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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Klamm Zig Zag & Mismade Girl (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

todsky
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I noticed that Klamm Magic sells a Zig Zag for $1750, and a Mismade Girl for $2000. I have always loved these illusions, and have been looking to add one to my stage show. Any opinions about these versions?

Thanks.

-todd
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Magic Monkichi
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Todd;
I have heard many mixed reviews about Klamm's products. From my experience (I have not purchased illusions from them) but been in correspondance. Jim is a very nice guy and doesn't mind sitting to chat on the phone to discus. You may want to contact another Café member, Lothar, He just receieved a Zig Zag from Jim Sommers. He should be able to provide a better review for you. And if he does...be sure to post it for us too ^_^.

Magically yours,

Matt Kielbiski
Quick Change Artist
Michael Messing
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The illusions that Klamm sells are built by Jim Sommers. They are not the highest quality craftsmanship out there. They're definitely not comparable to a Chalet Magic illusion or any of the better builders. (Bill Smith, Wellington, David Mendoza, etc.)
MikeDes
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I have the Doll House sold by Klamm and built by Sommers.

Generally the illusions made by Sommers are built with weight and transportability in mind for the average magician. This means that everything usually comes apart for transportation and the illusion is as lite as possible.

The trade off is that it will NOT last as long, look quite as good or work quite as well as an illusion made for touring professionals that gets packed in a ATA case and requires a truck and crew to move. Of course it doesn't cost nearly as much either.

For a guy like me that does smaller stage shows and has to move and set-up everything himself, Klamm/Sommers illusions are a reasonable alternative.

Mike
Michael Messing
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Hello Mike,

I understand your logic but please understand that a well-built illusion doesn't have to be a lot heavier than those built by Jim Sommers. I have a Chalet Magic Zig-Zag that I transport in two polyethylene cases. I can lift each case myself and the illusion has held up through 12 years of performances (including 8 months on a cruise ship.)

The key thing to keep in mind when buying a less expensive illusion is how well it will work, how long it will last and if it is still deceptive. (Sometimes, corners are cut to make an item cheaper that also make it less deceptive. For instance, Jim Sommers' unauthorized version of the Mini-Kub Zag is nowhere near as deceptive as the Chalet version, which is the only one authorized in the US.)

That said, Jim Sommers does have some nice alternatives available. I bought his Visible Sawing Through (Bow Saw) illusion and it's a good deal for the money (although I'm going to be selling it since I never used it.) It isn't as durable as some of the others but it's deceptive and inexpensive.

Todd,

I suggest you try to see the illusions you are considering in person so that you'll know exactly what you are getting before you buy it. Maybe there are some magicians within a reasonable driving distance of Montreal that own some of the Sommers illusions so that you can look them over.

Michael
todsky
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Matt, Michael, Mike: thanks for the opinions. I'm also considering getting the plans to build the Zig-Zag myself.
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rocky clements
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I have owned a couple of Somers illusions, including an Alice Through the Looking Glass. I also have owned illusions built by Owen (their Alice Through Looking Glass also) and Bill Smith so I have some first hand comparison experience. The reason for mixed reviews on Somers props is because there is a huge difference in price, but also in overall quality and durability. If I were performing only occasionally and did not want to invest thousands in an illusion, I would definitely recommend Somers props. They are durable enough and well made enough to look nice on stage and hold up to light duty performing. If I wanted something to troupe with extensively and use for a lifetime I would definitely go with a more expensive builder. The bottom line to my opinion is that there is a place for Jim Somers props since the vast majority of magicians are part time at best and don't always have thousands to spend on props. There are builders that I would NOT recommend at any price, but the Somers props I have had and seen pass my approval level considering the price. But keep in mind there is a reason for the three to five thousand dollar difference between his and more expensive props that may be worth the difference. Have I ridden the fence long enough on this one?
Chezaday
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Sommers is a brilliant builder .. he can make a Vanishing Elephant Illusion that will pack into a suite case .. well almost. Before wasting your time trying to build a Zig Zag .. give Jim a call. He's built dozens of them .. and believe me .. it's not an easy illusion to build. I've worked on plenty of them and there are a lot of common mistakes. Jim's Zig Zag has all the problems worked out and it's a fine prop for the price. Sure, an Owen Brothers is around $5000.00 .. it's a work of art, but if you're not earning a living performing, can you really afford that?

Bottom line is simple .. you get what you pay for.

Steve
mysticalmike
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So pretty much Somers Illusion would be good for someone just getting started in Illusion.I mean for the weekend magician and stuff like that would be good.
mike
Lothar
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Jim Sommers built my zig zag last month. It's practically perfect, but it doesn't have the tickle box. (I don't think Jim likes that version.) I was swindeled by some guys on eBay who said they'd build one for me. It ended up too heavy with lots of mistakes. I brought it to Jim, and he told me everything that was wrong with it. He built me as brand new one at a discount. (I think he really felt sorry for me. LOL) He kept the heavy cabinet and used all of the hinges and latches on the new one.
I performed it 2 weeks ago. Pepole were really surprised. I guess this illusion isn't as common and boring as I thought it would be. It may be old news to magicians, but with an audience it seemed different.
In short, I am a weekend hobby magician. My zig zag fits in the trunk of a car, except for the long 2 x 4 braces. It's perfect for me.

Wes Fowler
"Macho Magic"

P.S. I'd post a photo here, but The Magic Café says the photo is too large. Does anyone know how to re-size photos for this?
todsky
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I do 200 shows a year, but most are birthday parties. Maybe 15 school shows, but even for these I don't feel it justifies getting a Zig Zag. My thought was, if I get a Zig Zag, I'll have a powerful 'weapon' in my arsenal to help me get some big corporate stage shows. However, I don't have the contacts in corporate magic, so the question is, should I make the contacts first and then get the Big Illusion, or should I get the Zig Zag and use this to get the big shows? Either way, I don't see myself doing this illusion more than a dozen times a year, so I think I would be okay with a Sommers Zig Zag.
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gulamerian
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I have two of Jim's illusions and they have held up for 15 years working five nights a week.
Jim Snack
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Todsky asks, "if I get a Zig Zag, I'll have a powerful 'weapon' in my arsenal to help me get some big corporate stage shows. However, I don't have the contacts in corporate magic, so the question is, should I make the contacts first and then get the Big Illusion, or should I get the Zig Zag and use this to get the big shows? Either way, I don't see myself doing this illusion more than a dozen times a year..."

I hate to rain on your parade, but my answer is "neither." Leave those "big corporte stage shows" to those who specialize in that type of performance. Having the prop will not get you the show, and if you are only doing the illusion a dozen times a year, your act won't have the polish to compete with acts that invest in better equipment and do those shows all the time. You would be better off polishing your club act with comedy to work corporate bookings.

That being said, if you want to get an illusion to add to something to your existing show, go for it. But don't do it because you assume it will be a "powerful weapon" in your arsenal to help you get some big corporate stage shows. Do it because you love the illusion and have a idea for presenting it in a novel way.

Jim
Jim Snack

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Doveman
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Great advice Jim!
todsky
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Good point, Jim. My show is already very entertaining without any big illusions, depending a lot as it does on my comedy shtick and showmanship. I guess I felt I needed something 'big' to get the 'big' shows. I think I just lack the confidence to break into the corporate world, even though the few I have done have been well received. Probably should get in with an agency who has these contacts.
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Jim Snack
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Todsky,

If you have an entertaining show that can play just about anywhere, then you are ready. Remember, they aren't buying the prop, they are buying the performer. Michael Finney does very well in the corporate marketplace and I don't see him hauling around a big illusion show.

It sounds like you have your act together. Perhaps you just need better PR materials to present yourself to the corporate market.
Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
todsky
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Thanks for the encouragement, Jim. Time to work on my PR.
Todsky's Magic Shop: over 15,000 tricks, books, DVD s and Card decks. www.magicstore.ca
magicfest
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Does Jim Sommers have a website
briansmagic
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Mark,
Jim doesn't have a website but I have his phone number. Not sure if I should post it publicly, but if you pm me or email me I will give it to you.

Brian
Magic Monkichi
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Hey guys;

check out http://www.klamm-magic.com A lot of Jim's work is on there.

MAtt
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