DeBiere,Keating and Williston vaishing bird cage

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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 09/08/04 04:03 AM

I was wondering what were the routines of Arnold DeBiere,Fred Keating and Williston for the vanishing bird cage.
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Postby David Alexander » 09/09/04 01:11 PM

DeBiere would show the cage, vanish it visibly, and then remove his coat to show it was completely gone. His cage was made by Martin. A friend of mine owns the original equipment. Figure $6,000 minimum to duplicate it today....if you could find someone willing to tip all the necessary information and then a master mechanic do the hand work...and then months of rehersal to get it just right.

All of this is unlikely to happen, which is why no one is doing the effect today.
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/09/04 04:02 PM

Dave, have you seen tommy wonder's handling? He has elevated it to a new level... vanishes the cage with sleeves rolled partially up. Slick as snail snot.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/09/04 04:13 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Dave, have you seen tommy wonder's handling? He has elevated it to a new level... vanishes the cage with sleeves rolled partially up. Slick as snail snot.
I often see folks come from pet stores with canaries or parakeets in small cardboard boxes. This suggests a premise:

Producing a gift for someone at the table or party...

Does anyone produce the bird and cage? Do they feed the bird? Do they use the bird for anything? Do they offer the bird as a gift? Do they later vanish the bird (send it airmail back whence it came?)

There is much poetry implicit in the image and the props. Has this been explored?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/09/04 06:13 PM

Pete, I find your reference to "snail snot" as repellent as the real thing.
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/09/04 06:56 PM

It's a good ol' boy southern thing Richard... :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/09/04 06:59 PM

Jon... sure it has been explored. I know one performer that introduces the bird as a piano playing bird, but it failed to play... poof gone.

I take my bird for a walk. (Walk back and forth a few times), then ask someone in the back, "Can you see the bird? No? Wait I'll stand on this."

I step onto a jumping stool, the stool flies up and I catch it... "Hey, where's my bird?"

(C) Pete Biro, thieves will be prosocuted.

Another version I use the bird falls out of cage dead, to floor. "I don't need the cage anymore."

Etc. etc.

:eek:
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Postby Bill Mullins » 09/09/04 11:10 PM

I liked Pete's "snail snot" similie. I think his phrasing is slick -- slicker'n goose [censored].
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Postby Guest » 09/10/04 04:20 PM

Hey Pete, I've got a major improvement on your concept, solves a big problem with your original, too. See I have come up with a way to do the thing at chest level, instead of waist level!

Don't worry, though, Pete, I'll make sure to say I was inspired by you when I sell the thing.

And anyways, it's an old concept, Pete, even older than you !!!

But hell, what are we talking about such un-important issues for anyways, Pete? It's just a magic trick!
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Postby David Alexander » 09/10/04 06:47 PM

As far as I'm concerned, anything that takes away from the Effect - the visible and instantaneous vanish of a bird and cage - is gilding the lily and unnecessary.

It takes an enormous amout of time to learn the proper technique to make the cage vanish without making huge movements of the arms.

John Booth often did it as an encore as did Paul Rosini. Each vanished it once, leaving the audience stunned and wondering, but it didn't matter because neither performer had anything else to follow it.

Blackstone understood that as part of a continuing show he had to repeat the effect to give the audience time to assimilate what they'd just seen as the effect is that astounding. Surrounding himself with children who "covered the cage with their hands" was good theater and the finish with a child lifting his tails to look for the cage was marvelous.

To be candid, I don't think the average lay person would know or remember sleeves up or sleeves down. They will remember the cage vanishing. Anything else is "magic for magicians" as far as I'm concerned.

Probably the best exponent of the effect is Granville Taylor who paid a huge amount of money to Howard De Courcy to learn the hook up and handling he had perfected. Granville does it easily as well as Howard used to. Howard opened his act with the trick, Granville used it as part of his show and in his recreation of Arnold De Biere's act. He produces the cage first, sets it on his table and then picks it up and it vanishes visibly at his finger tips. He then, like De Biere and De Courcy, removes his coat to show it completely gone.

Probably the funniest presentation was done by Steve Shepherd (sp?) who vanished the cage and then went to his carpet bag for another trick, quickly ditching the cage and pull, and then standing back up, he pretended to hear someone in the back saying it was "up his sleeve."

He removed his jacket and then continued the charade by removing his shirt....and then his trousers. His shorts had lace sewn around the legs. Very funny.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/10/04 06:54 PM

Originally posted by David Alexander:
..., removes his coat to show it ...removed his jacket and then continued the charade by removing his shirt....and then his trousers. His shorts had lace sewn around the legs. Very funny.
Agreed, the use of a pointless trick to introduce a unwanted strip-tease is most comical.

This suggests a good line for teasing a conjurer; Are you happy to see me or is that a birdcage in your pants?

I still sense much poetry in the trick, something more than limricks... I'm looking for a sonnet.
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/10/04 11:45 PM

I can still remember S. Juhasz Shepherd at a Hungarian Lodge doing the cage and standing their after in his polka dot shorts.

He also did a KILLER vanish of a glass (covered with newspaper) and reproduced it from a spectator's pocket.
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Postby Guest » 09/11/04 11:09 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
I can still remember S. Juhasz Shepherd...
Glad you do, Pete! With rare exceptions, most have forgotten, or worse, never heaard of Steve. Greaat presentations, for the Birdcage, Vanishing Glass, Egg Bag, Knife thru Coat, etc. Steve had a thoroughly different approach that knocked the audience on its' collective ass, from everything I've ever heard. Glenn Haywood is the one guy who really knows the Shepard stuff. He should do a book on Steve before the stuff is lost forever - get him to do it, will'ya?

I never saw the guy, But Glenn, Buma, Jay Bedsworth, and others have regaled me with the stories - Shepard was quite an icon back in the day. The kind of act that you can "see" as its' described, and regret having been born just a tad too late to enjoy!

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Postby David Alexander » 09/11/04 12:01 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
"This suggests a good line for teasing a conjurer; Are you happy to see me or is that a birdcage in your pants?"

Well, that actually happened to Frakson. Early in his working with the Martin Round Cage he had the reproduction cage in the front of his trousers. It is rather large and the bag was not tied down, as it later was. It moved with his anatomy and produced something of a different effect on some in the audience. He told me he had three ladies waiting for him at the stage door after the show.
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/11/04 12:29 PM

I have a birdcage pull that goes down the front of your trousers (word trousers vs. pants so the Brits know what we are talking about)! :)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/11/04 12:49 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
I have a birdcage pull that goes down the front of your trousers...
Using someone else's trousers for the vanish is somewhere between very kewl and ... um... scary for some reason.
Then again perhaps if there was a mishap it might pass as their acting surprised by the vanish?
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/11/04 01:03 PM

I got the pull from a fella that had his voice change after a vanish... :D
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 09/13/04 06:21 AM

Hey thanks guys for the info.
Tommy Wonders vanshing cage in the performance you can see a little flash of the cage going up the sleeve but the explanations part it looks good as snail snot.
However, a cord and a cage it's the same effect and it's simple.
I've been working on the Faucett Ross routine that's in his book. With the Abbott's cage it's a small cage because my arms are short.
Also
When you vanish the cage down your pants does the bird go too?
If so I wonder if how the word pecker came to be?
Sorry :D
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 09/13/04 01:41 PM

If so I wonder if "that's" how the word pecker came to be? :help:
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Postby Guest » 09/14/04 09:12 PM

IMO the prettiest birdcage going is McCombs slow-motion-vanish. Can be done at any time in the act, no "yanking" and a very funny routine.
Take-up reel makes all the difference,,,,a good routine don't hurt either!
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Postby Guest » 09/19/04 11:50 AM

How about james dimmare??
He shrink a large cage full of doves than vanishes it. It looks amazing
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 09/20/04 01:46 AM

Yep,he probably does the best.Very unique.
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Postby David Alexander » 09/20/04 11:32 PM

With the proper technique there is no "yanking." That, and hours and hours of practice and understanding that it is a visible vanish. Few have ever truly mastered the cage and pull.

I've seen a lot of people do the trick - far too many without enough practice; more mediocre, and a few with style and perfection. I still think the best is Granville Taylor who does the Challenge Bird Cage Vanish like Howard De Courcy did. Very little movement of the hands or arms and cage is gone... then the jacket is removed....and no unnecessary covering of the cage. It's there...and then it isn't...gone as the spectators are watching. Beautiful.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 09/22/04 02:42 AM

Blackstone would swing his arms back and forth.
It still looks great!
Talking about covering,who really came up with covering the cage with a chiffon hankerchief?
Everyone sez Billy McComb but in 1947 The Linking Ring in the Sept. issue has Alan Wakeling presentation of the bird cage in the parade.Using a black chiffon hankerchief.
Hmm............. any light.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 09/22/04 07:27 AM

For any of you youngsters who weren't subscribing to Genii way back in January, 2001, we did a tribute to Billy's cage vanish in rhyme. This is online at http://littleegyptmagic.com/mpoem.htm .
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Postby Guest » 05/24/05 09:46 PM

H. Claude Enslow (aka Your Chief Big B[r]other, Tim West, the T[r]ail Scout) used to vanish an Abbot's style cage at the close of his club act.

The pull is finished with a "poodle clip", apparently in fashion on some dog leashes of the mid-20th c --the advantage being that the harder one pulls on it, the harder it holds.

The working end of the pull would be fastened to his watch with extra line. The cage would hang on supports at the back of the performing area. Come time, Claude turned to take the cage off the rack, brought down the pull and fastened it in one move and presto, set to go...

He recommended silver/grey ribbon for the trim -- reads less like magic apparatus than the more popular red.

I have his old cage and pull, but still have yet to put in the hours required to get the vanish move just right for presentation. He said he bloodied his knuckles but good practicing with his hands and the cage against a wall in order to ensure that he stepped back rather than throwing his arms forward or out.

Don't care what anyone else's routine is like, though: having seen Blackstone vanish the cage with my own hot (yet clean) little hand on it in Vegas in 1974, I don't think anything could top it!
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/25/05 07:55 AM

just logged in after few weeks in europe and love the thread on the cage...

THE BOOK on Steve Shepherd is underway!!!!!
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Postby Terrence » 05/27/05 04:54 AM

Years ago I heard that another great cage worker, Walter Blaney, was rehearsing for a TV show in front of the camera, and the eagle-eyed camera operator kept telling Walter that it was flashing a bit.

When they went live, Walter totally fooled them. He had detached the pull and tossed it over the camera.

Talk about in-your-face! :p
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Postby David Alexander » 06/05/05 09:20 PM

Yes, the Shepard book is underway and I'll add to something I posted earlier...the Martin Round Birdcage with the Frakson presentation is being recreated by Jim Riser and myself. It won't be cheap nor is it easy to do, but it will be available sometime in the Fall in a highly limited release.

I didn't want Frakson's routine and presentation to die but dispaired that I couldn't find anyone who could duplicate the cage, someone willing to go to all the trouble that making the cage demands.

Jim Riser stepped up and will be making his usual quality product and I'll be making a DVD of everything needed to know.

See http://www.jamesriser.com/Magic/Frakson/Recreation.html for pictures of my recreation at Collectors. The outfit we'll be selling will supply all the necessary props and all the required information to anyone who is willing to spend the time to develop what has been one of magic's seldom-seen miracles.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/06/05 09:05 AM

I guess I should KICK myself a few times for selling mine! ARgh....
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Postby Jim Riser » 06/06/05 06:31 PM

Pete;
You can replace them this fall :D
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Postby Lou Leventhal » 06/12/05 12:04 PM

Hi Pete,

Could you give us a little more detail on the Steve Shepherd book? Who is publishing it and when will it be out?
Thanks!

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Postby Jim Riser » 06/12/05 12:15 PM

Lou;
Check with David Alexander for info on the Steve Shepherd book. For obvious reasons he'll know as much as anyone about it :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/12/05 07:12 PM

Alexander is a pro writer with major credits, so he should be able to knock out the S.S. book in no time. Byron Walker had all the notes.

Yah Riser... for how much? :whack:
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Postby David Alexander » 06/18/05 08:52 PM

Thanks, Pete. The Shepard book is moving along, even though I've only been on it a few weeks. In addition to what I got from Byron, I've done some additional research, found other sources that may be fruitful.

The book will describe in full detail, Shepard's Vanishing Birdcage and a number of other items that were exclusive to him. He was a clever man.

Give me a bit more time and everyone will be pleased with the result.
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Postby David Alexander » 06/18/05 08:59 PM

To answer Pete on the cost of the Martin/Riser replication Round Cage....as of this moment the complete outfit with everything necessary to duplicate Frakson's routine, including a DVD with everything you need to know, will run around $6,000.

It will be produced in a highly limited run.

The amount of work Jim has to do is daunting as the outfit is both complicated and detailed, yet produces one of magic's most marvelous effects.

Just having the equipment isn't enough. One guy at the last Collectors Weekend told me of a friend who had an outfit, put it on and tried it out, almost castrating himself in the process.

It is not something that can be looked at and easily figured out, even when you have the equipment in front of you. In the DVD, I'll be giving all the details.

Jim and I are working with the goal of producing the highest quality product possible so that no one will be disappointed in what they receive, except those who wait too long to order.
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Postby Allen Tipton » 07/18/05 03:44 PM

And if you get the chance look up Robert Harbin's ideas on the Ever Vanishing Birdcage with a cage that can be worn all day, be got ready in a second and vanished as many times as you like. Harbicadabra pages 234 to 236.Also if you can persuade one of your lucky friends who might perhaps own The Harbin Book, to let you check out pages 29 to 31, Cage to Bouquet and the Ever Vanishing Birdcage.This device frees you of conventional pulls, using a special sleeve made of fibre. You can then, after the vanish, 'ditch' the cage into a box etc. or a long trouser pocket!
Happy vanishing.
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/18/05 03:54 PM

Just having the equipment isn't enough. One guy at the last Collectors Weekend told me of a friend who had an outfit, put it on and tried it out, almost castrating himself in the process.
LMAO! I guess he almost didn't have the 'equipment' after that mishap :D

Boy this could end up like the Bullet Catch. "The Bird Cage, the act that castrated 12."
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Postby Michael Demma » 02/08/13 06:57 PM

To all that knew him or of him. He is my Uncle. I am currently going through some of his collections. I am very excited and would like to meet and talk to anyone who knew him. He is also mentioned in the book about harry Blackstone as they had a show together in their early careers.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/08/13 10:27 PM

Which of the gentlemen being discussed is your uncle?
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