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Topic: Aga levitation
Message: Posted by: David Boyd (Dec 18, 2006 09:28PM)
Whats up everyone -

I was looking into building a Aga Levitation using the osborne plans,
Does anyone here own a AGA?

And If you Know of a Better Levitation Feel free to let me know !

Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Dec 18, 2006 09:37PM)
Stan Kramien (and many other old timers) consider it to be the best levitation method ever made and presented.
Message: Posted by: David Boyd (Dec 18, 2006 09:39PM)
Thanks for that info..

What illusions do you own?

Message: Posted by: HowardT (Dec 18, 2006 09:49PM)
Hey David, Stan used the "Astro" levitation. It allows you to float a girl 12' in the air. A staple in my show for many years as well. I would be glad to send you the specs if you'd like. Extremely inexpensive, easy to build yourself, set up and a very visual levitation. PM me if you like. Say hello to Elliot.
Message: Posted by: David Boyd (Dec 18, 2006 10:10PM)
That whould be good if you can send me the specs!

I'll tell Elliot you said Hello..

Thanks Chris and Howard!

Message: Posted by: Thatoldblackmagic (Mar 17, 2013 09:22AM)
The AGA plans I presume are in metal?
The Astro sounds awesome!
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Mar 17, 2013 02:38PM)
I believe a good portion of the aga is wooden, some is steel of course.

Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Mar 17, 2013 03:00PM)
The Astro is an Abbott prop. So check with Abbott's first if you're looking for the plans. I traveled with Stan for a season and saw the levi rig most every day. It worked well and didn't give us any problems.

The question of which is the best levitation of all times has much to do with the performer and their presentation, of course, not just the method/apparatus. Taking the effect and presentation into account I think that the Kalanag levitation was certainly one of the best, if not the best.
Here's a link to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCS5u5ti-HU

Dennis "Denny" Loomis
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 17, 2013 03:01PM)
The Astro I saw a couple months ago (Abbott's, I believe) was metal. It was like an AGA on steroids. Great machine, but heavy as a wagonful of anvils.
Message: Posted by: john wills (Mar 17, 2013 03:04PM)
You can find manny answers in the Encyclopedia of Suspensions & Levitations.
Nowadays there are a few better levitations on the market, as there is the double
levitation as performed by Gabriel and Klok (levitating with Pamela Anderson in Las Vegas).
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Mar 17, 2013 04:18PM)
Best finish EVER for an Asrah happened years ago. BY ACCIDENT.
I was assisting Arthur Bull with the Asrah in Oakland, Calif., the girl (form) was up, I was backstage doing the 'necessary' and as Arthur was about to reach up, grab the cloth to reveal she had vanished, [b]someone opened a large backstage door and a huge gust of wind came in and blew the cloth up off the form and the cloth floated out into the audience![/b]
I don't think there ever has been such a magical ending.
Of course we told the magicians it was a secret method and we will not tip. :)
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Mar 18, 2013 01:51PM)
I don't think that the Encyclopedia of Suspensions and Levitations is still in print. It may help, it you're looking for a used copy to know that it was written by Bruce Armstrong.

Pete... what a great story! Thanks for sharing it. I suppose that now someone will start working on how to make this happen in every show.

Dennis "Denny" Loomis
Message: Posted by: David Charvet (Mar 19, 2013 07:41AM)
Having traveled with Kramien's show for years and worked "behind the scenes" during Aga - a couple of points:

Yes, it was an Abbott's Astro Levitation. Very practical, portable (not really a "wagonful of anvils" but not flimsy, either.) It is on casters so relatively easy to move. Easier to leave mostly-assembled than break down every night. Travels best in a van or truck. (Not a "back seat of the car" prop.)

The gaffus is in two sections - the first thing Stan did was to throw away the top section. "Who wants to wait around while she rises 12 feet in the air - and then wait while she comes back down?!" VERY good point. With the top half removed, the rise was about 5 feet from the floor, which made the point and looked great.

The Astro is manual (non-electric) so speed can be completely controlled. You will need a minimum of 2 assistants (preferably 3 - including the floating lady) to make this flow on stage.

Of course, Stan's original finish when the floating lady visibly changed into an 8 foot tall rosebush at the end (with no props on stage), really made the routine great.

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: magic123 (Mar 19, 2013 09:34AM)
Hello All my friend Michael Lee was a student of Bruce Armstrong, when he lived in Canada , and is
the owner of the original manuscript of the Enc of Levitations & Suspensions. The Book is Now OOP (Out of Print )
really has some Great info if you plan on floating anyone. Mike can be contactwed at :

Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 19, 2013 09:43AM)
Ha-ha!! Yeah, I was kind of exaggerating with the anvils anaolgy. The one I saw was being used by James Kessler. I forget who he said he'd bought it from. It also had the top section removed. The height from the one section was plenty. He transported it in a truck, mostly assembled (everything behind the curtain in one piece). He and his assistant moved it in and out of the theater and it was definitely not flimsy, but solid steel. In our theater that night, casters were only good for part of that journey. It had to be lifted 4' up onto the stage, and it took those two strong men to do it.

I would love to own this prop. It is old school, compared to some of the more recent developments, but solid and reliable.

The manual mechanics allowed for (in my opinion) a much smoother action. BTW - James' main assistant and man on the machine that night had worked many years with Ken and Roberta Griffin, who's machine was a entirely different thing altogether.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Mar 19, 2013 10:27AM)
The Astro is available from Abbott's for $7500.
Message: Posted by: David Charvet (Mar 19, 2013 03:59PM)
Michael - Yes, I lifted that prop many, many times, across the country and even on cruise ships. I agree that is is smoother operating than just about anything else out there. Ken and Roberta Griffin used a Waerneke (sp?) model which allowed for an extremely small hoop to be used for the pass (you'll know what I mean.)

Like Virgil and Thurston before him, Kramien always brought up a little girl (about 5 years old) to "touch the sleeping princess' ring and make a wish." And also to walk under and around the floating lady. "Look up, look down, look all around." The expression on the kid's face was always priceless and really sold the fact that the woman WAS floating in mid-air. Did the child see any of the "work"? Of course. But they had no idea what they were seeing. Like all magic, it takes a SHOWMAN to "sell" it to an audience. And Kramien is certainly a showman.