November 2011Vol 1, Issue 17

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers


This is a short issue, but since it has been over three months since the last issue I wanted to make contact with you again.


While anyone may read these issues, they are most helpful to those who have purchased my Creativity For Entertainers books.  It is my attempt to make these books as valuable a resource as possible.


For example, two of the articles in this issue are improvements on two of the routines described in the books.  I think if you try them you will be happy with the changes.


I have many new purchasers of these books.  You can use the Newsletter Archive link at the right to read the previous issues of this newsletter.


I am always interested in your feedback.  Let me know what types of articles are most helpful to you, and I will include more of them.


As with my Thought For The Week newsletter, when this newsletter no longer meets your needs you may use the SafeUnsubscribe button at the bottom to remove your name from the subscription list.



Have a great day,

In This Issue
Will The Masks Match
Charlie's Marked Cards Alternate Handling
Old Time Television -- Jack Benny and Burns & Allen
Quick Links
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Will The Masks Match


One of my favorite ideas is Larry Becker's Will The Cards Match? (Volume Three Pages 142 - 148) I have created many different variations over the years. I have mentioned one of them in this newsletter in the past, but I wanted to remind you of it again because masks are easy to find on sale at this time. That is to use five masks and five pictures of the masks instead of two sets of five cards. You could use either Will The Masks Match or Will The Faces Match as your phrase. As each letter is spelled, a person with a mask moves from the front to the back of the line or a photo is moved from the top to the bottom of the pile. Keeping that in mind, follow the directions in my book.


I prefer the masks that are on a stick that you hold in front of your face for sanitary reasons.


I recently saw a set of three Christmas masks in a Michael's craft store. You would need to make two more masks in that style to have a customized Christmas routine.

Charlie's Marked Cards Alternate Handling


I recently attended the Tri-Cities Magic convention where Shawn Farquahr lectured.   He said, "My father told me the magic is much stronger if it happens in the spectator's hands rather than your own hands."


That inspired this change in Charlie's Marked Cards (Volume Three pages 106- 109). After counting the cards the second time and showing both sides of the six, put that on top of the packet in your left hand. Now say, "Hold out your hand like this." Demonstrate by holding your right hand out with the palm up. This makes sure they know what you want them to do and justifies holding all of the cards in your left hand for a moment. Now slide the top card off the packet onto their palm. Ask them to turn the card around so the six looks like a nine. Now ask them to flip the card over revealing that the face now has nine pips on it. I feel that this is a much stronger effect than the original version described in my book.


This will also work well with Charlie's Marked Fish, a version I sell made from a child's Go Fish deck.


You may make the trick for your own use following the directions in the book. If you would rather invest your money instead of your time you may order either version on my web site  Use te Magic Props button under the Quik Links column to the upper right to go to my web site for more information and to order.


Recently a customer decided to order both versions so she could choose between the poker cards and the fish cards depending upon the audience she was entertaining.  When I perform strolling entertainment, I generally have both versions with me.  If I encounter young children I use the Go Fish cards because they relate to them well.  If I encounter older kids, who are not interested in anything they consider childish, I use the poker version.  I find that both versions work well with adults.




Old Time Television -- Jack Benny and Burns & Allen



You will find information on Gracie Allen in Volume One page 44, and Volume Two pages 13-14, 216, and 410. You will find additional information on George Burns in Volume One page 45. There is a portrait of George Burns on page 46 of Volume One.


You will find information on Jack Benny in Volume One pages 165, 166, 174,176, 179, and181. There is additional information on him in Volume Two pages 14, 20, 35, 262, 315, 355, and 369. You will find a portrait of Jack Benny on page 180 of Volume One.


Our local cable company has started carrying a channel called Antenna TV which runs old television series. They have been airing an hour of the "Burns and Allen Show" and an hour of the "Jack Benny Program" late at night. These are excellent programs to view and study. They both had outstanding writing staffs and some of the finest entertainers as guest stars. Recently they ran a Jack Benny episode with half the program devoted to the act of juggler Francis Brunn, considered one of the best jugglers in history. I had seen photos of his act, but this was the first time that I saw footage of him in action. Any entertainer can learn by observing these two programs.


I especially like the later episodes of the "Burns and Allen Show." Around 1957 they concluded each situation comedy episode by appearing on a stage with a vaudeville style routine where Gracie discussed members of her family. In addition George would interrupt the proceedings several times in each episode to perform a comedy monologue. Often he talked about the comedy profession. For example in one episode he explained comedy words in a monologue which are words comedians discovered people tend to laugh at. He used kumquat and pumpernickel as examples of comedy words. Through trial and error comedians had learned audiences found those words funny. I had heard that before, but had forgotten about it. Now I am looking for an opportunity to use them in a comedy line.


By watching these episodes from later in the run of the "Burns and Allen Show" you can study many comedy techniques including Mistaken Identity, Impersonation, Running Gags, Breaking the Fourth Wall, and Comedy Logic.


Our local cable company also has been carrying a channel called MeTV that also has old time television including many comedies.


Both channels change their line up frequently so if your cable company carries them, keep checking to see what is currently being aired. Just recently they added "Circus Boy" to their weekend early morning schedule. I have seen a few episodes which I enjoyed. The young actor playing Corky, the lead character, would eventually change his name to Mickey Dolenz when he appeared on The Monkees.


Old time television programs are also becoming available in streaming versions over the internet.


Our local public library has a section of DVDs of old television shows. One that I found very interesting was titled "Hiya, Kids! A '50s Saturday Morning." Among other shows it included the fifteen-minute program called "The Magic Clown" which became the first weekend morning network TV program for kids. It was broadcast by NBC at 11:30Sunday morning starting in 1949. In the beginning it was half of the networks only thirty minutes of daytime programming. The network was off the air the rest of Sunday until it returned in the evening with its prime time shows.


What other resources do you have for watching old time television? How can you use that to learn more about comedy? How can you use them to inspire material for performance today?

That's it for this issue.  I am always interested in your questions, comments, and how you have been able to apply the information from my books.  Often readers come up with ideas that I would not have.  Their ideas then inspire me to create additional related ideas.  This newsletter is an attempt to keep two-way communication with readers of my books flowing.
Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.  All rights reserved.