (really easy to do). You tell them to close their hand tightly and have everyone say the magic words, then ask them to open their hand. At first, they just see the two adults and nothing more. It failed. :cry: Oh, but wait! You point to the finger cot, and pick it out of their hand. Holding it up: "I'm sorry, it didn't work - they used protection." The hilarity this generates cannot be exaggerated...

Bill Duncan
Posts: 1529
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Bill Duncan » February 24th, 2019, 3:45 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Someone needs to create a gimmick that will cause a sensation of tickling or movement in the spectator's hand when the bunnies are in there.


Ah, Wonder Words?

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4008
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Brad Henderson » February 24th, 2019, 4:28 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Someone needs to create a gimmick that will cause a sensation of tickling or movement in the spectator's hand when the bunnies are in there.


This is already a feature in the sponge material itself. As they hold their hand closed, their muscles fatigue and their grip loosens. many time they will feel them expand and move.

I once did a coin bending thing where one coin in a group bent in their fist. One of the x coins was shimmed. I had them hold the coins in both hands, cupped. I used a juice joint to wiggle the coin in their hand. I also used a pk magnet on my arm. The advantage of the latter is you could easily steel
The gaffed coin from the pile by passing your arm nearby. They could then keep the change.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4008
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Brad Henderson » February 24th, 2019, 4:31 pm

I teach my handling for the bunnies and the theory behind it in the penguin act live series. I think the bunnies are a great example of what we can achieve by manipulating the perceptions of our actions audiences - i call it the neurochemical theory of magical reality.

Al Schneider
Posts: 133
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Al Schneider » February 25th, 2019, 8:03 pm

I am confused.

Most here seem to talk about magic technique. The beginning of this thread asks the question, “The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen?” I think this question is very misleading. My point is that the quality of the magic has little to do with the performance of magic in the environment Alfred works in. As I watch Alfred work, I think the magic is but a small part of that performance. I think I am a highly skilled magic guy. I can’t perform like that. Magic is not the necessary ingredient. Sex, money, bets, and the amount of junk you leave on the table after a trick seem to be the important factors. Or scare some poor women out of her wits with a spider crawling on her arm, a rat thrown in her face, or some loud noise that scares the bejeebies out of everyone. Why is this called magic?

Look at the environment Al Goshman works in. He has his own little room and the audience files in to see the act.

Perhaps I am misreading the place where Alfred works. When I am in that kind of environment there are 100 guys of which 99 think they are tougher than the other 99. Some guy doing magic is a threat to their masculinity.

Perhaps this thread should ask the question what works best in the various venues of magic performances.

I am not sure what my goal is here. Alfred is doing an outstanding job. I cannot do that. I am humbled.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Leo Garet
Posts: 288
Joined: March 14th, 2015, 9:14 am
Favorite Magician: Nobody In Particular

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Leo Garet » February 26th, 2019, 12:05 pm

Al Schneider wrote:Perhaps this thread should ask the question what works best in the various venues of magic performances.

Perhaps not this thread, but another thread with this in mind is not a bad idea. I think.

All magic is conditional after all.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 27th, 2019, 7:00 pm

Al Schneider wrote:I am confused.

Most here seem to talk about magic technique. The beginning of this thread asks the question, “The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen?” I think this question is very misleading. My point is that the quality of the magic has little to do with the performance of magic in the environment Alfred works in. As I watch Alfred work, I think the magic is but a small part of that performance. I think I am a highly skilled magic guy. I can’t perform like that. Magic is not the necessary ingredient. Sex, money, bets, and the amount of junk you leave on the table after a trick seem to be the important factors. Or scare some poor women out of her wits with a spider crawling on her arm, a rat thrown in her face, or some loud noise that scares the bejeebies out of everyone. Why is this called magic?

Look at the environment Al Goshman works in. He has his own little room and the audience files in to see the act.

Perhaps I am misreading the place where Alfred works. When I am in that kind of environment there are 100 guys of which 99 think they are tougher than the other 99. Some guy doing magic is a threat to their masculinity.

Perhaps this thread should ask the question what works best in the various venues of magic performances.

I am not sure what my goal is here. Alfred is doing an outstanding job. I cannot do that. I am humbled.


Al,

Thank you for taking the time to watch my performance and for your comments. And yes, you are, indeed, a highly skilled magic guy.

I do sort of feel like I should clarify some things.

(1) The establishment where the video was taken (by a customer with their iPhone) is called "Ricardos," in Santa Rosa, California. The scores of signed cards on the ceiling are a trademark - kind of a talk of the town - and a drawing card, as it were. The restaurant/bar is frequented by a variety of patrons, many upscale white collar people, doctors, attorneys, bankers, accountants, contractors, business executives; many regulars are winery owners or executives from the Sonoma County wine country. Many of the regulars are families with kids. There are also blue collar/trades people, plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc., who are generally very polite and peaceful, just wanting to relax, and enjoy a beer, some excellent food and some entertainment, after a hard days work.

(2) I have rarely encountered the kind of macho individual you described, who think they are tough, or who consider magic a threat to their masculinity (although some are genuinely tough). Most of them love magic and come back again and again, requesting it - often bringing friends and family to see magic.

(3) There are no spiders (real or fake) or rats thrown at anyone or loud noises, or any scorning of anyone. There is no sex or bets that I know of (although people are obviously free to flirt or go home with whom they wish). I never use profanity, and I employ very little sexual innuendo when I work, and only with adults who are kind of acting a bit risqué themselves. The only money left on the table is when people choose to tip me or their server as an expression of their appreciation.

(4) Yes, the rabbits are a fun routine with lots of comedy and interplay as you saw (although it certainly does require at least some magical skill and subtlety), but I do plenty of sleight of hand magic, as well, and from the feedback I've gotten, many people seem to think it is really good and mystifying - although I will say, I am my own worst critic, and have a lot of improving I need to do.


Return to “Close-Up Magic”