Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 02-19-2018, 09:49 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
Not true. If it were, no magician would ever write a book. The fact is you can find instructions manuals for conjurers at any large bookshop or public library. You don't need to have a secret password to access them
Not every magician is a member of The Magic Circle. Which member of The Magic Circle wrote a book revealing secrets and didn't get kicked out?

Last edited by Czarcasm; 02-19-2018 at 09:49 AM.
  #52  
Old 02-19-2018, 10:27 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Beffnal Green innit
Posts: 8,214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
Nit pick. I think you mean patent. Patents require disclosure. If the trick requires a specific setup or equipment you could quite reasonably patent that. Good luck enforcing the patent, but you could probably obtain it. There are however plenty of magic trick patents. If you want to sell the trick, or the equipment to perform it, to other magicians, this might be a good thing to do to protect your invention.
You can obtain copyright on artistic works. So if your trick had a very specific patter, or could be argued to be an artistic expression, you might obtain copyright protection on that. Copyright would however not extend to the actual mechanism of the trick. Just its artistic expression. Things could get very fuzzy when mentalism tricks were involved. Copyright would just enable you to stop someone else performing your trick exactly the way you do it, it would not protect the knowledge. Whether this has ever been done is another matter.
I would imagine these things would mostly come under the category of trade secrets.
I think the Magic Circle approach is vastly better.
Fair nitpick, I was being sloppy.
  #53  
Old 02-19-2018, 10:29 AM
glee glee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Obama country
Posts: 15,126
In front of Penn and Teller

Firstly, as magicians have to earn a living, they are entitled to secrecy.

Secondly here is a brilliant trick involving an audience choice which has no plants.
Even the geniuses Penn and Teller couldn't work it out.
(I bought the trick and it's very clever!)
__________________
Arnold Winkelried:
'glee, I take my hat off to you.... at first I thought you were kidding with your cite but I looked it up and it was indeed accurate. (Still in awe at the magnificent answer)'
  #54  
Old 02-19-2018, 11:15 AM
Mijin's Avatar
Mijin Mijin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 8,446
It's very simple how "pick a card" tricks are done: the magician simply prepares 52 separate amazing reveals.
Any stalling you might have noticed is simply the magician trying to remember whether the queen of clubs was the one he put inside an inflated balloon, or on the bottom of his shoe, or in the castle in a fishtank, say.

Please forgive me, magic circle.
  #55  
Old 02-19-2018, 11:43 AM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Could you point out these cases of blind or intentional misinformation? I don't see any, just a lot of very non-specific information about possible techniques used by magicians, none of which were refuted by you.
Sure I guess. It may wind up being a long post though. Also, remember that misleading formation can be given in the form of opinion. I don't wanna call out individuals or quote every part of each and every post, cause it's all up there to look at and cross reference if you want. But a few key things that either fall into the baskets of 'misinformation' and/or 'misdirection' are;

"It's no illusion. His audience picks really are random." - Inaccurate. SOMETIMES Copperfield's audience picks are random. Sometimes they are not.

"Not true. There are other explanations." - The OP didn't describe the illusion in their post, so without that info you cannot say for sure whether there are other explanations. This seems like a knee jerk response to steer the OP away from thinking about plants altogether when at magic shows. If you removed the 'not true' and replaced the word 'are' with 'could be' then this would be a sincere statement, given what we know about what the op saw.

"If the audience member really was a plant, why aren't there hundreds of ex-audience members singing like canaries as to how it was done." - since this is phrased as a question despite the grammar, it would be unfair to call it misinformation, but I would call it (either intentional or unintentional) misdirection (depending on the poster's motivations/intentions). In the sense that surely anyone would realise that the plant is the same thing as a magician's assistant, and confidentiality contracts, or simply just being on the payroll are usually enough to "force" the keeping of the secret. I really think this should be obvious.

"Like I said, if audiences were plants, there'd be a lot of people who know it's fake, and a percentage of these people would be telling everyone that they were a plant in a majic show audience and generallyl how fake it all it." - second verse, same as the first. Why aren't the thousands of magicians' assistants around the world blabbing their guts out? They'd probably get sued based on the terms of their contract.

"Since this place is about combatting ignorance rather than spreading it around, let me state for the record:" - This sentence was pure evil. Flimflam on a Catholic scale. Especially when you consider the statements that followed.
"Anamnesis doesn't know what he's talking about" - Anamnesis is no expert nor do they claim to be, but that is different from lacking knowledge.
"He is 100% wrong. The audience members involved in the routines described are not plants." - Ooh this is a strong assertion. Looks like a "confidence trick" to me. 'The audience members may or may not be plants', is more truthful while still respecting the "code of secrecy", in fact it's a more mysterious response than calling bullshit. Also I doubt anyone in this thread is 100% wrong. Each of us is a mishmash of fact and fiction, percentages may vary. Full disclosure, I haven't seen the tricks Anamnesis describes, but I've seen similar tricks by other magicians and they can be pulled off without the use of a plant. Gimmicked props help. Like a gimmicked blackboard for example. Or something that allows him to draw in his palm and ditch into the envelope (those kind of techniques require impeccable sleight skills and are super impressive, and Dave at his best could probably pull them off). But I have seen Copperfield do tricks that use plants, and plants with wobbly acting skills at that.

"Those of us who know won't tell. Those who tell - or seem to tell - don't really know, and are often amateur dabblers in the art" - Some of the greatest debunkers in history were illusionists; Houdini, James Randi, Penn and Teller. Obviously they will guard the secret of a truly artful illusion, but they shit on trashy old-hat gimmicks and flimflam whenever humanly possible. Penn and Teller even reveal their own tricks if they feel like it. An ethical magician is very rare though.

Also since my post, there is this;
"Magicians do use plants from time to time. Top magicians don't." - this is only true if by "top" you mean "best". If by "top" you mean "most successful", then no, this also appears to be an unintentional lie. I will choose to interpret "top" as "best" until I have a reason to assume otherwise.


"Copperfield's show is one of the greatest magic shows ever put together." - I'm just throwing this in because I'm a cheeky bastard. Obviously this seems like an honest statement. However it is still only true if the word "great" is interpreted to mean "big". Otherwise... there's no accounting for taste I suppose ;P

Anyway, grinding through specific examples to justify the justified is a bit tiring, especially since all the instances I had to draw attention to were already laid out in front of everyone, hidden in plain sight so to speak.
However, TriPolar, out of mutual human respect and a willingness to communicate, I decided to indulge your query rather than dismissing it. Hopefully it gives a better understanding of where I'm coming from and if you still disagree with me that's fine, happy to respectfully debate my points about the nature of conjuring. Just as long as we can get past any insinuations of paper tigers, since I've given a list of assertions made (and leading questions asked) that (if, and only if I am correct in what I am saying) constitute misdirection and misinformation.
The reason I didn't refute the other postulations regarding alternatives to using plants, is because they were mostly pretty valid. There's no need to refute those things. Just as long as you know that the giant head, telling you to ignore the man behind the curtain, is fucking with you.

Now down to the brass tacks. Copperfield USES PLANTS (sometimes). And that is really the big piece of truth that has been obscured here. And that's why I feel sorry for the OP. They asked an honest question on the straight dope and got lied to. Their theory was immediately shot down, without even being asked "which trick was it?" Now it may be the case that the trick in question was one of Copperfield's better ones, and did not utilise a plant at all. But it's too late to split those hairs now. I just wanted to support those who were being condescended to in this thread. Because some of them are actually very bright.
  #56  
Old 02-19-2018, 11:47 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 20,585
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Hackenbush View Post
Now down to the brass tacks. Copperfield USES PLANTS (sometimes).
I'm convinced. No doubt about it. Some otherwise unidentified new poster on an internet message board is all the proof I need to believe.
  #57  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:00 PM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Since this is an old thread you should know that Ianzin is a British magician and a member of The Magic Circle. They throw out members who reveal secrets, which is pretty much the death knell of any career.
Oh, you mean the Hokey-Freemasons? I'm pretty sure that if people wanna come and see your magic show, there's not much The Stuffy Pentagram can do to stop that. They're not actually magic.
  #58  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:03 PM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I'm convinced. No doubt about it. Some otherwise unidentified new poster on an internet message board is all the proof I need to believe.
You know you could have just asked "do you have any way to substantiate this?" instead of being sarcastic. But I appreciate not taking my word for it. So rather than putting effort into substantiating my claim. I will just say; Now go watch David Copperfield's "Portal" trick... with your brain switched on, please.
  #59  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:06 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 78,479
Mijin, that is indeed one possible way to do "pick a card, any card" tricks. But it's not the way to do it, in the sense that there are dozens of other methods that can be used, and even any given magician, even a low-end amateur, will probably use multiple methods.

Other possible methods (not meant to be an exhaustive list):
The magician has a trick deck with 52 copies of the same card.
The magician has a trick deck where the tops of the cards are slightly wider than the bottom, and he has the mark put the card in upside-down, where it can be picked out by feel.
The magician has a trick deck with distinctive markings on the backs of the cards, that he can read off the value from.
The "mark" is a plant.
The mark is genuine, but he has some other plant who sees the other side of the card, and communicates that to the magician.
There is a reflective surface positioned such that the magician himself can see the other side of the card.
The magician turns the deck face-up to the mark (except for the top card, to hide that fact), and then has the mark put the card back in the deck face-down, so it'll stand out.
The magician has the mark put the card back at the bottom of the deck, and uses a trick shuffle to keep it at the bottom.
The magician has the mark put the card back at the bottom of the deck, and has already snuck a peek at the card next to it, and then uses a trick shuffle to keep those two cards together.
The mark thinks they've chosen the card randomly, but the magician has actually used a force to guide the mark to one particular card.
The magician just guesses wildly, and has a joke set up for the likely event that they're wrong, and looks amazing if they're right.
The magician uses a combination of these techniques (e.g., using a partial force to restrict the mark to one of five different choices, and then having an out for each of those choices).
  #60  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:06 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Hackenbush View Post
You know you could have just asked "do you have any way to substantiate this?" instead of being sarcastic. But I appreciate not taking my word for it. So rather than putting effort into substantiating my claim. I will just say; Now go watch David Copperfield's "Portal" trick... with your brain switched on, please.
I never get tired of "I was going to tell you, but I take insult at your response, so I will refuse" type responses. How about provide cites for those that didn't offend you?
  #61  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:11 PM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr2001 View Post
Also, if you want to know why there are tongue depressors in a dermatologist's office, take up an interest in dermatology and pursue it diligently for many years. You'll get there in the end!

And hey, if you want to know why batteries explode, get a degree in chemistry and then get a job at a battery manufacturer. You'll have it figured out in no time.

Why bother asking the SDMB to answer a question when it's so much more rewarding to devote your life to finding the answer instead?
Although sometimes sarcasm really is pure genius.
  #62  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:34 PM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I never get tired of "I was going to tell you, but I take insult at your response, so I will refuse" type responses. How about provide cites for those that didn't offend you?
I never said I was but now I won't. I said, you could have been nice and gotten a nice response. But instead you get the "just watch this and leave me alone" response.

Seriously though. If you type "Copperfield portal" into youtube it should spit out the evidence you need. He's barely even trying to cover it up in this trick. It's the perfect storm of way-too-theatrical-and-over-the-top and too-lazy-to-care-anymore. I feel like this trick should be transparent to even the rubiest of rubes.

Is that not fair? I gave you something to look at that should show you everything you need to see. And I did it in the post you already responded to. In fact, I gave you everything you need to scrutinise and inform yourself, even though you didn't have the courtesy to ask for it. You're welcome, even though you were probably never going to thank me. (I hope by this point you can tell that I have no problem with you, and that I'm just riffing on the premise that we're "beefing")

Here's another hot tip. Not every audience member in this trick needs to be a plant for the trick to work, but the last dude pulled up definitely is. However keep in mind that a Frisbee is also a lot easier to aim than a balloon or teddy bear or whatever, especially for someone who can learn sleight of hand. So the interesting question here isn't whether plants are used. It's, how many plants are used?

Anyway, please don't get your britches in a twist. I'm not even slightly offended, I was just giving you a bit of guff because you gave me some cheek. No actual hard feelings.
  #63  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:38 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
And still no actual evidence, either. "Look it up on You Tube"?
How about linking us to the best cite you've got?
  #64  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:47 PM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by glee View Post
Firstly, as magicians have to earn a living, they are entitled to secrecy.

Secondly here is a brilliant trick involving an audience choice which has no plants.
Even the geniuses Penn and Teller couldn't work it out.
(I bought the trick and it's very clever!)
Yeah this trick bugs me, but in a good way. Like a challenging puzzle. I appreciate the cleverness of it, and I believe that the audience selection really was random too. But also notice that in that trick nobody was teleported to Hawaii to meet their estranged father.

Who writes to David Copperfield to be reunited with their offspring anyway? Dumb premise.
  #65  
Old 02-19-2018, 12:56 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The far canal
Posts: 12,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Not every magician is a member of The Magic Circle. Which member of The Magic Circle wrote a book revealing secrets and didn't get kicked out?
David Berglas, former president of the Magic Circle has written several books revealing the secrets. He wrote them as instruction manuals for magicians, but they are available to ordinary members of the public too. Nobody needs a secret handshake to buy them.
  #66  
Old 02-19-2018, 01:18 PM
Clothahump Clothahump is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 14,654
Quote:
Originally Posted by glee View Post
Firstly, as magicians have to earn a living, they are entitled to secrecy.

Secondly here is a brilliant trick involving an audience choice which has no plants.
Even the geniuses Penn and Teller couldn't work it out.
(I bought the trick and it's very clever!)
I came into this thread to reference that very act! And yes, I bought it, too. Absolutely wonderful illusion.
  #67  
Old 02-19-2018, 01:37 PM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
And still no actual evidence, either. "Look it up on You Tube"?
How about linking us to the best cite you've got?


So you won't take my word for it, but you would rather take my word for it through reference and citation than looking for yourself and using your own mind? You're setting us both up for a lose-lose situation. And since I suck at being a Rube, you're not gonna find me playing along in quite the way you want. You want me to either cough up what you're demanding, or roll over and die right?
Yeah, right. How about stop being chickenshit, watch the video and then get back to me?

There is actually a video by what appears to be an amateur magician explaining the trick, but I think his theory is overcomplicated and only partially correct. You can look at it if you want, but I question whether it's really worth it. Once again, if you youtube "Copperfield portal" then the "explained" video should also pop up. Otherwise, how many of Copperfield's peers do you really think are out there ratting him out? Who should I be quoting to give my claim "authority" to you? If Penn and Teller haven't ratted him out, nobody else has either. So what do you need?

The reality is, I gave you the best possible citation in the entire universe. I told you to look at Copperfield doing the trick. In this case he got cocky and lazy and it's too obvious and he failed to fool a lot of people with this one. If you want a less bullshit response than "go to the source and look for yourself" and "in this case it really is obvious", then you need a whole different reality to live in. Because I gave you the least bullshit, most empowering (to you) response possible.

You'd rather be browbeaten with "authoritative sources" and inundated with references to articles or some shit? Well we are talking about magicians here, their gimmicks don't exactly turn up in scientific journals or Rolling Stone magazine.

If you think that the person saying "DON'T take my word for it" and "look at the source and think for yourself" is trying to swindle or dis-empower you, then you are not very bright.

I wish you would just say to me, "I think you're an idiot."
Cause then I could just say "okay, that's fine," and let this little back-and-forth die (even though the burden of proof could then be transferred to you and I could be a douche and demand that you show some citations that prove that I'm wrong). But really, who cares?
I just thought it was unfair that a few folks, particularly Anamnesis, were being treated like illogical beings for twigging to how dishonest and dirty "magic" really is. If that bugs you for some reason, hey that's cool too.
  #68  
Old 02-19-2018, 01:41 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
Your feelings are hurt because I asked you for a cite?
I would rather you provide a specific cite for your specific claim-This way I won't accidentally pick a cite that doesn't exactly back your claim.
  #69  
Old 02-19-2018, 02:00 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
If you Google "copperfield portal", you get close to 3000 hits, and if you Google it without the quote marks you get 401,00 hits.

Which one are you using for a "cite"?
  #70  
Old 02-19-2018, 02:08 PM
Dr. Hackenbush Dr. Hackenbush is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRDelirious View Post
Applause please for The Amazing Dr. Hackenbush for making this thread reappear almost 14 years later. Truly a trick worthy of Houdin, Blackstone or Teller
Teller is my main man. He cannot tell a lie.
  #71  
Old 02-19-2018, 02:12 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Hackenbush View Post
You'd rather be browbeaten with "authoritative sources" and inundated with references to articles or some shit?
Beats pointing to thousands of videos and saying "find it yourself". Not really impressed with You Tube viddys put up by ghod-know-who, but if that's all you've got I'll take a look at the best one you've got.
  #72  
Old 02-19-2018, 03:18 PM
gigi gigi is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Flatlander in NH
Posts: 25,528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Hackenbush View Post
"Since this place is about combatting ignorance rather than spreading it around, let me state for the record:" - This sentence was pure evil. Flimflam on a Catholic scale.
What does this last part mean??
  #73  
Old 02-19-2018, 03:34 PM
Dingbang Dingbang is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 634
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Hackenbush View Post
Here's another hot tip. Not every audience member in this trick needs to be a plant for the trick to work, but the last dude pulled up definitely is. However keep in mind that a Frisbee is also a lot easier to aim than a balloon or teddy bear or whatever, especially for someone who can learn sleight of hand. So the interesting question here isn't whether plants are used. It's, how many plants are used?
I was once at a magic show where the performer selected random audience members to participate onstage by tossing out a bunch of soft Frisbee-type discs. Everyone who caught one was invited up. It was quick with a comedic patter. How many did he toss? Five? Six? Seven? He ended up with seven people onstage, including a guy who was sitting not particularly near where a disc landed. In the hubbub of people looking this way and that way at flying things and people getting out of their seats, he walked up with an identical disc and became one of the "randomly chosen" audience members. You can guess how integral his role was to making the trick work once he was up there.
  #74  
Old 02-19-2018, 04:43 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 29,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
Not true.
Absolutely true. I give you John Lenahan and David Devant for starters. You might also read this article from the Independent:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Independent
100 years of secret tricks

* 1905: 23 magicians gather at Pinoli's restaurant, London, to form the Magic Circle, swearing a pledge that prevents them discussing the methods of conjuringoutside the circle

* 1909: David Devant, its founder and first president, is expelled for revealing secrets in a magazine

...

* 2004: One member is expelled and three resign after their involvement in The Secrets of Magic, a show explaining the mechanics of tricks. Months later Spyros Melaris is expelled
  #75  
Old 02-19-2018, 05:01 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,893
With magic tricks in general, you are not seeing what you think you are seeing, and the magician will distract you from what he doesn't want you to see. Also the actual deception often happens very early in the presentation, when the audience is not sure what to be looking for, and then the result a few minutes later seems miraculous, because you have had time to fully accept the false perceptions.

In the case of random audience members making a choice there are a couple of options:

1-The magician forces the choice. For example he may show a normal deck of cards, then have the audience member choose one. But the audience member chose while looking at the back of the cards, and the magician had swapped the deck for one made of all seven of hearts....or whatever. The swap can be as simple as having a few random cards at the face of the deck to fan and _suggest_ that it is a normal deck. Alternatively the volunteer may cut the deck, but the magician manipulates his prefered card to the top of the cut...

2-The magician has a way to produce any possibility on demand. For example a pencil lead on ring can be used to quickly mark a number on an item almost as quickly as the audience member says it...or make it appear an item came out of the sealed envelope that has been sitting in view, when it actually came from behind it.
__________________
-Never tell a politician they are a two-bit whore, unless you want to be beaten silly with their bag of quarters.
  #76  
Old 02-19-2018, 05:05 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 29,145
Ianzin himself speaks here.
__________________
Quartz
  #77  
Old 02-19-2018, 06:42 PM
anamnesis anamnesis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago
Posts: 975
Funny seeing this zombie in my e-mail after this many years. Interesting that it would generate more conversation now than it did then. Figured I would put this here for reference, as it has been uploaded in the years since this thread began, and is the trick to which I was referring in post 11 back in 2004:

https://youtu.be/yIwgpVelX-c?t=1023

Hate to derail, but this performance incorporates several of the techniques discussed here, including the random participant method discussed in the OP. Having revisited the performance of the actual trick, I'm willing to concede some things in the interest of fair debate ...

Several folks have suggested that the objects of interest in any trick are kept somewhere on the stage where they can be manipulated or swapped. This I know. But the chalkboard (if that's what it actually is; it's likely a rather sophisticated prop rather than a simple writing surface) is kept in plain view the whole time, suspended by pendant cables. I like how he even flips the curtain up at the corner to show one of the words already written there: "at", a preposition from the middle of the last sentence which had probably yet to be completed in its entirety. Yeah, shocker, David probably didn't write the whole thing beforehand (probably not even his writing at all) and only the part at the corner is written in as a misdirect.

The board is definitely seen swaying in the air during the trick, and the stagehands take it off the cables at the end to bring it to the front of the stage. The video quality isn't terrific (though not bad for 1987) and it's very poorly lit back there, so it's difficult to speculate about what's going on during those ten seconds as the board is unmounted and moved into view.

It's entirely possible they could have an elaborate setup back there with someone skilled at quickly writing backwards (and perhaps also suspended on a cable?) who is transcribing with a white grease pen, or something similar that resembles chalk. Perhaps it's written on an opaque glass and the stagehands rig up a dark background behind that glass very quickly which creates the illusion of a chalkboard, which in turn would also disguise whatever was rigged up behind the board as well. Note that the stage curtain comes down after the board is moved forward into view, so we can't see anything that was behind it beforehand.

If it was being written on from behind, they sure do a great job of not making the board move around much while it hangs there. Just the wild speculations of a non-magician here, of course. With any luck, we can get some master illusionists back in here to shoot down any speculation and then re-recite the Magician's Code. Because that's always helpful.

Regardless, I am always skeptical of these random toss gimmicks to select people. As Dingbang just mentioned above, I've often thought there's something curious about how participants can sometimes be so integral to the success of the act. The selected individuals often seem a bit more eager than others to lunge after the tossed object as if they're spinsters desperate to catch a bride's wedding bouquet. That girl Rachel sure seemed grabby for that rose when you see how demure she seemed onstage; maybe I'm reaching here but if she's that shy, why was she lunging so hard at the rose?

Copperfield has done thousands of live shows over the years but he sure isn't doing TV specials anymore, so if participants were always faked with plants, I imagine it would be challenging to fake it over and over again every single day with the same actors. Maybe that's why he just goes and hand picks participants for certain tricks?

Last edited by anamnesis; 02-19-2018 at 06:46 PM.
  #78  
Old 02-19-2018, 07:03 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,013
I saw a great magician (or "mentalist" as he prefers) named Frederic da Silva in Vegas. One of the people called up on stage was my ten year old daughter, who I am 100% confident was not a stooge. It may be that he did have plants in the audience, but he did a very credible and amazing trick with her. There were others who I have a hard time believing were plants as well--a couple teenage brothers who were with family and excitedly talking after the show. He signed autographs after the show for anyone who asked and did a little close-up magic for each person; I'm pretty sure I know how the trick was done, but his aplomb was what made it work, and none of that involved plants.

PS, my daughter was selected by the "tossing the frisbee" technique. I actually caught it, but she begged to go onstage so I let her.

Last edited by TSBG; 02-19-2018 at 07:05 PM.
  #79  
Old 02-19-2018, 10:05 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 78,479
There's a set of tricks that you can do with a large number of volunteers, which depend on one and only one of the volunteers being a plant. Make the number large enough, and everyone in the audience will know someone or another on stage, and will be able to say "Well, that one isn't a plant". Which is true. But the misdirection is that the audience members will then go on to think "...therefore, none of them are plants", which is false.
  #80  
Old 02-19-2018, 10:24 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 13,335
When you get down to it how does audience plant differs that much from the standard curvaceous sexy lovely assistant as part of the profession, and been told she actually does all sorts of difficult magic-y stuff herself. Being upset about the purity of the art is like being upset when told that a crowd including hairy guys with shorts and microphones was actually standing around the star-crossed lovers in the most intimate heartbreaking scene in a movie.

I'm particularly grateful to this thread for the word "scrutinous." Not sure if it ever existed before, though.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 02-19-2018 at 10:26 PM.
  #81  
Old 02-19-2018, 10:37 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 13,335
scrutinous, a. Now rare.

(ˈskruːtɪnəs)

Also 6 scrutinus, 7 scrutenous.

[ad. F. †scrutineux (1512 in Godefr.), f. scrutin scrutiny: see -ous.]

Closely examining; searching.

1599 Nashe Lenten Stuffe 21 How impetrable hee was in mollyfying the adamantinest tiranny of mankinde‥those that be scrutinus to pry into, let them [etc.]. 1618 M. Baret Vineyard Horsem. i. Ded. to King 9 Although my Artlesse pen hath not made it so delightfull as to reuiue the dead senses of all scrutenous braines, which no Tullies Eloquence as yet could euer perswade. 1745 Eliza Heywood Female Spect. No. 3 (1748) I. 159 They cannot be too scrutinous into the principles of the persons entrusted with the direction of them. 1822–29 Good's Study Med. (ed. 3) V. 695 Dr. Gordon, after a scrutinous examination, has added his testimony to the same fact. 1891 Blackw. Mag. CL. 815/2 Don't let us be too searching and scrutinous.
  #82  
Old 02-20-2018, 08:29 AM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 39,993
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Hackenbush View Post
So you won't take my word for it, but you would rather take my word for it through reference and citation than looking for yourself and using your own mind? You're setting us both up for a lose-lose situation. And since I suck at being a Rube, you're not gonna find me playing along in quite the way you want. You want me to either cough up what you're demanding, or roll over and die right?
Yeah, right. How about stop being chickenshit, watch the video and then get back to me?

...

I wish you would just say to me, "I think you're an idiot."
Cause then I could just say "okay, that's fine," and let this little back-and-forth die (even though the burden of proof could then be transferred to you and I could be a douche and demand that you show some citations that prove that I'm wrong). But really, who cares?
I just thought it was unfair that a few folks, particularly Anamnesis, were being treated like illogical beings for twigging to how dishonest and dirty "magic" really is. If that bugs you for some reason, hey that's cool too.
Moderator Note

Dr. Hackenbush, insults are not permitted in this forum, or in any forum on this site outside the BBQ Pit. Since you are new here, I am not issuing an official warning at this point. However, you need to dial it way back if you want to continue to post here.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
  #83  
Old 02-20-2018, 11:39 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,839
I saw a magic trick (can't remember for sure, but I think it was David Blaine) where the trick involved a vanishing car magically appearing in the pocket of an audience member. The magician nor any possible accomplices were in contact with the audience member. The card appeared in a pocket that it did not seem you could "reverse pick pocket" it into without the person noticing. So it had to be a plant.

This trick turned me off. That's not magic, it's acting. Like Blaine's so-called levitation trick.
  #84  
Old 02-20-2018, 11:48 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
I saw a magic trick (can't remember for sure, but I think it was David Blaine) where the trick involved a vanishing car magically appearing in the pocket of an audience member. The magician nor any possible accomplices were in contact with the audience member. The card appeared in a pocket that it did not seem you could "reverse pick pocket" it into without the person noticing. So it had to be a plant.

This trick turned me off. That's not magic, it's acting. Like Blaine's so-called levitation trick.
The most amazing part wasn't making the car disappear-it was slipping it into the guy's pocket without anyone noticing.
  #85  
Old 02-20-2018, 01:13 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,839
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
The most amazing part wasn't making the car disappear-it was slipping it into the guy's pocket without anyone noticing.
Curses!

Well, it was a small car.
  #86  
Old 02-20-2018, 01:46 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 78,479
That actually caught me out, because making a car disappear isn't too out of line with what some of the overhyped magicians like Blaine would do (method: Stop the camera, drive the car away, re-start the camera). So I was just figuring that the car that appeared in the guy's pocket would be a toy.

It took me a while to realize that there was an obvious typo that would make more sense.
  #87  
Old 02-20-2018, 02:02 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 13,335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
That actually caught me out, because making a car disappear isn't too out of line with what some of the overhyped magicians like Blaine would do (method: Stop the camera, drive the car away, re-start the camera). So I was just figuring that the car that appeared in the guy's pocket would be a toy.

It took me a while to realize that there was an obvious typo that would make more sense.
Same here. Lesson: be more scrutinous.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 02-20-2018 at 02:03 PM.
  #88  
Old 02-20-2018, 02:03 PM
markn+ markn+ is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 1,546
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
It took me a while to realize that there was an obvious typo that would make more sense.
So it was a cat that appeared in his pocket? And it didn't scratch the hell out of him? Now that's amazing!
  #89  
Old 02-20-2018, 02:56 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 6,103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnick View Post
I was just at a David Copperfield show tonight, and most of his tricks involved the use of seemingly randomly chosen audience members.


...snipped...

His schtick was he'd toss an object into the crowd, and when someone grabbed it they would show that person on a large tv screen, holding the object. The lucky fella would then go up on stage to participate.

...snipped...
I was that guy once. At a David Copperfield show. Along with a bunch of other people.

It was a grande finale trick, where he disappeared a bunch of us at once.

I will point out that beforehand, as we got on stage, he had assistants asking us to promise that we weren't professional magicians and some other crap. Afterward, David Copperfield himself swore us to secrecy (in the little room where we got to see a previously filmed version of the trick). More about that later... *

Without going into details about the trick, I was amazed at the degree of buy-in we volunteers demonstrated. It was as if we were co-opted into being performers for the trick- we wanted it to work well! We moved when and where we were told. To the point that some people helped guide those who were confused a bit. It was like some kind of hypnosis (although we really had no contact with Copperfield until after the trick). Maybe more like Stockholm Syndrome? I have no idea what they would have done if someone sat on his hands and flatly insisted that they weren't going anywhere except by magic teleportation.

*It only struck me sometime later that this was probably only stagecraft. If we were magicians or reporters out to steal Copperfield's secrets, surely we would lie about it and agree to be in the trick. Afterward, there was no reason to swear us to secrecy. I could tell you all about how and where we moved, but that would not explain the core of the trick, which is how we moved off-stage and into the audience without people noticing. I also think a big part of the trick involves co-opting the active participation of the volunteers.
  #90  
Old 02-20-2018, 03:03 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
I was that guy once. At a David Copperfield show. Along with a bunch of other people.

It was a grande finale trick, where he disappeared a bunch of us at once.

I will point out that beforehand, as we got on stage, he had assistants asking us to promise that we weren't professional magicians and some other crap. Afterward, David Copperfield himself swore us to secrecy (in the little room where we got to see a previously filmed version of the trick). More about that later... *

Without going into details about the trick, I was amazed at the degree of buy-in we volunteers demonstrated. It was as if we were co-opted into being performers for the trick- we wanted it to work well! We moved when and where we were told. To the point that some people helped guide those who were confused a bit. It was like some kind of hypnosis (although we really had no contact with Copperfield until after the trick). Maybe more like Stockholm Syndrome? I have no idea what they would have done if someone sat on his hands and flatly insisted that they weren't going anywhere except by magic teleportation.

*It only struck me sometime later that this was probably only stagecraft. If we were magicians or reporters out to steal Copperfield's secrets, surely we would lie about it and agree to be in the trick. Afterward, there was no reason to swear us to secrecy. I could tell you all about how and where we moved, but that would not explain the core of the trick, which is how we moved off-stage and into the audience without people noticing. I also think a big part of the trick involves co-opting the active participation of the volunteers.
Pretty much the way it was described in a court case I read about in which someone claimed they were injured during the trick.
  #91  
Old 02-20-2018, 03:19 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 6,103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Pretty much the way it was described in a court case I read about in which someone claimed they were injured during the trick.
Prolly from a billy club, for not moving as instructed!
  #92  
Old 02-20-2018, 03:25 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 57,075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
Prolly from a billy club, for not moving as instructed!
Not exactly. The claimant says that he tripped and fell in a dimly lit backstage area after being "spirited away".
  #93  
Old 02-20-2018, 03:30 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg ftg is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 17,439
Re: David Copperfield and "helpful" audience members.

We discussed this "trick" a while back. He makes a train car "disappear".

In addition to the usual Copperfield nonsense of timely edits and big arm waves, note around 3:25 how the people underneath the cloth don't seem to be looking up as it starts to head over them.

Let's face it, wouldn't you look up then to see if the car was still under the cloth????
  #94  
Old 02-20-2018, 03:41 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 20,585
Here's something to remember, and is accurate 99+% of the time.

Whenever a cover, sheet or other obscuring device is introduced to a magic trick, you can be sure that it is hiding something that, if visible, would give away the trick or make it look non-magical.
  #95  
Old 02-20-2018, 03:48 PM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 11,828
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Good magicians will also often have different techniques for doing "the same trick" on different occasions. That way, when people try to figure out how it was done, they'll say "No, it couldn't have been that, because that one time when he did it..." and "it couldn't have been that other thing, because that other time...", when he really did use both of those methods.
I suspect something along the same lines but slightly more subtle. Because most people haven't seen the same magician perform the same trick twice. But having multiple methods allows him to offer the audience options which seem to rule out all methods.

For example, suppose he can do the "same" trick by using a trick prop, or by having a plant, or by "forcing" the choice. If he offers the audience a choice of their prop or his, then if they elect for their prop he has to go to one of the other methods. But if they don't then he uses the trick prop and does something which clearly rules out a plant or a "force". Then the audience themselves will rule out a trick prop since "he offered a choice of any prop we wanted", not realizing that had the audience provided their own prop then he would have done the trick slightly differently, in a manner which enabled one the alternative methods.
  #96  
Old 02-20-2018, 04:04 PM
Lemur866's Avatar
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 22,061
The dirty secret of magic is that often the tricks are just so dead simple and dumb that you wouldn't believe it. Often a gigantic show with props and whatever comes down to a dead simple trick a ten year old could do for his grandma. The skill comes from the performer confusing the audience so that they don't realize that the nub of the trick is a simple "pick a card, any card" chestnut that can be done in dozens of ways.

Or sometimes it's way harder than that.
  #97  
Old 02-20-2018, 04:32 PM
RedSwinglineOne RedSwinglineOne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon valley
Posts: 1,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by anamnesis View Post

It's entirely possible they could have an elaborate setup back there with someone skilled at quickly writing backwards (and perhaps also suspended on a cable?) who is transcribing with a white grease pen, or something similar that resembles chalk...?
My guess is that the "chalkboard" is actually some kind of fabric or a thin sheet of plastic. The "guess" is being written on the fabric offstage as the trick is happening. As the dark shadowy figures take the chalkboard off the chains and put it into its rolling rack, they slide the fabric into frame.
  #98  
Old 02-21-2018, 05:31 AM
crowmanyclouds's Avatar
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ... hiding in my room ...
Posts: 4,413
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Hackenbush View Post
{...} Here is a very abridged list of terms either coined or used regularly (often both) by magicians to describe the various skills of the trade;
back palm, crimp, ditch, force, gimmick, load, mark, PLANT, riffle, sleeving...
In fact the conjuring fraternity has more than one word for a plant; Confederate, Stooge and Shill are the first three to come to mind. {...}
Ya know, within the context of said list the word "plant" has a particular meaning, don't ya???

CMC fnord!
  #99  
Old 02-21-2018, 05:53 AM
Asuka Asuka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 767
Quote:
Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
I was a volunteer in a magic trick in Vegas last year and I'm certain that the others he picked weren't plants (they were members of a large high school tour group who'd have noticed if a stranger suddenly claimed to be one of them).



Not sure how you think you're disagreeing with anything there. Like you say, a pro magician will tell you basic public domain stuff but not tell you specific tricks because revealing your colleagues' trade secrets would be pretty crappy behaviour.

You can't copyright magic tricks. It's not legally permissable and even if it were copyrighting the trick would itself mean that you were telling everyone how your trick works so it'd be self-defeating. But magicians use a lot of time and skill to create their tricks, so they need some way to protect them, hence the Magic Circle's code of secrecy.
Actually IIRC you can claim a magic trick is a trade secret to gain some protections for it without revealing it. This was how Penn Jillette was able to sue somebody and win who got ahold of his laptop and threatened to sell his tricks online.
  #100  
Old 02-21-2018, 08:31 AM
Ann Hedonia's Avatar
Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
The most amazing part wasn't making the car disappear-it was slipping it into the guy's pocket without anyone noticing.
Once I was on the subway when a guy walked through the car performing magic tricks.

He asked me to help with one. He asked me to make a fist, then he put his hand over my fist. He removed it and said “ is there anything in your hand?” I said no. I did not think there was anything in my hand. Then he asked me to open it and a whole bunch of small nerf balls flew out.

All I can say was that this guy was good. Best as I can figure, he used a small straw or something to insert the nerf balls into my hand, but I did not feel it.

And this wasn’t Copperfield, it was just some guy on the subway.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 02-21-2018 at 08:31 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:12 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017