The Happy-Clappy-Slappy Wizard Washer
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 Edwin’s 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 Machine.”

(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 Washer.”

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 Wizard Washer

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