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Topic: Am I the only one who thinks that the Zig Zag Girl illusion is lame?
Message: Posted by: irossall (Aug 28, 2003 06:59AM)
The first time that I saw the Zig Zag Girl illusion was at an T.A.O.M. convention back in the early 70's. I found it to be non-magical and very simple to figure out. I am entertained by many illusions that I know the inner workings to but I just don't get the appeal that the Zig Zag has on an audience. Am I the [b]only[/b] one who feels this way? What is the attraction?
Iven :patty:
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Aug 28, 2003 08:17AM)
Was the one you saw a decent version? There sooo many bad copies out there that look awful.
Message: Posted by: Eldon (Aug 28, 2003 08:36AM)
I'm with gambituk1. White Magic Mfg. makes one that the center section actually slides all the way past the vertical riser. That being said I think the Zig-Zag appeals more to the magicians that perform it then the audience. It is angle proof and can be done close up. It's a vertical illusion so it doesn't take up a lot of room on stage. These things are important if your not working in big venues.
Message: Posted by: floridamagic (Aug 28, 2003 11:59AM)
I had a Zig Zag and now I have a Modern Art illusion and I got a better reaction from the audience with the Zig Zag. Believe it or not.
Message: Posted by: Chance Wolf (Aug 28, 2003 12:15PM)
Gambituk1 is [b]right![/b] There are some [b]terrible[/b] home-made, as well as commercial versions, out there.
Eldon, you mentioned White Magic created another version. Clearly, the hiding method must be different. I am not aware of it as I have not seen it but iF their method increases the upper cabinet size or overall size, then, in my opinion, it defeats the purpose.
I am a fan of the Zig Zag as I have built a few with my own "tweakings" to the design. I created a more deceptive graphic as well as reduced at least 2 to 3 [b]inches[/b] of hiding space adding an almost unbelievable hiding area.
I may release the plans someday as well as a few custom built units. I will keep ya posted.
Overall, I like the effect even though it has been overdone (with bad routines and presentation).
Take care,
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Aug 28, 2003 12:31PM)
I like the Zig Zag.
As the one who performed
the smallest version [as far as I know].
I still find it to be entertaining.

My dad built four.
Four excellent ones.
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (Aug 28, 2003 01:01PM)
I think Zig Zag probably started a real revolution in illusions. The first time I saw it performed was on television and I was astounded. Of course I was young but none-the-less astounded.

Up until that time most illusions on television were latrge cumbersome boxes, with gaudy finishes, stage traps, and poorly orchestrated performances.

Since that time there have been many inovations. Illusions have become lighter, brighter, far more deceptive, and to that I give credit to Robert Harbin.

Unfortunately now-a-days there is once again a sameness. Lots of chrome, smoke, wind, dancing girls.
Hopefully someone will come along and re-revolutionize large scale illusions.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Aug 28, 2003 01:16PM)
The biggest problem with Zig Zag is the presentation. Few illusionists seem to understand how to present a puzzle illusion. The Zig Zag was meant to be talked through step by step. If you ever get to see Harbin's presentation, it is a lesson in how to sell a puzzle illusion. So many performers now don't even use the tickle box.

I have seen the Zig Zag done silently to music, and it was pretty awful.

I used to do Zig Zag in the 70's in my amusement park shows. I had an excellent one made by George Kimery of Chalet Magic, and it was always a very good applause getter. The practicality of it really appealed to me, as it broke down easily for transport, and set up quickly. It could be done surrounded and within touching distance of the audience. The closer you are to it, the more amazing the illusion appeared.
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Aug 28, 2003 01:44PM)
The Zig Zag has always been an applause getter for me and I do it to music! However, there is a storyline that accompanies the music; so there is much much more than just playing music while you perform the effect.

Mine was built by Owens Magic Supreme and Whit is right. I've done it with a person within 5 feet of it and it blows them away! I love the illusion, although mine packs flat into two ATA cases which is kind of a pain, but it fits in my pickup with my other stuff, which was the main consideration.

Message: Posted by: alexkrey (Aug 28, 2003 01:49PM)
It is a pity!
But this illusion has died after it has shown to all world masked magician.
By this illusion now will surprise only one of ten men! :bawl:
Message: Posted by: zigmont (Aug 28, 2003 02:04PM)
ZigZig is so old it new to today's audiences.
Stop viewing it as a magician.
Zig zags have black art that must have the correct lighting.

The illusion always worked for me.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 28, 2003 02:12PM)
Personally, I prefer the Zig-Zag Outdone... You actually pull the middle box all the way out! I saw it once live! It was awesome!

Message: Posted by: alexkrey (Aug 28, 2003 02:27PM)
It has invented Rand Woodbury!
Message: Posted by: Peter Loughran (Aug 28, 2003 02:37PM)
The Zig Zag is one of my all time favorite illusions. It was also one of the first illusions I ever had.

Mine was originally built by Gerry Frenette, and I love it. Although I haven't used it in a while, I still once in a while just stare at the prop for awhile, admiring it. It just looks magical.

The illusion also helped launch my carreer as an illusionist beginning over 15 years ago, and made me alot of money. I owe alot to the prop, and it's creator Mr. Harbin. I was still fooling audiences with it even after the masked magician specials. Its all in how you present it.

To say that the Zig Zag is lame, well you certainly have not had the pleasure of performing the illusion for a live audience.

Message: Posted by: yosef_dov (Aug 28, 2003 02:41PM)

Paul Daniels mentions in his autobiography that he wanted to do something other than the zig-zag everyone else was doing so he came up with new twist... he had a spectator come up and start pushing the middle section over.. then the middle box slides all the way out and hits the floor... sounds like the zig-zag outdone described above... but this version would definately be a stunner IMO! Even for people who are "wise" to the original zz...

Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Aug 28, 2003 05:43PM)
Yup, some great advice and opinions here. I used to present mine as you would a close up effect really, walking through it and explaining what is going on and having someone up there is essential.

Oh, and someone mentioned Rand Woodbury's.... that Z table just makes you drool!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: markparker (Aug 28, 2003 08:50PM)
Steve Zigmont hit it right on the nail:
Its a great illusion that uses clever masking, this combined with a sliding panel on the middle section as it 'Zags' makes it a wonderful and deceptive illusion. It is a real shame that so many builders of this illusion just don't get it and the prop/illusion suffers accordingly...its a classic not to be ignored.
Message: Posted by: Chance Wolf (Aug 28, 2003 09:17PM)
I fully agree. Zigmont shares many years of knowledge and true experience. It is quite clear that he has studied all aspects of Illusion presentation as well as all the other subtleties.
I mentioned earlier that I had made design changes myself. These changes were in the mechanics and hidden structure leaving all the original ideas and basic design yet adding to the impossibilty.
You and Whit mentioned the sliding panel and the tickler box. In some versions, these features have been REMOVED from the Illusion and or the routine. It is one thing to make a TRUE improvement to an Illusion however, in most cases, the changes only take away fron the original effect as well as the "magic" itself.
As the ol' saying goes,"if it aint broke, don't fix it"
I join the others above and say that to this day I STILL get after-show reactions/questions as to the Zig-Zag! That ol' dog can still hunt.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 29, 2003 05:26AM)
Ah, yes... Rand Woodbury... The "Z" Table... "Illusionworks"... Great ideas...

Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Aug 29, 2003 08:16AM)
On 2003-08-28 14:16, whithaydn wrote:
I have seen the Zig Zag done silently to music, and it was pretty awful.

It isn't easy to find music for any illusion.
Its all in the timing.

Our show had a Chinese Theme.
All the props were Chinese themed,
The music was Chinese, the chickens
were Chinese, even the costumes were
Chinese [Dad wore authentic Chinese robes].
And to add to that, my dad is Chinese.

The zig zag we did had great music, dancing, the
Zig Zag had a Chinese style design that
my dad built.
And along with it I did a
costume change.

So if someone is to do a presentation of the zig zag
all those components are vital to making it appealing to the audience
as well as the magic society.
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Aug 29, 2003 08:57AM)
Zig Zag was a great example of covering all the bases when designing an illusion. I guess I saw this performed four or five times, always knowing how it had to work, but not believing it actually worked that way. The construction of the illusion, the way it was finished, the graphics, and the presentation all worked in concert to make it a powerful thing.

What has happened with a lot of the more recent versions of older illusions is that the graphics, or the finish, or the presentation have been "modernized" to bring them into the present. Problem is, the changes have often been simply for the sake of change, rather than for a purpose, under the guise of "making it mine".

Almost everyone here knows how the Square Circle works. You can change the outside all you want, paint the outer tube, stick on prism tape, and even hinge the box. Paint the inside of the box white, however, and you have a problem.

The "Masked One" can expose methods all he wants, but quality presentations of time-tested effects will always have the audience begging for more.

That's the category into which I put Zig Zag - one of the most beautiful illusions ever created and, with the proper construction and presentation, one of the most baffling.

Amos McCormick
Message: Posted by: Kendrix (Aug 29, 2003 11:26AM)
I saw Harry Blackstone Jr. do the Zig-zag just in the tradition that Whit describes. This was just before intermission and I swear it lasted 15 minutes. He even brought people up from the audience to touch the assitant's feet, tickle them, etc. I thought it was painful to watch. Lo and behold when the break occurred the audience was all talking about the girl without a middle and how great it was. Zigmont is right you can't look at these effects as a magician. It is what the audience thinks that is important not the "magic community".
Message: Posted by: irossall (Aug 29, 2003 01:36PM)
Let me start off with a sincere appology if I stepped on anyone's toes here. My inquery was just a sincere attempt to find out what the appeal is for an illusion that I just can't seem to enjoy as I enjoy many other illusions. Peter Loughran states: To say that the Zig Zag is lame, well you certainly have not had the pleasure of performing the illusion for a live audience. First off, maybe I shouldn't have used the word lame. Lame is pretty strong wording and I did not mean to disrespect the people who perform the Zig Zag nor the people who enjoy watching it. Second, I do not do stage Magic and to do a large illusion is out of my league as a performer (and out of my price range). Although I have seen this illusion performed at least 6 or 7 times in the last 30 years, maybe everyone is right, I haven't had the pleasure to watch a good performance.
I would like to take this moment to thank all of you for your input, it gives me much to ponder and I look forward to my next chance to witness this illusion performed.
Respectfully Yours
Iven :patty:
Message: Posted by: markparker (Aug 29, 2003 01:45PM)

You should catch David Copperfield performing this on an early special. Great prop great performance. He also used a curved sided blade that replaces the usual awful offset blade method.
A lovely enhancement to the consistancy. I am unsure who built the prop but I would guess at John Gaughan...I'm sure someone can post some info on this.


Mark Parker - http://www.4-effect.com
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Aug 29, 2003 04:35PM)

I don't think you need to apologise, everyone is perfectly entitled to speak their mind, to ask others what they think.

I think many of us tend to forget what others see when we perform. Dissasociation is a very valuable tool. To be able to step outside of yourself mentally and to see what others would see.

Many performers have developed an accute sense of this, being able to "view" things internally from more than one aspect, from "inside" (associated) and "outside" (dissasociated).

Trying to forget that you know the secret is difficult but it is not the secret that is the important thing.

Message: Posted by: Murray Hatfield (Sep 2, 2003 01:24PM)
Wow some great insights here. The Zig Zag, in my opinion, is the single greatest illusion/puzzle invented in the last hundred years. It is visual, surprising to the audience, in some cases shocking and can be thouroughly inspected inside and out by an audience member. There is literally nothing to hide and nothing to find.

I agree with Whit that the only way to perform it is the way it was intended by it's creator - as a puzzle to be explained by the performer. When I was performing it, I had a volunteer with me from beginning to end to inspect every step of the journey, and to be the catalyst for the audiences amazement.

I think it would be just as powerful today, regardless of the masked wannabee. The power is in the presentation and not simply in the effect.

Just my two cents...
Message: Posted by: M-Illusion (Sep 2, 2003 02:51PM)
I continued presenting the Zig Zag even immediately after it was "exposed" on television. I found that, tied in with the story-line and other presentational factors, it got no less response than it had prior to the show.

Despite that it's always gotten a great response in my shows, I took it out for three years, mainly to allow for the newer illusions to take shape. It was just put back in the show in January, and it's getting the best response yet.

So, I don't think it's a lame, boring, tired, over-used illusion. I think so much depends on the performer & the presentation. Yes, I, just like everyone else, have seen routines that were bad. But all in all, it's a wonderful concept.

P.S. I have done it both ways, to music, and as a talking, audience interactive routine.
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Sep 3, 2003 03:48PM)
When I first began performing illusions (1989), I purposely steered clear of Zig-Zag. I thought it was too common and that everyone would feel like they were seeing the same illusion done by every magician.

Then, I saw Andre Kole perform his show in Nashville. He opened with Zig-Zag and then went on to perform 2 hours of original illusions.

When the show was over, a fellow magician and I hung around to meet Mr. Kole. As my friend and I were talking, one of the audience members overheard us and asked if we were magicians. When we confirmed that, he asked "how did he to that thing where he pulled out the girl's middle?"

Now keep in mind that was the first illusion he presented yet it was the one that stuck in his mind. I decided then and there to buy one.

I have used that Chalet Zig-Zag for 12 years now and it never fails to get a gasp when I pull the middle out! It still blows people away. (And no the Masked Magician did not ruin it. People don't recognize it and they don't remember what was explained.)
Message: Posted by: Lothar (Sep 3, 2003 04:15PM)
The zig zag is my favorite illusion. The best presentation I have ever seen was done by Melinda. She zig zagged one of her hunky male dancers, but not before she ripped off most of his clothes. Her cabinet had a muscular male figure painted on the front. It was more deceptive due to the man's size.
Has anyone else ever seen the zig zag done with a man inside the cabinet?

:sawingchick: :swordbasket:
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Sep 5, 2003 08:51AM)
My feeling has always been that it is not the illusion that makes the magic, it is the presentation that makes the magician. Take the easiet or simplest of effects and with a great presentation you achieve a great entertainment value. Make the people smile, laugh and have fun and that is the true magic.
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Sep 5, 2003 11:45AM)

Fay Presto regularly uses a male assistant in hers and, believe it or not in a restaurant!

Yup, she wheels it up to the table (on occasions) and does it close up (or so I am informed... anyone witnessed her do this?).

Message: Posted by: Lothar (Sep 5, 2003 12:05PM)
I have a video of Faye doing her zig zag on a waiter in the restaurant. My zig zag is being built for a large hunky man . It will have a cartoonish strongman figure painted on the front. This will make the illusion more deceptive since the guy will be so large.

"Macho Magic"
"Taking men where no man has gone before"

:sawingchick: :swordbasket:
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Sep 10, 2003 01:12AM)
I like it.
Message: Posted by: Steve Dela (Sep 14, 2003 09:20AM)
Hi Guys I thought I would add my two cents!
I don't own this illusion but it is my favourite illusion of all time! I have been lucky enough to see the original ZIG Zag at the Magic Circle Museum in London! it is the smallest I have ever seen! it looks on the footage of Robert Harbins performance that the girl is realy tall but he must have just been very short as the box is very small!
it is my favourite as this is the illusion that paved the way for all the present wheel on wheel off illusions! well done that man!
Steve Dela
Message: Posted by: Nick Wait (Feb 16, 2005 06:00AM)
In short no I don't find it lame. It's one of the greats. A real puzzler. Looks like real magic even when you know the secret.
Message: Posted by: donsmagic (Feb 16, 2005 09:38AM)
I first saw the Zig Zag perormed by Harry Blackstone Jr at Abbott's in Colon Michigan in the early 1970's. I was absolutely astounded. Infact, when I got older I had Owen Supreme make me one that was absolutely beautiful and the audiences really loved it!
Message: Posted by: tabman (Feb 16, 2005 09:58AM)
I've got some video of Robert Harbin performing it in the 1960s on the stage of The London Palladium. We just viewed it last week again for the umteenth time. It is absolutely baffling in his hands.

His original prop works smoother and has better extension than many of the [i]updated[/i] units I've seen over the years. Nothing lame about it at all in the originators hands and an outstanding routine all the way around from his calling it a [i]contraption[/i] to his kicking the girl's shoes out of the way.

Message: Posted by: Rip (Feb 17, 2005 01:32PM)
I remember as a child seeing Harbin on TV performong Zig Zag. If memory serves me correctly it was 'The Royal Variety Command Performance' live from The London Palladium. It was sooo MAGIC I could hardly wait to get to the library to track down every magic book I could and start on the road to becoming a magician.

For a long time it was the most performed illusion in Europe and over the years I must have seen upwards of 50 magicians perform it in too many situations to even recall: stage, cabaret, circus, childrens shows, parks, trade fairs, restaurants, back of a truck, even on a beach... some excellent performances, others perhaps a little lacking but every time it still seemed magical and got great audiance reaction. Familiarity did not seem to breed contempt, at least from a non 'magical' audiance.

I still think Harbins presentation is the best though (ok... Alan Shaxon a close runner up). He had a 'reason' for every movement he made and every word he said to make it seem impossible. IMO his box design has never been improved upon (and on occasion quite the opposite!).
The closest thing to his presentation I have seen in recent years is The Pendragons performing Modern Art, every action carefully chosen to strengthen the illusion.
I don't think a truely magical experiance HAS to include smoke, lazers, flashing lights and lots of chrome... even after its exposeure the Zig Zag can still have a strong impact on an audiance.

Guess I'm still a fan after all these years:)
Message: Posted by: Chezaday (Feb 17, 2005 03:39PM)
The Zig Zag can not be ignored .. this was my very first illusion ... and still holds a special place in my heart. Shure I've replaced it in my show with Modern Art .. but I still have mine and just would never sell it. I think my favorite memory of this illusion was watching the Great Blackstone Jr. performing it ... and mentioning the "Tickle Box .. that's one of two." He would get away with it everytime on TV .. and it just kills me everytime.

Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Feb 17, 2005 09:18PM)
Not lame in any way. Just in need of the proper presentation and thinking behind the presentation.

Study the Harbin thinking or the Blackstone Jr. and see how and why they do it.

It stills fools the laymen bad.
Message: Posted by: The Mirror Images (Feb 17, 2005 09:39PM)
There is a post from J.C. Sum that has some really amazing ideas that make this illusion a must have. Check it out here http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=81908&forum=7

It will make you rethink about it.

Message: Posted by: n3cromanc3r (Feb 18, 2005 09:52AM)
Is the illusion lame? Not at all. Are most presentations of it a yawner? Absolutely! But there are some great performances of it still around as mentioned above. For the average magician though doing the average zig-zag routine though, it falls into the same overused catagory with the Zombie, Dancing Cane and Sub Trunk in my book (not that I want to get into that discussion in this thread, that would be thread hijacking). The link above is a good one, check it out. There's some good originality there.
Message: Posted by: magicross (Feb 18, 2005 11:04AM)
I think that the zig-zag is a favorite of a lot of illusionists, even when you know the secret its still impresive. I would say there's a lot of potential left in this one yet, I'm just starting to design the mark2 version of my own zigzag illusion which should make it even more of a puzzle when finished.

There's a great variation of this effect in Mark Parkers 4effect book, if you havent got this book get it, got mine this week and I cant put it down.

Great book Mark and I cant wait for a second one.
Message: Posted by: templemagic (Feb 18, 2005 11:57AM)
I like the illusion. Only problem is that there are some really naff rip-offs floating about that look really obvious and not deceptive at all...

Message: Posted by: Grandillusionsmagic (Feb 18, 2005 11:58AM)
How long has this illusion been around? and why is it still around? because it works. there are many effects that come and go, but this has been around. there is always someone who will not like it, but in general, it works. I get better reaction from Zigzag than Modern art at every show, I would have thought my modern art presentation is better. I have even cut modern art from the show and am working on a new presentation for Zigzag.
e and go, but this has been around. there is always someone who will not like it, but in general, it works.
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Feb 18, 2005 08:35PM)
Wow, you guys have really said some amazing things about ZigZag. I will throw in a few things. My original ZigZag was a poorly built model, but it had the tickle box and sliding panel. The first thing I did was change the blades to give them a more modern appearance. I have presented it both to music and with the Harbin-esque routine. AS has already been stated, it really plays the strongest with Harbins routine because you lead the audience step by step through the entire process.
I had a group of Doctors come up to me after a show once and they were stunned by the Zig Zag.
One other note, the exposure by the masked idiot was long enough ago that you can do Zig Zag today with no fear of problems. It's a classic and presented properly, it's a knock out illusion.
Message: Posted by: Rip (Feb 18, 2005 09:30PM)
Hi Grandillusionsmagic,
sorry to hear that you have dropped Modern Art because it does not get the reaction that Zig Zag does. Check out Pendragons presentation of it. They follow the same 'formula' as Harbins ZZ presentation and the effect is strong. 'Lead' the audiance proving that what they are seeing is impossible... yet happening right before their eyes.

MA is a great illusion, even if its modus operandi prevents it from being scrutinised as closely as ZZ when a member of the audience is on stage helping.

Hats off to Mr Steinmeyer for creating another perform-anywhere illusion with a small footprint.
Message: Posted by: Chance Wolf (Feb 19, 2005 01:03AM)
I was never quite sure until I added it to my show ( years ago when I performed) and I was amazed at the reaction and follow up after the show. The Classics are called that for a reason...especially if performed well. Not sure how well I did but still...just do your best :)
Message: Posted by: Nick Wait (Feb 19, 2005 03:16PM)
I think your question has been answered! May I ask who you saw present it, and if you have seen any of the greats perform it. If you have I think you'll be able to appreciate the beauty of this effect.
Message: Posted by: Rip (Feb 20, 2005 12:44AM)
Masked magician complete with Zig Zag was repeated again last night on Sky TV throughout Europe!!!
Message: Posted by: Magic Monkichi (Feb 20, 2005 01:00AM)
Hey guys;

I remember when the Masked Magician did his first show. The next day I was booked for a show at a local seniors center. When we were un-packing a and setting up many of the people came up to me to let me know they had seen the show and that they would not be surprised if I pulled out one of the illusions revealed.

BUT becuase I stuck Harbin's original routine intentions things changed. when I pulled the cover off my zig zag, I heard snickers as if they knew how it was done. But when I called someone up to help me perform the illusion, and then went through my routine as Mr. Harbin had originally done, I receieved gasps.

I even had people coming up to me saying that they had recently seen a TV showing that explained how the zig zag worked, but when I did it, they couldn't explain it! they had no idea!!

In short, I am saying stick to how the inventor had intended! If you are doing it right, no body will know. No-one will be the wiser.

Magically yours,

Matt Kielbiski
Quick Change Artist
Message: Posted by: Scott Alexander (Feb 20, 2005 02:56AM)
I think we may be deluding ourselves here. The ZZ was great in it's day and was a true innovation in the art of grand illusion. But for a modern audienece, even with a slick,talking presentation....I think (without any disrespect to Harbins genious) as illusionists we can do much better.

Message: Posted by: JL608 (Feb 20, 2005 08:04AM)
Hey Scott,

That's a surprising statement from someone who has built his reputation performing two classic routines (Bill In Lemon & the Bullet Catch).

And no disrespect implied either. You're obviously a very creative person, not unlike Robert Harbin!

Just surprised that you'd feel a modern audience wouldn't appreciate a classic illusion?

Message: Posted by: Jack Murray (Feb 20, 2005 08:16AM)
Modern audiences aren't stupid, but for the most part are completely baffaled by ANY magic effect. To say the Zig Zag, properly performed isn't deceptive, is to say the 3 card monty doesn't fool because it's "too old". Ask all those who have lost money on the streets of NY if it fools:)

Message: Posted by: Nick Wait (Feb 20, 2005 08:25AM)
I too was slightly suprised by Scotts coment. I have seen very little better than this, and this includes scott's material which I rate highly.
Message: Posted by: Kline (Feb 20, 2005 08:35AM)
Spent some time in HK with John Bundy and Morgan this past summer - John actually shipped a zig zag in for the magic festival. Opening day he and Morgan performed it in the audience for the media ( ala Mark Wilson at the Great Wall of China ), They went NUTZ ! :wow:
Hands passing through the open section, gasps galore and photo flashes blinding all in attendance, Talk about a well received bit.
I never told John this but it did bring back a few memories of performing the Zig Zag, as like Chezaday, it too was one of my first - I guess you never forget the first ! :dance:
It has been said many times on this board - people are way to quick to judge, not only each other but also the magic we perform.
Message: Posted by: Scott Imler (Feb 20, 2005 10:34AM)
This subject is dear to my heart as I performed the Zig Zag for several years and have built about 4 of them for other magicians.The one I used and have now sold was, I have been told, one of the most deceptive models out there.Several magicians have commented on it. Even after our masked friend exposed it I gave a private showing to a neighbour who is a magic buff and he was fooled by it even after seeing the masked fool three or four months earlier!He said it could not be done the same way.May not be the most modern but in its day and for its practicallity it made a lot of money for thousands of magicians over the years. There is a small clip of a magician Donovan Deschner using one of mine on his site.Still looks pretty good.
Message: Posted by: rannie (Feb 20, 2005 12:39PM)
I don't think its lame. There are some ..., actually a number of lame zig zag performers out there. Another point to consider here is the fact that its way too old and it deserves a good rest.


Message: Posted by: joe the magician (Feb 20, 2005 11:09PM)
On 2005-02-20 09:04, JL608 wrote:
Hey Scott,

That's a surprising statement from someone who has built his reputation performing two classic routines (Bill In Lemon & the Bullet Catch).

And no disrespect implied either. You're obviously a very creative person, not unlike Robert Harbin!

Just surprised that you'd feel a modern audience wouldn't appreciate a classic illusion?

[/quote]that was killer
Message: Posted by: tabman (Feb 23, 2005 10:08AM)
[quote] On 2005-02-20 03:56, Scott Alexander wrote: ...even with a slick,talking presentation....I think (without any disrespect to Harbins genious) as illusionists we can do much better. [/quote]

That's all Harbin (no disrespect to anyone please) was doing was improving on some ideas. Zig Zag Girl is probably overexposed and overdone. I'm curious about one thing in your statement above if you don't mind. When you make the [i]slick talking[/i] reference were you referring to the presentation of Robert Harbin as "slick talking?"


Message: Posted by: stephane_arnow (Sep 16, 2008 07:33AM)
Hi , what is your opinion on Zig Zag in 5 way ? I perform it since last year, and it change a little the looking of the classic zig zag ,even if the effect is near. I have a second sliding part at the leg level, with a special tip to perform it of course.

So I take the 2 sliding parts in the same time, and the lady is zaged (lol, don't know if the word exist ). I can show you a photo of my model, custom built. For the moment, the drawing is classic and simple, but it will be custom painted in few months.

I know that some of you will prefer the original classic in 3 , but I think that it is an interesting addition, and a different presentation. And it is praticle like the classic one, not like the Outdone for example (which is a super effect certainly).
Message: Posted by: videokideo (Sep 16, 2008 10:01AM)
That table for zig zag undone is amazing and makes the zig zag what it should be. A friend of mine uses a z-table for a prediciton routine. The assistant is right there for your use on a silver platter! Eliminates the one downside to dream vision, but having an assistant pull that table off isn't easy.
Message: Posted by: stephane_arnow (Sep 16, 2008 11:10AM)
Hi videokideo

yes Z table is very cool, and I'm sure zig zag outdone is a quicker. I just want to say that my model is pratical (one girl / one magician) like the regular zig zag, but a little different in aspect. I 'm looking of a custom paint , and I search actually a theme for the drawing .I like the Zig zag outdone, and I'm sure that I will perform it in the future.
Message: Posted by: M-Illusion (Sep 16, 2008 11:40AM)
I have owned three different Zig Zag props and still have one that I perform. A properly built model (with all the important features) can be quite a miracle and I would not trade mine for any other illusion!
Message: Posted by: ricker (Sep 16, 2008 11:46AM)
If you perform the Zig-Zag harbin style, then you always get ooohs and ahhs. I've been performing it for years this way.
Message: Posted by: M-Illusion (Sep 16, 2008 02:04PM)
That's how I now perform it. Did it for years to music and that got a good response. But once I went to the original style of presenting it, it was definitely well worth the effort!
Message: Posted by: stephane_arnow (Sep 16, 2008 02:59PM)
I sent the photos of my model M -illusion ! keep in touch

Message: Posted by: Gerald Blankenship (Feb 8, 2020 02:01PM)
I performed Zig Zag Girl back in the 70's. At that time it was always requested of me to present this illusion. I also did the Mis Made Girl but I thought it took too long to complete so I sidelined it. As for older effects and the modern audience it has been my experience that folks are still amazed with the older stuff as most of the younger folks have not seen these old effects. I don't perform anymore but still do parlor routines now and again and the old stuff like Torturette and Cube On release by Abbot's still get good response especially when I give a little history to the piece. Just ramblings of an old man.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Apr 13, 2020 07:30PM)
Agree with many its the original presentation with talking etc by Harbin that makes this as previously mentioned the Al time classic Illusion
when done properly as per Harbin instructions in his book. Love this Illusion
Message: Posted by: User101 (Apr 14, 2020 06:09PM)
This is my favourite version by Jamie Allan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddd_vZIomXA&t=

Even with knowledge of false b***s I still don't know how this is done.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 14, 2020 07:17PM)
To be fair, the Zig Zag is a prop. The presentation on the other hand might or might not be lame depending on the performer.
Message: Posted by: aposjf12 (Jun 2, 2020 09:56PM)

Watch the creator perform the illusion. All showmanship with convincers. As so many have mentioned there are too many magicians building their own illusions without knowledge or proper illusion plans. A properly built illusion is just that. An illusion of mathematics and clever angles. I saw a magician recently do the oragami illusion and it was dreadful. The method was obvious. he clearly built it himself with no knowledge of the actial method.
Message: Posted by: Jonah_Illusionist (Jun 2, 2020 10:17PM)
Aposjf12, This was really cool to watch, thanks for sharing. I have seen this a couple times and don't like how most magicians perform it. If it was performed this way though I would like it more.

Message: Posted by: johnmagic (Jul 5, 2020 02:21PM)
Yes you’re the only one
Message: Posted by: Don (Jul 10, 2020 03:08PM)
Yes,It is just as good today as was 50 years ago.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Jul 12, 2020 10:58PM)
It is no different than Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. You can grab people by the heart or you can bore them to tears. Same for any play or musical. It's all in how you perform it.