(Donning my green hat and tie for the Lucky Charms routine while performing on a train in Travel Town)
So today I wanted to give a big magical thanks to Eddie Medrano. I thoroughly enjoyed his lecture on performing Magic for Children, and I am happy to report I put something I learned there to work. My inner 6 year old just digs doing kids magic and I’m proud of the show I’ve developed for children because it’s very funny and has lots of original magic in it. I meant to corner Eddie to thank him at the Magic Castle Swap Meet yesterday. I glimpsed him in the crowd and heard him barking, but I missed my chance. I had a table there and there were just too many people to talk to all at once!
I should probably mention that Eddie throws his voice, and often randomly barks like a dog. It sounds like a dog is at his heels. It’s totally funny.
One of the things I learned from Eddie was to ask about the siblings of the birthday child when confirming the show with the parent or party planner. You explain to the parent that while the birthday child is the center of attention on their special day, you don’t want anyone to feel left out.
So, when I did Ruby’s Bunny Birthday Breakfast recently, I was prepared. Ruby was turning 6 and when I arrived people had finished up the pancakes and bacon and were all wearing bunny ears. It was totally adorable, and of course, I had a little bunny magic just for her in addition to my own bunny ears. I put them on after I got out of the car, because they kept hitting the roof. Anyway, in response to my question, Ruby’s mom had e-mailed, “Ruby has an older brother (about to turn 9), his name is Emerson.”
The prior week I had a 2 show Saturday and it was my first party of all 9 year old boys. They were a rowdy lot I had to keep them occupied 100% of the time, or they would go off the rails. I think at that age, they are proud of what they know and they just want to share that with the world.
So, I was prepared for Emerson. I did a short turn of balloon animals first, and of course, he demanded all sorts of wild animals, jet packs, and superheros. So, I had him sit next to me while I made balloon animals for the other children and we talked while he made up his mind about something he would like (that I could do in the very short time frame mom had set for balloon animals). He finally decided that two light sabres with chrome handles would do.
I began to set my props for the magic show. Of course, he tried to glimpse what I was doing and saw me put a big box of Lucky Charms cereal in my magic table. Following Tarbell’s suggestion to use common items (although society has changed a lot since the Tarbell Magic course was first published in the 1920s) my routines for kids are around things that are in a child’s life now – hence my use of breakfast cereal in 2 effects in my kids show. I start to take out my first cereal, and Emerson announces to everyone, “You have Lucky Charms and I know what you’re going to do”. Without missing a beat, I say to Emerson, “I know you can predict the future, Emerson. Come up here and let’s show everyone.” Emerson comes up to assist me with my first cereal trick (not the one he saw the prop for). In this effect, I predict which cereal of 5 or 6 small boxes of cereal the child will choose. When the part of the trick came to reveal which cereal was predicted, I quickly flipped what I would normally say to, “And you know what cereal it is, don’t you Emerson? Let’s show them.” I do the reveal, he takes the credit, and we take a bow together. Everyone was happy, and the show went on without a hitch.
Unless you count the part where Ginger the dog came into the back yard and started to walk in front of the audience at the top of the show. Luckily, I told her to “sit” stage right, she did and all was well. Life is nothing if not an adventure.