Chingaling Chinese Lantern Production

There is a clever production principle involved in this experiment which is readily appreciated by the magician. It is my adaptation of the familiar old inexhaustible Jap Box. I have found this new method of working so effective, that it can be used to add a flash number to a vaudeville act as well as to the Chautauqua parlor show or the club stage performance. Stowell uses it nicely in his vaudeville act of "Oriental Oddities".


A square Chinese lantern that folds down flat is opened and freely shown to be empty. This is placed on a thin, undraped table top. Performer reaches in and pulls out, one at a time, four Chinese lanterns. These he hangs on a pole carried by an assistant. Then he proceeds to pull out a number of various-colored silks, which he drapes over assistant's shoulders. Picking up the silks, he suddenly transforms them into a large brightly colored silk, a butterfly silk, or an American flag.


1 -- A specially built Chinese lantern.

2 -- Four special Chinese lanterns.

3 -- From six to twelve vari-colored silks, 36 inches square.

4 -- A large square silk, rainbow-colored or painted with a big butterfly — 6 to 9 feet square. A large flag may be used if desired.

5 -- A small, thin-topped table, or ordinary card table.

6 -- A pole or bamboo stick, about four feet long, on which to hang lanterns. Part of a bamboo fishing pole is suitable.


To Construct: Square Chinese Lantern -

This consists of four walls and a top. It resembles the lantern used for production in Lesson 38, but this is more elaborately constructed. The load in this case is carried in the walls themselves.

Figure 10.

Each of the four sides is twelve inches square and five-eighths of an inch thick.

Figure 11.

To construct these sides, one-inch wooden frames are used as the foundations.

Figure 12.

A sheet of tin or zinc is then tacked to one surface of each of these sides. To the other surface a similar sheet of tin or zinc is tacked, but this sheet has a door cut in it, slightly larger than the inside measurement of the wooden frame. This size enables the door to rest against the wooden frame when closed. Door is hinged at the bottom and held in place by a small catch at the top.

Figures 13 and 14.

Paint the insides of the four walls black and the outsides in brilliant Chinese colors. From a short distance, each wall looks like a square painted board without any trick arrangements.

Hinge the four walls together, black surfaces on the inside. Hinges are placed inside.

Arranged in this way, the sides can easily be folded down flat.

Figure 16.

Construct the top of thin wood as shown in Figures 17 and 18. Refer back to Lesson 28 for detailed instructions. Top should fit over lantern as in Figure 10.

Smaller Lanterns -

These are for production purposes and are to be concealed in the hollow sides of the walls of square lantern. These lanterns must therefore be so constructed as to fold up flat.

To build this lantern, take four round pieces of cardboard, about five or six inches in diameter. Cut out the insides, leaving about an inch edge. Punch holes around the outside edges of two circles. Also punch two larger holes, one on each side of one circle, for the handle to come through.

Figure 19.

To one circle with holes punched in it, sew the edge of some fine, colored silk. Sew opposite edge of silk to other circle with holes. To finish off lantern, paste plain circle of cardboard to top and bottom. For a handle, run some cord through cardboard at top and knot it on the inside of lantern.

Figure 20.

These lanterns may be made of flowered silks or plain colors with designs painted on them. Four to six of them may be used in this production, and they should be made in a variety of colors. To the bottom of each lantern sew a piece of cardboard in different shapes to give a tassel effect.

Figure 21.

The Silks -

The 36-inch silks should be washed well to take out the stiffness. A good grade of Chinese silk should be used for them and they should be in a variety of colors. If possible, paint some Chinese designs on them. On the upper corners of each silk, sew a white button and a black button so that you will be able to pull them out properly in the effect.

To Prepare:

When all your apparatus is preparation is necessary.

The Butterfly Silk -

This is a beautiful flash for a finish and can be made from six to nine feet square. Get 36-inch width Chinese silk and sew pieces together to get required size. Hang on wall when finished and paint a large, brightly-colored butterfly on it.

To Prepare:

When all your apparatus is preparation is necessary.

made, the following

Figure 23.

Open the door of one side of lantern and pack it with as many of the folded small silk lanterns as possible. Then close door and secure it with catch. In the other sides pack balance of lanterns and the folded silks and lock the doors with catches. A roll of half-inch ribbon may be placed in one side for production.

The Butterfly silk is usually not placed in box but is concealed on assistant. If a man assistant is used, the folded silk may be suspended from a clip under his coat or may be pinned or clipped to his back. If a girl assistant is used, she may have it attached to her back or placed in a specially decorated pocket in back of Chinese coat. Large silk can also be concealed in rear of back of chair.

Figure 23.

To perform:

Lantern is standing on table with lid on it. Remove lid, show it freely, and set it to one side. Or place lid on assistant's head for a hat.

Figure 24.

Pick up lantern and hold it up so that audience can see through it. Drop it flat down on table as shown in Figure 16 to convince audience that it is empty. Pick up lantern again, open it, and show again. Place on table, opened out in upright position.

Reach into lantern and open door of side containing small lanterns. Undo catch and hold door until it is down on table so that it will not make a noise. Remove a lantern by the handle and let it open out as you pull it from box.

Figure 25.

Place lantern on a bamboo pole or stick held by assistant, or hang on nearby hook for stage decoration. Continue producing the lanterns and hanging them up until all are out of the box.

If placed on pole carried by assistant, she can easily carry pole offstage and then come back. A cord or wire may be stretched across stage on which to hang lanterns. If you are going to do this, attach a clip or hook to handle of each lantern, or attach enough hooks to wire to hold lanterns.

Figure 27

Fasten door of side from which production was just made inside of box and show box empty.

Now open door containing silk load and remove silks one at a time, displaying them and placing them alternately over each of assistant's shoulders.

Figure 27

After last silk has been displayed and laid on assistant's shoulders, gather up these silks and under cover of them, pick up the big butterfly silk or flag. Assistant grasps one of the buttons on it and you grasp the other. Pull away from assistant with a flourish so that butterfly silk or flag opens out quickly. Allow the other silks to drop to the floor as you display the big silk. This makes a nice finish for the effect.

Figure 28

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment