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Jonathan Pendragon
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"Jane, you ignorant slut!"

This effect has been kicked around for more than a century, but I digress. We are confronted by the omnipresent "chicken or egg' question that is used to claim "originality' or to under-mind another's claim: the question of effect VS method. The principle being employed is "unweighting" a prop to make it seem much lighter to the audience than it's contents would allow. The effect, from the audiences point of view, is that an empty (inferred) box is suddenly full of objects. I am sure some would have thought it possible for me to have done this without a gimmick during my early years as an illusionist; it's doubtful. The ease of the lift is THE selling point and I never could have accomplished that without help. The method in most of these illusions (but not all) is some form of a SuperX style support. Herein lies the rub. Was Ali the first person to use this principle (unweighting)? No. Was Ali the first person to use this method? No. Was Ali the first person to use this method to accomplish this principle? Possibly. I say possibly because, contrary to my reputation (I sold my Apple stock in 96), I don't know everything. The most primitive method that could be recognized as a SuperX style support is lost to history with descriptions of Fakir suspensions dating from 14th century, it's actual invention probably being several centuries later. DeKolta devised a method to unweight a prop (with a person inside) in the 1800s; the same method would be used later to levitate a person. And there are other methods.

The "Box with no name" has appeared in many variations. Lately it has appeared all over the YouTube world, as if by magic (or more likely because the effect is intriguing and the prop is relatively cheap to build). In most presentations the effect is a production. Others have choreographed elaborate vignettes that include effects such as, and in no particular order, animation-anthropomorphism-stretching-suspesnion-levitation-production and bending a pencil in a glass of water.

Ali Bongo, Andre Kole, Andrew Mayne and the incomparable JIm Steinmeyer have designed illusions that are related but not identical. In forums such as Magic Café, threads like this attempt to identify an illusion's pedigree, caveat emptor. A book that once claimed to identify who invented what, gave credit to the French magician Mouchoir Diablo for inventing the Devil's Handkerchief. Invariably such histories are more complex than most can imagine. The psuedo-builders so many of you complain about use misinformation to steal the work of magic's best inventors, like Jim. Curiosity prompted my research into the history of this effect, the same curiosity that fueled many of you to do the same. But, there is another element, as a performer/inventor who cares about ethics, that fuels my search which transcends mere curiosity: the need to know whom I am indebted to.
magicians
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Curiosity prompted my research into the history of this effect, the same curiosity that fueled many of you to do the same. But, there is another element, as a performer/inventor who cares about ethics, that fuels my search which transcends mere curiosity: the need to know whom I am indebted to.


Great sentiment and respect for for your comments.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Falconer
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Hi Jonathan Pendragon

Many thanks for your helpful clarifications in historical perspective of this illusion.

Falconer
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Fabrison
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Who is Jane??
Ray Pierce
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On 2011-10-25 12:47, Fabrison wrote:
Who is Jane??


Wow, do I feel old! Then again I'm hoping you just might not be from here and it's a USA thing.
Ray Pierce
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dahih beik
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Jane is tarzan wife
Jonathan Pendragon
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Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain did a point-counterpoint parody on SNL. Dan famously opened his rebuttal with that line.
magicians
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On 2011-10-25 16:39, Jonathan Pendragon wrote:
Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain did a point-counterpoint parody on SNL. Dan famously opened his rebuttal with that line.

Don't you feel like a relic some times.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
The Drake
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On 2011-10-25 16:39, Jonathan Pendragon wrote:
Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain did a point-counterpoint parody on SNL. Dan famously opened his rebuttal with that line.


I got it and now I DO feel old. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k80nW6AOhTs
magicbob116
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Speaking of SNL, I think I've finally figured out the method for this illusion! Smile

Image
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Fabrison
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Silly me,, I thought Jane was a female magician J P was mad at.
SNL skit way before my time,
thanks I get it now
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On 2011-10-25 17:26, magicbob116 wrote:
Speaking of SNL, I think I've finally figured out the method for this illusion! Smile

Image


Clever photo.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Aaron Smith Magic
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Jonathan Pendragon
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How old do I feel? I was doing a show and someone in the audience made a sarcastic remark. I said "You can't fool me, there ain't no sanity clause." Marx's brothers, "Night at the Opera." After the show a woman came backstage and told me off for claiming there was no Santa Claus.

And NO, I would never use that kind of language when talking to a woman.
LaurensMalter
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On 2011-10-25 14:22, dahih beik wrote:
Jane is tarzan wife


Brilliant!! Hahaha
eb02
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Unfortunately, you can find on You Tube a movie that revel the secret of the effect.
Eran Blizovsky
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w_s_anderson
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HAHAHAHAHAHA! Johnathan, I about died when I read the top line of your post. (ref: Jane) That was absolutely classic! Then Bob Pulver chimed in with the D*ck in a box sketch.....This is now my favorite thread on the Café. As a huge SNL fan I can always appreciate a pop culture reference to the "not yet ready for prime time players."

That aside, thank you for providing your insight and historical knowledge to this prop. It was very interesting to read.
Jonathan Pendragon
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Because of my work with John Belushi in "The Blues Brothers" I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the original cast + Bill Murray.
Ray Pierce
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Lol... How long DID it take you to get that black makeup off your eyes??
Ray Pierce
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chleby
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Well Done, Nice effect.
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Lighting Designer- Dan Sperry Spring 2011
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