Showmanship, its what magic is all about. Here at Perfect Magic we have books and DVD’s on the subject, and although your magic may be impeccable you can improve your act if you are willing to listen to constructive criticism by those in the know.
And then there are the 3 year olds. I just love this so much. The other day a lovely lady came into our shop to buy some magic for her 6 year old daughter. One of the tricks she bought was the Appearing Flower. Its a trick a two year old could do and I showed her a video of my 2 year old grand son performing it. He is now 6, by the way and loves magic.
So recently I met the lady and asked her how her daughter liked the magic tricks. She told me the little 3 year old wanted to be involved and the two of them put on a show for her.
Never having read a book on showmanship, and never having watched a DVD on the subject the 3 year old took the empty black flower pot and extended his arm to his audience of one showing her the empty pot and then he swung his arm to the left and to the right, showing the empty pot to the members of his imaginary audience and as he’s waving his arm to the right and to the left he asks his audience,”Can you see the flower? Can you smell the flower?” and then called his older sister’s name. She came out with the magic wand in her hand, and tapped the flower pot and lo and behold a flower appeared. And this 3 year old, who never read a book on showmanship, steps forward, extends his hand with pot and flower and says “Viola!”
How do you like them apples! Can you smell the flower? Rich! 3 years old. And I must say it struck me and bugged me a little that although the tricks were bought for the 6 year old, she ended up being the assistant to her 3 year old brother. But I digress.
The mother was killing herself that she hadn’t taped the whole thing. Go know.
Many years ago, a magician from Greece used to come by the shop maybe once a year when he was in town to buy Jumbo Mouth coils. He was an
Our magician friend from Greece
impressive figure even off stage. He was tall and muscular and had long blond curls past his shoulders. He didn’t speak much English but we managed to communicate. He was performing at a Greek night club on St. Laurent Boulevard and invited Phil and myself to the evening show. I came across his photo the other day when I was looking for something else and it brought back a rush of memories.
It just so happened that Peter Gossamer and his wife Carol were here performing (for real people, not a convention or magicians) and we had plans to go out for dinner that evening. We told him we would love to go but we had plans for dinner with another couple and showed him their photo on our wall of fame that we had then. He invited them to the show as well. So the four of us went.
Peter and Carol
While he was here he bought “Knife thru Arm”. It was popular at the time and I used to demonstrate it sort of, but he knew what it was and was happy to see that we had it. Why am I telling you this. So you’ll know that I know how it works.
We got to the theatre and it was a night club with a full stage. We were well received and were seated at ring side seats. It was lovely. The whole show was in Greek. We did not understand one word, but at one point were well aware of the fact that he was telling a funny story and it was about us and everyone was hysterical, except the 4 of us. In any case he was a wonderful magician. At one point ambulance sirens went off outside and he explained and we understood somehow that it wasn’t for him but he had them waiting in case anyone fainted during his next act.
It was then that he pull out the knife and put it through his arm. I was ring side and he bent over and shoved his bloody arm in our faces. I could not believe what I was seeing and found myself actually wondering if he did indeed cut through his arm. Now that I think back, it was then that the people were laughing. I think he must of told them that I sold him the knife and he must have seen the look on my face. It was quite the scene. Sirens blaring, people laughing, some gasping, blood spurting. Awesome. But to his day, I will never understand how he made it so real.
I’ve been selling tricks at Perfect Magic for over 35 years. I’ve been writing them up in the catalogue and now edit them for the internet. I’ve been to many magic conventions and seen many magicians perform and usually if I don’t know how the trick is done I have an idea of how it could be done.
There have only been a few that had me completely stumped that I can think of at the moment. One is one our own, which the Camirand Academy now produces, which is Silver Sanctums. I remember Phil demonstrating it for Ed Mishell who did the illustrations for Tannen’s Catalog way back when, and he also had a column, “Tricks of the Trade”, in Genii Magazine where he reviewed the new tricks. We got 5 stars for Silver Sanctums. We managed to fool him completely.
Another one I couldn’t get was by Patrick Reymond, Jean Boucher and Gary Ouellet, called Ceremony of the Immortals. I wouldn’t allow myself to read the instructions for a year trying to figure it out and when I finally gave in I and read them I was even more impressed. I sell a lot of those and the feedback I get is that it is the best card trick in their repertoire.
Most of our customer would agree that I don’t push magic or my opinions on any one (I can hear my kids laughing at the the last part of that statement), as I know everyone has their own likes, dislikes and limitations regarding capability and budget. I try to find out what these are and will offer suggestions in that range, but I do push Ceremony of the Immortals because its great, not expensive and I always get thanks for it on the next visit.
Exact Change is the latest effect to intrigue me. I love it when that happens. It makes me believe in magic. Do you have any favorites that had you completely baffled? Care to share? Leave it in the comments.
My answer to that question would be, if you are prepared for your year round shows you are prepared for your Christmas shows. This may sound counter-productive to my business of selling magic, but if you have a great show and are comfortable with it, why change it, unless to improve it.
It’s true the kids are all keyed up about Christmas, and they will be all keyed up about a magic show as well. My advice would be, not that anyone listens, is if you want to do a show with a Christmas theme, adapt the show that you are now doing without changing it too much. You know what they say, “If it ain’t broken…” You can add that theme to your show for a reasonable amount. If you do a hat tear routine in your regular show, do a Santa Hat Tear for your Christmas show. If you do something with a Devil’s Hank, and you want to add a Christmas touch, we have a Deluxe Christmas Devil’s Hank with 2 pockets, and Jeff at the Browser’s Den tells me he uses a routine whereby he changes the color of candy canes from white to striped with it. We have lots of holiday magic and some of it will add holiday sparkle to your show, but don’t make up a whole new show if you have one that works.
By the way, my personal favorite is a 36″ Christmas Silk that is absolutely gorgeous and has vibrant colors and no writing. A great finale to come out a a change bag or other production item that you may have. Whatever you do, don’t stray far from what you do well and may all your shows be merry!