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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » The greatest illusionist of all time... (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Rodney Massey
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And believe me, this is extremely difficult if not impossible, but if someone held a gun to my head I might have to say... DANTE!
Kendrix
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David Copperfield AKA David Seth Kotkin is much maligned, but is clearly the greatest illusionist of all times.
Rodney Massey
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You honestly believe he's better than Alexander Hermann?
Victor Brisbin
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This is so subjective, especially since most of the performances of the historical greats are described in print, but of course not available for viewing by modern audiences. One of the best illusionists I had the chance to see and meet was Lee Grabel, when he revived his show and toured circa 1977. Kramien had a great presence and big show. Dennis Loomis also toured for a few seasons, and had a great stage presence, including his presentation of the levitation. Andre Kole performs unique, amazing illusions, but has a very low-key personality on stage. These are a few of the great illusionists I have personally seen. I have also seen the more elaborate productions of performers like Copperfield, etc., but honestly, in terms of showmanship and personality, some of the other people I mentioned topped David's posing and over-choreographed shows.

As far as the greatest of all time - Dante gets mixed reviews, but he was unquestionably great in his prime. From all accounts, David Bamberg, as Fu Manchu, had one of the all-time great illusion shows. Smile
"It is better to practice a little than talk a lot." - Muso Kokushi
Payne
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This is of course only talking about english speaking or western illusionists. I am sure that there are many wonderful non European or non English speaking performers out there who we rarely if ever see.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Saydean
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Joseph Gabriel and Carl Ballantine.
Sariel
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I have always heard Houdini was the biggest magician of all times, isn't that true? Smile
but of course I do not know very well the history of magic...
Kendrix
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I don't know how you want to measure the greatest. If you consider length of time he has toured, numbers of people performed for, revenues generated, numbers of illusions, David Copperfield is clearly number one.
Lee Grabel was a very good illusionist, but I personally saw his show when I was in the Cub scouts and it seemed to drag. I have never met anyone else who has actually seen his show. I ,also, am surprised no one has mentioned the Blackstones senior and junior. Oh. how quickly people forget.
Whit Haydn
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We are also leaving out some of the most creative illusionists ever, Hans Moretti and the Pendragons. Surely the Pendragons have done more to change the look and presentation of illusions than anyone. Siegfried and Roy have to be considered at least for size of show and longevity.
Rodney Massey
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Great stuff guys! Ive seen Hans Morretti and he was very entertaing. Carl Ballantine's performances were wonderful. The Pendragons are incredible. Doug Henning is one of my all-favourites. And right now I believe the best illusion show on earth must be Sigfried and Roy.

and of course we can't possibly forget the greats: Maskelyne, Hermann, Kellar, Thurston, etc., but if there is one I really would like to go back in time to see perform, I wish I could have seen David Devant.
Kendrix
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Siegfried and Roy have a great show, but, it is more a Las Vegas Production, then White Tigers and then Magic. Sigfred flies through the magic effect as if it is almost secondary. I know Copperfield draws some illusions out too long, ie Graffiti Wall.
pyromagician
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If it wasn't for Copperfield, there probably wouldn't be near as many magicians as there are now.
I am one of them.
He is the one who first inspired me 11 years ago.

I think Copperfield is THE BEST illusionist of all time.
Gary
P.S. this is what part of the alphabet would look like if "Q" and "R" were eleminated
sebbyg
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There probably isn't a magician alive today who can say that he/she hasn't been inspired at some point by David Copperfield.
Chris A.
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I was more inspired by Harry Blackstone Jr's full stage show than I was ever by DC.

DC puts on an average to above average show IMHO.

Lance Burton puts on a consistently above average show. (helped by the fact he has his very own permanent venue) He seems a lot less "Synthetic" than DC and when he does part of his award winning FISM act, it's thing of beauty.

Blackstone's show simply superlative all three times I saw him. He was a true showman, never having to resort to using corny movie music theme songs or excessive posing to engage the emotions of his audience. He was able to enchant the audiences with even smaller pieces like the "floating lightbulb" "Dancing Hank" and "Vanishing birdcage". His pickpocket segment of his show always seemed to bring more response from the audience than any large illusion I've seen DC or Burton perform. Smile
AKA Chris A.
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aby9plp
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It's either David Coppefield or Harry Houdini. Personnaly, I never saw a show of Houdini, but I saw a lot of David Copperfield and I didn't see anyone perform greater illusions that him!
-aka-
Phoenix
kingsnqueens
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Hi,

Most of you know I don't post a whole lot, and I'm sure many of won't agree with what I'm about to say, but here it is anyway.

I've been honored to have seen quite a few illusionists, even Blackstone Sr., and I've come to the truth that the greatest illusionist should be yourself.

Now bear with me. I know you think that if I could afford those million dollar tricks like David, or Lance, and Jeff, I too could be one of the greats, if not The Greatest Illusionist in the World.

There's more to it than that. When you stop tricking, or fool'n people, and start training to entertain people you begin the apprenticeship of a Master Illusionist.

Example: if you can't wow them with your (remember: your) Cup & Ball routine, it's doubtful that you'll be able to do it with a million dollar box.

Have you ever noticed that Doug Hennings Sub Box is way different then the Pendragon's Sub Box?

The differance being that they each made it their own. That's called theatre.

Want to become the greatest, take classes in drama at the local college. Join the nearest community theatre group. Learn to run the lights, sweep the floor, sell tickets, just be involed. Ask questions, and dine on the answers.

I hear magicians talk about way back when, during the Golden Years of Magic. Well I'm here to tell you the Golden Years of Magic are right now.

Today you can have the greatest Magicians in the World come into your living room to teach you the art. People like Max Howard, McBride, Ammar just to name a few, and don't forget the books for the conjurer.

There's clubs, IBM, SAM, and others in most large cities in the USA, and around the world.

The greatest thing about being a magician are the wonderful friends you make along the way.

When you decide that you are going to become the greatest illusionist, your act, your personality, and your audiences will change to reflect that.

After all doesn't Magic = Change?

I have kids of all ages tell me that I'm the greatest magician they've ever seen, and I will work hard to keep it that way!

Now, who do you think is the Greatest Illusionist in the World?

All the Best! Manyfingers Hostetler ... kingsnqueens
the levitator
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Personally, I think Dedi was probably the greatest illusionist of all time. I mean, to convincingly cut the head off a goose and restore it 5,000 years before L&L Publishing was in business? He didn't have the resources we have today. and granted, people were probably more susceptable to the power of magic way back when, but think about it. It had to at least look real or people wouldn't have believed it in the first place.

Click here to view attached image.
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
www.spelz.net
Victor Brisbin
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Great thoughts and insights by all here. I especially appreciate Whit Haydn's comments, since he has personally seen and known most of the modern illusionists mentioned.

Houdini's greatest illusion was the creation of HOUDINI. He was such a genius at self-promotion that we continue to talk about him and honor him on postage stamps 3/4 of a century after his death.
"It is better to practice a little than talk a lot." - Muso Kokushi
Liquid B
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Hmm, the greatest illusionist of all time? Tough one.

Especially tough since, as others have already mentioned, I have not seen the illusionists of yester year perform. I've only been able to read about them. And to me, stories always become much more grand with each telling. So what might have been a good illusion or performance, slowly over time becomes a masterpiece.

So with all that being said I have to base my answer on illusionists I have either seen live or on tv. And I would have to place Doug Henning near the top of the list. To me he changed the face of magic. He brought it back to life. He brought it from a much more traditional era, which wasn't enjoying a huge audience at the time, to a new, lively and energetic form.

And as for David Copperfield, I have to put him up top too. He has inspired countless magicians, just look at how many copy his style, and he has entertained the masses year after year after year. People just keep attending his shows where ever he goes. To them, there is no one better. Heck, his name is known in almost every household. He must be doing something right.

Anyway, those are my quick thoughts on the subject. If I gave it anymore thought, which I probably will, my answer might change.

Liquid B
Kendrix
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KingsNQueens: You said a mouthful. Yours is the most meaningful post on this thread.
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