a saw point

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 12/05/07 03:24 AM

Ive come across something interesting on ebay.

its a page from a magazine, dated 1931, and shows a number of Ilusions being performed by various members of the pentangle club in Cambridge, UK.

Now, the middle two pictures appear to show the selbit saw through being performed.
The seller informs me that the caption bellow reads ..

1] sawing through a woman : Mr W A Burnett, assisted by Miss Barbara Martin in the world famous illusion
2] the woman who is sawn through : Miss Barbara Martin, with the operator, Mr W A Burnett
Now,the date of this picture puts it a meer 10 years after Selbit introduced the Ilusion, so presumaby much of the fuss surounding the performance rights was still going on.
particualy as it was 8 years before Selbits untimly demise.

does anyone know anything about mr Burnett?
was he someone officialy touring the Ilusion?

or by this time, was everyone doing it?
I probably have some of the information at home, but would be facinated to hear any other information that readers may have.


sawing thru images.

Postby Guest » 12/05/07 08:40 PM

If then was like now, as long as he didn't have a patent or copyright, any "fuss" would be just so much noise.

Postby Guest » 12/12/07 05:15 AM

the thing with the fuss over the saw thru is,it was a big thing at the time. Heck, it still is. People seem to be devided ( pardon the pun) between goldin, and selbit.

Postby Guest » 12/15/07 08:02 AM

Dale. Why not try Alan Maskell the secretary of Pentacle Club ( or John Davenport) They may have acccess to old minutes, membership lists etc.
From all my reading Selbit & Goldin seem to have come up with the idea around the same time 1921.
Selbits was Sawing Through A Woman & Goldin's Sawing A lady In Half; though his first performance, to magicians, was with a boy.
The Great Leon also came up with the idea and he and Goldin exposed each others methods in newspapers. You must read Mike Caveney's, The Great Leon for some very interesting facts, especially about Goldin, his dubious methods & his delayed patent causing Leon to be banned from performing the illusion in main Theatres. Pages 78 to 80
Oh magicians!!!! Must write a book sometime on magician's egos.
Both Selbit & Goldin sent out licensed performances of the illusion. Percy Abbott fronted one at The Tivoli Theatre, Sydney in 1922. Harry Jansen( later Dante) another, again in 1922 in Brisbane. He found the illusion had been worked so much he didn't stay in Australia long.
The Great Raymond also fronted the illusion.
Carter in 1924 in Australia is said to have sawed through the box AND the table. He also presented Sawing at the Palace Theatre, Melbourne in 1927
Robert Houdin's 'Torrini' is mentioned as having performed sawing. Milbourne Christopoher & others say it is adapted from an illusion in Albert A. Hopkins book 'Magic: Stage Illusions, Special Effects & Trick Photography'1898 & the Dover edition 1976; though I haven't had time to check this.

So if Selbit presented this in Jan 1921 see the report in 'The Magician Monthly'1921 one might conclude he was the first with this presentation.
The report also mentions steel bars,( Milbourne Ch says 2) knives & plate glass ( MC says 3) being 'passed downward to keep her from wriggling'
Our own Paul Daniels performed a version of Selbit's version on one of his TV shows but lazily, I haven't
indexed these.
There is also a version of Selbit's in Tarbell 7 In this Harry Lorrayne said he'd traced the illusion to 1843.

Goldin's version is undoubtedly a better showing but had a thick base.Harry Jansen ( Dante) is credited with improving this for Thurston by adding a bevelled edge as on the Asrah table.
You can see early pics of Thurston with the thick base and others with the bevelled edge; Will Rock's pic with the Thurston apparatus, also has the imporovement.
Goldin took out his patent but have no credit to Dante or Thurston.
HG was definitely a 'go getter'. His early struggles, misfortunes & latter court cases made him a formidable,tough,opponent and I am convinced these enents made him devious & ruthless to anyone he thought stood in his way.
We must however remember that he brought a new 'Whirlwind', style of presentation to Magic & a number of original effects. My late uncle Horace( who died age 90 this year) used to tell me, when I was a boy,in the 1940's, how much he'd enjoyed seeing Goldin on the Halls even though 'He seemed to rush around the stage just letting things off!'
Allen Tipton

Postby Guest » 12/17/07 05:42 AM

Thanks Allen.

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