Don't get me started on this one. <g>
BTW, Father Cyprian knows tons re this subject. Also don't forget the article I wrote re Melies that appearted in GENII several months back.
In the meantime, here are some other magicians NOT MENTIONED that have been in films:
George Schindler (in a Woody Allen segment of a film)
Robert Lansing (taught by Michael Skinner)
Jimmy Stewart (assisted Bill Neff)
Also read Erik Barnouw's THE MAGICIAN AND THE CINEMA (1981)for more...much more...
I think that Bert Kalmar advised Vernonica Lake to prepare the magic act she did in THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942?) with Alan Ladd.
Trivia: In THREE LITTLE WORDS, Fred Astaire played a magician (Bert Kalmar). He also played magicians in two other films. What were they?
There was also magic in TARZEN'S SAVAGE FURY in the 50s (Lex Barker). Technical advisor? Charlie Miller. Director? Cy Enfield.
Trivia: Who played the magician in THE SILVER CHALICE? Who directed him in the magic scenes?
What film is the first and perhaps only one to allude to a "juice deck"? (I bet T.G. knows?)
Ricky Jay's hands were used in THE ESCAPE ARTIST, a movie where Harry Anderson had a bit part. I video-taped the magic sequence where Ricky Jay does an incredibly smooth Hamman Count. I slowed it down frame-by-frame and could not detect the tell-tale switch of packets. I assumed that they edited out a few frames. I asked Francis Ford Coppola about this. He said, "Not as far as he knew..." He was the producer.
Trivia: Who was the technical adviser for the magic in BAGDAD CAFE?
Sidebar: I think that Bill McIlhaney has one of the finest collections in the world.
I also recently found out that the late John Schlesinger ("Midnight cowboy," "Sunday Bloody Sunday") was a conjuror. See NY Review of Books -September 25, 2003.)
The list is long; the beat goes on...
P.S. I just saw "Matchstick Men," an uncharacteristic vehicle for Ridley Scott. Be prepared to be surprised and engrossed. The cast is superb. The last "plot point" of several is a lulu.