What is Magic!?! When the magician saws the lady in half, we don't REALLY believe it. If the magician is good, we FORGET we really don't! This is called "suspension of disbelief", and is a fundamental principle of magic. When we build a model, no one EVER believes it is the real thing, but if we do it right, they just might forget, for a moment, that it isn't! As model railroaders, we have the same tools available to us as any other magician has. Our success in suspension of disbelief hinges on our deliberate application of illusion, theatrics, misdirection, slight-of-hand and the promise of surprise... and entertainment! With these tools and practice we can work magic. As a model railroader you know that if you can imagine it, you can make it happen! As a model railroader, you already know one answer to the question "What is magic?"... "Magic is fun!".
Magic does seem to happen all by itself, sometimes. But with the right conscious effort it can happen any time we wish it to... right on cue! Which brings us to Wells' First Inalienable Law of Model Railroading: "Model railroading is either fun on purpose, or it can only happen buy accident!" Why leave something so important to chance?!
Kids, don't try this at home! This is NOT intended to be a "how to build The Incredible Dizzying Heights Railroad" website! For one thing the IDH is entirely scratch built, something I wouldn't recommend (I never imagined it would take so long). This is however intended to be a handy reference guide to the potential for FUN in our medium. Seriously! In order to accomplish this I hope to tell you the "story behind the scenes" of The Incredible Dizzying Heights Railroad, and I do hope to teach you "how to" build the magic of fun into your own railroad!
"Amaze your friends, and fool your enemies!" And how do I inspire and convince my contemporaries that SOUND is one of the most important aspects of any railroad, and worthy of ANY of your precious time and money!? Sound is a magical medium! I've been working sonic magic for years and in this day and age, its easier and cheaper than ever! Yes, the visual aspect is important, but what about the importance of imaginative sound as well? When it comes to noises, hearing is believing. So...
Enter stage left; the concept for The Incredible Dizzying Heights Railroad. Since it would be impractical to bring Mohammed (every model railroader) to the mountains (of sound FX potential I could share), I decided to create a "portable pike" that could travel to conventions and shows,... taking the mountains to Mohammed, so to speak! Then everyone could actually experience all the magic of audio by HEARING it for themselves! And as long as I was conceptualizing an entire layout, why not incorporate all my favorite sight gags, illusions, animation techniques, special FX and fun little magic tricks that I've collected or invented over the years. It will be great fun, the ultimate show & tell...and I'll be sharing the practical techniques of fun by design with my fellow modelers in the truest traditions of The Hobby!
That was back in 1982...
Quite honestly, I've been too busy building The Incredible Dizzying Heights Railroad to tour it! In hindsight, I suppose I should have just built an HO module or two to demonstrate various effects, but alas it's too late for me! When finished, I still plan to take the "Incredible Magic Show" on the road from time to time and share it "in person" with as many of you as possible, but practicality dictates a more direct approach if I am to ever truly share and impart the collection of magic tricks hidden therein. So it is with a heavy heart that I must now break the magician's first and most important rule: NEVER REVEAL THE SECRET!!!