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Topic: Bob McAllister's Self Levitation
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Nov 1, 2020 09:20AM)
Just a shout out about the late great Bob McAllister's self levitation. He used to do it anywhere and everywhere (it is not the Balducci) and you can find the ad in old magazines and think about the method. Regards, Gregg Webb
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Nov 2, 2020 10:06AM)
For anyone searching, the trick was called Walking On Air.
Message: Posted by: TRoberts (Nov 2, 2020 12:01PM)
[quote]On Nov 2, 2020, David Todd wrote:
For anyone searching, the trick was called Walking On Air. [/quote]

Thank you for this link. Looks similar to the Magellan Levitation?
Message: Posted by: top_illusionist (Nov 2, 2020 09:00PM)
A video would be nice in order to see it in actual performance.
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Nov 2, 2020 09:48PM)
[quote]On Nov 2, 2020, top_illusionist wrote:
A video would be nice in order to see it in actual performance. [/quote]

Just in case it wasn't clear from what Gregg Webb wrote: [i]"you can find the ad in [b]old magazines[/b] and think about the method."[/i]
this item was released by Bob McAllister in the late 1990's , but has not been available since Bob passed away in 1998, 22 years ago. The advertisement posted above is a scan from the February 1998 issue of MAGIC magazine. This effect is not available from anyone and as far as I know there is no performance video available. Maybe Gregg could post a video of himself performing it , since from his shout out about the memory of this effect I'm thinking that perhaps he purchased it (?).

Gregg, do you perform this ?

Message: Posted by: AllanK (Nov 3, 2020 05:27AM)
I had this and it was an excellent effect. It came with a video of Bob performing it, but I cannot find my copy! I had to give up performing it because it put a big strain on my right ankle. I added a Superman insignia to the red cloth/bag and told a story about being fascinated by the Superman TV series as a child - that's the George Reeves version (the best!). I played the theme music from that series while I levitated. It was great, but I just couldn't do it without a lot of pain. I'm sure a regular gym goer would have had no problems.
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Nov 3, 2020 07:57AM)
During the self-levitation fad of the late 1990's (which was ignited by David Blaine's video-sweetened performance of the Balducci levitation on his "Street Magic" special aired in 1997) there were at least a dozen of these type of self-levitation effects marketed. Steve Fearson's "Fearson's Fantastic Floatation" was another one (not the one with the box, the one where he held his jacket in front of him and levitated behind the jacket). There is a video of Fearson's:


Magic Max , a magic company that used to be in Orlando, Florida (now out of business) also marketed a version called M.U.S.L.E. (Max's Ultimate Self Levitating Effect). I believe it had a similar method to the McAllister version , but McAllister's presentation was better, imo. I could only find one tiny image of M.U.S.L.E. still floating around (ha!) on the internet archive Wayback Machine. See attached.

EDIT: on the archived version of the Magic Max website there was a video. Video is poor quality, they crop in on the guy's feet instead of showing it as a full body shot , so it doesn't represent the effect very well, but it is what it is for anyone interested ...


I remember that these various self-levitation effects were discussed [i]ad nauseam[/i] on the Magic Café and other magic forums (Penguin Magic, Ellusionist, etc.) at the time. Just do a search on the Café. Most of these effects only looked good on video where the camera angles could be tightly controlled. Most were not practical for real world performing and after the self-levitation fad ran it's course most of them ended up being tossed into ye olde magic junk drawer.
Message: Posted by: top_illusionist (Nov 3, 2020 03:25PM)

If you want to continue to push the magic envelope, please stop posting garbage. I don't see what's so great about McAllister's Self Levitation.
Bob's levi is passe .. so lets move forward and not backwards. All your responses tell me its a garbage idea. The whole world can see right thru
this method (its a Zombie gimmick with shoes attached).

David Todd that's why I wanted to see a video to be proved otherwise. The Criss Angel method is the best one out there in my opinion. Too bad its been heavily revealed.

Message: Posted by: David Todd (Nov 4, 2020 07:43AM)
[quote]On Nov 3, 2020, top_illusionist wrote:

If you want to continue to push the magic envelope, please stop posting garbage. [/quote]

It seems like you're getting way too worked about it. This is just a casual discussion about a minor, somewhat obscure effect. For my part , I am certainly [i]not[/i] pushing any of these self-levitation illusions as examples of great illusions . I already said that I think most of those self-levitation effects were not practical for real world performances and most of them ended up in the junk drawer after the self-levitation fad ran it's course. I posted the photos for [i]informational purposes[/i] so people could better understand what was under discussion (because the original post didn't even give the actual name of the McAllister effect , so I thought if anyone was at all interested in what was being referenced by the OP , a photo might be helpful.) Full disclosure: I have never seen the McAllister version performed , but I'm fairly certain the basic method is very similar to the Verne McCarthy M.U.S.L.E. version ... the M.U.S.L.E video (which was not a good performance or recording) and photo were not posted by me as an example of a great illusion, it looks kind of lame , imo , but it is the closest thing I could find to what the McAllister effect [i]might[/i] have looked like ... although McAllister's presentation with the legs positioned on a diagonal looks better to me , at least in the still photo in the advertisement. I'm skeptical about how effective it was , but I do know that Bob McAllister was a good performer and he invented some clever effects over the years , plus he had some good endorsements on his advertisement , so I suppose I'm not quite so quick as you are to pronounce judgement that McAllister's effect was "garbage" without having seen it performed. To me, the limitations of it seem obvious , and it's not something I would have been interested in trying to perform, but in the right hands it might be a cute quicky (not a major mystery by any means) sort of like the Steve Fearson self-levitation. (which I posted in relation to this topic because it is also similar to the effect under discussion and there's an actual performance video of it.)

[quote]On Nov 3, 2020, top_illusionist wrote:
The Criss Angel method is the best one out there in my opinion. Too bad its been heavily revealed.[/quote]

Yes, it looks good ... but [i]only[/i] from a straight-on camera angle that can't vary. It's an example of an illusion that really only works well on video with tight control of the camera angle and some editing after the levitation for the performer to recover a normal stance.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 6, 2021 07:54AM)
Bob Gave me one. I never made up the props needed...very simply put together...Can I explain the working? Does anybody mind. Bob was a pretty big guy. I mean, he would do it everywhere.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 6, 2021 08:12AM)
The guy Fearson, on his clip, is doing basically the same thing, except Bob's had a shopping bag which he carried the cloth in. In the bag was a big tupperware bowl, very big, that he got on Canal Street at one of those specialty shops (all plastic items, all rubber items, all Mylar items, etc.) that he used to haunt. The bowl was upside down and had to be strong enough to step on...for extra height. So, you stepped into the shopping bag. The drawback was the type of shoes. They had to be loafers so you could get in and out of one of. There were these really strong magnets that had to be secured in the loafers so one shoe would cling to the other.
True, not a real stage act. But he did it everywhere. All of us can't be Stage Illusionists I guess. It was stronger than the Balducci. p.s. Bob got the magnets at a specialty shop on Canal Street too.
Message: Posted by: FrankFindley (Feb 6, 2021 10:35AM)
The broom illusion was a popular bit in Harry Potter library shows a decade ago. It does give kids a moment of shock when the see they both feet in air.


I saw a Renaissance Faire magician in Wisconsin do Andrew Mayne's levitator as a closer (don't have his name unfortunately). It floored the audience and got a big response. It was not announced at all. He was constantly stepping on and off a tree stump bench he used as a performing platform. In his next to last effect he ended up with a cloth in hand. He then just quickly floated. There were gasps followed by applause.


So these simple stunts can work as quick moments.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 6, 2021 03:54PM)
In Bob's, he kind of leaned back and to the side to give mainly a view of the bottoms of his loafers.