How did David Copperfield vanish the Statue of Liberty?

Original column by Melis.

I just thought I’d let everyone know (in case you didn’t notice) that Ask Yahoo! basically just cited to the Dope column when asked this same question. Sort of lame, if you ask me. Not that you asked me.

That’s not how he REALLY did it. How he REALLY did it is a secret that no magician will ever reveal.

Just trying to be pro-active.

Short answer-he used a camera trick. It takes no talent whatsoever to turn a camera away from the target and say “Look! It’s gone!”

There weren’t any cameras involved for the audience who was present. It was a perfectly well-executed, if simple, illusion.

What ever happened to the fountain of youth he claimed to have found?

You misunderstood. He found a fountain of Ute, in Provo, on the U of U campus.

Maybe I was watching on a different network, but on my set, the statue never even came close to vanishing. I was very disappointed, and I wondered how much he was paid for his lame display.


That part of it was a perfectly well-executed illusion-what was shown to the television audience that night was a cheap camera trick.

Huh? Then why didn’t he just put the camera with the audience, so we saw what the audience did?

The camera for us home viewers was pointed where the Statue Of Liberty was, the mumbly-magic words were recited, then the camera was pointed at the new destination, where the Statue wasn’t. The on-site audience got an elaborately staged trick involving a platform that turned without anybody noticing the movement(damn nice trick, that), but all the rest of us got was a redirected camera.
If he had a camera pointed directly at the audience, we would have seen the live audience slowly turning to point in the new direction.

That still doesn’t explain why the camera wasn’t placed on the platform, along with the audience, as Priceguy suggested. It would not have given away the platform + audience turning, since it would be turning at the same time along with all the rest.

I wish he had done that-then we would have had the same opportunity as the audience to experience the original trick, instead of the camera trick we did get.

I’m not sure what “camera trick” you’re referring to. If you re-watch the video on YouTube, you’ll see the camera is on the same platform as the audience - unless this is a different audience or something…

I believe he also arranged for the lights on the statue to be turned off.

Yeah, I agree with critter42. If you check youtube, you’ll see that the camera is clearly on the stand with the audience / Copperfield. We see the curtain go up, we see the audience sitting there, we see Copperfield futzing with the ahem radar, and then we see the curtain go down to the lack of a statue.

Am I missing something? Here’s a youtube link.

I cordially invite you to this thread where I ask how David Copperfield flies.

“I have never seen a Statue of Liberty dissappear the way this one did” maybe the funniest audience reaction quote ever. In fact, I’ve never seen a person say something in response to a statue of liberty dissappearing that’s made me laugh as much as this one.

Unlike the live audience, the home viewer had only the narrow view of the single stationary camera pointed directly between the two posts. We could neither look away to see if any other landmarks were moving(he couldn’t shut down all the lights in the area), nor did we have any chance what so ever of feeling the movement, however slight, of the stage. For an audience member to have the same experience as the home viewer, she/he would have to have extreme tunnel vision and be totally paralyzed.

Ok, Czarcasm, let’s see if we can get on the same page:

You said (in reference to putting the camera on the platform with the audience):

And that’s what spawned my post (and critter’s post as well) - he did put the camera on the platform with the audience. Yes, it gave us a narrow view pointed directly between the two posts - but it was on the platform nonetheless, that’s what made the trick work.

I don’t think anyone has argued (or is going to argue) with the rest of your points. I mean, of course home viewers couldn’t look around to see other landmarks moving. Of course home viewers couldn’t feel whether the stage moved. Nobody’s arguing we got less of a trick - a “camera trick” as you described it - than the actual audience.

I’m just saying that camera was on that platform - like you said you wanted.

I’ll grant you that(memory being fuzzy and all that), but the “view” we got was but a tiny fraction of the view the live audience got. If the camera had been set back a few feet with the audience instead of right at the front edge of the stage with Mr. Copperfield, so that we had somewhat the same range as the audience, we would have at least some of the same experience as they did.