One hundred years ago today, an English magician called Percy Thomas Tibbles literally and laboriously sawed through a sealed wooden box that contained a woman. And so was created one of the world’s best known magic act tricks. The celebrations are being streamed virtually under the auspices of The Magic Circle, “the premier magical society in the fascinating world of magic and illusion.”
The Magic Circle president Noel Britten noted that the illusion has a “rich and fascinating” history although the reasons for its almost instant popularity in 1921 may not be the noblest. Suffrage was the hot topic of its day so was it “for every person who thought it was great that women were getting the vote there were other people who thought it great that a woman was being put in a box and sawn in half.” Since its inception 100 years ago it has been performed by countless magicians in many different ways. Magician and surgeonm Dr. Will Houstoun noted “It is a very simple, clear idea and is easily understandable as impossible.”
In 1956 the illusion was broadcast on BBC television featured the Great Sorcar slicing a young woman in half with a circular saw. Because the show was live and out of time, the presenter stepped in to say goodbye before the woman came back to life. “The switchboard was jammed with people thinking they had just witnessed a murder,” said Britten.
Who knew? Well, as noted in the “About” section of this blog,”when I have time and inspiration, I muse on things” – even magical things.