Assembly #31 Studies Classic Illusions

Indianapolis, Indiana



Continuing our year of classics at the Harry Riser Assembly #31, the theme for our April meeting was Classic Illusions, presented by Don Miller.  First, though,  Tom Winterrowd presented the final of his three part  â??MUM Mysteriesâ?? series. 


The â??Third Mysteryâ?? is the PALM--our secret handshake.  This grip has symbolic meaningâ??the fingers closed about the thumb remind us of Magic, the junction of the two hands symbolizes Unity, and the pressure of the hands denotes Might.  Tom also discussed the Silent Challenge and the Sign of Salutation, which is made to the â??Most Illustriousâ?? when entering or leaving the room during a meeting.  The Assembly appreciates Tomâ??s efforts to keep us connected with our roots.


The next ninety minutes were stimulating, educational and fun, as Don Miller shared with us his knowledge of and experience with stage illusions and then walked us through a number of them including the Chair Suspension, Murder Inc, the Arabian Tent, the Tip Over Trunk, the Tool Locker, Twister, Through a One Inch Hole, and for the finale, Sawing a Girl in Half.  With each he provided tips for staging (and â??stoogingâ??), talked about how they workâ??and how they donâ??t work (!)â??and entertained us with stories of memorable moments (mostly funny) encountered while performing these illusions over the years.


We learned about the history of illusions in the 18th and 19th centuries and the critical importance of presentation when doing illusions.  â??Most illusions if not presented well, are absolutely boring and terribly ineffective.â??  We heard Harry Blackstone stories and talked about how misdirection is even more important in illusions.  Finally, we were impressed with Donâ??s thoughts regarding why illusions work so well.  â??Illusions are powerful because they, almost without exception, include humans.  Illusions involve people doing things they should not be able to doâ??appear and disappear, twist 360 degrees, float without visible support and be sawed in halfâ??to name a few.  And when that happens to a human, it is all the more astonishing!â??    Thanks to Don Miller for a great evening.



Submitted by: Dale Benson, Secretary

April 2009


Harry E. Riser Assembly No. 31, usually meets the first Monday of the month at 7 pm at Mystic Tie Lodge (2nd floor), corner of Illinois and North Street, Indianapolis.