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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » How do Penn and Teller justify exposing illusions? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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todsky
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I was shocked when they exposed the superb Mismade Lady. What is their philosophy in doing this, or is it simply to annoy other magicians? And why are they still respected in magic circles when they practice exposure? Are they just the 'bad boys' of magic? What gives?
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mrunge
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I think they do it for the money. They could care less about what they expose. If they did, they would not be doing it.

I've also heard they have been kicked out of the IBM and SAM, but do not know this for a fact. If they have not, in my opinion they should.

It's sad they are now thumbing their noses at the art and disrespecting all of those who enjoy magic and abide by the magicians oath. I guess they now have their own code to live by. Sad.

Mark. Smile
silverking
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I've never understood why magi don't roast Penn and Teller for their continued exposure.

They're considered magic "insiders" (as per Penns intro to the Eric Mead book) but sell out magicians everywhere on a nightly basis, getting rich selling secrets that DON'T belong to them.

I find them lame and rather sad. Perhaps Silvio's thought about being a failed legitimate magic act has some legs to it.
The drag is that once an act gets their big show in Vegas, they become somewhat legitimate and people stop questioning what they're actually DOING every night for magic.
Starrpower
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The reason magicians don't "roast" them is the magic magazines don't tell them to. In general, magicians are followers. They don't know if an act is funny unless they are told it's funny. Mac King can walk out on stage and they'll laugh their butts off. Another act, maybe even funnier than Mac, can work for the same audience and not get a strong response because he hasn't been on the cover of a magazine.

It's the same with exposure. Since they are told by the "Good Ol' Boys" network that P&T are the "bad boys" but they're okay, it's just an act and they really respect magic, they'll give them a pass. I remember back in the 80's when P&T were just getting popular, Penn appeared on a Chicago radio show. People called in asking how tricks were done, and Penn explained everything asked for. I vividly recall him explaining the Broom Suspension, talking about an incident where a girl was pinched by the gimmick and started bleeding. There was no reason, there was no theatrical presentation --- he was simply dispensing secrets.

P&T are great performers, and Teller in particular is a very talented magician. But the bottom line is they tend to do what's in the best interest of Penn and Teller, regardless of the affect is has on others. So, IMO, they and their supporters are nothing less than hypocrites. Perhaps they should point that ******** camera at themselves once.
Magicque
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That's well said! Good job Starrpower. Don't see their act, don't talk about them!
jamieallan
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When did they exposed the Mismade Lady? Is the video on youtube?

JA
gulamerian
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Perhaps they expose because they are not very talented.
todsky
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It would be nice if they just exposed themselves in public, and then they could work on their escape act from jail.

JA, I forget where I saw the Mismade Lady exposure.
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Silvio Solaris
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If there would be more camaderie, codes and a tight net of magic(ians) associations keeping the secrets 'really' secret by penalty of perjury this exposure would not happen. Penn & Teller or any of those that expose magic on youtube and wikipedia would not dare to do it.

My two cents and honest opinion.
Magical Wishes

Silvio Solaris

'Is all that we see and seem but a dream within a dream?' E.A.Poe
Dougini
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Hi all!

I've never cared for P & T's act. Gillette comes across as obnoxious. He's a better game show host, in my opinion. That suits him WAY better.

Teller is brilliant. A true magician, in my opinion, but I digress...

If this is true (Mis-Made Lady exposed), I'd be really digusted, but I believe Penn Gillette is the main force behind the act. Don't blame Teller...I'm sure he's not behind it...hey I could be wrong, though...

My $.02

Doug
todsky
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Joey Stalin
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You aren't talking about that "Blast Off" thing they have done on the muppets, America's Got Talent ect. are you? Please... That was nothing, hardly exposure. Just like their clear cups and balls, which got them thrown out of the magic castle, is hardly exposure of the cups and balls.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......tart=180

Yeah read through that if you want. Or do some searches.

People have no memory when it comes to magic secrets. Why? Cause they don't care. And they cannot apply one thing to other effects. You could expose a TT vanishing silk and then do a bill switch or vanishing sugar and they won't know how it is done.
-A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
-It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
-The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

See you space cowboy...
freefallillusion1
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P&T DID expose secrets on their last T.V. special where they were at a resort with a big aquarium. They BLATANTLY EXPOSED an underwater version of million dollar mystery. They exposed their finale of vanishing a submarine. Worse than the actual exposure, however, was the way that the exposure labeled magicians as mere con artists "out to get'cha", as this type of thing always does- complete with the narration along the lines of "See how easy it really is? Can you believe you were fooled by that?"! I have heard for years that magicians were outraged by P&T exposing, only to see for myself that things like the clear cups & balls aren't really exposure. After seeing their latest "effort" (I'm being really generous there), I no longer associate them in the same class with us. They don't care about anyone but themselves. As for Teller, I have never met him, but he seems like a magical genious. His actions speak for themselves, though. He has chosen to carry on with this type of act. These guys are not real magicians.

BTW, thanks for reading my rant.

Phil
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Quote:
On 2007-01-16 00:07, freefallillusion1 wrote:
P&T DID expose secrets on their last T.V. special where they were at a resort with a big aquarium. They BLATANTLY EXPOSED an underwater version of million dollar mystery. They exposed their finale of vanishing a submarine. Worse than the actual exposure, however, was the way that the exposure labeled magicians as mere con artists "out to get'cha", as this type of thing always does- complete with the narration along the lines of "See how easy it really is? Can you believe you were fooled by that?"! I have heard for years that magicians were outraged by P&T exposing, only to see for myself that things like the clear cups & balls aren't really exposure. After seeing their latest "effort" (I'm being really generous there), I no longer associate them in the same class with us. They don't care about anyone but themselves. As for Teller, I have never met him, but he seems like a magical genious. His actions speak for themselves, though. He has chosen to carry on with this type of act. These guys are not real magicians.

BTW, thanks for reading my rant.

Phil


Hey Phil,
Just a note for you about the underwater special. I do agree that they should not have exposed the loading for the million dollar mistery. But, just to correct you, they did not expose how they vanished the sub. That was a CGI effect and not even cose to being realistic. Basically every performer gets into entertainment because they want to get payed, that is the nature of show business. The reality is that they perform for laymen and not for magicians, that is where their bread and butter is. So you can hate them all you want and throw them out of any of the national orginizations. I am pretty sure they just don't care about mine or anybody elses opinions other than the people who buy tickets and sign their checks.
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Thommy Razor
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On the same underwater special, if you can, go back and watch the beginning again. Teller exposes "plans" of sawing a woman in half. Then watch them saw her in half. What they exposed is not what they performed. What they exposed is something I think every magician would laugh at. I've noticed them doing this a lot, like in the instance of the vanishing sub exposure. Its just enough to make people think they know how its all done, which leaves them all the more baffled when they see a serious magician perform it with a different method.
Yeah, a part of me wishes they didn't have to expose some of my favorite effects, but a bigger part of me knows that its mostly magicians that watch their specials, and as said before, laypeople don't have the inclination to hold onto explanations like we do.
Personally, P&T are major heroes for there Showtime series, BS, which I think is the most brilliant investigative journalism ever to hit the airwaves. And I like obnoxious people.
But exposure still makes me wince.
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Joey Stalin
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GENII magazine March 2006 said:

GENII: Were you and Penn in the editing room or did NBC edit in isolation?

TELLER: I edited a version of the Underwater Standup Routine. I presented our producers and NBC with what I thought was, from a magic point of view, the best edit of that sequence. But keep in mind that editing yourself on video is virtually impossible because you know what you intended. You can't seen what is really on the screen in the pure way an editor can. That's why we have editors and directors. So that someone with a fresh eye can look at what you are doing and know the difference between what you wish you did and what you did for real.

GENII: Would you say that at some point in all of this you lost control of the show? It's happened to well-known Hollywood stars and directors....

TELLER: You can't lose control of what you never had.

GENII: Were you aware that you did not have the final cut?

TELLER: Yes, absolutely, there is contractual language that stated that NBC had the final cut. So I went in with one vision and came out with another. Something which happens in every word of art.

GENII: In this case, that resulted in camera shots that exposed two illusions.

TELLER: When we went into it, we had designed some tricks to be shown from the magician's point of view. Neither the Metamorphosis nor the Million Dollar Mystery were intended as such segments. Because in both, we believed, the effect would be stronger than the explanation. But, as I said, cameras were rolling all the time from every angle during the shoot. And when Star Prince went in assemble it, he saw the backstage footage of those two tricks and found them more dramatic and interesting than the effect themselves. I saw the first cut with laymen. They assume they were seeing tricks that could work only underwater. I couldn't imagine when looking at us swimming around a cage and relating that to, say, the Pendragons' spectacular version of the Metamorphosis. And I think it would take and expert magician to realize that the tu**el going into the Million Dollar cabinet was covered with mi**ors. It wasn't really until Johnny Thompson looked at it and was concerned that I had any qualms at all. Johnny's been defending us for years on a couple of artistic points, one of which is that we virtually always invent the tricks that we expose. There is no one I respect more than Johnny. So I took his concerns to NBC. NBC said, "No, we like what we have; it's a really good part of the show."

GENII: They wouldn't budge?

TELLER: They were willing to bend a little on the particulars. They allowed us to rewrite the narration to direct the viewer's attention to Penn and Teller's discomfort and stupidity, rather than to the parts of the method that overlap with standard technique. that's how we came to put so much attention on the weight of the helmet and our hidden wire to support it - which evidently worked, since you asked about it. In the Million Dollar we emphasized Penn's Clumsiness and Teller's bad disco dancing and deftly removed the word "mi**or* from the text of the script. We also switched in some angles which looked funnier and more strenuous - and, coincidently, showed no reflections in the mi**ors. By the time we were done, the sequence was, I believe, a little funnier and more dramatic. And even if a lay spectator were to finish watching Off the Deep End and go right to a magic show featuring Metamorphosis and Million Dollar Mystery, he would be clueless. Of course, my frank opinion is that no exposure ever gets in the way of magic.

GENII: Do you think that because of the way in which the pendragons do metamorphosis that the public simply wouldn't believe that they could be doing what they had seen exposed?

TELLER: I don' tthink the public sees it as even remotely related. They public saw a show of underwater magic, not a trunk trick. But even specific discussion about tricks seems to have no effect. There's been lots and lots and lots of detailed speculation about our "Bullet Catch" all over the internet. And yet we do it nightly and everybody's amazed.

GENII: Does anybody know how it's done? I think it's a pretty well-kept secret.

TELLER: It's a pretty *** good trick, but that doesn't stop people from coming up with explanations, some of which I believe are right.
-A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
-It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
-The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

See you space cowboy...
Matthew W
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I actually like penn and teller. The way they expose a lot of things is extremely fast. I saw them do an act on the seven principles of magic. I couldn't even follow it and forgot the bits about palming and simulation trying to keep up with them. Imagine how it is for an audience member.

Yeah, the blast off illusion is blatant exposure, but it is entertaining. All I hear is how entertainment comes first.

Exposure is wrong, but when it is entertaining, you forget about what they are doing.
-Matt
mrunge
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Exposure for entertainment purposes still does NOT make it right. Go back and reread "The Magicians Oath."

"I promise I will always guard against exposing the secrets of magic, whether through lack of practice before performing, or through explanation to any person not entitled to know the secrets. I make this promise seriously, realizing that in violating it, I am not only violating my word of honor, but I am violating the trust and rights of all other magicians who, by the very nature of their form of entertainment, are entitled to the preservation of the secrets of magic."

Where does it say anything about exposing to people NOT entitled to know the secrets, regardless of how big or small that secret might be?

In my opinion, laypeople watching these "specials" on television are NOT entitled to know the secrets as they are NOT involved in magic.

Mark.
silverking
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The exposure of The Million Dollar Mystery should have P&T kicked out of every magic association everywhere, and shunned by magicians worldwide.

..........but instead they get what is usually considered an honour, which is being asked to write introductions to other magicians books.
JoyJoy
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