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Nathan_himself

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The other night I performed in a casual setting in order to work on my new material. I had one of my routines recorded because I wanted to pick apart the script.

As I watched back the video, I noticed how much of my performance style is really influenced by Luke Jermay and Max Maven. I used (without initially realizing) mannerisms similar to Max, but my presentation was closer to Luke. Although I am a fan of many other performers, they shined through.

This got me thinking, what performers have influenced you the most? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Anthony Vinson

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Rod Serling. Probably not the answer you were expecting, but Rod Serling taught me the importance of wonder long before Doug Henning. Serling's pacing, misdirection, and brain-twisting reveals are a template for the performance of magic. His scripting was impeccable, his storytelling inspiring - like Pandora's jar, there is always hope beneath the cynicism. Modern magicians can learn a great deal about the performance of magic from old Twilight Zone episodes.

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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #3 
I love that answer Anthony! Twilight Zone is one of my favorite shows of all time. I remember my father setting me down to watch it when I was only a kid.
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EVILDAN

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I never ever verbalized that, but yes, The Twilight Zone was one of my favorite shows growing up. I loved the twist endings. When I write short stories, I usually go in for some kind of twist or unexpected ending. Perhaps that's why I love the cups and balls and chop cup so much. 

Another influences is Kreskin. I really like his ballsy methodology and his pacing. And in contrast to a lot of other pros out there, Kreskin doesn't sell tricks. If you were interested and Googled the top mentalists of the day, I think one would be more inclined to believe that Kreskin is the real deal while others at the top of their game are merely magicians trying to be the real deal. 

One more major influence is Gazzo. I take his street mentality wherever I go. 
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MagicBrian

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I think Steve Valentine's ability to play off his audience is something I strive for. He makes everything look effortless and the people he is performing for always seem to be having the time of their lives. I try to keep that constant fun going in every close-up routine I do.
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #6 
I used to be a carbon copy of Bill Malone, then I became a carbon copy of Gregory Wilson. I still have some of the Wilson mannerisms, but I feel like I'm finally working my way towards being me.
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Mike Powers

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Love the Twilight Zone response! I wouldn't have thought of it as an influence on my style, but now that I'm thinking about it, I'll bet it has been an influence. In fact, a new item I'm working on is tentatively called "Twilight Zone Monte."

I'm influenced by anyone who is totally comfortable in the performing environment and who "plays" with his audience. I love to watch guys like Malone and Williamson, but I'm not going for the "funny guy" image. 

Mike
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Blathermist

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Crikey, The Twilight Zone. This reminds me of a mash-up patter theme I used to spew out back then. I did occasionally us a longer version, but mostly I used this effort. Considerably shorter than the two sources it stems from, which is why I remember it. Nothing heavy, borderline tongue in cheek. Sometimes they got it, sometimes not.

It’s multi-functional and can slot in at the beginning, middle of end of virtually any piece of mystery. Well, it did for me. Here it comes. Prepare to groan.

 

"We all know there is a fifth dimension, the dimension of imagination. It is an area we call the Twilight Zone. It reaches from the inner mind to—The Outer Limits."

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Anthony Vinson

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Probably shouldn't admit to it, Blathermist, but I like it!

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Mind Phantom

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I was a child of the 70's so for me it would have to be Kreskin. He was on all the talk shows back then. Yeah, I know, he did a lot of card tricks back then but he made you believe that he had some kind of mental powers and that you could do what he did too.

He was a master at Q&A too. Kreskin was the only mentalist that I was exposed to.

The one tv show that I liked back in the day was In Search Of. I love a good mystery like Coral Castle, Stonehenge, UFO's etc.

Today, I am also a fan of Derren Brown and his type of mentalism. Some people don't like him but he started a trend and I have to give him props for that.

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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #11 
I've been influenced a lot by Gary Kurtz. His presentations have always been kind of strange, but he is frequently smiling while he performs and he is always very engaging. 


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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #12 
Logan, I am most definitely showing how young I am, but I never studied the work of Kreskin until last year while I was working on a lecture about Contact Mind Reading. I was never exposed to him or his name until I began my research.

I grew up watching Derren Brown and David Blaine. They have been criticized, but I firmly believe they have done a lot of good for the art.

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Mind Phantom

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Kreskin could take a magicians card trick and turn it into a mental miracle, a real fooler.

I remember back in the day when you had talk shows on tv, not like today's tv, but tv hosts like Johny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Tom Synder and others. Kreskin was on these shows a lot.

I think you can watch his own tv show on Hulu that was shot in Canada. I would love to have his performance resume. I mentioned that he did a lot with cards, however one time I remember he did a trick with a ball and a drinking glass that was placed in a wooden cabinet. Sure enough when the cabinet was closed shut the ball was to be found in the drinking glass. This was a magicians trick which he turned into a demo of Psychokinesis and I have seen him do many of mind over matter effects.

Kreskin about 12 to 15 years ago he got himself into hot water when he told radio host Art Bell that a sizeable UFO sighting will be seen over Las Vegas. Well, nothing happened and Art Bell banned him from the radio show.

I guess I am showing my age here, oh well lol

Logan

PS: The radio show Coast-to-Coast with George Noory is ripe for ideas that a mentalist can use. They discuss a lot of topics that would be of interest to mentalists.
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #14 

Biggest influence for me was probably the late, great Irv Weiner.  I was just getting into card magic and had bought several packet tricks and card gimmicks.  

 Then one day I attended a close-up convention, where the audience members sat and stood around big round tables, and the featured performers moved from table to table.  When Irv came to our table he didn’t have any props.  In fact, he didn’t even have a deck of cards!  He borrowed one from a random attendee at our table, had someone else shuffle the cards, and then proceed to fool us all with brilliant effects.

 I decided there and then that I wanted to be able to amaze people with a borrowed, shuffled deck.  And so began my serious study of card sleights, and my search for baffling, mind-blowing impromptu effects with un-gimmicked cards.


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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Love the Twilight Zone response! I wouldn't have thought of it as an influence on my style, but now that I'm thinking about it, I'll bet it has been an influence. In fact, a new item I'm working on is tentatively called "Twilight Zone Monte."

Mike


John Bannon's "Twilight Zone Assembly" is a great routine for lay people, in one of his early books.

I really  don't know who had the biggest influence on my performance, certainly TV influences would have been David Nixon and Paul Daniels. Rovi might have had an influence at one time. In print maybe Annemann and early Harris. Surely it's a a bit of a mash for most, or you end up as a clone? 
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hallas

I really  don't know who had the biggest influence on my performance.....
Surely it's a a bit of a mash for most, or you end up as a clone? 


For me that's it in a nutshell. Nothing definitive, all subliminal.

David Nixon was Mister TV throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s, but being much older than Paul, my TV memories and whatnot are a bit different. In my mind's eye I can still see, Al Koran, Robert Harbin, Chan Canasta each with their own series of shows. And more than a few others who cropped up as guest stars here and there. Fred Kaps, Tonny Van Dommelen, Fogel, Kalanag among many.

I can even recall seeing Gus Southall, Don Alan, Jerry Andrus and Cliff Green doing short spots somewhere along the line.

They all made an impression.
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Craig Logan

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Reply with quote  #17 

I suppose my biggest influence is Patrick Redford, for the mere fact that it was his first Penguin Lecture that led me down the mentalism rabbit hole. 
From there, Max Maven became a huge influence. 

My biggest non-magical influence is probably Johnny Cash. From him, I learned the beauty in simple and honest storytelling. 


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ianmcrawford

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Reply with quote  #18 
The people who influence me the most in magic, are the ones I get together with, either in person, or online (thanks Rudy).  Whenever I session with a few magicians, it gets me pumped up for a few weeks, and inspires me to dig deeper, and practice harder.  So thanks Robin and the guys in KAOS, thanks to all my friends at the Den in Toronto (especially the Jeff's), and thanks to the truly inspiring people on the Magic Forum.  You influence me to be a better magician.  
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