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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Mark Wilson's Who's There (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Tony Thomas
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I'm going to make Mark Wilson's illusion, Who's There. It is a framed door, mounted to a base with a curtain. Has anyone made this effect? Does anyone have pictures by chance? I'm looking for tips or suggestions.

My main question initially is should I put it on a rolling base. There would be some advantages in presentation to having assistants moving it around at the beginning, but I'm thinking it will be a major increase on the complexity. I'm leaning toward making it stationary. Any thoughts about this.

Also, is there anything I can do to improve my angles (for instance - side curtains)? Any help would be appreciated...
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Tony Thomas
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jay leslie
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Strength on any frame illusion is important. If you don't make throughout solid it will wiggle around throughout the presentation. The base, as in the drawing adds stability but an important factor of design is how the base is mounted to the door frame. The door needs to be at ground level or the illusion does not work. SOOOO you can add casters but they need to be housed inside boxes, with openings at the bottom, so they only lift the base a half inch maximum. The other approach is to make the base oversized just like a Mummy Case. This will give you that 10 inches you need on the side. If you make it along those lines you can add casters of any height or even legs. I would also add a skirt around the entire base for support.

I'd estimate that if you bought a door at the Home Store that it would take an average person a day to two days to make the more complex version. Have the store cut the 3/4 plywood to size, it's a real time saver. Don't get cheap, buy good wood, this is not the carnival, people are sitting closer then 100 feet.

You can also use wires to support the door frame and turnbuckles to remove the slack. It doesn't have to be exactly like the drawing shows, this is just a rendering of how the illusion works.

Improving angles would consist of the correct lighting to avoid shadows and also using a wide door. Work this all the way upstage too.

We are all assuming that you have a truck to take this to shows unless you hinge everything to fold over (hint).
Tony Thomas
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Jay - thanks for all the good suggestions. I started it today. I bought the casters that will be housed as you have suggested. The door will disconnect from the base so it will store flat. But it is still quite long - no way around that one. It looks like it will be a pretty quick and fun project. Thanks again...
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Chris Stolz
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I have built this illusion and can offer one main suggestion. Make sure you put some weights in the bottom of the curtain. When you step back and forth it has a tendency to wave from the movement of your body.
jay leslie
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Another suggestion is to have a second frame covered in paper that is hinged on the opposite side of the door (instead of a curtain). It won't wave around and if you choose to, your assistant can break through the paper the second time the door is opened. You can also use a light to create a shadow making it appear that your assistant materializes.

For that matter you can build a main frame with two sub frames that swing in opposite directions and if the two sub frames are covered in paper, you don't need all the heavy weight bases. you don't need a base at all. This Frame arrangement can be moved easily too. I have one of these in the back of the warehouse and if needed I can produce a CEO with little effort.

Note: The Mummy Case and the Mummy Wrap are two different illusions.

Your assistant can learn to walk with the frame as you move it center stage but you'll need to try out the CEO because everyone has their strong points and they may not move well on the stage or can't remember because they have an important speech..... but it's an option that's better received then the Mummy Wrap, in many cases.
Spellbinder
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If you want the ultimate in compactness, see Jim Gerrish's hand-held version of the Utility Cabinet in his PVC Pipe Book 1. It's all PVC Pipe and curtains.

Good luck with the door, Tony.
Professor Spellbinder

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Alan Munro
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Another option is to build the production cabinet found in "Houdini's Magic" by Walter B. Gibson. It works on the same principle, yet it's easy to roll out onto the stage, in full view. I built a small and simple version, that didn't roll out on stage, and that was highly portable, when I was in high school. It was quite deceptive. I presented it as a shadow box.

The angles from one side can be a little tough to deal with, but I had an assistant to help cover that and it was all presented in the spotlight, to eliminate the bad shadows.
Tony Thomas
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I was just told today about a version that has a little more depth than an ordinary door frame. As the door is rolled on stage, the magician is inbetween the door and the curtain. This allows the door to be spun around so the back can be viewed. Then the magicain goes behind the curtain and the tricks begin. You can even fit two people for a double load. Pretty cool, but my door frame is already set and not that wide.
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Tony Thomas
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Tony Thomas
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Question - What should I use to weight the bottom of the curtain?
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Tony Thomas
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mengst
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Probably a chain in the hem. A hardware store should have some options.
Mike
lin
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You can also use curtain weights. They are usually made of lead, and there are at least two types. The most common type looks something like a flat fishing weight or a large lead button or coin. You sew it into the corners of the bottom hem of a curtain (and at intervals in a wider curtain).

Another type of curtain weight is sold in lengths. It's a bit like a fabric covered lead bead chain covered in cloth (like a weighted shoelace). This type of weight lies along the length of the bottom of the curtain, inside the hem.

Lin
Ian Davis12
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Sorry to interupt the discussion on curtain weights but in the stage illusion section of the Mark Wilson book, which effect(s) do you guys think would be the most worth while to construct.

Thanks Ian
Doctor Xombie
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No pictures? I'd love to see what you came up with.

When I get more into illusions I'd like to construct the 'Who's There' also.
The 'Haunted House' would also fit my show.
-Roger "The Doctor"
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BCS
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Yes I would like to see pictures of projects made from the Mark Wilson Course in Magic also. Or even projects from Tarbell.
Thanks,
Bruce
Tony Thomas
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Hey Guys - Here is a pic...

Click here to view attached image.
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Tony Thomas
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Tony Thomas
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From the Encouraging Magic of...
Tony Thomas
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Tony Thomas
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North Carolina
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I have spent a couple of hours trying to get these pics online. I can't figure it out. It shows and error on my end. Y'all can't see it can you? Any guidance?
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Tony Thomas
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BCS
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Tony,
No the pictures don't work... thanks for trying. When you get it figured out, I look forward to seeing them.
Thanks,
Bruce
Tony Thomas
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I put a note in the technical help area. They will guide me.

I'll post the pictures, but honestly it's not performance ready. I was trying to rush it for a large stage show that I do about once a year, but the base has some issues and the curtain needs a modification. I don't think you will notice these fine points in the pictures, though.

I have a new base that I am ready to attach. I'm going to add some type of curtain bar at the bottom. I currently have weights in the curtain but the door creates suction as it opens and moves the curtain way too much. I am going to add a rod to the bottom that will keep it safely in place.
From the Encouraging Magic of...
Tony Thomas
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BCS
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Tony,
I am sure it will be cool when you are done!
Good luck,
Bruce
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