Magic Man

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Tom Frame » 12/23/12 12:07 PM

Tonight at 6:00 PM Pacific time, Magic Man premieres on the Travel Channel. The star, J.B., performs magic in San Francisco. Another episode follows at 6:30. Check it out.
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Postby Steve Hook » 12/23/12 06:08 PM

Thanks, Tom!

It's 9:00pm and 9:30 Eastern. And repeats at midnight ET, too.

Found this description: "Magic Man follows world-traveler and mind-blowing street magician, JB Benn, as he performs his unique brand of illusions and interactive magic for tourists and locals around the world."
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/23/12 06:47 PM

FYI: It's not on my cable system until 9PM Pacific Time.

Thanks for the heads up!
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Postby Tom Frame » 12/24/12 11:03 AM

Mr. Benn presented clunky, uninspired performances of standard effects. His patter was merely descriptive, as if he was performing on the radio, or for a blind audience. If he has a personality, he succeeded in concealing it. To my horror, he said Okay 18,000 times per episode.

I wont watch it again. Your impressions?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/24/12 11:50 AM

A couple of memorable things for me: All the girls in bikinis in the second episode. I also noticed that Eric Mead was one of the producers of both shows.

I was not disappointed by the selection of material. For the laity it is mostly good stuff. But Tom nailed the problem: Mr. Benn's work was uninspired. It was as if his presence was unnecessary.

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Postby Terry » 12/24/12 12:53 PM

If Chris Angel can have success with his performing "style" maybe Benn can as well?

I watched the first episode and part of the second, but lost interest listening to him.
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Postby JHostler » 12/24/12 01:35 PM

Still waiting (eagerly) for whatever comes *after* "street magic" and - in the case of Angel/Sarantakos - 45-year-olds dressing and acting 19. Surely there must be more?

In any case, Blaine's visit to East St. Louis at 1AM was more dramatic than anything I saw on the Benn special.
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Postby Mark Paulson » 12/24/12 09:25 PM

He uses the same magic words that David Blaine used in his specials, "Look, look, look, look, look." I wanted to like this, but I couldn't. I did like the David Blaine special that aired afterwards, which was a repeat.
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Postby Steve Hook » 12/25/12 02:01 AM

Did you notice that it looked like he'd barely practiced/rehearsed many of the tricks/routines?

I watched the first two episodes, then cancelled my DVR setting for the remainder of the series.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/25/12 05:23 PM

J.B. Benn is a nice guy and a good magician, and with Eric Mead as one of the producers, the reactions above are quite surprising.
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Postby Mark Paulson » 12/25/12 07:47 PM

I was expecting a lot more, having heard that J.B. Benn is a good magician. I also noticed that Eric Mead was one of the producers; however, I felt like I had wasted my time watching it. Now, I'm not opposed to wasting my time, but I want to feel good about it.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/25/12 09:12 PM

Just watched a few clips on YouTube. His presentations do seem flat on TV. I've heard he's a good magician, so it's possible that the TV camera just doesn't "like" him, while he's great live. If you've never experienced this yourself, just take my word for it. It's a well known thing. Some people seem enhanced by the camera, while others get steamrollered.

His excessive use of "Okay," "kay," "right," and so on betray his nerves--this is where a producer should step in and help him clean up his verbiage.
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Postby Travis » 12/26/12 12:37 AM

It comes across as either nerves or inexperience (or lack of rehearsal with these particular effects). I know J.B. certainly has plenty of experience, so maybe the latter. It could also be that these handlings play perfectly fine in the real world, but not so much for the unblinking eye, as Richard pointed out. The dynamic is entirely different, unless shot in such a way as to mimic the real-world experience in a first person fashion as closely as possible. A good example is the goldfish production for the kids. No doubt they were amazed, but the whole thing viewed in a wide shot like that makes it all look a bit 'fishy', and any layperson will spot some dirty work on a 2nd viewing, if it doesn't leap out in the first. Composing the shot differently would have helped, but even better, in my opinion would have been JB being comfortable with the certain something. He seemed, even at the end to be very conscious of it and working too hard to conceal.

Also, I noticed he was doing a few of the effects David Blaine did on his first and second specials. Not sure why you'd want to do exactly the same stuff, especially in the same format of show (i.e., "street" magic). The show even has the same title as Blaines's 2nd tv special, not that the laypeeps recall.
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