David Copperfield made the tough choice of successor, sort of, as part of the NBC Today Show’s Magic Mondays.
The finalists, in order of the last letter of their first name: Kayla Drescher, Jeff Prace and Ben Jackson.
NBC’s publicists claim “hundreds of aspiring magicians sent in videos of themselves performing magic tricks in TODAY’s quest to find the next David Copperfield. Producers teamed up with Copperfield to pick the three best to perform on Monday’s show.”
Ms. Drescher is a magic bartender from Boston and performed “a magic bottle cap trick, swapping Heineken caps with Sam Adams and Bud Light tops right before their eyes.”
Mr. Prace is college student created a stir by producing “a full pack appear from just a single stick.”
Mr. Jackson tore a picture of the show’s hosts and restored same.
Mr. Copperfield chose Ms. Drescher to win the show’s Magic Mondays trophy plus a trip to witness the master magician’s acclaimed Las Vegas show currently at his home in the desert, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.
Mr. Copperfield correctly observed, “[t]o have more women doing magic is a great thing. We’d like to see more of that.”
Congratulations to the finalists and to Ms. Dresher for bringing home the big win.
Mark Panner, the erstwhile Inside Magic stringer, said a NBC producer returned his entry tape with a perfunctory note. He performed Hippity Hop Rabbits in the 43 minute video. He was proud that the “turn-it-around” portion of the trick lasted more than a half hour and featured a student audience from Mystic Hollow Elementary School.
“I think a lot of it is political,” Mr. Panner wrote. “They didn’t want someone on the show who could show up the big star. They knew I could milk their studio audience with the trick like nobody’s business. Copperfield’s tricks are all over in a few minutes – that’s why he has to do so many in his shows. It’s like five minutes and bang, on to the next illusion.”
We do not disagree that Mr. Copperfield performs effects more quickly and of a greater variety than Mr. Panner but do note that some audiences actually prefer more tricks per show rather than less. Mr. Panner disagrees.
“Copperfield does like six illusions in the first 24 minutes of his Vegas show. That averages around four or five minutes an illusion. The audience never really gets a chance to see what’s happening. Boom, Copperfield appears on stage. Boom, girls appear out of nowhere and then vanish. Boom, his motorcycle appears flying over the audience. Boom, a duck eats a scorpion while Orson Welles talks about cards or something with a license plate with graffiti.
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