Sparkle Flash Cord
What is it about the sight of a crackling, burning fuse that makes us think danger!? It's a reaction that we've learned from our earliest days watching poor old Wile E. Coyote fumble with a stick of dynamite. The old geezers reading (and writing, ahem) this article may even remember the opening credits of "Mission Impossible" with its fuse burning past our favorite secret agents. Regardless of how we learn it, the lesson is the same, when that fuse burns down something big is going to happen! This week, I'd like to take a look at a fairly new product we make for creating fuse effects on stage. We think that magicians and church drama directors, among others, will find it particularly useful.
We've always had requests from performers trying to create fuse effects on stage. Until recently the only way to achieve that look was with Visco fuse, which looked like the real thing (because it is!) but could be tricky to work with. An alternative was to purchase Flash Cord and Electric Sparkle Additive and coat the cord with the additive. This method resulted in a great-looking effect but required time and effort on the customer's part to prepare the cord. The Sparkle Flash Cord is, essentially, flash cord that has the sparkle additive already impregnated in it. This saves time and money for the performer, and ensures a consistent look to the effect.
Magicians, especially escapists, know that the key to selling a trick is to get the audience involved and on your side. One of the best ways to do this is to make it seem that the magician, or - better yet - his helpless assistant, is in some sort of mortal peril. A good way to do this is to have the magician or assistant bound to a chair (table, box, whatever) with a large papier-mâché stick of "dynamite" or bomb underneath them. Using Sparkle Flash Cord, a fuse can be added and cut to a length so that it burns almost to the end before the trick is over. Since the cord burns at three seconds per foot horizontally, and 0.5 seconds per foot vertically, a ten-foot cord would provide about thirty seconds of burn time. This should be plenty of time for a daring escape - or whatever else you can think up.
Magicians going for a humorous act should remember that bigger props = wackier props. You can add to the humor by making your bomb one of the large, black cartoon bombs - preferably with the word "BOMB" conspicuously painted on it. You may also want to consider placing a small battery-operated flash pot or confetti launcher inside the bomb, to trigger when the fuse burns out. This is, of course, optional and you may want to consider not using it if you find yourself performing regularly for small children.
Churches may also find the Sparkle Flash Cord useful in their dramatic productions. We've had several inquiries from church drama directors looking for a way to create a "bolt from above" or to heighten an effect on stage. The Sparkle Flash Cord would work for most of these situations. For example, in a production about the ten commandments, you're looking for a way to underscore each commandment as it's revealed to Moses. A short length of flash cord (2-3 feet) mounted on the "tablet" and ignited with an electric match would do the trick.
Here's a situation that may come up as we enter the Easter season during a play about the resurrection, you want to add some visual punch to the stone being rolled away from Jesus's tomb. Two separate lengths of Sparkle Flash Cord on either side of the tomb, again ignited with electric matches, would burn fairly quickly and make for a dramatic moment as the tomb is opened.
With all of these effects, and any others you may think of, it's always a good idea to flameproof any props that will be near the cord. We sell a quality flame retardant that can be applied to almost any common scenic material. I feel that the added cost of using flame retardant is more than justified by the reduced liability and increased peace of mind that comes from knowing you're not going to burn down the church or theatre with your next performance!
Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579