Charlie was the man that convinced the producers that The Magic Show could not make it without Doug’s personal Special Assistants. He had seen how closely we worked with Doug…He also advised IATSE and the production that we should be the only people to touch the magic props. This became a running argument.
Charlie Zuckerman was my best friend on Broadway. He was also the best friend The Magic Show had. Charlie had the ears of everybody in power and his word carried. After a couple of weeks of run the management had to let the stagehands have some control of the magic props pieces but not the complete illusions. This meant the stagehands had their magic pre-sets and we, the Special Assistants, had ours. We were growled at if we came and double checked their work so we left it alone.
One night, shortly after the props hand over, one of the theatre props men demonstrated his inability to comprehend his full responsibility. During pre-set, he flipped the hoop over for the Metamorphosis trunk bag. This put a twist knot in it.
This was either a mean spirited joke or a blunder during the pre-set. I use the term mean spirited here because of the sniggering between the two props men. The fact that they would not look me in the face should have warned me something was up. The flip over created a knot in the bag that Dale, Doug’s assistant, could not undo once she was inside the trunk.
The bag was set in the trunk as usual, but the flip over was not noticed as Dale got in. She unwittingly stood on the knot. The bag was pulled up over her head as usual, she sank into the trunk, the lid was put on, and chained closed. The space was now too confined for her to undo the problem. She was trapped and could not get out of the bag.
Doug jumped up on the trunk lid, grabbed the cover banner hoop, raised it up to his chest, and said “Now Ladies and gentlemen! Don’t blink your eyes. Or you’ll miss Metamorphosis, the fastest illusion in the world!”