Still widely performed today by many top illusionists, this is a lovely effect where what appears to be a lift compartment (elevator if you are American) is shown on stage, towards the back of the stage.
The audience can see the front, and both sides. They can also see clear space over the top, and underneath the compartment.
The compartment is seen to be empty, and a cloth or door closes on the front side. Then the floor indicator starts shows the lift descending, a light appears from within, and the silhouetted (back lit) image of the magician gradually appears on the front of the compartment. The clever part is that the silhouette appears gradually from the top of the compartment downwards, as if the magician is coming through the roof of the elevator compartment, down inside it.
Finally, the light goes out, and in the same instant, the doors open, and the magician is seen to be standing inside!
As you would expect, the secret is far less impressive than watching the effect...
The effect is accomplished by using a number of techniques. Firstly, the clever looking illusion of the magician coming down into the compartment is just that - an illusion. It's achieved by a magician shaped 'cut out' drawn onto a rollerblind style arrangement. The rolling 'blind' is operated electronically to be lowered slowly across the front of the compartment, and with the stage lights low, and an internal light source coming from within the compartment, it appears to the audience as though they are seeing the silhouette of a magician accomplishing the effect.
So where does the magician actually come from? Usually, he is concealed on a ledge behind the rear of the compartment until the front door is closed. He then slips into the compartment through a special opening, and because he is behind the light source, remains unseen. All he has to do then is step forward the moment the light goes out, and take a bow when the lights come back up again!
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