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Topic: The Appearing Bird Cage
Message: Posted by: radamwarner (Aug 5, 2015 05:49PM)
I forgot to mention this trick in my earlier post. For those who own the appearing birdcage (not the small square version) what is your opinion of the effect. Is it a reliable effect? I believe it comes in several sizes and has a bell shape. I believed the current models are manufactured either in India or China.
Message: Posted by: JNeal (Aug 7, 2015 12:20AM)
The reliability of this item is directly related to the manufacturer. The ones made by Owens Magic in California are the most reliable. Second in reliability are the two models made by Harahkan in Japan (No longer in production, but available with a bit of searching), followed by those from China or India.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 7, 2015 02:07AM)
I have to Harahkan Cage, medium size. The only thing I have against them is that when the pop open they hit your finger really hard, and boy does it hurt.

Bazar de Magia has a copy of the Merv Taylor type Appearing Bird cage.
http://www.bazardemagia.com/producto/4567-appearing_bird_cage At a hundred dollars it is a steal compared to the original collectable.
Message: Posted by: radamwarner (Aug 8, 2015 01:58PM)
Dear J Neal,
I am familiar with the Owen's model, and as I remember, it looks like a real cage. And Bill, thank you for the link.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 8, 2015 06:45PM)
In comparison, the Harahkan and the copies of this model, do not have a locking or release mechanism built into them. So you will have do invent that method yourself. They are made for the instant production. Whereas the Merv Taylor type cage is a delayed production and you are looking at the mechanism in the picture. No holder of any kind come with either model.

No instructions with the Harahkan cages and only a page with the Merv Taylor. Place a large silk over your hand, grab the center of the scarf, and hold it up. Then a form appears under the scarf, pull it away and the Taylor cage is seen.

With the type larger Harahkan type cage, the larger the silks you will have to buy, and figure a way to produce them, unless you can figure another production method.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 18, 2016 12:12PM)
I finally could not wait any longer, I got the Bazar de Magia Bird Cage. Upon inquiry, the information on the cage, is there was a craftsman in South America who made these and other metal item. He stopped his business and Bazar de Magia bought his remaining stock. So there is limited number of these cages fashioned after the Merv Taylor cages. The only difference I can see is that the black portions in the above photo I posted, are a plastic material. In the original they are all metal parts.

I received the cage last week and have been working with it ever since. No instructions come with the cage. I can say it is a very well made prop, and works as smoothly as it should. With a slight jerk, the cage opens instantly. I like the delayed opening for this kind of production, because you can be well away from the body, table, stand, etc. before the appearance of the cage. Building the mystery for the production.

I would suggest, those that are interested in performing this type of item, look or compare the productions methods with the parasol production methods and holders. Many of the methods can be transferred to production cages like this.

Of course, these cages can be produced out of a Temple Screen or Square Circle and other type of production apparatus.

I like this Appearing Cage a lot, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a cage production. It seems to be the same size as the regular Taylor cage, 8" round and 8" tall, extending to 12" with the upper extension and ring. No bird comes with this model. When I seen some of the Taylor cages, they came with a read fake bird with feathers. It is said that these cages can hold a real bird. On this model, I would suggest putting a wood dowel over the metal perch so the bird has something stable to grip with his feet. You do have to handle the cage with care, no dropping or tossing about. The metal cage bars are delicate.

Now the best part, they only cost $100 for this fine metal work. Old used Merv Taylor pieces start at $150 and go up from their.

These cages were very much in use back in the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's by vaudeville magicians. Reading about the magicians of the 1930's, many famous magician included the bird cage production in their acts, whether it be a patter or silent act. Acts in those days were from 8 minutes to 20 minutes in deration. Even the larger full stage shows used them regularly as part of their productions. Some would have hood under their tabletops and just hook them beneath the tabletop and leave them on display.

Hope you find this information helpful if you have been wanting to produce bird cage magically in your act or show.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 18, 2016 02:30PM)
I received a question on how to close the Taylor and Taylor type cages. I found that by making your hand into a circle, thumb touching the second [I]finger[/I], and slowly passing it over the top of the cage, will close the cage nicely. I have not tried it yet, but I am looking for ring that will fit over the cage partially down the cage, this will close the cane more evenly, then your hand can do. Then remove the ring by raising it to the top again after locking it.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 18, 2016 03:35PM)
I have a Taylor cage. I used to produce it impromptu, like while shopping in clothing store looking at handkerchiefs.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 19, 2016 06:28AM)
I remember seeing a Merv Taylor cage for the first time at the iBM convention in Chicago, in 1950. It looked GREAT! --but, it cost $20.00! --(then!)

At Abbott's GTG about 20 years ago, a magician produced a cage, and hung it on a hook on a stand, to display it. After the next trick, he produced another cage, and hung it on another hook. There were four empty hooks remaining, and, the audience now knew that there were four more cages coming!

So much for theatrical surprise! --Like the multiplying balls, after the second ball arrives, "they" know that two more are coming! Alan Wakeling, and Roy Benson, were artists who understood! Oh! Richard Pitchford, too!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 19, 2016 07:55AM)
I did not know creating anticipation was a bad thing. If that is true, then why bother, as soon as they announce the performer is a magician, "they" know what is coming, some weird person doing magic tricks, like on YouTube. Why bother?

Dick, I thought of that, and my hooks do not appear until needed, under a round tabletop.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 20, 2016 09:25PM)
Bill...I just wrote a couple paragraphs, but this &^%% infernal electrisch peckenclacker "ate" them. I'll try to come back tomorrow and rewrite.

I'm glad that you "thought of that"! I'll try to extend my comments, and clarify my point.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 21, 2016 08:34AM)
I'm back!

You solved the problem, Bill! --Your hooks do not appear until needed! The magician at Abbott's GTG apparently did not understand about "repeat gags". His "faux pas" did not kill his act, but, it didn't help it any either.

I don't think that creating anticipation is a bad thing, but, there is a right way, and a wrong way to do it!

In the Victorian era, magicians would have, upstage center, a large table, heaped (!) with "apparatus", and, two tripod 'side" tables down left, and down right. One at a time, a "piece of magic" (ridiculous, as magic only happens in the spectator(s) minds!) would be moved from the upstage table, brought to a tripod, and "worked". Then, "it" was replaced, and another "piece of apparatus" was moved, and worked. In retrospect, the stage looked like the old fashioned dime store window!

A year or so ago, a magician in the Café, declared that this arrangement created anticipation! I want to create ENTERTAINMENT!

See David Bamberg's essay in "Greater Magic" (chapter XXXI)!!! (OKITO's son knew a wee bit about showmanship and presentation!

I've heard a story of an audience member, exclaiming, when the curtain opened , and, he saw the "plethora of props" displayed in a Victorian setting: "Heaven help us! Do we have to sit here and watch all that?" (That's not good anticipation!)

I learned very early that it was important to have the spectator's attention on me, the performer, and, not on the props! Further, if it became necessary to cut a routine or trick in order to finish on the deadline, and, the performer doesn't present a displayed prop. the audience, especially kids, would think that they had not seen the entire show.

My manager agreed. The salesman sold ME as a performer, and, a personality! not a guy with a bunch of props. I was never "at liberty", and, I was on the road for almost 50 years! And, I played to many encores, and, standing ovations, with repeat bookings.

P.S. I totally agree! The appearing bird cage produces a lovely effect, and several cages can really "build". Like with any prop, though, "It aint WHAT ya do, it's HOW ya do it!!!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 23, 2016 08:27AM)
Dick Oslund, that is really interesting, information, as I always thought the Center Table and side tables were set, with the main table down stage, and the side table upstage a little, playing from the center table.

In the proposed topic I attempted to discuss 2014 (my how time passes), attempting to create a show with all apparatus and prop magic tricks, presented as a one man or two person stage show.


I can admit that having a prop on display and not used or presented during a show, does leave people wanting to see what was to be done with the prop. Some time, I had to shorten my show, and every time one person would ask what does those shiny sparkly tubes do. Although, I do not take that request as meaning, that the person did not watch or enjoy any of the tricks in the show.

I have designed a magic show around a living room setting, using the furniture to present magic effects with. In this case the props are all visible, or will be after production in some cases, but they are all on display.

In another idea created, I designed a giant oriental hand fan for the back drop. One the fan are flowers buds that change to scarves, that are then used for various effects. In this setting the bird cages are hung on each end of the giant fan like tassels.

I can see why you created you show material to pack small, but that does not mean, it is the only way to do a stage show. If we all did the same thing and thought the same way, it would be a very boring world. Some magic tricks I just like so much I want audiences to see the trick and enjoy them as much as I do. Having props set on a shelf is time, money and enjoyment being wasted. As you say, the magic is in the presentation of the magic effect. If I can't present what I believe to be some of the best magic effects for audiences, there is no reason to put a show on.

In vaudeville days, magicians would create acts, more to make a living, then their desire to be a magician or show their miracles. They were in constant competition with each other to that trick that made them stand out from all the others. Now we have the opportunity to become a magician because we want to, not because we have no other skills to fall back on in life. This even gives more ability to be original in the tricks you present, and the tricks you chose to show an audience.
Message: Posted by: MrBob102 (Sep 29, 2019 03:40PM)
Ok, which one is this one? See photo.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Sep 29, 2019 05:50PM)
[quote]On Sep 29, 2019, MrBob102 wrote:
Ok, which one is this one? See photo.

Bob [/quote]

That is most likely a Merv Taylor style, but it looks like it has not been taken care of very well. It probably does not open fully or correctly. They were made in 2 or 3 sizes I believe.
Message: Posted by: MrBob102 (Sep 30, 2019 02:22PM)
Thanks. Our I.B.M. Ring received some magic from a widow and this was one of the items. It looked like itn had been in folded storage for many years. Needs some cleaning and possible re-forming of some of the cage.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Sep 30, 2019 04:18PM)
Yes, it is not much good if it does not work, maybe a collector would be interested in it.

Here is the Famous James P. Riser website that is selling a like new Merv Taylor cage. He is an expert craftsman and inventor of magic metal props. So he can fix his acquisitions himself. It is very difficult to recondition these cages. Mr. Riser has the ability to replace what is needed.

Take a look and compare with yours. Scroll down the page.


It would cost more then what it worth to repair that cage.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Oct 13, 2019 03:27PM)
For those who think you need an expensive collapsing cage to make one appear... think again! It's called Bird Brain, the Mechanical Bird and Cage. $15 on Amazon.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Oct 14, 2019 12:08AM)
Jim, I did a search, nothing named Bird Brain on Amazon. No cages that will collapse, or open automatically. I do see a similar designed as in your photo, but no discription.

I think you need to be more clear as to your post, for magic production effects.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Oct 14, 2019 05:45AM)
The cage I refer to on Amazon is NOT collapsible, which is the whole point. If we, as magicians, don't need collapsible rabbits, or cannon balls or bowling balls to make them appear magically, a small bird cage, even one containing a live dove or two, should be no problem and my e-Book shows several methods to make the mechanical bird and cage appear AND disappear magically. Do a search for "Mechanical Bird in Cage" on Amazon to find the $15 one I am using. If you need exact directions, you'll have to contact me on my site where I can tell you about it
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Oct 14, 2019 06:02AM)
Jim, thanks for the clarification. I only like productions in the hands and from only a large silk. Most of today's magicians are not interested in stage settings for productions and do not really want to learn about using misdirection.

I did find the cage with red bird, but not very good for my method of productions.

I just wanted to know what you were aiming at, as this topic was discussing collapsible cages. So I thought you found something unique.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Oct 14, 2019 04:25PM)
I thought it was about "Appearing Bird Cages" and did not realize that cages which don't collapse were being excluded. What's unique about making this mechanical bird cage appear is what you can do with the mechanical bird AFTERWARDS (think Del Ray) and before making the whole thing disappear. Making an obvious collapsible cage with a rubber canary (or worse, an empty cage) appear doesn't leave much room for giving a reason for doing such a thing. On the other hand, the mechanical bird can leave its cage to go on to locate chosen cards, predict the roll of a die, lay an egg that contains a prediction billet when cracked open, spell out joke answers using alphabet cards and more.Then both cage and bird can disappear as a grand finale. That's why I named my version "Bird Brain."