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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Don Wayne's floating ball (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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haywire
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Timothy,

I'm very familar with the losander floating tables...

They are unfortunately very beyond my financial means.

My current show is going well, but as always I want to add better and more impressive effects. I'm working on a flash appearance for myself to start the
show (frame type with flashpots) Also working on more effects involving female assistants, I have two at my disposal but so far have not used them both.

I am adding a hummingbird card type effect with a lighted gimmick...

I'd like to add a free floating effect, and perhaps a bi-section type effect,
still researching these.

Also remember, this stuff is all taking place during a band performance, so
the selection of effects that make sense or fit is quite limited.

Also of important note is that the venues are quite often very uncooperative to
our needs besides the usual band type of things. (What? turn off the stage lights? Why? or Hey, no fire in here pal, that's dangerous! or my favorite, is this a band or a magic show?)

Any suggestions for good and preferably inexpensive stage effects would be greatly appreciated. I'm glad I finally registered and started posting here, so far everyone's advice has been awesome... Its amazing to me that famous seasoned professionals will take the time to help their fellow performers.

Warmest regards,

Steven
hugmagic
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Billy Russell also did a very good floating ball routine. Supposedly, he taught parts of it to Thurston. I believe there is a write up of it in the old Linking Rings. I know it was published by Donald Holmes and republished by Richard Robinson. I have a copy of the orginal and may someday publish it again with some other Russel material I have.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Mike Ching
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Aloha;

Hope I someday have the chance to see Tim Ds & Mirror Image routines. I enjoy all floating effects.

Have been researching/working Floating/Dancing Efx for about 35 years and wrote a book on Dancing Hank work which has just been re-released (NEW ANIMATIONS) Have worked many angles of each in Conventions, TV and Theatre. The Tech chapters were comprehensive due to input from the great Charles Reynolds, who consulted extensively to his good friend harry Blackstone Jr. and also to Doug Henning on many TV specials.

There are Many, many, many techniques for the floating Ball as well as Dancing Hank and they go back much further than most of us are aware. The Technique taken to its's best by OKITO (Tobias Bamberg) was actually created in rudimentary form by well-known amateur magician David P Abbott, who offered the effect to the touring Howard Thurston. Bamberg was with Thurston that night (he did his Chinese act and assisted and built for Thurston).

Thurston passed on the effect, but Okito was fascinated and spent much time choreographing the effect. He first featured it as part of the Thurston show and later left to head his own act. It was said to have brought down the house at the "Wintergarden" (a famous European hall of the time).

Some notes:
Okito was deaf as the result of a childhood near-drowning and subsequent illness. he lived in a world of the visual.
Legend says he often practiced the routine in a robe of white in every new venue to test the limits of the lighting.
It was also said he completely forbade anyone backstage from moving during its performance as even the slightest tremor would translate to an unsightly jiggle atop the long support end (being unfortunately vague here) to which the ball was fixed.
OKITO (an anagram for "TOKYO" Passed the effect on by shadow rehearsals to his son, David Bamberg, a famous Magician in his own right, better known to us as "FU MANCHU".

(Some Tips:, many oldtime pros say the key was to start with the lights up as BRIGHT as possible and bring down the ones that were giving you trouble. a BLACK backdrop is widely considered problematic by those in the know, and only armchair magicians (and unfortunately some armchair authors) reccomend using black as a drop. those who actually do this effect, you know what I mean, I've recently discovered some nifty new backdrop ideas that work well for the effect and have updated the tech chapters in the 2005 Edition of the book).

According to some, the effect (or a version of it) actually goes back to the 1800's. A performer named VALLADON (I believe) was the first to advertise such an effect. He has the unfortunate distinction of being the only magician blown up onstage (The result of a steam boiler accident).

The physical makeup of the Okito Ball is very interesting, if I have time, I will try to get back to this topic. I suspect it will suprise you. In a way it is somewhat similar to how the Don Wayne ball was made.

I had the good fortune to see Doug Henning do his version in Vegas. It was super awesome and filled a massive stage. So good I thought it was computer controlled. Only years later while researching the Dancing hank book did I begin to understand to the method he used. He was an awesome young performer who made magic "Accessible" to those of his generation, much the same as David Blaine has given this generation an appreciation for it.

Magical Aloha;
-Mike C

PS Yes Richard, thanks for reminding me, I think I have the reprinted manuscript of the Billy Russell routine, I believe he specialized in school shows, and had a method similar to Okito, though not as refined.
The Drake
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Mike,

You are indeed a wealth of knowledge! I have the David Abbott Book of Mysteries so I know a bit about him but the history of the effect you know is amazing. Where is your book available from?


Best,

Tim
Mike Ching
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Thanks much Tim;

Theres a little about it on one of the recent DANCING HANDKERCHIEF threads. I don't have the website up yet, though I hope to within 2 months with a CC link and plan to advertise in MAGIC and Café'. It was carried by Magic inc/Hank Lees/Tannens but my initial run was rather small since I figured it was such a specialized topic. I ran out quickly and got pre-occupied with other things until now.

It is $55 (Airmailed) anywhere in the US. If interested contact me and I will send you the mailing address or Paypal Invoice you until the site is up.

I can't recall which books I learned about the Abbott info from, suspect there were several and also from conversations with Chas Reynolds. He is a longtime hero of mine.

Have long heard the definitive illustrated breakdown of the OKITO routine was published in a set of book(s?) by Dr. Albo. Often referred to as "The Albo Book" by collectors, it is said to be rare and prohibitively expensive. If anyone has it I would appreciate hearing from you.

The original OKITO ball was said to be made up of two 9" celluloid half-domes used to package candy (this was a shock to me, I didn't even realize they Had celluloid back then!). Okito/Bamberg, a master builder, apparently obtained several and a supply of gold candy foil which he proceeded to glue and smooth over the outside of the lightweight sphere. Thus the Original OKITO floating ball, a 9" globe with a gleaming golden finish, was created.

The Don Wayne ball of course is 8" lightweight "Space-age plastic" (as described by Don) in gleaming Chrome finish. I actually use a ball made from a 6" Chrome plastic Christmas ball as this is the perfect size for me with a bulky robe costume. Dons Fb is gorgeous and I've ordered 3 in my time, but I find the larger models a little too easy to bump against the body at close range, which can set off that "Give-away" dangling motion.

TIP: think Don Wayne still sells his ball-bearing "Thread Guides". This is an excellent hookup device that allows the ball to move much smoother than it would through regular eyelet hookup points. Strongly suggest the very serious try to obtain these through Don, at least for experimentation. If I had to bet my life on doing the smoothest float possible I would absolutely use them, especially for heavier floating objects.

Am told many of the early commercially sold Floating balls were actually made from Paper Mache' or plastic school globes.

Have been researching a book on floating techniques for a long time. Hope to get to know more of you who perform such routines.
rtgreen
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There is a very good description of the Okito routine in "Illusion Builder to Fu Manchu" It is the routine David was taught by his father. The story is they used to rehearse the routine side-by-side and move-by-move.

Mike, do you know if those 9" globes are still available? I made a 10" ball from a christmas ornament last year. It worked great, but fell one too many times in rehearsal and I can't find a replacement!

Thanks,
Richard
Mike Ching
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Richard: There is a very good description of the Okito routine in "Illusion Builder to Fu Manchu"

MC: YES! That was one of the books. Thanks for reminding.

It is the routine David was taught by his father. The story is they used to rehearse the routine side-by-side and move-by-move.

MC: True, that is what I meant by "Shadow Rehearsal". I was not sure people would get that.

Mike, do you know if those 9" globes are still available? I made a 10" ball from a christmas ornament last year. It worked great, but fell one too many times in rehearsal and I can't find a replacement!

MC: Rich, I'll bet you'll be able to find them when holiday decor items break around Sept/Oct though I find them heavy myself. But if it works for you, great. I'm reading on this Forum that the Don Wayne ball is out of production or difficult to find, I believe Don produces them in lots every so often.

In the meantime Let me check around, If I find one I will email you. Strongly suggest rehearsing over carpeting to avoid damage to the ball. Curious, what method were you working with?
rtgreen
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I have been learning the Okito routine from the Fu Manchu book. I've done a lot of research into various methods, but really like Okito's hookup. I did change a bit at the beginning, however, just to cancel out the real line direction. I carry the ball across the stage away from the hookup, but I don't initially turn to face it. I hold the ball with one hand on top and one hand on the bottom. I then remove the hand from the bottom and the ball remains suspended from the top. I lift my palm away from the ball, just leaving the ball suspended from one finger. Finally, I turn 180 degrees with the ball suspended. I found by allowing the gimmick to ride between my fingers and over the back of my hand, I could keep good control of the ball throughout the entire turn. From there, my routine follows the Fu Manchu routine exactly.

Thanks,
Richard
Mike Ching
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Nifty bit of initial misdirection. Very nice!
ALLEN TIPTON
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Michael Ching's book is a veritable encyclopedia(139 pages) & although it deals with the Dancing Hadkerchief the chapters on Materials & Hardware. Thread Selection, Backgrounds & Backdrops Hook Up Hardware are invaluable to any Thread worker and a must for anyone who aspires to The Floating Ball. It was amongst the top the best magic presents I was ever given by a young magician a few years back.
I have passed my Don Wayne Floating Ball onto the young professional magician who inherits all the Tipton Magic Stuff as and when..... I only really used it when I produced my version of the Dante Show in 1980. I'll try in a couple of days to attatch pic of this. Like the Abbott Ball & Okito's it has the guides on top of the ball and this you have to watch as a wrong move or body position can make the Ball seem to be hanging from something. I have used about 8 or 9 balls over the 28 years I've performed the effect but have always gone back to the 2 my wife made in 1977. With these the thread runs through the centre and I find this gives me a better balance. You do need to rehearse it before a performance. It's like a ballet. The balance between the Ball & you, the very feel of the thread have to be as one. Concentration is the thing. One day (hopefully soon) I'll publish my set up and hook up. it can be prepared very quickly before your perfomance and carried out to your performing area. For those who wish to study the full Okito method you need to see The Magic Of The Bambergs, by Dr. Robert Albo. This I think was the first of his brilliant series of books. The details in Illusion Builder to Fu Manchu are interesting but sketchy. The background Okito gives in Okito On Magic is interesting but that's all. His story of attempting to burnish the gold leaf he applied to the ball only to find it all disintigrating before the tool is hilarious. More later. But Thank You Michael Ching.
Allen Tipton
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Allen Tipton began magic at 9.Joined Staffs. Magic Soc at 14. President 8 times Guild Of Magicians Nottingham UK IBM member.1980 reproduced Dante's Show & made Magician Of Month by IBM Intern.President.Currently writing Dear Magician series in Abra magazi
Kevin Ridgeway
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To Allen Tipton, Mike Ching, Tim Drake, hugmagic & rtgreen...thank you for all the info and history you have shared.

Just as important as the different hookups are the history and the men behind this great effect.

Thank you for HANGING around the Café and sharing this info...don't worry we couldn't tell you were hanging by anything...LOL

Kevin
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haywire
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Since Don's ball is no longer available I went looking for other options...

All this floating talk got me pretty revved up Smile

There is the floating flute, but no one seems to know much about it. I am assuming it is simply a superlight prop for I.T. manipulation.

I'm pretty determinted to incorporate a large free floating object into my illusions. I've cleaned out a big portion of my huge basement and I've been experimenting.

With the help of a friend and some nifty hardware, I may have just come up with
my own floating rig. Its basically just I.T, some pulleys and assorted hardware. Needs more work but if It works out I will post a video soon. Looks good so far,
but needs more time to perfect.
ALLEN TIPTON
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Richard. Please don't copy the Fu Manchu routine 'EXACTLY'. Like all the great Classic tricks, the routine is the thing and it MUST be personal, to fit you, your style, your clothes etc. Take the moves and techniques and build a Ricard only routine. This takes time, experiment & performance. It's worth it in the end. I have the Full Okito routine but have only used 2 of his moves. My version took nearly a year to complete even with the help of my wife, who made the 2 first(and still used ) Floating Balls.At one time, twenty years ago she even did it better than me!
Haywire. Don't complicate things with pulleys etc.You're only setting up difficulties and very hard work for yourself. The Ball, like the Linking Rings, the Cups & Balls are akin to Great Acting. Simple truth. A brilliant actor over the years strips away the externals and only presents the hard internal nut to his his audience.
Allen Tipton
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Allen Tipton began magic at 9.Joined Staffs. Magic Soc at 14. President 8 times Guild Of Magicians Nottingham UK IBM member.1980 reproduced Dante's Show & made Magician Of Month by IBM Intern.President.Currently writing Dear Magician series in Abra magazi
rtgreen
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Quote:
On 2005-06-04 06:27, ALLEN TIPTON wrote:
Richard. Please don't copy the Fu Manchu routine 'EXACTLY'. Like all the great Classic tricks, the routine is the thing and it MUST be personal, to fit you, your style, your clothes etc. Take the moves and techniques and build a Richard only routine.


Allen,

Thanks for the comments. I agree with you 100%. So far, I have not gotten to a performance ready routine. I am learning the Fu Manchu routine for educational purposes. I would love to get a hold of the Albo description of the Okito routine and learn from that also, but that has been pretty hard to find. I want to get a feeling for what Okito and Fu Manchu were thinking when they developed their routine. From there I will develop my routine that will be used for my audiences. My background is in classical music. To me, learning a classic routine like this is similar to studying a Bach Fugue.

Thanks,
Richard
haywire
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Just to keep everyone informed...

I have called literally EVERYONE I could think of in the magic business.

Online suppliers, brick and mortar real shops, and Don Wayne's floating ball
is no more.

I'm still hoping someone has a dusty boxed one in there back room somewhere,
but it does not look good right now. That is really a shame, because it looks
like an incredible effect. I'm going to try a different floating object in
its place.

My home made contraputation is failing miserably, but I'm still trying new things.
What I need is a lighter ball I think.

Ah if I get my own working, that would be very rewarding but I'd sure like to just buy an out of the box working solution...

Steven
Brent McLeod
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I m quite surprised that these are no longer made!!

Ive had a brand new one in a box for a few years now an elderly magician passed onto me to use in our full evening show-so I dug it out & what a great effect

To think I almost sold it at a recent convention!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Horrors)

Now I have a new copy of the original manuscript coming from New York & I intend to put this into our show in the near future!!

Timothy Drake 1 of the members has a beautiful version combined with his Zombie with a DW Ball-

I cannot wait to include this in our shows!!-Thanks DW
haywire
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Yeah go ahead rub it in, I still can't find one!

I've given up on a free floating stage roaming ball...

I did however come up with a pretty incredible effect. Taking Mike's advice I found a smaller ball, a bit smaller than a tennis ball. It was in fact a chrome
plastic cristmas ball. Once the stem was removed, I used a hookup very very similar to the hummer or hummingbird card. The only real difference is I don't attach the it to the usual body part but rather use that as a pulley of sorts.

so one end goes to the ball, the I.T. goes past a certain body part of my head
then connects to my other hand.

While the ball is somewhat confined to an area around my body, the effect is still remarkable. First I give the ball a flick of the wrist spin and release it.

With subtle motions of my heard I get the ball spinning in a clockwise motion in front of my body. I then spin my hand under it counterclockwise. More movement from my head and the ball flys seeminly from one hand to the other, up down, to the side of my body and back while my hands move above, below and around its sides.
The great part is it seems to move independantly of my hands motions...

I make a diamond with my hands and the ball passes through it... very very convincing. Now I just need to practice the subtle "ballet" between the spinning
floating ball and my body/hands to make the effect convincing and more striking.

I will practice for awhile, then I'll post a video. Its a good compromise for what I wanted, and obviously requires no assistants, just some I.T. a ball and some magicians wax.

Steven
the Sponge
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That's wonderful. sounds like you self-discovered "LITE FLITE "

S
The Drake
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Kudo Steven,

Your new effect sounds very simular to the Lite-Flite effect created by Perry Maynard. I suggest investigating that effect more. There is a video available with cool handling tips. The Lite-Flight is a little orange pingpong ball that floats around you and lights up. Its a very nice effect and would fit your venue perfectly.

Best,

Tim
rtgreen
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Excellent work Steven! Sounds like it will be perfect for your venue. I can't wait to see the video.

Richard
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