As Mr. Widdle was conceiving of the Suitcase of Wonders, he was intrigued by flea circuses, having seen one performed by the legendary magician, Ricky Jay, in his New York show, On The Stem. From Variety:
"The high point of the show’s digressions into old showbiz lore is Jay’s re-creation of a flea circus. In this deliriously silly diversion, Jay treats us to a flea Samson, “annihilating the temple of the Philistines”; a flea Ophelia, skydiving to her doom in a teacup; and a flea chariot race. "
Jay's performance was quite a feat owing to the fact that he was playing a large theater. Conscious of that challenge, no doubt, his flea circus also had a large angled mirror positioned above all the "action."
As delighted and inspired Mr. Widdle was of suitcase flea circuses, he felt they were too limiting of his creative desires. Despite the wide variety of flea circus styles that exist they all essentially do the same thing, the same tricks. It's the same act every time. Mr. Widdle liked the idea of performing a miniature show in a suitcase theater, but he didn't want the act(s) set in stone. Additionally, he felt awkward standing to the side or in front of the suitcase, as is done during flea circus performances. He wanted to control the action from behind. Nevertheless, the flea circuses were an important influence on Mr. Widdle's development of the Suitcase of Wonders.