Favourite Magic Trick Or Illusion

On TV recently in the UK there have been lots of programmes about magic and illusion. Many of them have been about the best magic tricks performed.

I just wanted to know what your favourite tricks/illusions are. Mine is the David Copper field flying one, that illusion really amazes me.

Has Copperfield improved his flying routine? Last time I saw it, I’m not even sure it qualified as an illusion. If a guy is suspended from wires, and it looks like he’s suspended from wires, that’s not much of an illusion.

My favorite illusion I’ve seen was in a touring production of Phantom of the Opera. In one scene, the Phantom and Christine are fleeing frantically across the stage on a number of catwalks. No sooner do they disappear off one side of the stage on one catwalk, but they re-enter the stage at some point far removed and continue running. Obviously they used doubles, but you get a clear enough view of them at the start and end of the scene that you know it’s the regular actors, and with the pattern of catwalks, I wasn’t able to figure out any way they could possibly have gotten the actors from point A to point B quickly enough.

Got you nose.

I never get tired of that one.


I like close-up magic. Cups and Balls is my fave with it’s cousin The Shell Game as a close second. I know (pretty much) how the tricks are pulled off. I just like to watch the performance value.

Anything by Penn & Teller. None of this wussy David Copperfield stuff, where anyone with an IQ over 70 could figure it out.

Oh, a specific trick? Okay… I don’t remember which CBS special it was, but Penn & Teller did one where the climactic trick was having Teller (the quiet guy) get run over by an 18-wheeler. At the end of the show, Teller lies down, the 18-wheeler runs over him with all the tires on its left side, and Teller gets up without a scratch.

Penn then reveals that all of the left-side tires were harmless foam props, and the truck didn’t tilt over because it was counterbalanced with lots of weights on the right-hand side (which the viewers didn’t see). :smiley:

I like a particular trick that I’ve seen done by the Pendragons among others. Person gets into a stand-up rig that kinda looks like the letter A; his head is on top, his legs opened wide to either side, his arms are straight out to the sides. The only part of his body covered by anything is his torso.

Lovely Assistant then punches her hand through section covering his torso, which appears too small to allow side-to-side movement. Then, she proceeds to crawl through the hole. After her entire body passes through, he casts aside the torso covering and steps out of the rig.

I mean, I’m sure it’s a simple matter of getting your body into a particular position, but the trick just looks so damn cool.

I like card tricks. Any kind.

The best one I saw was one where this magician had someone choose a card out of the deck, memorize it, put it back (you know, standard routine), then shuffle it.

They gave it back to the magician, then he threw the entire deck onto a table, scattering the cards everywhere. He then picked up a small knife, threw it at a random spot on the table, hitting a card.

He moved the other cards away from the pierced card, then picked the knife up with the card still stuck threw it, and revealed it. Of course, it was the card.

I mean, it’s still the standard you-choose-a-card-and-I’ll-guess-it routine, but it’s just the way it was done. Loved it.

Max Torque I was going to mention that one. It looks fantastic.

I’d just like to interject that there is no “standard routine” for the old “pick a card” trick. Every magician’s presentation, style, and probably method will be different for that one. It’s just a trick of the memory that makes the audience think that they’re all similar.

My favorite is the “stab the chosen card with a knife” trick done by Penn & Teller as only they would do it. I saw it in their very first special on PBS.

The Chris Angel “transformation” trick. Amazingly he does it without any material cover. He does use a bright flash of light and an explosion at the critical moment to hide the switch, but it’s still great.

I never get tired of seeing people’s reactions to these few tricks. Those of you who are magicians will know what I talk about.

-The Invisible Deck.
-Handkerchiefs/Thumb Tips

I also enjoyed Mr Copperfield’s Statue of Liberty thing.

And my favorite of them all, is Penn and Teller’s bullet-catching trick. I get a kick out of that one.

I always liked the ones where they do something like take a $20 bill from an audience memebr have them sign it or tearoff a corner or something to make it unique and then after some machinations the bill shows up rolled up in the middle of an uncut apple.

Not really a magic trick as such, but my favourite routine has got to be the guy who eats the cigarettes.

Strange; what normally happens when someone says something like that is that someone else very shortly says something along the lines of “Oh, no, that’s not how he does it! Wires! honestly! - I know how he does it and you couldn’t be more wrong etc etc” (without ever divulging the supposed secret, of course).

Well, OK, maybe he doesn’t use wires. I claim no special knowledge. All I know is, when I saw him do it, it looked like wires, and while “make it look like someone is flying” is an impressive trick, “make it look like someone is hanging from wires” is not an impressive trick.

And Gangster Octopus, I thought you were about to mention the trick where the magician takes a $20 bill from an audience member, has them sign it or something, and then the magician sticks it in his pocket and says “Thanks”.

He does use wires - of course he uses wires; the only reason people say he doesn’t is wannabe pseudo-mysterious ego-puffing.

The VCR card trick by Penn and Teller is pretty funny, as well as effective.

The “Coffee to Quarters” miracle by David Blaine was left untouched and unrevealed by the “Secrets of the Street Magician” show. I don’t think even Randi has the heart to debunk that.

Oops, that was Steve Ballmer that did the monkey.

I have a certain affinity for the Penn & Teller card tricks. They’ve essentially idealized them into the two component parts: force you to pick a specific card (which is always the same one, the 3 of clubs), then pick that card out of the deck. So it’s all in the creativity and the execution.