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KC Cameron
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I just watched the reality Show "Tanked" and they did a life size "Houdini Water Torture Cell" fish tank for Neil Patrick Harris and the Magic Castle.

Well, besides furthering the stereotype that magicians are snooty, the "Houdini" was wearing a straitjacket, upside down, IN the tank - and not only did Neil approve it, he was gushing over it. He said he was going to make it a "destination" in the Castle.

As I am sure most, if not all, magicians in this forum know, you don't do a strait jacket underwater, and Houdini didn't either. On top of it all, Neil APPEARED rather vacant with his suggestions and questions. I know things are edited, and I am sure some of it, if not all was scripted. I am not sure if that makes it better or worse.

I am not a esteemed member of the Magic Castle, but as a magician, I find this embarrassing. If this is the best we have . . . ?

Why isn't a real working magician, or a retired magician president?
KC Cameron
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Moxahalla
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Why isn't a real working magician, or a retired magician president?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll say one thing - Once NPH became the Castle President - he has generated ALOT of publicity on TV about Magic & the Magic Castle.

He is a true Hollywood celebrity, with a genuine love & knowledge of magic.

Almost on every interview TV talk show - Neil performs a trick and/or talks about the Magic Castle.

Now, what "working or retired magician" can do that?...and would the public even know who they were?

Neil gives the Castle credibility. The Magic Castle couldn't have a better Presient & Ambassador of Magic, than Neil Patrick Harris.

Just MHO.
Ian McColl
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EA - Alex Lyall(RIP) -Australia- did a strait jacket escape from within his water torture cell 1980.
Steve_Mollett
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As I recall, Norm Bigelow did the straitjacket-in-torture-cell presentation too ("Suicide Tank").
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
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Moxahalla
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Chris Chalen did too (on his 1982 TV Special). Full view escape - no cover.
jay leslie
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KC

I remember Neil, as a kid, coming to Castle swap meets and playing with cards while walking the halls.

There is a LOT of action going on behind the scenes at the Castle.
KC Cameron
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Moxahalla,

I don't doubt his love of magic, "it's like the coolest hobby in the world!" As for his celeb status, I didn't know his name until the Genni article - which I am sure says more about me then him. Did he have to be president to talk about the Castle on TV and do magic tricks?

Ambassador - no issue. Board of Directors, OK, President???

From the non-magic reading I have done (today), the authors seem surprised he is the president. . . and the feeling I get is the Academy is desperate, while NPH seems to act like the cat who ate the canary (in this episode). I have no idea of the pool of people they had from which to choose. The Academy is a private organization, and they can do what they want. I am just amazed they picked him.

On top of that, he talked down to the guys from Tanked. Now I don't know how much of that was scripted, but he did appear rather aloof, and from this episode, not the sharpest tool in the shed. To me, this was far worse than his gaffe with the straitjacket. If the stars from "Tank" think you a little stupid . . . well they don't present themselves as mental giants either. NPH:"Are their magical types of fish? Invisible fish? Do they make those?" Now he very well may be a genius and a down to earth guy, but there wasn't much evidence of it on this episode.

As for credibility, I would think a star from a Harold & Kumar is the last thing the Academy would want . . .but I am not the academy, and obviously out of touch.

As for underwater straitjacket escapes, I was referencing a real or realistic straitjacket that when wet swells (as in this episode). Since I did not see these other performers, I assume they used nylon or some other material or design than one designed after an actual straitjacket? It doesn't really matter since Houdini did not do his "Water Torture Cell" in a straitjacket as in the Magic Castle's re-creation.
Cliffg37
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Hi Mr. Cameron From North Carolina.

I am wondering, unless I am wrong and you are a member of the magic castle, what your interest is in who our President is? Why does it matter to you? If you did not care for the episode, that is alright with me... you are certainly entitled to your opinion. N.P.H. is our President. A few years ago it was someone else. A few years from now, it will be someone else.

Have you been to the Magic Castle? If not, next time you are in the L.A. area you will come as my guest and see the tank which is much better in person live than on TV.

Break a chain!
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Ian McColl
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Quote:
On 2012-09-19 20:47, KC Cameron wrote:As for underwater straitjacket escapes, I was referencing a real or realistic straitjacket that when wet swells (as in this episode). Since I did not see these other performers, I assume they used nylon or some other material or design than one designed after an actual straitjacket?


Alex Lyall used a regular South Australian canvas SJ. No need for nylon, just guts to do it.
John Cox
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My report on the show with a nice pic of the tank (courtesy of the Magic Castle).

http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2012/09/......ked.html

As to the question of NPH, he's the man!
Please visit my blog

WILD ABOUT HARRY
dave_matkin
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Quote:
On 2012-09-19 23:39, Ian McColl wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-09-19 20:47, KC Cameron wrote:As for underwater straitjacket escapes, I was referencing a real or realistic straitjacket that when wet swells (as in this episode). Since I did not see these other performers, I assume they used nylon or some other material or design than one designed after an actual straitjacket?


Alex Lyall used a regular South Australian canvas SJ. No need for nylon, just guts to do it.


Guts or beer? We know what you Ausies like your beer! As do we (well not me personally) but I mean us Brits.
KC Cameron
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Cliff,

Quote:
Hi Mr. Cameron From North Carolina.

Rather a strange salutation here on the Café . . . not quite sure if you are having fun with me or at me . . .
The Magic Castle is, in many ways, the public face of magic --even though it is a private club. Hence as president, NPH represents all magicians to some degree. No, I have never been to the Magic Castle, the last time I was in LA was 10 years ago, and only for a day. Thank you for your offer, and while I am sure the tank is awesome, it would not be the thing I would want to see there.

John, Ok, NPH is the man. Why? I really mean this. Can anyone shed some light on why NPH is a good "Face of Magic" other than he is a celebrity? Please understand, I am not saying he is not a good person, nor am I saying he is not a good magician - I don't know enough about him. What I do know is how he acted (and it could well be an act) and what he said during this episode -- that well could have been edited not to his benefit. The little I know of him does not convince me of that at all - but then, it is just the little I know. Please enlighten me. Your well-written article does not mention any of the things that I have, and I conclude it must be on purpose. As a big a fan of Houdini, I doubt all of it escaped you.

BTW, I am certainly not implying that I could do a good job with that position either - by any means. I am commenting as one might comment on a political figure, since as president, he is one.

I think I have framed my argument well, and have nothing else to say on it. I welcome any reasons (other than his celebrity status) to believe I am wrong.
magicbymccauley
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Okay, here are the reasons.

1. Neil Patrick Harris won the Tannen's Magic Louis Award in 2006.
2. He hosted the World Magic Awards in 2008.
3. He regularly performs magic on television shows like the Ellen DeGeneres show.
4. He is an amateur magician.
5. He is a certified nerd, and was an honors student before getting into acting (how many hollywood stars can say that).
6. He wanted his character on "How I met your Mother" to be a magician so that people could see that magicians were regular people and bring a public face to magic.
7. He is excellent at spoonbending and mentalism and performs regularly.
8. He has worked with Penn Jillete on many magic and non-magic projects.
9. He is one of the most sought after magical Emcee's, often performing magic while being an Emcee at events.
10. He is one of the most famous amature magicians in the world.
11. He consitently promotes Magic by performing on the venues he gets invited to, like the Tonight Show, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
12. He has been performing magic since he was a small child.

Comedy Mentalism with Johnny Carson in 1990
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCC5rM_9g6Q

Performing TWICE on Ellen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNrkEq_wW3Q

Doing magic on the World Magic Awards, Flash appearance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKJOpYNey9M

Live with Regis and Kelly performing Card magic.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYKqAr2CVNw

Performing Illusions on Masters of Illusion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l0oy-yh1QA
"Tricks are about objects, Magic is about life."
-Max Maven
Cliffg37
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Ok K.C.(no I am not having fun with you, I was adressing you by your name and title)

I read your points, I really have little to say, oother than if you were to look up the last two presidents before N.P.H. you would find them both very competant leaders who no one ever heard of outside of a very small circle. I dare say that N.P.H. may be the only celebrity President the castle has ever had outside the world of magic. That is, we have had presendents well known to magicians, but not well known to John Q. Public. The fact the N.P.H. has the status he has is not relevant to me. My only argumement against voting for him (and I did vote for him) was that he has his iron in too many fires. Between adopting a new baby, how I met your mother, hosting shows, guest appearences etc, when would he have time for his Castle duties. And yet he has neither shirked nor fallen short of any of his responsabilities that I am aware of.

I am of the opinion that with N.P.H. at the helm, more people have heard of and are aware of the magic castle than ever before. Example: A few years back I asked a co-worker if he was interested in my organizing an evening trip for some of us to the magic castle. This well read and worldly man who was not a magician replied... "Alright! Miniture golf! I am there baby!" Now there is a few towns over, a mini-golf esablsihment that calls itself by a similar name. Totally not what I was aiming at.

The castle is in an interesting position. It was designed to be and wants to be a private club, and yet our money is made by guests paying to enter, eat and drink. The more "on the map" we are, the better financial position we are in.

I really have noting else to share beyond that, and the fact that he is a nice approachable guy. Consider what I said about other presidents though... Have you ever heard of any of them before?
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Both are fun if you do it right!
KC Cameron
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Mccauley,

In giving me his "magic resume", the vast majority does satisfy me at all. I don't disagree with any of his accomplishments you listed. I understand this is why you think he should be president, and that is fine - I just disagree. The "Magic Louis Award" and I am interested on how he did that, but I cannot find it in a cursory search. He is comfortable on stage, as one would expect. I wouldn't call the magic he did in your links "incredible" in originality from him or in performance. He looked like a good amateur, which is how I believe he would classify himself. He isn't a pro (by definition) but he may well be better than many regional acts too. I have been told he is a good friend of magic, and I don't doubt it, but that isn't a reason (for me, anyway).

My issues is with his position as president and his attitude on that particular episode, his lack of knowledge, and APPEARING not-too-intelligent ON THAT EPISOIDE. If you watch it, you should see it. Cringe-worthy

All in all, it seems to me that you think he should be president because he is a celebrity and has a strong interest in magic. OK, I can accept that, since that is what I figured anyhow. I don't agree, but whom am I? I am not knocking him personally, or professionally. I do wonder about the Academy that elected him - that is all.

This is getting very tiring, and proving my point. Please address these points or reasons that he should be president . . . that is my question. Not that he is a famous actor, not that he can perform magic on TV.

I would like to hear about the the "Louie Award" - sorry, it is isn't called the "Louis Award", I'm sure that was a typo. I called up Tannen's and the guy that answered the phone did not know much about it - but he was a fan of NPH.
KC Cameron
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Cliff,

Quote:
he is a nice approachable guy
As you know, many celeb's public personality is different than their private personality. In all the video clips I have watched of him, due to this thread, he appeared nice EXCEPT in the episode of "Tanked" where, to me, he appeared very "snooty". This could have been scripted -- I don't know. This episode, which was the sum total I knew of him save "Dougy Howser, MD", he did NOT make magic look good.

I assume you have been around him, and are personally saying that how he was portrayed in "Tanked" is not the real NPH, of which I am glad to hear.

Quote:
And yet he has neither shirked nor fallen short of any of his responsibilities that I am aware of.
I am glad to hear he is more than a figure head, and is doing a good job with his administration duties.

All in all, he was picked because he is a celebrity with a love of magic. I understand the Academy has financial reasons to use him, and no, I do not know who the last 2 presidents were.

My new questions are these. The Castle must know his shortcomings when it comes to magic knowledge. Why did they not check what he was doing (i.e. straitjacket)? This is a national TV show, could have been a coup for the Castle. Why did they allow NPH to act so distant and be joked about on National TV when he spoke of invisible fish being made? Am I wrong to assume that they got an advance copy and could have had it re-edited?
Cliffg37
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I can't really answer that K.C. as I have no clue what the process is that put that show on the air. I do know there are hoops to jump through if you want to do any filming at the magic castle, as most of the time film is forbidden in any way shape or form. What N.P.H. working off a badly written script? I don't know. Was there no script and he was on his own? I don't know. Who at the castle was overseeing the show? I don't know, and it may have been no one. N.P.H. has enough respect and clout at the castle, that if he approached the rest of the board they may have just told him to go ahead. As I said I was not in on this and have no way to know. I also don't know what anyone's motives were other than the tank builders who wanted an interesting show, and in my opinion got it. I don't watch that show, and would not have seen this one had it not been for the inclusion of the club. As such I have nothing to compare it to. It is possible that the goal here was to make "Tanked" look good, and no one cared how the castle looked. That may or may not be true, again I do not know.

A final word though... When you say he looked "snooty" and has magical "shortcomings" This is not a fact. It is your opinion. I am fine with the fact that you did not care for the show. Truth to tell I thought it was boring. (admittedly I had seen the finished product live before seeing the show, and that may have hurt my chances of enjoying it) But, whether we liked it or didn't is an opinion, and not necessarily the truth. Some people probably loved the show. For all I know N.P.H. was told before filming, don't be your "Doogie Howser" character and don't be your "how I met your mother" character. so he played it differently.

Anyway they filmed it, it was done and so be it. If you go to the magic castle web site you will find a page of contact info for the board of directors and you can e-mail any of them with your questions as they will know more than I do about the process that brought the show to the air.
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Both are fun if you do it right!
KC Cameron
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Quote:
A final word though... When you say he looked "snooty" and has magical "shortcomings" This is not a fact. It is your opinion.


Did you actually watch the whole show Cliff???? NHP snubbed the Tanked people at several times . . . all obviously intentionally. As for NPH magical shortcomings . . . you don't think commissioning a "Houdini Water Torture Cell" tank with Houdini in a straitjacket a short coming in his magic history?

Obviously they don't mind, since the tank seems to not be corrected.

Please understand, if it were just suppose to be a magician, that would be one thing, but it is a tribute to Houdini by the Castle - Like Lincoln at Valley Forge.
Sam Sandler
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Ok I have read this whole post and firmly confused.

first I have only been to the castle once and that was some time ago. great food and awesome magic and experience all around.

as for the tanked show which KC you seem to be stuck on, may I point out that is reality show. meaning this is not a show with 15 writers and 6 retakes to get it right.

second I don't think he came off snooty or stuck up at all actually I found him quite funny. I mean the whole idea of making them go out and get tuxes was funny. did you not notice when they were installing the tank no one was in a suit. point being the whole "needing a tux" was staged and a nice touch to remind any one attending that there is indeed a dress code!

as for the houdini tank what is the problem. it combines two of his greatest creations and truly looks great as a monument to remember the most famous magician in Magic.

as for NPH he is the president but he is also an actor. and he played the part well.

and I would point out that being an actor indeed has been a plus for the castle in drawing more people out.

that's my take on it any way but really I don't get why you are so stuck on the tanked show. its reality tv meant to be cheesy.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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