Floating Light Bulb

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Postby Craig Browning » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:46 pm



To be honest about it, this is the first time I've seen this post :oops:

Before we go there however, the effect was originated and made famous by Blackstone, Sr not Jr... Jr only brought it back into vogue as a reflection upon his father's legacy much as he did with the Bird Cage, Buzz Saw, Bunny to Chocolates and a few other key bits seen in his show.

Now, as to the trick itself... there are a few version on the market, only one of which, a very old manuscript put out by Irelands in the late 60s through the 70s, outlines the original Blackstone set-up which, I must add, isn't complete. This routine was one of the more guarded of the Blackstone legacy and as much as I was entrusted by Harry Jr I never once set-up this piece that was typically left in the hands of the lead male tech in the show.

However, I know that parts of the set-up do require a hidden assistant. I also know that there are some very "tricky" situations involved in the handling that even Harry fowled up a few times... he response when the light bulb fell to the ground was, "Hey, it's only a trick!"

Yes, the Floating Light Bulb is a most excellent effect for a stage show. It is not generally practical for the solo performer, especially if you are not going to have good control over lighting and setting.

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Floating Light Bulbs....

Postby Magical_Michael » Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:40 am

Greetings!
I just noticed this post and thought I would leave a comment here. I have also seen this trick performed...and when executed well, it can be truly amazing. If you wish to see it first hand, check out Darren Romeo's magic show in Branson, Missouri. The lighting is very dark (natural stage show presentation) and he begins with the light bulb floating between his hands and eventually sends it flying out across the audience (Went right over my head). He then brings it back into the palm of his hand and gives it to people in the audience to hold and examine briefly. Then taking it back again, sends it spiraling and flying across the room once more. A very enjoyable piece.
-M.M.

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Postby photius » Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:29 am

The particular floating lightbulb mentioned above is not the same floating lightbulb done by my Uncle Harry, or Harry, Jr. Uncle Harry's was actually several tricks linked together, requires off stage assistance, special lighting and some considerable rigging. Harry, Jr.s was an improvement over his dad's, and was also several tricks done together, and required a very elaborate rigging, off stage assistance and special lighting. It is not an illusion ur going to buy anywhere, and not for under 50 dollasr. That floating lightbulb is similar to the zombie, and doesn't even approach what Uncle Harry and Harry Jr. did in their shows.

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The Floating Light Bulb.

Postby Allen Tipton » Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:15 pm

:) There are very very few magicians who could present this properly and very few venues where you would have the set up & time facilities to perform it in. It needs great skill & sensitivity and many many hours of rehearsal to 'perfect'it.
I have performed my own Floating Ball for over 30 years and eliminating the stage or venue set up took up a lot of those. It was in rehearsal for 12 months before its first performance.

I've also had 4 Floating Light Bulbs. The first was from Tannens in New York and was a 250 watt glass bulb. It was fearsome and the fear of dropping it kept it out of my Act. The 2nd and 3rd. were simply cheap light up in the hand plastic bulbs, gimmicked up. Rubbish.+
The 4th. was Mike Danata's glass bulb. This worked beautifully.

Mike hand made them and they came with a thick booklet on all the necessary and the handling to perform it in cabaret with no room set up.!! He may still have the odd one. he did send me a private video of his show in which he performed it on a cabaret floor.

Burling Hull claimed to have invented it, with The Great Blackstone being one of its first performers. Though Blackstone first used a Floating Glass Of Milk!
A MUST HAVE book ( again Tannens) is Hull's Miracle Floating Electric Light. 21 pages of valuable information, moves, handlings and suggestions. In it there is the Fu Manchu/Mohammed Bey collaboration with NO room/stage set up. This was also put out by Harry Stanley ( Unique Studios) as The Close Up Floating Light Bulb and also as The Orb Of The Orient with the Ball. Both the same set up with either Ball or Bulb in the illustrations. Supreme also put them out though they obviously originated in the USA
I believe both 4 page manuscripts may still be obtained from Magic Books By Post at £2 and £3:50 respectively. The book has more thorough details and more illustrations.

Floating it over the audience is just NOT on for you. That is the Blackstone idea and presentation still owned by the family. They have licenced it to young Darren Romero and I think Gay coached him in what is performed as 'A Tribute To Harry Blackstone'.
I did read some years ago in an article by or about Harry that some 15 different methods of set up are in the repertoire and used according to the venue.

It works best if you attempt to perform the 'ordinary Floating Bulb in the Walk around the audience part of the normal light bulb, IF you are tall.

I'd suggest you look at Perry Maynard's Lite Flite in which you can float one of those SMALL neon balls, like you get in the vendor machines but in this case LIT, and work with that. It will save you less stress and trouble.

Leave the Light Bulb to The Blackstones and wonder and marvel at that incredible magical,
great theatrical moment when the bulb travels over the audience's heads and returns ( with you holding your breath) back to Harry and through the hoop to safety.
I have videos of him performing it in the TV studio and on stage and as he says, "This is something you will remember as long as you live".
or words to that effect.
Let's leave it that way.
Allen Tipton

Began magic at 9 in 1942. Joined Staffs M.S at 13. Nottm.Guild of M. (8 times President. Prog Director 20years)IBM. Awarded Magician of Month 1980 By Intern. Pres. IBM for reproducing Dante's Sim Sala Bim. Writes Dear Magician column for Abra. Mag.
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Postby photius » Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:09 pm

Cousin Harry's method of doing the floating lightbulb is actually several effects linked together. As stated above it is not commercially available anywhere. The Hocus Pocus version is not Harry's. Harry's estate still owns all rights to the illusion, and you have to go through Gay to get license to use it. There are a number of "floating lightbulbs" on the market and most of them make some reference to either Harry, Jr, or Uncle Harry. Generally in the nature of "Blackstone made this trick popular", or "Made popular by the Great Blackstone", etc. They try by such subtrafuge to infer there product is somehow related to the version created by Uncle Harry and Uncle Pete and later improved upon Harry, Jr. There is no relationship other than the fact that somehow a lightbulb is involved and they both float.

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omg

Postby madmikethemagician » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:02 am

hey were did you find that, because ive been looking everywhere for that trick. and i got ripped off by this 1 store, abra4magic.com. they sent a crappy plastic lightbulb w/ a light inside. and a piece of metal that raps around your thumb. and holds the lightbulb to make it "levitate" it looks like that 1 trick the floating cup where u stick your thumb through the cup. if you could send a link or at least the site u got that off of it would be sweet. for the kerry summers floating light bulb.

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Nikola Tesla

Postby Talon » Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:58 am

Piece of the Prestige for you


http://bea.st/sight/lightbulb/

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Postby dat8962 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:06 pm

I too first saw this performed by Blackstone on a recent TV special and the performance was marvelous.

I also watched the the Mindfreek Series 2 episode where Kris perfomred this in the middle of a lighting shop and whilst it looked marvelous on TV, I couln't help think that the shop assistants MUST have been in on it as they watched from literally a couple of feet away and looked amazed.

It was perhaps obvious to a magician that IT is used but from what has been said, surrounded in a shop with normal lighting, I don't think that you could fail to spot how it's done

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It's not really an optical illusion - it just looks like one!
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Postby wildolddan » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:46 pm

Howdy Pards,

Well, I too was lucky enough to watch Master Magician Harry Blackstone Jr. perform the classic floating lightbulb on several occasions over the years. I think many new magicians make the mistake of thinking that simply by knowing the "secret" you can recreate the magic. Most experienced magicians will tell you that that taint necessarily so. Especially as it relates to this classic effect which both Harry Sr. and Harry Jr. mastered over many many years. It was their PRESENTATION that made this effect a classic. Every second of their performance was refined to perfection...including what to do if something
went wrong. Harry Sr. and Harry Jr. were masters of the art of performing stage magic...their voice, there mannerisms, the words they spoke and how they spoke them...all combined... were of far greater importance than any "secret" you might buy in a manuscript or book.
I suggest that there is great wisdom in studying the presentation technique of these masters...not the secret of the effect...then look for your own "effect" to master. Some magicians by virture of their dedication to their performance lift our art to a much higher level...the Blackstones, both of them, did exactly that. Study it. Learn from it. Respect it. And create new magic, new wonder, new joy and mystery... rather than try to copy a "signature" effect of a master magician. In my humble opinion this particular effect belongs to the masters...and to the ages. Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail. Wild Ol' Dan

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Postby Craig Browning » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:05 pm

wildolddan wrote:Howdy Pards,

Well, I too was lucky enough to watch Master Magician Harry Blackstone Jr. perform the classic floating lightbulb on several occasions over the years. I think many new magicians make the mistake of thinking that simply by knowing the "secret" you can recreate the magic. Most experienced magicians will tell you that that taint necessarily so. Especially as it relates to this classic effect which both Harry Sr. and Harry Jr. mastered over many many years. It was their PRESENTATION that made this effect a classic. Every second of their performance was refined to perfection...including what to do if something
went wrong. Harry Sr. and Harry Jr. were masters of the art of performing stage magic...their voice, there mannerisms, the words they spoke and how they spoke them...all combined... were of far greater importance than any "secret" you might buy in a manuscript or book.
I suggest that there is great wisdom in studying the presentation technique of these masters...not the secret of the effect...then look for your own "effect" to master. Some magicians by virture of their dedication to their performance lift our art to a much higher level...the Blackstones, both of them, did exactly that. Study it. Learn from it. Respect it. And create new magic, new wonder, new joy and mystery... rather than try to copy a "signature" effect of a master magician. In my humble opinion this particular effect belongs to the masters...and to the ages. Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail. Wild Ol' Dan


Brother, you've said a mouth full!

I want to tip my hat to Mr. Tipton (yet again) for his amazing history around this effect, I knew Hull performed the light but never heard that it was his... but I'd love to see that Tannen bulb you mentioned, WOW! sounds like something Marvin Roy would have used. :lol:

I was going to mention that Derren Romeo's light bulb was done with Gay's blessing; she's been awesome in guiding and assisting several bright careers since Harry's passing. I can't help but applaud her in how she is keeping the Blackstone legacy alive. Harry was a dear friend and mentor of sorts and I miss him.

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Re: Floating Light Bulb

Postby mikefallen » Sat May 04, 2013 1:28 pm

It is a vey nice piece of magic but as far as i know and like my father Allen wrote before, it is not to be performed in the same way by any magician. It is a protected piece and only asking permission to perform it would make it possible. Anyway, one can adapt the routine or give it a different "patter". Magic is all about this as well...

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