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Topic: Sub Trunk Patter/Lines
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 18, 2004 08:01PM)
Anyone have any ideas as how or what to say even any one liners. Don,
Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Sep 19, 2004 12:14AM)
There are some effects in magic that are powerful enough and magical enough that they speak for themselves. The Sub Trunk is one such effect. Do it to music, and don't muddle it up with a bunch of pointless chatter. It will only detract from the effect. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 19, 2004 12:52AM)
One liners? That trick has so much dramatic action it would be a shame to clutter the action with weak comedy. You can "say" so much more with costume, setting and character work.

That said, just what is your motivation for putting someone into handcuffs, then into a canvas bag, then into a trunk? Why do you stand on top of the trunk? What do you expect to happen? Why do you cover the whole thing with a screen or curtain? What does it mean to the assistant to be on the trunk afterwards? Why does she know you are in the trunk? Why does she want to let you out?

Your answers to those questions might guide you toward a reasonable presentation for the trick.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 19, 2004 01:46AM)
I'll like to present/perform this diffrently I will not be standing on top of the trunk. for certain reasons but I do want to make this a decent performance. Don,
Message: Posted by: Curtis Kam (Oct 1, 2004 05:28AM)
Jonathan's right, of course, and he could just as well be Jonathan Pendragon, who wrote much the same thing about the presentation of illusions. The first step in finding your presentation is deciding what the effect will be. The rest is easy.

Jonathan P. points out that the trunk effect is to some, an escape. You would naturally focus your presentation (and even your one-liners) towards emphasizing the conditions of the restraint. This is where the old "laced up canvas cover" makes sense. The exchange should not, perhaps, be too fast.

Mid-range, the switch is akin to sleight-of-hand on a larger scale. You might lead into this with a quick visual gag where you and your assistant quickly trade places. I believe David Acer and Richard Saunders did a nice one that was published in a magazine a while back. Or look into the juggling stunts where people exchange positions, and hats, while jugging.

At the fast end, the switch is not an exchange. It's a visual transformation. We're talking pure visual magic now, not a stunt. The chains, and even the box itself really aren't all that important.

The Pendragons presentation is well known, and as is typical with their pieces, extremely tight thematically. They keep a very tight focus on the point of the presentation.

I read that Topas has a wonderful presentation that ties into the idea of the trunk as a costume trunk. A long, red dress is removed, Topas is on top of the trunk with it, holding it as if it were a person. Somehow, the dress fills with the shape of a woman, wearing the dress, and Topas is gone, eventually found inside the trunk. At least, that's what I recall of Max Maven's review.

There are many other approaches, but the distinct ones all started with an answer to that question. What is this going to be about?

Of course, the Subtrunk can be played for light comedy. After all, we're doing something pretty silly here. Someone's getting tied up and stuck in a bag, and then in a trunk. It's almost a spoof on the serious illusions I just described. This approach is, sadly, the most frequently seen.

Gags are tempting to get you through the "dull" parts, i.e. examining the trunk, the bag, the assistant, etc. However, these parts are only dull when the performer has no real idea why he's doing them. When you know why each second of the routine is there, the "gags" come easily.

This is not to say that a funny routine can't be well written and effective. The best ones always are.

I don't want this to be a complete downer. I do have a couple of gags for you, I'm probably not going to ever do the trick again, so there's no harm in sharing. But it's best that you first figure out whether another gag is what you really need.

Best wishes.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 1, 2004 11:45AM)
Curtis Kam can you please PM me the Gags I'll also try to send part of the script and explain what I'm trying to do. Don,
Message: Posted by: Curtis Kam (Oct 2, 2004 06:20AM)

As I said above, I really don't think it's a good idea until I know you've got an angle on the presentation. I really don't mean to be a jerk, but it just stifles your creativity to solicit lines and bits before you know what you want to do.

See Eugene Burger's essay on creativity and expressing yourself. He thanks Don Alan for Not explaining things to him.

PM me something that shows me the direction you're taking. I don't know you, and I'd hate to screw things up for you.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 2, 2004 07:19AM)
Curtis I doubt you'll Screw things up for me all your trying to do is Help. I'm trying to present it like they did in the Old Days I have the old style Cabinet even the cover is made out of velvet. I have a few ideas but I need some humor or something to add to it. I did PM you yesterday I'm not sure if you received it or not. Don,
Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Oct 2, 2004 02:01PM)
Then maybe present it with a historical mini-lecture on the illusion. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 2, 2004 06:14PM)
Dpe666 that is what I'm trying to do. But everything is hard to find Information on. Don,
Message: Posted by: Curtis Kam (Oct 5, 2004 06:23AM)

Okay, that I can work with. First, you've got to look at yourself. Are you old enough to carry off the "knowledgable authority" persona? To do it well requires a certain amount of gravitas. Few people naturally want to hear a history lesson. No one wants one from someone who doesn't look like he could possibly know what he's talking about.

That is meant to tighten your focus, not discourage. If you are on the younger side, but you're presenting an historical piece, then there's an angle. Maybe it's your senior thesis? Everything was built on a student's budget, of course, and there may be a pizza box here and there. Your assistants, all also student age, have real problems with the historically accurate music. Also, the book you're reading says Houdini amazed the audience by escaping in just under two minutes. TWO MINUTES? What's so amazing about that?

If you're really young, suppose your "Dad" is your onstage assistant, since he built the box. Great potential for character bits there. (he won't give you the keys...)

Suppose you look like you could know these things. You're doing an "Accurate reinactment". Adopt the diction of stage performers of the period. See Ricky Jay's or Michael Skinner's use of the Erdnase patter for examples of how entertaining this can be. Also, someone with a socio-political mindset might find great humor in the way people treated their hired help back then. And the way women (including the girl--I mean lady--in the box) dressed for this effect back then will both provide interest, and enhance the mystery.

Houdini's ego is fast becoming common knowledge. Playing an exaggeration of that stereotype might also be fun.

You might find a place for the gags I mentioned. Briefly, the gag was that, during the course of having a spectator from the audience examine the box, etc., my assistant had reason to get mad at him. As the examination phase continued, I narrowly keep the assistant from strangling the poor guy with the rope, shoving him in the box,and finally, my assistant would (apparently) lift the guy's wallet.

Hey, it worked for me, and it all comes from a desire to develop a funny situation. Once you've got that in mind, the specific gags come easily.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 5, 2004 07:24AM)
Curtis Kam thank you where can I get the information you talked about Ricky Jay or Michael Skinner. have you ever Heard of a Performer Called Kalani hoping I have the correct spelling here. will let you know how it turns out. Don,
Message: Posted by: Curtis Kam (Oct 5, 2004 11:29PM)

Mike Skinner's presentation can be seen on the "home movies" that were graciously offered and preserved by Geno Munari. Skinner uses the presentation for "Cards up the sleeve" we see in both Erdnase and Art of Magic, but he attributes the lines to Hofszinser in performance.

Ricky Jay's routine was presented as a part of his "52 Assistants" show, and is captured on the HBO special. He also did this routine on the David Letterman show. I don't know if the latter is still available, but the HBO special can be purchased.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 6, 2004 06:38AM)
Ok how or where can I purchase/view these. Don,
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 9, 2004 10:41PM)
The funniest but tragically true lines I ever heard in a Sub Trunk routine happened in the Mid-west in the 80s.

John Zardin with his wife Pat and I campaigned a few scores of stage shows together. The Zardins did the Sub Trunk. Pat would escape and John would take her place in the trunk. One show the music finally ran out and the trunk was not opened. Finally, Pat knocks on the trunk and says, "John it's not going to matter how long I dance. You have the keys in your pocket!"

It made one more good case for bridge jumper locks!

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 10, 2004 04:15AM)
LOL Bob can you please Tip More if Possible.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 19, 2004 10:22AM)
On 2004-11-10 05:15, The Donster wrote:
LOL Bob can you please Tip More if Possible.


Old folks call gimmicked locks and handcuffs "Bridge Jumpers".

One of the best in the bridge jumping business got a reputation long ago for a jump from the bridge in Wetumpka into the rocky river below before moving to the Great Northwest. Wheeler-Tanner gear is still available up there as far as I know.

In the entertainment industry, Bridge Jumpers are also escape artists who are chained and cuffed before jumping into the water and freeing themselves. It is much like "Box Jumpers" in stage magic. However, the box jumper is usually a pretty girl rather than the ugly magician himself. (Even old guys like that!)

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Nov 19, 2004 11:05AM)
Bob yes Joe Tanner is now in Cali I Hear. and not great falls Montana.