I have acquired a mildly Western themed illusion show, and have several illusions for rent (or, possibly, sale). Most of them were built by high end builders, are in good shape, and John Gaughan has kindly offered to look over and refurbish anything as needed, and, if you want to rent one of them, I am happy to pay his fees. I'm looking to lease and/or sell the larger pieces and buy (and have built) illusions that I, a one-man-show non-tiger-having kind of guy can happily perform. I'm also open to trades. So, here ya go.
1) The Hangman Illusion (Cheating the Gallows): Tall platform with a Gallows and a drop out panel, very cool getaway steps with a built in slide that I, at 6'2" can slip into. Includes an excellent form. Built very well by Gerry Frenette. (The trick - someone comes out and throws a hood over the magician, escorts him to the top of the gallows platform, and puts the noose around his neck. A hangman comes from the wings, pulls the lever, and the body of the magician drops. And vanishes in mid air! As the gasps of the audience die down, the hangman whips off his hood to reveal that he is - the magician! Women wet themselves.)
2) Table of Death: Big, heavy, built like a tank. I don't seem to have the gauzy curtains that allow the shadow effect (buy some gauzy cloth for a couple of bucks and have someone sew them, or, for a couple of extra bucks, I'll do it for you), but everything else is there. Includes extra death. John Gaughan says it was made by Owens, the top builder in the field, and probably only needs 4 new small springs. Alan Zagorsky of Owen's says he did make it, he's checked it out, and it looks GREAT, but it probably does need 4 small new springs, but he has a better way to do it now, and it can be easily upgraded. (The trick - the magician is chained to a table, over which is suspended a rack of spikes. The audience is told that he has 2 minutes to escape, or the spike will crush him. A gauzy curtain is pulled around the magician, and fire is set to the rope that holds the spikes (or a timer is set to go off, releasing the rope - but, really, isn't fire more dramatic?). We see the magician's silhouette as he struggles to free himself. He gets and arm free. Then another. As he's struggling to release his legs, something goes wrong! The rope breaks early and the spikes come crashing down! The action stops. Then, the curtain is swept aside to reveal that the magician is sitting on top of the spike platform, unharmed! Or, he's in the back of the house. Or he's now dressed like a saloon girl. You decide.)
3) Impaled: Built by David Mendoza at Magicraft. Just gorgeous. It does have a standard disco ball, but it's easily removable. John Gaughan has done a complete refurbishment of the thing, and an ATA case has been built. He says that it's the best built Impaled he has ever seen, and he's improved it in several regards. Self contained with it's own pump, storage tank, and battery controls. Amazing. (The trick - A small frame on a platform is wheeled out. A sword is waved about, then inserted in the frame so it points towards the sky. The magician hypnotizes his assistant, and lifts her. She balances on top of the tip of the sword. The magician gives her a push and she spins around freely on the tip of the sword. Suddenly, the music crashes, and she sinks a foot down the sword, the blade shooting out of her abdomen. The magician waves his hands and lifts her from the sword, setting her down, completely unharmed. Or, she rises magically up the blade at his gesture. Or, the magician takes his bows without noticing that the girl has been impaled, and she struggles to raise herself off of the sword.)
4) Jarret Pedestal Base Spiker Sort of Thing (Kiosk Illusion): A Jarret pedestal base with a peaked plexi box (kiosk) on top. Girl goes in, she is obscured by the smoked front door, by the solid rear door, or, if you're a cruel bastard, you can use smoke or fog to fill the chamber. Two panels of spikes go in from the sides, doors open, she's gone. She can reappear, she can be replaced with an animal, she can be replaced by another girl, or she can hop out unharmed, another girl can hop out after her, and the animal appearance can be an extra kicker ending. In any case both she and the animal can change costumes. (Update: This was built by Owens, and the top is changeable to be a spiker or an appearance or an exchange, etc. etc. Man, is it sweet.)
5) Things that go Bump in the Night Tee Pee: This was probably "inspired" by Lance Burton's, but, based on the age of some of the info I have on the show, it may predate it. Mirrors, a tee pee, collapses into it's own base. Seems to be well built. Great, if you're a Cowboy or an Apache. (The trick - the magician stands in the opening of the tee-pee. He raises a pelt and a form is seen underneath it. The mysterious thing, under the pelt, slowly hops or crawls away from him to stand stage right. The tee pee is seen to be empty. He raises another pelt, and something grows underneath it, and then crawls off to stand stage left. Again, the tee pee is seen empty, and the magician raises a third pelt. Something also grows under it, and moves center stage. The magician closes the door of the tee pee. An assistant opens it, and the magician is gone! The pelt shrouded forms dance about. One stands - a beautiful girl! The other stands - another beautiful girl! The third stands - it's the magician! Alternatively, this could also just be used to produce or vanish or exchange someone or several people, or to do a spooky spirit cabinet sort of act where stuff mysteriously moves around. Beautiful girls not included.)
6) Sword Mirror Box: Smaller, older but nicely done, can be completely covered in fur. Seriously. (The trick - you put a girl in the box, impale her with swords. You open the box, and she's gone. When you pull out the swords, she has re-appeared, probably wearing a different costume.)
7) Avoiding the Crush Tiger Cage: It's an enormous cage, incredibly solidly built. I guess because it used, you know, a tiger. The base is big, hides a girl and a tiger in separate areas. Or two girls, if they need to be separated. Or, probably, three girls if they don't. It was a mystery for a long time. Gay Blackstone said she thought she knew what it was, but was being coy about telling me. You might say that she was downright cagey. I wouldn't. But there are those that would. John Gaughan thought it might have been built for Mark Wilson. Mark told me he's had a lot of stuff built, and that we could talk later. Finally, Alan Zagorsky came by, and he built it, so he knows what's what. It's an "Avoiding the Crush" exactly like the one he built for Sigfried and Roy - at least it was when it rolled out of his shop. It's been Wild Westernized, but is still in solid shape, and, given some time, could be restored to it's former chromed greatness. It's one of the illusions (perhaps THE illusion) that put S&R on the map. (The trick - you show an empty cage hanging over the stage. An open topped box sits on the stage with it's sides folded down. It's spun around in standard dancery fashion, showing the box completely empty. You fold up the sides, and the obviously empty cage is lowered into the box. Fire may or may not shoot up, depending on your taste. A magical pass of the hand, and you or your best gal appears in the cage. Possibly in a tiger costume. The person jumps out, the sides of the box pop closed again, and, moments later, they drop and a real tiger appears. Or, you put a girl in it, and she changes into a tiger. Or, you put a girl in it, she changes into a girl in a tiger suit, when she steps out, you reveal that she is a different girl, and then a tiger appears in the cage. Or you can make people change into other people or, if, like me, you fear tigers, other animals. It's just an amazingly tricky cage.)
8) A Suspension: We originally thought that this was a Harbin suspension made by Eric Lewis (Gay Blackstone's thought), but it came in an Owen's case, and Alan confirms that they made it - one of about 20 they've ever made. Two aluminum chairs made to look vaguely wood like with a board sitting across them. A young lady reclines. The chairs are removed. She floats. It's built along the same lines as a Blaney, allowing the chairs to move freely. It's currently being refurbished by Owen's.
9) A big ass Blammo Box: Probably fit a cougar or a large dog. Covered in pelts and buckskin, but it's all attached by velcro, and comes right off revealing the sweet red and blue finish that suggests it's from Owens. You could stuff a midget in there. John says definitely Owens. My pal Aye Jaye says definitely a midget. UPDATE: Alan Zagorsky says he didn't make it, but it's very nice. Bill Smith built it. And it is very nice. (The trick - you produce a feather boa (or anything else compressible - a bunny, while compressible, is not recommended). You put the feather boa in the empty cage through the front door - we can all see it clearly. You count to three, pull off the top of the cage, the sides fall down, and the feather boa is visibly transformed into a girl wearing a feather boa. Or, you can change a white feather boa into a big white dog. Or, you can change a fake girl into a real girl. A beautiful appearance and visible transformation of one thing into another thing. Invented, like most things, by the honorable Billy McComb.)
10) A Conestoga Wagon Thing: Was this a cut in half? A Through a one inch hole? A Transposition? Just a pain in the ass to move? Your guess is as good as mine. Until I actually put all of the pieces together, it could have been any or all of them. This was obviously the central set piece of his act, and it looks like he spent a fortune on it, and that it did a lot. It's great for an American Indian, a cowboy, a medicine show, an American Indian...
11) A Bruce Chadwick Bow Sawing: Not part of the illusion show, and not, in any way, American Indian themed, but, while it's a great Harbin style Bow Sawing, it doesn't do what I wanted it to do, so I'm looking to rent it or part with it. (The trick - you lay an audience volunteer down on the included table. You place a small stock over his belly. Then, you use a big bow saw to cut him in half. The audience sees and hears him being cut. When you've sawed through him, you remove the stock, and the guy actually has to stand up in order to step out of the saw - the blade is on the other side of him. The case becomes the table - a great trick.) I'll lease it, or I'll sell it for $2,500. (Originally $3,500. Opening bid on Magic Auction is $2,775)
12) A Floating Table: The Dexter version of Losander's table. It's pretty, but I never use it, and, I figured, what the hell, I needed SOMETHING to round out the even dozen. (The trick - a table floats around. It's just so pretty.) Originally $1200, I'll sell it for $400
I've got pieces of two other illusions that remain mysteries, some smaller stuff - remote control table without the remote, a really big Owens duck pan, an Owens flip over box, pieces of an arrow through girl, some set pieces... basically whatever Marc Stevens threw in there however many years ago he threw it into storage.
John Gaughn, one of the finest illusion builders in the world, will go over any of these and completely refurbish them for a very reasonable price. If it needs something, he'll do it, if it doesn't, he won't, and won't charge for it. Alan Zagorsky at Owen's will do the same. For some of these illusions, it would probably be a good idea to have a master give them a once over, but most of them are absolutely ready to go. I'm looking to sell to buy or trade for stuff I can use: one man stuff like, but not limited to, a Blaney Ladder Suspension, one of Bill Smith's excellent illusions (the Audience Acupuncture, or an Audience Dismembered), a Don Wayne dancing microphone stand, and I'm always looking for more Collector's Workshop stuff that I don't ever seem to use in a show, but think is soooooo pretty.
If you're interested in anything, let me know. I'm happy to take pictures, or to give you a tour, if you're in town. I've got plenty of room for the stuff, and I'm in no hurry, but I'd love to work a deal.
- Dave Cox