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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » I finally did a real escape in front of an audience... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of gsidhe
I was 17 when I did my first srtaight jacket escape. I was working backstage at a David Copperfield show, and had been talking with Chris (His stage manager at the time) for most of the day. I had expressed an interest in straight jacket escapes, and he brought out one of the ones they had in wardrobe. It was gaffed, and I was able to get out of it in less than a minute.
That was the first time I had ever tried it, and the last for many years. Trussed up in front of a bunch of roadies.
Well...I decided to try it again. Inspired by the acts of Keith Stickly at Ron Jaxon's Magic Night, and the race against Dr. Seuss escape performed at The Candy Pants Burlesque show by the Flying Cat Circus, I needed to see if I could pull it off (Pun intended) on stage.
I scoured the for sale section of the Café until I found just the thing- An all black regulation straight jacket being sold by Pyromagician (Great guy to do business with btw).
I got it, and tried it on for the first time.
This is when I realized the drastic difference between a gaffed and regulation SJ.
Regulation is much harder (Duh!!)
I had a show coming up on the 15th of December. That gave me a little less than a month to be able to do it flawlessly.
I practiced, I struggled, I sweated...I did it in front of Sylver, I did it in front of my kids, I did it in front of my doves...
I contacted Dr. Wilson for some tips...Which helped immensely! (Thanks Paul!!)
Last Friday at the Carnival Of Chaos indoor music festival I was dragged out on stage in the middle of the Devil Dolls performance set by two Lovely Girls in PVC Police uniforms. They cinched the straps one last time and let me go.
Unfortunately in this type of show, there are no words...We don't talk. We depend on the music, body language and facial expression for everything.
Think evil mimes.
"They're coming to take me away ha ha..." was playing. A cover by the band Neurotic Fish. I glared out at the 400 + metalheads, goths and rockabilly fans from center stage while the two PVC clad Police girls went to the Dance boxes on the sides of the stage to shine those huge hand held spots out over the audience.
I waited for my musical cue and then started. Each pull on the jacket timed to the music, mouthing the words as the song played.
All was going well...I was just about to pull my head through my arms when something unexpected happened. Someone set off the fog machine.
This was a BIG fog machine.
The audience disappeared.
The one act where I did not want any cover...And all of a sudden, I'm in a bloody fog bank. I dropped down. Fortunately this was not chilled fog, so it rose up about 2 feet off of the stage. I dove under the fog towards the front edge of the stage, pulling my arms up and over so that I wound up crouching at the lip of the stage.
To the audiences perception I came pretty much out of nowhere. A girl screamed and fell back.
I was pleased.
I finished undoing the buckles and shedding the jacket still low at the lip of the stage right at the desired musical cue (1 minute, 30 seconds exactly). I stood in the fog as it started to clear, the jacket dangling from my fingers.
A moment of silence from the audience as the music transitioned...Then they went nuts.

So...I know this was not a terribly difficult escape. No threat of doom, no hanging upside down, no knives or fire. Not even the humorous presentation I would have preferred if I could speak. Just straight up a guy getting out of a jacket.
But it worked. And I got out, and I could have done it faster if I had to.
And the crowd liked it.
So I'll just call it a good start.

Thanks for bearing with the long post...I get wordy when I am excited.
Tony Chapparo
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Albuquerque, NM
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Congrats! Gwyd
Sounds like a very good start indeed.

Tony Chapparo
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Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

Profile of drwilson
That sounds like real beauty! The audience got what they came for and more, you should be very pleased.

When I was first starting on the straitjacket escape, I got great help from Margarette and David Straitjacket here at the Magic Café. When you get good advice from people with more experience, you can't pay it back, but you can pay it forward. I'm glad that I could help.


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Phoenix, Arizona
1185 Posts

Profile of ufo
You go man!
Reading your post made me want to rev up the ole jacket and collect even more brusies! Congratulations and keep up the good work.
"What's your drug?" she asked. "Hope" he said, "The most addicting one of all."
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Long Beach, CA
2485 Posts

Profile of Cliffg37
Nice job!
Better get ready for the next one...The crowd reaticon is addictive.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Joe Marotta
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Can You Believe I Have
944 Posts

Profile of Joe Marotta
Gwyd, That sounded just great. Bravo! You took advantage of the unexpected and worked it very well. Very professional and entertaining. I'll be surprised if you don't get a call for another performance.

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Memphis area
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Profile of Margarette
Gwyd, a mark of a true professional is when you are thrown a curve, you change your path and go with the did that! Great job on your successful performance! It's addictive, isn't it?? Smile

The only stupid question is the one not asked.
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Profile of gsidhe
Oh...I've been addicted to applause for a long time now! The time I tried the gaffed strait jacket at 17...That was 20 years ago. I'd had not looked into escapology since then, but I've been doing various forms of bizarre magic, shock magic and sideshow for quite some time. This was really a major branching out for me, something completely different. I mean...I do thumbcuffs and chain shackles (With the steel oval loop), but this was the first escape I felt confident could stand on it's own as an actual segment in an act.
This booking was from a repeat customer already...They never ask what I am going to do, just give me a time slot and say "Do something interesting". A lot of the time, I just use this music festival to try out my New Stuff. The festival before this I did my Blockhead act live for the first time.
I am really liking the escapes...and am definately going to expand more in this direction.
Just need to find my own twist!
Thanks for the support everyone!!
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Van Nuys, CA
101 Posts

Profile of Russell_LA
An inspirational story! Thanks for sharing it, and congratulations!

"You cannot kill the boogeyman."
- Halloween
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Profile of keithmagic
Wow -

Ya do your thing in a freezing old bowling alley (which was a TON of fun, BTW) and fellow acts cite you as an inspiration... lol.

What a job I have!

Drop me a line if you need idears.

Author of "The Festival Entertainer" The Professional Entertainer's Guide to Booking and Working Outdoor Fairs, Festivals, and Events.
Available at
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Inner circle
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Profile of gsidhe
Wow...I just got sent a full video of the show itself.
The video is not with the original music, but it works. I come on right after the fire fans and ribbon poi girl.
Keep in mind this is a show done in a Rock Concert venue, and it is a pretty heavy show, more sensative viewers might want to sign out after the numbers 666 appear on the screen (Right after my escape). Nothing really harsh, but I know some people get offended easily.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
And thank you all for your support!
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Profile of gsidhe
Oops...Forgot a language disclaimer.
If you are offended by strong language, there is some in the music.
Turn off your sound.
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