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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Are elephant Illusions still being performed? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

FrankFindley
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Are there any illusionists still performing with elephants or has that gone the way of Ringling Brothers? I would like to see the vanishing elephant illusion performed live as it is such a big part of illusion history.

Also, what is the state of large animal illusions in general? For example, is it possible that the big cats will disappear from magic?
thomasR
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Penn and Teller perform the vanishing elephant nightly in vegas.
;-)

Big cats will still be around for a bit I think. It's just more and more difficult to work with any live animals. Including birds.
Ray Pierce
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My vanishing/appearing motorcycle cage could be used for a smaller elephant. I think the main problem is in commiting to build something that expensive to be used so rarely and then you have to commit to the size of elephant you need as well. Travelling or touring with the elephant would be next to impossible so it would have to be used just for a very special event.
Ray Pierce
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FrankFindley
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On Mar 30, 2018, thomasR wrote:
Penn and Teller perform the vanishing elephant nightly in vegas.
;-)


That is funny. I read somewhere that Percy Abbott dressed up his pet dog as an elephant and vanished it as part of his stage act.
thomasR
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Are you familiar with penn and tellers closer? It's so funny. They really do vanish an elephant... Kinda. (As only they could do).
FrankFindley
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On Apr 2, 2018, thomasR wrote:
Are you familiar with penn and tellers closer? It's so funny. They really do vanish an elephant... Kinda. (As only they could do).


I have not seen their act since they added Elsie the African spotted pygmy elephant. Last time I saw them live was in Merriville, IN back in the early 1990s. But I hope to see their Vegas act soon.
thomasR
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I just saw it a few weeks ago in Vegas. Hadn't seen them live in years, and like you, had only seen them on tour.
SUCH a good show. And I loved that they only have live music all throughout the show.

Back to your original question. Rick Thomas doesn't use the big cats anymore. I'm not really sure who does. I haven't seen any in years other than Darren Romeo in Pigeon Forge. And that is a unique situation where the Producers / theatre owners already had the big cats for one of their other stage shows.
GlennLawrence
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I guess I should consider myself lucky to have seen Seigfried & Roy's show in 2000 not long before the accident. Big Cats galore of course, and yes they did the vanishing elephant as well. A bygone era, I suppose....
FrankFindley
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On Apr 3, 2018, GlennLawrence wrote:
I guess I should consider myself lucky to have seen Seigfried & Roy's show in 2000 not long before the accident. Big Cats galore of course, and yes they did the vanishing elephant as well. A bygone era, I suppose....


We had tickets to see S&R's show on our honeymoon. The accident occured two weeks before. We went to see the secret garden and there was a huge get well display with cards and flowers, many from fellow magicians.

I caught Darren Romeo's show three years back. Was great to see the floating lightbulb again. Took me back to watching Harry Blackstone Jr perform it at Abbotts Get Together.
GlennLawrence
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I too got to see Blackstone Jr perform the floating light bulb in his full evening show when it came through Florida in the mid 80's. Really wonderful and I became so enamored of the effect that I had Tannen's in New York City make me one with a large globe style bulb. Though I had grand intentions, I have yet to perform it. One day..........
FrankFindley
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We haven't found any shows with the vanishing elephant yet. But it looks like Darren Romeo added a unicorn to the Magic Beyond Belief show. May have to make a pilgrimage to see what the act is.

Image
Chezaday
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We used a tiger in the show many years ago, unfortunately with the added expense and insurance involved it's not longer cost effective. Not only for me, but for many of my fellow performers with the Lion's Bride prop. It may just have become a thing of the past. I have a few friends that are trainers with the Circus and each year it's becoming more and more difficult for them to keep the show on the road. These animals receive the best of care ... I've been behind the scenes for many years and have seen first hand how well they take care of their co-stars. We can thank PETA and their followers for depriving young children from seeing these amazing animals up-close and in person.

Steve
FrankFindley
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On Apr 27, 2018, Chezaday wrote:
We used a tiger in the show many years ago, unfortunately with the added expense and insurance involved it's not longer cost effective. Not only for me, but for many of my fellow performers with the Lion's Bride prop.


Thank you for the first hand perspective. This is what I feared. It is very sad.

Maybe we need to make a special section on archive.org to archive video of acts like yours for future generations? The TV acts are so cut up that they don't show the full beauty of these illusions.
Dick Oslund
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...And, now, even Ringling is gone. "They" even have a "retirement farm" for aged elephants! We can "thank" PETA (?)

I watched Okha, grow up on Wayne Franzen's Circus. She got the best of care, and food. Occasionally "protesters" would carry signs: "Send the elephants back to Africa!" In Africa, they would get shot by poachers, for their tusks! (Besides, Okha was an Asiatic elephant!)

I vividly remember reading about Houdini's Vanishing Elephant! First, four men pushed a big cabinet on stage. The elephant walked into the cabinet. Houdini fired his pistol. The elephant was gone. Twelve men then pushed the cabinet off stage.
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