Sawing Through a Girl. Torrini or Selbit?

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 08/29/06 03:47 PM

i'm reading the fine book by Mr.Warlock and Mr. Lewis: "THE MAGIC OF P.T SELBIT".
The book says that the first inventor of this magical illusion is Mr.Selbit, and that he was presumably the first to use it on a stage.
But in Greater Magic, it says that Torrini used the illusion, and probably invented it.

So..since Torrini presumably never existed, how come who wrote in greater magic says that Torrini one hundread years before Selbit performed it?
Is Selbit really the first to perform this illusion on a stage?

Postby Guest » 08/29/06 04:17 PM

At the time GREATER MAGIC was written, it was not known or generally suspected that Torrini was a fictional creation of Robert-Houdin. That suspicion was first raised in 1943 by Jean Chavigny who could find no evidence of a Count de Grisy in the records of French aristocracy and who gained confirmation of Robert-Houdin's invention of the Torrini story from his grandson. If, as widely suspected, Torrini was created by R-H, then perhaps he should receive credit for the sawing concept (I believe he was supposed to have sawn a male assistant into two boys, in Constantinople, according to R-H memoirs). Perhaps Selbit got the idea from the Memoirs?

Postby Guest » 09/26/06 09:31 PM

Actually, there are some antecedents to Selbit's creation. For example, I recall an account of a 19th century performance of "Sawing" involving a circus clown cut into pieces while lying on a couch. Of course, Goldin claimed (probably unjustly) that his effect - Sawing a Woman in Half - was the original, and Goldin even obtained court orders against Selbit, though Selbit's illusion - Sawing Through a Woman - was very different in presentation and operation. Certainly, Goldin's effect was far more commercially successful, but by all accounts, Selbit's was the more sophisticated and devilish invention.

Gary Brown

Postby Guest » 09/27/06 05:57 AM

Personally, I wouldnt give Houdin any credit for the saw through, since the Torini tale, is not one division, but one of multiplication.
Its reasonably clear that Mr Tibbles was the originator of this, ultimate penetrative effect.
Possibly one could look upon Deddi sawing through the ox, or Hero slicing through a horse as the inspiration.

But not a fiction passed as anecdote in France.

Postby Guest » 09/27/06 06:26 AM

Anyone know if the "Beheading of St John" was a tableau or something performed as a "cut"? And if enacted was there also restored?

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