Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Morgan B, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Yep, 3 stooges reference in the title, to intro a discussion on stooges:

    Well, Mr. Ection brought up in another thread an interesting debate we had over Tiny Chat, so here comes the thread...

    He performs and effect for a man and women where one of them selects a card, and he then (keeping the method secret) indicates to the boyfriend what the card is secretly; thereby making him an impromptu stooge.

    I will let Mr. Ection state why he felt this was a strong effect, however, I stated many issues that he dismissed. I want you to all think about both sides of the coin, so I do hope Mr. Ection defends his reasons as they may be equally valid, and then please answer these 2 questions:

    Do you think that using a volunteer as an impromptu stooge is a good thing?

    Do you think using stooges at all is a good thing?

    I don’t – here is why:

    1) Someone in the audience will always think you are “not that good”. The person, if they keep the secret, will realize that the miracle others experienced was only due to the secret exchange of information that was communicated by them. It would be like meeting someone’s parents and asking all about them. Then you pretend, in front of the parents, when you meet this person, that the things you knew about them was because you were a mentalist. The kid might think you are god, but the parents realize that you are full of it. When I do magic, I want 100% of my audiences to experience magic. (Side bar – this is what John Edwards essentially did on “Crossing Over” - which now has his name next to “fraud” and “fake” – look how fast his career and show vanished when people found out the method)

    2) My experience, and my concern, is that when you leave the room/table that the person that was your stooge will tell people you were in on it. Actually, this should be obvious. People talk when you leave the table. It may not happen all the time, but I would say that it happens FAR more often than not. Why? Some people think that by putting the person in the “I picked the card” spot, that it makes them the “hero”. However, I do an effect with NO stooge that reads just like the one Mr. Ection’s does, and people ask me “How did you do that”, when I am not even involved. So, you get the kudos regardless of your involvement, but your stooge may want the credit, so they speak up. “He told me what the card was” – and now the entire room know the method. They may just want to be the big shot by revealing the secret...after all, someone made a series of shows and some $ off that concept. Actually, I find a stooge telling the secret similar to exposing magic really. Would it bother you if one person saw a sleight then shared what they saw with all the audience that moments ago was amazed? Your stooge may reveal the method...that you used them, so how is that different from exposure? Just like above, I want to FOOL 100% of my audiences, and if there is even a 1% change that it might be exposed, it may not be a good idea...and I would argue that the percentage is far higher that a stooge can’t keep the secret.

    3) It isn’t fool proof – sometimes the person you use won’t say or do what you are coaxing them too, for the same reasons they lie about their card, or try to mess you up. Other times they just don’t get the subtle, yet obvious, hints that you give. How many times have you done paper balls over the head, to have one guy scream out...even when you prefaced what was about to happen with direct clues...”Hey, you threw it over their head”?! When you are relying on the audience for the work, it is out of your hands and has a chance of failing that is out of your control.

    4) It often looks obvious when there is a stooge, for two related reasons. First, body language. There often seems to be this moment where the participant is confused on what you are trying to get them to understand, and then a moment of clarity where they “get the hint” – this can often be seen on their face. Related point two – people are bad actors. When they realize they are “working on the inside” it is hard for them to act natural, and it is a strong tell to the rest of the audience.

    I am sure there are other reasons not to use stooges in close up work, especially impromptu audience ones. I have seen planned stooges work well in stage shows, but never seen it done well in person. This isn’t to say it is impossible; I just concern myself with the things I mention above.

    What do you guys think?
  2. Impromptu stooges is just a silly name. I personally find the use of stooges in a Close up situation kind of stupid because it's like why practice and learn if you can just have the other guy "Agree" to everything. And like you said, the guy who was the stooge may well just blab about how it was done and even if it was a one time deal. People will always have that image and thought in their mind when they meet or see you. Thus, the show is over.

    I'd say tho that Stooges in Stage magic should be looked at booze. "Only in Moderation."
  3. So, you're disapproving of dual reality as well? (see point 2)

    If the instant stooge is someone you know you can trust, and you apply some of Kenton Knepper's techniques, it should be fine. This type of effect is as powerful as it gets.
  4. What do you mean by your first statement about point 2? Can you clarify?

    Also, what kind of stooge can you trust?
  5. a magician friend
  6. Well a magician friend is completely different than and impromptu stooge. Simply because if he is a Magician friend who is already in on it. It's not Impromptu.

    And Impromptu Stooge is you letting some random guy at a bar in on what you are doing so you could do some sort of effect where he is the winner or something.
  7. Whilst I have used impromptu stooges I personally do not think they are often used well. As for a close up and even stage work I am a huge supporter of dual reality. So in every effect that I have used impromptu stooges for I have almost completely replaced them with some form of dual reality.

    By substituting an I.S. for some dual reality (or even more than just the two) gives each person some form of a result thus eliminating a lot of the change of the 'he just showed me the card'.

    As for the effect that Mr. Ection suggested I use something very similar in both my close up and stage work. However it IS has been changed to a little bit of DR and some good old fashion sleight of hand.
  8. I have used impromptu stooges once or twice before. However I did it for big groups, sat round tables. I held the deck above the head of the guy at the head of the table, so that everyone could see the bottom card, and then got him to pick someone that he would 'mentally send his card' to. I think it can work really well, but only as a jokey, less powerful middle-of-a-set type piece. I also concluded that it wasn't complete, it needed something else. Something that fooled the entire table as well, something like saying 'oh, you couldn't have picked that card, because it's not in the deck' and then producing from a sealed envelope. However I never got round to trying this, because I got bored with the routine :p
    Might have to come back to it again, actually, my interest has been resparked.

  9. If you use dual reality, the spectators will probably talk after the show- then the jig is up.
  10. Certainly.
  11. Using a magician friend can work...if everyone doesn`t know they are a magician. Also, this is usally depending on the reaction of this person, depending on how you use them - see point 4
  12. i remember once doing a trick , with a group of friends, and i was just running through some tricks, and then a girl said

    "if you can make my card appear in maurys pocket, then i'll be impressed"

    so i started out like i wasnt gonna do it, and then after a while i had them write the name of the card down on a peice of paper and when they were doing that, slipped maury the card,

    maury used to do magic, and maury enjoys seeing me fool people with magic, but he doesnt enjoy doing magic, cause people are always on the look out for him to fail. whatever. but that was the one time i used an impromptu stooge. it worked miraculously, the rest of the group was stunned, i dont know what you guys can draw from this, but thats what i got. a story of a stooge and as far as i know maury never reavealed it
  13. WWMe,

    That is a good acception to the rule. I have used this before too. However, I wouldn't consider that a stooge, at least not in the sense of asking them to participate - more of an assistant to the show.

    Great story - and interesting point Maury brings up on always having people wanting you to fail. I see a thread on that topic being a good discussion.
  14. Alright let me set the record straight. And i think i said this several times that night. I do not think this is the ultimate magic trick or even "good magic" by whatever standards. I was just saying that i think this would be a great trick for certain commercial situations.

    If you were doing magic for a guy and a girl for a few minutes already and you had good rapport with the couple (especially the guy) then this might be a great trick.

    You would say something like "alright we're going to see just how in sync you two are. i'm going to have you think of a card jessica. And i want you to look at jim send him the card. Jim you just need to really pay attention and a card will pop into your head."

    At which point i would cue him somehow. And put it ALL on him. I would even leave right then perhaps and say just look into her eyes for a minute or two and you'll start to see it. And then just walk away only to hear a scream two minutes later. Then maybe come back after dinner and do a little more for them and fish for a tip. And let me make it clear that the ONLY reason i really liked this idea is because i feel like it would be a good tip generator if you were a real worker. I mean think about it. You essentially make this guy the star of the night. How much would you pay on a date to make a girl think you read her mind?

    I realize this might fail horribly but if you're too scared of failing to try it then just don't try it.
    I personally haven't tried it yet. But i also haven't started working in a restaurant yet. But i'm sure that when i do i will try it. I'll let you know how it goes :p
  15. see when mr.ection says it like that, it seems like a much better idea. and i actually enjoy the idea, and i dont think that if it worked, that the guy would ruin it. i mean the girl thinks that they have a special bond, and telling her its all a lie.

    lets just say, no second date.
  16. Hey Mr. Ection, remember when I called you Mr Erection, sorry. haha.

    Also, sorry if I made it sound like you felt it was great...however, if Sherlock wasn't too busy being a dual personality and being a Navy Semen, I think he would state you felt pretty strong this was a good trick...or at least a very workable idea.

    Anyhow, before we hope on the "impromptu stooge" wagon - let me point out a key statement shared by our friend...a few that I didn't realize.

    So, really you don't know how it is going to play...yet, I have tried these kind of things, and also seen them, it plays out like my points indicate. It is not about not having the balls to try it, it is knowing what kind of response you will get. I look forward to your reply when you do try it, please let us know if it works - I suspect it won't. But, why learn from my mistakes...make your own...that is what smart people do?

    Actually, Edison was known for inventing the light bulb...but nobody talks about the fact that he was making mistake after mistake...because he didn't take the time to research what had been done. It turned out, when he finally hired a team to research, that he was far behind the times...and making the SAME mistakes those before him had. It wasn't until the researchers caught him up on the progress of others that he surpassed them with his time and invented the first sustainable bulb. Imagine how far he could have got with his life if he wasn't wasting time making the same mistakes as others? Oh, sorry, I digress, so you were saying how you wanted to use an impromptu stooge?

    You not trying it, but having faith it would work, was like the time I wrote that Watch Steals were not a great magic effect, but a pick pocketing stunt (that often violates and manhandles the audience member) and discussed some of the issues in trying to make it magic. A young man argued with me page after page...until he said that he never did it...he only saw a video of it. I always wondered what it was about people that made them believe in something they had never done...like everyone before them was a dummy...but they will be the ONE it works for. haha

    I think your approach is a good one, and does give it a chance at lasting for dinner...but eventually, if the guy wants to ever get laid, he will tell. Your ideas make it last, perhaps while you are there, but I would bet good money that the secret doesn't make it through the night. If you are okay with this Mr. Ection, then I say add it to your set. I just think moments that strong should be forever...not until the guy decides to give it up because of his girl's puppy face.

    I hope you read my points - because I am not okay with him thinking "I am not that good" because you put much stock in making him the hero...but don't consider that you are making her the goat. She is "not in on the secret", so really, you isolated her to be left out.

    Like I said, there is an effect where they can BOTH experience magic, and still have that connection. It still makes him the hero, if you want, but the method isn't..."he told me".

    The concept, which she will know...because she knows her boyfriend doesn't have magic powers...will be, "how did my bf know the card" - she when you are gone, she will ask...and ask again.

    She will say - look, he had to tell you in some way...he will smirk..."no really, he didn't (bad acting point 4)" and then she will know...she won't know how, but she will know that you told him.

    So the question you will get when you come back for your "big tip" is - how did you know the card. You will say, I didn't, HE got it! She will roll her eyes, and realize that you are as full of BS as he bf is...or...she will realize that she is the one not included in the boys club of "we know the secret you don't" - you might as well teach him BLACK MAGIC in the bathroom, and fool her with that...it comes across more as a puzzle than as actual magic.

    I hope you don't think I am ripping on you, just the idea...as I am pretty certain the reasons I listed are far stronger than the approach you are using to prevent these things from happening!

    I have seen it - remind me to tell you the story Williamson shared of a time he got a blind guy involved in finding a familes card by making him the impromptu stooge, this was based off an old idea and it worked...so David tried it...AWESOME STORY ENDING!
  17. These are fantastic thoughts, and a great discussion. Morgician, I notice that you are focusing on mostly impromptu stooges. I have also tried this with the exact same results predicted. I have never tried using stooges other than an impromptu one. But What are your thoughts on pre-show stooges (sacrifice one opinion for the amazement of the rest of the theatre)? Or even if you have a confidant that you feel could be a reliable stooge? I suppose a dual reality presentation (like some of Kenton K's work) wouldn't fall into the category of stooges (One spectator thinks it was pretty neat, while the rest feel it was amazing)?
  18. I think pre-show stooges, especially when working with stage shows CAN be victim to the prementioned concepts, and the "too perfect theory"; however, they seem to work better as long as the selection method can withstand it.

    An example, I remember seeing Copperfield in 2000, he had big silver balloons bouncing around to pick people...a guy came up last with a deflated balloon. I would have never thought anything about it - but realized he was a stooge when Copperfield made a joke. I know David is so rehearsed he won't fart unless it is scripted - so that gave me...and only me, as a magician, the indicator he was a stooge. Turned out, some of the serious "proof" he used for his teleport to Hawaii was from this man, so that helped confirm my thoughts. Great illusion, but some of the facts relied on the stooge - THAT BEING SAID:

    The entire effect didn't rely on the stooge, and nobody else caught on, because the intro of the stooge was random...also, it was covered with other actual audience members. In short, barriers were built around it to not make it the only form of deception. Someone could have said stooge, and still be fooled by the effect...as I was!

    That being said - if your entire show rests on picking one person, and them saying something - it could be hard...but I am sure I have been fooled by that with Darren Brown. It seems to work well on stage and parlour acts, but doesn't fly so much in close up.

    That isn't to say that it can't be done in close up, because I think a planned stooge falls less victim to the "impromtu" issues and psychology. Thanks for asking JT - glad you liked the thread.
  19. Hmm, yeah, when you have to tell your audience when it is "time to freak out", perhaps not as invisible a technique as you may think. Moreover, I am not sure what level of success overall has to do with using poor technique. Angel is pretty successful too...yet still takes heat from LAY AUDIENCES for "paying people to help" (in lay terms) - in our terms - STOOGE.

    So, if you want to evaluate how deceptive something is based off of "making a living" - then everything I say should be consider gospel...perhaps it is. Each to his own.

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