What did you think of Blaine's TV Special?

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Postby John LeBlanc » 05/09/06 08:00 AM

Originally posted by Forgetful Freddy:
I'm actually glad he failed because I think it legitimizes his previous stunts.
I wouldn't define what he did as failure by any stretch. Even the guy who holds the world record -- 8:58 -- couldn't do it again. But I had the same thought as you about legitimizing the previous stunts. Get it right every single time and it's not a stunt, it's a trick.

They should have invited everyone watching to begin holding their breath when he started to. 7:08 is an awfully long time.

I am really interested in hearing the story how all those (reportedly) taped trick segments ended up somewhere other than in the two-hour special. Makes me wonder if there's a new DVD on the horizon.

John
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/09/06 08:00 AM

I watched "Prison Break" on Fox, a show with drama, surprises, intelligence, great characters and lots of violence.

I flipped over to Blaine afterwards and found the "show" a tedious, tasteless and incredibly stupid spectacle.

The segment where he exploited the death of an extreme deep diver, a female marine biologist, to empahsize the "danger" of his dumb stunt indicates this guy has no moral compass at all.

I understand recordings of his mind-numbing mumbling about testing his limits is now being used to anesthetize surgical patients and induce comas in [censored].

To anyone who truly loves magic, watching this guy is as painful as the president of the John Coltrane fan club being forced to listen to Kenny G.

David: Retire now. Go away. Take up some other hobby (but not the saxophone!).
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Postby Mark Collier » 05/09/06 08:03 AM

I think watching someone try to break a world's record holding their breath is far more interesting and dramatic than watching someone not eat for a month and a half....or stand on a pole...or most of the other endurance stunts Blaine has done. This was still a week long ordeal but it did end with real drama.

The thing I don't get is why even bother with the shackles if you don't at least try and make it look like a struggle to undo? Are people really expected to believe those were real handcuffs? Anything that is obviously fake takes away from the overall impact.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 08:06 AM

You guys are great.

A two-hour special in prime-time on a major network and youre all falling all over yourselves to say how cool you are for not enjoying it.

Do I wish there had been more magic in it? Sure, but thats wasnt Blaines decision, that was ABCs decision to show more of the build up to the stunt. Apparently they thought the general public would find that more interesting. But what do they know, thats just their jobs, they should take their cues from bitter magicians on the genii forum.

It seems so obvious, but apparently a lot of people on this board havent figured it out: hes trying to broaden the definition of what can be on a magic special. We all enjoy watching people push boxes around on stage for the Worlds Greatest Magic, but if you think those specials inspire as much awe as his stunt last night, a failed stunt at that, then youve completely lost touch with the publics perception of magic.

Maybe in 30 or 40 years your 8-year-old grand-daughter will develop an interest in magic and shell go to her public library and check out the only three magic books they have over and over again, and in one of those books it will talk about David Blaine as someone who modernized and revitalized magic at the turn of the century. Then one day shell approach you and ask you what it was like to see his shows or his stunts and you can pull her up on to your knee, kiss her forehead, give her a hug then scream Blaine! We didnt even LIKE Blaine. He was so BORING. I was better than him. And that VOICE! Where was the patter. Lets face it, if youre not tired of spouting that [censored] after 10 years of Blaine, you probably wont ever be.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 08:16 AM

The parallels to Houdini are astounding.
His contemporaries couldn't stand him either.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 05/09/06 08:17 AM

Originally posted by LightsOut:
You guys are great.
Hey, we love you, too.

You sure seem to be taking all of this as some personal affront. It's just a bunch of opinions the day after the Superbowl. No need to get snarky.

John
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 08:22 AM

okay, two hours was a little bit too long. i think an hour would of been perfect. regaurdless of how much of the "drama" was planned, he still held his breath for a very long time. it was definately worth watching, i enjoyed it, and people will remember him. people are still talking about his street magic special, they still talk about his other stunts, he will be remembered. and as far as us magicians liking or disliking him, who cares. the only audience that matters is the lay audience, and most laypeople love this guy.

...ive been typing for too long.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 05/09/06 08:24 AM

Originally posted by rage1:
...ive been typing for too long.
Does he pay well?

John
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 08:37 AM

No need to get snarky.
Unless off course your getting snarky at Blaine then it's okay.

Randy
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 08:50 AM

Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
I thought it was good performance art. The image of him in the glass bowl of water with breathing tube in Lincoln center was beautiful...
And a big grin here, recalling a conversation with Paul Harris in 1987 where he didn't seem to like the idea of magic as performance art.

Okay it was not a guy standing in a bucket of water singing as he suggested back then. Today we have a guy in a fishbowl doing an impression of the diver/aerator thingie.

It seems to have worked very well as an attraction for and stucture to support the other material in the show. Bravo!
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:04 AM

Originally posted by John LeBlanc:

You sure seem to be taking all of this as some personal affront.
No I don't. I didn't even mention myself in my previous post except to say that I wished ABC had put in more of the magic footage.

While I see the animosity directed at Blaine to be symptomatic of some of the big problems in magic, I'm selfishly happy most magicians don't like Blaine. Not recognizing what Blaine has added to magic, or why he appeals to people, means that most magicians wont be trying to incorporate his contributions to the art into the magic they perform. Thats fine by me. I dont mind if the average magician is perceived by the general public as a clown or as irrelevant. It always makes me seem better by comparison. God knows I dont want to seem better by hard work.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:06 AM

There also seems to be an Elemental theme developing with the progression of these stunts. He's done Earth, Air, and Water (in TWO forms), next I predict something with Fire.

John R
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:16 AM

Originally posted by Brown Hornet:
There also seems to be an Elemental theme developing with the progression of these stunts. He's done Earth, Air, and Water (in TWO forms), next I predict something with Fire.

John R
The problem with fire is that it's hard to come up with a long stunt that can be done with fire. A stunt of a few days or a week allows a lot of time for buzz to be built up for an upcoming special.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:23 AM

Let's not forget Copperfield's Jet Engine debacle.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:29 AM

Originally posted by MaxNY:

---I'm not sure if the spot ran nationally, or just locally, but why the hell did A&E buy time, and promote the new season of Mindfreak??? In the last cliffhanger block of Blaine...That is just wrong.Wrong. WRONG. Magicians suck! Shame on Criss.
It was most probably a local buy. No commercials for A&E (or ellusionist, for that matter) on the showing in my area. I did think that ABC was rather heavy-handed with the commercial breaks...over a quarter of the air time being commercials sounds about right.

And I doubt Criss Angel had any real say over the ad buy that A&E did in the New York metro market. Hell, if I was in the A&E marketing department, that would be a no-brainer ad buy.

Jeremy
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Postby John LeBlanc » 05/09/06 09:42 AM

Originally posted by LightsOut:

While I see the animosity directed at Blaine to be symptomatic of some of the big problems in magic, I'm selfishly happy most magicians don't like Blaine. Not recognizing what Blaine has added to magic, or why he appeals to people, means that most magicians wont be trying to incorporate his contributions to the art into the magic they perform. Thats fine by me. I dont mind if the average magician is perceived by the general public as a clown or as irrelevant. It always makes me seem better by comparison. God knows I dont want to seem better by hard work.
I understand and agree with you.

John
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:47 AM

I just marvel at how bored the society must be at large that a stunt like that causes half of America to stop and watch.
I for one hope that this boring event does not cause kids to try to emulate it and we do not see many drowning accidents.
To all of you who sat thru this "special" maybe pull back the window covers, smell the roses and get a life...
Am I mad at David Blaine? No, more power to him and his advisors for actually figuring out how to make gold from coal (out of respect to Richard's forum I did not replace coal with the s... word I had in mind). :whack:
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/09/06 09:48 AM

Originally posted by Jeremy Greystoke:
I did think that ABC was rather heavy-handed with the commercial breaks...over a quarter of the air time being commercials sounds about right.
I haven't seen the special yet (it's waiting on my DVR at home), but 1/4 of the airtime is about average for any show on TV. Hour long shows tend to run about 46 minutes without commercials and half hour shows are generally around 22 minutes.

-Jim
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/09/06 09:52 AM

Originally posted by MaxNY:
I have to watch the first half...so far I have only seen the stunt. Great stunt.
---I'm not sure if the spot ran nationally, or just locally, but why the hell did A&E buy time, and promote the new season of Mindfreak??? In the last cliffhanger block of Blaine...That is just wrong.Wrong. WRONG. Magicians suck! Shame on Criss.
Why wouldn't they run an ad? The people watching Blaine are the exact target audience for Criss Angel. It'd be silly to NOT buy some ad time.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:55 AM

Originally posted by WolfgangWollet:
I just marvel at how bored the society must be at large that a stunt like that causes half of America to stop and watch.
I for one hope that this boring event does not cause kids to try to emulate it and we do not see many drowning accidents.
To all of you who sat thru this "special" maybe pull back the window covers, smell the roses and get a life...
Either you watched the show and you're a hypocrite, or you didn't watch the show and you don't know what you're talking about.

Either way you took the time out of your day to come here and write a post about something so inconsequential to you. Makes sense.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 09:57 AM

I see I posted my resoponse to this before I found the thread. Look in the Buzz section for my thoughts.

Frank Tougas
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/09/06 10:02 AM

For all the Blaine cultists who choose to ignore his crass exploitation of a drowning victim (not something thatin any way could enhance magic), may I say that, I broke the world holding-your-nose record while reading your posts.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 10:09 AM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
For all the Blaine cultists who choose to ignore his crass exploitation of a drowning victim (not something thatin any way could enhance magic), may I say that, I broke the world holding-your-nose record while reading your posts.
Oh, Bob, spare me.

Is telling the story in itself exploitation? It was respectful to the woman and to the danger of that sport.

Any bullet catch begins with the performer going into the history of all the people who died performing it. But I guess that's fine because it's not Blaine doing the bullet catch.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 10:38 AM

Originally posted by LightsOut:
Maybe in 30 or 40 years your 8-year-old grand-daughter will develop an interest in magic and shell go to her public library and check out the only three magic books they have over and over again
You really think they'll still have public libraries in 30 years time?

you can pull her up on to your knee, kiss her forehead, give her a hug then scream Blaine! We didnt even LIKE Blaine. He was so BORING. I was better than him. And that VOICE! Where was the patter.
:) :) :) Best post I've seen on here in ages
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/09/06 10:52 AM

OK,the real important question. How were the ratings? And I bet the cost to ABC was indredibly cheap compared to other types of entertainment shows.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 11:00 AM

According to zap2it.com ABC came in fourth for the night, but they say Blaine did decent ratings. (Although they didn't give number for his special, just for the night overall.)

Gord
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Postby John LeBlanc » 05/09/06 11:00 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
OK,the real important question. How were the ratings? And I bet the cost to ABC was indredibly cheap compared to other types of entertainment shows.
Here's a quote from Mediaweek:

Over at ABC, two-hour special, David Blaine: Downed Alive scored a respectable 6.8/10 in the overnights (#4 overall), 9.94 million viewers (#4), and a 4.1/10 among adults 18-49 (#3) from 8-10 p.m., with ratings building as the half-hours progressed. (Overnight track 8 p.m.: 5.1/ 8, 8:30 p.m.: 5.3/ 8, 9 p.m.: 7.6/11, 9:30 p.m.: 9.0/13). Comparably, this was an improvement over Blaines last ABC special (Viewers: 8.90 million; A18-49: 4.0/10 on Wednesday, May 22, 2002) of 1.04 million viewers and 2 percent among adults 18-49. What will he think of next?
The rest of the evening's ratings can be seen here:
http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/newsletters ... /index.jsp

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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 11:04 AM

I was working and missed the show (nothing like standing at work and realizing "@$@#$, that Blaine show is on now and I didn't put on the tape machine". I do wonder how the kids at the cafe are reacting, I can't check for another month or so.
Steve V
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/09/06 11:07 AM

The first half of the show tied with Seventh Heaven for fourth place. The second half showed a pretty significant jump, though only enough to put it in third place.

For comparison, "Deal or No Deal" had the top spot in the first hour, followed by Prison Break, then King of Queens/How I Met your Mother. In the second hour, Two and a Half Men/New Adv. of Old Christine was at the top, with 24 coming in second.

The fact that David had a steady increase of viewers over the course of the 2 hours is good.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 11:10 AM

I don't know if David is trying to broaden the definition of magic.
I think the definition is pretty much defined.
Magic is doing the impossible.
Anything else is a stunt.

With magic failure is not an option because anything is possible with magic.

With stunts its always possible to fail. But that's why you train, and prepare, and include backup plans. That way you can guarantee your success. If you can't guarantee success you scrap the stunt BEFORE you attempt it, and especially before you put it on TV.

Holding your breath for 9 minutes is technically possible. but it's so improbable that it falls into the realm of impossible.
I kept waiting for him to magically redeem himself as he was pulled from the tank. To somehow vanish from under the towells only to appear on the other side of the stage or something. I was let down.

If this was magic, it was weak magic.
If this was a stunt... it was not thought out, rehearsed, and guaranteed.

People like to see their heroes overcome impossible odds. It's what makes them a hero. David set himself a goal that was impossible and failed to acheive it.


Some have compered David Blaine to Houdini, I don't think that is a good comparison. Yes both have/had the talent for attracting the attention of everyone...
But, to my knowledge, Houdini never failed. He never stopped his show and said "Sorry I failed. Thanks for your support... this is just too impossible... please pass me the keys to these handcuffs" He would never attempt a stunt if he couldn't succeed, through magical means or through thorough, careful, planning and preparation.

I like David Blaine. I think he has a lot of potential.

I wonder if anyone told him that failure would be a let down. I wonder if he listened.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/09/06 11:27 AM

Originally posted by Eric Falconer:
I kept waiting for him to magically redeem himself as he was pulled from the tank. To somehow vanish from under the towells only to appear on the other side of the stage or something. I was let down.
In my opinion, doing this would have been a HUGE mistake, as it would have invalidated everything that has happened over the past week. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves, and it really bothers me when people do this. If something is being presented as a stunt or and escape, then it should be just that -- don't turn it into a magic trick. It's insulting. It says to your audience, "Thank you for caring whether or not I would survive the challenge, but HA HA! Fooled you! I'm over here!"

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 11:28 AM

Originally posted by Eric Falconer:
I kept waiting for him to magically redeem himself as he was pulled from the tank. To somehow vanish from under the towells only to appear on the other side of the stage or something. I was let down.
God, I hope that you weren't serious.

What better way to marginalize the attempt, the hype, the buzz, the challenge, the entire show in fact, than by making the whole thing a cheap set-up for a typical magic trick?
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 11:29 AM

Yeah, what Jim said.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/09/06 11:39 AM

Re: the "failure"

There was a director I worked with on several plays while in college. We'd rehearse the show for a couple of months, and everyone in the cast knew it cold. We could do the show flawlessly. But, inevitably, something would come up that wasn't expected. If we were lucky, it'd happen before opening night. Sometimes, though, it wouldn't. Her response to the situation was always the same, to the point where, I believe, we made a plaque for her with the bit of wisdom she always provided us: "This is live theater. S#!t happens. Deal with it."

You can rehearse all you want, but sometimes, there's just nothing you can do. When you're putting your life on the line, I'll forgive you for ending things early if they start to go bad.

To me, I wasn't tuning in to see David Blaine hold his breath for nine minutes. Rather, I was tuning in to watch him attempt to hold his breath for nine mintues. Because, honestly, if it's a sure thing...why bother watching?

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 12:09 PM

I was thinking about a possible lawsuit against ABC, they hooked me in with a "record or die" line, that has me now wondering if I can sue, due to false advertising.
For all those that approve A&E (Mindfreak) advertising at peak block, during a Blaine special, remind me never to any buisness with/or besides you. Let's all be men here.Buisness is buisness to a certain point.I have now lost most respect for Criss. Upstaging is unprofessional. I am 95 percent positive Criss was approached by A&E, and probably gave the nod.Target audience, yes...Great placement, yes...BUT...I don't even think A&E and ABC are owned by the same parent company. Live by the almighty dollar, die by the almighty dollar.Criss you are better than to stoop to greed. Rise above! Let your magic do the talking,let the better entertainer reign.Don't sell YOURSELF in the middle of another guy's act. Jim you are usually dead right, here you are dead wrong.A&E was most disrespectful. This is why they are flying planes into our skyscrapers...The greed of America will kill us, nothing else.Compete like gentleman.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/09/06 12:21 PM

Lights Out: there's nothing wrong with telling the story of a woman who died while diving.

Showing her dead body being dragged onto a boat while her anguished husband looks on helplessly, all as a prelude to a talentless goof marinating in his own moral filth is obviously different.

The woman faced real danger and died. Blaine faced no danger and gets a big payday. Only someone with no sense of decency and no sense of compassion would find the juxtaposition acceptable.

Dragging out an elderly Evel Kneivel sucking on an oxygen bottle and babbling incoherently was sad. The drowning sequence was sick.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 12:24 PM

Somehow I doubt Houdini would ever have refused to adverise during a compeitors appearance, if the opportunity presented itself. That's show biz.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 12:30 PM

Yes, but did you get to www.ellusionist.com to look over and buy the products?

Come on folks, YOU are part of the target demographic.

Or we could take the drowned thing as an economic metaphor for how so many are feeling drowned and shackled to their debits. Nah, that takes us out of Oz-Neverland and who wants to look at reality when we can fuss over somebody on TV in a bubble... like us when we watch TV. Bad enough to be a couch potato, now we're looking at a metaphor for our lives as in bubbles on display?

As with Houdini escaping the shackles of the world's oppression, Blaine probably struck a few nerves where it counts. Good for him. Some will hold their breath waiting for outside help. Some will help themselves.
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Postby Guest » 05/09/06 12:36 PM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:

The woman faced real danger and died. Blaine faced no danger and gets a big payday. Only someone with no sense of decency and no sense of compassion would find the juxtaposition acceptable.
Then I guess I have no sense of decency or compassion. To me it was another example of someone challenging themselves physically, in a somewhat similar situation, and the truth about what happened to her. Her husband seemed to feel it was relevant enough to release the footage for use on the show.

But if you thought that short, somber segment was in poor taste, then you're really going to hate the movie James Cameron is making about her. It's in 3-D.

I'm not kidding.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/09/06 12:44 PM

Originally posted by MaxNY:
I don't even think A&E and ABC are owned by the same parent company.
Well...

A&E Television Networks, a joint venture of The Hearst Corporation, ABC, Inc. and NBC Universal...
- About A&E Television Networks

It's not like Criss was interrupting David's performance. It was space that was already allotted for advertising. He wasn't pulling people away from David's show -- Mindfreak doesn't start for another couple of weeks. I don't see how anyone gets hurt from this. Despite what Kellar thought, America is able to support more than one big magician at a time.

-Jim
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