The Mysterious Dante and his own
big American company presenting
the world's greatest mystery spectacle
Dante the Magician, whose given name was Harry August Jansen, was a professional magician who performed thousands of shows around the world. In this TV clip from 1953, he does the "Sawing a Woman in Half" illusion, two years before his death. Dante lived from 1883 to 1955.
I love some of Dante's unique theatrical touches when he performs this trick: the woman's scream, the way he instructs one of the audience volunteers to "...pull her feet gently, please, about two or three inches", (which is especially ironic since he asks them to be gentle right after he's sawn her in half), how he points out that her feet and toes can move, and how two of his volunteers lift the box containing the woman's head and torso.
But my favorite thing about Dante's sawing is that he actually uses a giant saw to saw the woman in half. One of my complaints about current performances of this illusion is that many magicians perform it without a saw. How can it be a sawing without the saw?
Dante the Magician Saws a Woman in Half
Harry August Jansen (Dante the Magician)>>