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Topic: Fat guy escaping from a straight jacket
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Jul 14, 2008 11:53AM)
Hi guys,

OK, I really just have a question. I am not an escape artist and don't think I have the personality or physique to pull off real escapes, but I am writing on a show with a well known magician and he suggested I do a straight jacket escape. I was sceptical about the idea, but I just received the script today and I think it would work really well for me if I can, in fact, get out of a straight jacket.

I have two questions: I am doubtful I could learn a real jacket escape, so are there good and convincing gimmicked jackets available? (Any one want to sell a used one?)

Also, I'm a fairly big guy (6' and 240 lbs), so I'm not even sure I can fit in a straight jacket. Though it could be funny, I don't really want to perform a reverse escape of a fat guy working his way into a straight jacket. Since I can't just go to a store and choose one off the rack, how do I go about getting a jacket of the correct size?

Sorry for the newbie questions. Though I've done magic for years, my knowledge of escapes only goes as far as the Siberian Chain Escape I used to sell to kids in my shop.

Thanks for any help.
Richard
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jul 14, 2008 12:06PM)
Dear Richard,

Could you learn a straitjacket escape from an ungimmicked jacket? Yes. You have learned plenty of other things that other people think are difficult, or you would not be posting at the Café. If you decide to learn to escape from an ungimmicked jacket, and are willing to put up with some setbacks on the way, you will be able to learn this.

You can get one made custom here:

http://www.monkeydungeon.com/

They are available in different colors and go up to very generous sizes. These folks provide a size chart. To be on the safe side, go to the next size up.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Jul 14, 2008 12:10PM)
Can you walk up two flights of stairs without being exhausted? Can you take off a really tight sweater?

If both answers were yes, then you can do it. There are different sizes of jackets sold. Please....please, get a real jacket. The difference between escaping a real jacket and a mock jacket is not that much once you know how.

As for how to get out, I would suggest that you ask Dave or Russell, and they might recommend the Jay Leslie DVD (shameless plug).
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jul 14, 2008 12:34PM)
I am five seven and a half...five eight with my hair. I weigh almost as much as you do, RT. I can do it... Get the right size, and you can too!
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Jul 14, 2008 12:47PM)
I am 6 foot in my socks, but when I put my shoes on, I am only 4 foot 9... How is that possible?

I am sitting when I put my shoes on.

(That's mine, so just give me credit when you use it.)
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (Jul 14, 2008 01:22PM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-14 13:34, Cliffg37 wrote:
I am five seven and a half...five eight with my hair. I weigh almost as much as you do, RT. I can do it... Get the right size, and you can too!

[/quote]

It's time to get Cliff started!!!!!

1) You're wearing your hair wrong! You can easily get up another 3 inches if you go large on the hair!

2) You DID weigh a lot less than him one time you did a SJ escape! As we all know (as Cliff will tell us!), weight is a Force and not a measure of ones size! Yeah, sure, it's close enough to a direct linear relationship to our mass, but not a direct representation of our mass. I know it's a small thing, but it is important (well, at least till the end of the week, then I am out of science teaching for good - well, at least one term!).

Dave "TIC" Matkin
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jul 14, 2008 01:58PM)
Pass this time, Dave.
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (Jul 14, 2008 02:21PM)
Oh, you are no fun! It's my last time for science this week! September marks the start of Dave Matkin Teacher in Charge of Burton Dyslexia Centre - well, Carrie got her wish; I am doing a "proper job". I still want to part-time sideshow, etc..... we will have to see how it goes.
Message: Posted by: Doc Allgood (Jul 15, 2008 10:02AM)
I'm 6'3" 225lbs and use a large Posey, so I'm sure that an XL would fit you.

What kind of routine are you trying to perform? Comedy? Dramatic escape? Challenge?

I would probably suggest a roller-buckle Posey with no belly or side loops. It's more the traditional SJ escape (www.cannonsgreatescapes.com).

While you're there, pick up the Jay Leslie DVD. Not only would you get some good knowledge, but you would also support a great contributing member of this forum.
And hopefully, the few extra pennies that Jay would make would help him get the Joe Fox DVD out that I'm not so patiently waiting for. :)
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Jul 15, 2008 10:32AM)
I'll take that under advisement.
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (Jul 15, 2008 11:04AM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-15 11:02, Doc Auchter wrote:

While you're there, pick up the Jay Leslie DVD. Not only would you get some good knowledge, but you would also support a great contributing member of this forum.
[/quote]


HEY, I resent that. I don't get anything from the sales of Jay Leslie's SJ DVD!
Message: Posted by: Doc Allgood (Jul 15, 2008 12:17PM)
[quote]
On 2008-07-15 12:04, dave_matkin wrote:

HEY, I resent that. I don't get anything from the sales of Jay Leslie's SJ DVD!
[/quote]

Moral support, Dave.
Message: Posted by: Russell_LA (Jul 15, 2008 04:53PM)
And Doc, if Jay keeps saving those extra pennies, maybe someday his avatar will be able to afford that eye operation...

Richard, I have seen several people on this forum perform escapes from a straitjacket. They vary widely in size from big guys of various shapes and body types to small, thin guys. I think what you do with your performance is what will make it work for your audience. You mention a "script," so I wonder if the escape fits into a bigger portion of the show in which you will be participating?

I agree with Doc's comments that you should be able to find a jacket that fits you and fits your needs. The Cannon's are a good source for advice, and Jay's DVD thoroughly covers the subject. You just have to adapt the knowledge for your specific needs. Last year, I performed my first straitjacket escape in front of a crowd with the help and support of the guys in this thread. Take the encouragement and go for it! And let us know the outcome. Best of luck!

Russell
Message: Posted by: pastorclyde (Jul 21, 2008 07:51AM)
We have made strait jackets for people from 4 foot tall to XXLarge, and they all manage to get out with the directions provided. Just make sure you are in good enough health to face the heat of the stage lights while struggling within the jacket.
Message: Posted by: Michael K (Jul 25, 2008 12:12PM)
Just have to add my support. I am 5'11" and about 260 pounds. I use a size large Humane Restraints with leather straps. However...Harley said I should get a XL.

As for learning mechanics of how-to, I attended the Sideshow School at Coney Island. As far as learning the how-to perform, I learned from Harley Newman; an experience for which I am immensely grateful. Harley is an amazing performer and even better teacher.

Michael
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Jul 25, 2008 01:22PM)
Hi guys,

Thanks much for all the support and help. I have ordered a jacket and been rehearsing the script and, hopefully, will be ready to try out the routine with a test audience on the 15th of next month. (I do an annual free show for some theater friends. They are a very forgiving, yet critical audience that is great to try new material on.)

I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Thanks,
Richard
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Jul 30, 2008 05:08PM)
What about escape from a transport belt.....
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Aug 4, 2008 09:08AM)
What is actully considered fat or over weight did anyone know that there used to be a Escape Artist that was close to 400 Pounds.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Aug 4, 2008 06:37PM)
I beleive the technical definition of obese is 50 or more pounds over the AMA optimum weight to height chart.

Note. According to that I should weigh 160 pounds. I have weighed that in my life and I look terrible and sick. I look my best at 175 to 180, which I am not today.
Message: Posted by: Kyle^Ravin (Aug 6, 2008 11:34PM)
A big guy escaping from a tight looking straight jacket would look much more amazing. I'm kinda big too, but I performed the buried alive illusion, being restrained in a straight jacket. A night vision camera captured the escape in the 'coffin' and it looked great. I'm Sure an XL would work for you. And, If you're afraid it won't work, get the gimmicked one...Its almost just the same and just as amazing!
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Aug 7, 2008 08:36AM)
Wow Kyle,

Do you have that on video to share with the rest of us?
Message: Posted by: Kyle^Ravin (Aug 10, 2008 10:44PM)
Sadly, The local TV network holds the rights to the TV special. But, there are some pictures on my website. My promo video also shows me performing an escape with the same straight jacket. The video is in the gallery page and the pictures of the escape are on the [b]Buried Alive[/b] page on my webbie.
Message: Posted by: dave_matkin (Aug 11, 2008 02:11PM)
Not a gay jacket - there we go again with the straight jacket spelling! :) :) :)


Argh who cares! In fact who gives a ****?
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Aug 11, 2008 03:07PM)
Actually, with as tight as that thing hugs me, I'm not sure what its intentions are . . . :)

Thanks,
Richard
Message: Posted by: Michael K (Aug 21, 2008 08:03AM)
"will be ready to try out the routine with a test audience on the 15th" -- rtgreen

Just wondering how the escape went.

Michael
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Aug 21, 2008 12:10PM)
Hi Michael,

It went pretty well. I did some silly comedy and used the fight music from Star Trek as a background. However, I do need to say that this is a lot harder to do than I anticipated. At one point in the escape, I was contemplating giving up and asking to be untied, but finally got out. It got huge applause, but I need a lot more practice.

Thanks,
Richard
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Aug 21, 2008 01:50PM)
The best advice I believe all the pros can agree on is not how to escape BUT how you allow yourself to be confined. If you gain enough slack while being restrained the escape itself should be" all show "

It's like substituting a stacked deck for a shuffled deck. The trick is over as far as you're concerned but nothing has happened in the eyes of the audience.
Message: Posted by: critter (Aug 21, 2008 03:27PM)
I'm bigger than that and I've been in tons of straitjackets. I can't wait to do it voluntarily!
Message: Posted by: Matthew Jones (Apr 30, 2011 08:44AM)
Sorry to revive this 2.5 year thread but I'm also debating about trying a straight jacket escape with possibly an un-gimmicked straight jacket, I looked at that site near the top of the page and I was wondering if those are gimmicked or un-gimmicked straight jackets? Also I'm really heavy, I fluctuate between 350 and 330 lbs and I'm pretty tall at about 6'2" tall but I'm really considering this because I was watching an old Jeff McBride DVD and Abbi was performing the straight jacket escape at the Burning Man Festival and I'd really like to learn how to do it, but I'm not sure what size I'd actually need to do an escape.
Message: Posted by: illusion777 (Oct 13, 2011 09:48PM)
Matthew, I don't think your size will prevent you from performing this with an un-gimmicked (aka regulation) straitjacket. I am performing the straitjacket escape for the first time in an upcoming show. I got the size designed for my build and have been able to get to the point where I can have it as tight as possible and still get out. It will require some flexibility and no you do not have to dislocate your shoulder as some people incorrectly claim. I have watched lots and lots of people doing this escape and here's what I can suggest: 1) Avoid the corny jokes and cheap humor. 2) Watch as many different people escaping a straitjacket as you can. You will learn lots from the people who do it bad. 3) Go here for some tips on how to do it correctly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-7MsV_R_0E. Try to find a copy of Dixie Dooley's Escapology DVDs. Usually Penguin Magic has them cheap. Let us know how it goes.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 14, 2011 12:50PM)
1) What do you mean by un-gimmicked? If you mean regulation then you're talking Posey which has front and side loops, a crotch strap and friction buckles.
2) If people like the corny jokes and cheap humour and doing it will get you paid and re-booked then use the corny jokes and cheap humour. If it doesn't then ditch it.
3) If you're talking Posey with front and side loops the video that Illusion posted won't teach you how to do it. And as for the Dixey Dooley DVDs I'd avoid them like the plague. Jay Leslie's SJ DVD is worth getting, can't remember if it has Posey tutorial though, and so is the John Novak series.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Oct 16, 2011 03:41PM)
Wear a shirt that will stay tucked in through the escape. Getting in shape and getting a good haircut is a must. I've seen a few performers who look completely disheveled afterward - shirt half hanging out, the bad comb over is flopped up and gasping for breath like they're having a heart attack! That's not showmanship. A performer should have some self-awareness, or he looks like a gimp.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Oct 22, 2011 11:09PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-16 16:41, Alan Munro wrote:
Wear a shirt that will stay tucked in through the escape. Getting in shape and getting a good haircut is a must. I've seen a few performers who look completely disheveled afterward - shirt half hanging out, the bad comb over is flopped up and gasping for breath like they're having a heart attack! That's not showmanship. A performer should have some self-awareness, or he looks like a gimp.
[/quote]

I disagree with this completely. I believe it adds to the show psychologically if you look disheveled. What is the point if you come out looking neat and perfectly comfortable? That just means it was not even difficult in the first place and no one is that impressed. IMHO, the coming out half dead, is showmanship. Coming out neat and easy is like performing a stage show with no lights, music, patter and a boring stage prop. What is the point then?

Regards
Wolflock
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 23, 2011 03:58AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-23 00:09, Wolflock wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-10-16 16:41, Alan Munro wrote:
Wear a shirt that will stay tucked in through the escape. Getting in shape and getting a good haircut is a must. I've seen a few performers who look completely disheveled afterward - shirt half hanging out, the bad comb over is flopped up and gasping for breath like they're having a heart attack! That's not showmanship. A performer should have some self-awareness, or he looks like a gimp.
[/quote]

I disagree with this completely. I believe it adds to the show psychologically if you look disheveled. What is the point if you come out looking neat and perfectly comfortable? That just means it was not even difficult in the first place and no one is that impressed. IMHO, the coming out half dead, is showmanship. Coming out neat and easy is like performing a stage show with no lights, music, patter and a boring stage prop. What is the point then?

Regards
Wolflock
[/quote]

I agree with Wolflock here. The straitjacket is supposed to look hard even if in reality you find it easy.

Now I'm not saying you have to thrash around and roll about the floor. But you shouldn't come out of doing an SJ and appear as though you just took your jumper (sweater) off.

If you can recreate the Tony Curtis style of escape that's great. However even he looks half dead once the jacket is off. Sweat pouring out of him.