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Topic: Tug of war Rope tie
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Jul 30, 2005 11:38PM)
Would you have any thoughts on Houdini's "Full View of Audience" Release? This is most commonly known as the "Tug of War Rope Tie". The release, when properly addressed, never fails. You may be familiar, you take a smooth piece of rope about 4-6 feet long. You place your wrists upon the center of it and ask that they be tied at the smallest point. Without giving the steal away, allowing the committee to indulge in a "tug of war" at the two ends of the rope without endangering the release. I have always used this as a quick release, to get a laugh. I now play it up as a serious escape, mind over matter, letting the audience think I am having serious pain with this. After the wrists are tied, and knots drawn tight, I ask, are you sure you have tied them good and tight, also allowing the audience to see this up close also. Once they have agreed they are tight, and believe me, they are tight! I begin my patter and begin my escape. I am really playing this up as my hands are turning red and blue, then in a matter of 20 seconds I am free. The audience just eats this one up Mike. What makes this even more dramatic is the fact that I use two of the biggest guys I can find in the audience, the bigger the better! I am currently planning this as an upside down hanging "Tug of War" with suspension line set on fire as with an SJ escape.

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Jul 31, 2005 06:37AM)
Sounds like a nice twist to the old Steve "Mr Escape" Baker routine. I'm guessing you'll be quite low whilst hanging though. Do you think this will actually add anything? I mean the ea usually hangs up-side-down to add a danger element, if you're close to the ground this, in the eyes of the audience, wouldn't be the case.

Although I suppose you could do it and have them pull you from side to side making you swing. But even this might just be over kill for this routine.

Would be good to hear more about what you had planned.

Take care,

Ros
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jul 31, 2005 08:31AM)
Mr. Zanzini,
You may want to check with Steve Baker before you proceed further. He is the creator of the Tug of War Rope Tie, and this is well known in the escape world. To my knowledge there is only one authorized person other than Steve who presents this escape. And that person was taught the routine by Steve and has his blessing.

I will say there are countless numbers of rope ties available that you don't need permission to present, the Kellar Rope tie comes to mind if you are looking for a quick laugh type of routine.

Your description above is Steve Bakers routine. Houdini never presented the Tug of War Rope Tie. No doubt you saw Steve present this on TV and copied it. Sadly, many people think that once a routine is on TV it is fair game to copy. This happened many times with David Copperfield. It's shocking the number of magicians who not dress like him, but also make knock offs of his tricks and even copy the entire routine down to the music.

Make no mistake, if you don't have permission from Steve on this particular routine, then you should cease. Let me state, this doesn't mean you can't do rope ties, but this particular one, The Tug of War Rope Tie, is a signature routine and creation of one person, and should be respected as such.

Carnegie
Message: Posted by: Steve Baker - Mr.Escape (Jul 31, 2005 10:33AM)
Thank you Carnegie,your a Gentleman!
I saw this post last night and my first reaction to Zanzini was to
rip his head off for presenting my routine as his!

I created this routine in 1958,and it's been one of my signature escapes
every since then.
There are no slights or stealing involved,it's done in full view,with close
up cameras covering every angle!!!
I've performed it over a thousand times,without failing!!


Steve Baker
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jul 31, 2005 10:40AM)
Zanzini,

Let me be the first to say that you're routine and effect are is a totally different method to that of Steve Baker's. They read the same but methodolgy is different, and sure enough the words 'Tug of War' do appear in the text, as does, 'doing it for a laugh'.In that I stand corrected.


Dean Carnegie
Message: Posted by: FLIM-FLAM (Jul 31, 2005 10:47AM)
Mr. CARNEGIE
Mr. Zanzini has a firm foundation as presented to base his use of that rope escape. If you could provide an original trademark of that rountine, I think that would help in this matter. Clearly however, I can concur with his referenced book. Not only does it validate his side, but the words "tug of war" are mentioned. I have not seen Mr. Bakers version, but the one explained above is one of Houdini's rope escapes. This is one of those situations that can get pretty sticky. A fine line for sure! But the rope escape mentioned pre-dates anyone currently on the scene today. I could be wrong, but he has provided a valid source.

Mr. Baker
Hello, this is Jim McClain. Please get yourself a copy of the book mentioned. Mr. Zanzini is not passing bad information. He is telling the truth! You could not have invented the routine he mentions above in 1958.


Jim McClain
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Jul 31, 2005 11:23AM)
I think it is important to destinguish between the routine and the method. If you (as in anyone reading this) decide to perform the T.O.W as described above you are copying Steve Bakers routine.

Now you may have a different method, but if you perform your routine directly after Steve and the audience think you've done the exact same thing then for all intense and perposes you have.

Alternatively, if you performed your routine after Steve and the audience thinks you've shown them a completely different release (regardless of the fact you may have used the same method) then you have a different escape.

Its kind of like doing the ambitious card routine using a duplicate card or a double lift. To the audience the card still goes in the middle and jumps back to the top by magic. Same routine, different method.

Now I've seen Steve Bakers routine he performed on Dick Clark and on the Cannons 21st Century Lecture Video and it is performed "as a serious escape" exactly as described above.

You may have a different method or you may not, but if you're doing this escape in the same way as Steve Baker then you're doing his routine. Adding the suspended bit is a twist on this routine. As far as I know Steve, nor anyone else does or did it this way and therefore it could become a whole new routine in its own right.

Those are my thoughts on this kind of thing.

Ros
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jul 31, 2005 11:24AM)
Jim,

If you look at my second post I said, "I stand corrected." The routine is not called the Tug of War Rope Tie, though the words tug of war do appear in the text.

Steve Baker at one time was going to release his version of the Tug of Rope Tie to the escape community but then decided not too. His methodolgy is totally different, and I do stress TOTALLY different.

The Houdini text finishes with the comment "this is sure to get a laugh". This is the escape that is taught on Dixie Dooley's Escapology DVDs and surely is, Houdinis. And to that I said, I stand corrected.

I think the confusion comes in with the later part of the description where in Zanzini describes his serious version of the routine, which is exactly how Steve Baker presented it.

As for proof of Steve Baker's version, I personaly have a number of pieces of footage from television shows like Dick Clark LIVE, The Alan Thicke Show out of Canada and others, of Steve Baker presenting his Tug of War Rope Tie, which is exactly what he introduces it as. It is presented as mind over matter and Steve always makes a point of asking for the biggest guys he could and his hands and fingers do indeed turn red and blue. Houdini's text, at least what I read on this particular escape, and this is the ONE in question, mentions none of those points.

I will add this. Zanzini claims he is using the Houdini Full View Audience Escape Version and thus doing that upside down from a burning rope, this is NOT in conflict with Steve Bakers version at all.
Message: Posted by: FLIM-FLAM (Jul 31, 2005 11:36AM)
Mr. CARNEGIE, Yes, I did see the previous post. A cross in the mail? Anyway, there are so many routines out there, it's hard to keep track of them all. Everyone seems to be developing new twists and turns, and always to the enjoyment of the audience. I only wish some would cleary read what is written before jumping on others. I think that would eleviate much bickering. Clearly, some have spoken out of line.

Jim
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Jul 31, 2005 05:42PM)
Mr. Baker,
I will say this again, you did not invent this escape routine in 1958! You are clearly not reading my post! The escape routine I am talking about was performed by Harry Houdini long before there was a Steve Baker. If you were around during the days of Houdini, which I doubt very much, then please pass on your trademark to legal ownership. You are standing on empty ground! Your comment about ripping my heqad off was very childish, especially since the escape I am clearly referring, is not yours!

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jul 31, 2005 05:49PM)
I am of the opinion that Houdini failed to copyright many of his routines. I know he copyrighted some.

The truth of copyright law is that the first one in gets it done. This is how the band "Chicago" is able to hold its' name. The city never copyrighted it.

I do not know If Steve Baker holds the copyright or not, but if for arguments sake he does not, then it is still the right thing to do to find a different rope tie to use. Anyone who has been around for a while knows that routine is Steve's.

But why argue, selling someone elses stuff is always harder than selling your own. Go to 33 rope ties, or your favorite book of that genre and work up your own routine, you could probably make it great. Just give it a different name.

My 2 cents

Cliff
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jul 31, 2005 06:12PM)
Whats wrong with being original and doing something that doesn't 'look like' or 'sound like' or 'is like' ?
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Jul 31, 2005 06:26PM)
I suspect based on the manner presented here so far, that the "Tug of War" is not copyright material. Wanting to be fair, I would ask that Steve Baker present proof of ownership. I did not raise a fuss about this escape routine, others did. I would like to add, that even though I referrenced the book Houdini On Magic, and did not state that I was performing the routine as the "Tug of War" as clearly posted above in my original. I can still pre-date the use of "Tug of War Escape" the one in question as being created by Steve Baker in 1958, by other performers during during Houdini's time and into the 1930's. I'm not questioning that Steve Baker created his own routine, but the use of "Tug of War" is in fact, not his! Anyone wanting to do a little research at your local library or internet savy, can come up with several names of performers. I'll start with The Great Carletti, who was performing his version of the "Tug of War" long before 1958! The history books are full of information for those who truly want to learn and not just argue!

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: GreatWizardoftheEast (Jul 31, 2005 07:11PM)
Which history books? Not finding any Carletti in any of my history books. I looked on the internet too and could find no reference. Could you elaborate please?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Jul 31, 2005 07:25PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-31 18:49, Cliffg37 wrote:
I am of the opinion that Houdini failed to copyright many of his routines. I know he copyrighted some.

The truth of copyright law is that the first one in gets it done. This is how the band "Chicago" is able to hold its' name. The city never copyrighted it.


Cliff
[/quote]

The band Chicago was forced to change its' name by the city of Chicago. They were originally The Chicago Transit Authority. ;)

I'll stick to Houdini,
Kevin
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jul 31, 2005 07:57PM)
In the entertainment world if a fellow pro is known for a routine or escape who ever invented it,,,,,, one would leave it alone.
This is done and has been the norm for many years now,,,,to note just two McComb and his ???? Finger ring trick,,,,Kaps and his???? smoking thumb etc etc.

Mr Baker has worked at and made it his sig piece,
Out of respect to a fellow pro alone, I would not use it,,,,,still that`s me,,,,I would like to think that Mr Baker would treat me likewise.

There are many many escapes that we too could spend the desired time on and make them our own, so do so.

Ken.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jul 31, 2005 08:15PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-31 20:57, Kondini wrote:
In the entertainment world if a fellow pro is known for a routine or escape who ever invented it,,,,,, one would leave it alone.
This is done and has been the norm for many years now,,,,to note just two McComb and his ???? Finger ring trick,,,,Kaps and his???? smoking thumb etc etc.

Mr Baker has worked at and made it his sig piece,
Out of respect to a fellow pro alone, I would not use it,,,,,still that`s me,,,,I would like to think that Mr Baker would treat me likewise.

There are many many escapes that we too could spend the desired time on and make them our own, so do so.

Ken.
[/quote]

Agreed!

Then there is also this:

Whats wrong with being original and doing something that doesn't 'look like' or 'sound like' or 'is like' ?
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Jul 31, 2005 08:46PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-31 20:11, GreatWizardoftheEast wrote:
Which history books? Not finding any Carletti in any of my history books. I looked on the internet too and could find no reference. Could you elaborate please?
[/quote]

Were you not the one giving me a hard time last night? Anyway, I would expand your library. Do you happen to know anyone in Bradford, England? If so, you might try getting yourself some extremely rare copies of the "Leat Leaflets". Several stories about Carlette in a few of them. Note* These were never put in circulation, they were given out for free. Also, "Imperial Wizard" Rottenburg, Germany, now out of circulation, covered Carlette and his "Tug Of War Rope Escape". I'm not going to argue this any further.

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jul 31, 2005 09:38PM)
This has been one heck of a post! At one point the whole thing was deleted then brought back and edited down. Can't wait to see how it's edited down further! :)

I'd like to mention again that indeed the Houdini on Magic book does have a rope routine in there that Houdini used in which he mentions the words tug of war, though it is not titled tug of war rope tie. Nor is it commonly known as the tug of war rope tie, that is an assertion on your part. I don't know about Harry White, but my personal library is just shy of 1000 books, not counting magazines and such.

I did spend some time this afternoon looking for any reference to Tug of War Rope Ties and could find nothing. The books I looked through included Price's Pictoral History of Magic, The Illustrated History of Magic, Conjuring by James Randi, 8 books by John Booth, The Great Illusionists by Dawes, Kellars Wonders, Greater Magic, The Tarbell Course and on and on. The only reference to Tug of War that I could find is in the piece in Houdini on Magic that you mentioned.

And I did state that you were correct that it was in that book. What is not in that book is the routine that you describe, your serious version. This is the routine that Steve Baker worked on since 1958 and has a great deal of televised footage to prove it. It is a signature routine of his. Your serious version though probably different in method, is exactly as Steve has presented it for over 40 years. As Kondini put so well "In the entertainment world if a fellow pro is known for a routine or escape who ever invented it,,,,,, one would leave it alone." I suppose the exception for that would be if permission were given or if the originator had died.

I do think the beef here is with your 'serious version' which is identical to Steve Bakers.

I will add that I think we were baited into this post. Sadly I took the bait as did others.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Aug 1, 2005 12:07AM)
Mr. Carnegie, do you have copies of the "Leaf Leaflets" or "Imperial Wizard"? I don't have any extra copies, as these are extremely rare. Note my previous post. Just because you don't have the reference material does not mean it ain't so. If you are so confident about this rope tie, which is clearly noted in Houdini On Magic, that anyone who has seen Steve Bakers routine, can clearly make the connection, and should squash any doubts. Are you saying to everyone here that there is no evidence that Carlette performed a routine called "The Tug of War Rope Tie"? Is Steve Baker 100% sure that he and only he, is the only one to perform this? Are you both that sure? We already know this was Houdini's routine, he just used a different name for it. That book alone proves Houdini not only did it prior, but it also proves where Steve Baker more than likely got his idea for his own version of the "Tug of War" I have already proven what I say about Houdini, this should already be clear to everyone. You mention that the beef is with my "serious version" that is just like Steve Bakers? Can you or Steve Baker provide footage of Steve Baker doing this while suspended from a burning rope? You are right, my routine is serious and dangerous! While Steve Bakers is not! After I am tied, I am then hoisted upside down into the air and my suspension line is set on fire. If someone else is performing this rope tie like my routine, that's great! I surely would not be moaning about it, especially if I had yet to copyright it! Steve Baker is one of the greatest escape artists of all time, no disputes on that one. But he did not invent the rope tie, and he knows it! Would you and Steve Baker care to take the Carlette Challenge at the next EA Convention? Your both 100% sure "The Tug of War Rope Tie" was not performed prior to 1958?

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Aug 1, 2005 07:30AM)
Hi all,

After reading the last post by Zanzini it seems that the idea is not the same as Steve Bakers.

In the Zanzini version it reads more like an upside down burning rope escape with the rope that he is hanging from being set alight.

I would however suggest that the name "Tug Of War" not be used. Forgetting the legal rubbish (because I find that particularly boring) this other routine doesn't have any of the tug of war aspect. Therefore calling it a "tug of war upside down escape" would be wrong.

In my first post I asked whether the escape would be done close to the ground so the tug of war bit would be still involved. But going on what has been said previously by Zanzini this is not so, am I right in thinking that?

I would also like to ask this. Do you think anyone will care to see someone escape from (in the audiences mind) a simple rope tie whilst hanging from a burning rope? I ask this because surely the audience believe the 100' rope tie, the sj or cuffs and chains to be more difficult than just a short piece of rope? Obviously this may or may not be true, but it is what the audience thinks that matters isn't it, and many have seen all of those things done hanging from a burning rope.

Just a few thoughts. Sorry that the post is all over the place, but I type as I think and am too lazy to edit my post.

Take care,

Ros
Message: Posted by: GreatWizardoftheEast (Aug 1, 2005 09:53AM)
Pardon me, I don't have a museum in which to find obscure manuscripts, as you do. Yes I gave you a hard time. You are the same annonymous phantom with no profile, no real name that pops up on this board every so often to start trouble. Your methods and MO are transparent. But we all know who you are.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Aug 1, 2005 10:20AM)
The only problem I see here GreatWizardoftheEast, is YOU! I will no lonegr respond to your empty mind of thoughts!

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: thorndyke (Aug 1, 2005 11:24AM)
Hmmm, hanging from a rope upside down which is then lit on fire,,,with audience members tugging at a rope right under the burning rope....
Lets see that video!
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Aug 1, 2005 01:04PM)
Pardon? Could you point out where I said audience members were tugging on the rope after suspended? Think not! It appears you have never seen any version of the "Tug of War"! Because if you had, even Steve Baker's, you would clearly see that Mr. Baker escaped after the audience had already secured him and let go of the rope! I would suggest you go back and read what I have been saying! Yes, there are trouble makers here, and your on e of them!

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Aug 1, 2005 01:30PM)
Amazing Z, call it what you will! I doubt if you or Mr. Baker will ever cross paths or share the same audiences. Mr. Baker has advertised his rope tie as the “tug of war” since he started performing. Houdini never advertised nor called any of his rope ties by the title “tug of war”. The term was used in a book about him as a descriptor to help the reader understand the action that was occurring during a phase of his escape.

I have not found any reference wherein the author and/or performer actually titled a rope tie the “tug of war” even though I see the term mentioned in descriptions of action.

Still we are splitting hairs here. It has been pointed out, documented, and accepted that a rope, wrist, tie escape actually titled “The Tug of War”, was advertised and performed by Mr. Baker since the late 50’s. It has been and remains a signature piece for Mr. Baker.

Interestingly, central to the escape is the tug of war that two spectators have to insure the knots are tight. Thus, the title of the bit.

It makes me wonder why you would similarly title you escape when the tug of war is not a central element. You have several elements that could be equally focused on for a title. I think that if you wanted to make this escape a signature piece (and it could very well be!) to have a booker remember you that you might think of something other than tug of war.

If I were a booker and someone told me to get that guy that did the tug of war rope escape, I would be calling Mr. Baker. That is what it means to have a signature effect and your name associated with it.

Other than that, call it what you will! I suspect that the stunt will never see the light of day in performance and the whole thread was written just to stir up a bit of controversy.
But then I could be wrong!
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Aug 1, 2005 01:34PM)
This is going around in circles.
With wording unworthy of and from, pro escapists.

A quick check on profiles will tell the wheat from the chaff, I think if this is done the invisible will go and the worthy remain.

Lets try!! To keep this thread cival.

If anyone wants to fight then this is not the place,, it takes knowledge of this craft to debate it and stupidity to destroy it.
Message: Posted by: thorndyke (Aug 1, 2005 02:19PM)
It was not an unreasonable assumption that your audience participators would be tugging at the rope as you were suspended - this is what a tug of war is after all. If it was a bit of byplay while securing you (before releasing yourself by your favorite method) that wasn't as easily infered from your posts. Either way I would love to see a video of your performance of this, which would clear up any misunderstanding of what was being done.
In your post on July 31st, you state you are 'planning this as an upside down hanging "tug of war" with suspension line set on fire'. In your Aug 1st post you mention the upside down burning rope tug of war escape again. With these two posts I feel that I have a right to be curious as to how it will look when actualy done. Lets see that video one day.
I have not seen Mr. Baker's Tug of War escape, but I have seen other rope escapes done by escape artists and magicians who supplemented their acts with escapes.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Aug 1, 2005 02:25PM)
We all know that "Houdini On Magic" was written by Walter Gibson and Morris Young, don't we? I read a few things on Houdini, but I don't recall him ever using the the term "Tug Of War" to describe an escape or illusion.

Good Luck,
Kevin
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Aug 1, 2005 02:32PM)
You need to go back and read Houdini On Magic! The term as in "tug of war" is used in describing Houdini's routine. You people are something else!

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Aug 1, 2005 02:38PM)
[quote]
On 2005-08-01 15:32, The Amazing Zanzini wrote:
You need to go back and read Houdini On Magic! The term as in "tug of war" is used in describing Houdini's routines. You people are something else!

The Amazing Zanzini
[/quote]

A term to describe something is not the same as the name of it. We call the WTC, the Chinese Water Torture Cell, not a tank of water. No matter. Houdini never used the term.

Hope this helps you better understand.

Good Luck,
Kevin
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Zanzini (Aug 1, 2005 02:44PM)
You have a reading disorder, that's ok! I can except that!

The Amazing Zanzini
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Aug 1, 2005 03:00PM)
Can I have a few moments to get a few things straight that are confusing me.

First off, Houdini On Magic was written by Walter Gibson and Morris Young right? Therefore the term "tug of war" is their way for describing the Houdini trick mentioned by Zanzini in his opening post and not the actual name of the trick itself.

Secondly, if my first statement is right, Houdini didn't actually perform an escape called the "tug of war rope tie". Gibson and Young only used the term to describe it to the reader.

Thirdly. If there is no escape called the "tug of war rope tie" appearing in any text before Steve Bakers it must stand to reason that he invented it.

Finally. The escape described by Zanini at the very beginning was a comedy routine that was actually performed by Houdini and is nothing like Steves routine. The second escape is almost identical to Steves routine and the third routine descibed by Zanzini is a mutation of both Steve's (the serious presentation) and Houdini's (the actuall method used) rope escape only performed hanging from a burning rope.

If all of the above is true and I have understood all the posts written here, then there is no reason for argument.

Zanzini's routine is different from Steve's and Houdini's, therefore he hasn't stolen anything. But, it is just another of many rope escapes being done right now. Kind of boring and dull if you ask me.

Now if you're after a rope escape I suggest you take a look at the thread covering David Straitjacket's adventures in China. Now THAT'S a rope escape for the 21st century not a re-working of an escape that was used in 1958 by the Worlds most famous ea after Houdini (who's method is used).

To rehash KSD, what's wrong with doing something new?

Ros
Message: Posted by: Steve Baker - Mr.Escape (Aug 1, 2005 08:25PM)
Ros,

Thank you for all your posts on this subject,especially the one above....
You saved me a lot of typing!
You made all the points I wanted to! THANK YOU

I want thank all of you who spoke up in my support! THANK YOU ONE AND ALL

This thread was started to provoke me,and it worked,but all of you turned it
around on the provoker!.... And for that I will be ever thankful!

One last thing,The method used in my TUG-of-WAR rope tie... IS MINE!!

Thanks to you all,

Steve

One last thing...
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Aug 2, 2005 03:31AM)
Steve,

No worries buddy :)

Take care,

Ros
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Aug 2, 2005 05:33AM)
Great summary Ros! In fact, I think that everything that needs to be said here has been said. Let’s move on.