Razor Blade illusions

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 06/14/06 06:49 PM

Was thinking about using the razor blade illusion. I have seen 3 different sets available at different prices. Bare with me on the names.

1. The Razor Blade Illusion, which has a black plexiglass frame with a circle in the middle. Uses 6 blades.

2. Automatic Razor Blades, which uses 8 blades, has two rods that hold 4 blades each.

3. 1920's Antique Razor Blades, 6 blades wooden frame.

There is also a set I can get for like $20, that just has the blades in a leather stand up purse.

If anyone has any input on these both pro's/con's please let me know. Also what is the visibility of this effect on a stage. When I perform it I will have two big screen T.V.'s projecting the show.

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Guest » 06/14/06 10:27 PM

Buy the Paul Potassy book! He details his version of the trick, refined and polished through 50 years of performing. Paul will give you insights that would take you decades to learn, all for $45. The book is one of the best bargains around.

His approach has worked in hundreds of hotels, private parties, and large theaters. It is extremely practical. I have a DVD of him working and even when I know the work, it's hard to catch him out.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/14/06 11:05 PM

Don't try to emulate him, but try to see a clip of Otto Wesselly do the blades... it's like he's from another planet... I never counted them, but I would guess he uses over 100 blades.

It is one of the greatest effects I've ever seen (when he does it).
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Postby Guest » 06/16/06 02:18 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Don't try to emulate him, but try to see a clip of Otto Wesselly do the blades... it's like he's from another planet... I never counted them, but I would guess he uses over 100 blades.

It is one of the greatest effects I've ever seen (when he does it).
Anyone know where this would be available?
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Postby Guest » 06/16/06 02:42 PM

Scott:

I would also check out Steinmeyer's version of the Hindu Needle Trick. I don't have it here at work to check but should be in his new book. I know it appeared in a set of his lecture notes and almost positive he ran it in his Magic Magazine Conjuring column.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/06 04:38 PM

I believe the Steinmeyer version is in his book Device and Illusion. I'm not sure if it ever appeared in his column. It is the version that David Williamson performed on a magic special years ago.

Ronald Dayton published a very interesting version of the razor blades that had a number of good points to it. I checked it out at a friend's house once and remember thinking that it would be the version that I would choose to do. If I remember correctly, there was no switch!
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Postby Guest » 06/16/06 05:58 PM

I forgot about the Dayton version. I have the manuscript and Frank is correct. They are shown individually, no switch and then are threaded. It is quite good.
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Postby David Acer » 06/16/06 07:06 PM

Tim Ellis also offers a rock-solid version on Ellis in Wonderland, with a great end-gag that Ive now seen several times and still makes me laugh.
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 07:49 PM

IMHO the best presentation of the razor blades

are by Richardi.He had a couple of TV specials in

the late 70's early 80's. The last blade comes

out when they are threaded vertically with the

two sharp edges against his lips......Mike
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Postby Guest » 06/28/06 09:51 PM

i have teaching vcd for razor blades this tricks with vcd i get fro mayajallinik if you want it you contact them eamil mayajallink@yahoo.com or email me
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Postby Guest » 07/29/06 03:38 AM

There is a booklet on the market discussing about a dozen different methods for presenting the razor blade illusion.It is called Helter Shelter and yes I am shameless.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 07/29/06 06:23 AM

Gratuitous horror story; after a conversation with Amazing Jonathan many years ago I switched from the feke blades I had got from Davenports to regular Wilkinson Sword blades. In a stupid move I decided against AJ's recommendation to dull the blades, and used sharp ones.

Fast forward a couple of years and I'm working Circular Quay in Sydney. In those days I would tilt my head back and lift the blades up from my mouth. One day the stack became separated, and as I lifted the first blade up, the other three slipped down my throat, the bottom one lodging in the back of my mouth. Which kicked off the gag reflex.

I pulled them out fairly swiftly on that show, and luckily the mouth tends to heal fairly quickly. These days I keep my head level and pull them down.

One last caveat for anyone dumb enough to use even slightly sharp blades; one hot day on the Quay a blade got caught, wedged into the hard palate of my mouth. The first time this happened I pushed the blade forward with my tongue, slicing two neat cuts into the sides of the palate. The knack when this happens is to grip the front of the blade with your teeth and snap it down. This way you only get two small nicks, and much less blood flow.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 07/29/06 08:17 AM

Originally posted by Scott Fridinger:
Was thinking about using the razor blade illusion. ...
A few words from the other side of the mirror on this stuff.

There is a growing awareness of a social problem called "cutting" which is itself almost a pandemic among adolescents. Unfortunately it may be as widespread as the more accepted practices of piercing and tattooing though not itself not designed to positively affect self esteem.

What was once a cringworthy moment of shamanistic geekdom is now perhaps too what's discussed in a dark anthem titled "Hurt" by Trent Reznor recording under the name "Nine Inch Nails".

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel.
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real.


Is this the message you wish to convey?
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Postby Guest » 07/29/06 10:24 AM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Originally posted by Scott Fridinger:
[b] Was thinking about using the razor blade illusion. ...
A few words from the other side of the mirror on this stuff.

There is a growing awareness of a social problem called "cutting" which is itself almost a pandemic among adolescents. Unfortunately it may be as widespread as the more accepted practices of piercing and tattooing though not itself not designed to positively affect self esteem.

What was once a cringworthy moment of shamanistic geekdom is now perhaps too what's discussed in a dark anthem titled "Hurt" by Trent Reznor recording under the name "Nine Inch Nails".

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel.
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real.


Is this the message you wish to convey? [/b]
Jonathan, I have decided to forgoe this effect, for other reasons than you mentioned. I would like to say that I know exactly what you are talking about, and I think that it was my generation that has seen this "cutting" phenomena start. However, do we stop doing the multiplying bottles for fear there may be recovering or current alcoholics in the audience? Do we stop doing gambling demonstrations when there could be people who have gambling addictions, who have lost thier homes and families because they couldn't stop playing blackjack? We never know who is in the audience and it is only responisble to tell others "not to try this at home", but if we took into account every persons potential emotional/mental/physical issues they are dealing with I think we would find the list things we should do to get smaller and smaller. People pierce themselves all over thier body with big pins, should we stop doing the needle through the arm?
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Postby Guest » 07/29/06 10:28 AM

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
Gratuitous horror story; after a conversation with Amazing Jonathan many years ago I switched from the feke blades I had got from Davenports to regular Wilkinson Sword blades. In a stupid move I decided against AJ's recommendation to dull the blades, and used sharp ones.

Fast forward a couple of years and I'm working Circular Quay in Sydney. In those days I would tilt my head back and lift the blades up from my mouth. One day the stack became separated, and as I lifted the first blade up, the other three slipped down my throat, the bottom one lodging in the back of my mouth. Which kicked off the gag reflex.

I pulled them out fairly swiftly on that show, and luckily the mouth tends to heal fairly quickly. These days I keep my head level and pull them down.

One last caveat for anyone dumb enough to use even slightly sharp blades; one hot day on the Quay a blade got caught, wedged into the hard palate of my mouth. The first time this happened I pushed the blade forward with my tongue, slicing two neat cuts into the sides of the palate. The knack when this happens is to grip the front of the blade with your teeth and snap it down. This way you only get two small nicks, and much less blood flow.

Take care, Ian
This is similar to another thread about the knife through hand going bad. I don't see using real blades as magic, It is a "feat" of daring. I am a magician, not a fool. Now, not calling you a fool, but the only sharp things that go into my mouth will be cheddar.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/29/06 10:51 AM

I think needles, LOTs of needles, still makes a better trick.
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/29/06 11:04 AM

I repeat... try to see a clip of Otto Wesseley!
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Postby Guest » 07/29/06 11:59 AM

Originally posted by Scott Fridinger:
...should we stop doing the needle through the arm?
My feeling is we should not stop doing such tricks. Heck, during C. Everett Koop's tenure as health guy I suggested doing a spellbound routine using condoms and finishing with flurry and production of a diaphragm. All in wrappers please, ( gotta find that signed card somewhere later right ;) ).

My issue here is that we do need to be aware of the social context of the props we use and the actions we depict.

If it suits your act, please do use safety pins and piercings and razorblades etc.

Likewise if you are up for addressing the issue even in metaphor, go ahead and use props associated with addiction, from cards to crack pipes to lotto tickets and even online stuff.

All I suggest is that we take conscious ownership of the images we project to our audiences.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 07/29/06 12:07 PM

Hi Scott,

Wise words, from one perspective. The magic of the routine is that I put four blades into my mouth, a small length of thread, and the blades come out threaded together. A classic effect that has stood the test of time.

Now, when it comes to the props, that's personal preference. The Davenport blades were not the least bit convincing (they were designed for large stage use). Since I was working the street, and the spectators put the blades into my mouth, it was imperative that they looked, and indeed were, authentic. I just couldn't sell it with flat, dull, rectangles of metal. I didn't dull the real blades for a number of reasons, but the main one was that in the very early nineties I was extremely obnoxious, and I wanted to do something better than AJ, who was getting a lot of exposure on UK media at that time.

The advantage, though, was that I was able to show the blades as sharp by effortlessly slicing a playing card during the build up. One day I forgot to put a spare card in my waistcoat pocket, and asked for an old ferry ticket. A gentelman offered on, and I proceeded to slice it to bits. Halfway through he asked 'How am I going to get home?'

A quick inspection showed that I had destroyed his season ticket for the ferry...

If people don't want to do the routine, great. Needles have been offered up as an alternative. I can see the connection with threading needles, and how everyone has trouble with that at some point, but I want to believe that layfolk would be more taken with larger objects? I've never performed the needle method so I can't be objective, but it's something that will have to be looked into at some point.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 07/29/06 12:34 PM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Originally posted by Scott Fridinger:
[b] ...should we stop doing the needle through the arm?
My feeling is we should not stop doing such tricks. Heck, during C. Everett Koop's tenure as health guy I suggested doing a spellbound routine using condoms and finishing with flurry and production of a diaphragm. All in wrappers please, ( gotta find that signed card somewhere later right ;) ).

My issue here is that we do need to be aware of the social context of the props we use and the actions we depict.

If it suits your act, please do use safety pins and piercings and razorblades etc.

Likewise if you are up for addressing the issue even in metaphor, go ahead and use props associated with addiction, from cards to crack pipes to lotto tickets and even online stuff.

All I suggest is that we take conscious ownership of the images we project to our audiences. [/b]
I would agree with you on this, too many people will do things withough thinking of the consequences of what we are really doing.
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Postby Guest » 07/29/06 12:36 PM

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
Hi Scott,

Wise words, from one perspective. The magic of the routine is that I put four blades into my mouth, a small length of thread, and the blades come out threaded together. A classic effect that has stood the test of time.

Now, when it comes to the props, that's personal preference. The Davenport blades were not the least bit convincing (they were designed for large stage use). Since I was working the street, and the spectators put the blades into my mouth, it was imperative that they looked, and indeed were, authentic. I just couldn't sell it with flat, dull, rectangles of metal. I didn't dull the real blades for a number of reasons, but the main one was that in the very early nineties I was extremely obnoxious, and I wanted to do something better than AJ, who was getting a lot of exposure on UK media at that time.

The advantage, though, was that I was able to show the blades as sharp by effortlessly slicing a playing card during the build up. One day I forgot to put a spare card in my waistcoat pocket, and asked for an old ferry ticket. A gentelman offered on, and I proceeded to slice it to bits. Halfway through he asked 'How am I going to get home?'

A quick inspection showed that I had destroyed his season ticket for the ferry...

If people don't want to do the routine, great. Needles have been offered up as an alternative. I can see the connection with threading needles, and how everyone has trouble with that at some point, but I want to believe that layfolk would be more taken with larger objects? I've never performed the needle method so I can't be objective, but it's something that will have to be looked into at some point.

Take care, Ian
All I have to say is more power to you Ian, I feel you on the need for real blades, maybe I will just stick with cards and the fear of papercuts.
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Postby Guest » 07/31/06 04:41 PM

To answer your original question....get the $20 version....which I assume is simply a leather holder with a flip flap gimmick holding threaded blades.

The apparatus type ones all look hooky and appear waaaaay like overkill to simply handle 5 or six blades. Whereas a simple carrying case is the way any normal human being would carry around razor blades on his person.

Now go out and purchase a dozen brand new Wilkinson (or whatever popular brand) made stainless steel/titanium (whatever) blades. Place half of them in your holder.

Take the rest of them to a shoe repair shop and tell the guy to place them on the sander and dull the blades.....to the point that you can't even cut yourself even if you try by slicing them across your fingers. Incredibly, even though they appear the same as sharp blades they are rendered totally harmless this way!

Now thread them and insert in the B side of your case. You are all set and it is a killer effect when you let the spectators remove the sharp blades and cut cards,etc. themselves. After the switch, as you gather the blades individually but insert the blades into your mouth as a packet everything appears the same and you are home free to concentrate on presentation. After removing the blades you can place them on a plate and let spectators see up close and even touch them if they want.
No one will, of course, especially if you have lots of saliva on them but the point is that they appear exactly as the sharp set and they are truly impressed that you are both fearless & out of your mind....exactly the impact you want to create! (my audience already knows I am out of my mind but the fearless part sets them further up if you are later going to feature any of the "Shattered" or Russian Roulette type effects)

And, I don't know why, but the women for some reason seem to really gasp at the blades while I have found that the needeles doesn't get the same response. Strange, because you normally swallow 50+ of them but somehow they don't seem as dangerous. Maybe because everyone at some time has cut themselves with a razor and knows the unique pain whereas how many, especially men, have really hurt themselves sewing?
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Postby Danny Archer » 08/25/06 09:03 PM

Originally posted by David Acer:
Tim Ellis also offers a rock-solid version on Ellis in Wonderland, with a great end-gag that Ive now seen several times and still makes me laugh.
Acer is right on ... Tim performs it silently to music ...

Tim's version is baffling and his ending gag is priceless ... it's also very safe and not very hard at all ...

it's in his notes on on his DVD ...
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 10:09 AM

I do not like the raiser blade trick because people today do not use this kind of a raiser blade that much anymore.

Back when I was performing at comedy clubs and a place on the south side of Chicago called Bit "O" Magic booked by my friend Bill Weimer who is an outstanding comedy magician. I used to close my act with the Hindu Needle Trick and I called it the needle experiment.

Of course as most magicians know, this effect should not be done if there are children in the audience.

When I wanted to learn this trick I got a copy of every written method of this routine I could get my hands on. The best was out of the book Magic Digest by George B. Anderson and Billy McComb book 25 years wiser.

I use a large wood chop cup that looked like a goblet. The helper took the sharp needles out of a pin cushion and then put them in the wood chop cup goblet. Magicians that know the routine know why and what I did from here.

I thanked the helper and then got a hand for them as they left the stage and then closed in one doing the effect to music. How many needles used is up to the performer.

I often thought that the trick could be worked out with fish hooks and a fishing line.

Just some thoughts.
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 06:03 PM

I like the one John Booth did. The props were so simple as to be nonexistent. If I were to do the blades, it's the one I would use.
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 07:20 PM

I developed a comedy version that was always considered in bad taste, for some reason. When I pulled out the blades, they came out dropping with blood and hanging in the middle of the string was a tongue. I would point at it and say (tongue in cheek) "Aaats my ong! I cahh off my ong!" Then I would grab the tongue and put it back in, wipe the blood off my lips and say, "That really hurt! Don't try this one at home, kids!"
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 07:22 PM

Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:

I often thought that the trick could be worked out with fish hooks and a fishing line.
What a great idea.
Of course fishing line would be a problem. It is a little too stiff to work properly and most types of fishing line are see through, but I'm sure there is something that looks like fishing line and would work.
I think I'm going to take a few trips to some hobby stores tomorrow to see what I can dig up.
(With full credit of course.)

Gord
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 07:51 PM

Originally posted by Gord Gardiner:
Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:
[b]
I often thought that the trick could be worked out with fish hooks and a fishing line.
What a great idea.
Of course fishing line would be a problem. It is a little too stiff to work properly and most types of fishing line are see through, but I'm sure there is something that looks like fishing line and would work.
I think I'm going to take a few trips to some hobby stores tomorrow to see what I can dig up.
(With full credit of course.)

Gord [/b]
Thanks Gord I hope the idea works out for you. The chop cup is a great way do the work with the needles to, after they go in the cup dump the needles out of your hand (?) onto your left hand - most magicians know what really happened then hold the chop cup upside-down for a moment.

Then set the cup on the table and you are clean!

I wrote up my full routine for my lecture at one time. Perhaps I will make an e-book out of it one day.


I hope this helps.

Glenn Bishop
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Postby Guest » 09/24/06 10:00 PM

Use braided line. It comes in tan, blue and white striped and black. Take your pick.
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Postby Guest » 09/27/06 07:02 AM

You could also just use thread (perhaps black) and load it onto a fishing reel instead of a spool of thread.

I don't think that you would have to prove that it was fishing line.

Good luck with the idea.

Glenn Bishop
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Postby Guest » 11/09/06 06:02 PM

Vito Lupo has a nice presentation. Very short and to the point however his nickel plated blades are heavy and look so on the thread.

I have used sharp blades for a very long time (And I actually did get them wedged into the roof of my mouth once oddly enuff. Yes pull DOWN not back and forth.) I am just usually in too big a hurry (And lazy) to dull down new blades ALL the time.

David Lavent does the tongue on razors blades as well. Personally I love the effect and if done properly you will never get (Badly) hurt... speaking of hurt.. Trent Reznor wrote hurt before the big cutting craze.. hell he might have helped start it.

Most kids grow out of it as a phase but some stick with it sadly enuff and now we have EMO kids running around who think this is the right way to deal with things. What happened to the 80's when parents cared and kids only did drugs to feel better. (Along with most of the adults)

Bizzaro.
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Postby Guest » 11/09/06 06:19 PM

Originally posted by Bizzaro:
What happened to the 80's when parents cared and kids only did drugs to feel better. (Along with most of the adults)

Bizzaro.
Well, I don't have a definite answer, but the world went to hell in a handbasket when Roxette broke up!

My apologies for using the word handbasket.

Gord
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