Deceptive Steps Illusion
The Cannon Illusion
METHOD (Continued) — As you'll recall last month, we began our series on the "Shooting a Girl from a Cannon Illusion ". After looking at the cannon itself, now it's time to study suspended box the girl is "shot" into.
In most cases, our "shooting" is performed at amusement parks in various outdoor staging conditions. For this reason, our box is built with weather conditions in mind, although we try to lower it as soon as the conditions look threatening — sometimes it still gets wet •
The only gimmick to the box itself is the set of traps in the bottom. We take special care in finishing these traps with hidden hinges, etc., because in most cases, the box must travel above the audience and a clear view can be had of box's underside.
The main thing we try to emphasize with the box prop from this classic illusion, is that the box theoretically "holds" a girl. Therefore, it must look substantial and large enough and its rigging should look as though it was strong enough to support a 50 lb. box and 100 lb. girl — it's all part of the illusion and very important Also, in performance, we have our stagehands struggle with the apparent weight of the container — even though it's empty.
You'll note that before the box can be opened, four buckles and two locks must be removed. The reason for this is to allow the girl enough time to get from the deceptive steps, thru the double set of traps and into the box ... however, all must be done rapidly.
Next month, we will examine the deceptive steps used in the "Cannon Illusion", and more specifically, with this box.
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This 15 the fifth in a series of illusion plans courtesy of Oshorne Illusion Systems
The Cannon Illusion
As youD recall In the last two Issues, we have detailed the "Shooting a Girl from a Cannon Illusion*"» In the first issue we examined the cannon, then the box, and now the deceptive steps.
METHOD (Continued) — As we mentioned earlier, the girl effects her escape thru the cannon carnage into a small riser platform and finally backstage, where she quickly gets into the deceptive steps. During this backstage activity, the magician and his assistants are rolling the cannon forward, off of its platform to stage center, and aiming it at (last month's issue) the suspended box. Obviously, the steps are critical to the overall effect
In any good illusion planning, things must have a reason. The apparent reason for the steps is obvious — they provide a platform (with a clear view beneath), for the box to land on, and the steps themselves allow the magician's access to locks, straps, etc., on the box — therefore, to the audience, the steps make sense.
It is most important that the steps look like and be treated like a "utility prop" (i.e., magic tables, etc.). Theoretically, they have nothing to do with the illusion of "Shooting a Girl from a Cannon ". For this reason, they must look thin. The paint job and wood beveled underbelly can accomplish this illusion of "insignificance". The thin areas of this unit should be painted brightly, while those areas contributing to the thickness should be down-played with flat black paint or flocking.
Also important in this prop is the consideration of how quickly the girl can get in them, backstage. To aid in this — you will note that the entire top assembly is hinged, trap doors and all. In performance, the steps are positioned back stage with the top assembly propped open, so that all the girl must do is get in the unit and a backstage assistant lowers the top and heads for the main activity on stage.
Now that we have concluded our series on "Shooting a Girl from a Cannon", I would suggest you refer back to previous issues showing all needed props and read thru them again . . . There will be a test on all this material.
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Tins 15 the sixth m a series of illusion plans courtesy of Osborne Illusion Systems
Here Comes Santa Claus
By Paul Osborne
How many Christmas Parties have you had where good old John Doc has consented to be Santa Claus and give out presents to all the kids, but good old John won't fit In your Volkswagen, much less your doll house? So, you "Introduce" Santa Claus and he walks out, steps on your foot and stumbles through some "kiddie" dialogue with you (you try not to notice his breath problem), and then passes out presents, somewhat antidimatically. Sure, it was oJc, and the Idds liked it — but, wouldn't It have been great if you could have produced Santa? Well, now you can . . .
EFFECT — As the last effect of the day, you tell your family audience that unfortunately, Santa couldn't be here today, but he sent his sleigh full of presents and here it is! Now enters your assistant pushing a miniature sleigh, containing Santa's bag filled with presents. After removing two or three gifts, you announce that maybe if everybody helps (sings "Jingle Bells"), you can get Santa to send a special gift By magic, on the count of three, the kids begin to sing as you remove the remaining presents and your assistant begins pulling up the bag. Once the bag reaches a 6' tall height, you quickly drop it to reveal the much-awaited "Man of the Hour", who in turn steps on your foot, stumbles through some "kiddy" dialogue and passes out presents.
METHOD — Admittedly, the mystery is somewhat thin, but we have learned that the kids love the surprise of seeing Santa without any warning. And because you're responsible — you get the applause!
Basically, the sleigh is no more than an extra large doll house base and the bag allows the adjustment for any size Santa you may be stuck with. The bulkiness of the bag and the presents stuffed in with Santa provides the perfect disguise.
Also, you will find the rehearsal time with Santa is no more than three or four minutes. All he has to do is stand up when he feels the bag being raised, lower the trap and step up on it
We built this one for a Shopping Center "Santa Arrival Show". We made it as stout as possible and it was painted in lacquers of bright red with green pen-stripe. Remember, with this one the magic isn't as important as the surprise! Have a Happy Holiday Season!
This is the seventh in a series of illusion plans courtesy of Osborne Illusion Systems
The Caterpillar Illusion
Continue reading here: Paul Osborne Magic
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