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Topic: Popular Magicians
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Apr 21, 2002 01:11AM)
There have been several magicians who attained widespread popularity, some becomming household names, some not.
Some that come to my mind: Houdini,Doug Henning, David Copperfield, Harry Anderson, Penn and Teller. I know there are others.

I am curious to know which have been the most popular, which the most lasting. Which are considered by real magicians to have quality acts and are any considered to be a disgrace to the art and industry of magic?

Are the styles of these popular magicians equally valid?

--alan :question:
Message: Posted by: dukenotes (Apr 22, 2002 01:22AM)
I guess when I was young I only heard about the great legends like Houdini and Blackstone. Earlier this year I saw Penn and Teller live. I guess they are the only "big name" acts I have ever seen in person. I don't know how history will view these chaps but I found them very entertaining.

I would much rather see them than Copperfield, who was hear a short time thereafter, but perhaps that's just me.

Duke :carrot:
Message: Posted by: Jim Morton (Apr 22, 2002 10:57AM)
If you measure popularity by television ratings. Then right now it's probably David Blaine. If you measure popularity by Vegas ticket price, then it'd be Sigfried and Roy. If you measured popularity by personal wealth accrued through performing magic, then it's probably David Copperfield. If you asked the average person who the most famous magician of all time is it'd be Houdini. For any one of these guys, you'll find plenty of magicians who'll sniff at their work, Blaine especially.

I'm not sure that the question has any relevance to anything. What exactly can we learn from such a question? How can it make our own magic better?

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Apr 22, 2002 01:40PM)
[quote]How can it make our own magic better? [/quote]

Jim here is a much better question. [b]What do or did they all have in common?[/b]

Hint: It's not magic.
Message: Posted by: Jason Fleming (Apr 22, 2002 04:01PM)
They all have extreme facility and skill with self-promotion.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Apr 22, 2002 04:47PM)
Business Marketing Skills: The Art of Promotion... Great, My first pick! Any others?
Message: Posted by: dukenotes (Apr 23, 2002 12:34AM)
On 2002-04-22 17:47, DenDowhy wrote:
Business Marketing Skills: The Art of Promotion... Great, My first pick! Any others?

I would say also that they design their own effects, as we all should strive to do. :magicrabbit:

Message: Posted by: owenwildboy (Apr 23, 2002 01:16AM)
Paul Daniels got me started!!!

Classic Stuff if a bit out dated!
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Apr 23, 2002 01:48AM)
My original post was perhaps phrased poorly, but I had meant to raise the contrast of audience quantity (popularity) and lasting QUALITY. I think that is a good and important question in any art or industry (like entertainment) where there must be a balance between being pleasing and "selling out."

Have these popular magicians really equally incurred the disdain of real magicians? The above posts seem to suggest they have.

But I am also interested in questions of style, and here also the answer might be of some help to us budding magicians--even if not to the more experienced. Is there anything in the STYLE of these popular magicians--the street style of David Blaine, the "Saturday-Night-Live" style of Penn and Teller, the more classic style of David Copperfield--anything in the style itself that is invalid? Or is it just all bad magic?

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Apr 23, 2002 03:03AM)
Please enlighten me...What is the difference in "Good Magic" and "Bad Magic" when used in the above context?

Disdain?? or Jealousy that it is not them? A common problem in frustrated Magicians.

Duke's post suggest the vaudeville acts pre-televison era, is "better" than the modern, fast paced, illusionist of today. Times change, magicians must or we perish in poverty. The audience "wants and needs" are the only issues here.

The first of everything seems to be worthy of recording for history. Second best doesn't hold the same power of the recorded pen. Houdini was the first "magician" to recognized and use the power ot film. Blaine used it to his advantage, for the times and the generation.

VHS and DVDs are ways to become popular and be recognized in the fields, as well as writers.

Character, Personality, Originality, Style, all suggest newness and "firstness" if that could be a word. Marketing is a key to getting that information out.
Message: Posted by: dukenotes (Apr 23, 2002 04:27AM)
I don't know if any styles are invalid. Magic to me should be entertaining above all else. You could do the most difficult thing in the World and it won't matter if people don't understand it, or at least wonder why they don't know how you did it.

I'm fresh from seeing Penn and Teller live. It seems what they bring that is different to alot of other acts is a certain viewpoint. Whereas alot of magicians would balk at stating what they are doing are simply tricks, Penn starts his whole rap with that statement.

So it's a different angle than say, Copperfield. I was most impressed with Teller's Rose in Vase shadow cutting deal. Teller seems to be a master of shadow puppetry as well.

Message: Posted by: dukenotes (Apr 23, 2002 05:17AM)
On 2002-04-23 04:03, DenDowhy wrote:
Duke's post suggest the vaudeville acts pre-televison era, is "better" than the modern, fast paced, illusionist of today. Times change, magicians must or we perish in poverty. The audience "wants and needs" are the only issues here.

I don't know how you got that impression from my post. I do magic, but I'm also part of the audience of Copperfield, Penn and Teller, David Blaine, etc.

I think it's simply my taste to prefer a certain act over another. It's true I don't like the slick production style of Copperfield. I especially don't like his taste in music, but I'm not saying magicians shouldn't keep up with the times. There's just certain modern magicians I prefer over Copperfield. In fact, I would rather watch David Blaine do magic than David Copperfield.

Anyway, Penn and Teller's act I saw last month seemed pretty modern. Penn was wearing a headset microphone (Teller of course didn't need one) and they had some music in the show and modern props.

Penn and Teller seem more down to Earth to me as people and I like that. Perhaps to the majority of people in this world Copperfield would be more entertaining because he doesn't seem real or someting.

Or I guess I should say that perhaps people would feel more satisfied by someone claiming to have superhuman powers, such as Houdini, than Penn and Teller, who let you know that they are only doing tricks.

It's all a matter of taste, because we are obviously talking about people who are successful, so all that remains is a matter of presentation and style.

As for my tastes, it appears I prefer the close-up stuff with a comedic edge vs. the full-blown showcase awe inspiring techno stuff. Hey, the more I type I'm beginning to think you were right in your statement. You are a mindreader!

Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Apr 23, 2002 05:29AM)
"For any one of these guys, you'll find plenty of magicians who will sniff at their work," writes Jim. Den asks, what in the above context is "bad magic?"

I have to concur with Den that sometimes jealousy might lead to the judgement call of "bad magic." And I tend to agree with Duke that the styles probably are not good or bad in themselves and can all be valid. I, too, personally like the refreshing, down-to-earth style of Penn and Teller. Yet I would like to hear from someone who thinks such styles are not appropriate to magic.
And I am still interested in legitimate reasons why magicians might sniff at the work of these popular guys: are some unprofessional? do they break the codes of the guild? do they lack skill and experience? have they sold out in any way?

:question: alan
Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Apr 23, 2002 06:21AM)
I've posted something like this on a different thread, but it bears repeating here:

it's my (oh-so-humble) opinion that many magicians who do not like the style of folks like P&T or Blaine, etc. don't like 'em 'cause they are not "proper" magicians.

Geez...does anyone else here remember Sam the *American* Eagle from the Muppet Show...who bemoaned how things were not proper? And does anyone else remember how he was regularly ridiculed?

I prefer one-on-one, close up card magic. That's the kind I do. But I truly enjoy watching P&T, Amazing Johnathan and Blaine. (Watching Blaine, I keep thinking of Steven Wright doing magic.)

These guys have presence and they have the ability to make their audiences laugh, think, gasp, and be bewildered. Folks, that's magic. You may not like the style...you may not like their presentation method...but (to paraphrase the noted philosopher Popeye), "it yam what it yam."

Message: Posted by: Gawin (Apr 23, 2002 07:27AM)
:rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Dayanara (Apr 23, 2002 09:40PM)
Beware of Penn & Teller. I do not know about Teller, but Penn's hate SPREADS. And it spreads FAST. Ask anyone who was at their 12-27-01 show, who has a bit of Sensitivity. They'll tell you.
Message: Posted by: dukenotes (Apr 24, 2002 12:37AM)
Well, you have really caught my attention with this statement. Could you please elaborate?

I noticed Penn used a lot of language at the show I attended which some would find offensive, but I myself didn't care. His statements didn't seem filled with hate for anyone, they seemed to be aimed at concepts people have in general.

Anyway, what happened at the show you mention? :question: :question: :question: