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magic mike
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Michael M.
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There was an article in one of the leading magician's magazines about two years ago about a famous magician who ran out of flash paper and decided to make his own in a bathtub of a hotel he was staying. Well, he went out to dinner after making the flash paper and when he returned he learned the water pipes had burst from the chemicals used to make the flash paper. Does anyone remember the magician's name and the name of the magazine and date it was published?
Channing Pollack is my idea of the perfect magician. For those of you that have not seen him perform, I recommend trying to get hold of a video of an old movie called "European Nights" made about 1959.
I was able to buy this video from Stevens Magic
HarbinJr.
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Try and contact Billy McComb. If memory serves me I want to say that it was a Magic magazine that had the article in it. Hope that helps.


Robert
willem
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Magic mike did you get the name ?
andrew martin
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I think it's Russell Swan ?
irossall
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Yes it was Russell Swann and the article in question is in the November 2002 edition of Magic Magazine on page 127.
Anyone who wants a copy of the story can PM me and I will be more than happy to send it along to them (send me self addressed stamped envelope).
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hugmagic
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It was Russell Swan. He destroyed the water pipes in an entire hotel.

Billy McComb related the story to me.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Bob Sanders
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Let's see, in chemistry didn't we learn that metal and acids are a bad combination? Remember using a small piece of zinc and making a hydrogen generator?

Eleventh grade! Four of the best years of my life!

Bob
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hugmagic
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One of the best "flashpaper" stories I read in an old Genii magazine. I guy had written in how he a new safe prcess for making flashpaper. No danger whatsoever. Later in the same issue was his obituary. Seems his "safe" method, blew up and leveled his house.

Moral..Don't mess with the stuff. Just buy it.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Payne
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I don't know, sounds kind of apocryphal to me. Wouldn't the fumes coming off the sulphuric, nitric acid mixture be rather toxic in the confines of a hotel bathroom?
Plus how does an out of town magician get his hands on the necessary ingredients?

Wasn't there a similar story of Paul Winchell ruining a hotels plumbing with plaster of Paris when he attempted to make a copy of Jerry Mahoney in his hotel room bathtub?

My favorite flash paper mishap story is the one where the guy is trying to make flash bills using his companies photocopier. I guess he got about halfway through before the residual heat ignited the paper.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Pete Biro
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Joe Berg had made a batch of flash paper. He layed all the sheets out on the counters of the shop to dry... which they did...

He was in the back room and Clarke "Senator" Crandall came in with his ever present cigar.

POOF... got too close to the flash paper with his cigar... and all the flash paper was gone.

Joe came back out to see who was in the shop.

He looked at Crandall and said, "What happened to all the flash paper?"

Crandall said, "What flash paper?"

:kermit:
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Bob Sanders
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Quote:
On 2005-04-26 13:03, Payne wrote:
I don't know, sounds kind of apocryphal to me. Wouldn't the fumes coming off the sulphuric, nitric acid mixture be rather toxic in the confines of a hotel bathroom?
Plus how does an out of town magician get his hands on the necessary ingredients?

Wasn't there a similar story of Paul Winchell ruining a hotels plumbing with plaster of Paris when he attempted to make a copy of Jerry Mahoney in his hotel room bathtub?

My favorite flash paper mishap story is the one where the guy is trying to make flash bills using his companies photocopier. I guess he got about halfway through before the residual heat ignited the paper.


Boom! It is really bad knowing people on the way up!

I remember in the 70s when I changed from black powder to Newco Flash Powder. Black powder made no noise. That is not true of Newco. I was doing a stage show somewhere out west. I had on one of new-fangled chordless clip on mics. I leaned over the flash pot, lifted the top on my Doves to Rabbit and stepped on the switch. BOOM!

Everybody backstage hit the deck including my old Navy buddy The Great Xavier just back from Jungle School in Panama. It was an ending!

Bob
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David Charvet
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I remember the article that Richard Hughes mentions above in the old Genii. I seem to remember both the man and his wife were killed and left two small children as orphans. Also, who was it a few years ago who's van caught on fire while they were transporting flash paper? I believe he was also seriously burned.
Also, Payne, in "the good old days" chemicals were a lot easier to obtain. I worked for Van Waters and Rogers chemical supply in Seattle for a short time in the early 1980's (just out of high school) and bought a 1 gallon(!) jar of zinc sterate (fanning powder) for about $5. That's about enough powder for every deck of cards you'd ever fan in 3 lifetimes. I could also get just about any other chemical to perform anything mentioned in John Lippy's "Chemical Magic" book with no problem. Times have certainly changed (probably a good thing, in this case.)
I keep what little flash paper and bills I have in ziplock bags in the freezer.
hugmagic
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It was a guy from Cleveland, Manning Sperling. He was smoking and the ashes flicked out the window blew back into the car and the flash paper ignited. He died from the burns.

I was just with Gene Anderson at FFFF and Gene said he is even having trouble getting chemicals now. And he was a top chemist.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Bill Palmer
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Much of this whole thing started about 1970. The case was settled here in Houston. A fellow who worked for Shakey's Pizza Parlor as a janitor had gone over to one of the local chemical houses to purchase muriatic acid to strip the wax off the floor. They told him how much to dilute the solution and the proper procedure to do so. It wasn't going fast enough for him, so he poured the concentrated acid on the concrete floor. Smoke billowed forth from the front door of the pizza parlor and the local fire department came to put it out. When the smoke cleared, every piece of copper wire in the building had been corroded. This included the band's new amplifiers. The plating was eaten off the new mike stands, and the stainless steel shelving in the walk-in cooler was destroyed. There were measurably lethal concentrations of chemical compounds in the walls.

When Shakey's sued him, he revealed that he was a minor, so he went scott free. They went after the chemical company and won the case, because there was no WRITTEN WORD that told how to use the chemical.

The tragic events of 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing and the use of some of our favorite chemicals by meth labs have made chemical magic almost a thing of the past. On top of this, some of the chemicals currently advertised for producing smoke are not the kind, gentle items their sellers say they are. And, in fact, if they are shipped through the mail, they could be fined.

Posted: May 11, 2005 11:59pm
On a lighter note, DuPont decided in 1975 to quit making black powder. This was a collossal mishap, because the bicentennial celebrations were about to take place and all the reenactors were looking for a source. They didn't want to cook it up in their own back yards, because it is not only unsafe, it is very messy.

A fellow was looking for a substitute and came up with a compound that he marketed called "Pyrodex." Touted as a safe substitute for black powder, in reality there were things that happened to it under unusual circumstances.

Ironically, the inventor of Pyrodex was killed in a testing explosion. This was the second time a crate of it had blown up on him. Talk about a slow learner.
"The Swatter"

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hugmagic
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It may or may not be known but several people have been hurt putting "Comet" cleanser in a toilet and then adding bleach. It reacts severely.

Richardf
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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David Charvet
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I believe it was Mike Caldwell's son who died at a young age when overcome by fumes while cleaning his aquarium in the bathtub. He passed out from the fumes of the cleaner and drown. Really tragic and I am sure it affected Mike for the rest of his life.
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2005-05-12 08:09, hugmagic wrote:
It may or may not be known but several people have been hurt putting "Comet" cleanser in a toilet and then adding bleach. It reacts severely.

Richardf


There are warnings on the back of the Comet labels as well as other detergents that contain ammonia that tell people not to mix cleansers. Ammonia plus bleacn produces chlorine gas.

When we moved from our old house to our new one, when I was in High School, we had to spend a couple of months in a rental house while our new one was being finished. Some neighborhood vandals had written obscenities on the walls of the rent house with feces.

I came home the day we moved to find my mother leaning over a bathtub full of comet and bleach, coughing her lungs out, tears running down her face. I got her outside in time to keep her from dying.

It's a fact. People do not read warning labels. If they did, NOBODY would smoke.

And those idiots who put out the smoke devices that use TiCl4 would know better.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Bryan Gilles
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I've got one for you...

My senior prom (1999)... Some close friends knew of my passion for magic invited my date and I out to a well known retaraunt for the big prom dinner. I performed several coin sleights and was going to impress my date with the ever-so-popular "Floating Rose"... I went for the flash paper only to realize I had left it on my dresser at home. I made a break for the payphone and had my dad bring me a fresh sheet from his supply (luckily, he lived about 2 mins away). He made the drop off and I was good to go. The ITR worked better than ever. I even had the wax stuck to a centerpiece in the table so I could make the ball of paper dramatically dance at my date's fingertips. I felt like Copperfield for a brief moment. I went through the folding of the rose and wrapped the thread just right. (probably the best performance on my part of this effect). I floated the rose and made the hoop with my outstretched arms... then, went for the match from my homemade match pull (Thank god dad purchased that Tony Clark video!). I was ready for the big finale.... and..... the paper slowly began to burn.... ash and suet fell into my date's lap and I stood beet-red. To this day, my dad swears it was a bad batch of flash paper... I think it was a half sheet from the good 'ol 2-ply.... Luckily her dress dusted off... No one realized my goof... they thought that was part of the act... I've gone on never to perform the effect again!

Slightly Still Red,
Bryan Gilles
p.s.- Stop laughing Harbin Jr.!!!
Antony Gerard
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Hugmagic wrote "It was a guy from Cleveland, Manning Sperling. He was smoking and the ashes flicked out the window blew back into the car and the flash paper ignited. He died from the burns." I don't know about Manning Sperling but Murry Sobel from Murry's Magic And Novelty in Solon, Ohio died in a flash paper accident while transporting (in his van) his freshly made batch of flash paper from his manufacturing location to his shipping location. He was smoking and the ashes that he flicked out of the van window blew back into the van and the flash paper ignited. He died 30 days later from the burns. If the two stories are two different people then the unrelated incidents seem too coincidental to be true. Not only are the stories nearly identical but even the initials of the two magicians are the same. But then again truth is quite often stranger that fiction.

In the mid 1970s I was producing and working a show called "The Mugicians Of Spellbound Present Rock And Magic". It was a rock and role show where I was a practical joking magician who wanted the band off of the stage so that I could perform my magic. On one of the gigs we arrived at the show early in our white Limo. There was already a crown of fans waiting to get into the club when we arrived. What the crowd saw was nothing less than spectacular. As the doors of the Limo opened, flames shot skyward from each of the opened doors. A moment later, there we stood outside of the Limo as if by magic. The applause was deafening and, if not for the fact that the crowd was already standing, I am sure we would have gotten a standing ovation.

What the crown didn't know was “The rest of the story”. In those days I bought large bags of scrap flash paper. It was the trimmings off of the larger sheets. The cost of the scrap flash paper was about one third less which allowed us to do much larger flashes in the show. What actually happened that day is this. One of the large bags of flash paper was on the floor of the Limo. When we opened the doors in unison , one of the band members lit a cigarette, blew out the match, and tossed the match onto the floor. Well the match landed right in the bag which contained the equivalent of between 15 to 20 envelopes of flash paper.
It must have been quite a sight and even though we were asked to do it again the next night we didn’t.

Take care and take cards
Antony Gerard

PS: And yes it really happened.
hugmagic
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No, it was Murry. Manning and he were partners at one time and I get the names confused sometimes. Isn't old age wonderful?

Thanks for the correction.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
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Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
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