Friday, December 12, 2008

Michael Jackson, Inventor

You know Michael Jackson as a singer, dancer, and sleepover pal, but did you know he was an inventor, too? Jackson is one of three names listed on U.S. Patent #5,255,452, "Method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion." What this is is a special boot that can be anchored into a stage floor so that the performer can do the extremely low lean featured at the end of the "Smooth Criminal" video. In other words, Michael was so amazing that he really did have a patented dance move.


At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 9:28:00 AM PST, Blogger J.R. said...

Amazing that he got the patent for an old magician's device that definitaely saw in action in 1985 or so. Well not really that amazing.

I don't think the patent would be enforcable since magicians have been using the gimack for years.

At Friday, January 2, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM PST, Blogger OtherMichael said...

My first response was "Lean Shoes are Old Hat!" -- which they are.

But the patent is for a specific _implementation_ of lean shoes.

As Doug Malloy explains "The Lean is probably one of the most interesting visual effects in magic! Billy McComb and I traced the history of this illusion as far back as the late 1800's.

Ramseys the Magician had a clown in his show that performed this effect. For many years it was used in vaudeville and was also taught in the Ringling Bros Clown College. A version of it also appeared in a very old issue of Genii Magazine. It is true that Bert Easley built an entire act around the Lean.

The original version used cleats in the shoes and a giant wooden board that you attach to. I was looking for a way to perform this that would be portable and reliable and after much trial and error, I created the method I now use and sell."


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