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Topic: Strait Jacket Escape
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 21, 2008 10:12PM)
I'm not an escape artist. But I was thinking about adding an strait jacket escape as a grand finale for street busking. Any comments?
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Oct 21, 2008 11:33PM)
What if you can't get out?
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Oct 21, 2008 11:51PM)
I laughed out loud when I read that Frank...thanks I needed a good laugh.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 21, 2008 11:58PM)
I agree Frank. That is why I was requesting a gimmicked one it the Escape Artist section yesterday.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 22, 2008 02:59AM)
One of the best street acts I have ever seen was a kid (late teens or early 20s) working Venice Beach California. His whole act was the Straightjacket. It wasn’t the trick it was his personality, quick wit, and line of chatter. He kept us rooted to the spot, laughing, clapping, and rooting for him. I must have watched his act a half a dozen times (and paid a little each time) just because he was so much fun. The kid really knew how to work the crowd.

Search for and read the posts on the real versus gimmicked straightjackets. It is an interesting read.

I have both kinds of jacket. For day to day use outside a full escape act, I use an ungimmicked jacket. In fact, the gimmicked jacket has belly loops (yes I can get out of an ungimmicked version too but it takes work. For a simple, cross the arm, classic Humane version no gimmick is necessary. The work will be trying to make it look difficult. You can be tripped up by a spectator but even then you’ll get out. It will just take much more work and work means time consumed.

While most magicians attending conventions groan when someone drags out a straightjacket the public (I should say paying public) seem to love watching it.

It has all the elements of good theater and starts with a spectator helping you (great comedy lines here) and ends with you center stage, alone with the focus of all attention on you.

The down side is that even a gimmicked on takes a little work. Either type is hot being heavy canvas (so in the heat of the summer take plenty of water). You will sweat performing the routine. At the end of the day you’ll even stink a bit (more or less depending on your body chemistry). And oh…if you use the crotch strap you will get hurt eventually – wear a catcher’s cup! I removed my crotch strap. I found that it slowed the act down too much for the one or two easy laughs I got.

Please read the straightjacket threads in the escape section you’ll get a virtual instruction and tip manual.

Also, I have an extra Humane, size“large”, ungimmicked, jacket that is basically new and unused (it is one of my back-up jackets) that you might be interested in. PM me if interested and we discuss it.
Message: Posted by: ebusojar (Oct 22, 2008 05:37PM)
Definitely go for it!

I just started doing a comedy straight jacket escape recently, but I have yet to come across a crowd that isn't instantly enamored with the idea of a straighjacket escape.

If you can find a video of it, I recommend looking at Simon Lovell's comedy version. Not only is it hilarious, but it hits home for me because it was my inspiration to start.

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 22, 2008 07:20PM)
The straitjacket is a big part of my street show taking up 10 minutes. There is so much you can put into it and you can seriously lengthen the act and drag it out at times. It is definately a piece where your character can shine through anyway you perform it, be it comedic or semi-serious or serious.

I agree that on the street, you want to use a gimmicked one to reduce problems such as getting stuck, losing an audience, or any other problems that might arise performing on the street.
Message: Posted by: mota (Oct 22, 2008 08:01PM)
Lee Earle used to finish with the straight jacket in his magic years. I got his jacket from him and used it too. It can often garner standing ovations. My jacket I got from him is gaffed and I too got incredible response from it.

A couple things to look at...

First, a crotch strap does not come on all jackets but can be very good comedy. Just make sure you have an adult helping you.

Second, make sure the jacket fits. Lee Earle is average as I am. I don't know that my jacket would fit a bigger performer.

I also noticed you asked about a gimmick being noticeable. I never had it noticed and I did this escape in close quarters but probably only around fifty or so times. As part of my routine I put the jacket on the assistant. They never noticed the gaff.

If you are planning to hang upside down I would put a lot of thought into that technique. I can't give you a link but I read about someone doing the upside down escape. He fell and is paralysed.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Oct 22, 2008 10:31PM)
"Lovell Live".

Great video. He also has a VERY entertaining cards across that would be EXCELLENT on the street.

Great video. As are the rest of his videos.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Oct 25, 2008 10:49AM)
The first escape I did was about 15 years ago. Now they have become as common as C&B. Who can lay claim to origanal escape I don't know but it can work on the streets for sure.

My suggestion is don't watch any one else do it but come up with your own routeen. Their is loads of scope with it and loads of fun.

If you ever see any one pour a chain out of a bucket, all if they form a loop at one end to catch folk that pass by. Well they stole that of me.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 25, 2008 12:55PM)
Yeah who ever knows who the first of anything really is. We can often know who is the first to publish and take credit but that's about it.

The young performer I mentioned doing the Straight Jacket escape was over 40 years ago! I doubt he was the first but then maybe he was!
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Oct 25, 2008 01:06PM)
Don't bother unless it is an upside down strait jacket escape.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 25, 2008 01:56PM)
The struggle, up close and personal on the street, a good line of chatter can carry this. Upside down is nice but not totally necessary. Still, if you have a good portable rig it does lend visual interest (and makes the trick ever so much easier!).
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Oct 25, 2008 04:33PM)
Houdini could do some of his escapes "easily" but would hold the spectators in great suspense by prolonging his appearance. You can't sit behind a screen, waiting, on the street, for suspense time to pass. But how about making something big of a countdown time? Maybe use a small chalkboard and get the spectators to give ideas of how long [seconds, minutes] you will take to get out. Write a series of these times down and pick one as your target time - maybe a spectator up near you calling out the passing 10 seconds as he holds a large clock/stopwatch [doublesided? so that both he and the spectators see the minute hand moving. Other spectators join in calling out the passing time. Of course, you would know the time you can get out in, but you act the part of it being difficult. And you emerge the hero by only just beating the set time. Hmm, that reminds me of that Youtube couple on the stage struggling to see who can get out of straight jacket, versus chair tie, first. Its a hillarious act. In fact, I think this was subconsciously in my mind as I wrote. See Harry Anderson Magic Act http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMY5RguBWnk&feature=related
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 26, 2008 02:41AM)
It is all going to be new to me. Even though I have a plan together, I do not know if it will work yet. I do want to try it upside down. Someone sent me a PM regarding instructions on making a portable rig. But the flow of blood going to the head is a big question to me. I wonder if I can take the pressure after performing each 12 minute block. Comedy might fit in better for me. Someone sent me a PM regarding good advice on steps of escaping. I will never know until I get the jacket and play with it and find out what fits me better.
Message: Posted by: Metatron (Oct 26, 2008 05:26PM)

I highly reccomend giving it a go. A friend and I performed just the straight jacket on the streets of Hollywood Blvd back in 1979/80. Got giant hat$ everytime! The routine only lasted about 10 to 12 minutes. We would do about 4 shows an hour. Did it so much it wore a couple straps out and had to replace them with leather ones!

I would get a ungimmicked jacket complete with side loops and crotch strap.

Having an assistant (not an audience member) to time and to direct who ever is straping you in, is the best, and let your assistant do the crotch strap!

The pitch was to beat Houdini's Two Minute record. Have an assistant loudly count down the time. I.E. "Two Minutes GO! ... A minute 30 ... 1 Minute , ... 45 seconds ... , 30 seconds, ... 15 14 13 12 10 9 8 7 6. Your out and throw the Jacket hard at the ground yelling STOP!. I found this count down slowly increasing in pitch and tempo REALLY gets the audience to dig deep in their pockets.

It only really takes 30 - 45 seconds to escape from a real straight jacket once you have it down, but delay and put on your best struggling act for the remainder of the time, timing it to get out with 5 or 6 seconds left. It's a hit try it and see.

Message: Posted by: gallagher (Oct 27, 2008 08:40AM)
Hey Mike, it's great seeing you're at it, at it, at it! When I feel lazy, thinking about you gets me going.

With the `Straight Jacket', thought I'd give you a different angle here,.. a push off to the side. Reading thru the Posts so far; what nine ,.. ten folks say how well, great, fantastic they've seen it done,.. or done by themselves. All true, I'm sure. But that would make me say, "hmm, let's try something else."

Just a thought,.. but, you're springing into new water anyway. Why not make it fresh water!

What might be a great idea for a Forum, here in the Café, would be an "Effect Pool". A place where folks could type in an idea for a good Illusion. Wouldn't have to solves the techniques. Just a base of what they think would be cool to see.

all the best Mike,
Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Oct 27, 2008 10:04PM)
I use a real strait jacket for my finale. Most of the people in my area have never seen one before (unless they've seen my show) and are usually pretty stoked by it. I think it really depends on your style and personality. I'm a wild man from a rock n roll background so the jacket fits me perfectly. (pun intended) I honestly believe that it's the coolest thing I've ever done. Don't worry about whether to many people are doing the strait jacket escape. There's a lot more guys on the street playing guitars than there are magicians. And most of the magicians aren't doing the escape. And all of them are making money. I say go for the real thing. If you know what you are doing you will not get stuck. I believe my act goes over well because they know it's real and they know it's on as tight as it will get. People often tell me "I was worried for a while that you weren't going to get out." I guess I'm a good actor, heh.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Oct 28, 2008 02:44AM)
Mike, all I see is you TALKING about doing shows. No matter what you use for a finale your act will fail if you talk about it. You have to PERFORM the show. Then if you make a decent hat THAT'S your finale, if you make zilch, rewrite.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 29, 2008 02:45PM)
Paddy, before I perform the show I want to collect information from those who are willing to give me advise. That is what two ears are for. I like how the professionals are spending their time supporting me my goals. If you do not know what I am talking about start from beginning of this thread.
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Oct 29, 2008 08:37PM)
A street performer I knew in Seattle used to close with it. It really drew the crowds and seemed to pay well. If I was 20 years younger I'd do it. Get to it!!!
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Oct 29, 2008 10:04PM)
I met a Columbian in Switzerland who was about 60 and busking. I bought him a cup of coffee and chatted. His biggest regret was that he didn't start busking until 50...

Hey Mike...What happened to your 9999 posts? I noticed you suddenly went down to 9975...heh heh
Message: Posted by: bobn3 (Oct 29, 2008 10:31PM)
I saw a kid many, many years ago in San Francisco try to do this at Fisherman's Wharf (it was not a good act). He used this to open. He tried hatting people up front before the act, then whined because nobody came up with any dough.

Bob Phillips
Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Oct 29, 2008 11:31PM)
Not a good strategy.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 30, 2008 11:41AM)
On 2008-10-29 23:04, The Great Zoobini wrote:
Hey Mike...What happened to your 9999 posts? I noticed you suddenly went down to 9975...heh heh
A good magician never reveals his secrets.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 5, 2009 12:21PM)
On 2008-10-29 23:04, The Great Zoobini wrote:
Hey Mike...What happened to your 9999 posts? I noticed you suddenly went down to 9975...heh heh
I have no idea on what you are talking about.
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Jan 5, 2009 10:44PM)
Message: Posted by: Lion Dope (Jan 11, 2009 07:37AM)
Great idea. For the last 5 years I've ended my street show with a straitjacket escape, and it plays very strongly. I actually do my hat pitch during the escape.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 20, 2009 09:25PM)
On 2009-01-11 08:37, Lion Dope wrote:
I actually do my hat pitch during the escape.
I will look into it.