Impaled Illusion

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Postby Guest » 12/05/02 08:54 AM

Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky, seeks to rent or purchase the Impaled Illusion for use in the new play "Orange Lemon Egg Canary". Our performance space is a 335 seat arena theatre with the audience 5'-25' from the stage. The script specifies that the magician alone is to place the female assistant on the spike. The illusion will be used twice during the play, each time with a different female. We will need the illusion from Feb 28, 2003 thru May 19, 2003 (11 weeks). Please direct any questions or information to mwalston@actorstheatre.org or contact me directly by calling Mark Walston at 502/561-3333
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Postby Kendrix » 12/05/02 02:02 PM

"The Impaled" is an extremely difficult illusion to perform on short notice and if one is not trained in illusion work. It, is also virtally impossible for the magician alone to place the assistant. Tony Clark is a weight lifter and he uses the help of 2 assistans to place the person on the prop. There is ,also, a relative amount of danger of injury to the assistant.
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Postby Guest » 12/05/02 02:14 PM

We know that it may be difficult for the magician alone to place the assistant on the spike. I believe it is possible for us to add a person or 2 to help accheive that
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Postby mop krayz » 12/07/02 03:33 AM

Jonathan Pendragon places Charlotte on impaled on his own.
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Postby Guest » 12/07/02 05:51 AM

Originally posted by Mop Krayz:
Jonathan Pendragon places Charlotte on impaled on his own.
Yes, but if I recall JPs prop is based on one that was featured @ the Castle a number of years ago... one of the few I've seen that was "self-loading"... I've not seen JP do the bit but, the one I'm referring to had a "pivot-cup" (for lack of a better term" set into the harness... girl was lined up with sword on mark, allowing it to slip straight into the cup... girl is tipped backward at the forehead (like the classic Hypnosis bit for a levi) and voila! She was set into place.

This same unit had a "step" on the base that gave the mage a knee up when removing her from the step-up.

I do believe he also did a Sword Suspension with this... very similar to Chuck Jones' handling.

Sorry... it's been twenty years nearly since I saw the act... dont recall who they were but I believe they were from Russia sometime in 83-84 perhaps???

I honestly do believe John Gaughan has made a unit similar to this. I know Mendoza and others have experimented with the idea but I honestly cannot think of any "reliable" source that's actually done it.

Just my two-cents worth...
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Postby Kendrix » 12/07/02 12:01 PM

Charlotte will "cut him some slack" if there is a problem. Sime actor playing a magician will most likely not get that response if he has a problem with his "assistant".
Lydia Harmon an assistant of David Copperfield and mine (humbly speaking) fractured her ankle with a self centering socket built by a very well known builder. I am not mentioning names, because I am not sure if the case has been settled.
The bottom line is be very careful this is a technically challenging illusion. I know you card and coin mechanics think illusion stuff is all self working and easy, but it's not.
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Postby Guest » 12/29/06 10:57 AM

Dear Readers

Les Smith of Owen's magic and I came up with my version of the impalement in 1983. It didn't use the pivot harness, which was invented several years later. I carried Charlotte in my arms, climbed the steps, which were first used on my prop and placed Charlotte on the sword point by a blind feel of tip and harness, Charlotte's body blocked the view. This was very difficult and took a lot of arm strength. When I was mauled by a tiger in "92" I had to shift most of Charlotte's weight to my right arm, my left arm was nearly destroyed by the attack. The steps, a timer (at the time most props were controlled by a cord that went off stage) a new valve which gave us better control of the fall and a new harness design which was radically brief. I have never seen anyone else carry the girl to the point. As for the broom suspension other then the elements that all performers share with Houdin, ours was very different from Chuck Jones. We used a witches broom first and then a sword in a stone (Aurthurian), Charlotte was suspended with arm resting on the hilt and not the tip. MY harness was unique. It didn't use a ratchet and the design gave Charlotte a bare mid-drift costume. Our first performance of this effect was in "78", most people commented on Charlotte's movement on the sword. She would wake up and stretch all over the place, very different from the typical frozen body attitudes seen in most presentations. We still present both illusions, the only illusion that I can no longer perform is Interlude, my recent injuries make the presentation too painful for me. Maybe someday I will try it again, but right now my chest and stomach injuries make it imposssible. We are performing "Ghosts of Broadway" in northern Florida later this month, actually next month. The broom suspension or the impalement will be in the show. It all depends on my recovery progress.

With Respect Jonathan Pendragon
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Postby Guest » 12/29/06 11:20 AM

Jonathan,
Good to see you among the living!

Funny story about the Pivot Harness method, and something to watch out for. My wife Tamara was a stand-in assistant for a local magician who performed this in his show. He apparently failed to do whatever was necessary to latch the mechanism, or she wasn't as "top heavy" as his usual assistant and the balance was off. After she was tipped back and dropped on the sword, she slowly reverted to a standing position with the sword tip poking out of her belly at a weird right angle to the rest of the blade.
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