Mirror Online Asks Readers to Choose Best TV Magician

Inside Magic Image of Tommy CooperThe Mirror Online (UK), looking to build excitement for the launch of the fourth series of Dynamo: Mission Impossible, is asking readers to vote for their favorite TV magician.

You should head over to the site and make your choice from:
Darcy Oake
David Blaine
Derren Brown
David Copperfield
Dynamo
Paul Daniels
Penn & Teller
Tommy Cooper
Troy

There is no space for a write-in vote but they do have clips from the nominees – including our inspiration, Tommy Cooper. (Unfortunately, the sound goes out near the end of the clip but it is still a joy to watch).

Click here to link to the poling site. We don’t know if it will allow you to vote more than once but perhaps that is a concern for us Chicago natives. The rest of the world likely never considers stuffing the ballot box.

Magic Lives: Penn & Teller, Dynamo, Daniels and Farquhar

Inside Magic Image of Attractive Female Showing Appreciation for Great MagicThe Guardian newspaper of London recently ran a piece on the popularity of magic, magicians and the traditional magic show.  In asking whether magic was again becoming “fashionable,” the anonymous writer referenced “the old journalistic adage, “Two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend.”

Penn and Teller, who sprang to fame in the 1980s by appearing to reveal the secrets behind tricks, thereby breaking the magical code of omerta, are the old guard in this pairing. Fool Us is, at heart, no different from the Paul Daniels magic shows of decades past, merely spiced with the addition of some X Factor dynamics.”

Two very different styles of magic and magician are displayed in Dynamo: Magician Impossible and Penn & Teller’s Fool Us but they both demonstrate magic’s vitality as entertainment.

They may have been the “Bad Boys of Magic” but Fool Us is not a challenge to the proud history of an art form that continues to entertain because and in spite of remarkable developments in science.  “Penn & Teller are historians of magic and their respect for those who are operating within such traditions is palpable, even when they are not fooled by the acts.”


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Pete Firman Strips the Naffness in Cardiff

Image of Pete Firman from Joke and Tricks Tour Promotional Package on Inside Magic October 2, 2010So we’re reading this morning’s South Wales Echo to get the latest on the Ryder Cup and stumbled news of magician Pete Firman’s Jokes and Tricks tour’s arrival in Cardiff.

The young magician brings his show to the wonderfully appointed St David’s Hall in beautiful Cardiff this evening.

The Echo covers the appearance with a full profile of the rapid-fire comedian/magician noting magic has changed “since the heady days of the 70’s when pioneering acts such Ali Bongo, David Nixon and a young tyke by the name of Paul Daniels bestrode the landscape like three horsemen of the magical apocalypse.”

What a great turn of a phrase.  We love good writing and that sentence is precisely the type of introduction that makes us read more of an article regardless of the topic.

Pete Firman sees continuity between his famous predecessors and the conjurors of the avant garde “It might sound weird, but I used to see Daniels on the telly when I was younger and thought, ‘Hey, this guy’s pretty cool.’”

Telly means “television” or “TV” in English.

We translate here because the writer not only turns a good phrase, he also tosses in shibboleths of Wales.

For instance, the reporter says Pete Firman “has long traded on the disparity between his down to earth matey nature and the occasionally shocking nature of his tricks.”

What does “down to earth matey” mean? Chances are if you have to ask, you’re not from around the Wales Echo home delivery route.

We guessed that because the word matey sounds like something a pirate might say, the phrase means someone is a regular but partially blind, wood prosthetic wearing type. Again, this is just a guess.


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Paul Daniels Health Scare

Paul Daniels reported on a recent heart scare through his always interesting blog. (http://www.pauldaniels.co.uk/blog/)  The Sun of UK picked it up and ran with the story.  That makes us the second news organization to share Mr. Daniels’ account of the incident in his own, humorous way.

We are glad to hear he is alright.  We were also amazed to read that he is 71.  He seems to have more energy and passion for the art than folks half his age.

The festivities went on and all was well, until yesterday morning that is, when I awoke at about 6.30am to find that I had a pain in my chest.

You read about these things of course, so the first thought was ‘Is this what a heart attack feels like?’ I guess you don’t know unless you’ve had one.

I waited until 8am before calling the local surgery who said they could fit me in about 10.30am. I thought that might be a bit too late, because, being a man, I already knew I was at death’s door, so they changed it to 8.50am.

I snuck out of the house and went to see the doctor.

After some questions I was put into the nurse’s room for the same questions and tests and suddenly I am in the back of an ambulance.

I must say that the doctor, the nurse and the ambulance crew were all brilliant and I was in the Royal Berkshire in no time at all.

By now Debbie had joined me and sat watching it all happening.


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Britain’s Got Talent Sullies Magicians’ Image?

Merlin Cadogan Britain's Got Talent Magician / Escape ArtistOne of our heroes, United States Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo said, “Life in all its fullness must provide the answer to the riddle.”  Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. 111 (1933).

The Welch case considered whether a taxpayer could deduct as an expense debts he paid on behalf of his bankrupt former employer.  Mr. Welch claimed by paying the debts, he would improve his reputation among his customers.

Reputation is important to individual magicians and to our art as a whole.  Events on Britain’s Got Talent caused magicians and lay commentators concern about our craft’s reputation.

Given that tease, let’s dive into the whirlwind that is the United Kingdom live television series, Britain’s Got Talent.

We understand from the often interesting and occasionally accurate London tabloid, The Sun, that at least one of our ilk remains in the running for the big money and fame.

Merlin Cadogan was photographed betting a cool 50 pounds on himself as the likely winner of the ITV series.  He stands to win a whole bunch of money if he is right.  Ladbrooke’s  pegged his odds at 50-to-1.

So, let’s see: that is 50 times 50 pounds plus the original 50, for a total of something like, approximately, 25 million pounds or 250 or 25,000.  We are never sure where the decimal goes when multiplying two or three digit numbers.   Plus, with the conversion from British Pounds Sterling to U.S. moolah, that is approximately a wad and a half or roughly six standard fistfuls.


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