Magicians can kiss my Enchanted Ring

Okay… before I rant I will say that there are some fantastic illusionists who use their own physical skills to do their illusions. Sleight of hand, close up illusions – all very good… but as for magic, that’s the stuff of King Arthur and Merlin, or Dungeons and Dragons.

I appreciate the skills of these illusionists almost to the same extent that I detest so called magicians and illusionists that rely on getting an audience to lie, tricks of the camera and other such bull to make their “tricks” work.

It stems back to me as a young lad being privileged enough to see Paul Daniels make an elephant “disappear” with his “magic”…. what a bunch of tosh.

The “trick” involved a big square tent with a pointy roof. The tent sides all drop down outwards so they lay flat on the ground. The roof of the tent is pulled off by a rope going up to a crane jib. In the top of the tent is a trapeze.

The idea is that the sides are down but the roof is on so the trapeze can’t be seen. Hidden in the roof is Debbie McGee. An elephant is walked into the tent. The tent sides are hoisted up, Paul says some “magic” words and then the tent sides drop and the roof cover is rapidly whipped off to reveal no elephant in the tent and just Debbie McGee sat on a trapeze.

To add credibility to the “magic” there are four Gurkha soldiers guarding the four corners of the tent. Their job is too act all shocked when the elephant vanishes… and have been told to lie, as they have to say the elephant hasn’t left the tent by any other means. This is where Daniels starts to get supposed audience participants to lie to the viewing public to help the so called illusion. I’m sorry, but if it takes making people lie to make the “magic” work, then it is nothing but a con at best. Not an illusion, not magic… a pure con.

What made me feel worse was even as a young kid I knew how honourable & honest the Gurkha soldiers are – I knew these brave soldiers would do anything for the Queen & Country…. and here they were being told by the dwarf like Daniels to lie for entertainment…

To add even more credibility to the farce they even had Johnny Morris there, walking around in the tent and jumping up and down proclaiming how the ground under the tent was absolutely solid. For all Johnny knew it was…

From my vantage point I watched the elephant getting walked into the tent. As the sides went up the rear tent panel opened like a pair of curtains (hidden from view, and ignored by the Gurkhas) and the elephant was lead out onto a platform. This was a lift platform that then dropped the elephant into a big old hole in the ground. As the platform retreated into the hole, the curtains were shut again. All of this happened very quickly as Daniels spun his cheesy magic to the camera…. and then! BANG… the tent sides drop, the roof is lifted and you are left with Debbie on the trapeze and no elephant – as the elephant is now hidden in a hole underneathe the back tent panel that has been dropped over the hole. See… I told you for all Johnny knew the ground directly under the tent was solid.

What the home audience see is the disappearance of an elephant, a confused Johnny Morris, four Gurkha chaps who have been told to lie, and several scattered spectators who also “didn’t see anything dodgy happen”. Home audiences are wowed and one small boy who saw it all for his own eyes is thoroughly disillusioned (see what I did there?).

Derren Brown is another to get people to lie for his act. The Lottery number trick was all done with split screen monitors (a bit like in movies where a thieves loop a video clip of a corridor to trick the guards). I won’t go into that here – but instead I’ll hand over to this YouTube clip (by Mutated Monty) that explains it. If one guy with a camera at home can do this, then Derren Brown would have no problem. Goes to show what a bunch of arse it all is. Well Done Mutated Monty.

So, unless you can pull a clever trick off WITHOUT getting people to lie to cover you, or relying on camera or computer trickery, then you don’t deserve to be called an illusionist – AT ALL. You are nothing more than a visual effects performer or con man.

Copperfield, Blaine, Daniels, Brown and all – you can all kiss my enchanted ring with your huge vanishing buildings and psychic mumbo jumbo – it’s all pathetic tat.

Now, street performers who can, by pure use of hand skills, make things happen before my eyes, then you people are the true illusionists. Lets not forget though – it’s all illusion and not magic…. magic is all Lord of the Rings.

What brought all of this up you may ask…. Simple… I just found out our works Christmas party has table “magicians”…. I am really hoping they are from the street performer side of the illusionist track, than the pathetic fakers side…

About LB View all posts by LB

5 responses to “Magicians can kiss my Enchanted Ring

  • Liam A. Black

    Ouch ! Being an illusion builder and having seen Paul performing a half dozen times, He does not use these type of effects any more, He only ever did once or twice when the BBC demanded it! Now Saying hat Mr Daniels is a con man is justified , he is a show biz legend and a true gent. With you publishing this I have 3 major concerns A: The effect (as with Derren’s) was not yours to reveal , you do not own it so have no rights to reveal it ,and can get in major trouble for doing so , we at the magic circle do not approve of this what so ever. B: Mr Daniels , Copperfield & Blaine do not use any cinematic technology to create the effects seen on TV and live on stage or in the street ,and you have clearly said that they do so ???? C: Being that the post was written in a derogatory tone towards Mr Daniels and the BBC.
    I am concerned that this was written by someone who has presumed that all larger effects such as the vanishing of elephants ,vehicles and buildings all are just clever bits of camera trickery without realising that we magicians have dozens of methods for doing so in LIVE 360′ performances. With all due respect this post not only shows a slack of knowledge on the art ,but also a sheer disrespect for our art. I know how you feel seeing as I hate camera tricks and do not advise any performers to use them. Please if it is possible for you to do so remove the article from this site ,do yourself a favour and our art a favour. Thank You

  • LB


    I paid credit to those who carry out PROPER ILLUSIONS and said how I do not like those who use camera trickery and people to lie or them.

    You’re upset by someone discussing a 30 year old TV trick that the performer wouldn’t do again anyway, because he doesn’t like this type of thing? Wow…

    If being a member of the magic circle and the magicians code is so sacred, then accepting to pull such staged fakery instead of proper skilled illusions would surely be shunned, rather than accepting to do it. The fact that he did it only shows then, that the circle supports it.

    The fact he apparently shuns cheap tricks like this now, and won’t do them, wont upset anyone that this old, old TV trickery has been revealed.

    If you really need to moan about such trivia, then why not contact ALL OF THESE PEOPLE:

    They ALL reveal the trick of the vanishing elephant. They reveal LOTS of tricks… I’ve only explained 1…

    Some of them may even bow down to your threatening sabre shaking.

    Hey, and if you have time, why not write to Penn & Teller or the masked magician and have a gripe at them first, with their highly publicised and very lucrative shows and TV programmes showing how illusions are carried out.

  • Steve Williamson (@SteveW68)

    “Mr Daniels , Copperfield & Blaine do not use any cinematic technology to create the effects seen on TV and live on stage”


    As LB has already said – go and bump your gums at the likes of The Masked Magician – who regularly debunks Copperfield’s “larger” tricks and guess what – camera trickery is usually the effect used.

  • LB

    You know those self righteous know it all, but factless religionauts, Steve?…

  • Tony McHugh

    Loved your article LB. I have to say it does make me laugh when I see someone get upset when the only possible explanation for how a trick could have been done is revealed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: