The Slat Screen

Figure 46 shows the screen as it looks when it is in front of the black back drop.

This is a parlor screen of three panels, each about 6 feet high and 20 inches wide. It is similar to the Handy Screen already described, except that the middle panel is made of slat-work.

Figure 46 shows the screen as it looks when it is in front of the black back drop.

The slat panel is especially built for illusion work. Between the front and back of this panel, there is a sliding door, also of slatwork, covered with black velvet. When front and back slats of panel are together, audience can see between them to the black back drop. When sliding door is slid over, the back slats cover the spaces between front slats. Slats and spaces are the same width. The velvet covering on the back slats now gives the illusion of open spaces and audience still believes it is looking between the slats to the black back drop.

Figures 47, 48 and 49 are diagrams, showing the construction of the slat panel, rear views. The first shows the slats of front and back part parallel with spaces open. The second shows the sliding door pushed over to cover spaces in front part. The third shows position of sliding door between front and back of panel.

The sliding door is worked by a cord attached to each side of slat panel on back of screen. Cord at one side opens the slats and the other closes them, Figure 50.

To get ready for performance, have the slat screen standing against something on stage — and have Phantom frame and top at hand.

Have girl assistant dressed in Oriental trouser costume or some other outfit which eliminates skirts. TO PERFORM:

Set up the frame about two or three feet in front of curtain, in same manner as that taught to you in the preceding illusions. Place top on frame, allowing the curtains to drop into place.

Girl assistant comes in quickly and you assist her on to platform, where she takes a standing position. You then pick up the slat screen and place it on platform in front of girl. Audience sees girl through the slats and also sees the black back drop, Figure 51.

You now step aside and call attention to the girl behind the screen. Pick up your pistol and fire into the air. The moment you fire, girl pulls string which slides rear slatwork over spaces in front slatwork. Apparently she has vanished. Audience believes it is still looking between the slats to the black back drop, Figure 52.

Girl quickly opens trap door in platform top and slides down under frame, closing the trap after her.

You step over to platform and fold up screen. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO FOLD SCREEN BEFORE REMOVING IT FROM PLATFORM so that audience will not notice that spaces between slats are still black when screen is taken away from black curtain. Or you may reach behind screen and pull string to bring slats parallel again and leave spaces between.

Remove folded screen and place it down on platform. This convinces audience that there is nothing concealed behind screen.

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