Yes I can, Damian, but I don't consider the first thing I'm about to discuss "cheating." It did NOT involve exposing anything to the audience(s) and both audiences saw an impressive illusion. It took advantage of the medium to accomplish something new.
I'm talking about the first time I know of editing definitely being used on a TV magic special: when David Copperfield edited together two different methods of levitation into one performance and the woman who floated moved in a way that we'd never seen before--first she floated up, then out into the audience. This is old old news--it's got to be 20 years ago, and I've written about it before. It was easy to spot, even as we watched it, because the spectators kept magically changing from one shot to the next.
The second time was when Lance Burton did the escape from the roller coaster tracks. I've been told on good authority that they simply filmed the parts separately and edited them together.
As I recall, the last shot in David Blaine's first TV special where he did the so-called Balducci levitation and you could clearly see both feet off the ground, had to have been surrounded by people who saw what was actually happening.
Criss Angel was late to the game.
"Dynamo: Magician Impossible" has been renewed for two more series:
http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/ne ... watch.html
I'm sure that virtually none of you have seen the footage from Orson Welles' unfinished film, "The Magic Show." I have, as well as other magic effects for a pilot of his talk show, all of which Welles shot and edited himself. The great film maker, a genius of cinema and a life-long magician, was editing together footage to create continuity and effect long before anyone else in our field. And he did this in films such as Othello and Chimes at Midnight, where continuous scenes were cobbled together from footage shot years apart on different continents, long before he did it in filming magic. He did it in "F for Fake," and he did it even more audaciously in "Filming Othello," in which the editing together of footage so obviously filmed at different times and places was a challenge to the viewer. For Welles, it seems that the thing which mattered most was the effect upon the person watching the film, not the method by which it was accomplished.
In "F for Fake," just as an example, Welles performs an Asrah while outside walking in what appears to be a park or garden. No theater, no stage, nothing. If someone had taken a photo of the larger situation they would have seen either a crane or a bunch of guys on ladders pulling the wires to raise the "sleeping princess" and then yanking the wire form up when Welles whipped away the cloth. Well what about that? Doesn't that qualify as camera trickery? Welles shot what he wanted you to see, and then stitched the film together to produced the image he wanted you to believe. He saw the performance of magic as no different than the illusion of continuity in film.
If you want to kick somebody in the shins about all of this, you need to start with Orson Welles.
Actually, seriously, if you want to kick someone about it you need to go back 100 years to Georges Melies, because he discovered the "special effect" in cinema, and quickly learned he could use the camera to create magic much more cleanly than it could be done on stage. Go watch "Hugo," and then tell me that Criss Angel or Dynamo are doing anything differently other than creating the pretense that the people watching them are not in on the trick. What you are seeing is simply the blending of 100-year-old cinematic technique and the modern "reality" show, in which nothing is real at all. The shows are shaped and scripted by producers and writers.
What you are seeing, my friends, is simply the collision and thus evolution of two different forms of media entertainment. It is a cycle, like all other cycles, and will eventually pass.