or "Centipedus Disectus by
PACIL OSBORNE & HARDY HABERMAN
— The "Caterpillar" is a novelty illusion styled in a fantasy theme. We perform this one against a large scenic painted backdrop of a cartoon forest with larger than life, fat, cut-out mushrooms, tree stumps, etc. The effect begins as the magician hypnotizes one of his male assistants until he begins to fall backward into a trance. He is carried over to a brightly painted oblong box and placed in same, so that all but his head is resting inside. Once the top lids are shut and the head cover is swung into place, the audience realizes that the oblong box now resembles a large caterpillar. With great speed, the magician inserts six "solid steel blades", thus dividing the insect into four sections. Each section is pulled apart and we do a comical Keystone cops dance number with one dancer per box trying to reassemble the caterpillar. The stage comes alive with confusion and disorganization, until the magician commands all four boxes be brought front and center. Noting that each box has a small door in the front, the magician begins to properly arrange the cabinets. The box with the insect head is number one. A door is opened and the assistant's feet are seen ... This must be box number four... Another door is opened and out pops a living, moving hand ... must be box number two and of course, box number three has legs visible. With all in order, the insect is reassembled, blades removed, lids opened, and we all assume well see our male assistant unharmed ... wrong! Out pops a beautiful young lady with long silken butterfly wings — a true metamorphosis!
METHOD — Because the caterpillar illusion is presented in light fantasy atmosphere, its true mystery is somewhat disarming. Not only is it a multilation, but a surprise transformation.
In looking at the blueprints, you will get a basic idea of this effect Note that box number two is larger than the others, but its size is not noticeable because of the cartoony approach used in the design of this illusion. Of course, box number two is used to house your assistant, as the insect is being cut up.
In presentation, the stage is preset with the opened caterpillar cabinet stage center and a duplicate of box number two (loaded with costumed female assistant) behind a large stage cut-out of a cartoon mushroom. After a brief dance number, your male assistant is selected, hypnotized and put in the box. The four top lids are shut and the insect head door is swung in place covering the male assistant's exposed head. Once this is done, your well-paid victim is working his way into box number two, as the six blades are being inserted. Then of course, the boxes are separated and our choreographed chase routine begins. It is during this moment of confusion that box number 2 (with male assistant) is switched for box number 2 (with female assistant), totally unnoticed because of the well-planned mayhem. Once all of this is concluded and the boxes have been switched, the smaller front doors are opened to determine wba»: goes where. Then, the boxes are latched back together, and what a grand surprise your audience will have when not your male assistant, but a beautiful butterfly-clad girl emerges from "Centipedus Disectus"! At some point in time, don't forget to let your male assistant out of his hiding place.
This is the eighth in a series of illusion plans courtesy of Osborne Illusion Systems
EFFECT — After your audience returns from a brief intermission, the distant sound of Egyptian styled music is heard. The curtains open to reveal a mysterious looking altar sitting in "The Valley of the Kings" type setting. The ensemble enters and a ritualistic dance begins around the curious framework The chorus selects one girl to be "sacrificed". Reluctantly ushered to the altar, she awaits her fate. Suddenly, from stage left a hooded figure enters carrying a torch. As he raises the torch, a curtain raises around the girl; when he lowers the torch, the curtain is lowered. Within an instant, he raises his baton and the curtain quickly raises and lowers to show our magician standing where once was a girl — all within an instant The curtain drops and the magician steps forward to begin the rest of the program.
METHOD — The psychology of this illusion is most important We always stage this one just after an intermission, because the audience is* used to seeing our magician in various costumes, orchestrating the illusions, dancers, etc. So, when the hooded figure enters with a torch, the audience assumes it's the magician. This minor attention to detail makes this trick a real surpriser.
Basically, this effect is a sub trunk without a trunk In the beginning, the magician is in the base. When the girl dancer is in position on the platform, and the curtain is raised waist high/the magician slides open the back trap and takes his position behind the girl. Then, the curtain is raised past the girls head — no change. And again, but this time the curtain goes up and comes down (waist high) quickly and the girl and magician switch. During the brief pause for applause (the curtain is still waist high), the girl makes her way into the base and then the curtain is completely dropped, as the magician steps out
If performed in a well paced and deliberate manner, this illusion can be most baffling, and is relatively easy to build for the effect obtained.
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