David Blaine - How did he do this magic trick ??

I was watching David Blaine on TV the other night - Sad, yes I know - anyhoo, he did this trick where he covered a piece of the window of a jewellers shop with a sheet of newspaper, and then stuck his hand through the newspaper, and through the window and removed a watch which he gave to a spectator.

When he was finished, there was a hole in the newspaper, but - shock horror - no hole in the perfectly normal window.

Now, given that he didn’t actually stick his hand through the window, and presuming (perhaps naively) that the spectators aren’t in on the trick, how does he manage it ??

Any Circle of Magic people out there, who’d like to shed some light on this ??


If there are secrets to be shared (which I doubt) , can I ask a further question:

how does he do the empty crushed beer can => full (and closed) new beer can, in full view of picnickers?

Were the faces of the onlookers visible when the camera showed his hand penetrating the window; if they weren’t (and I’m betting this is the case), then I suggest that the trick they saw on the street was a different one (but perhaps impressive enough to warrant their enthusiastic response) and that the shot of his hand going through the paper/glass was filmed in a studio and added in later in place of the original trick.

It wouldn’t suprise me if this trick was a set up. By that I mean that what you see on TV, is not what actually happened, as Mangetout suggests.

If you’ve seen the levitation trick on TV, Blaine appears to rise a good 4 or 5 inches off the ground. But if you’ve seen the unedited shots, you can see that he simply pushes up on the tips of his toes - you can see that his feet are still in contact with the ground. I think some of these tricks rely on stooges, and a lot of them are pre-prepared to make it look more amazing.

Mangetout, their faces were visible throughout, the couple were standing beside him. (yes, I watched the programme too). He first took the watch off the womans wrist, (them passed it to an assistant, who then placed it in the window, behind the glass.) Or so we were supposed to believe.

Actually, I would think the reaching through the glass was the illusion added in later (as you guessed), as the couple would have been unable to see this from their viewpoint due to the newspaper. He could then have kept her watch in his hand throughout and handed it back to her after pretending to reach through. But it was still a very slick, neat trick, extremely well executed.

Thanks guys. God, I love the straight dope. So many answers.

To answer your 2nd question about the beer can and also without actually giving the secret away… It is a commercially available effect called “Healed and Sealed” and it can be done with any soda pop can. It is a truely amazing effect.

If you use Usenet you should be able to find/ask for the answer in alt.magic.secrets

As a professional magician, I’m just dropping by to say that it’s largely pointless asking this kind of question here on the Straight Dope. Those who know the answer don’t tell (because we don’t reveal that stuff) and those who tell don’t know. They may come up with some half-baked guesses based on what they think they know or remember, but they are usually 99% wrong. And if you’re basing your guesses on those ‘Masked-Twit-Does-Old-Tricks-Badly’ shows, forget it. They’re about as reliable as Bill Clinton taking an oath of celibacy.

As for alt.magic.secrets, by all means go there if life is getting just a tad too exciting for you, but I’ll share a friendly warning: riddled with trolls intent on spreading disinformation. Have fun.

The only way to really know how tricks are done is to develop a serious interest in our art form, take your time, learn your stuff and make the right connections. This isn’t a bad idea, by the way, because you can have a lot of fun and make money doing it.

I haven’t seen the show, and I’m not entirely sure from the description given – did they ever actually show the watch behind the glass? I’m thinking of a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot where the watch is there, and then shown gone when the trick is over.

From what was said, it sounds like they didn’t even show his hand inside the store picking up the watch, did they? Given that the item was provided by an audience member, I’m not sure what the jewelry store has to do with it, other than effect (not that that’s not a large portion of what magic tricks are).

The effect of the hand through the plate glass window was effective but again was set up more for the TV audience.
The store front was a mock-up. You can look at it on the film and tell it looks out of place on that city street. Maybe placed in front of another store or even a brick wall for that matter.
It fools the tv viewer because they are to believe its an actual store front. The two spectators know it’s not an actual store front but are still amazed because 1) The watch made it there and 2) It still appears that he put his arm through the window.
The watch made it there by Blaine doing whatever he does to get it away from the spectator and then transfering it to a helper who relocates it in the mock store front. Again the spector was astonished that “Hey, how’d my watch get over there” rather that what they want the TV viewer to think “Hey, how’d they get his watch inside that actual closed business.”
Getting his arm through the glass was done similarily to the trick that can be bought at any magic store. The one where a plastic frame with a solid piece of clear plastic is in it’s center. Two playing cards are placed on either side of the frame and “ta-da” you can push a pencil through the middle. This being done by the sheet of clear plastic sliding over an inch to reveal a hole in the plastic.
Similarily, the mock-store front window slides left to right in its frame work. Because it’s transparent and probably pretty clean (i.e. no fingerprints or smudges) one can not notice when it moves left or right.
(Still with me?)
Blaine positions his body against the glass between the left side of the frame and the place where he’ll penetrate the glass. The glass then slides to the right and the hole in the glass slides from behind the left of the window frame, behind Blaine’s body, and to the spot he put’s his hand through.
He put’s his hand through to grab the watch, pulls it out, and the while still blocking the window, the hole slides back to the left behind him and back behind the framework.

What? Magic isn’t REAL? IT’s only tricks?So…what I heard about Sant and the Easter Rabbit is true? They’re only guys in dresses!!!

Being serious, if magic were really “magical”, do you think Blaine would be freezing his butt for money?

I asked the exact same question a while back:


Kinda funny - I guess there are reruns.

When I found out there was probably studio work edited in with the street stuff I lost all interest in ever watching this guy again. I thought he was all about “in your face” street magic. With less than a little editing I can make stuff disappear too. I’m sure what he does up close is impressive but fooling a viewer by virtue of editing is just plain lame. You need to have some amount of trust in the people who are attempting to decieve you.

err, deceive.