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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Straitjacket and card in mouth (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Wolf Fisher
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Hi, as I did not find it in the search, maybe someone knows:
I am looking for some nice effect (preferably comedy)that I can do together with the straitjacket escape. One effect I have heard of by several performers is the escape combined with "Card in Mouth".
As I don´t want to steal: who invented it, is it described anywhere, can I use it? I met two guys here who claimed that they invented it - and I doubt it...

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot!

Wolf
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jay leslie
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Yeah... A lot of people demean the straitjacket escape with unrelated comedy. I think, in the escape section here, we feel that escaping from the jacket itself is the entire act. Escaping from the jacket then following with a comedy bit will diminish the talent of the performer. It's not always seen as a topper but as a way to dismiss your ability to overcome the situation. There is never a reason to make the escape appear easy just as a tightrope walker makes a "mistake" on the final trick. They want you to know how difficult it is to walk a tightrope. you never see a tightrope walker or a guy who was shot out of a cannon spit-out a playing card. It should be good enough that they just did something that requires tremendous physical conditioning. Imagine an olympic runner winning the race then spitting out a playing card. it doesn't happen, out of principle.


I know a guy who does a looping balancing act! Do you think HE would balance a sword then spit-out a playing card OR does he deserve applause and respect for performing an awesome balancing act....

I could be wrong, so here are 5 more people to give their perspective.
magicofCurtis
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Jay, is also a mind reader! He read my mind and posted it!
Harley Newman
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If you have too many elements in play, you'll only confuse your audience, and detract from all of the elements.

This MIGHT work, but I'd give it a big "maybe".
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Roslyn
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I've tried lots of variations of the straitjacket escape in performance.

Card in mouth and other magic tricks of a similar nature. With chains. Double straitjacket. Suspended. In a box. In a bag. With stuff falling out of it (cutlery, keys, shot of whiskey etc...).

Of all the ways I've tried it the standard, on two feet and no funny business is the way that gets the best reactions for me.

The problem I have when magicians do the escape is its presented as a magic trick rather than as a stunt, which is how it should be presented.

If I was going to do the SJ or any escape as a magic trick I'd do something like vanish and reappear elsewhere. Copperfield does some nice magic-trick escapes. His safe in exploding building and Alcatraz are two that spring to mind. Walking through a solid wall could also be done as a magical escape.

But the SJ is a genuine feat of skill. Like juggling, wire walking, trapeze or any of the circus or stunt arts. I think it should stay there.
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Ian McColl
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Quote:
On 2013-06-14 03:51, Roslyn wrote:
the SJ is a genuine feat of skill. Like juggling, wire walking, trapeze or any of the circus or stunt arts. I think it should stay there.


I agree and needs to authentic. The bonza should only be used for the purpose Houdini made it.
Wolf Fisher
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Thanks for your thoughts.

Wolf
Roslyn
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Hi Ian,

I didn't know Houdini created the Bonza. What was its intended use?

Cheers,

Ros
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Wolf Fisher
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Thanks for your thoughts.

If you seem to have only one point of view, you are absolutely right! But life means variation. Being different is a key to success.

I have seen for example jugglers, high wire acts, escapologists, fire swallowers, mentalists, magicians and even balancers with swords (like the great Frankie Ferrer) who put some comedy into their act in parts of their acts or in their whole show or made comedy the basic concept, and it did not diminish the impact of their technical skill at all. It enhanced the show FOR THESE PERFORMERS. You don´t like artistic acts and comedy? That´s ok, as in this forum, everyone should have the right to an own opinion and philosophy. There is no right or wrong answer to entertainment, as it is also a matter of personal likes and dislikes, and what you do, and where you do it for which kind of audience.

There is not one right way only to do it. There are several, depending on the performer.

If you think that comedy and escapes does not work for you and does put down the impact of you, or the presentation of the stunt in your stage persona, you are free to think so and free to do what you want to do in your work. But please be so kind and accept other points of view, too.

What works for the one performer does not work automatically for the other. What is no hit at the one performer, may be a great thing on the other one.

One of the strongest presentations of the straitjacket escape (apart from the burnig rope one) is in my opininon Penn & Teller`s, with the recital of the poem. Although full of comedy, there is a lot of drama, and it has an extremely high audience impact.

It depends on the performer, his aurora, his presentation, his skill as an actor, just to mention a few things. It is more than a technical skill. If presented as a technical skill demonstration only, it has i.m.h.o. the same quality and impact as a car repair. In my opinion, a showact is a matter of the whole concept. In my philosophy, we have to get rid of the blinders.

That is why you may buy a magic trick, but you are not a magician. You may buy a piano, sheets of music, study hard and manage to play the music technically, but you are not automatically a musician. (And you can be an excellent pianist, and present it with comedy, too - like Victor Borge did. No one would doubt him being a real man of art, just because he combined comedy with artful good music). You may buy a set of gimmicked handcuffs, but you are not an escapologist. It is in the presentation that has to fit YOU.

It is good that everyone has his own philosophy and his own way to do or not to do it.

My deepest apologies, as it seems I hurt some people here. I didn´t want to hurt or affront anyone here, just wanted to know who invented the combination!

Sorry for expressing my philosophy here, as it might also be unpleasant to some people.

I whish you all success in the world, with or without comedy!

Wolf

(and if someone knows who invented/described the straitjacket escape and the card in mouth, I still would like to know it).
Ian McColl
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Hi Ros, the Bonza jacket was used in packing crate escapes.

Wolf, do you have a brother called McCauley?
Wolf Fisher
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Hi Ian,

I´ve got a sister, so no McCauley brother, in fact never heared about him. Who is he?
Do I need to know him?

W.
jay leslie
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He had an act where he flew all over the stage without wires, then he walked up and down a staircase on his head without using his hands and as a finally he pulled a quarter out of a kids ear.
Wolf Fisher
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Thanks. Could not find anything about that man, as well as about my initial question.
If anyone can answer my question, it would be very helpful.

Wolf
Roslyn
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I don't think having comedy in an escape act is bad. My straitjacket escape is a funny routine. But it's not a "comedy straitjacket" routine. The two are different. The escape itself isn't demeaned in that the comedy doesn't make the escape appear as the joke. Most other comedy SJ escapes do that.

I think by adding something like a card in mouth it would do that too.
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Wolf Fisher
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Thanks Roslyn, that is basically what I think, too. We come closer to the point.

My presentation of the SJ escape now is indeed a comedy one, but I think it is possible to do better. I am not sure if the "card in mouth" is a good idea, and to be sure, I have to try and not to talk about it. The idea somehow jumps on me, and that makes it worth trying. If it suits me, it stays, if not - out! Simple. I think it does not diminish the impact of the escape itself or makes it a joke, as it is a way of presentation. But clearly, if someone works in a superhero style, this routine surely is not an option.

I am confident that with my little, decent experience in showbusiness and theatre of several ten thousand live performances for several millions of people (not to mention the TV appearances)over the past 21 years as a full pro and more 10 years or so as an amateur and semi-pro before, I should give it a try. Being a coach and creative consultant for some rather big productions and some celebrity performers as well as an author of several well received books on the subjects of presentation, I think I should have enough feeling to know when my paying "real world" audience likes or dislikes it. Bad reaction = cut it out, after non successful attempts to make it better.

I post the question "where is it described, if ever / who invented it" in the card section, as here the discussion is going into an interesting philosophical way, but does not answer the question so far.

THANK YOU ALL!

Wolf
Wolf Fisher
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...and form the card shark section, I got the name of SIMON LOVELL.
Thanks to Mike Powers!

Wolf
Harley Newman
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Simon's a verrry creative guy!
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Wolf Fisher
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Hi,

here is the reply of Simon Lovell:

"I got pretty well known for both card to mouth and a comedy straitjacket routine but never combined the two.

My presentation for card to mouth is in my book Simon Says (L&L Publishing) and the straitjacket will be in an upcoming book Grandson of Simon Says.

I've never heard of anybody combining the two but it sounds pretty cool to me!

As an aside, to the best of my knowledge myself and Kerry Ross were the first to do comedy straijacket routines. We indepenantly came up with idea of making it funny nearly 35 years ago!"

Thanks to Simon Lovell for his kind and quick reply!

Thanks so far!

Wolf
dave_matkin
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I've seen it done. Can't recall who it was. He was on the same bill as Jon Archer can't remember his name (that tells you something)...... But it went like this......he had a card chosen, returned to the pack .....card was eventually located in a tuna sandwich whilst he escaped from the jacket. It got a smattering of applause (by far the least apreciatedthing that night!).

Now as a magician it was obvious ...... But I was with a couple of non magicians ... The problem you will have (apart from diminishing the art of the SJ escape which we care about) is that you WILL get the response .....'he had ages to get the card in to his mouth his head and hands were in the jacket at the same time.'

Feel free to do what you want ..... But really ask yourself why? Is your SJ escape so naff you need to try and add to it? Or your card magic so naff you think adding an extra 'level f difficulty' will make it better? Why not go the whole way and remove a hand ..... That's never been done before. Well. There once was this..... (I don't think Rene Lavand cut his arm off to make his magic more impressive ...... But maybe he had the choice ..... Loose a hand or do a card to mouth in a SJ?)
Kondini
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To my knowledge Barry Walls was the first to use comedy with an SJ and that's going back over 60 years.

Food for thought,,,,,just done a two day stint for the fifth year at Oswestry Showground.
Last year we were booked to do the SJ straight,,,the drama etc was the peeps pull to get them into the show. So how would I have felt if this year a SJ with card in mouth etc was on the bill ????

How would you have felt ?

To downcry a feature is not acceptable to an escape artist,,,,of course ham and jam up what you like if your a comic doing an escape cos no its not the same. Put into print any angle you like but if your actualy doing this as a full time job give it thought cos you will lose.

Ken.
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