ID VS Svengali deck

Struggling with an effect? Any tips (without giving too much away!) you'd like to share?

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Wich do you like most?

ID
15
56%
Svengali deck
12
44%
 
Total votes : 27

Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby mark lewis » Jul 1st, '21, 23:21



Barry Allen wrote:
- You are performing it as an example of your old-style dealer-dem; so it should flow as such. Remember that generally, most people enjoy watching a 'grafter' in full flow. As an aside, when I was a kid growing up in the East End of London, I learnt more about patter, audience engagement and presentation from grafters flogging towels and pots & pans, etc. in Petticoat and Brick Lane, than I ever learnt from Magic Clubs; or indeed from other Magicians! Something must have stuck - because thoroughout my life, I'd like a pint for everytime I've been asked "were you ever a second-hand car salesman"? Maybe, it's the quick-talking, rough as a dog's rear end, Cockney accent! Anyway, moving on......



I have spent a goodly portion of my life associating with these wicked people! And of course I became one myself! However here is something that non-grafter type magicians (most of them) don't realise. The grafters are just as colourful if not more so when when they are NOT working as when they are! All of them characters offstage (even if their stages are market stalls or exhibition stands). Yet magicians very often when not performing (and often when they are) have the personalities of a dial tone.

As for the svengali deck the greatest and most entertaining performance of card magic I ever saw in my entire life was Joe Stuthard when I was 14 years old at the Schoolboys and Girls Daily Mail Exhibition years ago in London. And all he was using was the svengali deck and the Wonder Mouse! In fact I remember Ron MacMillan once telling me there was no better card trick than the svengali deck. He should have known. He built his entire business (International Magic) on the Svengali Deck. If there had been no svengali deck there would have been no International Magic!

Anyway for the amusement of the multitude here I am doing it at a psychic fair of all places!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4dFiakyyA4" target="_blank

mark lewis
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Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby Barry Allen » Jul 2nd, '21, 01:26

That's a lovely routine/pitch! :wink:

Moreover, I cannot disagree with a word of that Mark. The best Salesmen that I have mixed and mingled with during my lifetime have certainly never been shrinking violets! They are as confident in 'normal' life, as they are whilst selling a product. That said, there is a fine line between someone who is a big-headed, narcissistic, loudmouth (I've known a few!); as opposed to someone who has charm, charisma and self-confidence in their own ability. Obviously, you and I fall into the latter category; and I put it down partly to growing up and breathing in the air of London E1.

However, I found a slightly different character with some comedians. I may have related elsewhere that I worked for a number of years as a Stand-up Stag Comic; due to the money being very good; and once you got onto that circuit, there was a lot of work. It was a niche that I just seemed to fall into; albeit not initially planned. However, a few of the other Stag Comics I met weren't always funny off-stage. I knew two who were actually manic-depressives; and another (from Kent) who I heard only recently sadly topped himself just a few years ago, when his Wife ran off with another guy. In fact, on balance, I'd consider that there were more, rather than less Comics, who were pretty insecure guys. Very, very sad - and something that nobody would ever have imagined being the case whilst these individuals were on stage, behind a mic and sometimes having to bury hecklers! Rest assured, you need gonads of steel to stand up in front of 200+ boozed-up guys at a Rugby Club, knowing that you had to make them laugh for 30-45 Minutes; and particularly given that they were eagerly awaiting the entrance of the Female 'entertainers' that were to follow. I'm not sure that I've phrased that correctly........then again, perhaps I have!

Going with Dad 'down the Lanes' on a Sunday Morning as a kid was a brilliant education for what was to come. What stood out for me, even at a young age, was how these guys knew their products inside out; and could sell to their captive audience. This was particularly evident on the smaller stalls, selling just one product. For example, there was one guy flogging Car Wax. He had a red-painted Mini Bonnet. He'd throw dirt and mud on it; and even scribble on it with a black felt-tip marker pen. Out came the 'miracle wax' (no water needed) and within seconds, you could see the sky and clouds above, reflecting in it. Then as an added convincer of how durable this wax was, he'd squirt lighter fuel on an area of the bonnet and throw a match on it! The small flames would be put out after a few seconds; a quick squirt of the miracle wax and it was gleaming again. I don't know how old the bonnet was but clearly, that day alone and with constant demos, he must have put about 100 coats of wax on it........I reckon 45 years later and it would still be bloody burning today if he hadn't put the flames out! However, THAT was the convincer for the miracle wax - it was the equivalent of turning a Svengali Pack into their chosen card, then back again. However, I also remember 'the upsell' - the much better value offered by buying the larger-sized bottle (rather than the smaller one - whose price on the board had probably dragged people in) AND the subsequent upsell onto buying 'his favourite type of long-lasting miracle polishing cloths' - that strangely looked just like the yellow dusters my Mum used!

That's just one memory of the importance I saw of grafting - the need to know the ins and outs of your product - and be able to dem it with absolute ease; and the quick sell before people wandered off.

On the larger stalls, you had 'bargains offered' if people stuck around. I was in awe of these grafters - obviously the 10 Tea Towels for Two Bob went to shills in the crowd; and were discreetly returned to the back of the stall. As I'd stand there for half the Morning, you'd notice these things! The patter was a work of art - "look at these luvvvvly bath towels......now did you just ask 'how good are they' luv......(putting them near a woman's face) smell them flowers on 'em darlin and you tell me". Then onto juggling with a stack of saucepans piled high - "I'll even chuck in a non-stick frying pan for free.....coz I can't get the labels off 'em". Then the hard sell "I'm not asking for the shop price of forty quid........not thirty.........not even twenty five................you'd be robbing me at twenty notes.....ere......I'm even chuckin in a small frying pan to go with that free big'un......I wonna see the first 10 hands go up........wiv 15 quid in 'em". As a kid, watching this, well that was as entertaining as any magic trick that I'd seen on the tele.

I think I've related elsewhere how I got the Weekend job in Greenwich; flogging Svengali Packs and Cups & Balls (made by Dubreq with Paul Daniels name on). Basically, Dave Falcon (the shop owner) put me on the spot to dem when a group of Tourists came in. Until then, as a 14yo, I'd only performed for family and school friends. However, Dave turned to my Dad and said "he's got a nice routine worked out......and I'm looking at the crowd and can see guys thinking if a young kid can do it then so can I". Thereafter, I really came out of my shell and learnt from Dave how to work a crowd AND how to sell 'just the last few left'. The Joke Shop had previously been a Butchers; with a massive fridge out back that was now a stock room. Obviously, there were cartons piled high with the things! However, although I could handle the tricks and became very confident (even cocky at times), it was the selling techniques that were worth their weight in pure gold. Not just what to say to get the sales; but the technique of knowing how many items to put on the counter relative to the crowd size; even how to lay them out on display for best effect! Then how to upsell - particularly when Yanks came in - then the Dynamic Coins came out for a dem as well! The patter I'd heard as a kid came into play. Sven Packs and Cups and Balls were normally £1.50 each, if we were quiet. Dynamic Coins were £6. Amazing that I managed to get ten quid for ALL THREE when the shop was busy with Foreign Tourists (which Greenwich obviously attracted). Did I feel guilty overcharging a quid? Nope, not really. As Dave used to say - "they've just had a show"!

Anyway, I digress with more ramblings. Suffice to say that this period of my life taught me so much that I could adopt in later life - although I've never made a habit of ripping people off. Luckily, I've also never starved.....and I don't think I ever will. Big money and costly material possessions have never interested me BUT I have always got one almighty kick and buzz from performing and selling.

To this day, I owe a lot of that achievement thanks to the humble Svengali Pack of Cards - albeit my limited success pales into insignificance when compared to what you've achieved with the damn things! :D

Barry Allen
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Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby mark lewis » Jul 2nd, '21, 08:02

Here is a typical British grafter working in New York. However, for some odd reason in this part of the world they don't call them grafters. They call them "pitchmen" which I consider a rather silly expression.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtDYhHIB4ZE

mark lewis
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Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby Barry Allen » Jul 2nd, '21, 18:16

mark lewis wrote:Here is a typical British grafter working in New York. However, for some odd reason in this part of the world they don't call them grafters. They call them "pitchmen" which I consider a rather silly expression.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtDYhHIB4ZE" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

What a superb dem.......I could watch these all day long (rather than watching Magicians anyway)!

It had everything - importantly, he sold the unique properties that it contained; the advantages over a similar product (afterall, who doesn't have a normal peeler!); the fact it's Swiss-made (not Chinese junk) AND he let one of the punters have a go - to see how simple it was to use (now where have I seen that recently)? :wink:

Thinking about this now, for any new Magician that is overly nervous/scared of an audience, this type of grafting could be an ideal place to start out and gain some confidence?

Barry Allen
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Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby mark lewis » Jul 4th, '21, 04:39

Interestingly enough I saw an interview with him where he mentioned an old grafter by the name of Joe Squinters. It rang a bell with me and then I remembered that Ken Brooke also mentioned Joe Squinters in one of his booklets! Of course Ken Brooke was also a market grafter in his early days. I knew quite a few old grafters who remembered Ken Brooke.

Anyway here is an article about Joe Ades.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2006/05/grafter200605

mark lewis
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Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby Barry Allen » Jul 5th, '21, 11:59

mark lewis wrote:Interestingly enough I saw an interview with him where he mentioned an old grafter by the name of Joe Squinters. It rang a bell with me and then I remembered that Ken Brooke also mentioned Joe Squinters in one of his booklets! Of course Ken Brooke was also a market grafter in his early days. I knew quite a few old grafters who remembered Ken Brooke.

Anyway here is an article about Joe Ades.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2006/05/grafter200605" target="_blank


Hi Mark,

That was an enjoyable read!

I heard Ken Brooke mention Joe Squinters on the tapes he recorded with Pat Page, back in the late 70's (titled "It's Better Than Digging Roads"). Joe must have had a stall at Bradford or Leeds Market.

I found this clip of Joe Ades - it may be the one that you are referring to:

https://youtu.be/fsc8Q3EHNuY

Sorry to keep taking this thread off course; but sadly, nobody else appears to be contributing at the mo.

Barry Allen
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Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby mark lewis » Jul 5th, '21, 18:54

Joe's daughter was pretty good too!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkTvdKgImtg" target="_blank

I actually worked the potato peeler myself once! It was in my very early days as a grafter. The biggest demonstration company in the UK at that time was a guy called Billy Levene. Ken Brooke once mentioned to me that Billy had offered him work grafting kitchen gadgets all over the country but Ken turned it down. Anyway Billy sent me to a department store in Eastbourne to work the peeler. I was really terrible at it and couldn't sell a thing! To make matters worse the tool wasn't just a potato peeler but it was also a small knife too embedded in the handle. The only time I sold anything was when I cut myself on the damn knife and there was blood all over the place! I still have the scar on my thumb to this day! The punters all felt sorry for me and purchased the peeler in droves for that one demonstration. However, I didn't particularly want to use this as a future sales technique so I phoned up Levene in London and told him I didn't want to do it any more!

I went on to the svengali deck instead. I am delighted to announce that I have never cut myself with that yet! Here is an example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJEM-mlDM80

mark lewis
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Re: ID VS Svengali deck

Postby Mandrake » Jul 7th, '21, 21:18

sadly, nobody else appears to be contributing at the mo.
True but I'm doing a lot of reading and learning a lot! One of the best threads we've seen here in many a moon, thank you! :D

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