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…