I thank my good friend Brad for allowing me to add to the magic lessons. I am living in Japan and have been doing mostly shows for the young ones – birthdays, fairs at schools and holiday shows, Easter, Christmas, at the international clubs here. I started doing real shows rather late in my career and never had any personal instruction or any magical friends to share ideas and techniques with. So, as self-taught, I learned a lot through experience in doing shows.
The most rewarding moments I ever had in doing magic was seeing the look on people’s faces when they were astounded. I remember doing a trick with changing color CDs, a sucker trick, and when this little girl called me on the method and I showed she was wrong and her face went into shock my work was rewarded more than any fee for the show. (A sucker tick is an effect that seems transparent to the audience. They all see that the magic was done in a simple way and they call the magician on it and he reveals that the method that seemed obvious was completely wrong. Fradie Cat Rabbit is a good example.)
But in the early years of doing shows, I was just doing this trick and then that and no good segue from one to the other. So I decided to make shows based on a single theme. I tried many. One theme was “Magic of Color.” In that show, there were lots of color changing effects. Another was “You are a Magician.” In this show, almost all the tricks involved the spectators actually doing the magic. One more was called, “The Forgetful Magician.” Obviously, each trick had something to do about forgetting.
As a magician, I am supposed to be perfect. But in this show, I was forgetting everything. I used the Lota Bowl and between tricks I asked the audience if I emptied it or not, I forgot. They said yes, and I emptied it again and again with lots of laughs. Not all tricks were about forgetting, but in one way or another I referred to forgetting. One trick I introduced with, “Here is something you will never forget.”
The point is a theme helps to keep a show coherent and memorable. Michael Ammar has a series of Easy to Master Card Magic DVDs, and he teaches a trick called “Further Than That.” An excellent trick and easy to do, but what makes it memorable is the repetition of “Further Than That” several times. This catch phrase makes the trick all the more memorable. As in advertisements, repeating a catch phrase makes people remember the product and they will buy it.
Do this with your shows. If your shows are a half-hour to forty-five minutes, have a single theme. If you have a longer show, divide your entertainment into two, three, or more parts each having a particular theme. I mentioned earlier my “Forgetful Magician” show. I did that once. Here in Japan, I have the same kids in the shows as audience again and again, so I have to make up a new show each time and cannot do the same show here and there at different schools, for instance.
Well, I did this show one year once for youngsters, seven to ten or twelve. Three years later I was setting up a birthday show. One boy came to me and asked if I was the Forgetful Magician. That floored me. Here is a little boy, maybe nine or ten when I did the Forgetful Magician show and three years later he saw my face and remembered I was the Forgetful Magician. He remembered me and the show because a theme made the show memorable. You should do the same in your shows. You will make an impression that will stay with your audience forever.