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Topic: Doug Henning rope trick
Message: Posted by: Big Jeff (Jun 23, 2004 12:47AM)
I'm looking for a trick that Doug Henning did. He cut the rope, tied it together, moved the knot and untied it at the new location. Anyone know the name of this trick? Where can I get it? Is this OK for close-up?

Message: Posted by: Magical Dimensions (Jun 23, 2004 03:20PM)
It is in the book [i]Device and Illusion[/i]. The effect is called "Knot Unexpected".

Message: Posted by: Magicusa (Jun 23, 2004 06:21PM)
Ray, that book has some nice things in it.
Message: Posted by: Magical Dimensions (Jun 24, 2004 05:19PM)
It is a great book. There are some really great effects in it.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 24, 2004 06:16PM)

Device and Illusion is a different method. Doug did Paul Curry's effect. It is in one of Curry's later published books.

It requires two assistants.

A one-man version that has gained popularity is marketed by Pavel.

I can still remember being FLOORED, literally, when I first saw Doug do this.

I was sitting in the front row during a show he did in New York at a university. When he did it, I had NO CLUE and believe me, I was NAILED...it is a miraculous effect.
Message: Posted by: Magical Dimensions (Jun 24, 2004 06:39PM)

You are half right. On page 109 of Device and Illusion it says that Henning used to do Paul Curry's "Sliding Knot" in one of his early specials. In 1984 Doug started doing "Knot Unexpected" by Jim Steinmeyer, which is the effect in Device and Illusion.

It requires two assistants and a knife. I have a video of Doug doing this effect on the Johnny Carson Show. It really got great reaction from Johnny and his audience.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 25, 2004 01:31AM)
Thanks for the clarification. I had not seen Douglas do the later version.

I have a couple of one man ways as well, one very simple, the other just on paper yet, but a way to do the Curry version with chairs instead of assistants. (Gaffed to do the same as the assistants).
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jun 25, 2004 04:14AM)
Pete: I have worked on a version for two gaffed chairs as well. It has some interesting throw-offs built into it. PM me. Maybe we can combine some of our ideas on it. I also have a source for the gimmick.

Funny how great minds think alike.
Message: Posted by: Big Jeff (Jun 25, 2004 09:53AM)
Does it require two assistants or two spectators to help?

Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 25, 2004 10:26AM)
Big Jeff, the Paul Curry method requires two assistants they are “set-up”. The Jim Steinmeyer method uses two audience members. The Pavel method uses just the magician on stage tying the rope to two objects (mike stand and chair). They are similar (but not identical) effects each with total different methodology.
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jun 26, 2004 12:14PM)
Pete and Whit,

That's a great idea, using two chairs to tie the rope between.

I have the original Curry manuscript of the effect and I can see how this would be a very practical model of this illusion (eliminating the two assistants to hold the rope). I also made the Steinmeyer version, from his book. The Curry original is definitely stronger.

I agree with Pete, when I first saw Doug Henning do it on TV it was a mind blower. "Just no way," thought my little mind. Then I purchased the Paul Curry manuscript and I was very satisfied with how ingenious the method is. However, it's not practical for the small show, without at least two assistants. The chairs would be a great solution.

Go for it guys!
Message: Posted by: 007mystic (Jun 29, 2004 02:28PM)
When I saw Henning in Indianapolis years ago he did the Pavel sliding knot. At one time Pavel sold a close-up version of this effect. I have an original hand sewn Pavel rope and treasure it greatly.
Message: Posted by: Brian Haagen (Jul 2, 2004 02:03PM)
Where could you get the Paul Curry manuscript?
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jul 2, 2004 05:57PM)
I have no idea. It was advertised in [i]Genii[/i] magazine in about 1977 or '78 and I purchased it. I don't know who owns the rights and who may still have it for sale at this point.

Whit Haydn or Pete Biro would be more likely to know.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jul 2, 2004 07:44PM)
Paul Curry's methodology is clearly explained and illustrated in his book, [i]Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond[/i].
Message: Posted by: Scott Ocheltree (Jul 31, 2004 12:02PM)
Googled " Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond" looks like it's out of print and not in stock most places. Is this easier to find than it appears?

I have an original copy of the Paul Curry Sliding Knot manuscript, but would like to get a copy of the book.

Might consider selling the manuscript - have had it for over 20 years and have never come close to performing it.

The beauty of this over Pavel's super sliding knot is that no one can examine the Pavel rope. In the Curry routine, tags attached to the ends of the rope are signed by a legitimate volunteer who gets to cut the rope tie and untie the knot, and in the end gets to keep the rope.

The trade-off is that you need two highly prepared assistants that are gaffed to the hilt to hold the rope.

Having written - all of the above, I start thinking about an upcoming venue where I may be able to perform this...

Is there anybody here who has ever attempted this effect? I'd like to discuss it with somebody who has actually used it.
Message: Posted by: KeirRoyale (Aug 20, 2004 01:20AM)
I perform the one from device and illusion (Knot Unexpected) I
e-mailed Jim Steinmeyer about it before I put it together and he said not to buy the marketed knife neccesary to perform the trick as it was to small. I built mine and it works great.
Message: Posted by: Dario (Sep 14, 2004 04:34PM)
I don't understand why the knife is too small, because if the piece is too big, doesn't look like a knot.

Do you perform it for adult audiences?
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Sep 15, 2004 12:08AM)
Big Jeff's description sure sounded like Pavel's Super walking knot to me.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 15, 2004 11:38AM)
For parlour use I worked out a way to do it without assistants, pulls, nothing but rubber cement and rope. Now I forget where I kept the notes. But, if you know the principle you could work it out. I used about seven feet of rope.

I "believe" John Cornelius has a similar handling with a short ungimmicked rope, not sure if he ever published it.
Message: Posted by: Dario (Sep 15, 2004 02:43PM)
Hi Pete,

That is very interesting the idea to do it without assistants because eliminates all the problems and you can give them at the end is like if all are on the stage.

But, How do you change the rope?
It could be very usefull to me I think this is the worst point in the effect. Can you explain it in a more detailed manner. Thank you very much. I think I can develop the trick in a way that suits me very well That's why I'm so interested

Posted: Sep 15, 2004 3:44pm
If someone is interested, the Cornelius handling is in one of his videotapes. I think is in "The Creative magic of John Cornelius" ( but is more like a quik effect)

And with the Pavel's phenomenal rope trick and super walking knot junior you can get the same effect in a more clear situation than in the Corelius version (but using a gimmicked rope)

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 16, 2004 09:11PM)
Why give away the rope? You need it to do another show.
Message: Posted by: Dario (Sep 17, 2004 03:29AM)
Hi Pete,

In he routine, you are telling that you are using chairs instead of assistants.

In one moment you need to free one end of the rope, make the change and then unknot the rope, I supose. Wich is your justification? or Do you do the trick in other way?


P.D:I was thinking in give away the rope, just for examination and some comedy byplay. Because they pay ONLY for a magician and not for rope pieces. And if they want to keep the ropefor himself I'll charge it in the bill.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 17, 2004 08:39PM)
I have NOT completely worked out the chair method, have not had time, but some day. If you know the original Curry trick, just think of doing it with heavy chairs.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Sep 27, 2004 04:26PM)
I think that doing the Curry Effect with Chairs is a marvelous idea. However, having to troup the chairs makes me wonder if it's that much better than the Pavel version. Maybe it is. I too, was floored when I first saw Doug Henning do it.

Chuck Mignosa had an interesting idea to "motivate" using chairs. After all, what reason do you have to tie the rope onto chairs. For that matter, why do two assistants have to carry one little rope out on stage for the Curry routine? Chuck is the partner of Ormond McGill and they used to take turns doing their shows for the National Federation of the Blind Fundraising shows they did all over Northern and Central California. When Ormond did his full evening show, Chuck traveled with him and acted as his assistant. And, vice versa.
So, Chuck would do his regular cut and restored routine during the first half of the show. As intermission drew to it's conclusion, Ormond would walk out on stage dressed as a janitor and swept the stage with a broom. The, when most of the people were into their seats, he'd bring out a couple of chairs and position them the proper distance apart. Then, he'd bring out a rope and tie it to the chairs. Then Chuck entered for the second half, surprised to see the "janitor" on stage. Ormond would point to the rope and say: "Okay, Mr. Magician lets see you cut THAT rope and put it back together." Chuck would get the scissors, and ask the "janitor" "Where do you want me to cut it." Ormond would pick a spot... and you know the rest.

Suddenly, the chairs have a REASON. And, a good trick was even stronger.

Dennis Loomis
P.S. Chuck and Ormond did NOT perform for blind people. The sponsor was raising money for blind people.
I once did a show for a group of people in which half of them were blind, and the other half deaf. Think about that for a moment... how would you have handled it?
Message: Posted by: Werner G. Seitz (Sep 27, 2004 04:38PM)
On 2004-09-27 17:26, Dennis Loomis wrote:
I once did a show for a group of people in which half of them were blind, and the other half deaf. Think about that for a moment... how would you have handled it?
[/quote]No problem..I would have done my invisible pass, as the blind ones couldn't se it and the deaf once couldn't hear the noise I made when doing it :) :) :kermit: , that's what they call *covering all angles * :)