(Close Window)
Topic: Before D.Copperfield walked through a brick wall...
Message: Posted by: Steve Landavazo (Sep 13, 2001 08:14PM)
This magician made it one of his most famous mysteries. Can you name the magician?

Steve :yippee:
Message: Posted by: Billy Diamond (Sep 13, 2001 08:35PM)
I believe that was none other than the late great....ah that is an easy one....let someone else guess. :lol:
Message: Posted by: Magicman0323 (Oct 5, 2001 07:39AM)
Wow, I never even saw this post. The magician I believe you are referring to is the late great Harry Houdini. As he really made the effect famous by walking through a brick wall in the early nineteen hundreds. :)
Message: Posted by: Joe Marotta (Oct 13, 2001 09:52AM)
Harry Houdini actually was the first to walk through a brick wall that was constructed on stage in front of the audience. :wow:
Letís see David Blaine do that!
Actually, letís not.

Joe Marotta
Message: Posted by: James (Dec 1, 2001 08:05AM)
To see David Blaine walk into a brickwall would be funny.
Message: Posted by: The Dead Ranger (Dec 1, 2001 09:54AM)
Hey! Cut Blaine some slack... he's working.

Besides that... I hate to say it, but I feel he's been good for magic on the whole.

:dance: - A dancing machine!
Message: Posted by: Wiz (Dec 1, 2001 10:00PM)
To be a bit different, Paul Daniels once crawled through a stack of china mugs in his TV show. It was a take on 'walking through a wall'.
Message: Posted by: Mya Angel (Dec 2, 2001 11:19AM)
Didn't Blackstone walk through a glass wall?

Alice through the looking glass (or something like that? :confused:)

Message: Posted by: Wiz (Dec 2, 2001 12:32PM)
Dunno Mya, I never saw that.
Message: Posted by: Steve Landavazo (Dec 2, 2001 02:04PM)
Good job everyone!

It was Houdini!

Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Dec 2, 2001 03:59PM)
An interesting side note:

Houdini did have the brick wall constructed on stage with the bricks set into a metal floor frame that defined the size and shape of the wall-to-be.

Before the wall was constucted however, a heavy canvas drop-cloth was laid down on the stage to prove that no trapdoor could be used to slide under the wall. The brick wall was then built on top of the canvas. The fun part is that the canvas carpet actually aided in the secret method; indeed, it would have been much more difficult to perform WITHOUT the canvas.

Not unlike demonstrating that the giant die just BARELY fits into the hat (its final destination).


Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Dec 3, 2001 11:38AM)
As a side note, the [i]Alice through the looking glass[/i] illusion was performed by both Blackstones. Harry Blackstone Jr. used the same prop that his father used before him.

Also, Blackstone himself did not go thru the glass, a child assistant from the audience did!

:bwink: :xmastree:


Life is not a problem to be solved...

but a mystery to be lived.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Jan 20, 2002 03:08PM)
Anyone else here remember that Doug Henning did this as well... :dizzy:
Message: Posted by: Chad Sanborn (Jan 21, 2002 07:06AM)
Yes Doug did this with a mirror. Then Copperfield performed it. Then Louis DeMatos performed a version. I too have my own version of it, in which the wall is thin and you can see parts of me on either side at the same time. At the end, part of my clothing is revealed to still be stuck in the wall!!

Message: Posted by: Steve Knight (Jan 24, 2002 06:33PM)
The invention and first performance of this illusion is usually credited to P.T. Selbit of Sawing Through a Woman fame.

Both Milbourne Christopher and Peter Warlock give Selbit as the probable inventor though both note that the Great Alexander made a claim to having been walking through walls made of ice and other things many years before Selbit, though neither seem to give his claim much credence.

They also note the claim of Sydney Josolyne, who about a month before Selbit debuted his effect, announced in the magical press that he had invented a wonderful new illusion, but no details were given. Josylyne was usually a sleight-of-hand performer so his claim isn't given much credit either, however, it was Josylyne who sold the rights to this illusion to Houdini.

I know that David Devant also featured a version, based I think, on his own method, though I can't find any detailed references in the books to hand. Perhaps someone can track them down.
Message: Posted by: davekilpatrick (Apr 1, 2002 10:37PM)
Henning's walking through a mirror was outstanding. He started out inside a cabinet. He burst through a paper target on the front of the mirror. It took me the longest time to figure it out because it used a totally different method than any illusion I had been familiar with to that point (I was big time into studying illusions back then). It really represented thinking outside the box (partial pun partially intended). I don't know of another Illusion that uses that principle. It almost begs to be re-applied in some way.

Houdini's method for the brick wall, hinted at above, is available in one or more of his biographies, available at any public library.
Message: Posted by: Dr. TORA (Apr 2, 2002 04:39PM)
I Think Thomas Has given all the necessary details of Houdini's version as well as the clue for the trick. Nevertheless, there have been many other professionals doing this such as David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Blackstone. etc. Now the latest version of it "Passing Through a mirror" is currently on the market around 1500 US Dollars. For this reason I think The question was initially who had done the trick first, For me Houdini is the right answer.
Message: Posted by: mikeB (Apr 5, 2002 05:01AM)
While reading this thread, something has been niggling at me to do with David Devant. I can't find the reference and it is driving me mad. From what I can remember he did this effect a very long time ago, maybe before Houdini(?). Houdini was not adverse to 'borrowing' and then 'forgetting' who originated the effect.

Any way I could just as easily be completly and utterly wrong. :coolest:
Message: Posted by: Steve Knight (Apr 5, 2002 11:25AM)
Houdini apparently bought the rights from Sydney Josolyne. Josolyne himself performed the illusion using a steel plate, his first performance coming about a month after Selbit debuted his own "walking through a brick wall" (see my post above). I still haven't found detailed references for Devant's version so let me know if you do.
Message: Posted by: mikeB (Apr 6, 2002 03:43AM)

I found an obscure reference to Devant's version in Liking Ring Vol 61 No 11 Dated November 1981 on p53-56. In this article S.H. Sharpe talks about the first performance of 'Biff' in December 1914 at St. George's Hall. On the next page there is an illustration of 'Biff' together with a number of drawings of 'Walking Through A Wall' drawn by H.K. Elcock with the title 'Sketched at St. George's Hall, London'.

S.H.Sharpe gives a reference for 'Biff' in "Secrets Of My Magic". There may a reference to the "Wall" in here as well.

So far that's all I have.
Message: Posted by: Steve Knight (Apr 6, 2002 09:48AM)
Oddly the Walking through isn't described in "Secrets of my Magic", I've just had a look and don't think I missed it. Apparently at least one person takes The Great Alexander's claim seriously - T. A. Waters's "Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians" gives Alexander as the inventor of this illusion. Of course it's quite possible that more than one person came up with the idea independently, after all how many ways are there to walk through a wall? At least one method is bound to have occured to several people... the obvious one.
Message: Posted by: bdormer (Jul 1, 2002 04:23PM)
I think on WGM 4 (or was it 5?) a duo called "The Fantastics" did a similar illusion. It starts of similar to the "sawing in half" where the girl gets into a box, they do some misdirection business and it appears that she penetrates right thru a rather sturdy looking steel plate. It was quite a good illusion and well performed. The method was applied in a somewhat unique way. I'd like to see more of them.
Message: Posted by: thecardman (Jul 1, 2002 04:32PM)

They were The Majesticks (forgive the spelling) and they can be seen at the SAM Convention in New York this week.

Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Jul 2, 2002 09:58AM)
Interesting stuff!

But who designed the "Collision Course" in which a sports car was driven through a block wall resting on top of a flatbed trailer framed by a ramp on either side. You could see under and completely around the set-up. It was designed in the late 1980s for Lincoln-Mercury and option to it was given to Copperfield?

Any takers? :bg:
Message: Posted by: Samuel Catoe (Oct 17, 2002 11:20PM)
Would that be YOU Darmoe?
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Jun 15, 2003 08:56PM)
Not to question who was first. I certainly liked Doug's version of the "wall", with the "little old bricklayer", poor guy. The wall was up off the floor and you "could see right under it.

Blair Marshall
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Jun 16, 2003 04:38PM)
Perhaps many of you are aware of my great-grandfather who performed the effect of walking through a brick wall in the 1800's.
He enjoyed naming his effects, somewhat like the late T. A. Waters, but not in such cryptic ways.

My great-grandfather performed the effect of walking through a brick wall quite regularly and gave it this name:



Sorry, but I couldn't resist!
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jun 18, 2003 08:40AM)
If you can believe what Copperfield said in his China Special, a monk's remains were found imbedded in a wall,his skeletal remains running in and out of each brick. He apparently "diffused" through it...

Now,HE (the monk)would be the first to have performed it... though technically he got stuck in the middle... does that count? :worry: