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magicman812
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I recently bought a used European Chair Suspension and it did not come with any instructions. I am confused as to how the wooden board that goes under the gi&%&ck stays supported until it is removed. I am being a bit vague here as I do not want to discuss methods, but if you have one you know what I am referring to. If my question makes sense and you can help, could you please shoot me a pm. Thanks for the help.

Andy
magicmarkdaniel
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I don't own this model but from seeing it performed its my understanding that you remove the chair whilst holding onto the stretcher (holding it in place), then remove the stretcher too. So at no time is the stretcher left unsupported. Someone shoot me down if I'm wrong but from watching several performances of this I've always seen it removed the same way. Where's Kyle Peron when you need him?!

Mark
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w_s_anderson
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LOL...I was going to suggest looking up Mr. Peron for this illusion.
jimhlou
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Mark:

You are correct.

Jim
EliTheIllusionist
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When was the chair suspension created?
Donal Chayce
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There are a few different versions of chair suspensions (board remains in place, board gets removed, no board is used at all. Which one are you referring to?

Most of the commercially made props are variations of the Harbin chair suspension, where the audience volunteer gets wrapped with a cloth and the board is eventually removed. But few are made accordingly to Harbin's exact specifications, and fewer still are performed per his instructions, and as a result the illusion suffers greatly.

I don't know when Harbin first performed his chair suspension, but copies of newspaper reviews in the Harbin book indicate that he was performing it as early as the 1950s.
EliTheIllusionist
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Chair suspensions leave a bad taste in my mouth. Almost every time I have seen it performed resulted in a "3" for audience amazement between 1-10. It just doesn't do much for the audience.

I think it eventually will need to be laid to rest. That's my honest opinion.

However, when I actually have enjoyed the effect, was during some really hilarious comedy magic.

I have seen 3 different versions of it. I'm not sure how many are out there now.
Michael Messing
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Quote:
On 2010-03-15 20:41, EliTheIllusionist wrote:
Chair suspensions leave a bad taste in my mouth. Almost every time I have seen it performed resulted in a "3" for audience amazement between 1-10. It just doesn't do much for the audience.

I think it eventually will need to be laid to rest. That's my honest opinion.

However, when I actually have enjoyed the effect, was during some really hilarious comedy magic.

I have seen 3 different versions of it. I'm not sure how many are out there now.


And how did you come to this conclusion? Did you poll non-magicians who viewed it? Is it strictly your opinion?

I've been doing the chair suspension for years and I can't remember getting a negative response to it during the performance or after the show. Is it the world's most amazing routine? No it's not, but, with the right routine, it's very entertaining.

Michael
EliTheIllusionist
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Hey now. I was not busting anybody's chops. I've seen it MANY times since I was 5 years old. Up close, television, and from an audience. I've also been in the same audience watching the effect with laymen.

I've seen it register very well with children, however the last 4 times I seen it was for an audience of adults, college upperclassmen, and local festivals.

Yes, it was my opinion.

I'm sure yours is great, Mike. Nothing against to any pros performing that regularly, that's what the job's all about. I suppose my viewing of it has been with some aweful performances of just that effect.
Michael Messing
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not taking personal offense to your comments. I'm just saying that the routine is a key factor in how the audience will view the illusion. If you don't routine it, the illusion won't be well received just like any other magic trick. You have to add personality to the routine.
EliTheIllusionist
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100% agreed. There was no personality at the previous ones. They danced around it like as if they were Merlin himself.
Michael Messing
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The chair suspension isn't deceptive enough to stand alone without a good routine. There are a handful of illusions that are so deceptive that, even without a good routine, they're a winner. (Of course, that doesn't mean the response will be as good as it would be with a good routine! Even amazing tricks require a good routine!)
magicman812
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Thanks guys for the responses. The model I have is the European Suspension so it appears this is a model that has to have the stretcher removed when the chair is removed.
jimhlou
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You can modify it yourself with a clip at the end of the support board to hold the "stretcher", but I wouldn't.

Jim
magic4u02
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Hi guys,

As many of you know I am a chair suspension NUT. I LOVE the illusion and have studied it for years. Let me chime in on some key points that have been brought up. Thank you all for doing so as these are common situations and questions I get asked a lot.

First, this illusion DOES amaze and DOES wow as much as it entertains an audience. However, one must relaize that like anything, it is a simple prop. The prop alone is nothing without proper knowledge of the illusion, proper handling of it and a proper routine. When you combine these elements, this will not only play well, but will play STRONG.

the first thing most folks complain about is a sag in the person being suspended. they hate the look and the feel of it cause to them it seems fake. There is really no reason at all for the board or the child to be tilting. It should always be perfectly straight out and parallel. If it is sloping down, then you are not setting up the child in position correctly or your illusion may be slightly warn or warped. Every time I present this, I have the board 100% parallel to the floor and straight out with no sag.

Now this also means placing the child correctly on the board to begin with. The proper position for this is to have the child's shoulders at the every edge of the anchorage chair. That means there head hands off the board and you GENTLY ease it down for them as they close their eyes. This is proper positioning cause it evens the weight distribution. It also is proper for the illusion as the illusion is to give the appearance that the child is suspended at the point on their neck.

Now by doing so this way, you have much less sag if any at all. Now I also never use a child over the weight of 85lbs. this is for usage on mac and Sommer's models. I know it can hold more, but this is for safety purposes and ensures my illusion lasts a long time with no warpage over the years.

If a child is on the heavy side, I adjust the positioning just a bit. that means the choulders move just a tad bit further up. This allows for the weight to be adjusted better.

Now if you want an easy way in which to get the child on the board correctly, without much adjusting, it is in the power of a stool and stool placement. I use a small stool that is about 11 inches or so high? by placing the stool not centered but slightly towards the anchraoge chair, it forces the child to be seated in the right position. this way, when they lay down, they are already in position. It just takes some practice to know where to place the stool correctly.

I also always take the child's arms and fold them on their laps while in the laying position. this 1) makes them more at ease and 2) it prevents them from trying to grab onto the board. It is a pyschological thing, but it works amazingly well.

I am going to post a picture to show that even a taller child can be absolutely perfectly straight out on the chairs and parallel to the floor. Forgive me for the picture being so small. It was taken a while back with a smaller digital camera. I still hope it gets the point across.

If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

Kyle

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Donal Chayce
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Quote:
On 2010-03-20 12:07, magic4u02 wrote:
It should always be perfectly straight out and parallel.


Kyle, Robert Harbin would greatly disagree with that statement. Indeed, you've touched upon the most significant difference between props built according to Harbin's specifications, such as the Bill Smith prop, and those there are not.

IMO, it is this feature more than any other that makes or breaks this particular illusion. (But believe me, there are other parts of Harbin's presentation--such as how the audience member gets wrapped in the cloth--that are often ignored by other magicians as well, much to the detriment of the illusion.)

Penn & Teller (among others) totally get this. Unfortunately, I can't find a clip of them performing the illusion on the web, nor can I find a video or even a photo of Harbin performing it, so I'm unable to post a link. However, you can find a video clip of P&T performing their chair suspension routine at Magicopolis on the "20 Years of Steve Spill" DVD, and of course there are numerous photos of Harbin performing it in Magic of Robert Harbin.
magic4u02
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Hey Donal,

Thanks for chiming in my friend. I am sure Harbin would disagree wioth some of what I say about the illusion. I think he we might argue a little bit to. hehehe However, I think in the end, he might be proud of ome of what I am trying to do with sharing information on an illusion that is still too often not researched enough or performed correctly.

I am very fortunate to have an original copy of Harbin's notes on the chairs and have been studying it of late. A friend found it and sent it to me. I am so glad he did as I have wanted to own a copy for a long time. It is interesting to see the changes to his design over the years as others have nodified it for their own models that are out there on the market.

Kyle
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unclesamayen
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Quote:
On 2010-03-22 18:51, Donal Chayce wrote:
However, you can find a video clip of P&T performing their chair suspension routine at Magicopolis on the "20 Years of Steve Spill" DVD


I'm quite intrested to see this video.
Where can I get "20 year of Steve Spill DVD"?
I think there is only "10 year of Steve Spill"?
Am I right?

Thank you very much.

Eric
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Performing magic for the blinds.
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Donal Chayce
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My bad--you're correct. It's "Ten Years of Steve Spill."

It only seems like twenty years...Smile
Donal Chayce
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(...just kidding, Steve!)
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