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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Chair suspension question (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mad Jack
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I actually make the board a big part of the trick and it gets huge reactions (for a chair suspension that is lol...) I remove the first chair and pause for applause. Then I say "That was the easy part... The board is still there and the board is holding most of her weight! But that is about to change..." I then make a magical guesture over the assistant... and remove the board. This gets audible gasps and huge applause. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself! Just remember where you saw it first! lol...
seforeman
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Nice suggestion MadJack.

thanks
Stu
Stuart Foreman
seforeman
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Dennis, thanks for the link. Think I will stick with removing the board. It does look better.

Stu
Stuart Foreman
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Now I can't say I have owned this or performed it...but I did sell them in my shop back in the day, and it would seem that the right thing to do is to remove the board after, as it really is common sence that if you were to have the assistant lay across two chairs you would lay a board there first to help support them, so leaving the board after the chair is removed would yes be magical but the real magical moment is when the board is removed, cause now even the spectator is amazed cause remember he or she isn't seeing whats going on, so the second the board is taken away..its pure magic..cause whats holding them now is the question!

that's my take on this illusion..
Grew up near one of the greatest minds in magic the late Stewart James, in a town called Wallaceburg just 15 mins from Courtright where James could be found, time and time again he would inspire me to always be creative and just love all magic.
Bill Hegbli
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I own the Abbott's model, and as I see it, it all depends on what the illusion is presented to be for the audiaence. The Abbott version would be according to the above comments, a board suspension to the extreme. I have had ladies and children from the audience on the board, and the audience always gasps when the chair is removed and a hoop passed over the board and assistant.

I really don't think it matters, but each as to determine that for themself.

If one want a better mouse trap, one will have to spend more money for a better one. I believe the Abbott version is excellent for the investment.
Rainboguy
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The Jim Sommers Chair Suspension is about $500 at Klamm Magic and you can remove the board.
Pete Biro
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I had a Harbin made for me from Chairs I got in England and brought to John Gaughan, who made them exactly to Harbin's specifications. When Harbin did it, the woman was suspended FOR ONLY ABOUT 3 TO 4 SECONDS.

He killed with it. I since sold it to a top trade show worker that needed it more than I did.
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magic4u02
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Great question and wonderful discussion.

In my own opinion, the board being removed is a part of the overall effect that is trying to be conveyed. One thing people often get confused about is this is not a levitation and it is also not a "floating" effect. It is a suspension.

It is important to remember this because a suspension by nature means that the person is being suspended by some point of the body. The illusion comes into effect in that the suspension seems to defy the laws of physics and in so doing becomes magical.

For example, a broom suspension has the person suspended by the point under the arm. This is the suspension point to the audience. However the fact that the assistant is defying gravity becomes the illusion.

In the chair suspension illusion the suspension point is the neck. It is the neck that should appear to be the point at which the assistant is "touching" the part of the chair. If you leave the board in place, then it ceases to be a suspension and becomes more of a balancing act or circus stunt.

If the assistant is properly positioned on the illusion, then when the board is removed, it adds much greater to the illusion overall. The audiences is witnessing a suspension of a person that defies logic. The child or assistant is straight out by only a point on their neck. This removal of the board adds to the impact and sells this concept to the audience who is watching.

The board is there to add to the impact. In other words the audience needs something at the start that seems logical and makes sense in their mind. Ok a person is laying on a board held by two chairs. They get it, understand it and it is logical. It is logical because science says this can happen. It can be done as it is common knowledge.

When the board is removed, that is the moment where science ceases to exist in their minds and magic takes over. Suddenly what they are seeing is no longer logical. Suddenly science (and what they know of it) goes out the window. That board really becomes the turning point between what makes sense and what becomes magic to those who are watching.

Now the board is supposed to look big and perhaps bulky for a reason. If we are trying to make the audience feel that what they are seeing makes sense at first, then we need for them to see the board. The board needs to be clearly seen and understood. This is what makes them make sense of it all.

When the board starts to be removed, you also want them to clearly see the board being removed. You want them to see the weight of it and that this board looks like it was the ONLY thing holding the person up. So in essence there is no reason to improve it.

My 2 cents worth.

Kyle
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JamesinLA
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Kyle makes a great point about the point of suspension being part of the body.

Jim
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magic4u02
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Thanks, Jim. People often forget that simple concept. It really is at the heart of the illusion. If one starts to think about "floatation" or "Levitation" then one tends to steer of course with what this illusion is supposed to be about.
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seforeman
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Wow - thank you all for the input. Your insight and years of expeirence with the illusion have been a huge help. In discussing the effect with my wife, she agrees the removal of the board does add quite a bit to the effect. We also both agree that the board looks "hinkey", but its shape is required for the illusion. But at this point we both agreed, I will make a "ladder" as oppossed to the board. As the ladder will look a bit more - normal (as if any of "magic" is normal) ;-)

Stuart
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JamesinLA
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Kyle's pinpointing this central concept about the illusion gave me a thought: I wonder if, when the other chair was removed, logically, if the point of suspension was the neck and the person was all that was being affected by the magic, I wonder if the board should just fall at that moment or be caught at the same time as the chair is removed.

I think it may strengthen that one aspect of the illusion, however, you would lose the "second dramatic beat" of removing the board a few moments later.

I think this may be similar to the purist argument I heard someone make years ago that for a true levitation, say the princess Karnac for example, that the woman's hair should also be floating.

Jim
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magic4u02
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You are most welcome

Jim: That is why the Sommers suspension board does not have a clip on it. There is no need for it. When I present the illusion, I remove the chair while still holding onto the board with my hand. The look and feel is that the chair is gone but my hand still supports her weight. The routine then goes on by me visually showing her getting lighter and lighter. This is done with removal of one hand and then the single hand goes from a flat palm on the board to simply one finger. the board is then finally removed.

Kyle
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JamesinLA
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Kyle,
Do you let go of the board before removing it? Even if you're only holding it with one finger, then I think that would achieve the above effect I was talking about above. And if that plays well in your experience, then I think it's great.

Jim
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magic4u02
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In the Sommer's model because there is no clip (and really no need for it) you can not let go of the board and have the audience still see the board balancing by itself. the reasoning is that it tends to lesson the impact of the illusion. The board is there and the board is what the audience sees is holding up the helper. it is the slow removal of the board and the illusion that the body is getting lighter that helps sell the magic moment.

Kyle
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Mad Jack
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I disagree with Kyle. Well I agree with him on the fact that IT SHOULD work that way. But for me it doesn't. I have done it many times the way Kyle says to do it (holding onto the board before removing it and never leaving the board suspended by itself, etc.) It just NEVER got the strong reactions that I get when I do it the way I described earlier in this topic. I mean He's right. There really is no reason the board should stay suspended by itself, but after doing this in my show for over 15 years, I have to say the reactions I get letting go of the board and then drawing attention to it before removing it are AMAZING. I can only assume that the audience is "looking for the gimick" and finding it in the board... Then when that is taken away from them they are left with nothing... I even attached a clip to my EUROPEAN CHAIR SUSPENSION so that I could do it the same way. The reaction was just that much better. Don't take our words for it... Try it for yourself and see.
Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-01-29 22:58, Mad Jack wrote:
I disagree with Kyle. Well I agree with him on the fact that IT SHOULD work that way. But for me it doesn't. I have done it many times the way Kyle says to do it (holding onto the board before removing it and never leaving the board suspended by itself, etc.) It just NEVER got the strong reactions that I get when I do it the way I described earlier in this topic. I mean He's right. There really is no reason the board should stay suspended by itself, but after doing this in my show for over 15 years, I have to say the reactions I get letting go of the board and then drawing attention to it before removing it are AMAZING. I can only assume that the audience is "looking for the gimick" and finding it in the board... Then when that is taken away from them they are left with nothing... I even attached a clip to my EUROPEAN CHAIR SUSPENSION so that I could do it the same way. The reaction was just that much better. Don't take our words for it... Try it for yourself and see.


Completely agree.
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magic4u02
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It can work either way. It does get reactions. Just that when you let the board suspend, it changes the illusion a bit for the audience and at that moment it becomes a balancing act that seems impossible. This certainly is not a bad thing. It is just a different way to go with it.

Kyle
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seforeman
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I thought I would share the pics of my Chair Suspension updated. I made the ladder from Red Oak with some brass accents. I dressed the chairs up with some velvet cushions and backrests. These assist in hiding the gimick from underneath (low angle problems). They also make the chairs allot more comfortable (I use them throughout the show).

Click here to view attached image.
Stuart Foreman
seforeman
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Another pic.. floating..

Click here to view attached image.
Stuart Foreman
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