Magic Switchboard (Wellington)

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Postby David Prouty » 12/26/01 01:50 PM

Now that Christmas has passed and I have a wallet full-o-money to feed my addiction, I am seriously looking to aquire a Wellington Magic Switchboard. Can anyone attest to the pros and cons of this fascinating device? I have been wanting to be the owner of one for over +/- the last 10 years (since Harry Anderson on Johnny Carson) and would like to hear some discourse on it before taking the plunge. Any thoughts? Mini vs larger 110 volt?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/26/01 05:08 PM

I can't tell you anything from the actual experience of owning and using one, however from the viewpoint of someone who has watched Bill Schmelk (at Wellington) demo it numerous times at conventions, it is a GREAT trick. I have never seen it fail while he was demonstrating it. There are few other tricks about which I can make that statement.
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Postby steve » 12/26/01 05:41 PM

I have one but have yet to put it to good use. It was an impluse buy for a situation. Wait, I take that back, I have used it, for that situation. The darn thing confuses me. I went with the 110 version because I couldn't see spending that much money on anything that runs on batteries :)

It's an amazing item, and one I hold in my book of secrets. The potential will absolutely blow your mind. That's my problem. The potential is currently above my brain level!!!!

I love it, but it's mainly because I get so much enjoyement out of messing with it without an audience. Feel free to email me with questions (not the secret of course, but any other questions).

P.S. Anyone know where to get a copy of Harry doing that for Johnny? I recently got the Ammar tape with Ammar performing the floating bill for Johnny and I loved it. I would love to see Harry's work with it. In fact, any idea how to get in touch with Harry Anderson?
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Postby Paul Green » 12/27/01 05:26 PM

Hi David,

I personally use the Magic Switchboard. The key in performing this item is, as always, the presentation. It really is just a puzzling thing.

I use it in my Tradeshow/Meeting work. I talk about "lines of communication" and how the confusion arises when "lines are crossed".

I have also used it in conjunction with current events. When there are politcal speeches being delivered they always show lights to help and limit the speaker when it comes to timing. Politcal tricksters mix the light bulbs--but a clearly crafted speech cuts through the confusion.

The limitations are obvious--the large board must use an electrical cord. It is larger and therefore can be seen by a larger audience.

The small board really is quite good too. If your venue is smaller or more personal then I suggest you get the smaller model.

Either way, you will have to find a presentation that is patter and personality driven. Otherwise, you will have a beautifully crafted item for the bookshelf in you den.

Good luck,

Paul Green

PS If you have holiday money burning a hole in your pocket, I might suggest you consider my tape on the Classic Force. It is available from your favorite dealer. Sorry for being so presumptous!!!
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/27/01 09:54 PM

Originally posted by Steve S.:

In fact, any idea how to get in touch with Harry Anderson?


It seems like I read that he now has
a magic shop in New Orleans (in the Quarter??) called "Spade and Archer" -- perhaps he could be contacted there. Maybe a Genii resident with ties to New Orleans (hello, Jon R. <G> ) could confirm this.

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Postby Guest » 12/28/01 09:37 AM

I have and used the Wellington Switchboard, larger model with electric cord. I have used it mostly in adult shows or family shows. I have a patter line that starts out talking about remodelling a house and having the contractor and workers mix up the color schemes of rooms and lightswitches/lightbulbs. Then there is a series where they try to correct things but misunderstand me and things seems screwed up or work in odd ways. Finally, the routine, involves having a man and woman come forward to help and talking about men's mechanical abilities and women's intuition. The final phase of the routine uses that theme for the final two "acts" of the effect. The man chooses switchplates out of a bag (but semingly screws up). The women's intuition tells her what will light what.This has worked well for me.

Peace...Fred Reisz :D
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Postby Guest » 12/28/01 06:39 PM

I use the larger "electric" version of the effect in my show. It is a great little "comic relief" bit in my show plus I use it in a lot of trade shows.

It never fails to amuse and amaze however, if you try to use it in a children's show be warned that the children do not think much of the effect as to them the proper color switch SHOULD operate the same colored bulb. They have no idea of the laws of nature and as such are not impressed by the trick.

It is an excellent trick if you are going to use it but also be aware that if you travel with this prop, you must pack bulbs, extra bulbs, extension cords, make sure that you have an electric supply and that you cannot use it overseas where there is a different electric current than in North America. For me, it's worth it to travel with all of those considerations (when in North America at least) but others may not be so willing when all of that is considered.

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Postby Eric Wolf » 01/05/02 02:32 PM

I have the smaller model. I haven't used it often but think it is a super prop. It is without question, high quality.

I believe one difference between the larger and smaller models is that with the larger model you can change the colored switches as well as the bulbs. In the smaller model you can only changed the bulbs. (At least in the one I have...)
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Postby coco » 08/26/08 02:45 PM

Take a look at this one, less expensible and does more
http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=P1jpnyUPuPM
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Postby Dick Christian » 08/26/08 04:44 PM

I have one of (in fact quite possibly THE) original large model switchboards made in the 1970s by the acquaintance of mine who actually created it (based on a similar effect with 2 bulbs and 2 switches marketed, I believe, in the 1950s) before he sold the manufacturing rights to Wellington. He is (or was) an amateur/part-time magician and hobbyist who works (or worked) at the Naval Research Laboratory here in Washington, DC.

IMO, the only one to use is the large model. The fact that it must be plugged in is a distinct advantage because, psychologically, most audience members assume that since it is plugged in to an outlet it is not subject to electronic or remote manipulation (even though that is an absurd assumption).

The inherent problem with the effect is that, as several poster's comments suggest, it is difficult to develop a presentation that does not come across as a puzzle. And any magic effect that is presented as a puzzle is virtually challenging the audience to figure it out thereby completely destroying any semblance of "magic" -- and once a spectator seizes on an explanation that is intellectually acceptable to him or her --no matter how far off the mark that explanation may be -- the "magic" is gone and only a toy and a puzzle remain. Accordingly I'd be willing to bet that an even higher percentage of switchboards sit unused and gathering dust in people's closets than most other tricks folks bought because they were fascinated with it and never bothered to think about how they would actually use it in a performance.

I also have to add that IMO the small, "less expensive" version seen in the aforementioned You Tube video is not only a poor substitute for the larger "real thing," but that has to be one of the sorriest presentations of any trick that I've seen in a long time. (I'll leave it to Wellington and others to address whether or not the item seen in the video is an authorized version of the prop.)
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Postby Phonse » 12/17/09 02:45 PM

I own both the small and large versions. The only advantage of the small one is its very portable. But as mentioned above it does not come off as just a regular piece of plug in equipment.
I use and love both for different situations, I teach electricians sometimes and I have used both of them at different times in class, the full size model always works the best. I did a Christmas party at the Castle a couple of years ago for a group from the energy control center of Southern Cal. Edison,I used the large one and they loved it. But again as mentioned above its really the presentation, a story that lends itself to the equipment.
Unfortunately I don't think its available anymore.
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Postby Doug Thornton » 12/18/09 12:31 PM

Bill Schmeelk had them available this summer at MAGIC Live!

http://www.wellingtonent.com/products/mswitchb.html
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