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Readers Respond: What I Want in Television Magic

Responses: 7


Prompted by the recent "Masters of Illusion" series, here's what I want to see on a magic television show.

Magic on Television again?!!

This meduim doesn't convey the true feeling that spectators are experiencing, whether on there is hidden assistants involved, pre-show work, anything neccessary to "pull it off." The magic on television today differs from a much earler time period. There were Doug Henning and David Copperfield specials that appeared on the network, and everyone was wanting to watch the shows. Unfortunately when David Copperfield performed an illusion from Walter "Zaney" Blaney; it was video tape and then played back at a slower speed, and it become another ripped off illusion. This type of activity truly undermines the art of magic, the public persona of magicians and of course if one person performs a certain effect on television, the magicial fraternity feel that it's now public property. This is unethical practice that has been here since day one. A performance of magic is best experienced live not on the meduim of television. This holds true for live theater, operas, Broadway musicals.
—Guest D M Z


I am doing some research on televisin magic and how it is produced. I am not interested in making any secrets public. I merely want to analyse and compare stage Vs. TV. Do you want to be sighted as a source in world wide Academic work? Please help with idees, links and names of books on this topic.
—Guest Chris

*Insert Creative Title Here*

Okay, everyone knows America's Got Talent is rubbish, and Masters of Illusion wasn't that great... but complaining about how boring it is doesn't answer the question of what you want to see. All it says is what you don't want to see. I'd like to see some of the unknowns (I'm one of them!). I'd love to see performers we don't often see in the United States (anyone for some Barry and Stuart action?). What I don't want to see are more "street" magicians pretending to be creative or alternative and doing tricks with planted spectators, cranes, and camera tricks (yes, David Blaine and Criss Angel, I am talking about you).

What You Remember Isn't Always....

The big, splashy effects may be what draws people to the TV shows, but the effects on MoI that have stayed with me are often small, intimate ones. I had read about Tina Lenert's two-ring routine, but I finally saw it on MoI. It was...magical, The performances that have delighted me tend to be the small and quiet ones. As to the desire to know more about the performers, I don't want to see it turn into "America's Got Talent," where every performer is squeezed for all the pathos and drama they can provide.

Masters of Illusion? Hardly

Today, if you can dance, you can be an Illusionist. In the past, master magicians performed Illusions as part of their full evening show. The big effects were highlighted in posters as the main draw. Today, many Illusions are merely utilities that act as backdrops to accentuate the exotic movements of Las Vegas style, chorus line generic performers. They belie the title, “Masters of Illusion.”
—Guest Nick Maggio

TV Magic

I agree that we should get to know the personality of the performer, maybe not by an interview, but by selecting routines which show the performer's personality. Think of some of the better acts we see at the Magic Castle, they aren't necessarily speaking acts. The other problem is that they aren't given enough time to establish their personality. Finally, If you think back to the Copperfield or Henning Specials, yes there was some, "Make Earth" disappear effect, but more often then not, the Grand Illusions leading up to the "Big Event" were more entertaining than what we waited for.. at least for me anyway. And if we, as Magicians could do what Copperfield or Henning did, it was more amazing to folks than, "I saw that on tv last night", so, present effects that other working magicians can do, but do raise the bar higher than "What's Next"
—Guest Peter Winch

"Masters" is Dull

Bland, bland...bland. Masters of Illusion is boring and I can barely watch it for the full hour. I hate to admit, but even the show after it is probably more interesting.
—Guest TWesson

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