David Copperfield's Hand Twisting Illusion

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Postby Robert McDaniel » 10/24/01 12:36 PM

Does anyone have a source or information on the hand/arm twisting illusion David Copperfield performed at the beginning of his last special? This is not the "Twisting Arm Illusion" marketed by Meir Yedid. Thanks!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/24/01 12:54 PM

The item that David did is an ancient trick, and might be found in John Fisher's book "Body Magic."
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 10/24/01 01:41 PM

You can also find it in "Magic for Dummies," which is a surprisingly good book!

Lance Burton also used this particular effect on his last special, and when I saw Jeff McBride in Atlantic City a year ago, HE used it as well! Seems to be pretty popular. ;)

I really played with my sister's head by doing this along with Copperfield when we were watching a tape of the special this past weekend. I can be really evil to her sometimes. :)

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[ October 24, 2001: Message edited by: Jim Maloney ]
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Postby Ruben Padilla » 10/24/01 04:55 PM

Jim, if both hands are clasped, which hand did you use to play with your sister's head? ;)
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Postby Bill Duncan » 10/24/01 11:36 PM

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
[QB]You can also find it in "Magic for Dummies," which is a surprisingly good book!
QB]


Where in Magic For Dummies?
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Postby Robert McDaniel » 10/26/01 08:28 AM

I found it in "Magic for Dummies" last night. I'm at work and I don't know the exact page number, but I think it was pg. 285 or pg. 287. What was confusing to me was the fact that David Copperfield apparently "regriped" off camera (if I remember correctly).
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Postby David Moore » 10/26/01 11:51 AM

Of course he re-gripped off camera. We're talking 'bout Copperfield here.
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Postby Guest » 10/26/01 12:42 PM

In the live show I saw, he simply regrips after a casual gesture.

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Postby David Moore » 10/26/01 01:21 PM

That's the way it's supposed to be done - with some subtle misdirection. But why use subtlety when you can make everyone look away for as long as it takes.

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 10/26/01 03:43 PM

The reason for the camera cutting away was that subtle misdirection - like what is used for a live audience for this effect - does not work as well for the TV audience, especially those who record the program and watch it several times. A live audience will not notice the casual gesture; when replaying the effect in their heads later on, they will forget that he even unclapsed his hands. For the TV audience, the same effect is achieved through the use of creative editing. I see no problem with this. In fact, I have no problem with outright camera trickery - as long as the intended audience is not aware. Folks like David Copperfield and David Blaine are using all the benefits of their medium: television. It's no different than using a gaffed card for an effect that be done with normal cards. If the gaff enhances the effect, then why not use it? Do keep in mind, however, that this is all on the assumption that the audience is not aware of the particular method used. If the audience is aware, then the method should not be used - whether it be camera tricks, gaffed cards, or even sleight of hand.

Just my thoughts...

-Jim
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Postby Steve Hook » 10/26/01 04:24 PM

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
It's no different than using a gaffed card for an effect that be done with normal cards.


And similarly, using the edge of the screen, the shot frame, is equatable to lapping, I believe.

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[ October 27, 2001: Message edited by: Steve Hook ]
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Postby Robert McDaniel » 10/26/01 06:56 PM

Could be, but I can't help but feel like I've been cheated when "creative editing" is used on television. David Blaine and David Copperfield seem to be the main offenders. I thought there used to be an unwritten rule that a magician should be able to fool the audience without resorting to camera tricks, creative editing, or out of frame maneuvers. Anything Steve H. says is OK with me, but I do feel that Blaine and Copperfield are crossing the line by not being totally honest with the TV audience. I remember seeing an early Copperfield special where he "borrowed" a quarter from an audience member and put a cigarette through it without a switch. This was cheating, in my opinion.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/26/01 07:14 PM

Gee, I guess you guys haven't seen Jonathan Pendragon perform "The Linking Finger Rings" in his show. He borrows the gimmicked ring from a stooge EVERY SINGLE SHOW.
Copperfield is simply using his brains to compensate for the dead eye of TV, and to recreate for a TV audience an experience as close as possible to the one seen by his live audience. It's GOOD television and GOOD magic. David Blaine is another story. His new TV show, by the way, has been postponed until the spring (as reported in the November issue of MAGIC).
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Postby Robert McDaniel » 10/26/01 07:55 PM

But Copperfield could have just as easily (almost) switched the quarter and fooled everybody without resorting to using a stooge. I'm not trying to be a smart a--, but I don't remember Doug Henning or Dai Vernon or Derek Dingle using stooges when they performed on television (DH Specials and The Tomorrow Show)and they seemed to do OK. Is it really acceptable to use editing, stooges, and camera tricks now when it could be done without "cheating"?
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Postby Guest » 10/27/01 12:26 PM

We almost had the same discussion on a french forum last week. ;)
On the use of stooge, camera angle,...
it was more for the stage magic, but people haven't changed their mind.
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