Magician Lee Winters Featured

Inside Magic Image of Lee WintersYoung magician Lee Winters sounds like our kind of guy.  He loves magic, is industrious and gives back to his community.  It is entirely fitting that the Danbury News Times would dedicate considerable space to their Q&A with the Connecticut performer.

His professional name is MagicLee and his weapon of choice is a deck of cards.

Mr. Winters fell in love with our wonderful Art about seven years ago and credits the late Bill Andrews and the Stamford Society of Young Magicians with encouraging and mentoring is rapid development.

He practices every day, films his own installments for YouTube and shares our love for Shaun Farquhar’s amazing effect Shape of My Heart.

“Every time I see it, it almost brings me to tears, it’s that amazing.”

Of course there are those in the magic community who will attack this young prodigy for revealing one of the true classics, The Vanishing Card on one of his YouTube videos.  Yes, the secret has been kept from the public since Robert Houdin and known to very few – until now – but we cannot fault him for this blatant breach of magic’s sacred code.

In the course of the videos (see them here and here), he gives precise details in the angle of deflection for the card to be vanished (47 to 48 degrees), the definition of momentum (as well as the correct engineering formula for determining momentum from known velocity measurements) and even the special Natural Linguistic Programming intonation and word choice to present the effect for maximum impact.

We can hear the exposure is good crowd crowing:

“Yeah, but anyone could figure out the trick.  It is wrong to keep secrets from the public.  No one goes on YouTube anymore.  There’s always a trick to it because there is no such thing as magic.  Why shouldn’t all magic be exposed before the trick is done and then the audience would better appreciate the actual performance rather than be surprised and shocked with no real chance to recreate the events causing the surprise?”

All of these are valid points and any one of which justifies the exposure of all magic tricks by anyone.  As Robert Houdin once wrote, “A Magician is merely and actor who pretends to be a magician but who should really just expose his tricks and then be an actor who pretends to be someone who does really neat things with props and his hands for which he should be admired by royalty.”

It is a disservice to history that so many forget the context of Mr. Houdin’s famous quote.  We read somewhere that Robert Houdin would actually hand out full blueprints of each of his mechanical tricks well in advance of his shows and hold petite lecons (“li’l lessons”) on practical engineering and the psychology of deception.

In our conversations with magic historians, we have noted their silence on this practice.  Perhaps Houdini was correct in his Unmasking of Robert Houdin when he questioned the French magician’s rightful place in our Art’s pantheon.

We found it incredible that Mr. Winters actually exposes this classic effect twice – once in October of 2012 and later in a more lengthy video from February 2013.  We note that the October 2012 tape does not expose the important gimmicks required for the vanish effect – the Chinese Board, a red zippered wheeled suitcase with extra side pocket and the vital framed photograph of the magician himself.

We believe it was Jim Steinmeyer’s Hiding the Elephant that first mentions the use of the red zippered wheeled suitcase in connection with the classic vanishing card trick.  He suggests – but for our money, did not conclusively prove – that Guy Jarrett tipped the importance of the suitcase in Kellar’s Pasteboards a’ Presto.  We have read Mr. Jarrett’s classic Jarrett Magic twice – once aloud in a special class we attend to fulfill certain requirements set by a somewhat arbitrary court decision – and believe Mr. Steinmeyer is over-reaching in his interpretation of Jarrett’s off-handed comment:

[Harry Kellar] needs to take his vanishing card, pack it in that little red case of his and wheel it out of town . . . .

There is nothing to suggest Kellar or Jarrett intended to expose the classic card vanish by tying the “little red case” to the effect.  One could legitimately read Jarrett’s angry comment as a dismissive attack on his former employer’s choice of travel luggage without seeing any connection between the suitcase and the vanish of the card.

We note, of course, Jarrett does not mention either the Chinese Board or the framed photograph in his putative exposure of the trick.  We are convinced that if his comments could be read as an exposure, it was not the exposure of the trick Mr. Winters performs and teaches on two separate videos.

Finally, recall that Kellar (and for that matter, Jarrett in his own performances) performed the trick silently or with music.  Neither performer used the subtle but effective NLP technique specifically described by Mr. Winters on his second video.  Mr. Winters provides the precise intonation and pronunciation of the countdown to vanishing the card.  He explains how the word “One” must be said in a certain tone and the word “Two” must be in a similarly precise but opposite tonal structure.

Tony Spain, the legend of magic in his own sad little world, has noted that “the countdown to vanish is the key contribution to magic made by magicians in this the 20th Century.”  Of course he said this after the turn of the millennium and he is widely-regarded as “not bright” or “slow” or “dense.”  Nonetheless, we agree that the countdown to vanish exposed by Mr. Winters is a significant exposure – but we heartily endorse the young man’s initiative and attention to detail in doing so.

Or, it could be that the videos are pretend exposures of magic tricks.  In which case, forget the last 1,200 words and the hours of research we performed in the hallowed stacks of books here at the Mystic Hollow Magic Library and Arcade.

Nonetheless, Mr. Winters seems like a good guy with a bright future.  We laughed aloud at his videos and that’s rare for us.  He performs through the SYM for local charities and once or twice a month for residents at the Meadow Ridge Retirement Community in his hometown of Redding, Connecticut.

Check out the article for more information about this young man with natural skills and the right mindset at the Danbury News Times website here.


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