David Copperfield made the tough choice of successor, sort of, as part of the NBC Today Show’s Magic Mondays.
NBC’s publicists claim “hundreds of aspiring magicians sent in videos of themselves performing magic tricks in TODAY’s quest to find the next David Copperfield. Producers teamed up with Copperfield to pick the three best to perform on Monday’s show.”
Ms. Drescher is a magic bartender from Boston and performed “a magic bottle cap trick, swapping Heineken caps with Sam Adams and Bud Light tops right before their eyes.”
Mr. Prace is college student created a stir by producing “a full pack appear from just a single stick.”
Mr. Jackson tore a picture of the show’s hosts and restored same.
Mr. Copperfield chose Ms. Drescher to win the show’s Magic Mondays trophy plus a trip to witness the master magician’s acclaimed Las Vegas show currently at his home in the desert, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.
Mr. Copperfield correctly observed, “[t]o have more women doing magic is a great thing. We’d like to see more of that.”
Congratulations to the finalists and to Ms. Dresher for bringing home the big win.
Mark Panner, the erstwhile Inside Magic stringer, said a NBC producer returned his entry tape with a perfunctory note. He performed Hippity Hop Rabbits in the 43 minute video. He was proud that the “turn-it-around” portion of the trick lasted more than a half hour and featured a student audience from Mystic Hollow Elementary School.
“I think a lot of it is political,” Mr. Panner wrote. “They didn’t want someone on the show who could show up the big star. They knew I could milk their studio audience with the trick like nobody’s business. Copperfield’s tricks are all over in a few minutes – that’s why he has to do so many in his shows. It’s like five minutes and bang, on to the next illusion.”
We do not disagree that Mr. Copperfield performs effects more quickly and of a greater variety than Mr. Panner but do note that some audiences actually prefer more tricks per show rather than less. Mr. Panner disagrees.
“Copperfield does like six illusions in the first 24 minutes of his Vegas show. That averages around four or five minutes an illusion. The audience never really gets a chance to see what’s happening. Boom, Copperfield appears on stage. Boom, girls appear out of nowhere and then vanish. Boom, his motorcycle appears flying over the audience. Boom, a duck eats a scorpion while Orson Welles talks about cards or something with a license plate with graffiti.
“That’s not magic. That’s diverting attention. If he would spend about a half hour showing the duck to the audience; letting them touch it, pet it and then have it eat a scorpion, that would be amazing. They’d feel more connected. If he explained who the hell Orson Welles is supposed to be – I never heard of the guy – then maybe the audience would be impressed by that he can predict what card someone will choose in the future. People are used to people in the past predicting things that will happen in the future. Everyone has heard of Edgar Casey and Nostradamus and the guy that predicted the Hindenburg exploding when it hit the Eiffel Tower. That’s not news. Get someone people know from the past or get someone we know from the present to predict things. Have John Kennedy or Fran from Kukla, Fran & Ollie predict what card I’ll pick and I’ll be a fan. Get Eminem to predict what card I’ll pick and I will give you a standing ovation.
“Besides, scorpions don’t scare people like they used to before the invention of black lights. Now, you can shine a black light on them and they explode or go away. If I saw it on the Nature Channel, chances are audiences have too. They know that if the duck gets too close to the scorpion, Copperfield will just shine the black light on it and it will explode.”
We asked why he chose Hippity Hop Rabbits for his entry. After all, it is hardly cutting edge.
“Hippity Hop Rabbits, like Linking Rings and Glorpy (a/k/a Hyrum the Haunted Hank) is the true test of a great magician. Most magicians think they can do these tricks and maybe they can, but the great magicians make the routine memorable. Whit Haydn and Dai Vernon performed the Linking Rings with such skill that they made that trick their own. Paw Lawton still sells his DVD “Glorpy of Glory” to magicians around the world because he is the master of it.
“Ever since Robert Houdin invented Hippity Hop Rabbits, magicians have seen it as the ultimate measure of great showmanship. The longer you can keep the kids screaming to ‘turn it around,’ the better you are as a performer. Copperfield doesn’t even have the trick in his act because it wouldn’t fit his style of Bang, Bang, Bang! Illusion after illusion. If he dedicated his usual five minutes to the trick, the crowd wouldn’t even reach the high-level of irritation I generate when I perform for third-graders.”
We note that Mr. Panner’s views do not reflect those of Inside Magic and are likely related in some way to the lead content of paint chips located in his bedroom.
Paw Lawton’s Glorpy to Glory DVDs are still available at his stall at the Mystic Hollow Farmer’s Market. Mention that you read about it here and he will give a ten percent discount off the normal price of $15.00.