Images from Lance Burton’s New Film

In our effort to learn as much as we can about Billy Topit: Master Magician — Lance Burton’s recently wrapped film — we found a site established last year with some behind the scenes shots that may be of interest to like-minded magic lovers.

http://billytopit.dreamhosters.com/

We will keep you apprised on anything else we find as we obsessively dig through the internet for clues on release date and plot details.

 

Master Magician Lance Burton Wraps New Film

Inside Magic Image of Lance Burton, Master MagicianInside Magic Favorite Lance Burton just put the finishing touches on his new film, Billy Topit: Master Magician and we cannot wait to see it.

It is a comedy about a magical love affair written by Mr. Burton and the incredibly funny and talented Michael Goudeau.  Mr. Goudeau performed his juggling act as a part of Mr. Burton’s long-running Las Vegas magic show and can be heard each week as part of Penn Jillette’s Penn’s Sunday School.

The plot seems straightforward and full of possibilities: Master Magician Billy Topit (inside joke for us magical types) is being pursued by unsavory organized crime members while he tries to convince his dream girl to be his assistant.

“It’s been lot of fun,” Mr. Burton told Norm Clarke of The Las Vegas Review-Journal.  “There’s a lot of magic in it and cool stuff.”

As we learn more about the film, its release date and publicity plan, we will let you know.  Billy Topit, classic!

Houdini’s Classic Film The Grim Game Restored

Inside Magic Image of The Grim Game PosterTurner Classic Movies will air its restoration of the previously considered lost Houdini film The Grim Game at its TCM Classic Film Festival in March.

Like all magic enthusiasts, we have seen the movie poster for The Grim Game and perhaps some stills or clips but never the entire film.

In fact, we were speaking with Magic Castle Librarian Lisa Cousins just a couple of weeks ago and she shared a rumor that the only remaining print might become available in the near future.  She, like the Oracle at Delphi, offered nothing more; indicating but not revealing.

We are loyal TCM watchers and love learning about movies – and surprisingly do not miss the constant commercial interruptions that accompany films shown on other networks – and cannot wait to learn more about TCM’s involvement in this project.

Houdini produced this film in 1919 and stars as Harvey Hanford (see how the character’s initials are HH just like Houdini’s — we don’t think that is a coincidence), a young man framed for murder.  Houdini was apparently not afraid of being type-cast as an athletic escape artist as the movie shows him escaping, leaping, fighting and other daring do.  TCM relates that the film captures a mid-air collision between two airplanes that was a real accident caught on film.  The filmmakers used the amazing footage in the story.  We read somewhere that Houdini claimed to have been on one of the two planes even though he was safely on the ground at the time of the incident.

Surprisingly, there was only one surviving complete copy of the film, owned by Larry Weeks, a 95-year-old retired juggler.  Mr. Weeks got the film from the Houdini estate in 1947 and was never willing to sell it.

“Harry Houdini is an compelling cultural icon, but most people don’t know about his movie career,” said Charles Tabesh, SVP Programming at TCM.  “He made several films, but The Grim Game was his first feature, considered his best.  It’s fascinating to see Houdini as an actor.  It’s really fun to watch [the film] that even the most hardcore fans haven’t had a chance to see.”

TCM will screen the film in Hollywood and has booked composer Brane Zivkovic to conduct a live performance of his new score written just for the movie.  TCM will air the restored classic on its channel later this year.

Jennifer Lawrence Loves Close-Up Magic

Jennifer LawrenceWe knew we liked Jennifer Lawrence for some reason.  Yes, she is a big star and in that movie about hungry kids fighting each other and watching TV or something.

But more importantly, she was outed yesterday as a lover of close-up magic.

According to ABC News Elizabeth Banks spilled the beans in an MTV interview:
“She loves close-up magic,” Banks told MTV. “That’s just a thing about her. She’s like obsessed with David Blaine.”

The reporter asked Banks if Lawrence, 24, could perform magic, and once again, her response was classic.

“She can’t do any magic,” Banks said of Lawrence. “Except entrancing nations to fall in love with her. But she really enjoys magic tricks.”
We’re not making this up.  You check it for yourself and see here.

Documentary Asks, Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?

Inside Magic Image of Psychic SignPunctuation marks, like psychics and documentary film producers, can be powerful.

It can protect authors from ridicule and add to legends.  For instance: “Inside Magic wins Nobel Prize!” contains the same words as “Inside Magic wins Nobel Prize?” but says something entirely different.  The first statement would be considered false (at least so far) but the second phrase is merely a question.

So the name of the new documentary by Vikram Jayanti, The Secret Life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy? conveys something or maybe nothing.  The documentary is just asking a question, that’s all.

We have not seen the documentary yet but have doubts about the premise.   Those doubts spring from our doubts about Mr. Geller’s psychic ability.

According to the British newspaper The Independent, the film “offers compelling evidence of his involvement in the shadowy world of espionage.

“Uri has a controversial reputation. A lot of people think he is a fraud, a lot of people think he is a trickster and makes things up but at the same time he has a huge following and a history of doing things that nobody can explain,” Mr. Jayanti told reporters.

Speaking to The Independent, Geller acknowledged alarm when he first saw Jayanti’s documentary.

Mr. Geller said he is “happy that the doc is showing ‘a serious side’ to him.” Mr. Geller claims he used his psychic skills to accomplish positive things, nothing negative.  For instance, he refused a request to kill a pig by stopping its heart via telepathy.  He was concerned his spy handlers would next ask him to kill a human with the same unexplained powers.  Presumably he saw this dangerous slippery slope thanks to his ability to foretell the future or maybe it was just a hunch.
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