the Great Publicity Stunts

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 05/29/07 11:59 AM

For those of you with long memories, I wanted to ask the following question

----what are considered in magic to be the greatest publicity stunts of all time?

I'm tempted to steer your answers away from stunts that didn't really
incorporate magic (magicians either doing or appearing to do endurance stunts)


outdoor grand illusions that were doubling as material for television
specials but even still, the floor is wide open.

Perhaps there has even been a great trade-show magician who knew
of a surefire ways to quickly use a stunt to get a crowd to quickly

Maybe some magic themed venues (and periodicals)
also successfully used publicity stunts.

Postby Guest » 05/29/07 06:48 PM

This probably is'nt what you were hoping for, but they certainly pre-date television and were only done to boost the evenings box office reciepts. They are mainly escapes, but they quickly came to mind because of how powerful they were.

1.Escape from a straight jacket hanging upside down in the town square or outside the theater.

2.A bridge jump while handcuffed.

3.Jail cell escape.

4.John Oaks (Mighty Oaks) used to get publicity being shackled to railroad tracks and covered with a blanket, and escaping before being run over by a train. He ended that stunt about 1911 after a close call in Iowa. (I'm currently doing research on him if anyone has any items or info).

5.The blindfold street drive. Blackstone Sr. did one in Berlin, WI about 1914 when he was billing himself as Fredrik The Great.


Postby Guest » 05/30/07 07:05 AM

"Buried Alive" was a popular stunt in the 40's and 50' was the Window Sleep

all the best,
John Smetana

Postby Guest » 06/11/07 08:08 AM

This is all very interesting.

Times have certainly changed.

Publicity stunts nowadays don't elicit the same sense of danger and seem to play on at least some small element of kitsch.

Postby Guest » 06/11/07 09:08 AM

Don't forget one of the oldest publicity stunts......getting married. It garnered great publicity for both Lance Burton & Melinda's shows a while back. Got everybody talking again about Lisa Marie Presley when she (briefly) married Wacko Jacko, etc.

Postby Guest » 06/11/07 09:42 AM

The old time pros were masters at getting word-of-mouth publicity everywhere they went - usually with close-up magic. Each a small time publicity stunt.

At a lecture in Bath, England a couple of years ago Mandy Farrell went to meet John Calvert at the train station. She saw a commotion taking place half-way down the platform.

A group of businessmen were helping John and Tammy with their luggage, hugging them and claiming it was the most amazing train journey they had ever experienced.

In a restaurant in Bath, John created another sensation stealing watches and entertaining the patrons and staff.

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