Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dear Illusionist who do the Vanishing Radio

Please stop it. Nobody nowadays owns a radio of that caliber. And the few who do are seriously outdated. Don't be outdated. If you have to do the trick, a vanishing iPod Docking Station makes way more sense and is way more modern.

In case you do a period piece, then all of the above does not apply to you. Sorry!


Magnus Asbjorn said...

I'm not a vintage radio expert but that one doesn't look like any radio I've ever seen.

石榮狼 said...

Hm... I'll file this one under the few instances when I find myself in disagreement with Roland. I see nothing wrong with being "outdated". As a matter of fact - but that's purely a matter of personal taste - I actually see some good in it.

An iPod docking station "is way more modern", sure; but who said magic has to be modern?

If I'm going to vanish something for no apparent reason (not that I would ever do that - I'm a staunch supporter of the "every move should be justified" attitude), then all I'm asking from said object is to be: 1) big, 2) nice-looking. In my humble opinion, a vintage radio set fills both those qualities.
Unlike Blaine-style street magic, stage acts (the vanishing radio's only suitable calling, I'd say) have to take at least SOME measure of aesthetics into consideration: although great magic can potentially stand on its own as a pure intellectual conundrum (cups and balls done with disposable plastic cups and crumpled tissues works out fine as far as mere mystery is concerned), making it a visual treat as well renders the whole thing all the more enjoyable and shows the audience you respect them. For the stage, unless using a specifically cool, modern persona, I'll chose noble materials (wood, metal, leather, etc.) over plastic anyday.
I don't see someone like Pop Haydn, nor Eugene Burger, nor many of my other magic "heroes" favouring an iPod docking station over a stately, venerable antique radio (granted, Pop Haydn's act could arguably be categorized as a "period piece").

Just my humble opinion, though.

C'mon, Roland, why don't you lose the top-hat? "Nobody nowadays wears a hat like that! And the few who do are seriously outdated. Don't be outdated..."

Nah, by all means DO be outdated! We like you that way. :)

Peter Prevos said...

Not outdated. It depends on your character. If a bad looking old radio is not your thing, change it to a microwave, a Christmas present or whatever else fits in your act.

The great Okito inception said, there are night bad tricks; only bad magicians.

Magnus, my grandmother had a radio that looked a bit like the one in the photo.
It was a nice timber box with nice looking dials abduction displays.

石榮狼 said...

I see it this way...

If you're going to vanish something just for the sake of vanishing it - in other words as a "stunt", pretty much the way you'd vanish an elephant - then any large, random object will do. A radio would fit the bill nicely in the 30's, when most radio sets actually looked like this.
Nowadays, though, such a piece is not random AT ALL - thus no longer fitting the bill for a stunt vanish, where the "vanishee" has to be some inconspicuous, easily recognizable object.

The radio's shift from random to special, however, doesn't make it less desirable as a magic prop in my book... Quite the opposite in fact. The trade-off, of course, is that it now needs some justification for being there since the "I'm gonna' vanish something large, say, this ordinary radio" premise no longer cuts it. But then again, I never approved of that anyway; the "whimsical god" producing/vanishing stuff without apparent reason, which constitutes the persona (or absence thereof) of so many performers, bores me to death.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two reasons why you'd have an antique radio on stage. Either the object has some special story attached to it which you'd like to share with your audience and which is to provide the backgroud for some routine (e.g. "this is a family heirloom; my great-grandfather heard the news of the allied invasion in Normandy from this very radio set in 1944... It even saved his life during a bombing, by stopping a piece of shrapnel that would have hit him right in the chest, when a fully loaded American fighter-bomber crashed right into his front-yard. It has been haunted by the ghost of the dead pilot ever since. Look what happens when I put a glass of plain water on top of it..."), or - more simply - you actually use it to play some music.
In either case, you could then nonchalantly vanish the thing once you no longer need it, as if this was the most natural thing to do in the world.

Just my opinion. ;)

Gary Jones Magic said...

You could also use plastic canes, plastic candles and feather flowers and say you're a throwback from the days when magicians used this crap........or you could use these type props at a magic convention comp lol!

Roland did say that if it fits your character then it will wash, otherwise get rid of it or use something to match the times we now live in!