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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Everything old is new again » » Miniature Haunted House (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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I just picked up a copy of plans and routine for The Great Leon's Miniature Haunted House by Magic, Inc. I was thinking it might be a fun thing for kids' shows and/or Halloween.

Has anyone built and used one, and if so, how was your experience?
~michael baker
The Magic Company
tabman
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Inner circle
USA
5946 Posts

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Michael, when I was working with Kozak we put one together and rehersed it but never put it in the show. I don't remember why now though. I'll ask Kozak!!! I bet it would play big for a kid show though. Kozak caters to adult type comedy so maybe that was the rub.

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

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Thanks for the info there. Haven't seen Paul in awhile. He used to play the Comedy Club here for years. We partied around a bit during the off hours. Your name came up often and way back.

I think I'll experiement with the house thingy. I do a lot of family stuff, so it just might fly. Still just doing the mental hashing on the precise concept. Gotta have a slant, ya know?
~michael baker
The Magic Company
tabman
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Inner circle
USA
5946 Posts

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Koze is a great person as well as being funny and a super magician as you well know. He's fronting the World's Greatest Magic Show in Las Vegas these days. He's been trying to get me out there and I want to go. Trying to get far enuff ahead that I can swing a month on the road. I just don't want to get on an airplane these days and would have to drive out.

Wanna go???

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

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Month long road trip??? Probably not until late July... maybe then. Maybe we can set up a lecture tour between here and there.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
tabman
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Inner circle
USA
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Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm not in any position to take off for a month right now either but if I hit the Powerball tomorrow night we'll all be going in my new tour bus!!!

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Shotgun!!!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Anverdi-museum
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Hello Michael, Happened to run accross your question about the Leon Haunted House.
I would strongly suggest that you build one, I did so about eight years ago. I used it at school assemblies in the month of October to a great respons, it is not just for adults. I spruced mine up a bit with a modern twist. In Leon's plans he tells how to "catch" the ghost by making 'mist' appear in a mason jar. There are several electronic devices on the market that can do just that without the use of dangerous chemicals. You can also use an electronic spirit bell in the house, etc. etc. The sky is the limit! You can let your imagination run wild here. I had a lot of fun building my haunted house, I found a moderate sized doll house at a thrift store and went from there.


Hope this helps,

Chuck

p.s. you can see my house on my collection site at: http://caputocollection.tripod.com/
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

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Chuck,

Thanks for your ideas and input. I had planned to tweak the original Leon ideas anyway. I could see a lot of potential in this when I first saw the Ebay ad selling the booklet. That's precisely why I bought it. It is actually in the construction queue. I typically run as many as 8-12 projects at a time. That's just me. So fleshing it out may take some time, but for now, I am dealing with the basic structure. Did you have the original rigging method, as well? And if so, did you find it necessary to have a specific backdrop (curtain, etc.) behind the house so the area between you and the house was "properly textured"?

Very nice collection you have! Thanks for sharing.

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Anverdi-museum
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Hey Michael,

I did hook up the original method (both of them), I rarely use the internal one. The first one that opens the door and the window is excellent. I used a moderate sized doll house so it had the door and window already, for the door I only had to attach an internal spring hinge. The window had the shutters on it so I just had to build the wire gimmick as per the instructions book.

I do have a cloth backdrop for the effect that has a "broken Pattern", it makes everything virtually invisible even at close range. I found out that you do not even need the backdrop accidentally one time as I simply forgot to take it with me. I keep the miniature haunted house covered with a foulard prior to performing it. When I remove the cloth I secretly attach the first line that operates the door/window, I non-chalantly hold the foulard in my opposite hand ( one furthest away from house ) with elbow bent. As the motion needed to perform above effects takes place the cloth in your hand covers all. Try it as it does work!
You may have to attach rubber feet to the bottom of the house so it does not slide when operating the above actions if performing on a hard tabletop.

Another quick idea, I added to the opposite window with the "apparition" on my house a "spinning window shutter effect". This works by radio control, when transmitter is activated by myself the entire shuttered window visibly rotates slowly....very eeerie!
Like I said previously, you can let your imagination run wild with this effect.

Have fun with it.

Chuck
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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Hi Chuck,

Thanks again for your thoughts and ideas. Here is a quote from another thread post of mine (pun), concerning this same thing.

Quote:
I am actively in the pre-construction phase of mine right now. I wanted to make sure I had a "look" for the house that I could work with... more than just the generic house, as described in the book.

I believe now I was looking in the wrong direction, and should have been looking closer to home. Last night, the idea hit... I live in Alabama, and there is an author, Katherine Tucker Windham, who wrote "13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey". It concerns specific haunted sites around Alabama, many from the post-Civil War Era.

So my thought was to loosely play off that theme and design my mini haunted house in an Antebellum style. After an extensive internet search, I was fortunate enough to find a photo of an Antebellum home that is also consistent with the design necessary to make the Leon House operate properly. So, armed with that photo, I made a cardstock mock-up of the house to study the roof pitch requirements and the necessary angle to construct the gabled porch (I know there's a mathematical formula for this, but it seems to be eluding me!).

Anyway, I can now say that the ball is rolling. The theme now also gives reason and credibility for some of the props that will and can be used in the routine. I never wanted to just copy the Leon routine.


Since that posting, I have cut the main pieces for the house, except for the gabled porch, and have found a very nice patterned fabric for the interior and backdrop. Still working on that geometric formula for finding the angle for the gabled porch. I'd rather hit it right right initially, than keep to trimming until it fits.

I liked your idea for the shutter. I'm gathering from your collection and Café id, that you have a certain background in that type of electronics. The rubber feet is also good. That thought had crossed my mind as a possible need, because I have a couple other thread activated props that I have built. You should be able to spot a couple of them here.

Thanks again,

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
tabman
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USA
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Michael,

When are we going to get to see a picture of your new haunted house???? I can't wait!!!!


Thanks,

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

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The main pieces are cut, have been primed and base-coated. Detail painting will happen in a few days, then line the inside with fabic. The front will take longer, because of additional detail and gaffing... still working it. Then the accessory props will be added along the way. Not a timid project... not as complex as building and painting my Zig Zag (wink), but there are a lot of different things to be tended to. I usually shoot photos of projects during construction. I'll post some in a couple days.

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
tabman
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I'd like to get by there sometime and see it in person. You do great work.

-=el tab
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11159 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Door is open anytime.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
joespc
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I have always been interested in this effect. I have the booklet, but have never found the time to construct one of these. Please post some pictures.
Joe
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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I have started a webpage to track the progress. I haven't been able to do much work on it in about a week, but as I do I will add to the webpage. If you wish, bookmark it and check it every so often.

Miniature Haunted House
~michael baker
The Magic Company
joespc
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That is looking very good! Nice detail!

Thanks,
Joe
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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A bit more happening this week. Built a couple props for the manifestations and did a bit more painting. When it comes to layered paint colors, I like to let things sit for about a week between coats, so as not to lift or bubble paint, or have masks pull up previous layers. That can be a real pain.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
rickmagic1
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MIddle Tennessee area
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Michael,
Looking fantastic! I'm impressed and jealous!
I recently found a copy of one of my favorite books from when I was a kid, "Collected Ghost Stories", by M.R. James. In that book is a story about a haunted house that, though not shockingly scary, was pretty spooky to a 7 year old future magician.

BTW, what premise are you using for your routine with the house? (If you don't mind sharing...)

Rick
Richard Green
The Modern Conjurer
Host of the Haunted Magic show at House of Cards Nashville!
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