Abbotts Halloween Special


Doom Service

I was just a kid when I first saw Room Service performed by David Copperfield on national TV and it completely fooled me. Upon receiving the effect I was a little disappointed because the way David performed it on TV and the way I would perform it were completely different (in the instructions it gives how David did it and logistically I did not have those resources). However I soon became a fan of the effect when I saw the movie "The Shining" and realized what a creepy effect could be made if someone actually could guess the room number of the room where a murder or other heinous event took place. I used the effect in my parlor at at my bar and it always went over very well. The fact that my numbers were not as perfect looking as David's no longer bothered me, since it was the scene of a crime now and things sometimes get messy there (that is one advantage Halloween has over other Holidays, it does not have to be neat).

Room Service is becoming more and more difficult to obtain, partly because one of the suggested options is becoming more and more difficult to obtain. I do not see many for sale used either, perhaps because the new ones come with a postcard you have to fill out to obtain performing rights and the used versions probably do not have this card. Also most hotels are using card keys so the key used in Room Service is being phased out around the country. For whatever reason, Room Service is not performed as often as it used to be 20 or so years ago.

Room Service cannot be done surrounded and requires practice to perform smoothly. Setup takes about 5 minutes and requires material that you probably won't find locally so unless you bring the replacement materials yourself to a show, you probably won't be repeating this. Setup also requires some privacy, and I would not suggest handing the key out for examination (actually I would not ever hand anything out for examination, good way to lose your stuff). Once set up you do not have a limit on performance time, you could set up one day and perform it a month later, but I would have to classify this as not repeatable (unless you buy 2).

The positives far outweigh the negatives. The selected number is a free selection, most often a 3 digit number. Nothing is added or subtracted from what you see (IE no swami gimmicks or anything else attached to you, you end clean so to speak). The gimmicks are very well made and this is priced very well for what you get.

By using the murder in a room patter (in the demo I did not use the term murder since my 7 year old was giving me the free selection of numbers) you solve a couple problems. The murder happened in the past so the key is not obsolete any more, having a skeleton hold the key provides cover and draws attention to the fact that the key is in sight before any numbers are named (25 years before the numbers are named in the patter), there is a certain logic to keeping secret a room number where a murder was committed, and finally I think everyone has stayed in a hotel at one time and worried about if the sheets were really changed that morning so the thought that someone died in the room they were sleeping in will strike a chord with most people.

Below is the sales ad for Room Service...

The magician talks of a recent trip and displays a hotel room key, complete with fob. Three young ladies each select a numeral and these three numbers are formed into a three-digit number. An amusing and provocative situation might occur if that number (that they just created) just happened to match the number on your hotel room key! And ... it does ... performance after performance! A brilliant combination of innovative magic and romantic adventure resulting in a masterpiece of entertainment. Remember, the key is always in view - all the numbers are freely chosen - suitable for close-up or stage - perfect for the solo performer. You will receive a room tag and key, gimmicks, instruction, performance rights and three tastefully created routines, each distinct and complete with patter (comedy or dramatic) ideal for any audience. A Jonathan Neal Brown creation.

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