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Topic: Cannon's Great Escapes
Message: Posted by: RickSilmser (Dec 30, 2004 03:34AM)
I just spent the past hour and a half on Mr. Cannon's website looking at his products. Well, the flame is still lit in my gut for escapes. His stuff is really beautiful and I am now seriously considering putting an eascape or two into my regular stage show.

I'm 48 yrs. old now but I'm still in pretty good shape and this hankering I have to do some escapes will give me that little push to get myself into better shape.

I began my stage carreer as an E.A. and it will always be my very first love. The Tom Horn transport belt is a most definite on my list....does anyone here do Mr. Cannon's "strong box" escape ?? any words or thoughts on that, please ??

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 30, 2004 03:39AM)
Rick there was someone asking about it before but I'm not sure who performs it here.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Dec 30, 2004 08:18AM)
Yes the Strong Box is good,only once more it`s a concealed escape.Also it requires to be fixed to the table or a stand made for it as movement although minimal tends to shake,rattle and roll.
I like it and have been useing it on and off for a few years now,mainly for small cabaret.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Dec 30, 2004 09:03AM)
I second the thought that the Strong Box is a good piece. Kristen has been doing it since 2001. In our experience it can be done set on a rolling table, but ye a stand made for it would be best. We have been working for some time on designing a way to do this piece without the aid of cover. We hope to have it finished by this spring.

Hope that helps.

Kevin & Kristen
Message: Posted by: RickSilmser (Dec 30, 2004 09:39AM)
Thank you all for your advice...I appreciate it. Now, another question, how do you feel about a performer doing the Cannon, Tom Horn transport belt, and have a pair of Clejuso heavy weights on as well as some thumb cuffs. Is that overkill ?

I've done Joe Tanner's Belt & Muff in the past and it went over like gangbusters. I did it while tied to a chair. Do you think one really has to toss him/herself all over the stage to sell the escape from the belt restraint or do you think it would be cool to sell it as a "muscle control" bit where you can release yourself without the "tossing around"...that really craps up a suit or tux...LOL!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 30, 2004 09:53AM)
Rick do what works best. try both ways and see what kind of a response you get.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Dec 30, 2004 11:27AM)
Due to the TH Belt set up,I can`t see how you would get a set of T Cuffs on!!!
Yes muscle control with plenty of facial expression is the way I do it,,,,its great to use as an alternative to an SJ.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Dec 30, 2004 05:34PM)
It's also good to emphasize, if you use the Tom Horn story, that it successfully held a man until he was hanged.

Message: Posted by: RickSilmser (Dec 30, 2004 08:32PM)
Hey Ken...guess what ?? ~in his best Scottish accent~ Ur rrrright ! What was I thinking ??? I was up all night looking at the Cannon website (drat you Mark ! j/k) Thumbcuffs with the TH belt, hahahahaha! duh me !

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 31, 2004 02:40AM)
Maybe someone has done it but who knows.
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Dec 31, 2004 04:28AM)
Again I have no idea why so many people want to do things without cover?

To each their own I guess but a whole lot of respected EA's never had a problem with it.

IMHO mystery is the name of the game.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 31, 2004 10:06AM)
I agree. about the covered up. I prefer to do it covered but have been told to do it in full view maybe I should do it as a mixture.
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Dec 31, 2004 10:35AM)
Well, "full view" comes from the "locksmith as escape artist" school of thought.

I have never found lay audiences to get as much from that as they do the "mystery school of thought".

As always, to each their own.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Dec 31, 2004 11:12AM)
Do a covered escape in the centre of a showground in the UK,when you have got out the audience would have vanished.
Maybe with a well spieled compare in a theatre presentation but in the real world try it and see.
This is a visual art,,,so for me,,,,,I keep it visual.
Visual escapes only,,,,,keep a lot of good escapes out ie (Milk Churn) etc,but ask your potential,booker or agent what their requirements are,cos they pay the fee,and that`s what I am after.
I quote only from my own observations.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Dec 31, 2004 11:45AM)
Mark....I have no idea why other people desire to do things with no cover...we can only speak for ourselves. It is how Kristen and I have decided we would do a lot of the things. We work in areas that have a much younger crowd, extreme sport generation that is driven by visual things. So this is the way we have decided to approach our show. Kristen's Water Torture Cell done in full view has made a lot of publicity for us, landed us at the largest music festivals in the country and made us the only non music act at Lollapalooza. Seeing Kristen the entire time in the water cell for an average of 1:47 really pulls the audience in..and in our opinion much more so than watching a curtain.

So is the full view method the only way to go?....no, it's not, but it is one way and it does seem to work well for us.

As far as the Cannons Strong Box goes...it is not techincally done in full view at all, in fact it is performed completely "concealed", however the audience will "remember" that it was never covered. So one does not necessarily need to do something in full view for it to be remembered as being done in full view.

Just our $.02

Kevin & Kristen
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Dec 31, 2004 12:58PM)
The desire to do things with no cover never came into my equation, the demands of the Showbiz dictated this.
The very large Festival Shows ie Great Dorset Steam Rally (250,000)Head of people,Wiltshire and St Helens Shows (280,000)Head of people demand the visual aspect (Thats why we are booked year in and out as the only spec act appearing)Return bookings are the staple diet for us,hardly any of the 2005 season shows are newbies with the Four Seasons Events Shows our 18th year.
I have a letter requesting that the following season we drop the Milk Churn and return to the "More Visual" Suspended chain escape,,,,this letter is dated 1992 from The Events Team of Four Seasons,had I not taken notice of their requests I doubt if we would be doing ALL of their shows yet again in 2005.

Don`t take my word for it,,,,look at the very fine DVD of Mr Baker`s,,,judge for yourself which of his televised stunts came across strongest,,,and why.
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Dec 31, 2004 01:04PM)
To escape in Full View or Not To Escape in Full View, that is the question, lol.

Personally, I think a mixture of both full view and covered is fine. A lot of folks have gone over to full view only because of the idea that modern audiences won't sit through not being able to see. I would agree there is merit to that arguement. But the idea of 'mystery school', which Mark mentioned, if I understood him correctly is also a very strong concept.

Being hidden or partially hidden, the audience must fill in the blank or hidden areas in their minds. Our art is based on mystery and not seeing something adds mystery. An equal dose of full view/skill and covered/mystery should help to keep the audience interested visually and mentally.

And that's my thought for the day, lol.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Dec 31, 2004 01:08PM)
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us here. It is always good to get another persons perspective on how and why they do what they do.
Congratulations and best of luck in 2005!!!

Kevin & Kristen
Message: Posted by: pastorclyde (Dec 31, 2004 01:16PM)
I too prefer full view escapes hence my full view water-filled casket escape, etc. I designed my own mailbag escape early on because I didn't like that a) the gag was over done b) going under cover seemed dull plus, c) I was working alone. My mailbag escape ended up costing too much retail successfully due to the cost of producing a plain but nickel plated bar I was used to seeing in the escape. In my research I found out that the USPS doesn't use a bar. Instead they use a rope with a locking rope break. I am about to release an authentic version of the mailbag escape using a bag and hardware based on actual USPS practices. The good part too is it should come in around $50 retail. The best part in my opinion however is that it is full view. For whatever it is worth, I almost always emerge to a standing ovation due to the full view effect of the mailbag and I fell audiences feel the same about other escapes. (Sorry this sounds like an ad- that wasn't the intent. I was rather was trying to state the degree to which I support full view).

As Kevin said- just my $.02!

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Dec 31, 2004 01:16PM)
Cheers!!! I only post as I find,,,each to their own but the approach of changing to the demands of the Biz is all important to us as Biz men.
We have to be flexible and be prepared to take on constructive critique even at the expense of our own preferances.
I have always felt that the audience point of view is of paramount importance, second only to that of the booker!!

Regards Ken Dean (Real Name!!),UK.

On the Mailbag,JC Diamond made a full time living on the outside gaffs with two stunts,1)The Blindfold Car Drive 2)Mailbag Escape in front of an approaching Truck or Heavy Roller.He retired three or four years ago and no-one has had the foresight to take his vacant spot(Silly people).
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 31, 2004 03:41PM)
If one does it covered how do/would you keep the audience interest ?
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jan 1, 2005 09:47AM)
I do both covered and uncovered. For me, some effects 'sell' better with the element of real mystery, while others sell better as visual acts of skill. I just test the water and play it by ear. What works best, I run with.

Since my main thrust is "escape artist as mystic," I try to imply either 'yogiistic physiological control,' 'telekinesis' or 'parakinesis'whenever I can pull it off.

Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jan 1, 2005 10:03AM)
Would anyone be willing to assist me (or sell me) the plans on the uncovered gimmick? I have never seen it done, and for the life of me can't imagine it being done without blowing the gimmick one way or another. Any help would be appreciated.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 1, 2005 11:08AM)
CliffG Plans for What Uncovered Gimmick. ???????????????????
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jan 1, 2005 01:00PM)
I refer to the uncovered mailbag escape.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 1, 2005 04:27PM)
CliffG Contact Pastor Clyde. he'll sell you one. and if you can please tell him to contact me as well. I'll like his new Mail Bag Escape Idea.
Message: Posted by: AJP807 (Jan 1, 2005 05:46PM)
I think it's all been said here, but as long as everyone else is throwing in two cents I thought that I would anti up as well. I must say that I agree with everyone here...and that may be a first. Kondini and Pastor Clyde are certainly correct that full view escapes are extremely impressive to an audience. To paraphrase an older post from Riley "the days are over, when the audience would sit patiently, singing with the orchestra, waiting for Houdini to emerge from behind a curtain.."
I also certainly agree with Mark Tripp that a well performed covered effect has that element of mystery that is more difficult to generate in a full view effect. It isn't impossible however, and not all full view escapes have to be of the "lock pick demonstration" type as I must respectfully remind Mark of my favorite Full View Handcuff Escape, which always seems to have my audiences perplexed. It is his very own Subterfuge method.
Now I think Carnegie and "Doc" Midnight summed it up perfectly. Elements of covered, uncovered, and partially covered escapes would make for a more well rounded show. I had the pleasure of seeing Kevin and Kristen perform at the First Annual Escape Artist Convention, and it was a thrill seeing the WTC performed in full view. But I also thoroughly enjoyed watching them perform their "gypsey rope tie" effect which for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it is a covered, or at least mostly covered effect that is very powerful. Anyone needing further info can PM me for a full description of this routine, or just come to the Convention in California, Maybe if we ask nicely Kevin and Kristen will include it in their lecture. Anyway before I got off track, what I wanted to point out was that two of the reasons that this covered routine seems to work so well, at least to me, was that it employs no gimmicked props...ie: a solid piece of rope, and it is done fast enough to make the escape seem impossible. I think any covered effect can be very entertaining as long as it is done fast enough to maintain the mystery. Not that speed is the end all that beats all, but it is an important element that should be considered in any escape, covered, or otherwise. I've also seen the Cannon's perform live and my two favorite escapes that they perform are the 55 gallon drum escape, which, although he has a full view method, Mark performs fully covered to enhance the mystery, and his spiked table escape which is a full view escape, and although not as mysterious as the drum escape, has enough drama, danger and suspense in it to make it my very favorite escape to date, bar none. In my opinion Mark and Sheila do a perfect blend of covered, uncovered, and partially covered escapes.
Sorry for rambling, I guess I'm up to 36 cents.
Happy New Year to all!
Tony Parisi (my real name by the way)
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 1, 2005 05:55PM)
Tony Keep Rambling we'll let you get up to $2.00 and possibly more.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Jan 2, 2005 07:47AM)
I like escapes done in full view, but that also hide the secret. Soloman did a TV special here in the UK a year or so ago and did a handcuff escape. He did it behind a plastic screne that when you are close to it the audience can see everything clearly. Move a couple of steps back and Soloman became slightly blured. You could still see the cuffs drop and hit the floor and you could see him working on the cuffs, but you couldn't actually see what it was that he was doing. Very visual, but keeps that level of mystery.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 2, 2005 10:15AM)
Yes keep the mystery and wonder how it was done. don't you find that 15 foot pry bar one uses to pry the cuffs off is a bit hard to keep it hidden in your pocket. :)
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jan 2, 2005 10:54AM)
Glad someone brought up the Soloman cuff escapes behind plastic.
Refer back to old "Abra`s" and Magic Mag (The blowup doll illusion)That is where the idea came from of doing the Milk Churn under bubble wrap as a semi visual escape,,,,,oh yes it got a nice mention in Abra and the filming of it went worldwide (Mind you,I have yet to receive a copy !!). Now go back to past posts and you will understand why I keep myself to myself !!!
DeJa Pooooh.