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Inner circle
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
I have performed a one man show for ten years in a 700 seat theatre. I am looking for illusions that will appeal to family audiences and can be done either by myself or using an audience member. I need it to be light hearted, nothing too serious but something with a good impact.
As an example I use Tom Yurasits Light and Heavy box which is great, uses audience participation, has a funny routine and a mystifying finish.
I also use things like the Dancing Hank, showy and a crowd pleaser.
The cost is not an issue with what I am looking for, I just need some new material to keep the repeat audiences happy!
All suggestions would be most welcome, many thanks.
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Special user
Branson, MO
743 Posts

Profile of TaylorReed
Mental epic
nest of boxes
sucker egg trick
newspaper tear
bowla rama
tri section The arm effect that is sold by
Bitting yourself on the forehead illusion....
Audience Dismemberment .......
master prediction box....... Does take a stage hand though.

Just to name a few. I perform most of these and they are great effects for the audience.


just to name a few.
See: The Magic and Comedy of Taylor Reed, Live in Branson, Mo
Matthew W
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Inner circle
New York
2456 Posts

Profile of Matthew W
Floating table
Chair suspension
Super X Levitation
Head chopper
Visible Sawing
Walking through a Mirror
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Inner circle
The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
6438 Posts

Profile of Spellbinder
The Rip Van Winkle Illusion was invented by Edwin Brush (c.1940), and is an excellent one-man vanish. reappearance/ quick-change Illusion that works on the smallest platform stage up to the largest theatre stage. It is easily transported and assembled and requires no assistant to make "both" characters appear in the playlet. Jim Gerrish has revised the idea for making from PVC pipes in his PVC Pipe Illusion Book 4 (on my site), but whether you make it from PVC or wood, it's a great and illusion and the concept is adaptable to more than just the original Rip Van Winkle (who the heck was HE?) plot.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
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Inner circle
Tucson, AZ
1904 Posts

Profile of chmara
Ahh- a kindred spirit as that basically what my shows were for years --- and what the props I have been selling here have been, with few exceptions.

Rather than just listing stuff I know works (or some I know doesn't) let me ask you a little more about your persona. I had a gimmick I used on stage to change persona for "segments" of the show -- using consume parts and particularly hats AND acting to "story-up" a trick or segment, usually based upon my travels.

Therefore "Big Shot" the Collector's Workshop canon which I used to fire a borrowed watch into the spectator's mouth was sometimes outfitted with the pirate versus Viking theme using the victim's Viking Helmet horns as an aiming point.

My audience bow-sawing routine was set in a Rocky and Bullwinkle Style with the female "victim" being Nell, her male companion in a campaign hat as Duddley Dooright and myself as Snidely whiplash.

Lights through the girl (Sommer's Portable version) was combined with Needle and Laser through Balloon as a crazy garage inventor in working on matter through matter -- presented in an Einstein Wig and a rebuilt holds all stand dressed up with large meters, flashing lights and a pyro fall apart at the end.

I always carried (and still have for sale) a wide spectrum utility called the Alcatraz Escape -- a ladder that the magician or shilled audience assistant is tied into for a Metamorphosis style switch or plain escape.

My fAvorite one man piece I had Chalet build for me especially under their license -- and still have not sold it. It allows the magician to borrow an ADULT shoe -- burn it up ala the "kids" Wiz Kote and then restore the shoe to the victim (up to men's size 12). It is a multi-part set of stage filling props for a routine that runs 8-11 minutes with the shoe burning chest, fire extinguishers, restoration chest and special tables. Took George a year to build but was worth the wait.

I have kept one set of Quadro Vicious rings and a routine that required I obtain some "put on in front of the audience" Chinese Peasant clothing including old style Coolie Cap and Silk Top ---before using the barbed wire ring apparatus.

The downside of all these illusions was that I was performing shows from Virginia Beach Virginia to Portland Oregon. I finally got to the point I did not want to trailer and travel any more than 10 hours from home -- and got tired of union unloading problems at shows (often trade shows) in Chicago and Long Beach, CA where I often performed.

And -- when you say one man -- do you mean, truly, one man -- or do you have a stage crew assistant moving props, lightly shilled or trained just before the show audience members for "volunteers" and how do you manage your props on and off stage during the show (I often had black shield cloths covering props I revealed as I went along -- trying (but never, IMHO, succeeding) to give the impression of a magic warehouse where each prop would require a story for its demnostration.

It took more than 20 years to acquire the one man props I have been selling (thanks to age and health) the past three-four years and I have made sure they were all professionally built and performed before acquisiton. You'd be surprised how stage filling simple looking but well done things such as Kerry Polack's light swallowing mug can be compared with knock-off imitations (I saw paper bags used which faded under a spotlight once and felt sorry for the audience.) As a stringing lights together in the mouth (Instead of hard to see needles or razor blades) it was worth the $500 to make sure it could be well seen from stage.

If you wish some more information or even a list of props I still wish to sell -- PM me here or with the address under my Icon at left.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ

C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
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Inner circle
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
Thank you all very much for that info, I am working my way through it but it will take a bit of time. I do like the Audience Dismemberment effect though the price tag brought tears to my eyes.....

Chmara, yes I work absolutely alone, no help atall. The stage I work on is 50 feet wide and 20 feet deep, quite a size. My shows are mainly comedy and all my props are on stage when I start and are there at the end. As for my persona, what you get is me, no more no less, comedy juggling and magic.

The posts above have pointed me in some very useful directions which I shall follow, thanks again.
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Profile of finmag
I get a kid out of the audience and saw him/her in half with a jigsaw. I have had it so long, I forget where I got it. Probably Hank Lee's. It is inexpensive, is on stage in the background the whole time (covered of course) and plays big. I usually end with it in similar types of shows.
Marshall Thornside
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2016 Posts

Profile of Marshall Thornside
The blade box is a very useful and broad illusion for anyone
Who does solo shows
you will remember my name

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Saskatoon, SK, CANADA
858 Posts

Profile of illusions & reality
I do Modern Art in my Solo program. I cut myself in 2. I close my show with this and it gets a very strong reaction.

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Profile of HarbinJr.
On your this something that you can just leave your props there or have to consider tear down and set up?

Some of my ideas for one manned illusions includes

Packing Crate Escape
UF Grant casket styled asrah (vanish someone from the audience)
Use David Ginn's Professional Magic for Children for some great ideas as well.

I have used these and more in my one manned illusion show. I even have designed a one manned things that go bump illusion. I hope to have this published sometime soon. Also a giant die box??? Planning on selling mine and talking to people about that but just a suggestion for ya.

If you have questions pm me and Ill be glad to help!

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Inner circle
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
[quote]On 2011-01-16 13:32, HarbinJr. wrote:
On your this something that you can just leave your props there or have to consider tear down and set up?

I do have to take down after most shows.
Modern Art looks like a great illusion - I'll look into that. I'm still looking at all the suggestions. It's funny what a personal thing magic is, some effects I couldn't see myself doing in a million years whereas others just hit the spot......
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Inner circle
Tucson, AZ
1904 Posts

Profile of chmara
Now the list of favorites and not-so-favorites that I transported, set-up and knocked down and used as a one man show--

1. Lighting & Sound controlled by Show-Tech. Sound can include much more than stock music -- for instance I purchased more than 100 faux commercials by Gary Owen which -- if I had to move from view between "segments" I could run as a TV show interruption for commercial to keep the audience engaged for 30 seconds --

2. I believe a good bow sawing with a solid and fast ending using an audience member as victim (as I state above) is a great one -- but make sure the audience member gets up off the table with the bow saw surrounding them and lift it off over their head or drop it to their feet. I found the Sommers version of this rugged, easy and portable.

3. A Wiz-Kote and transformation table combination presents you with at least 8 minutes. I have available the set I had specially engineered by Chalet to handle adult shows AND removable/changeable graphics for corporate shows. It handles ADULT shoes.

4. I dearly wanted a Smith Audience Acupuncture -- but kept coming up short on cash during the later part of my travels with my bigger show.

5. I acquired P&A LARGE (max 60") Mis-Made Flags and mid sized too. These were stage filling great climax or curtain call materials.

6. I ALWAYS if possible used Kevin James Snow as a finale (Version stool 1 or 2) --- with a special humorous and tearjerker script. Not only did I not find audience coverage snow machine I liked (too noisy, too expensive, too much set-up/knock down for one man) but I found that with proper lighting and a minimum of a double load from the hands the ooohs and applause were pretty darned good without them.

7. For a long time I used a Gamalo levitation and even converted it to DC on motorcycle battery for "electrical-less" venues -- but did not like the wobbliness with an inexperience audience member as they went up and down. I also have used the Blaney Ladder Suspension and the Gwynne suspension system. With proper presentation they are OK but they take a lot of stage room and are not easily moved on and off. I went through I do not know how many chair suspensions and never found one I liked -- and figured any adult audience would know about cantilevers.

8. For several years -- for use with executives quickly trained -- I had a Magician's Revenge medieval switch mechanism -- but I was a heavy beast with platform, tie-in cage and heavy top for curtain wrap and transport. Too much up and down time before and after show. Just before becoming too ill to travel I acquired a Magic Hands Alcatraz Escape (still have it) to substitute as it is very easy and portable -- and you literally carry it onto the stage liker a regular ladder.

9. I do not know how many head choppers, hand choppers and such I went through. I had the see-thru, several Lester Lakes, The Head Zopper (with works similar to the electric sawing through the body) the Abbotts, the French hand dropper and found them unfortunately, for me, always a concern for volunteer comfort. I think I have one MAK hand chopper left as I thought I might try some smaller shows until the docs said NO! My favorite to this day is the Oriental Scimitar Bladed Lester Lake -- probably I would have acquired a Wellington if I could overcome my distaste for having the volunteer kneel down in the stocks for so long.

10. I used audience volunteer for Jim Sommers lights thru girl as part of a routine often -- developed a handling that even fooled the volunteer -- safely.

12. The Losander table -- an amazing piece that replaces zombie and is light and easy with practice. Think of using it with say -- a slate and/or book test trick as a part of a light seance segment.

13. My very first illusion acquisition was a head chest -- -the MAK Magic Murder Inc. which while good and colorful required an assistant - to I rebuilt mine to use an audience volunteer who could be seated -- on a rolling (and locking) platform that I could get on and off stage quickly -- then added real knives and a piano stool with screw height adjustment (gags there) and a cantilevered holding system for the chest to eliminate the cheesy (IMHO) music stand that held it up. (I still have this rig - and it is shown on my Photobucket, I think.)

Over the years I have bought and sold stage filling umbrella tricks, dancing hanks, suspensions, things like through a one inch hole and Temple of Benares that require assistants as I could not find reliable assistants. Same with Zig-Zag, "Assistant's Revenge" blade box which I had used with models or show-people who I quickly trained before a show...and was lucky I always found someone. NEVER got the sub-trunk -- and until I saw Christian and Katalina's performance thought it was sooooo overdone.

So- keep your eyes open and remember some of this 2 person stuff can be quickly shilled for audience participation.

As for hauling, set-up and knock-down -- nothing beats mentalism.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ

C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
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