Reviews wanted of Osborne Illusion Systems plans

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby giraffeclub79 » 01/20/12 11:59 PM

I have previously purchased plans from Paul Osborne (namely the Mismade Girl) and was happy with the product as sold to me by a well-known and reputable name in the Magic world.

Today, I received a set of Osborne "plans" for an illusion that not only is skimpy and vague in actual construction information, but is also incongruous with the original illusion's physical dimensions and method of execution. I do not want to disclose the specific illusion, but I am wondering if anyone else has had a poor experience trying to derive illusion specifics from a set of Osborne plans.

I always thought Osborne Illusion Systems were legit...after all, Tannens sells his plans, too.

I hate to be a jerk about something I love so much, but it seems to me like anyone who has a "good enough" idea about how an illusion works thinks they can draw up plans and/or build one, when they really have no clue. Now I feel that Osborne is included in this group. Am I wrong? I would appreciate some insight from the elders.

Thank you,
Posts: 2
Joined: 01/20/12 11:41 PM
Location: Lincoln, NE

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » 02/09/12 06:31 AM

The more complex illusions become in construction, including the use of new material and fabricating methods that require sophisticated machinery and shops, the more obsolete these plans become. I have always advocated using an illusion builder such as BIll Smith (Magic Ventures), Owens Magic Supreme, John Gaughan, Willy Kennedy and Chalet. There are others, of course, who do great work. I mention those above because they are the builders, the master craftsman who built my illusions. Every illusion I have ever performed was my own design of a existing illusion (Basket, Broom, Sawing, Cage, Trunk... ) or work of the master designer Jim Steinmeyer.

I know there are those who can't afford professionally built props, I couldn't when I started. So I began with illusions that were not technically that difficult to build and worked with a tool and die genius (Sam Ferenz) for my more complex designs like the camclutch-bare-midrift Broom Harness I designed in the late 70s. By the time the Pendragons were established, all of our props were professionally built. Experienced building is not something you can purchase in a diagram.
Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 325
Joined: 07/13/10 07:33 AM

Postby Bill Mullins » 02/09/12 12:15 PM

Have you taken this up with Paul directly? Surely it's appropriate to give him the opportunity to make this right, before calling him out publicly (and anonymously, I'd note).
Bill Mullins
Posts: 3844
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Huntsville, AL

Postby giraffeclub79 » 02/19/12 03:17 PM

Mr. Pendragon: Thank you so much for your insight. I am honored that you took the time to respond to my post, let alone read it. I agree, illusions get more and more complicated, however, I love the simplicity of older illusions and I believe that the magic lies in the performer's showmanship, not the prop. I think you have proved exactly that in your approach to presentation. Nothing in magic is quite the same as a "Pendragon" version of a trick.

Mr. Mullins: I have taken this up with Paul, and I have received a respectful and more-than-adequate response to the questions I posed.

However, in regards to your post, I must point out that this is not really a "public" forum. It is open and accessible to anyone, but the vast majority of users here are magicians. I wanted the opinion of professional magicians, but I did not have direct contact info. This is why I asked here, through Genii Forum, not Yahoo Answers...the post was targeted as finitely as I could make it.

Furthermore, I am not "calling out" anyone. I stated a list of facts about my situation, followed by a personal thought/hypothesis, followed by a question to be answered by members of the Forum. I was only attempting to gather second opinions from other people.

Not only have I discussed this with Paul, but I have also discussed it with the owner of the original illusion, which is why I feel that the drawings and explanation are lacking in credibility.

As for "anonymous", I have no problem telling you who I am and what I am doing, but I wanted to keep the original post generic, so that the specific illusion did not skew people's thoughts or responses.

For the record, my name is Matt Rightmire, I'm 32 years old, I have been performing/buying/building magic since I was 6. I am going to graduate school for technical theatre production and design at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film at the University of Nebraska. I am a designer, carpenter, welder, painter, actor, juggler, magician, but most of all, I am an ARTIST. The best hour of my life was spent sitting with James Randi, enjoying pie and cocoa, while talking about the golden age of the stage show. I am a magic historian and someday will pass along the rich history of our craft through the professional venue of being a college professor.

I am currently working off of Osborne's plans for the Aztec Lady, created by Robert Harbin. I will be presenting it as a demonstration regarding magic in history to a group of students and faculty. Any changes that will be made to the illusion are based on my conversation with Paul and my conversation with Christopher Woodward, who owns Harbin's original prop.

If anyone would like to know more about me or what I am doing, please feel free to e-mail me, I am anything but "anonymous"...after all, I am a magician.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
All the best,
Posts: 2
Joined: 01/20/12 11:41 PM
Location: Lincoln, NE

Return to Platform & Stage Magic