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Topic: Going Crazy - Copperfield Rope Routine?
Message: Posted by: strategus (Apr 21, 2019 06:34PM)
Hello fellow Café patrons,

I might be going crazy and would appreciate your help.

I've been desperately trying to find a rope routine that I'm SURE I saw on a David Copperfield TV special many many years ago. Problem is, I've skimmed through about a dozen of his specials and can't find it.

It's NOT the one from his Orient Express special. It involves 2 spectators on stage, each holding an end of a long rope. Copperfield cuts it in the middle, ties a knot, then slides the knot to near the end of the rope. He then unties the knot to impossibly show it as 2 different pieces of rope, 1 very short and 2 very long.

I'm open to the possibility that it wasn't even on Copperfield, but perhaps another performer -- but I could have SWORN it was him?

Thanks in advance!
Message: Posted by: John Long (Apr 21, 2019 09:29PM)
I have a version of this with DC on stage with one female volunteer. It has similarities to shigeo tackegi routine...

but what kind of help were you looking for?

Message: Posted by: strategus (Apr 21, 2019 11:33PM)
Hi John,

Thanks for the reply.

If you mean the clip with DC in the orange shirt and the lady in the white sweater, that's not the routine I'm thinking of.

This one was a larger-scale effect, with 2 spectators. The magician (99% sure it was DC?) stood in the middle.

I remember *most* of the routine pretty clearly, since I watched it over and over at the time. He asked one of the spectators to step towards him to provide a bit of "slack" so he could "cut" the rope.

He then tied and slid the knot to one end, and had a really great handling to "untie" the rope into two pieces -- which I always thought was much better than just sliding the knot off, since it really sells the miracle of a sliding knot.

Problem is, I can't remember the exact handling on the finale. I used to do it for friends, but that was about 20 years ago that last tried doing it. :(

Like I said in my original post, I'm open to the possibility that I wasn't even DC, since I'm not 100% sure of it. But it was from that era of TV magic specials, around the early 90's?

My VHS of this routine is long gone, and so far YouTube has failed me. So I'm hoping some kind soul on MCF will put me out of my misery and confirm I'm not imagining all this!

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 22, 2019 03:37AM)
I cna't remember the name of it either. I believe it is a Jim Steinmeyer invention. It was put out by Magic Inc. years ago, and finally went off the market. I remember in the last several months it being offered again.

It uses a huge long kitchen carving knife to cut the rope.
Message: Posted by: tgplano (Apr 22, 2019 06:34AM)
Look at Pavel Magic "Walking Knot" tricks. Here's a link: http://www.pavelmagic.com/us/mainhome.php?p=super_walking_knot

I think that's exactly what you want.

I bought the Junior Walking Knot and it plays great.

Message: Posted by: Zauberman (Apr 22, 2019 08:25AM)
Paul Daniels did exactly this on one of his hour long shows. Perhaps it was him you saw?
Message: Posted by: strategus (Apr 22, 2019 12:01PM)
Wow, thanks everyone.

After some digging prompted by your helpful tips, I've discovered the routine is called Knot Unexpected -- which I would have never discovered with without your help!

I still haven't found the exact performance of it I saw, but I suspect was wasn't DC after all -- most likely either Doug Henning or Paul Daniels. If I ever find it, I'll post it here to close the loop on this thread.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 22, 2019 05:26PM)
I believe you are correct, it was David Copperfield, you saw. I vaguely remember him performing it.

There are 3 very different versions of the cut and restored moving knot effect.

Doug Henning used the most elaborate version, that needed 2 paid assistants, it was invented by an old magician. The set up was very mecanical.
Copperfield performed Knot Unexpected.
Then there is the Pavel version.

All very different working. Henning's was never sold or exposed as the working, but there were some leaks, that lead to the method.

Can't comment on Paul Daniels version, as he was in England, and none of his shows were aired on television here in the U.S. Anyway not in my area of the country.

Yes, I looked it up, it was Tony Clark that came out with Knot Unexpected version 2.0. I don't care for the handling, and it looks like he used his Slydini experience to change to a scissors. WOW, is that over priced, an effect to go from $35 to to $175, I would think you would get some superior craftsmanship props.
Message: Posted by: strategus (Apr 23, 2019 02:27PM)
[quote]On Apr 22, 2019, Bill Hegbli wrote:
I believe you are correct, it was David Copperfield, you saw. I vaguely remember him performing it.

Oh, no.

I was almost happier when I thought I had imagined it, but now that you've corroborated my memory, I'm even MORE motivated to find that clip! :-(

Problem is, I've scanned through the first 10 DC televised specials and haven't found it. I'm sure I was performing this trick in the early 90's, so maybe DC was on another show or something? Argh...

For what it's worth, I did my own version of this with a 100% ungimmicked knife, some wax... and a long sleeve jacket. ;) Didn't have much disposable income back in those days, so it was about being resourceful!
Message: Posted by: JNeal (Apr 27, 2019 08:45AM)
The one that Henning did was invented by Paul Curry, Copperfield's version (if it was DC) was probably the one by Steinmeyer, that was simpler and the knife was the 'trick" and Pavel's had a gaffed rope.
Message: Posted by: AllanK (Apr 28, 2019 05:29AM)
In his book "Device and Illusion", Steinmeyer explains that he developed "Knot Unexpected" for Doug Henning to use as a replacement for the cumbersome Paul Curry version, around 1984. He says that Henning used it in his touring show and in several television appearances. I doubt that Copperfield would have performed it given that it was created for Henning. I can certainly remember seeing Henning perform it on TV, but never Copperfield. It was later marketed by Hank Lee, but the knife handle was not big enough to do its job properly. That's the reason that Steinmeyer wrote up the method in Device and Illusion. I had the original marketed version and it did, indeed, "leave a bit to be desired in construction and instruction." I now have Tony Clark's version, which has the "necessary" beautifully hidden in a pair of extremely sharp ordinary-looking scissors (a la Slydini, as Bill has noted). So, Strategus, I think you are remembering Henning, not Copperfield. By the way, if you haven't got Device and Illusion, get it - it really provides a wonderful insight into Steinmeyer's thinking.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (May 5, 2019 01:02PM)
As I stated above, I vaguely remember, I guess my memory was too vague. I said to myself, Henning would never repeat an effect where the effect was the same but the working very different. So I was sure wrong. He would do just that in this case.

Only can get that from someone who works for the national television network, as Henning was before home DVRs.

I think it is just wrong that they keep all those archives of old television shows in New York and Los Angeles and none of it available for viewing by the general public.
Message: Posted by: FrankFindley (May 5, 2019 02:42PM)
Henning did Knot Unexpected on tour too. I saw him perform it live at the Holiday Star Theater in Merrillville Indiana.

For those who own Knot Unexpected but want a bigger you-know-what, check out the Cold Steel Bushman knife available for $15 to $25. If you like you can wrap the handle in wood grain shelf liner (I havent bothered). The bigger blade gives a more natural appearance in my opinion. Also, it is made out of pure steel so not succeptible to being broken. Here is a quick picture of the original next to the bushman on a piece of paper for size perspective.


I discovered that with the bushman you can do a more deceptive move where the action takes place at the middle of the knife. It has fooled numerous magicians who are aware of original but have seen me do this. One was so excited he offered $50 to see my "custom designed" knife, LOL.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (May 5, 2019 06:39PM)
Magic Inc. sold the effect with a white handled knife years ago. I could never find that cheap looking knife any where.
Message: Posted by: AllanK (May 6, 2019 06:48AM)
Bill, the white-handled knife you mention is the one I bought from Hank Lee all those years ago. The instructions state: "Copyright 1988 Hank Lee's Magic Factory . . . produced by permission of Jim Steinmeyer." It really was awful! I made a big knife using the method that Steinmeyer described in his book, but it certainly didn't look as good as Frank's knife. The black "Knot Unexpected" knife in the lower part of Frank's picture looks exactly the same as my white-handled knife.
Message: Posted by: Jerskin (May 7, 2019 02:12PM)
I don't remember Copperfield doing it. I do an ungimmicked version in my show.
Message: Posted by: curtisG (May 15, 2019 01:41PM)
Like others above said, sounds a lot like Pavel's Super Walking Knot