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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » BLACKSTONE SENIOR & FLOATING LIGHT BULB (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ALLEN TIPTON
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Do any of you guys know:
1. If there is a FULL length clip of Blackstone Senior performing the Floating Light Bulb?
Have seen a very short clip
and

2. Did Blackstone Senior ever float the Bulb OVER the audiences' heads OR was this HB's creation?

Cannot find any mention of Senior performing over the heads-- in any reviews of The Great Blackstone
or did he with the loop, just do it whllst in the audience?

Thanks guys
Allen Tipton
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Allen Tipton began magic at 9.Joined Staffs. Magic Soc at 14. President 8 times Guild Of Magicians Nottingham UK IBM member.1980 reproduced Dante's Show & made Magician Of Month by IBM Intern.President.Currently writing Dear Magician series in Abra magazi
Bill Hegbli
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Harry Blackstone Jr. did his father's act verbatim, I am told. Every word and action, because as a child he was at every show, and it all became ingrained.

I doubt that there is any film of Sr. as they did not have low light lenses and camera during his time. If there is any it would have to be on film and conversion is very difficult and very expensive for high quality. Being it was on a darkened stage to begin with, I doubt if it would convert very well.
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Bluesman
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I was in the audience when Blackstone Jr. did the Floating light Bulb. He stop it three seats down from me. I still have the picture of him and his wife with me that night.
I don't think there is any film of Blackstone Senior going this. By the way, Is there any one today that does this?
Brad Lancaster
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Darren Romeo is performing the Blackstone Floating light bulb now. I saw him perform it last month during one of Gay's productions of the worlds greatest magicians. No offense to Romeo, but in my opinion it pales terribly in comparison to Blackstone Jr performance.
illusiontech
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I work with Darren on the tour and just spoke to Gay about this last week. Senior did not do this over the audience. It came about as a happy accident while Harry was rehearsing the trick in the 70's. So it's not as old as you may think. Also Gay has the rights to anything that floats past the proscenium AND THEN floats back.

--Vinny
Chezaday
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All very interesting ... no one could possible compare to Harry Blackstone Jr. His command of the stage was truly amazing. I was lucky enough to work for him on a couple of occasions. A true legend in the world of magic .. I miss him dearly.

Steve
AnthonytheMagic
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HI,
please do not take this as being disrespectful just a question. Gay can have the right for someone making something or someone float into the audience? Didn't DC float a girl in the audience. Please don't take this in any way shape or form as disrespect. Just trying to figure this out.
Respectfully,
Anthony
ALLEN TIPTON
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Thanks guys and especially to Illusiontech--that has helped solve a piece of history my son & I have been researching for some time. And in answer to Bluesman--yes my son is performing it-- but NOT over the audience out of respect for the Blackstone Family. That is he has worked out his own rig ( based on a very old rig--no not Burling Hull's) and can make the Bulb float side to side, up and down,away from him & stay there till he walks over to it Way up, high in the air, come down behind him, step over it, and even walk around it--ALL One Man method. What amazed me with the walking round it was his hands never moved!! The routine has yet to have its first public performance but the video rehearsals are great. Atg the moment he is studying for the second part of his degree at Lisbon University, Portugal

But in many aspects he is in well in advance of his Dad. In spite of the fact that I began Magic in 1942!!
And he is just learning my Floating Ball with a rig that took over a year to develop, about 35 years ago!! You simply carry the table on--cabaret floor or stage--music begins and the Ball floats

Allen Tipton
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Allen Tipton began magic at 9.Joined Staffs. Magic Soc at 14. President 8 times Guild Of Magicians Nottingham UK IBM member.1980 reproduced Dante's Show & made Magician Of Month by IBM Intern.President.Currently writing Dear Magician series in Abra magazi
illusiontech
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Anthony,

Harry floated the lightbulb out before Copperfield floated the girl. Honestly, before I got to know Gay, I was belligerent about her claim, because I simply didn't understand what she was claiming. I asked her straight up and she gave me the history. This was literally a few days ago, so it is interesting that this thread started. Gay did not get the "Rights" (I forgot what the specific name of legal document she has) until AFTER Harry's death, but the fact that she was able to prove Harry's history with breaking the proscenium wall and coming back to stage, enabled her to do so.
If you have seen "Play Dead," a lightbulb floats over the audience BUT doesn't come back, therefore not infringing on Gay's claim.

Hope this helps!! It just goes to show, that instead of believing whispers and hearsay, just ask the person who knows!

--Vinny
Domino Magic
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I think Thurston has Jr. beat by several decades. His Asrah floated past the proscenium and back.

I don't know why such a big deal is made over this effect. It was a nice effect when Blackstone did it. Method-wise it's easier than many suspect. Darren Romeo has the rights to the Blackstone effect and it should end there. Recently someone was on here practically begging to be told the secret and was upset at those of us who know and wouldn't tell him.
Magic Researcher
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Those "rights" would be difficult to enforce, I'd imagine.
MR
Repeating a falsehood often and loudly does not make it true.
Blair Marshall
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And Calverts' "Floating Organ" has been known to go out beyond the stage apron. Show I caught he had to add his weight to stop it leaving the stage entirely.

B
Domino Magic
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Quote:
On 2011-11-09 17:15, Magic Researcher wrote:
Those "rights" would be difficult to enforce, I'd imagine.
MR

I think unless you were floating a light bulb over the audience, you're correct. I would say impossible to enforce.
Chezaday
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I claim the rights to the letter "E"

You have been warned ...

Steve
Aaron Smith Magic
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Ecclesiastically, Elaeocarpus Grandis, Endocrinologist, Expurgatorious...

Come get me Chez.. Smile
Bill Hegbli
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Is there anyone doing the Thurston floating lady out over the audience currently? That seems it would be a real great illusion even today.

I was at a magic convention and seen the method used for the light bulb going out over the audience's heads, before the show started, by accident of course.
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Domino Magic
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Quote:
On 2011-11-10 14:39, wmhegbli wrote:
Is there anyone doing the Thurston floating lady out over the audience currently? That seems it would be a real great illusion even today.

I was at a magic convention and seen the method used for the light bulb going out over the audience's heads, before the show started, by accident of course.


From my understanding of the description of Thurston's Asrah was that it didn't float over the audience, but rather under his control it floated to the steps, possibly down the steps to the audience. So imagine Thurston standing behind the floating "girl" under the cloth and he is holding his hands about a foot or so above the girl and then walks downstage with the girl continuing to float. With the right lighting, anything is possible. I think one of the reasons why it isn't done now is that it would be a slow presentation.

In most circumstances it was almost always possible to see the light bulb method before the show. You just had to know where to look. It was something that had to be set-up before every show. After the show, there was nothing to see. Also many of the people that Blackstone floated the bulb to also saw "something". I didn't think about this until just now, but in every Blackstone show, audience members where aware of some secret in part of his show. Certainly hit or miss with the bulb, but everyone who got up for his Committee/Pickpocket act knew much of what was going on. The guy who got his shirt pulled really new! And the kid who got the bunny during the show knew before the show he/she was getting a bunny to take home.

But back to the light bulb, it's out of reach of most magicians. You can't rehearse it in your house. It has to be in a theater or other large venue. Even if you knew the method, it wouldn't do most who want to do it any good. There is a lot more going on than is realized, plus you have to have complete control over lighting. So unless you have your own theater and the luxury of assistants and stage/lighting crew willing to spend hours rehearsing with you while you get the knack of doing it, it's a worthless secret.
Blair Marshall
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"And the kid who got the bunny during the show knew before the show he/she was getting a bunny to take home"

Perhaps the parents knew, but at the shows I saw, the child did not know.

B
Domino Magic
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The parents ALWAYS knew. We scouted out a kid before the show and talked to the parents to make sure it was ok. If it wasn't we found another kid. We also gave them a cardboard carrier with litter & food before the show so the kid could put the bunny in it after they left the stage.
Ray Pierce
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Quote:
On 2011-11-10 15:23, Domino Magic wrote:

But back to the light bulb, it's out of reach of most magicians.

I would agree that it's usually done in a theater but it is one of the simplest methods around! I did it with the floating ball in Acapulco years ago before I had ever seen the Blackstone routine simply because it was a thrust stage and there was a suspended orchestra loft on one side of the room. It was the only spot I could easily rig!

Typically my Floating ball rig take all of about 1 minute to hook up in most theaters but usually works only on stage. Yes, there are countless potential complications when you rig in the house including issues with travelers, balcony sightlines, house lights and many other details. The reality is that is extremely simple if you have the years of experience to compensate for all the unusual situations you encounter.
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Domino Magic
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Quote:
On 2011-11-10 16:39, Ray Pierce wrote:
The reality is that is extremely simple if you have the years of experience to compensate for all the unusual situations you encounter.

Ray,

That's exactly the point. My guess is that most people who are asking for the set-up don't have the experience. Blackstone didn't always perform in a theater. I've rigged it in theaters, arenas, college gymnasium and hotel conference rooms. It's a very low-tech solution for sure, but there's a difference between setting something up in your living room and getting into a real venue.

If someone is really determined to float a light bulb, there are a bunch of great set-ups out there. The Okito method is great and there's a fantastic hook-up in "Magic Without Apparatus" by Camille Gaultier. It shows a floating candle, but can be adapted to anything. It's the set-up that Henning used for his floating ball (and floating candle on one of his specials).
Marshall Thornside
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If you want the exact routine of Papa Blackstone, I can ask my father.

He actually did Harry's routine word for word in a basement of a theater in his tuxedo speaking broken English.

Both Blackstone and the stage manager sat in the back watching him do the show.

It's a cute moment that he denies but I did find evidence of an article he wrote in honor of him in Linking Ring magazine most recently.

Let me know, I already documented the Blackstone Levitation and the workings of it.
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Sealegs
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I'll have to look out my set of Burling Hull's instructions for the floating lightbulb as I was sure they included the light bulb floating out over the audience and returning to (and then circling) the performer.

Maybe I'm recalling this incorrectly but the reason I have it in my mind that the instructions include this out and back journey of the light bulb is because the action of the light bulb returning helps facillitate the part where the light bulb circles the performer. (Blackstone never inculded this in any of the performances of it I have seen him give). I know for sure that this circling of the lightbulb around the performer is part of the instructions and it's that makes me believe that the instructions include the floating out and back of the light bulb over the audience. But as I say I'd have tolook them out to be 100% sure on this point.

Years ago I spent many hours and many days in several 1000+ seater theatres rehearsing a routine for this effect that included the lightbulb going out over the audience and returning. I have not found a place for it in my show and almost certainly never will but I'd be interested to know what rights I might have inadvertently fallen foul of with such a performance.

It seems strange that the floating light bulb is available as a manuscript to buy, (I even recall Blackstone Jr at a question and answer session at the British Ring convention telling the audience that they could buy the manuscript for themselves if they wanted to do the effect) and yet part of it is being claimed as off limits.

What 'rights' are being claimed? Trademark? copyright? patent? something else? Or is it not actually a 'right' in this sense that's being claimed but simply a request? A way by which respect is shown for one of the greatest pieces of magical theatre ever created?
Neal Austin

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Domino Magic
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I've never seen the Hull instructions, but it seems I've heard what you've stated before. I can tell you that with Blackstone's setup the bulb could not circle around him. If he wanted to he could have turned around in a circle with the light bulb floating, but not with him standing stationary and the bulb circling around him.

Now I know Abbott's sells the manuscript for the Dancing Hanky and you can buy the plans or the prop for the Casadega cabinet, but I've never seen the light bulb for sale. He was very protective of the setup, even with people who worked on the show. They wouldn't give all the details of the rig and it's operation until they knew you were going to be with the show for a while.

Out of the four Blackstone trademark effects - the birdcage, the dancing hanky, the light bulb and the committee (pickpocket routine), the light bulb is the only one I've never seen available as a commercial product. Technically The Committee was never available as a commercial product. Dealers weren't selling it, but if you were in Hollywood in the early 60's, you could learn it from Blackstone Sr. for $50. I know that David Alexander, who passed away just last year learned it from the old man for $5 and had been doing the routine longer than Jr.

If you find the Burling Hull manuscript, I'd be curious to know if it's what you remember.
Magic Researcher
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Quote:
On 2011-11-17 00:05, Marshall Thornside wrote:
If you want the exact routine of Papa Blackstone, I can ask my father.

He actually did Harry's routine word for word in a basement of a theater in his tuxedo speaking broken English.

Both Blackstone and the stage manager sat in the back watching him do the show.

It's a cute moment that he denies but I did find evidence of an article he wrote in honor of him in Linking Ring magazine most recently.

Let me know, I already documented the Blackstone Levitation and the workings of it.

The Kellar/Thurston version of the levitation is well documented in the "Workbooks". I hope your documentation of the Blackstone version describes the differences between his and the earlier version. Supposedly there were several improvements. I have never seen this completely described in print and really should not get lost to history. Have you covered this aspect?
MR
Repeating a falsehood often and loudly does not make it true.
Sealegs
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Domino Magic, I'll look the Burling Hull istructions out later today.

I'm assuming that there are indeed some small but important differences between Blackstone's set up and the Burling Hull instructions if only because I recall having to be somewhat creative in order to get into get into the set up in a way that was 'unseen'. This was something that I

As for the circling of the light bulb, as you indictated... the manner in which this happens in the Burling Hull instructions is that you turn through 360 degrees effectively following the light bulb as it circles around you at the end of it's journey back from out over the audience.

Domino Magic... do you know if the rights, regarding the light bulb returning to the stage/performer, actually are 'rights', or are they more a request by way of respect for the memory of Blackstone's superb performance of this effect?
Neal Austin

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David Charvet
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As well as teaching the routine (as mentioned above) I believe Blackstone Sr. did sell a manuscript outlining his handling of the Kellar Rope Tie ("The Committee") through Hollywood Magic in the early 1960's.
Domino Magic
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Quote:
On 2011-11-17 11:19, Sealegs wrote:

Domino Magic... do you know if the rights, regarding the light bulb returning to the stage/performer, actually are 'rights', or are they more a request by way of respect for the memory of Blackstone's superb performance of this effect?

I don't think Gay Blackstone has the "rights" to an object floating into the audience and returning. She may think she does, but I've mentioned earlier in this thread that Thurston went past the proscenium and back with his Asrah. Regarding the light bulb, I can see her claiming that, but if there is a manuscript that predates the 1970's with that effect, then it's open to anyone.

I'm curious to know what the Hull manuscript contains. I'm skeptical that it's what Blackstone did only because if it was something that was out there, why was Blackstone the only one doing it?
Quote:
On 2011-11-17 14:29, David Charvet wrote:
As well as teaching the routine (as mentioned above) I believe Blackstone Sr. did sell a manuscript outlining his handling of the Kellar Rope Tie ("The Committee") through Hollywood Magic in the early 1960's.

That doesn't surprise me. I know that he needed the money. David Alexander was the only other person I knew who did the routine. It's not an easy routine to pull off which is why you don't see anyone doing it.
Marshall Thornside
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Quote:
On 2011-11-17 10:55, Magic Researcher wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-11-17 00:05, Marshall Thornside wrote:
If you want the exact routine of Papa Blackstone, I can ask my father.

He actually did Harry's routine word for word in a basement of a theater in his tuxedo speaking broken English.

Both Blackstone and the stage manager sat in the back watching him do the show.

It's a cute moment that he denies but I did find evidence of an article he wrote in honor of him in Linking Ring magazine most recently.

Let me know, I already documented the Blackstone Levitation and the workings of it.

The Kellar/Thurston version of the levitation is well documented in the "Workbooks". I hope your documentation of the Blackstone version describes the differences between his and the earlier version. Supposedly there were several improvements. I have never seen this completely described in print and really should not get lost to history. Have you covered this aspect?
MR

I would have to ask my father.
He would probably be the only person to describe the differences between Thurston's and Blackstone's.

I believe when he was on the Dante show he did the levitation. I know Dante did the Asrah.

Yes, I know what you mean about the Blackstone's leveitation. I did give a copy of it per request to Jim Steinmeyer.

I will include it in my book project on a chapter on Volume Two of Illusions on my father entitled "Invention and Origins of the Modern Levitation."
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Devious
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Hey there Mai-Ling! It's good to see you around again girl!
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