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Topic: Linking Coathangers
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Aug 3, 2004 12:20AM)
I am aware of two marketed versions of the Linking Coathangers: The Delben (Ben Stone's) and Mike Caveney's.

Does anyone know the history of the effect? (It may be discussed in one of my magazines that featured Mike Caveney, but I'm not sure where to look right now).

Terry
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 3, 2004 01:54PM)
Well, here is the scoop.

I don't know the date of the Delben version, however... many years ago I stumbled onto a coat hangar in a department store that was made of aluminum and the material was almost 1/4-inch thick. I bought about a dozen of them.

Taking them home, I worked out a way to make an invisible-ish key, similar to Jerry Andrus' linking pin, hiding it in the curl of the hangar near the hook.

I made up three sets, gave one each to Fred Kaps and Terry Seabrooke, keeping one.

Caveney saw these and worked out his own routine, making up some of the same hangars, and I was told he literally bought out all he could from the manufacturer.

I understand that Richard Himber had made up some custom sets of stainless steel with a locking key, similar to his locking key linking ring set.

I kick myself daily for not marketing this first (Before Caveney) and not buying a 300SL Mercedes Gullwing that was offered to me for $7,000 (they now fetch well over $100,000).
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Aug 3, 2004 09:56PM)
Thanks for the info Pete. A very interesting story! So do you think we will see a set from Magic Makers?

Terry
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 8, 2004 04:28PM)
Wouldn't that just CHAP Mike Caveney's Donkey!!!!

The Delben version was withdrawn from the market, because of pressure from Mike. This would, indeed, be a "battle of the deep pockets."
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 5, 2004 08:53AM)
Ok But what Version is the first/original Don,
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 6, 2004 06:34PM)
Merlin Eifert an amateur magician on the Left Coast had a trick with a thin wire that stuck out of the top of your trousers (I have this) and I think THAT was the first ever linking of plain, cheap wire coat hangers.

I don't know when, but Richard Himber made up a few custom sets with the locking key like his linking rings. This, I believe was the first to "make" special hangers.

One day I found these alloy hangers and made up a few sets, one each for Fred Kaps and Terry Seabrooke, and one for myself. I patterned the key after the Andrus setup for the linking pins, using the TWIST area to have a "springy" way to link/unlink.

Delben made a similar set, I don't know which of us was first, but I had NEVER SEEN or HEARD of any others making sets like I did. Independent thinking? Probably.

Caveney came after, and I believe after he saw mine. I did NOT develop much of a routine, just using the setup for a 3-ring type routine.

Caveney worked out a very nice, commercial routine and added the Supreme gag, with the hack saw.

In retrospect I wish I had developed my idea and marketed it FIRST.

I do not know anything about Caveney putting PRESSURE on Delbin, but he could have if he had been BEFORE they were?

I don't know.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 6, 2004 09:11PM)
As I recall, Mike thought he had this coathanger thing as original and then he later found out that someone else had had the idea years before. He told the story once in a lecture.

Mike's routine is the key (pun intended) and one of the few patter written routines I use verbatim.

But I have learned that it does not play well for kids. They never hang up clothes anyway so how would they know they get tangled together?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 12, 2004 06:41PM)
Kids? Then you need a routine with all the props scattered on the floor :kermit:

I once got CHASTISED for a comment about a messy stage. A kid did an act at the WMS Jr. competition. When he finished the stage was littered with CRAP... snowstorm, cards, balloons... junk, etc.

As he finished and came back for a bow I said, "Clean your room."

Which got a great laugh. Except a reviewer said "Biro was RUDE to a performer."

:kermit:
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 12, 2004 07:59PM)
Funny. They never think about how they leave the stage for the next act.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 15, 2004 07:51PM)
When you go pro and do a review show you MUST leave a clean stage. I think anyone that works leaving a messy stage should learn ways to NOT do so should they get a good gig and they will kill it fast with any mess.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 15, 2004 08:30PM)
Well said Pete. I try to get that through to the guys I talk with.

I still remember working with one act and getting Glitter out of my stuff for two years afterward.
Message: Posted by: Regan (Oct 16, 2004 11:10AM)
It is hard to make glitter "disappear" indeed. I stopped using it in my shows because it is so hard to clean up.

Regan
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 16, 2004 12:35PM)
It has been four years since Steven Youell worked following Rocco, and Steven still finds glitter on his clothing. :)
Message: Posted by: Hayre (Oct 2, 2006 01:30PM)
I bought a set from Ben Stone when he FIRST started making them.... in fact, I contacted him and asked if he could make a set, since I had just heard about Caveneys and they were so expensive at the time. So Ben made me a set for less than half the cost.... he also said that it was the first set he had made. He sold a few more set after that, and he told me he stopped for the exact reason alluded to here in other posts. I sold mine years later to Bob Spray, who sold them to Joe Stevens (I am unsure if the provenance followed them).
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Oct 24, 2006 10:40AM)
In the introduction to Jim Steinmeyer's "The Magic of Alan Wakeling", Caveney credits Wakeling with the hacksaw gag.
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Nov 2, 2006 12:59PM)
Mr Biro,

My coathangers and DVD just arrived from Mike Caveney, and on the DVD he credits you for the idea.

I'll add my personal thank you for a great idea.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Nov 9, 2006 10:37PM)
Thanks for your kind words.
Message: Posted by: Joe McIntyre (Nov 10, 2006 06:58AM)
When I joined Ring 50, way back in 1955 or 56, I did Linking Coathangers that I put together myself. I found out later someone in GA was doing them, also.
Message: Posted by: optimystik (Feb 2, 2007 07:13AM)
Mike Caveney's hanger routune using a spectator with their eyes closed is hilarious and brilliant in so many ways.

An excellent piece of clean entertainment for adult audiences.

Stephen
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Feb 2, 2007 02:11PM)
That's "Powers of Darkness, Come Out of the Closet".

Steve
Message: Posted by: MarkRobertson (Feb 18, 2007 12:15PM)
I don't know when Mr. Stone, the Ben in Delben, started making his hangers. I bought my set in the early 80's at the shop.

I used to hang out at Ben's shop, as a college kid in Springfield, Missouri. He was proud of the difference in his key. His gaff is on the "back" side of the hook, this gave you the ability to hang the hanger on another and then flip the hanger for a one hand crash link.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 15, 2007 03:27AM)
While probing through some of my old Genii mags, I found an ad for a set of linking coathangers from Stanfield's in East Point, GA. The gimmick was similar to the Biro/Caveny gimmick, but it locked. It may have used regular type coathangers.

It was produced in 1956. This was not the version that had the extra wire.

Ben Stone introduced his linking coathangers in the late 1970's.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (May 14, 2007 04:27PM)
How and where can I get my hands on a set of these linking coat hangers? Any reference to a website? Or anyone wanting to sell his/hers? Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 14, 2007 11:30PM)
The only ones currently available, I believe, are Mike Caveney's. He lists them on his web site. http://www.mcmagicwords.com/ Click on "Tricks" in the menu.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 15, 2007 12:09PM)
I wish I had kept notes on the date when I first made up the hangars. Could have been in the '70s bit my feeble brain can't pull a date.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (May 15, 2007 02:51PM)
[quote]
On 2007-05-15 00:30, Bill Palmer wrote:
The only ones currently available, I believe, are Mike Caveney's. He lists them on his web site. http://www.mcmagicwords.com/ Click on "Tricks" in the menu.
[/quote]

Thanks, Bill. Will look into it so I can have a set too.
Message: Posted by: Piers (May 3, 2008 04:41AM)
[quote]
On 2006-11-02 13:59, plasticdestiny wrote:
Mr Biro,

My coathangers and DVD just arrived from Mike Caveney, and on the DVD he credits you for the idea.

I'll add my personal thank you for a great idea.
[/quote]

Wondering, how are you getting on with your coat hangers...?

Piers.
Message: Posted by: magicmax1 (Jul 5, 2008 11:05AM)
I saw someone on tv do this trick and it was pretty cool

-Max
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Jul 5, 2008 01:01PM)
Yes, that was the Caveney routine. I saw the same special.

Steve
Message: Posted by: CanadianMagicguy (Aug 9, 2008 08:16PM)
Going back to what Pete said about Richard Himber making up a few sets of stainless steel coathangers with a locking key ..... there was a set on eBay (the listing expired last night) from a seller in Las Vegas. The "opening" bid he put up (with a reserve not met) was $500.00 US, with a Buy It Now of only $1,750.00! What a deal! To quote the text: "One of very few sets of Richard Himber's Linking Coat hangers. Likely made by Connie Hadon in the same fashion as the 3 Himber set of Linking Rings. This may be one of only 3 sets made."
For some unknown reason, it ended with no bidders. I was very tempted to bid, but then I realized that my well worn set of linking coathangers that I bought from Mike Caveney back in the late 70's might get jealous. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't pay that much for linking coathangers if a piece of Houdini was attached to it! (although I guess if it came signed with a COA I might....)

Bruce
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Aug 24, 2008 04:38AM)
I bought a set of his coathangers from Mike Caveney shortly after he came out with the effect. In practicing with them I managed to damage/break the "key" hanger. I found a local metal worker who was able to fabricate a duplicate using 1/4" cold rolled steel. I had him make several sets which I then had nickel plated. I sent one set to Mike Caveney, gave one set to Fred Kaps and, as I recall, one set to Scotty York and kept one set for myself. Since they are made of steel they are virtually indestructable and have a "ring" to them -- not unlike a set of linking rings -- that the aluminum ones lack. I assume Mike still has the set I gave him, Scotty (if I remember correctly) likewise but have no idea whatever became of the set I gave to Fred Kaps.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 26, 2009 06:35PM)
[quote]
On 2004-08-03 14:54, Pete Biro wrote:
Well, here is the scoop.

I don't know the date of the Delben version, however... many years ago I stumbled onto a coat hangar in a department store that was made of aluminum and the material was almost 1/4-inch thick. I bought about a dozen of them.

Taking them home, I worked out a way to make an invisible-ish key, similar to Jerry Andrus' linking pin, hiding it in the curl of the hangar near the hook.

I made up three sets, gave one each to Fred Kaps and Terry Seabrooke, keeping one.

Caveney saw these and worked out his own routine, making up some of the same hangars, and I was told he literally bought out all he could from the manufacturer.

I understand that Richard Himber had made up some custom sets of stainless steel with a locking key, similar to his locking key linking ring set.

I kick myself daily for not marketing this first (Before Caveney) and not buying a 300SL Mercedes Gullwing that was offered to me for $7,000 (they now fetch well over $100,000).
[/quote]

What people don't know is that Pete did buy a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee. As a result he is featured on page 24 of the AARP Magazine for July & August 2009!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Feb 22, 2010 11:29AM)
I have a set of Caveney's Linking Coathangers and also have a set of [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WTA9nAoKPI&feature=related]these coathangers[/url] too.

They are made slightly differently from the Caveney ones, they are thinner and the hook part rotates, and as you can see from the link provided they allow for some quite different linking techniques.

I've played around pretty extensively with both sets and both have features that commend them.

Neal
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 19, 2011 06:16PM)
Sorry to revive this thread yet again. But it seems fitting to post this here.

I've been looking at adding a linking coat hanger routine to my regular show and I've stumbled across these that are made in Australia. Anyone have any dealings with this guy before? I like the price, $60, but I'm unsure.

I'd love a set of Mike Caveney's hangers but they are a little on the pricey side at the moment.

Anyway, thanks in advance.

Ros
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 19, 2011 09:35PM)
But they are a KNOCKOFF!!!! When you buy this cr@p, you are supporting theft. They are not made in Australia. They are made in China.

There is a copy of a Porper Strong Box on the big auction site right now that the fellow claims is not a copy, but is a "generic" one. BULLPUCKEY!!!! IT'S A KNOCKOFF!!!

He even has a copy of the Porper instructions with it.

Remember, every time you buy a cheap knockoff version of someone's trick, you are stealing from them.

The people that make these tricks, the originals, I mean, are actual human beings. They make at least part of their living from selling their ORIGINAL creations. Although Pete inspired the Caveney set, the routine Caveney does is his and his alone.

The thieves can rationalize these things many different ways, "It's not patented. Mine has the gaff on the other side of the doodad. Mine uses blue coathangers instead of silver ones."

In the final analysis, it's the same BULLPUCKEY that all the greedy losers are spouting.
Message: Posted by: The great Gumbini (Oct 19, 2011 11:10PM)
I echo Bills post. I would also add that you will find in most of these knock-offs you will get a much inferior product that will not be as well made. While the value of many magic props rises in time the knock-offs will not. You never go wrong with buying the original.


Good magic to all,


Eric
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 20, 2011 06:31PM)
I understand and agree with buying (or not buying) knockoffs. However I completely forgot to put the link to his site. So as to not be accusing someone of something they've not done I feel I should just double check we're talking about the same guy: http://www.mrrexmagic.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=2&Itemid=5

Also, and this is a question to those who own Mike's set, have you ever had a problem with the thickness of the hanger?

They seem quite a bit thicker than regular hangers.

Many thanks,

Ros

Posted: Oct 21, 2011 3:13am
Just to update.

I emailed the online store above and although they're still available on his website he told me he no longer makes them. The key hanger in this instance was a locking key. Don't know if this is the same method as Mike's as I'm not familiar with the linking pins either.

One thing re theft.

Is it theft if someone creates a new method for the same effect or is that classed as something new?

And what constitutes a new method? How different would it have to be?
Message: Posted by: Destiny (Oct 23, 2011 07:01AM)
I have and use Mike Caveney's hangers and the thickness is no problem at all - they are after all real coathangers. Like most things, coathangers now come in many different sizes, thicknesses, colours and styles. They don't look like cheap wire hangers - they look like more substantial good quality hangers - which of course is what they are.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 23, 2011 09:53AM)
Sounds great!

I think I'll be adding the hangers to next season's show.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Nov 2, 2011 11:37AM)
When I first devised my linking coat hangers, I made them from hangers I found in a store. Caveney bought the same ones, actually finding the manufacturer. So they are real coat hangers.
Size matters, thin wire one will not show up well... these are a good thickness for seeing well and durability.

I got an email today from a fella that bought a Chinese Copy of my Ghostly Linking Finger Ring. I hope it lasts a few days. I tested a copy of a couple of my items ripped off in China.... One broke on the third use.

They are so clever even duplicating our instruction sheets. I couldn't tell the fake from ours until I discovered the paper size was 1/8-inch smaller than our 8.5x11.

TRY TO NOT BUY COUNTERFEITS.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Nov 3, 2011 04:10AM)
Hi Pete,

Thanks for your post. Appreciate it.

I was wondering, having never bought anything counterfeit as far as I know, how you know that what's being sold by a dealer is the real deal?

If a counterfeiter is claiming a product is the genuine article how do you know they're telling the truth?

I know you could go direct to the creator, but if the creator doesn't live in your country and you find a supplier that is how would you know they're kosher?
Message: Posted by: Carnac (Mar 21, 2012 11:04PM)
I'll add a plug for Caveney's hangers. I've had mine for many years and have performed them hundreds of times. They are still wonderful. Most wonderful, of course is the routine. Perfectly perfect. No set up! No break down! Nothing to break! Great for all ages, etc. etc.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 16, 2012 10:46AM)
The biggest advantage of Mike's hangers is that they are VISIBLE to the audience. The wire is no larger than the average stage size linking ring. Similar hangers are sold off and on at The Container Store, so they are not totally foreign to the audience.