Category: Magic on TV

David Blaine: The Next Last Greatest Magician in the World?

Inside Magic Image of Ed Mishell DrawingMagician and endurance maven David Blaine takes to the air this evening in the United States through ABC television to ask Real or Magic?  He is joined in this endeavor by Will Smith, Olivia Wilde, Woody Allen, Stephen Hawking and other celebrities who, we are informed, will react to his tricks.

We like David Blaine and believe he has done much to revitalize our wonderful craft and feel badly that we want him to be different than the way he is.  He is not Doug Henning or David Copperfield or Harry Blackstone Jr. but he is very talented and, in his own way, charismatic and captivating.

Still, we miss Doug Henning performing the Water Torture Tank live on national television.  We miss David Copperfield’s well produced escapes and illusions performed on tape but with the assurance the home audience was seeing the events unfold in real time without camera tricks.  We miss Harry Blackstone Jr. for many, many reasons; not the least of which was his wonderful persona – so serious and light-hearted at the same time and able to convince even the most jaded teenager that he could really perform magic.

But David Blaine is bringing magic to the audience of the times where camera trickery is expected and even celebrated.  Attention spans are short and expectations are high.   Each generation of magic faces a similar challenge.  Jim Steinmeyer’s outstanding book, The Last Greatest Magician in the World tells of Howard Thurston making the transition from vaudeville to the traveling, full-evening show and the ultimate demise of that elaborate show type.  We know of Thurston today because he survived and conquered the new formats and met his audience where they sat.  They were no longer in vaudeville halls watching one of eight shows in a day’s time.  They came to see a full-length show and he had the props and chops to show them what they wanted to see – year after year.

We like David Blaine and wish him the best with his newest take on a classic art.  If there is anyone that can again move magic in a new direction, it is David Blaine.

Magician (and TV Star) Andrew Mayne

We received an email from Inside Magic Favorite Andrew Mayne giving us the scoop on his big secret.

Inside Magic Image of Andrew Mayne's New Series on A&EI’m unbelievably excited to share with you a project that I’ve been working on in secret over the last year. It’s a big one for me.

If you watched the season finale of Duck Dynasty last week you may have seen my face pop up in a promo for a new show.

In case you missed it, this January I’ll be starring in a show on A&E called Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne.

I can’t wait for you to see the show. It’s like…well…it’s very me.

You can check out the first promo for it here: facebook.com/DontTrustAndrewMayne

It would mean a lot to me if you clicked the “Like” button. That’s the best way to keep up to date on the show.

I can’t tell you too much right now other than it’s a show and it involves me and a lot of mischief. Check in with that page for more details.

While I’ve been working on that show, I’ve still been writing and have some news coming forward soon about new projects.

David Blaine Returns to TV for Sweeps Magic

Inside Magic Image of David BlaineABC Television is putting their sweeps hope on magician David Blaine this fall.  Mr.  Blaine’s special “David Blaine: Real or Magic,” is slated for Tuesday, November 19 at 9:30 p.m., Eastern.

As we have come to expect, he will have several A-List celebrities on-hand to be amazed and serve as a defacto committee for viewers at home.

Among the stars will be Jamie Foxx, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Ricky Gervais, Katy Perry, Woody Allen, Robert DeNiro, Kanye West, Harrison Ford, Will Smith and Olivia Wilde.

He will even check in with Stephen Hawking whilst in the UK.

It seems fitting to review some of the stunts from past episodes:

1.   He’s been buried alive in New York City for a week

2.  Encased inside a six-ton block of ice for three days and nights,

3.  Perched atop a 100-foot-tall pillar in Bryant Park for 36 hours without a safety net

4.  Ate nothing but nothing and drank only water whilst inside a transparent box in London for 44 days,

5.  Spent one week in a sphere-shaped pool at Lincoln Center and almost broke the world record for holding his breath.  He ultimately broke the record on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” by not breathing for 17 minutes and 4 seconds.

6.  Hung upside down for five days in New York’s Central Park.

7.   Stood in the middle of a million volts of electricity for 73 consecutive hours.

We cannot wait to see what he has planned next — especially if it is magic-related.

Blindfold + Heavy Winds = No Sky Walk for Criss Angel

criss-angel-believeWe don’t blame Criss Angel for postponing his blindfold walk on two beams more than six-stories up.

Las Vegas winds are as unpredictable as Las Vegas wins.  It is hard enough to walk along beams sixty feet above the pavement with a blindfold — but when you add “strong winds” to the mix, you are making it really risky.

We checked the OSHA standards and it appears it would be a violation for any employee (contract or full-time) to walk along a beam twenty meters over any surface (save marshmallows (see OSHA Reg. 223-0(a) re “Spongy Food Stuff Surfaces and Worker Safety”) and even then the regs require the marshmallows to be “fresh” and at least six feet in depth).

via Weather takes the wind out of Criss Angel stunt – CBS 12 Action News.

Magic on Pawn Stars

Inside Magic Image of the Late Sydney Radner Showing Houdini Cuffs to Elizabeth Dobrska

Murry Sawchuck is more than a great magician and star of the Las Vegas tribe of performers.  He is a television legend — at least to our well-hacked TiVo.

We enjoy watching television — it’s like our special friend.  We watch infomercials, C-SPAN and the Weather Channel exclusively.  If it doesn’t involve getting blown down in a torrential rain, voted down in an unanticipated filibuster or proclaimed to be the best of its kind and available for three easy payments, chances are we have not seen it.

The exception to this rule is anything related to magic.

If the content has anything to do with magic, magicians, illusion, illusionists, escapes, escape artists or Japanese gravure idol Nozomi Sasaki, our specially modified TiVo captures it for us.  Yes, hacking a TiVo is an inexact science and we have wasted gigabytes of space on shows using our key words but in a non-magic way.  (We have a seven hour debate from the Senate on whether Magic Markers should constitute an inhalant for the purpose of federal anti-huffing law.  It was ultimately tabled and that issue remains in limbo.)

But when it catches a show, we are giddy with delight.  Our eyes widen as we see the special on-screen message we hacked, “Oh Mr. Magic, I have something for you to see.”

Fortunately, we never have company and live alone in what is practically a double-wide trailer here on the outskirts of Mystic Hollow, Michigan, so there is little chance we will ever be embarrassed by the message coming on screen and being misinterpreted.  It is our little secret.

(By the way, the International Standards Organization defines a “double-wide” trailer home as being one which 20 feet across and at least 90 feet long.   We got the Magico Rancho at a scratch and dent FEMA auction in between hurricanes for almost nothing.  It was only when we measured to install some lightly used mauve carpeting that we learned it fell short of the width requirement by 2-1/2 feet.

The good news, we had enough extra carpeting for our luxury automobile, “The Mysterny Machine.”  The bad news, we did not qualify for the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of double-wide owners against the manufacturers for some defect or smell or something.

Speaking of lawsuits, we had to change the name of our ride to “The Mysterny Machine” because we were threatened by the production company of a certain cartoon dog, his beatnik owner and their ghost-chasing friends.  We won’t tell you the name of the show but it rhymes with Doobie Scoo.)

But of course we digress.  Of course, we digress from a story about hacking a TiVo so it may have been a welcome change of topic.

The History Channel has a great show called “Pawn Stars” and our TiVo picked up a couple of episodes.  Several episodes included Las Vegas Magician Murray Sawchuk, the shop’s Magic Historian.  Houdini’s Handcuffs. [Internet]. 2013. The History Channel website. Available from: http://www.history.com/shows/pawn-stars/episodes/season-2 [Accessed 12 Mar 2013].

This weekend, we were treated to a special moment of wonder when a customer / seller brought in handcuffs and leg shackles he alleged came from Harry Houdini. Continue reading “Magic on Pawn Stars”

Iron Meets Copperfield: Magic & Food

Inside Magic Image of Our Own Iron ChefIron meets Copper.  Participants in the Food Network’s Iron Chef will need to get past David Copperfield for a shot at being the next Iron Chef.

The new season premiers on Sunday at 9pm from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Our psychic skills (and the network’s press release) tells us the four remaining competitors will encounter Magician David Copperfield and face his “secret ingredient” challenge.

From the press release: “Copperfield magically produces an ingredient that the chefs must use as they tackle one of the Chairmans (sic) classic challenges from the past – the reinvention of the Las Vegas buffet. Copperfield conjures up the ‘secret’ ingredient that becomes the theme for a buffet that must transcend all expectations of the traditional Las Vegas chow fest.”

We are not able to discern the identity of the ‘secret ingredient’ via our advanced sixth sense or reading of the poorly proofread press release.

Maybe the secret ingredient is salt.  We love salt and it serves as our secret ingredient in all meals.  There are those who believe salt can lead to high blood pressure and kidney problems.  We counter that an absence of salt is directly related to disgustingly bland food.  If you are going to eat flavorless food, why eat at all.  Surely starvation is worse than high blood pressure?

We also love MSG.  In fact, our heart skips a beat every time we see that abbreviation — even if it is just short for “message.”  If God had not created MSG, man would have been forced to invent it.  We love the sweaty way we feel almost immediately after taking our first dose in soups or sauces.  We relish the way our heart beats its funny, irregular rythmn and our skin becomes hot to the touch.  That’s magic in our book.

Update:  a Food Network representative has categorically denied Mr. Copperfield’s “secret ingredient” is either salt or MSG.  She would not comment further.

Read More at TV Broadway World here: Food Network Announces December 2012 Highlights.

Copperfield Meets Wizard Gals

David Copperfield Guest Stars with Selena GomezMagician of the Century David Copperfield is slated to join the fun on the Emmy Award-winning comedy series Wizards of Waverly Place.

We’ll be watching.  Of course, we would be watching anyway because WizWavelley (what the cool kids call the show) is one of our favorite Disney Channel series – tied with  Phineas & Ferb  and Jessie starring our favorite from Zack and Cody’s spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck, Debby Ryan.

Yes, we are just outside the Disney Channel demographics by about forty or sixty or ninety years, but we like good writing and those three shows have plenty of well-written stuff for us to steal.  As many Inside Magic readers know, we publish a daily newsletter for stand-up comics and magicians. 

On rare occasions – like daily – we run out of funny things to say.  Rather than refund our subscribers’ yearly fee, we steal liberally from sources our readers are unlikely to know.  It works like this. 

 

Original Scene:

Series: Phineas & Ferb:

Episode: Boyfriend from 27,000 BC

First Aired: June 7, 2008

Phineas: They say if you love something, let it go.

Ferb: Especially if it’s a caveman.

Phineas: Yeah. Especially if it’s a caveman.

Our Tweeking:

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that reminds me, “If you love something, let it go.”  That is so true.  I was telling that very same thing to my girl the other night – she’s a cavewoman.  She nodded and blurted sweet nothings in my ear, “let me go or I eat you!” 

Result: Comedy Gold, Baby!

Magician extraordinaire David Copperfield will guest star as himself in the episode titled Harperella.

Continue reading “Copperfield Meets Wizard Gals”

Magic Lives: Penn & Teller, Dynamo, Daniels and Farquhar

Inside Magic Image of Attractive Female Showing Appreciation for Great MagicThe Guardian newspaper of London recently ran a piece on the popularity of magic, magicians and the traditional magic show.  In asking whether magic was again becoming “fashionable,” the anonymous writer referenced “the old journalistic adage, “Two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend.”

Penn and Teller, who sprang to fame in the 1980s by appearing to reveal the secrets behind tricks, thereby breaking the magical code of omerta, are the old guard in this pairing. Fool Us is, at heart, no different from the Paul Daniels magic shows of decades past, merely spiced with the addition of some X Factor dynamics.”

Two very different styles of magic and magician are displayed in Dynamo: Magician Impossible and Penn & Teller’s Fool Us but they both demonstrate magic’s vitality as entertainment.

They may have been the “Bad Boys of Magic” but Fool Us is not a challenge to the proud history of an art form that continues to entertain because and in spite of remarkable developments in science.  “Penn & Teller are historians of magic and their respect for those who are operating within such traditions is palpable, even when they are not fooled by the acts.”

Continue reading “Magic Lives: Penn & Teller, Dynamo, Daniels and Farquhar”

David Blaine is Going Down

Describing David Blaine as “the loony attention grabber,” Mitch Marconi of the Post Chronicle reports the daredevil’s newest stunt will have him under water for a week.

Image of David Blaine on Inside Magic“If you can believe this one, Blaine is planning to live underwater for a week in a human-sized aquarium outside of New York’s Lincoln Center.
“The loony attention grabber has in the past spent 61 hours in ice and 44 days fasting in a glass box suspended over London’s River Thames.
“This latest escapade will end after seven days and seven nights of underwater pananoramas with Blaine attempting to break the record for holding one’s breath underwater.
“To prepare for his newest stunt, Blaine reportedly trained with U.S. Navy Seals.”

ABC will televise the finale on May 8th.
Continue reading “David Blaine is Going Down”