Best Substitution Trunk

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Postby James Nelson » 11/14/05 05:35 PM

Greetings..... I was interested in purchasing a Substitution Trunk for my daughter and need some help. She showed interest in Charvet Magic's Gwynne Trunk. She was undecided in which style ...Standard or Custom for Steinmeyer's "Through A One Inch Hole" .... If anyone has some insight on the Sub Trunk, different manufactures, routines or general information... and on "Through A One Inch Hole", I would be very appreciative and would love to hear all comments and criticism. Thank you James Nelson
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Postby NCMarsh » 11/15/05 08:26 AM

James,

"Through a One Inch Hole" is a beautiful effect and I feel that, if the effect appeals to her (be sure to pick up a copy of Device and Illusion, if you haven't yet -- the price is very insignificant next to the price of the illusion) there is no disadvantage to having a more versatile prop.

I don't know how old she is, or what experience she has as a performer. But if you are going to invest this much in a prop for her, the two of you might think about investing in an effect that only requires a single performer. If she later (I am assuming) does shows in college, for example, it would be a tremendous advantage to have a nice feature illusion -- paid for by mom and dad years earlier -- that she can throw in the back of a station wagon and perform solo.

Best,

N.
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Postby Guest » 11/26/05 10:41 PM

Hello James,

You sound like just the kind of dad a budding magician needs! My dad won't even admit to my kids that he has ever even seen me perform and now I'm sixty. (The truth is he may not have. He never saw me do much of anything he didn't want to. He didn't even come to my wedding. Yet my mother who was dying of a brain tumor took part.) You can't fake you were there! I'm glad to see you supporting your daughter's interest. She will always remember that. It does matter.

Back to sub trunks. There are many to pick from and many good ones. First, last and always it must fit the show. Lucy and I use the Chalet Sub trunk. I am biased. We own and use about a dozen pieces of Chalet stage magic. Much of it I have used three decades and it is still working hard. We actually use the sub trunk as secured storage back stage between shows.

If you talk to Bill and Ruth Pitts, they will likely recommend another.

What I do recommend, what ever your choice is let the daughter spend some time with it first. Get her to cross her arms over her chest and see if she can step in and out with no hands. If not, keep shopping! Size matters!

Good luck to a lucky dad and daughter!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
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Postby Guest » 12/17/05 01:11 PM

I have used them all,used through the hole for a season, used Abbotts Canvas covered box several seasons, used owens bros sub trunk, best one on the market today that I have seen is the gwynne trunk by Charvet,,reasonably priced,and it looks like, and is a trunk,,,Stan Kramien
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Postby Guest » 12/19/05 10:16 AM

Mr. Kramien:

I'd be VERY interested to hear your thoughts on the Canvas Covered Box. Practicaltiy, performance issues/advantages, etc.

- entity
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/19/05 04:27 PM

To me the canvas covered box is one of the great mysteries in magic if it is presented right. My Dad the late Billy Bishop used it for much of his life and it became his trademark trick for him.

He called it the triple challenge escape and the effect on the audience was very strong and it was a feature to his show. He learned it from Lee Grable when he substituted for Lee when he was sick during school show tour.

This effect is a slow effect slower than the modern sub trunk that looks to me like a trick trunk. It takes a personality to pull it off. It is like the selbit sawing. The selbit is a longer more involved method of sawing a woman in half. If done right it also is a REAL mystery.

The mystery of doing this effect is the canvas cover. In fact I never knew how the trick was done until I saw them do it over and over again getting ready to tape a TV show the next day.

But I lugged that box from one end of the state to the other and up and down more VFW halls and Lions club halls than I can count during the Christmas season.

After my Dad retired the box I used it for a few years and then it fell apart because it was old. I tossed the box but still have the lid. I just can't throw the lid away.

Then I got a Charvet trunk and used that for a while. I feel it is one of the best trunks because it looks like a trunk. And it is light -easy to load in and out - a good size and doesn't cost that much!
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Postby gfajuri » 12/20/05 07:27 AM

Not that your daughter would want to do this...

Percy Abbott made a feature of the Canvas Covered Box, as have many other performers. His assistant (usually his wife or his daughter) would be locked in the trunk, and eventually, Percy would end up inside, while she ended up outside. When the trunk was finally uncovered and unlocked, and Percy was let out, he was found resting comfortably, smoking a cigarette! A nice touch from a master showman.

The trick is still available from Abbott's, made to look like an ordinary packing crate with a heavy canvas cover.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 12/20/05 10:00 AM

To see the Canvas Trunk in action check out the Denny and Lee performance video available from http://www.dennymagic.com

It's only about $20. Not only will you get a hugely enjoyable show but it's a masterclass in structure, pointing and timing
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Postby GAMOLO » 12/20/05 05:12 PM

The Abbott Canvas Covered version is certainly a fooler.

However, in considering for your daughter I imagine you might want to take into account that the box is considerably larger & heavier to schlep than most of the others....and that there are going to be shows wherein you are going to have to eliminate doing the canvass cover and just perform it as a regular sub trunk sans the cover because the MC has informed you that you no longer have the time allowance you anticipated.
A secondary consideration is that for many individuals....especially as they get older & heavier.....top loaders are not as convenient as back loaders.
You can haul most of the newer trunks around in a small SUV....like a Toyota Matrix....but you will really need a larger vehicle to comfortably haul around the Abbott's.
Been there, done that. Loved my Canvass Box in the early days....but just not practical now (age 63 and no longer driving big rigs).
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Postby Guest » 01/08/06 09:14 PM

Why would you need a large vehicle to car the canvas covered box ? it comes apart, packs flat...It is probable the greatest mystery in magic..I have spoken,,The Great Kramien
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 01/08/06 10:26 PM

Hey Stan I hope you are doing well.

One of the really great stories about Billy Bishop An Ann and the canvas covered box and doing it at shows is the amount of shows they did, during the Christmas season they would load the box and the magic in the back of my Fathers station wagon. Drive downtown Chicago. Park at the grant park parking. The box was apart held together in parts with rope and in the back of the family station wagon.

Dad was in his tux and Mom was in here costume under her long coat.

Dad would put the canvas covered box together in the parking lot and they would put all the props in it. Put the box on a four wheeled trolley. Then they would roll it down to the first hotel booking and spend the day and most of the night pushing the canvas covered box up and down Michigan Ave from hotel to hotel.

They did this all day and most of the night going from one Banquet show to the next.

I laugh when I think about my Father pushing this large wooden box up and down the busy cold streets of Chicago during the Christmas season. He did this every day for the month of December up until Christmas.

The other story is one time he had three shows in different parts of the city. He got to the last show just before Showtime. The client was in a panicky that my Father would arrive late.

My Dad loaded in but did not have time to put the canvas covered box together. He walked in and took off his coat and walked right out on the stage. Then he tossed the rope out to an audience member and did the rope tie.

Mom unpacked and took the props out to my Dad as always.

When it came to the big finish the canvas covered box it wasn't together. So he invited the audience up to look over all the parts and had them put it together.

Then they did the effect and walked off stage like they did it that way all the time.

I just think about these stories and I smile.
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Postby GAMOLO » 01/11/06 05:08 PM

Dear Glenn,
Those are great stories...especially having the audience assembling the box!

Those were the days when some and especially the closing act could take all the time they want.

Being most helpful to the original questioner....it is not often these days one gets that kind of time. I certainly wouldn't want an audience of young folks today banging on the gaff...and telling them they can't would be fatal.
Dear Stan....love you. But most of the time most of us are going to want to transport the box completely assembled so we can load props in it. That is why the easy strap on wheels are so popular to haul it around to the site and onto the stage behind the curtain before setting up. Assembling and tearing down after each performance is just too much work and likely to result in more scratches and nicks. Wheeling it with props inside makes life easier.
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Postby Guest » 03/08/06 06:34 PM

The point behind the canvas covered box is building it on stage. As such, those who have one don't pack the props in it.

It takes a strong performer to do it that way, but it is the strongest on the routines if done well.

The real problem is that they are not made as well today as they were when many of us bought them.

God Bless you "Uncle Stan"!
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Postby Guest » 03/08/06 06:41 PM

<<<Those are great stories...especially having the audience assembling the box!

Those were the days when some and especially the closing act could take all the time they want.>>>

Some of us still can. Depends on who you are and the kind of show you do.

<<<I certainly wouldn't want an audience of young folks today banging on the gaff...and telling them they can't would be fatal.>>>

With all due respect, this shows you have no idea how the canvas covered box works. ANYONE can bang on the gaff all day long and nothing is going to happen.

In the days I did it at colleges, I left it on stage during the packing of the show and offered $10,000 to anyone who could find the secret of the box.

Again, if you understand the orginial effect, you know why this is possible

<<<But most of the time most of us are going to want to transport the box completely assembled so we can load props in it. That is why the easy strap on wheels are so popular to haul it around to the site and onto the stage behind the curtain before setting up.>>>

Again, for some, but not all.

<<<Assembling and tearing down after each performance is just too much work>>>

It is part of the routine of this effect.

<<<and likely to result in more scratches and nicks.>>>

Its a packing case, it should have scratches and nicks

<<<Wheeling it with props inside makes life easier.>>>

Not for all of us. It tends to make one very heavy case rather than a few lighter ones.

But that is what makes a horse race...

...a difference of opinion.
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Postby David Alexander » 03/08/06 09:27 PM

At one point, many years ago, there were four to six acts working Southern California all doing the Sub Trunk as part of their act/show. Bill and Mary Chaudet did a small, unfinished plywood trunk that had four casters on it that carried much of their show. Four spectators held a tent over the box for cover. It was a top-loading trunk and worked fast enough for them.

Kirkham had a steamer trunk with chromed fixtures that I think was a back loader. Craig Browning would know for sure.

Chuck Jones did, if I remember correctly, a Canvas Covered Box. Properly done, it is one of the great mysteries of magic. While some may suspect a trick box, the examined canvas cover - tightly stitched, form-fitting and laced tightly at the top - precludes any advantage with having a "trick" box. It stuns audiences.

I agree with Mark when he says that it takes a strong personality to put the box together in front of an audience instead of simply wheeling it out already assembled.

I've seen performers do this who did not have the necessary strength of personality and it really dragged, and I've seen others who assembled the box and you sat on the edge of your seat to see what was going to happen next.

And additional nicks and such just make the box look like what it is: a packing crate.

Mine is one of the older ones, made of solid hardwood. A great prop.
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Postby Guest » 03/16/06 07:52 AM

Well.....

...I did it as a single!

Think Blackstone and all the people on stage and you will get how I filled the time.
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Postby Guest » 04/15/06 04:41 PM

Many years ago there was a magi who played very small towns mostly grange halls,,his little posters offered 10,000, to anyone who could figure out the mystery of the canvas covered box,his name was Michel Cane,,,he had the audience members assemble the box off to the side of the stage while he went on with the show,,,a very very funny man,,he played seven nights a week and made a ton of money,,the accual box rtook up the entire second half of the show,,and believe me it was entertaining,,,,I saw the Great Raymonds last performance in NewYork where he did the sub trunk for on and on and on,,it was awfull...the current Abbotts CCbox is VERY WELL MADE AND GETTING IT NICKED AND MARRED ADDS TO ITS BEAUTY,,,,,THIS IS THE GREATEST MYSTERY IN THE BUSINESS
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Postby Guest » 04/27/06 11:37 AM

I also have an original (probably 1940's Abbotts CCB that was originally used by the Cook brothers here in the deep South. They were just kids when they performed. It's so well made. I've sold off almost all my illusions, but I just can't get rid of this, even though it takes up a little space in the studio!

Steve
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Postby NCMarsh » 07/04/07 09:45 PM

Sorry to bring back such an old thread, but it may soon be relevant to my show...Are their plans for the canvas covered box available? Or is it simply for purchase through Abbott's?

Best,

N.
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Postby Guest » 08/23/07 08:14 PM

I am considering to add a substution trunk for a metamorphosis illusion. What dimensions are the easieast to work with. I am about 6'1" and don't have a magic supplier in my area to try out the trunk in person. More than likely i'll want to use a "top" model because I will probably be working outdoors. Any suggestions or tips?
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Postby Guest » 08/27/07 04:27 PM

With you height, room to move inside is going to be very critical. A lot has to happen quickly in a small dark space!

Good Luck!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
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Postby Guest » 08/28/07 11:52 AM

I already hae a subtrunk but I was looking at Creative magic's new sub trunk. Check out the web site and watch the demo it is very nice and seems very easy to do.
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Postby rozoord » 02/04/10 01:29 AM

I have been searching for a video performance of the Aerial Exchange sub trunk built by Ken Whitaker. Does anyone have a link to an actual performance of this illusion?
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