Bullet Catch for Kiddie Shows?

 

Former Mrs. Quinlan

Tony Spain has been the subject of derision throughout his career and this is no time to stop deriding.  He has been successful in getting along in the world of Magic despite his considerable lack of ability.  He is may be a dullard but at least he is un-original. 

 

A while back, we did an interview with Mr. Spain.  It was a frank discussion and seemed to hit a chord with others with the lucky combination of a lack of talent plus a lack of inhibitions. 

 

The following is in response to our open-call for magic articles, essays, and reviews.  Inside Magic does not support or agree with Mr. Spain?s comments.  In fact, find them reprehensible and poorly written but because Mr. Spain is married to my first wife, it seemed necessary to keep her happy and allow some income to finally cross the threshold of their little love nest. 

 

I was pawing through my new copy of Magic Magazine when I noticed a peculiar advertisement.  Hocus Pocus was selling a Bullet-Catching trick for just under $900.00.  Few tricks get magicians? juices going more than the famed, famous and infamous Bullet-Catching Trick.  The trick is exciting to do and see. 

 

When we professional, master magicians present the trick, we love to tell audiences that millions of performers have died attempting the feat they are about to witness.  I am sure the number of dead magicians is not in the millions range or even more than 500,000, but why let the facts get in the way of great story.  Besides, the death of a few magicians does not catch the audience?s attention compared to ?over a million magicians have died in the performance of this trick!? 

 


 

Former Mrs. Quinlan

Tony Spain has been the subject of derision throughout his career and this is no time to stop deriding.  He has been successful in getting along in the world of Magic despite his considerable lack of ability.  He is may be a dullard but at least he is un-original. 

 

A while back, we did an interview with Mr. Spain.  It was a frank discussion and seemed to hit a chord with others with the lucky combination of a lack of talent plus a lack of inhibitions. 

 

The following is in response to our open-call for magic articles, essays, and reviews.  Inside Magic does not support or agree with Mr. Spain?s comments.  In fact, find them reprehensible and poorly written but because Mr. Spain is married to my first wife, it seemed necessary to keep her happy and allow some income to finally cross the threshold of their little love nest. 

 

I was pawing through my new copy of Magic Magazine when I noticed a peculiar advertisement.  Hocus Pocus was selling a Bullet-Catching trick for just under $900.00.  Few tricks get magicians? juices going more than the famed, famous and infamous Bullet-Catching Trick.  The trick is exciting to do and see. 

 

When we professional, master magicians present the trick, we love to tell audiences that millions of performers have died attempting the feat they are about to witness.  I am sure the number of dead magicians is not in the millions range or even more than 500,000, but why let the facts get in the way of great story.  Besides, the death of a few magicians does not catch the audience?s attention compared to ?over a million magicians have died in the performance of this trick!? 

 

Party Fun for Everyone

The ad gives away the method but that is okay.  I think they had to make the method obvious so that purchasers could understand how the seller can claim the trick is foolproof.  Specifically, the ad says there is no way your assistant, the volunteer from the audience or, most importantly, you can be injured or killed. 

 

Which is good?  I think the Uniform Commercial Code says this is a binding offer and your purchase would be an agreement.  Consequently, if you, your assistant, staff, or audience volunteer dies, you can sue and get back the value of the gun.  In addition, if one of the audience members or volunteers or the target person is killed, you can say he or she assumed the risk ? having someone shoot a gun at your face is the type of activity that assumption of risk was written for.

 

To be honest, I do not know many people that do the Bullet-Catching trick.  Teller of Penn & Teller said that there are only two ways to do the trick: one will get you killed and the other is so obvious it will not fool anyone.  He, Penn, and others then devised a version that did not have either drawback. 

 

I think the prime reason we do not see magicians doing the trick as much anymore is because the performers are all dead or horribly maimed from using a ?fool-proof method.?  You show me someone who will let a perfect stranger fire a gun at your schnoz and I will show you someone who has an unhappy home-life.

 

The ad makes you think, though.  Were the magicians performing the trick before this method using something less than foolproof?  I cannot imagine many magicians or humans who will stand in the line of fire if they were not sure of the trick?s safety.  Yet, some of those magicians were wrong and now they are dead.

 

However, I come not to mourn our brethren because I do not know them.  In addition, I am not here to make money for Hocus Pocus ? if anyone should make money, it is I.  I come to this electronic pulpit to praise my own genius and myself.  Napoleon once said, ?Humility is overrated.?  Therefore, I will pat myself on my broad, manly back as I tell you how I may have revolutionized magic. 

 

I make a lot of money by inventing new tricks and illusions.  I make even more cash consulting on new illusions or shows.  The other professionals love me.  They all say, ?Oh, Tony, you are the best there is.  Please teach us your secrets.  While I cannot teach how to be charismatic and inventive, I can teach magicians how to look for innovations or how to get in contact with someone like me who can do it for them.  When I am not inventing new illusions or consulting on the method to build a perfect act for the professionals, I perform kids? shows.  I do not need the money from the kids? shows, but I do the shows to encourage the youngsters to study magic and grow up like me.

 

Sure, in the past, there were days when I would literally depend on the food I could mooch from the moms to stay alive.  As my fame grew, I supported my need to eat by my income.  Now, I am fat and happy and do not have to eat the slop the moms used to give me.

 

However, the ad in Hocus Pocus bothered me.  I have been working like a crazy person to figure out how to do the Bullet Catch in my kid show routine.  At first, I discounted the idea because I was worried what the moms would think.  Fortunately, I perform many of my kid shows are for families in the Michigan Militia.  As they say in this paramilitary group, ?the second amendment is their first amendment.? 

 

Kid’s Know Guns!

Besides, most kids have seen guns on television, at the movies, or in school.  Seven and eight year olds can clean and load a .38 revolver without the assistance of an auto-loader.  However, here is the rub: kids, especially young kids are not accurate in their shooting.  I use a big, heavy Colt .38 in my birthday party show and found there are few kids ? especially if they are hopped-up on sugar ? that can hold the weapon steady enough to aim it at my mouth. 

 

I started asking the moms to do the shooting and this seemed to work for a while.  However, word got around that this was the finale for my birthday party show.  Instead of putting the gun down after the trick, they would load it again as I asked for my fee.  Their possession of a loaded weapon gave them an edge in the renegotiation of our contract.  I would plea to the kids to grab the gun out of their moms? hands but they just laughed their little glucose-fortified giggle and told me to catch it in my teeth again.  Most kids are stupid.

 

Therefore, my performance evolved to using the birthday boy or girl as the target.  I would do the shooting and the birthday boy or girl has to stand at the other end of the living room with a plate of glass in front of their eyes.  I initially had the birthday kid work as a stooge and I would drop the marked bullet into his hand as he went to take his position.  In a stroke of genius, mine, I figured out that I could wad the bullet into the mouth guard I provided.  This worked even better because the birthday kid has to be surprised too.

 

In addition, when I am holding the gun on their kids, the mom?s are much more willing to pay my fee without a fuss.  It is a win-win.  When the kids see Mommy trembling as she gives me the cash, they realize that this gun is real.  It builds the drama like crazy.

 

There are parties where I do not perform the Bullet Catch.  For instance, if the party is in an apartment complex downtown, I am reluctant to aim a gun at a kid; often his guests are packing more than I am holding.  Sometimes, parents object to having their child use the mouth guard that I have used in other shows.  Occasionally, the parents are against guns; or more specifically, against paying some stranger to point a gun at their kid on the day set aside to celebrate their kid?s birth. 

 

This is when I actually make my show better than it was with the gun.  I used a peashooter and I become the target.  I have found that most kids can hold a peashooter and aim it carefully enough to make the act look believable.  I have the kid mark the pea, put it in his mouth, give him a peashooter and then I get ready down at the end of the hall.  I give the signal and the kid ?shoots? the pea at me. 

 

This is where the comedy comes in: I lost my right eye in an umbrella accident when I was doing my Vegas tribute act to Burgess Meredith as Batman?s nemesis, the Penguin. I act as if the kid shot the pea not at my mouth but at my right eye.  I bend over like I am in pain and while I am bent over; I pop out the prosthetic and drop the marked pea in my eye socket.      

 

They are usually shocked but then I tilt my face towards the birthday boy or girl.  I bend over and let the pea roll around in the socket before it drops into their little trembling, icing-covered, hands.  I always offer to catch it again, if they would like, and I point to my other eyeball.  This gets a nervous laugh from the kids and a big yuck from the moms. 

 

One of the points I try to make when I entertain for kids, is that they should experiment and try new things.  By showing that even with one eye knocked out, I am still willing to let them shoot again, I am telling them it is okay to stretch beyond our comfort zone.  I tell them, ?You have to look at every risk as a risk to grow.?

 

I end my shows with a couple of billiard ball moves with the prosthetic eyeball before pushing it back in my socket.  Then I turn to the kids and say, solemnly:

 

?Life is like an even-money bet.  You get out of it, what you put in to ? it at best.  You could spend all of your days eating right, and not smoking, drinking or taking ?bad drugs.?  Then blammo (I fire off the gun) you are hit by a bus on your way to get a healthy high colonic.

 

You Last Kid’s Party? Keep ’em in Line!

?You just need to live each day to the fullest and take chances.  Do not be afraid to be wrong.  Alfred Nobel tried over 240 compounds before he discovered dynamite.  He did not give up each time the jelly like stuff blew-up uncontrollably in one of his 52 labs in Norway.  Don?t you give up either. 

 

?If life blows up in your face, that just means there is one less thing that can blow up in your face.  What we did here today are just tricks, nothing more.  I have no power to change anything but my mind; and when I?m a couple sheets to the wind, I can?t even control my intestines much less my brain.?

 

The power of my show and message leaves the kids so stunned that they are silent or soil themselves.  That special connection exists between a performer and his audience.

 

There is so much prejudice and jealousy in this world.  It is a mystery to me why I am not asked to lecture on kid?s shows.  However, maybe the reason is that I have such knowledge and talent that I intimidate not only my audiences but also other magicians. 

 

Kid performers are often just that ? just like kids performing.  My lesson to the kids applies to you too.  When performing your next kids show, do not be afraid to take chances, perform the Bullet-Catch, the Head Chopper, the Swallowing the Razor Blade trick.  What is the worse that can happen?  No matter what just remember, they are not your kids or your problem.

 

A big up-sale item is the bag of tricks, candy, and souvenirs for the kids.  When I am doing the bullet catch, I include a .38 bullet (hollow point ? kids love the hollow point because if you push it hard on your skin, it makes a weird circle impression). 

 

When I have to do the peashooter trick, I usually include an eye-patch and a fake eyeball.  Every time the kid sees the eyeball or the bullet, they will think of the fun they had at the show.  I never tell the moms what the bags will include because if they have not seen the show, they will not know why it is funny to have a fake eyeball or bullet in the bag.

 

So go out and have some fun, push the boundaries and watch the number of bookings sharply increase.

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