Bill Smith/Harbin Chair Suspension

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Postby Donal Chayce » 01/17/08 01:52 PM

Can someone direct me to a link to a photo of the Bill Smith version of the Harbin Chair Suspension?

I'm interested in this prop, but I've thus far been unable to find a picture of it. (It's not on the Magic Ventures website.)

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby Donal Chayce » 01/17/08 02:14 PM

I just found a dark photo of what's advertised as the Bill Smith chair suspension on the ELMS website.

http://www.elmagicshop.com/cgi-bin/webc ... 8493467.57

Can anyone confirm that this a photo of the actual prop?

I'd also like to see a clearer photo if someone knows where one is posted.

Thanks.
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Postby David Ben » 01/17/08 03:15 PM

It is hard to tell from the photograph. The board and cloth look like Bill's work, at least they appear similiar to the apparatus that I own. Bill made the suspension for me some sixteen years ago and he has probably refined the design over time. I can say that the unit I purchased from him was very well made, so much so, that it is still in great shape after countless shows.
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Postby Donal Chayce » 01/17/08 04:16 PM

Thanks, David. Do the chairs look like Bill's? The chair backs are unusual in that there is only one slat.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 01/17/08 09:51 PM

Have you ever considered phoning, writing, or e-mailing Bill Smith? He knows a whole lot more about what he has sold to whom than anyone else does.
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Postby David Ben » 01/18/08 07:31 AM

I can't comment on the chairs other than to say that the double-slat is not a functional requirement. Harbin's design was informed by the type of chair found in London parks. (I used Harbin's chairs - his actual chairs - in another routine when I performed at the opening of the new Magic Circle Headquarters. They were larger, i.e. taller, than I had imagined.) I acutally have two different sets or style of chairs for my routine, depending on the nature of the show. So, the look of the chairs can and do differ. The key is how the anchor chair has been constructed, something you shouldn't be able to discern from a photograph. It is, afterall, supposed to looked exactly like the other chair.

Bill Smith, and others, use a more convention conference style or banquet style chair. In addition to calling Bill, as suggested by Bill Palmer, you should speak with the dealer offering the chairs. I find it hard to believe that he would advertise the product, and attach Bill Smith's name to item, if it wasn't the case.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/18/08 12:31 PM

I wanted the Harbin chair suspension so badly, after seeing him do it, that on a trip to London Pat Page and I were going to go to Hyde Park late at night and steal two chairs... but I "chickened out" and couldn't do it.

Then a few days later visiting Terry Seabrooke, we went to his local and in the garden there were the same chairs.

Jokingly I asked the Pub owner how much he wanted for two of the chairs. He said, "you can take two, no money to me, but put something in the charity bowl." I only had 5 Pounds and put the fiver in... He exclaimed, "Wow, anything else you want?"

So I got the chairs, just tied them together with rope and took them home on the flight as excess luggage. A nice guy at the airline didn't even charge.

I then brought the chairs to Johnny Gaughan who did the necessary. They were probably better made than those that Harbini himself had.

FYI: I have seen Bill Smith's version and nobody makes one any better.
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Postby Donal Chayce » 01/18/08 01:14 PM

Thanks, everyone!

Separately to Mr. Palmer: Your advice is, of course, spot on. I haven't yet contacted Bill Smith because I thought I'd do a bit of research about his prop before I "bothered" him. Based on the feedback I've gotten on this forum and over at the MC, I'll be contacting Bill shortly.

Separately to Mr. Biro: I've read several of your other posts about the Harbin chair suspension and have taken them to heart. I was recently able to purchase a copy of the "Magic of Robert Harbin" (a dream come true) from the original purchaser, and last night poured over what Harbin wrote about his presentation of the illusion. While my presentation will be my own, the structure of my routine will be patterned after his.

Thanks again, gentlemen--your comments are very much appreciated.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/22/08 11:43 AM

Done and sold well it is a great trick.
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Postby Donal Chayce » 01/22/08 01:48 PM

As postscript to my previous posts, I've exchanged several email letters with Bill Smith and just this morning sent him the down payment for the prop.

I'll be picking it up on March 8, and then the real work will begin.

Thanks again to everyone for their comments and insights.
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