Backstage Whatever Vanish

Backstage with the Magician Illusions have been around since at least 1919, when British comedian George Robey premiered the idea as a skit in his London review called “Round in Fifty.” About 1950, Jack Hughes invented his Sucker Beaker Vanish. Shortly afterwards (c.1960), Aldini, working on the Jack Hughes idea of the tray with a drape, came up with his Backstage, vanishing of a jumbo playing card concealed between two plaques. Jim Gerrish takes it from there, showing how to make the usual flat panel backstage vanish, and then adapts it to three dimensional vanishes including lots of rubber duckies (Where do the Duckies go?), a Toy Plastic Elephant vanish, and finally several versions of live Rabbit Vanishes with a Backstage theme.

The usual routine:

The performer offers to teach his audience how to vanish an Elephant. He displays a draped tray, a picture of an Elephant, and two boards to "cage" the elephant. He now turns his back to the audience, and performs the effect for an imaginary audience in front of him, while the real audience has a backstage view of the working.

The two boards are placed on the tray. The Elephant Card is displayed, and dropped between the two cards. The Cards are then removed, and freely displayed on both sides, to show the Elephant has vanished. The real audience however, has seen how the effect is accomplished, because they have seen the Elephant Card drop through a slot in the tray into a ribbon harness under the tray. The Elephant is not visible from the front, being concealed by the drape.

After some remarks to the effect that when performed with a real Elephant one would require, a much larger trap on the stage than the slot in the tray, and a much stronger harness, the performer offers to repeat the effect, this time with the real audience to the front.

The two boards are again placed on the tray, and the Elephant drops between them. The boards are removed and freely displayed on both sides. The Elephant has vanished. The performer explains that there may be a few wise people in the audience who, may figure out that the Elephant is behind the drape. As he says this, he turns the tray around, so that the audience sees the, Elephant hanging in the ribbon harness behind the drape.

If this happens, the performer continues, he has no recourse, except to use some "real magic". The tray is turned, drape side again facing audience. The performer gestures dramatically to make the Elephant vanish, then peels away the drape to show the elephant has indeed vanished. Both the drape and tray are freely shown all sides, with no trace of the elephant.

* * *

Jim shows you how to make this standard flat version, complete with templates for the cards, but then he adds a third dimension and shows you how to perform the effect with lots of little rubber duckies (Dollar Store items), with a plastic toy elephant (Dollar Store), and then ups the ante to give you several versions that can use livestock, like live doves and bunnies.


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