The Stocks of Zanzibar -
By Jim Gerrish
After taking us through a history of the effect,
including excerpts from a 1977 article by John Novak on the flaws
of doing an escape strictly for comedy, Jim shows us how he
redesigned the stocks to get rid of some of the problematic
structures and at the same time managed to restore some of the
comedy, without sacrificing the mystery of the escape.
The original trick was invented by Percy Abbott,
based on various stock escapes used by Harry Houdini and other
escape artists, but this was a trick escape designed
for the average magician who wanted to include an escape
illusion in his act. Important to the average magician is
the fact that it packs and travels easily. Most magicians who buy
props want them to look all shiny and classy, not like something
rescued from a dungeon. Jim's attitude is just the opposite. A
stock should look like it could be hundreds of years old, dating
back to the time when every town had one for deliquent students,
or for the town drunkard. However, Jim's design can be
interpreted by the individual builder to look shiny and new, or
old and well-used. It is easily constructed from standard lumber
pieces, hardware and bolts and wingnuts. The entire cost for
parts at today's prices (2009) is under $50.00.
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