David Copperfield

If David Copperfield performs his flying illusion without the use of wires, then how does he do it?

The woman is really flying. He’s magic I tell ya!

Actually, this is addressed in a great book called Big Secrets (there is also Bigger Secrets and Biggest Secrets).

The point the author makes is that there is some kind of support (no kidding). If not wires, then support from underneath. Yeah, a hoop goes around the woman, but maybe the hoop has a slit of a portion that gies way when it reaches the support. (sometimes it’s an angled support so that the hoop never goes all the way across just changes directions half way and comes right back by allowing the loop to swing around the woman).

Either way - and I hate to admit it - I love a good magic show.


You’ve seen the trick with the three linked rings that become unlinked, then linked, because one of the rings has a small slit in it, carefully concealed by the hand of the magician – the hand is faster than the eye and all that. So the flying trick is a variation on that.

Unless she’s wearing a powerful magnet and there’s a powerful magnet in the ground beneath her with the same charge, that repels her and keeps her up…

(Sorry, sarcasm leak)

Of course there’s wires. It has to be wires. You know what it is? It’s wires.


Making his assistant levitate is done with a support hidden behind the magician’s body that curves around him to the woman’s back. The hoop passes over her twice, which is the key to the trick.

Copperfield flying is done on wires - the billowy background hides them from view.

I also know how he does a fair few of his other tricks too (though not all of them).

Well, I think he should have married Agnes first off. That Dora was SUCH an airhead.


Frankly, until Mr. Copperfield gives a public apology for the Statue of Liberty trick, I’m not watching any of his shows.

Is “David Copperfield” his real name? Or is he a real big Charles Dickens fan?

I have been to one of his shows and he definitely uses wires. We had really good seats and binoculars. When he had the woman levitate, they took her off stage and then when she came back he made her fly. You could tell that there were wires, but the background (a billowy and shiny cloth one) did a fairly good job of covering the wires but they were wires.

David Copperfield is not his real name I believe. I have seen a special about him but I cannot remember his real last name, I think David is his real first name.


An addition to my last post.

David Copperfield
born: David Seth Kotkin
birthday: September 16, 1956
birthplace: Metuchen, New Jersey

He was on TV here in Australia just last week saying how choosing Copperfield as his name is one of his biggest regrets. It just means people either get confused, or he gets asked about it, constantly.

I think his real name is kind of cool, really.

I do know how he made the Statue of Liberty disappear too.

Any magician that uses a camera trick on a television audience ought to be banned from performing.
Since I am not revealing a magician’s trick, here is what happened: He had the studio audience, and the cameras, sitting on a large platform, look across the river at the Statue of Liberty. He turned out all the lights, and while he gave the usual patter, the platform slooowly turned away from the Statue. Now, the studio audience was properly tricked, but we at home had no choice in looking in the same direction as the platform-mounted cameras!
Or in other words, he cheated.

Did you see the TV special where he went to the Bermuda Triangle for some escape trick? Supposedly, he ended up getting sucked into another dimension, and returning aboard a ship that had been lost decades before. (Of course, at the conclusion of the trick, the ship conveniently caught fire and burned away entirely.)

The whole thing was obviously a staged production. They didn’t even have an audience, just the TV cameras. I was so disappointed in it that I pestered my dad to call the network and complain.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

Well, you could argue that he always cheats. He never performs real magic.

My complaint is that he sometimes reverts to television gimmicks, not bothering with any “magic” or illusion at all. I don’t expect him to perform miracles, but I at least want to be entertained while I try to figure out the secret.

A ‘camera trick’ is one that is digitally induced. And no stage magician on TV ever uses tricks like that

However they do limit where the TV cameras can go. Sometimes they’ll show ‘behind’ the trick for a few seconds variously through the trick, but of course when the cameras break away, that’s when the real stuff is going on. That’s so standard that the Statue of Liberty thing wouldn’t be considered cheating at all.

Except in so far as all ‘tricks’ are cheating.

Bullshit. He didn’t just limit our camera view. He actually moved the camera!
Ask any magician if they think that camera tricks are magic tricks. Years of practice and hard work on a craft do NOT equal,“O.K. pan the camera and let’s tell the home audience a lie.”

But we were seeing what the real audience was seeing.


He does a trick where he is locked in a safe and the building collapses around him, all the while a video camera is trained on the safe watching his attempts to escape. Well the video image is fake - it’s pre-recorded.

There’s also one he did of a TV camera disappearing after putting it in a box, and we are seeing the image the camera is showing up until the point it ‘vanishes’ - except as the box closes around the camera there’s a brief kzzzt and we’re now looking through a little video camera that’s built into part of the box, so the big camera can slip out the back.

To make the train carriage disappear while surrounded by a ring of audience members, all it takes is a few audience members who are in on it, and a light shining right at the camera to hide the movement, and voila, the carriage ‘disappears’.

Going over the Niagara Falls? He slipped out the bottom of the box before it even launched (you can see him in his white coat, pretending to be one of the official assistants) and he has fake arms and legs struggling as the platform floats away. But the camera is trained only on the box, not on the assistant who sneaks away to hang off a helicopter.

He uses twins for assistants, doubles of himself for switches, and plants in the audience. They’re all cheats. It’s what a trick is.

But he’s not ever using digital trickery. No split screens or Quantel Paintbox stuff. That’s what they mean by ‘camera tricks’.

Camera tricks are not necessarily digitally induced; there are plenty of simpler ways to do things. For an easy example, watch an episode of the old Batman TV show with Adam West, and watch the Dynamic Duo scale a building. No digital effects are involved there, I assure you.

OK, so why did he choose the name Copperfield? I never read the Dickens book, did he just like the character?

AuraSeer, you’re not listening.

I am talking about what magicians are referring to as ‘camera tricks’, not what you yourself call ‘camera tricks’.

Magic is illusion, and they use modern technology in that illusion to make us be amazed by their clever trickery. It’s the magician’s mind, dexterity, and fabulous sleight of hand that we are there to see. Not a trick based on switching the camera off and when it’s back on a lady has vanished. So when they say ‘no camera trickery’ that is what they mean.

However, it’s perfectly legit to limit our views of something using the camera as our eye, just as the real audience are limited by sitting in an auditorium.
And Revtim, I don’t know why he chose Copperfield specifically. He hedges around that, it was probably random and it sounded better. In a way it harks back to the era of Houdini, which is a nice kind of twit. Also, he did say (though he claimed he was kidding) that he looked a lot like those illustrations of that era: skinny and in those suits and shoes and stuff.