What's your favorite magic trick?

Mine is the Zig-Zag Lady. It’s the illusion in which a woman is placed standing upright in a box, two blades are placed throught the box, and the middle section is pulled out to the side so there is apparently a gap between her top and bottom sections. I’ve loved it since I was a little kid. It’s a very aesthetically pleasing shape. Since you can see her face, hands, and feet at all times it looks much less fake than other illusion that involve fake body parts. Plus these factors allow her to interact with the audience much more than other illusions. What’s your favorite and why?

I like sleight-of-hand tricks more than I do big staged illusions. While there’s obviously a lot of thought and imagination that goes into planning and staging a large scale illusion (unless you’ve stolen the trick, of course), I tend to see the smaller palming or misdirection tricks as requiring a good level of skill as well as showmanship.

Having said that, my favourite trick is bullet catching.

I agree with Revenant about close up card tricks. Pure skill, no camera illusions - a really personal experience.

I did see, long ago, Harry Blackstone do an amazing thing with a light bulb:

  1. Harry Blackstone Jnr., Floating Lightbulb (1977)


I did think the Slydini’s slight of hand was amazing.

Doug Henning did a nice trick where he put his assistant in a crate, chained and tied up, of course, and switch places with her in about a second.

The sliding thumb.

The trick is horribly dated now, but it was my introduction to Penn & Teller and which made me a fan for life.

I’m at a friend’s house and out of the blue he asks if I wanted to do a card trick. I say sure and pick a card. The card (of course) happens to be the three of clubs. He puts it back, shuffles the deck and pulls out the wrong card. He does this two or three times before giving up.

Some time later, we are chilling out watching tv and the news reporter is giving an update on some senator. Then, someone on the side hands her something and she says ‘this just in. Is THIS your card?’ and she holds up the three of clubs!

My jaw hit the floor and I was amazed at the whole thing. I ended up buying the tape, ‘Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends’, and like I said, it all appears dated (particularly the MTV segment trick), but is still amazing.

Plus, it has a video from The Residents on it.

I’d have to say that my favorite trick is the Pen and Coin Routine done by the current FISM Grand Prix Close-Up Champion (And also good friend of mine) Rick Merrill of Grand Rapids, MI.

This is absolutely the best parlor routine I’ve seen. What this guy does with a few coins and a sharpie marker is nothing short of AMAZINHG!

If the orange-tree trick done by Edward Norton in ‘The Illusionist’ is real, then my vote goes for that one.

Failing that, the Chinese Water Torture Cell trick by Houdini is the ultimate classic.

I never cease to be amazed at the trick where you cut the cards as often as you like, then divide them into two piles alternately and come out with the half-decks all of the same color. If you start off with a deck that has alternating color, when you cut it it will still be of alternating color! (Again, did I say I was impressed by this?)

The Invisble Thread.

I love, absolutely love, close-up sleight-of-hand magic. One time I got to go to the Magic Castle in Hollywood, and thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

If it weren’t somewhat inconvenient, and slightly expensive, I’d consider joining as a nonmagician associate.

Sometimes called “The Transformation” and lots of people do it. My favorite version of it is Criss Angel’s. He does it in the open, without concealment. Instead, he sets off squibs at the critical moment, blinding the audience for a second. That’s one of my favorites.

My other favorite is blindfolded Teller trying to pick the selected card by stabbing it with a knife because, as Penn said, regular card tricks are wimpy.

Penn tries to rearrange the cards and Teller stabs without warning, impaling Penn’s hand and the selected card. Penn jerks up his impaled hand (with dripping blood and showing the card) and screams for a few seconds. Then he says in a normal tone of voice, “Is that your card?”

Absolutely wonderful. It was on their first TV special, “Penn and Teller Go Public” and it sold me on them right there.

I’ll assume you know about their updated version of the trick, which requires traveling to Forest Lawn Mortuary to complete? :slight_smile: