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Political correctness has crept into all aspects of everyday living, including magic shows. But there are some hold-outs in the industry, who still perform scary tricks now and then, even for children.
Count Leodini as one of them.
David Ginn, too. In his earlier books, he wrote about danger tricks in his shows.
David Kaye (Silly Billy) has a character called Dr. Blood: http://www.sillybillymagic.com/DrBlood.html
I’ve often wonder about the validity of the “no scary/danger effects” rule for kids . (I agree with the rule as it applies to very young children). I personally don’t care for most danger/mutilation tricks. It is not my style to do a show like that for my audiences. Still, I doubt if most kids today are all that scared by magic tricks like the Hand Chopper, Sword Thru Neck, etc.
They are more of a “fun scary” thing, like a roller-coaster ride. Most kids 8 and over watch PG-13 (and , sadly, even R rated ) movies that have much more intense effects than say, The French Arm Chopper. Plus, kids go to carnivals and buy tickets to haunted houses that are much scarier and than anything I’ve ever seen in a magic show . How truly scary can magic tricks be to a kid exposed to this type of entertainment ?
Just to be clear: I don’t agree with letting young children watch PG 13 and R movies, it’s just a fact of life in A.D. 2010 . ( My wife and I carefully screen what our kids watch, and we don’t tend to watch a lot of TV anyway. When they were 14 and 12, the most intense stuff our boys watched were The Lord of the Rings movies . Our family rents a lot of classic movies , which means “G” rated , for general audiences . )
I personally like danger tricks. I’d include them in my program every time I have the Mom’s or school principal’s (in the case of school shows) permission to use them.
Yes, I’d ask permission. I’d explain to them what a hand chopper is—that it is scary to kids, but that it is actually safe; that there is no blood or gore involved, and that the trick is fun all throughout the performance because the presentation includes lots of comedy, gags and by-plays.
95% of the time the Mom or principal would give me their permission. In the 5% of the time that the Mommy doesn’t want it in the program, I leave it out. After all, mothers know best what’s good for their children.