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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Before D.Copperfield walked through a brick wall... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Steve Landavazo
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This magician made it one of his most famous mysteries. Can you name the magician?

Steve Smile
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Billy Diamond
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I believe that was none other than the late great....ah that is an easy one....let someone else guess. Smile
Magicman0323
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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. Smile
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Joe Marotta
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Harry Houdini actually was the first to walk through a brick wall that was constructed on stage in front of the audience. Smile
Let’s see David Blaine do that!
Actually, let’s not.

Joe Marotta
James
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To see David Blaine walk into a brickwall would be funny.
The Dead Ranger
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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.

Smile - A dancing machine!
Wiz
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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'.
Mya Angel
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Didn't Blackstone walk through a glass wall?

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



Smile
There is nothing that remains so constant as change. Don't end up like concrete, all mixed up and permanently set. Smile



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Wiz
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Dunno Mya, I never saw that.
Steve Landavazo
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Good job everyone!



It was Houdini!



Smile
Courage is the willingness to be afraid and act anyway!
Thomas Wayne
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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).



Regards,

Thomas Wayne
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Steve Brooks
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As a side note, the Alice through the looking glass 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: Smile



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Christopher Starr
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Anyone else here remember that Doug Henning did this as well... Smile
Chad Sanborn
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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!!


Chad
Steve Knight
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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.
davekilpatrick
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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.
Dr. TORA
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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.
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mikeB
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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. Smile
Cheers

Mike
Your Reality Is A Figment Of My Imagination
Steve Knight
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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.
mikeB
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Steve,

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.
Cheers

Mike
Your Reality Is A Figment Of My Imagination
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