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Topic: Handcuffs
Message: Posted by: la9 (Dec 29, 2005 02:49PM)
Just getting ready to venture into the area of escapes. Planning on ordering the Novak series of books to get me started. I was wondering if most of you used gimmicked or ungimmicked handcuffs or props because I was thinking of maybe getting some picks with my order. Thought I'd get some opinions.

Message: Posted by: Riley (Dec 29, 2005 02:54PM)
The Novak series is recommended.

If you plan on using cuffs, gimmicked or otherwise, try "Modern Handcuff Secrets for Magicians" by Dick Norman. This will give you enough information to decide if you want to buy picks, or make your own.


Message: Posted by: la9 (Dec 29, 2005 02:57PM)
Thanks, Do you have an escape reading or video list you can recommend besides those two ?
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Dec 29, 2005 02:58PM)
It depends on the types of escapes that you are planning to do and your budget. Ungimmicked handcuffs are cheaper and most are easy to open with a shim (far easier than picking them).

I found that when I first started doing escapes, many people assume that the handcuffs are gaffed no matter what you do, so be sure to learn some escapes that don't use handcuffs at all. People can see that a length of rope is a rope, and that a chain is a chain. Most people don't understand handcuffs, so they figure that they can't tell if they are "funny."


Message: Posted by: drwilson (Dec 29, 2005 03:09PM)
Recommended reading:

All the Novak books
Encyclopedia of Escapes
Ian McColl's advanced books on handcuffs (if that's your thing)
Lee Jacobs Challenge Escape from 75 Feet of Rope and the Novak sequel
[i]The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini[/i] by Ruth Brandon

Jay Leslie Strait Jacket Video

Background Video:
[i]Houdini[/i] (Tony Curtis as Houdini) - everyone "knows" how HH died because of this film
[i]Houdini[/i] segment of The American Experience by PBS - just get this!

I am suggesting the Houdini material because as soon as anyone hears that you do escapes, they will start asking you about Houdini. You had better know what you are talking about when that happens. If you are going to do escapes, you are going to do press interviews, so you may as well deal with the historical background head-on.

Good luck!


Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Dec 29, 2005 04:07PM)
My suggestion, if you are going to use gimmicked handcuffs, is to get a nice pair of Ian's cuffs. These give you the advantage of putting them on a spectator, and having him pull and twist etc. and then declare they are real.

I also think youshould learn to walk and run before you try to fly. Get the materail Dr. Wilson suggested, and learn it as well as your time constraints allow. Some people do start at the top, and they might make it if they have enough charisma, most must work up slowly.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jan 1, 2006 10:15AM)
Cuffs and books on them,,,well I found that the hands on approach made the reading come to life.
The handling of the cuff as many pairs as possible gives a better insight as to the possibilities of this prop, so for me, I chose to handle as many as possible before decideing on purchase or useage, this is where friends with cuffs and Museums come in handy, it saved me wasteing money I did not have back then.

Another finding only observed by working is to swat up on the present day restraints actualy in use today, people would tend to associate a modern day product as possible the gen thing, and not gaffed,don`t know why but this is so.
Message: Posted by: Riley (Jan 1, 2006 12:14PM)
On 2006-01-01 11:15, Kondini wrote:
...another finding only observed by working is to swat up on the present day restraints actualy in use today, people would tend to associate a modern day product as possible the gen thing, and not gaffed, don`t know why but this is so.

Agreed. Nobody even [i]thinks[/i] a pair of Speedcuffs is anything other then it appears. So might as well make life easy and use ADA's :)

Having said that... I use springless Darbies in and amongst large groups in my talks - keyhole downwards and exerting outward pressure with my arms (if you know this cuff you'll know what I mean..). This is the opposite way to what the books tell you. I ask specs to pull on the cuffs - they can only grasp the tube between finger and thumb, there's no space for them to do anything else! - and my "escape" is made as I turn to my table for the next item. It's like a "throwaway gag" and it gets a great reaction. Why so many EA's don't like gaffed cuffs I don't know. As Kondini says, explore the possibilities, don't just try it the way it tells you in the book (any book). The best secrets and methods are usually the simple ones. It's how we use them that matters!

Happy New Year, everyone :rotf: