(Close Window)
Topic: Flambe Illusion
Message: Posted by: magic559 (Dec 30, 2002 11:21PM)

I was wondering if anyone has worked with the Flambe Illusion (appearance of the magician on a platform that was on fire). I am seriously looking into this for my show, and if you could help it would be much appreciated...

Who are the main builders of the illusion?
How many people are needed to operate the illusion?
Does it pack small? How many cases?
And, I vaguely remember someone performing this on TV (maybe Kirby VanBurch), anyone know which special?

Thanks so much!
Message: Posted by: mike_york (Dec 30, 2002 11:39PM)
I think Franz Harary did it on TV. I believe it was on Master Of Illusions on pax TV, not sure though.

Franz does have it on his tape he sells at his shows.

He used it with another illusions. He is placed into a metal casket. And it is then set on fire. You can see his hands the whole time. The casket is opened up and Franz has "magically" vanished. Then a small platform catches on fire. And with the help of a cloth Franz magically materializes out of the fire.

I think this is the effect you are talking about.

Message: Posted by: Ben Simon (Dec 31, 2002 04:45AM)
The illusion is also called Fire Tower. It's an invention by Kirby van Burch. In Europe it's performed by the illusionists Jan Rouven and Hans Klok in there shows. Hans showed up with it on WGM 3.
Message: Posted by: zigmont (Dec 31, 2002 06:48AM)
The illusion Flambe can be made by Mendoza Magicraft & Bill Smith and was Created by Kirby Van Birch. Perhaps someone named it Firetower in their show.

Robert Gallop has a custom mendoza version, peter gossamer has a bill smith model.

I was at Mendoza shop when he was just packing one down. It has two big cases, the base is 5x5.The illusion runs from mendoza around $15,000.00 in cases from mendoza and somewhat the same or a bit less from Bill Smith.

Its needs performer and off stage assistant.
Message: Posted by: jrabenho (Jan 3, 2003 11:52PM)
The illusion was created by Kirby. I worked with it for a few weeks. It is very dependable. It is also very expensive and you would need to talk to Mendoza or Bill Smith about creating it and the rights to the illusion.
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Jan 9, 2003 06:26PM)
Just a question here, because I love the way the word "create" and "exclusive" are being used in the world of magic today. I will limit my question to this particular illusion. What is the "unique" part of this (Fire Tower/Flambe) illusion? Presentation I can go for but .......? Have they being leaving something out when it has been performed on t.v., or am I missing something here? Perhaps someone (Zigmont?) could fill me in on what I missed.

Blair Marshall
Message: Posted by: zigmont (Jan 9, 2003 06:55PM)

Hi, I once had Lunch here in Tampa with John Daniel after a local P&L auction. I met Lee Edwards at the Henning warehouse back in 1988. Nice to talk to you too.
Basic presentation as David Mendoza showed me at his shop.

The unique part is the fact that the Zimmerman (secondary level) style base has a propane flame ring within it that fires up,as the flames are burning a curtain raises up (from the base) and becomes even the bottom of the secondary level covering up the truss work (6ft). Then fire shoots out from the top the curtain drops with the magician on the
secondary level and jumps down. As on board light gleam.
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Jan 10, 2003 08:00PM)
Thanks for the fill in. To me the illusion always reminded me of Doug Hennings' "Firedome". This had the Zimmerman base and, here it goes, the propane ring of fire. This unit was explained to me (with photos) and fully described by Eric Lewis who was consulting with Gaughan on the Henning specials. He designed the unit and mechanism for the ring, lighting, movement of the ring away from the opening etc. The curtain, up and down movement I have seen on other productions, if I am not mistaken prior to. So this is why I have difficulty with the "created by" and "exclusively by". In this case I see the same illusion, with a different shaped top. I guess I am being too literal.

With Lee and John, I have only spoken to them by phone, Norm Nielson brokered the show sale to/for me. You say you saw Lee in 1988 at the Henning auction, this is perhaps where he picked up the 50' Starlight curtain, with two traps used by Henning on his tours, that came with "ShaZzam!" The sucker weighs 1/2 ton !!!

I have started watching out for collectors conventions in the Northeast, hoping that John may be at one. I would really like to meet him. I have many of the original props, headpieces, masks and costumes from the original "ShaZzam!" including the 850 lightbulb lit sign. It may come back in style with "Chicago".

Just arrived here today are some of the Blackstone Jr. costumes. Adding them to my Eastern segment. Quite good condition.

Are you at a park this summer???

Let us know.

Blair Marshall
Message: Posted by: duckster (Jan 13, 2003 12:04AM)
I have performed the illusion and I have seen it many times.

I think it is a real Yawner!

To me the best appearance is the elevator.
Message: Posted by: magic559 (Jan 13, 2003 12:08AM)
Yawner? Are you serious?

To each his own I guess, but I think the illusion is excellent.

Do you own the illusion? Or did you rent it? I am curious as to how you got to perform it. I would love to work with one before I purchase it.
Message: Posted by: zigmont (Jan 13, 2003 07:05AM)
I owned a Elevator appearance and thought it was a Yawner.

Message: Posted by: magic559 (Jan 13, 2003 11:58AM)

So, in general, would you recommend Flambe for an opening appearance illusion?

Message: Posted by: zigmont (Jan 13, 2003 02:04PM)
The elevator illusion is always a huge prop.
The Flambé is a large base and is just 1/4 smaller (but lighter) than the elevator.

When you are spending $12,000.00 - $15,000.00 for a new illusion, it's best if you make a trip to visit the builder.

I just started to use a flash appearance and it works well for corp. shows.

The flambé is not (like the elevator) a grab your attention illusion unless you have dancers and production value. The Copperfield elevator breaks that rule because he a celebrity with the audience eagerly awaiting his appearance.

PS. Your site is down.
Message: Posted by: magic559 (Jan 13, 2003 02:12PM)
I think that is why I like it so much. Meaning, the prop is important, but not super flashy or catchy or anything.

It will probably be some time before I can purchase this illusion; I'm just doing my research so there are no surprises.

On another note, when I was looking around for builders of this illusion, I asked about the rights to it etc. Bruce Chadwick was one person I contacted... he said there are no rights as it is just a modification of the Zimmerman base. Anyway, he said he would build it. I'm haven't even started to think about who I will have build it; I just mention this because of the discussion on building rights to this illusion.

Anyone know when Hans Klok does it on WGM 3? My copy cuts off at Dirk Arthur doing his "sleight of tiger". Is it after this?

Thanks everyone!
Message: Posted by: zigmont (Jan 13, 2003 02:29PM)
The illusion was created for Kirby Van Birch and it has a lot more than a Zimmerman base.

The curtain raises by it self as the fire goes on by it self as well as shoots from the top.

It has all kinds of machinery that makes things happen and all timed together.

The base is a special design and it all worked out with designs from David Mendoza and Bill Smith. They will include rights and you will have the original design that you saw. If you have a builder that just makes it, you will be getting his version of the illusion not the illusion that you have seen with all the D&R and refinements.
Message: Posted by: magic559 (Jan 13, 2003 02:44PM)
I can definitely understand how everything would need to be timed perfectly in this illusion. The only times I have seen in performed were by John Hirakowa in "The Magic of Polynesia" and he, to the best of my knowledge, does not have fire that shoots out of the top... but I can picture it.

But yeah, I understand what you mean and in time will probably go with Bill Smith or David Mendoza.
Message: Posted by: Ben Simon (Jan 14, 2003 07:04AM)

Hans does it right at the beginning of WGM III after Brett Daniel's appearing Ferrari.
Message: Posted by: magic559 (Jan 14, 2003 11:06AM)
Thank you Benedikt. I must have looked right over it.

Hans' wasn't a self-contained unit. There were no bars or anything coming up from the second level 'platform'.

Question to those who have worked with this: When the curtain goes up, can the bottom of the curtain go above the second platform so the ring of fire is seen again? For some reason, I remember Hirakowa's doing that. Maybe just laymen's logic though.

Message: Posted by: Ben Simon (Jan 14, 2003 01:35PM)
Nowadays Hans performs the Flambe Illusion of course with bars on the sides... WGM III aired a few years ago ;)
Message: Posted by: danieljsum (Feb 14, 2003 06:09PM)
Noone has mentioned Chuck Jones. I was under the impression that he was responsible for the "Tower" variation.. where the bottom of the hoop rises above the secondary level... showing the fire the 2nd time.. right before the drop or appearance. Shouldn't he be consulted?
Message: Posted by: magic559 (Feb 16, 2003 05:41PM)
Nice... that was actually the illusion I was under the impression we were discussing. I didn't know they were different.

Message: Posted by: zigmont (Feb 16, 2003 07:28PM)
Same Illusion, I don't think that Chuck Jones is responsible for any designs for this illuion.

Created by Kirby Van Birch and design by David Mendoza.

Let us know if you have more facts.
Message: Posted by: wally (Mar 1, 2003 02:51PM)
Iam trying to buy a one man illusion.i work on my own.any new ideas wellcome ,i need it for hotel work in spain.
Message: Posted by: danieljsum (Mar 2, 2003 06:27PM)
By a reliable source, Chuck Jones is responsible for the concept of using "monkey bars" on top of the tower to enable the performer to "Hang" while relighting the fire a second time enabeling the bottom edge of the cloth to rise above the secondary platform right before the acual drop and appearance. Rightfully so, I know of a couple performers who have paid a royalty for this excellent addition.
Message: Posted by: mike_york (Jul 14, 2003 01:18PM)
Well after reading this it sparked my interest.
So I talked to the man himself Kirby Vanburch.

Mendoza no longer has manufacturing rights for this illusion. Only Bill Smith is authorized to build now.

The performance rights are available for $1,500.

I must admit after looking into this I really love it. A wonderful illusion if it has the right production value to it, as Zigomnt pointed out. It could just be that it fits my persona. But there is something with it that stands out to me and calls my name.

All the best,
Message: Posted by: zigmont (Jul 14, 2003 03:37PM)
You now have new propane laws to deal with in regards to having bottled propane in venues.
The new NFPA 160.2002 codes.

Its a huge base to haul around.

Bill Smith does a great job with all his work.
Message: Posted by: mike_york (Jul 14, 2003 04:15PM)
Where can you find out more about the use of fire and pyrotechnics in shows?

I would imagine a great deal has change due to the nightclub tragedy.

Message: Posted by: zigmont (Jul 14, 2003 05:13PM)
These day you need to either hire a professional to assist. Like boardway traveling show do. Cats is in Tampa and I will be their local Pyrotechnician for the week run.

You need to be trained by another professional.
You need the one million dollar insurance policy for explosives as well as AFT permits.

Certification of the 1126 codes. It takes working with a pyro company in your state.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 14, 2003 05:24PM)
This is a great post and I have learned a lot from it although I am sorry to say I can't add any more information then what was already posted.

Thanks to Zigmont for taking time out to explain things as thoroughly as you have. I have seen Zigmont perform in the Philadelphia area many times in the fireman shows that were put on every year.
Message: Posted by: markparker (Jul 16, 2003 04:03PM)
Hear hear,

Steve really knows his stuff he has been a great help to me since purchasing my illusion design book. Great guy.

Mark Parker http://www.4-effect.com
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Dec 26, 2007 01:15PM)
Th Flmabe thread HERE!.

Blair Marshall