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Topic: Vanishing Radio (Vanishing Stereo)
Message: Posted by: Steve Hoffman (Feb 7, 2004 12:31AM)
Any Café members currently using a ViennaMagic "Vanishing Stereo" (boombox style radio)? If so, can they comment on how well it works -- is it well-made, and is its operation "silent" as claimed?

I'd also be interested in comments from those who are using or have used any of the other vanishing radios (such as the beautiful but super-expensive older-style Owens Supeme product)?

Steve Hoffman
Takoma Park MD
Message: Posted by: Scott Penrose (Feb 7, 2004 08:20AM)
Dear Steve

For what it is worth here is my experience of the Vienna Magic Vanishing Stereo, although some are likely to disagree with my comments.

It is fairly silent and the vanishing action works well. However, in my opinion it looks nothing like a stereo. The price is too expensive for a piece of apparatus that is not entirely satisfactory. The facia of the stereo is vacuum formed silver plastic with adhesive decals fixed on the make the tuning dial, controls etc. After viewing one I realised why the dealer adverts show a drawing of the stereo rather than a photo.

The vanishing method is great, so I had one built that worked the same way as the Vienna Magic one, but is used the facia from a real stereo - as a consequence it could only look like a real stereo and not a fake plastic one. I was delighted with the result.

Good luck with your search

All the best

Message: Posted by: Vibono Magic (Feb 8, 2004 05:54AM)
I like Viannamagics Stereo. The one I have seen at Viennamagic had working led lights at the front and I think it looks good. Sure it is a 80s model of a stereo but still it beets that 50s look. The working is silent and smooth and works great with the plexi table.
For a fun and different way combine it with there appearing stereo and you have a jumping stereo insted.
Message: Posted by: Steve Hoffman (Feb 8, 2004 12:21PM)
I did not know that ViennaMagic made an APPEARING stereo!

Steve Hoffman
Message: Posted by: Vibono Magic (Feb 8, 2004 03:31PM)
It is a great prop and it is not over exposed.
Message: Posted by: Steve Hoffman (Feb 20, 2004 09:58PM)
Well, thanks to someone I met via Magic Café, I now own a ViennaMagic Vanishing Stereo - and I think it looks great. So I can now answer my own question - and am posting my opinion in case others are interested in what I've learned.

The front (which is what the audience primarily focuses on) does not merely consist of decals affixed to simulate dials and controls -- there are a lot of 3-D elements on the front, and LED lights . . . a lot of visual "convincers."

Mind you, it does not look like a recent style boombox by any means. What it looks like is more like a 1970s version of a boombox - a big, somewhat ugly, rectangular thing that used to be disparagingly called a "ghetto blaster." So it is not a thing of beauty. But it does, from just a few feet away, look very much like a large boom-box radio/cassette.

And the mechanism seems to work very well, relatively slow and silent. There was a minor modification (involving a bit of velcro) the former owner made that improved the reliability of the mechanism.

One thing I learned - which I wasn't aware of before - is that there were 2 types of ViennaMagic Vanishing Stereos. The more common, and less expensive kind is permanently mounted on the stand. The less common, and more expensive kind can be carried around on stage and then placed on the stand -- much more "realistic" in that by definition boombox radios were meant to be portable.

Steve Hoffman
Takoma Park MD
Message: Posted by: andl (May 17, 2004 09:15AM)
Hi Steve! I have the "expansive" one and I agree with everything you wrote. But I sometimes had some small problems with the mechanism. 1st: the cloth which you put over the radio gets sometimes "stuck" if you know what I mean!?! 2nd: Very difficult to explain without saying too much: the mechanism doesn't "finish" everything so that I have to use my hand to let it completely vanish. Does anyone else have this problem too?
Message: Posted by: David Todd (May 17, 2004 10:05AM)
On 2004-02-20 22:58, Steve Hoffman wrote:

Mind you, it does not look like a recent style boombox by any means. What it looks like is more like a 1970s version of a boombox - a big, somewhat ugly, rectangular thing that used to be disparagingly called a "ghetto blaster." So it is not a thing of beauty.


That's actually why I sort of wanted to get one at one time.
I thought it would make a strong visual statement to vanish one of the things while it was blaring away some obnoxious "music." (Can you tell I hated the '80's ?!)
:lol: )

I saw one in operation and from stage distance it looked very convincing.

Now with personal music devices getting ever smaller (the iPod, etc.) this one seems like it will be as much of an "antique" effect as the older style Owens model. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

By the way, I don't know how much longer this will be up on the Hocus Pocus site, but as of today, May 17, 2004, take a look at this beauty:

Ralf Bialla Vanishing Radio

Now, that's a vanishing radio!
$10,000 (!), but a very convincing vanish. Look how thin that table is. Be sure to click on the Real Media link to see the video clip of Ted Lesley performing it.

By the way, here's an upload of the photo of Bialla's Vanishing Radio, so if the Hocus Pocus link disappears then future readers of this thread will know what I was referring to
(unfortunately the Café only allows tiny pictures to be uploaded, so look closely):
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (May 17, 2004 03:07PM)
I thought it would make a strong visual statement to vanish one of the things while it was blaring away some obnoxious "music." [/quote]

"Disco, disco duck!
Disco, disco duck!
Try your luck don't be a cluck,
Disco, disco, disco, disco, disco, disco, disco,
Disco, disco duck!"

[boombox vanishes]

Pretty sure that would guarantee you a Standing O.
Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (May 17, 2004 06:11PM)
I have been interested in this illusion for a while...are there any illusion plans for this?

Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: David Todd (May 18, 2004 06:23PM)
Hey, look at what I found:


This is a company that makes molded plastic display props for retail stores. I'll bet someone could adapt one of these to a very nice Vanishing Radio (take a look at their prop TV's, too).

Hmmmmm.........the wheels in my head are turning.
Message: Posted by: Ted Lesley (May 19, 2004 02:23AM)
Hello Friends,
Since I saw my late friend Ralf Bialla perform his unique "Vanishing Radio" I fell in love with it and I took after Ralf´s passing the opportunity to buy it from his widow Ingé. The apparatus is more than 50 years old by now, but it still works...EACH AND EVERY TIME!!! It needs the push of a button only...and wham! It's gone....!!!

The radio seems to be indestructible, because it is made out of STEEL and ALUMINIUM! But what makes a sensation out of the Bialla radio is the fact that it vanishes in the midst of the spectators. Before it vanishes, the sound comes from under the covering cloth and that folks, makes it so strong. I made it a habit; walking in the middle of the ballroom with the radio there I stopped and the people had to push their chairs away to give me a little bit more room to walk and only one and a half metres from the noses of the spectators the radio went into thin air....can you imagine which kind of reactions I got from the public? They SCREAMED! Friends again--Bialla´s vanishing radio is an absolute sensation. Maybe there will be a time that I reveal everything about it and than you come to the same conclusion as I: Bialla wa a real GENIUS! The clip on "Hocus Pocus" is from the BMW show I produced 1986 and the radio could have been the finish of the show, but I topped this with the "Appearing Automobile" of which the people, who witnessed the show, are still talking.....TODAY!!!

If you have any questions, pm me!

Message: Posted by: David Todd (May 19, 2004 08:04AM)
Mr. Lesley,

Thanks for sharing the background info on the Ralf Bialla Vanishing Radio.

It is truly one of the most beautiful pieces of prop magic I have ever seen (based on the photo and video posted at Hocus Pocus).
I am so curious to get a closer look at it, but I suppose unless $10,000 dollars magically drops into my lap (hey, that would be an even better trick!) I will have to just dream about it.
I hope whoever buys it makes good use of it. The design is fantastic.
I can imagine that for the layman it is an absolutely [i]stunning[/i] vanish, because there is just no place for that radio to go! No fake looking "thick" table, no false moves; it is truly an elegant effect.

What else did Ralf Bialla perform? His name is new to me, but based on his ingenious Vanishing Radio I would like to know more about him. Are there other Ralf Bialla mechanical masterpieces?

Message: Posted by: Ted Lesley (May 21, 2004 02:11PM)
Hello Friends:
I was asked, if there were other "Bialla mechanical masterpieces." Yes, there were. Nearly all the tricks for his night-club-illusion-act were his inventions or his innovations. Too many to explain here. Let me take one example: He called it: "The Rocket Dog." That looked like two covers for a dove pan, one was slightly smaller and fitted into the bigger one. For his act he kept a lot of animals. One was a darf poodle. Mrs. Bialla put the dog into the smaller cover, which was held by her husband with the opening towards the ceiling. The bigger cover was put on top of the smaller. After a split second the bigger cover was removed and a huge load of silks "exploded" out of both of the covers. Than fireworks emerged from both and after they had burnt down, Ralf turned the covers ever so slowly toward the audience and they saw with astonishment that the dog had gone......! Believe me, it looked fantastic and it took me nearly 10 visits in the "Red Rose" until I discovered the secret of the trick. His finale was the "Vanishing Radio," which is one of the best magical apparatus I ever have seen. To build such a radio in the same fashion like Ralf´s model, It would cost a fortune.

Sometime I have to sit down to write Ralf and Inge's life story and if I get the permission of the daughter reveal all the secrets of this wonderful couple.

Any questions? Feel free to ask!

Message: Posted by: e-man (Jul 19, 2004 03:56AM)
Has anyone seen a Thayer vanishing radio-out there?
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Jul 19, 2004 09:55AM)
I haven't seen a vanishing radio since somebody did it on the Ed Sullivan Show or Hollywood Palace umpteen years ago (gads, here I go dating myself again!).

I checked out the Hocus Pocus site and agree 100% that the Bialla radio, table, and handling are superb. However, I do have a question. In this day and age of micro-electronics, would an audience really accept this as a real radio, even with the cord plugged into it? The old table radios were big because transistors and so forth had not been invented yet, and people pretty much knew that the insides were packed with vacuum tubes and stuff. Nowadays you can carry a powerful radio in your shirt pocket.

I guess I could see this effect done for an "older" audience who might remember the table radios, but I do have to wonder how effective it would be for younger people who have never seen one and don't have a clue why the thing has to be so big. Any thoughts on this?
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jul 19, 2004 10:33AM)
The 'workings' present a 'magical' conclusion no matter what the prop is...the radio, I believe would be just a fine a trick today as ever...people see a big thing...the big thing disappears in their midst.
Magic! Plus there are many generations, including todays that know what a 'blaster' is...go to Circuit City there's a ton of them on the shelves. Every home has a home or portable unit of some size. Even an 8 year old would know what a radio was if they were told it's a radio...but that doean't matter anyway...it's a BIG Thing...and it disappears. Voila!

Does anybody in the Audience know what a Head Chopper is? Or a large platform with stairs and a huge apperatus with spikes and saws and chains hanging that explodes and lights up in clouds of smoke? Doesn't matter...that something magical happens is all that counts.

Message: Posted by: Paul Romhany (Jul 19, 2004 10:36AM)
I bought an excellent vanishing radio from Hocus-Pocus a few years back. It vanishes so quickly and works every time. I don't know the make but it's made to look like an 'old' wooden radio which fits my act perfectly.
One of the best Vansihing Radios I've seen was Franklin's version (Grand Prix FISM Winner 1994). Again it was an older radio. If anybody knows anything about this I would be very interested i.e if it is available. Please pm me.
Message: Posted by: Magic Slo (May 5, 2017 05:47AM)
Here is another great sample of Vanishing Radio:
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (May 5, 2017 06:59AM)
And here is where you can get Waldimir's Vanishing Radio, he has several models now.

Message: Posted by: john magic wright (Jan 24, 2019 12:37PM)
There is one currently on Hocus Pocus.com website for sale