The Happy-Clappy-Slappy Wizard
By Jim Gerrish
History: Oswald Williams
(1880-1937) saw a popular Vaudeville skit based on a Chinese
Laundry and from it invented a Magic Laundry stage routine (circa
1920) which was subsequently reworked into a magic changing box
and published (Linking Ring 1951 Vol. 31 No. 6) by Bruce Posgate
as "The Magic Laundry." About 1953, Lewis Thomas
requested a version be made for him by Jack Hughes. Edwin Hooper
saw it and turned it into the commercial version produced by
Edwins Supreme Magic in 1955, known as The Chinese
Washing Machine, or variations produced by others with a
more politically correct name like the Whacky Washer
or Crazy Washing Machine. Since that time, the same
basic idea has been resurrected several times as the Wishy
Washer, and the most recent, the Mini Washing
(Special thanks to Tony James and Andrew
Pinnard who researched the history of this effect and to
Spellbinder who shared their results with me.)
I wanted to make a version for my Wiz Kids to
use which would not use a standard magic box approach like most
of the above variations. I wanted it to have a lot of crazy
gadgets, like my O.O.P.S. Machine. I wanted it to appear to have
real water, without the mess. I wanted bubbles. I wanted to be
able to wash and transform articles of clothing donated by the
audience. I wanted it to be capable of flexible routining, not
tied to any of the more traditional magic laundry routines.
So over the years (beginning in 2000) I started putting together
what I now call The Happy-Clappy-Slappy Wizard
You could probably take any of the routines
from the earlier Magic Laundry sketches and incorporate them
using my machine. And you are free to add your own bits and make
it even wilder and slap-happier than the Wiz Kid routine I
describe in the article.
In 2007, I built a new model from scratch just
for this e-Book and photographed the construction step by step.
You'll need to be able to get the stuff shown in the photo above,
plus, of course, hardboard, molding wood, nails, screws and glue.
Tools required will be a drill, manual or electric, and a saw,
manual or electric. Naturally, electric tools are best and make
the work zip along. In the article, I will provide on-line
sources for materials needed.
This e-Book was sold for $20.00 in 2007,
guaranteeing those who bought it at that time exclusive
performing rights. They were told that in 5 years (April of 2012)
the e-Book would once again go on sale for any and all magicians
who wanted to purchase it, so they had five years exclusive use
of the routines and props they built.
Time's up! The e-Book has been on sale since
April 1st, 2012.
If you're not a kid show performer, DON'T buy
this! This should ONLY be purchased by those with kid show
experience who intend to build and USE it!
Added as a bonus: Jim's
"Quick & Dirty Washer-In-A-Box" which is a smaller
"parlor-sized" version of the same effect PLUS his
Impromptu (almost) version where you transform an ordinary
detergent box (from the Dollar Store, no doubt!) into a washer
box right in front of the audience.
#8. The Happy-Clappy-Slappy