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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Backstage With The Magician (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jimmy Carlsson
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Hi!

Who has invented this illusion?
When did it came out on the market?
Which illusionbuilders have built it?

//Jimmy
Spellbinder
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The concept was created by a British vaudeville comedian, George Robey, who used it circa 1919. It's first use as a magical theme was by Dante, c. 1927 in his Buenos Aries tour. As for when "it" came out on the market, to which "it" do you refer? The props used in the theme are many and varied; from a big box, an "ark", a carpet, a PVC Pipe cage, and so on. Identifying "it" will also help in the quest for who built the version you happened to see and now covet.
Professor Spellbinder

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Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
Oliver Ross
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Hello Jimmy,

And Welcome to the café. Before answering your questions, in hope that I'm not wrong, may I ask you, why are you interested in all of this ?

Anyway here some informations :

The Backstage with a magician illusion was invented by the danish magician Harry August Jansen (1883 - 1955) . In his youth he sattled over to the U.S.A.. Since he was a great and well recognized magician, Howard Thruston engaged him in the early 30th stopping a possible competition between them.

Howard Thurston gave him the name he's now known to the magic world, Dante the Magician.

It's him aswell who gave us one of the world's famous magic words "Sim Sala Bim", token from a danish children's song.

I can't give you the year the illusion was invented, by I hardly believe that he worked it out for the 2nd Thurston show.

A lot of well known builders in the illusion industry have build this one, since this illusion is considered to be a classic in magic : Bill Smith from Magic Ventures, Bill Schmeelk from Wellington Enterprises and David Mendoza from Magic Show FX.

I hope this helps. More insight can certainly be given by people who own Jim Steinmeyer's books "The Howard Thurston Illusion Show Work Book" and "The Howard Thurston Illusion Show Work Book, Volume II" which are now out of print.

By the way, Jim Steinmeyer will bring out a new book (a biography) about Howard Thurston next year.

Good luck,

Oliver.
Jimmy Carlsson
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Thanks for all the info!

Oliver - The reason why I´m interrested is that I just bought a used one, built by Chalet. I just wanted to know more about the illusion. And I´m gonna use it in a running show this winter here in Sweden.

//Jimmy

http//www.jimmycarlsson.se
Oliver Ross
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Thanks Spellbinder for those informations. Didn't know that the basic concept came from vaudeviallian George Robey. I'll go to sleep a little bit less stupid tonight. lol

Oliver.
David Charvet
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The Backstage Illusion is not described in the Thurston Workbooks, which are basically a documentation of the props from the circa 1910 Thurston show - well before his association with Jansen/Dante, which began in 1922. (Although there are a few later Thurston illusions included in Book 2, "Backstage" is not one of them.)

By the way, the Dante version used t**ps on stage, where most modern versions are self-contained.

It is a great illusion, but it takes a strong personality to "sell" it to the audience. The best part, in my mind, was the painted backdrop Dante used that looked like the audience sitting in the theater. He faced the "audience" (backdrop) while performing the routine. The real audience in the theater apparently seeing all of the action from "backstage." Lance Burton (and before him, Doug Henning) used a similar backdrop for his Cane Cabinet/Table routine.
Oliver Ross
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Thank you David for this information concerning the books written by jim Steinmeyer. Do you know why he didn't put this illusion in there ?

Anyway, here's a version of the backstage illusion that the french magician Dani Lary presents in his show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF_nBupJrcM

He only uses one "box". If I'm right the classic self-contained version uses two boxes, as presented by Gaetano Triggiano.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHbAT9WGicE

Oliver.
David Charvet
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The Thurston Workbooks are just that: an annotated copy of the "workbooks" put together by Thurston and his crew to document the props being used on his show during the 1910 season. The illusions and smaller props were all photographed with a simple box camera backstage and on the loading dock of some unknown theater(s). The photos were then pasted into a large scrapbook with notation on dimensions, etc. in case any of the props were lost or destroyed on the road. (Remember, train wrecks and theater fires were not uncommon 100 years ago.)

Quite simply, Thurston never presented "Backstage", so it is not part of the workbooks. There are also many other Thurston illusions that were not in the books because they were used later in his career, which lasted until 1935.
User101
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I keep resurrescting threads,hazards of being a new member I guess lol

Is this a verison of BWTM or soemthing else? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7B0lf_CR0A
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