Was Uri the first?

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Steve Knight
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Was Uri the first?

Postby Steve Knight » October 4th, 2001, 7:15 pm

Who originated spoon-bending? The obvious answer is of course Uri Geller, but both James Randi and T.A. Waters have suggested that a very similar effect to the one Uri does appeared in Abra magazine in 1968. While asking around on this someone suggested that David Berglas may have claimed that he was bending spoons before Uri. I'd be most grateful if anyone can supply any further details.

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Steve K.

Tomas Blomberg
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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Tomas Blomberg » October 5th, 2001, 12:16 am

Here's an article of a Swedish guy, active in the '40s, with an act similar to Uri Geller's. No idea if he had spoon bending in his repertoir though.

http://www.sokaren.se/INDEX98.HTML

/Tomas

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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Guest » October 25th, 2001, 2:35 pm

Bending objects with "magical powers" was certainly not created by Uri, though he certainly contributed greatly to its fame.

There is even at least one item in the Jinx about bending a glass rod (a Swizzle Stick, I believe). I will venture a guess that the idea goes back much further than the 1940's.

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Allen

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Ben Harris
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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Ben Harris » December 8th, 2001, 2:27 pm

Hi all:

While the bending of objects by apparent magical or psychic/mental forces certainly predates Uri, he obviously popularized the effect in a big way. And I mean a big way.

The "bent spoon imagery" is an internationally recognised thing. Almost a trademark, if you will. (And Uri certainly considers it as such!)

I guess his original contribution to the concept of mental bending was the "in home event." This was his ability to convince people that they had "the power" themselves and that the effect could be achieved by anyone watching him on their TV at home.

During/after his TV appearances, hundreds of people would always phone the TV station and claim the "in home" experience.

So, mass bending at a distance is, I'd say, Uri's original contribution.

Cheers

Ben Harris
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 8th, 2001, 7:53 pm

The earliest and most influential magic spoon-bending effect was by Sawa, and eventually published in Genii in 1977 (in Sawa's special issue). The effect was titled "Gary Ueller" or something like that. That inspired Geoff Latta to create the one-handed thing where the spoon SLOWLY bends and breaks off, which was swiped by Fred Baumann and printed in The New Stars of Magic.
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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Guest » December 27th, 2001, 5:43 am

Berglas DID once claim on one of the episodes of his last TV series some years back that he had done it long before Geller, and even done it while performing in Tel Aviv so Geller may have got the idea from him.

However, Geller does it better than Berglas, who at the time seemed to swap his spoon down the side of the chair as he stood up. :)

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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Guest » January 20th, 2002, 6:24 am

I spoke today whit David Berglas. The information is not correct, at the time he when to Tel Aviv he was doing metal bending, not spoon bending. The description of the technique used for David, is completely wrong. His technique has not been release yet.

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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » January 20th, 2002, 9:54 am

Although this has little to do with the provenance of spoon-bending, I've always wondered why little, if anything, has been written about the reason or reasons this stunt became so popular. There are many glib answers, but no cogent ones.

The notion of moving objects or changing their shapes is not new; it has been around as an EFFECT for a long time. Yet none of the other stunts caught on like bending keys and spoons. Granted, keys and spoons are commonplace, ordinary objects...but there are also hundreds of other metal objects equally ordinary. Also, why spoons and not knives and forks?

I also thought that it was a brilliant or fortuitous stroke for Geller to "start" (broken) watches rather than STOP watches or clocks. (If he could have figured out a way to start pulses instead of stopping them, I'm sure Geller would have done so. He always seems to accent the positive.)

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Onward...

Steve Knight
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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Steve Knight » January 20th, 2002, 10:45 am

At the risk of sounding glib the fact that this effect has been promoted by Uri for the best part of 30 years explains a lot of its popularity. Also, while there are many metal objects to choose from few are more familiar to most people than cutlery and keys, and in his early career Uri was bending finger-rings, something very familiar to the owners. Forks, I believe, are harder to bend physically than spoons and knives harder still, which might account for their comparative rarity. Uri is reported to have bent the odd knife and of course "melts" forks and other cutlery on a regular basis, but that's something else entirely.

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Ben Harris
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Re: Was Uri the first?

Postby Ben Harris » January 20th, 2002, 11:38 pm

In reply to Jon's:

"Granted, keys and spoons are commonplace, ordinary objects...but there are also hundreds of other metal objects equally ordinary. Also, why spoons and not knives and forks?"

Jon, I don't think there are hundreds of objects "equally ordinary."

Cutlery and keys are used by everyone, everyday. What other metal household objects are used by everyone, everyday? I think cutlery (and a spoon in particular) is about as common and universal as you can get.

The spoon trumped over the fork and knife because it is the easiest to work with.

Also, Uri's brilliant "In Home Telepathic Spoon Bend" has ensured over two decade's worth of press photo's depicting the bent spoon in all its glory. The meme rules.

The image has been burned into our psyche.

Cheers

Ben Harris

PS: I wonder if the decline in key bending has to do with the way keys have evolved over the last decade?
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