Jack In The Box Illusion
By Jim Gerrish

This requires a stage and several assistants (at least four) to do it justice, however, it is possible to perform with three assistants.

After building Eisenheim’s Ghost (The Wizards’ Journal #13), I realized I had discovered a new toy to get an assistant in and out of an illusion in a hurry. It has nothing to do with the “Ghost” principle, but with the way the Ghost gets into and out of that Illusion which was the break-through for me. But I’m getting ahead of my story.

Effect: The illusionist rolls out an open frame of legs on wheels, and an assistant carries out a piece of 1 inch thick plywood to set on top of it, making a square table that is about 36 inches on each side. The Illusionist jumps on top of the table and shows a small cubical box that has a crank in one side. He turns the crank and you hear the familiar music box playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” that has become the Jack In The Box standard for years. At the “Pop!” sure enough, out of the box pops tiny Jack on a spring. However, as the illusionist closes the box for another try, the box suddenly expands to over twice its size. The illusionist jumps down and places the large Jack in the Box on the table. He reaches into the box and produces several large six-foot silks. Then he produces a crank and begins to crank the side of the box. Again we hear the music, but this time it is greatly amplified. At the “Pop!” the top bursts open and a huge Jack pops up. In moments we realize that it is an actor dressed up as Jack, for the illusionist opens the front of the box and lets Jack out, to exit from the scene doing hand springs, or whatever.

To accomplish this illusion, I have stolen the expanding effect from Bautier De Kolta’s Expanding Die trick, but actually the method of accomplishing it is stolen from my own (Stealing from myself! Whoever thought I could stoop so low!) Die-A-Bolical in my PVC Pipe Illusions for the Really, Really Cheap Illusionist Book 2.

And then, as if that theft weren’t bad enough, I stole the ***** from my own Eisenheim’s Ghost which I will be using a lot more often since it works so nicely.

Disclaimer: this is not an illusion I have built yet. I got the idea from seeing the Wiz Kids delight in the method for zooming in and out of Eisenheim’s Ghost which premieres on my front porch this Halloween. I wanted to remake my Die-A-Bolical illusion anyway, and this Jack in the Box theme seems perfect for it, so I do not anticipate any construction problems.

I believe I can have this constructed and in rehearsal (at least with a cardboard prototype) within two weeks, so it will be ready for performances this Christmas season. I have an advantage in having lots of Wiz Kids to act as assistants, illusionists, clowns, and so on. They are also small, lightweight, and athletic (every last one of them can do a back- flip, juggle and ride a unicycle… not all at the same time… that comes next year!).



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