Hauntend matchbox

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

Postby C. Hampton » 10/28/04 10:53 PM

I was wondering if anyone can provide some light about the origins and variations on this effect. I am aware that Kennedy got an improved version where a matchstick jumps out of the box to stand on top of it.... but who invented the effect? Maybe the same person that invented tha haunted pack? Does Al Baker has anything to do with it?

Thanks in advance to all in the knowledge.

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Postby Jacky Kahan » 10/28/04 11:54 PM

Check the folowing books :

Eugene Burger,
Chicago Visions
Edited by Todd Karr
Copyright (c) 2004 by The Miracle Factory
page ?? The Haunted Matchbox

Burger, Eugene: The Performance of Close-Up Magic Copyright 1987 by Richard Kaufman and Eugene Burger
Published by Kaufman and Greenberg
Page 70 The Animated Matchbox

Friedhoffer, Bob: Magic Tricks, Science Facts
1990 Franklin Watts. Illustrated by Richard Kaufman
Page 25 : Haunted Matchbox

Hope this helps,

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/29/04 11:04 AM

I do not know who invented it, but the master of The Haunted Matchbox when I was a kid (1970s) was Amadeo, who was regularly up at Tannen's. It was incredible when he did it.
I believe his routine is included in the book Continental Magic written by George Schindler.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 10/29/04 11:14 AM

There are some interesting variations on the effect by John Carney (in Carneycopia) and Ben Harris (The Creeps).

I believe the effect might go back to G.W. Hunter, but I'm not certain.

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Postby Tabman » 10/29/04 12:09 PM

Yes, don't forget about Amedeo Vacca's matchbox routine and hookup. I used it for years until everybody started doing it!!! The book is called Amedeo's Continental Magic. It's an excellent resource. I see it on ebay for dirt. Worth much more. It's got a bunch of usable routines in it. I wish I could have met this man.
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Postby Dale Shrimpton » 10/29/04 01:16 PM

I have a variation of my own in which the box may be borrowed, it is totally un gimmicked, and may be returned straight away with no evidence of the method.
Pat Conway came out with a few variations on the rising matchbox using a thread less method, I have a couple described in magic sets from the 1920s that use the standard fit up.
I am guessing that the effect is probably as old as the disposable match box . However old that may be…

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Postby oliver twist » 10/29/04 01:29 PM

Doesnt John ramsay have a version of this? In some of his books you see him doing some match box trick. I would love to get a hold of the method. Any suggestions?
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 10/29/04 03:27 PM

The entry for Acrobatic Matchbox in T.A. Waters' Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians cites G.W. Hunter as the creator. Eugene Burger refers to the Amadeo routine.

Basic routines with a threaded box involving a few gyrations on the hand followed by a rising drawer are described in various books, usually without any credit. Martin Gardner gives a simple version in "Match-ic" and says there are other more complicated set-ups. The same thing appears attributed to Bev Bergeron in "Matchbox Delights" by David Ginn. Jon Tremaine's routine for the Acrobatic Matchbox is quite well known and is still available very cheaply from Magic Books by Post.

"Magic with Small Apparatus" by Jules Dhotel describes three set-ups, all with thread. The original French was published around 1935, though we're told that some of the material had appeared previously in French magic magazines. The names he mentions are Robelly, Caroly II and M.O. Scolari.

Somewhere amongst all my stuff I have what I think was sold as the Devano Rising Matchbox (by Harry Devano of rising cards fame). This was a completely different method without thread, but it's just the rising drawer effect. An impromptu version using the same principle was published in a French magic magazine (probably from the 1980's).

I also have another superb self-contained rising matchbox by Ireland's Pat Conway. I'm not certain, but it may be described in "The Pat Way to Con" by Walt Lees (also available from Magic Books by Post - and no, I don't work for them).

Ben Harris' "The Creeps" is in his book "Mad Fax and Other Mysteries", and he now sells a streamlined version called "Creeps 2".
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Postby David Alexander » 10/29/04 08:05 PM

An old Hindu street magician's trick is the moving coin, done with a hair, some wax and clever hands. The coin is more or less stationary, with the hands providing the illusion of movement.

Hunter may have been inspired by seeing a street magician do this, adapting it to a matchbox, which were readily available in his audiences at the time. Today, unless you were in front of an audience of pipe or cigar smokers, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with matches or a lighter, let alone a box of matches.
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Postby Guest » 10/30/04 01:39 PM

Howie Schwarzman (sp?) sold a similar effect - in the '80's, I believe - called Mephisto's Matches or Matchbox. I still have mine. A neat routine where the box is ingeniously constructed to be self-opening but many open and fair looking moves will show no gaff. --Asrah

Postby John Pezzullo » 10/30/04 10:59 PM

A version of the Haunted Matchbox, developed by Michael Weber, was published in "Genii" several years ago.

If my memory serves me correctly, Weber's version was published sometime during Jim Patton's tenure as editor of the 'Magicana' section of the magazine.
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