Zig Zag Raccoon - Ickle Pickle

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Zig Zag Raccoon - Ickle Pickle

Postby pcwells » Oct 29th, '07, 12:05

ZIG ZAG RACCOON - Ickle Pickle

$150 USD from Hank Lee

Difficulty - 1 for sleights, 2 for prop management

What they say:
Rocky Raccoon. The lovable Spring Animal that seems to come alive in your hands. He runs up your arm and down your arm. He eats form your hand. He jumps into the audience. He can do it all. Now, he can even play the part of your lovely assistant in one of the classic illusions of all time. That's right. The Zig Zag Raccoon!
Cute does not even begin to describe this delightful prop. It is built in Rocky size. A tall square tube cut into three sections.

Open the top and put Rocky inside. His head sticks out from the top of the tube. Open the door at the bottom and bring out his little tail.

Now for the illuuuuuuusion! Pass two solid blades right through Rocky! He never even whimpers!

Then, push the entire mid-section all the way to one side! You can see right through the middle, because there is no middle! Just like in the human-size Zig Zag.

Move the mid-section back. Slide out the blades. Open the door at the top and remove Rocky, completely unharmed! Let him take a well-deserved bow!

The Zig Zag Raccoon is great magic. A real fooler! Perfect for any venue. From a birthday party to Lincoln Center.

Comes with everything, The box, the blades , the instructions and Rocky.


Since I first took an interest in magic at the age of five or six, I've had a minor obsession with Robert Harbin's Zig Zag Illusion. Even now that I have little-to-no interest in big box illusions, I still have a soft spot for the Zig Zag. It's irrational, but there you go.

I was a bit unsure as to whether or not to buy this illusion, as the slice-and-dice illusions aren't ideal for kids' shows, where I've started using my raccoon as a standard feature, but I figured I could silly it up sufficiently to make it fun... the raccoon is just a puppet... and it's a Zig Zag illusion.

Hank Lee's price is far cheaper than I've seen for Zig Zag Raccoon effects in UK stores, but having compared my purchase with photos on other sites, it seems that the ones available over here come from a different company. The box looks slightly different, and the blades available over here are slightly posher-looking (mine have no handles, for example, they're just shiny perspex boards).

That said, the price difference is very significant when you look at the exchange rate - and when you take advantage of Hank Lee's regular dicount offers as I did. Also worth mentioning is that the illusion provided by Hank Lee comes complete with Rocky Raccoon, which is not included in other stores I've looked at here and across the Pond.

The box itself is solid and looks good. Minor grumps come from the fact that the middle section isn't secured in place and can slide freely right out of the frame. The bottom plate is separate too - nothing will fall out if it comes off, but I'm thinking of adding a little glue to mine (or blu tac at the very least). That's not a problem if you have the prop on stage from the start of your show, but care must be taken not to drop pieces all over the floor if you remove it from your case just before performing it.

You're also provided with a padlock with which to lock down the top of the box. Okay, it adds to the drama, and can I can see practical uses in averting accidental exposure of the method, but it also adds unnecessary fiddling time to the routine. For the time being, I'm working without the lock. If I get jittery about it, I'll look for an alternative that isn't as time consuming.

The Zig Zag Raccoon is designed specifically for use with Rocky. It can be very easily adapted for other spring animals of a similar size, but additional purchases will need to be made, and that's all I can say without exposing the method. Personally, I use it with Roxie. I chose Roxie over Rocky because I didn't want to buy products made from real fur. Since the Zig Zag came with a Rocky Raccoon, I consider that a free addition and won't cry about it. It also gave me the opportunity to compare Roxie to Rocky and I have to admit that I prefer my original choice. Rocky might be surdier and will almost certainly last longer than Roxie, but I find that Roxie just handles better. Just a personal preference, but worth a mention.

One of the gimmicks at play here can take some practice to get used to. It's all prop management, and a case of familiarisation. But again, limiting the amount of movement and jostle can be a great help in knowing what's what and what's where.

The bottom line here is that I'm delighted with this purchase. It lends itself to a lot of fun, and all things considered, I think the price is great.

I'll give this illusion 8/10, losing its two points only because the blades look a bit basic and too many pieces move freely when moving the box from one place to another. That shouldn't be considered a deal breaker though - I'm just not in a very generous mood today. ;)

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Postby Al Doty » Dec 27th, '07, 07:05

Just call me old fashioned, but I have performed countless kid shows as a clown and there are always a young child that displays a little fear of a clown. Why this is I am not sure and others have made the same observance. My way of getting the child to trust the clown is I give them Rocky to hold until I need him in my performance. You can imagine the comfort that the puppet gave that child and the trust that I gained. To then put it into a device that cuts the puppet up would terrify some children. Restoring the puppet won't make it better for the child. Over the years I have seen alot of good kids that you don't want to mess up and there are alot of kids with borderline ideas about what works in this life. You need to be careful how you influence them. My rule of thumb is no tricks with fire, sharpe objects(knives, scissors,etc.), nothing destructive like cutting up animals. Read David Kayes book called Seriously Silly if you are considering doing kidshows. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, it doesn't matter if 19 out of the 20 kids like the slice and dice, its the one out of the 20 that needs to be considered. I believe there is a place for this trick, but I would not do it for kids.

My best to you

Al Doty
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