Today’s Inside Magic News for September 11th

Easy Question Trips Jeopardy Star.  Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah, could have been a gazillion-aire if only he had been a magician.  After winning over $1.3 million dollars (bucks), and running a 41-show streak, Mr. Jennings lost by failing to answer this simple-as-pi Final Jeopardy question:

 

“In the’20s, the alleged spirit powers of Margery caused a rift between these two men: a magician and a writer.”

 

The show has yet to air but I am sure magicians all across America shout at the television:

 

?This is easy!  Who are Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?!?

 

Mr. Jennings blew it.  He mistakenly guessed ?Houdini and Fitzgerald.?  Of course, I am sure I wouldn?t have answered a question from the first show: ?what is the Japanese-based nickname for the alloy created from metalplasmatic fromage??

 

I forget what the answer was. 

 

It is not often that magicians can gloat about their incredible intelligence, so drink it up.


Easy Question Trips Jeopardy Star.  Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah, could have been a gazillion-aire if only he had been a magician.  After winning over $1.3 million dollars (bucks), and running a 41-show streak, Mr. Jennings lost by failing to answer this simple-as-pi Final Jeopardy question:

 

“In the’20s, the alleged spirit powers of Margery caused a rift between these two men: a magician and a writer.”

 

The show has yet to air but I am sure magicians all across America shout at the television:

 

?This is easy!  Who are Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?!?

 

Mr. Jennings blew it.  He mistakenly guessed ?Houdini and Fitzgerald.?  Of course, I am sure I wouldn?t have answered a question from the first show: ?what is the Japanese-based nickname for the alloy created from metalplasmatic fromage??

 

I forget what the answer was. 

 

It is not often that magicians can gloat about their incredible intelligence, so drink it up.

Nevada Lawmakers Rally to Support Roy Versus Feds.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has demanded Siegfried & Roy turn over a videotape of the horrible tiger attack of October 3, 2003 that nearly took Roy?s life. 

The Agriculture Department has subpoenaed Siegfried and Roy’s producers for footage of the Oct. 3 performance at The Mirage hotel-casino. Department officials are looking into whether Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher violated the Animal Welfare Act while using their signature big white cats. State Senator Harry Reid took exception to that. “I defy anyone to say Siegfried and Roy didn’t treat those animals better than most people treat their children,” he said.

Feld Entertainment Inc. of Vienna, Va., owners of the Ringling Brothers Circus, produced Siegfried & Roy?s incredible show. The company refuses to provide a copy of the videotape but not to block the investigation.  It wants protect the privacy of Roy and to protect against the certain exploitation of the film by those who would likely spread the macabre images on the Internet. 

Feld refuses to release the video, arguing families and children shouldn’t see images of the gruesome accident that left Roy partially paralyzed.

The company has offered to show the footage to the Agriculture Department. But the Department says that’s not good enough; and threatened to follow other “legal avenues” to get the tape.  There was word last week that Siegfried & Roy may be willing to allow the Department of Agriculture to sanction the act rather than turn over the horrific tape. 

 

This is a frustrating turn of events given the time that has passed since the attack.  The USDA examined the animals, their habitats and their routine twice a month since the show started at the Mirage.  There were no prior citations of mistreatment and nothing to suggest abuse or improper treatment. 

 

Read more about the struggle here.

 

A cynic has argued that Feld wants to withhold the tape because it would hurt the commercial value of Siegfried & Roy.  With all due respect to this person ? who would see some evil motive in Mother Theresa?s work with the poor (?she was just trying to campaign for ?Saint?) ? there isn?t a commercial value to protect.  Siegfried & Roy have said they will not perform their show again. 

 

The Net is a wonderful place to download information from classical texts or see faraway lands.  But it is also a place where you can see Pamela Anderson and her former tattooed and pierced husband cavorting; or the death of men and women caught intentionally or unintentionally on film. 

 

Feld and Siegfried & Roy are right to keep this horrible scene off the Net.  They are also right to think the video would find its way to the Internet no matter the USDA precautions.  If you Google correctly, you can find the name of Kobe Bryant?s accuser.  Remember, three court orders and the statutes of Colorado protected this information.

 

Bazar de Magia Asks Magicians to Help Protect its Property.  Bazar de Magia of Argentina has taken on Rob Stiff of Magic Makers in Nevada. Other magic inventors have attacked Mr. Stiff?s company for allegedly stealing their intellectual property and selling to dealers around the world.  George Robinson, Jr.  ? Collector?s Workshop and Viking Magic owner ? has also worked tirelessly to stop copying of his products and those invented by others.  Walter Blaney has also taken on the often-thankless cause of fighting against counterfeiting. 

 

Inside Magic has supported Mr. Robinson and Mr. Blaney?s efforts against Magic Makers and others who would take another inventor’s ideas.  Two months ago, Penguin Magic offered a new effect called The Obedient Die.  The trick is identical with that Collector?s Workshop is selling.  The original effect, Badlands Bob, costs more than Mr. Stiff?s item. Inside Magic asked Penguin Magic to stop selling The Obedient Die but the company refused, saying that it had superior rights to the product. 

 

Finally, we decided to side with Mr. Robinson and his claims and dropped Penguin Magic as an advertiser.  This was a costly decision but it seemed right at the time and still feels right as the news from Bazar de Magia reaches us. 

 

Next week, look for our full cover-story on Magic Makers and the products they offer.  Check out Bazar de Magia’s page of evidence here.

 

 

Lance Burton and Rita Rudner Set to Throw Down.  My strange uncle once said, “you show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.  You show me a sore loser, and I’ll show you a loser with sores.”  Jebbie was more than an uncle to me, he was like my mom’s brother.  He was also a professional gambler Cicero, Illinois.  He was proud to say that he never took a bet from Pete Rose that 1) was on baseball; 2) was against the Reds without the points (or in a parlay of four or fewer teams); and 3)  picked the Reds on the money line when, even with the points, they were not favored to win.  As he also noted, “every clown has a silver lining.” 

 

I have digressed like a professional digresser or well-trained semi-professional digresser. 

 

Lance Burton is a past champion of one of the more prestigious prizes on the strip: Sal’s Celebrity Selectors and the battle for the Golden Nerf, the traveling trophy for the competitor with the best football prediction record during the regular season.  Mr. Burton ? who prides himself on not being a mentalist ? has been The Man in this competition. 

 

As my Uncle Jebbie would say, “This guy is more regular than me and I’m pretty regular.”  If you have a spare couple of grand, follow Mr. Burton’s picks throughout the year.  He’s not playing for money ? just a gold painted Nerf thing ? but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

 

But caveat your emptor for a second before you take out one of those interest-only loans on the remaining $5,000.00 in equity on your homestead and dump it for The Man.  Just up the strip from the Monte Carlo is the New York, New York Casino.  It is to Rita Rudner what the Monte Carlo is to Mr. Burton.  She performs nightly and is constantly in the running for Best Entertainer.  Last year, she spread her wings and made a spot for a gold spray-painted Nerf thing.  She robbed The Man with what most macho guys term “a lucky string of 16 bets.” 

 

So the pros are set and ready to go.  They expect no trouble from the soon to be “also-rans” like Penn & Teller, Clint Holmes and those guys who hand you the business cards of naked women when you’re walking with your family down the street to get to the M&M Museum before it closes. 

 

We’ll keep you updated. 

 

 

Corrections and Errors

 

In the September 9th edition of Inside Magic, we used information from the Associated Press ? a usually reliable source ? to wish David Copperfield a happy birthday.  Mr. Yasuo Nakamura, master of an incredibly website filled with magic news and interesting analysis, kindly pointed out our error.  Mr. Copperfield was born on September 16, 1956.  Thank you Nakamura-san. 

 

Mr. Nakamura-san?s site is mainly in Japanese but he has links to articles and information sites helpful to anyone.  Check out a site that is what Inside Magic only hopes to one day resemble by clicking here.    

 

In the June 3rd edition of Inside Magic, we reported that Tony Spain, despicable magician, had signed a contract with the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino to appear in the Le Femme Theater.  We are happy to report that while technically correct, Mr. Spain?s confusedly written press release was incomplete. 

 

He will not be performing in the theater.  (Unless by performing, one means hitting on cocktail waitresses, hooting and hollering at the performers in their various stages of undress, and asking fellow spectators to ?pull my finger?). 

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