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 Post subject: Happy Days Tidibt #12 ~ Magic!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:27 am 
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Today we are still in the ballroom. How to saw someone in half...

An assistant (usually a woman) lies down in a large, horizontal box, from which her feet and head protrude. The magician appears to saw her in two, and the two halves are separated. Sometimes the sides of the box are opened, revealing the assistant's arms and legs. Eventually, the two halves are rejoined, and the assistant exits the box unharmed.

Origin

The first modern version of this effect was "Sawing Through A Woman", designed and first performed by P.T. Selbit in 1921, but this illusion (known today as the Selbit Sawing) was significantly different from what a modern audience would expect. Selbit's assistant was locked inside a closed wood crate, and could not be seen, although ropes tied to her hands, feet, and neck were held throughout the illusion by spectators from the audience. Selbit began by sliding glass plates through the crate (and apparently through his assistant) before sawing through the crate. The two halves of the crate were then separated, but this simply revealed his assistant, showing she had not been sawn with the box.
Later the same year, Horace Goldin, a magician working in the United States, presented the first version which modern audiences would recognize. Goldin's assistant lay in a box, from which her feet, head and hands protruded. Goldin simply sawed through the middle of the box, inserting metal sheets to cover the cut ends, and then pushed the two halves a little way apart. This process was then reversed, and the assistant released unharmed.

Variations

In the 'double sawing illusion', the magician saws two people in half (usually in different colored costumes, of different skin colors, or of different genders) and restores them with the other's lower half.

How it works
One version of Goldin's illusion


The audience will see the front of the box (A). Expecting the box is the size of an ordinary chest, they may assume that the "victim" is arranged as in B, crossing the path of the saw. In reality, the box may be deeper (which the audience cannot see from their perspective), and the "victim" curled up as in C to clear the blade.

Image

Another variant has a false table on which the box rests. This allows the carved out table to be used as a place for the woman to crawl up in and avoid the saw. Her feet are replaced with fakes that are moved with electric motors.

Image

A third variant hides another person in the carved out table space and has her insert her feet. The magician then saws through empty space.

Image

The Jig Saw

This effect is contraption-based. The woman does not need to contort herself. A magician places a brace around a girl lying on a table. He then passes a jigsaw through her body. The brace actually detaches the jigsaw's blade when it enters the body on one end. As the saw exits on the other side, the brace reattaches a new blade onto the jigsaw.



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:04 pm 
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Thanks for this tidbit! The magician show is one of the funniest
parts of the book, IMO, with the flamboyant M. Zebb in his outrageous outfit,
the worried administrator, M. Revelli near the
fire extinguisher, and Antoine, who gets a momentary new lease on life being 'in the box', as it were!
The other, more serious, undercurrent of the scene has to do with pretenses, facades and masks ~
a la tidbit #11. The author seems to blame the residents (ie, humanity) for latching onto every disguise
imaginable to keep from facing death...but I'm not so sure. I think facilities like Happy Days foster a lot of false
behavior and don't tolerate much in the way of reality when it comes to the subject of
dying and death. So, even if the elders wanted to be more 'sincere', I don't think they'd be given the
opportunity.
The hyper-cheerful excitement of the magic show is funny, but it also shows how far
we are, culturally, from dealing honestly with these issues. (IMO)
(And I couldn't help but wonder who M. Zebb would've chosen to
saw in half if Antoine hadn't been there??)



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:15 pm 
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Thanks, Parlez. I think you are on to something with your thoughts. Hang on to those, they will come in handy in a few days! :cool:



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:35 pm 
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Very Interesting, since Parlez did the deep thinking I will just comment.

You know I always knew there was a trick to this but never paid enough attention to try to figure out how it was done. I always assumed it was done with mirrors. It is much easier to understand with the visual explanation. Since the version where you need to curl up your legs could be a little uncomfortable, its logical that Antione is the volunteer in the book since he is more agile and the trick would need less explanation than for one of the elderly. The version where your legs are safely down in to the lower table may have been used because he says they quickly pointed out the trick part ( too quickly for him).


Last edited by gemini on Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Happy Days Tidibt #12 ~ Magic!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:53 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Today we are still in the ballroom. How to saw someone in half...


Tidbit impression:
:-O :fear: :eyebrow: :biglaugh: :cool:



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“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD
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 Post subject: Re: Happy Days Tidibt #12 ~ Magic!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:35 pm 
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Depputante wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Today we are still in the ballroom. How to saw someone in half...


Tidbit impression:
:-O :fear: :eyebrow: :biglaugh: :cool:


:biglaugh: Depputante, that must look pretty odd to someone that hasn't read the book! :-O



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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
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 Post subject: Re: Happy Days Tidibt #12 ~ Magic!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:20 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Depputante wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Today we are still in the ballroom. How to saw someone in half...


Tidbit impression:
:-O :fear: :eyebrow: :biglaugh: :cool:


:biglaugh: Depputante, that must look pretty odd to someone that hasn't read the book! :-O


But it would get them interested. :grin:



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