Back in 1950 I produced the FIRST shopping center or mall show. It featured illusions. The show was called "THE MAGIC WORLD OF FORD". At the time, there were only about twenty-five malls in the country. Today there are over 25,000 malls flourishing, and more being built every day. There were six touring units of the show, and since the client was an automobile company, the show could also be considered as the FIRST auto show of Illusions.
The show was presented on a series of six separate platforms, and featured a giant Guillotine (12 feet high), the Slick Post, Arrowhead, Temple of Benare s, and a rather unusual opening effect. Taped fanfares, music and an announcement Invited the audience to gather round the main platform where they saw a huge five feet in diameter cauldron of BUBBLING, HOT OIL. Six colored flash pots went off and the magician appeared standing in the CENTER of the cauldron of bubbling oil. All this amounted to was the construction, in luclte, of what I laughingly referred to at the time as the WORLD'S LARGEST MILK PITCHER. The huge, double walled cauldron was, of course, bottomless, and on his cue the magician merely walked up the steps of a small ladder from below and appeared in the center of the cauldron. ( see Illustration )
Having worked the major auto shows for the last twenty years, I have used a number of illusions. Guillotines, SawIngs, Arrowhead, Bladebox, Assistant's Revenge, Hindu Basket; you name It and I've pro** y used t in one form or another. In the mid-seventies, a young perforrner from Detroit started working the auto shows, and has certainly made a good name for
H8T6 S Karrell's Krazy Appearance! If you're doing tradB shows, this is certainly a unique way of starting the performance, and for a one shot deal it can be assembled pretty easily.
himself in the business. He's MARK SWEET. Mark has featured the Thin Sawing, Zig-Zag, Mlsmade Lady, Substitution Trunk, Light Bulbs Through the Girl, and one year he even floated a FULL SIZE "Chevy" truck!
As for trade shows, many magicians work them now-a-days, but the performers who do Illusions are relatively few. The first I can remember a few aisles over from me was MARSHALL BRODIEN (of "T.V. Cards" fame). He usually performed his version of the Blade Box. One of the earliest performers doing Illusions at trade shows was TOMMY TUCKER with the woman called "Aunt Winnie". GEORGE JOHNSTONE has worked trades with a beautiful Zig Zag decorated in a card motif. He has also featured sawing a girl's arm with a CHAIN SAW! WALTER ("Zaney") BLANEY has the perfect trade show illusion in his gorgeous levitation and new Sword Box. During the seventies, the king of trade show illusionists was MARK WILSON PRODUCTIONS. Mark had several units on the road with the "Magic Hands" machine. His Robot Girl was also very popular.
Without a doubt, the most used illusion in trade shows was the brainchild of my late friend ROBERT HARBIN, the "Zig-Zag". At one trade show in Detroit there were FOUR Zig-Zags appearing on THE SAME SHOW. Therefore, the Zig-Zag is not a good Illusion for the current trade show. It's just been overworked. Unless you can come up with a good twist on it. The Thin Sawing was also overworked at trade shows until PAUL GERTNER gave it new life by performing it on two fork-lift trucks. After he sawed through the girl, the fork-lifts raised both halves of the box high in the air, at different levels - BEAUTIFUL!
The auto show and trade show field are wide open for something new and different. So, buy all of PAUL OSBORNE'S books, which in my opinion are the finest books on illusions in print, build your choice - and GO FOR ITI
ILLUSION SYSTEMS' BUILDERS AT WORKI
Peter Mennie checks out his "New Thin Model Sawing" with assistants. Constructed from the Illusion Systems' plans, this prop sits low to the ground, is easy to build and troupe with
Dave Jackson shows off his "Classic Thin Model Sawing". Dave let the natural wood show on his and we think you'll agree, it makes a spectacular prop. This is just one example of how you can customize a prop to make it yours. Dave is currently on tour with David Copperfield and has been an Illusion Systems' plan collector for years.
Arthur Reed constructed a larger version of our "Classic Thin Model Sawing". Arthur builds all his own props and performs in South Africa.
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