Kreskin bashing

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Postby Guest » 07/29/03 03:34 PM

I noticed Penn Jillette's bit of "Kreskin bashing" in the August issue of Genii. It's pretty strong, as was the Jamy Ian Swiss review of Kreskin's book, How to become a (fake) Kreskin, written some years back. I think I understand possible reasons for this reaction:

1. Kreskin doesn't explicitly admit that he is doing magic tricks--and this gets some especially "moral" folks upset.

2. His technique, especially with cards, isn't the greatest.

3. One could say that he drew too heavily on Dunninger's work, a fact that upset Dunninger in his last years.

Personally, I'm not convinced that any of these reasons justifies the high degree of Kreskin fury. First of all, lots of mentalists, the very popular Max Maven for one, don't stop their shows and say "I'm just foolin' folks." Also, I would argue that anyone who, like Kreskin, does a bunch of card tricks and the linking finger rings is, on an implicit level, admitting that the show just might include some trickery.

About his technique. Well, he has a clumsy double lift, but I believe he does a good show anyway.

And the Dunninger thing... well, Dunninger was an archetypal performer. He created the modern mode of mentalist, and it shouldn't be surprising that others would follow in his footsteps. Why don't dove workers get the same level of hatred, since most of them are working in the style of Channing Pollock?

Last year I saw Kreskin perform at the Silverton in Las Vegas. It was not exactly a packed house, but the audience liked him and were amazed by him. Furthermore, I learned a lot from watching his performance--he really knows how to build up a small effect.

What about it, folks? Has Kreskin committed some terrible crime that I am not aware of?

Fred
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/29/03 04:19 PM

As I stated in Genii Speaks, I've enjoyed watching Kreskin's work, and he's certainly maintained a presence in show business for a very long long. His work in the film Horror is better than it had any right to be.
I printed the quote from Penn because it gave insight not only into his opinion on Kreskin (which we frankly could have guessed), but because of the insight it gives into Penn's character.
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Postby Guest » 07/29/03 04:52 PM

Fred,
Perhaps some suffer from sour grapes theory aout themselves being technically better (the same gripe about Blaine too) and the fact is that HE is the one on the stage all the time, not them, and since they feel that they are better than the performers that ARE working, well you can see where I am going with this.

Also, some magicians, usually ones that lack some of the flair that these guys have feel that by stating they are "saving people" from these horrible scam artists. We even had a local magician from Calgary named Larry (and to avoid any lawsuit let's just call him....guest editorial provider in MAGIC for an issue)who attended a mentalism show with some of the leading mentalists including Guy Bavli, Gerard Senehi and Anthony Blake, and he was such a boor while sitting in the audience explaining to lay people the methods for much of what was done. Can you imagine? A magician (a slef righteous one at that) exposing!!!!! Any worse that the masked moron? But there are so many out there that not only knock Kreskin and others but have this type of attitude, so does it really surprise you? Very sad indeed.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
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Unique Mentalism World-wide
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/29/03 05:43 PM

Well, I'll admit that I've never seen Kreskin live -- my only real exposure to him was when he was on a local radio station about a year ago.

And, quite frankly, he sucked.

The whole time he was on (and for a good amount of time after he had left), the dj's were basically laughing AT him. He was completely out of touch with the reaction he was getting. Not to mention the fact that the effect was completely convoluted (it had something to do with a voodoo doll, a bunch of cards, a prediction trapped between glass that changed after the event (whatever it was), and him falling over (on purpose)). No one there really cared much about the performance, nor I think did anyone listening.

Perhaps it was just a bad day? I don't know. I do know that it was a less-than-memorable performance. I went away thinking "that was Kreskin?"

-Jim
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/29/03 07:14 PM

It's damn chilly in here. :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/29/03 07:44 PM

I witnessed Keskin's full evening show and it was a great night of entertainment. Granted, it was about 20 years ago, but it was a great performance and he had the audience eating out of his hands.

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Postby Larry Horowitz » 07/29/03 08:41 PM

Since I have been in magic about 37 years, I have a lot of knowledge about methods and performance. I would have no trouble dissecting and tearing apart Kreskin's show. I would also have no trouble tearing apart your show.

Oh, yes I would, I can't see your's, it's not on television!

Stop bashing the man. At this point he's been around longer then Copperfield, Burton, Penn, etc,etc.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 07/29/03 10:20 PM

^^^^ Respectfully noting that longevity isn't always a guarantee of quality.
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/30/03 07:43 AM

Respectfully noting that I don't even know that he's "been around for 20 years". Alive maybe, but actively performing?

I just always found his stage presence to be annoying, and not very impressive. But then I feel the same way about Penn :) [but NOT Teller]
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/30/03 08:12 AM

Originally posted by Larry Horowitz:
Oh, yes I would, I can't see your's, it's not on television!
I don't really see how that's relevant. I don't need to have an act on television in order to recognize a poor performance.

Originally posted by Larry Horowitz:
Stop bashing the man.
I'm not bashin him. I'm just stating that fact that, the one time I witnessed a performance of his, it was less than impressive and made me wonder why he had been around so long.

Originally posted by Larry Horowitz:
At this point he's been around longer then Copperfield, Burton, Penn, etc,etc.
Again, not relevant. William Shatner's been acting for over 50 years. Doesn't mean he's a great actor...it just means he's been around for over 50 years.

But, like I said, I'm not bashing Kreskin. I only caught that one performance of his, and that's not enough to judge him on the whole as a performer. I just wasn't impressed enough to want to seek out other performances of his.

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Postby Robert Allen » 07/30/03 08:41 AM

Hey!!! Watch what you say about William Shatner!


"Hey, Mr. Tamborine Man!"
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/30/03 08:47 AM

Originally posted by Robert Allen:
Hey!!! Watch what you say about William Shatner!


"Hey, Mr. Tamborine Man!"
Exactly.

:)

-Jim
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Postby Jeff Haas » 07/30/03 10:53 AM

OK, I had no idea what the Shatner/Tambourine Man reference was about, but that's what Google's for.

http://www.improb.com/news/2002/aug/sha ... urine.html

If that doesn't work, try:

http://www.counterpoint-music.com/speci ... edout.html

Warning: Do not have any sort of liquid in your mouth when you listen to this. Damage to your computer monitor could result.

Jeff
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/30/03 11:13 AM

I swear on all that is Holy, that recording of his was at least 2 orders of magnitude worse than I remember it being. God I hope my judgement isn't that flawed...I pray that someone has messed with the original recording...
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Postby Jeff Haas » 07/30/03 11:18 AM

Robert, victims of abuse often block out many of the details.

Jeff
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/30/03 01:09 PM

I tried not laugh ... I really really tried
... but ... I COULDN'T HELP IT!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
What a buffoon!
I think I've soiled my pants!
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Postby Bill McFadden » 07/30/03 06:49 PM

Kinda puts one in mind of Dick Shawn's rendition of "Love Power" from the film version of "The Producers." Or maybe Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Constipation Blues." And just dig the banjo part of that kooky arrangement! A total gasser, daddio . . . :eek: :cool: :rolleyes:
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Postby Guest » 07/30/03 09:12 PM

Wow! from Kreskin to Shatner,what a seque. I barely noticed the change. :confused:
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Postby Guest » 07/31/03 02:39 PM

Hi all,

I saw Kreskin several years ago doing a show at one of the local colleges. Let's just say that I was underwhelmed.

His performance consisted of: a psychokinesis demonstration of a less than sterling performance of the Milson-Worth Astro Ball cabinet. He did the Himber Linking finger rings in which he stated that "these are not like the large linking rings that magicians use...you know the ones that one of them have the slit in it." He also did the "old chestnut" of "think of a number between 1 and 100 in which both digits are odd and both are different. Now all of you that thought of the number 37 raise your hands." He also did his hidden check routine, which he failed. He then proceeded to browbeat the chair of the committee by using the "guilt trip" of "even though you failed to follow my directions (which they did not), I'm going to go ahead and donate the check anyway."

As I mentioned earlier, I was less than impressed.

Bob Phillips
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