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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Boxes, tubes & bags » » Can you help identify this prop? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicalwonders
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England
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I'm in the process of updating a list of props that used to belong to Billy McComb, and one of the items in the collection is described as an Abbott's Vanish Box.

The two pictures attached, show the various pieces. In the second pic I've turned the top around, to show the load chamber -

I'm hoping someone might recognise the prop, and can advise if this is a Abbott's Magic product? I've had a good look at it, but am wondering if it's complete? It looks like the two yellow rectangular frames should be stacked on top of each other, with a red panel in between. But it's not clear how the top with the load chamber is used!

I imagine this is a prop that goes way back, but if anyone has any information about it, I'd be very grateful.

Best wishes,

Myles

Myles

Click here to view attached image.
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magicalwonders
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England
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It seems I can only include one pic at a time! Here's the other one. The first pic now shows the load chamber. Smile

Click here to view attached image.
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Dick Oslund
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Inner circle
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Hello Myles!

I must say, you speak very good English, for a foreigner!!! (hee hee)

I knew Billy quite well. That does not look like an Abbott Paint Job! I lived in Colon, during summers, when I was not on the road with my own show. I had access to the storage rooms, etc. and, NEVER saw a "box" that looked like your pictures. I'vs had Abbott catalogs since 1945, (#7), and don't remember EVER seeing that box in any catalog, either. Much of Abbott's paint decorations were originally done by Howard Melson, and generally were from the ''30s and, '40s. The "style" of decoration, looks nothing like Melson's work. (Unless, it was a special paint job for someone.

The paint and, general style of paint job, looks more like U.F.Grant, or "MAK Magic, (to me) but, I don't recall seeing anything like yours, in Grant/MAK either.

Bill Hegbli is another of us old codgers. He may have seen "yours", somewhere...

Good luck!

P.S. In all the years, I NEVER saw Billy use any sort of "box" prop like that one.
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magicalwonders
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Hello Dick,

Ha ha, thank you, English can be a challenge, even for those of us who are Brits!

I appreciate your thoughts on this item. It definitely came from Billy, as I collected it from his London home back in 2000. It took seven weeks in total to collect all the magic, as Billy had a story to go with every prop! Sometimes the stories on some items changed! I agree it's not the sort of thing I'd associate with Billy either, but It may be something that June used. There were a few of her props among the collection.

Thanks for ruling out Abbotts! It will be interesting to see if anyone recognises the prop. Smile
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randirain
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Fort Worth, TX
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That's an interesting prop. It kind of looks like a version of the Abbotts Rabbit vanish, or whatever that black box thing was called.
It looks like you take the scroll cut yellow piece and lay it down as the feet. Then one of the red pieces goes on top of it as the bottom.
Then the hinged yellow box piece, then the red piece with the bag on top as the lid.
After that, I'm lost. The Abbott's piece worked different. It had a curtain skirt that played a part.
But it could just work as a break away dove box.
That's my guess, and U.F. Grant is a good guess of where it comes from. Too old for Mak magic though.

Randi
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magicalwonders
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England
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Hi Randi,

That's my guess on assembly as well. It doesn't show in the pic, but the rectangular frame with the cut-outs and curves is also hinged. No doubt so the description could read "Packs flat, but plays big"! Ha ha.

The red panel on the right of pic, showing the inner trim, is the same on both sides. So the rectangular frames sandwich either side of this panel nicely.

The larger yellow frame has two recesses on one of the longer sides. You can see one of them in the pic, although they are not visible when looking face on. My first thought was that this was to accommodate the hinges of the load chamber on the lid, but that doesn't seem to fit!

It's packed away at the moment, but I'll have another look at it in a few days and see if I can spot any more clues! Smile
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Bill Hegbli
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I have never seen a prop like this, but from the photos I would say it is a home made tear-a-part vanish. What gives it away as being home made is the poor paint finish and the brass hinges. The war used all the brass for bullets. I would say it is not as old as you may believe.

Turn the yellow carved piece over that is the base, then place red board with the inner frame inside the yellow base. Then decorated yellow piece is on top of that. You my be missing a piece.

The idea is to lift the lid, place a rabbit in the bag, then close the lid. Make a magical motion, then lift the top part of the hinged lid (missing piece) this pulls up the other lower hinged board. The question make is "Not There" effect on the audience as the lid is turned around showing the question mark.

Then the yellow frame is shown and collapsed, then the base is shown. The Rabbit is gone.

Who knows, it could have been made by Billy McComb or one of his friends for a show the he needed to vanish a rabbit. Billy McComb made some of hit props.

Stage magic does not have to look perfect, as once it is on stage with a distance and stage lighting, props look very nice.

I once went to a television studio in town as a teenager. I was surprised to see the settings and props for the show looked horrible, but on television, the looked great and like a lot of work were put into them.
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magicalwonders
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Hello Bill,

The paintwork might not be as bad as it looks. I had to compress the pics a fair bit, in order to upload them to the forum. The paintwork has degraded for sure, but would appear to be a result of the passage of time.

Billy seemed to think it was an Abbotts prop, so definitely not something he made himself, or he would have remembered making it. I've had another look at the prop, and I'd say it was a commercial item.

On further examination, I can see that the wires from the load chamber that go into the hinges have been pulled apart. If closer together, they will fit the notches cut into what I think is the front of the frame! This enables the vanish without any extra pieces. The lid can be lifted and the rabbit placed in the bag. When vanishing, the lid is lifted again, and turned over to show the question mark. In the process of doing this, the load chamber is rotated to the back of the lid. Then the rest of the box can be broken down. That would seem to work with what I've got.

It probably wasn't made during the war years, but it could have been made prior to the war, or even after. So it's a difficult one to age.
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martini
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delta, pennsylvania
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Greetings Myles;
Sorry for getting in so late on this, but I have the identical prop, only mine
is black with red and silver designs, sort of geometric, not chinese letter.

It is packed out in the storage unit someplace and if my memory serves me correct
it was an Abbott prop called the Snappy Rabbit Production credited to Phil Thomas in an
old Abbott catalog. Phil Thomas used to own the Yogi Magic Mart in Baltimore, MAryland
here in the states years ago.

Since Abb ott's worked out a deal for Supreme to make some of their props long ago
it could be a Supreme variation of that prop. It might make sense in that Supreme used
bright yellow in a lot of their wood props and the question mark is similar to one that
was on a Supreme mentalism prop made years ago.

I will get out there in the next week and see if I can find the instructions for
you.

Hope that helps
All the Best
Marty
magicalwonders
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England
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Hey Marty,

That's fantastic that you have the same prop. Many thanks for the background information on this item!

That's interesting about the Supreme angle. The prop has a feel of the 1950's or early 60's about it. Supreme started in the early 1950's, so that would fit with the timescale.

It feels more like a vanish than a production item, but I suppose it's just a matter of working it in reverse to achieve either effect.

If you do find the instructions, let me know! I think I have a good idea now of the handling. At least for working a vanish! It will be interesting to see how close I get! Lol.

I suspect when working a vanish, the lid is rotated to show the question mark, which transfers the load to the other side. The lid can now be placed flat on a side table, with the load hanging down at the back. The rest of the box is then disassembled and laid flat on top of the discarded lid! Alternatively, the various parts of the box can be handed off to an assistant.
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