Criss Angel named Magician of the Year

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/15/05 12:42 AM

The title pretty much says it all: Criss Angel has been named Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts.
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Postby Guest » 10/15/05 10:55 AM

Yeah....but rememember, I wasn't nominated.
Steve V <---sends congrats to Criss
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Postby Michael Kamen » 10/15/05 03:39 PM

Great choice. The lad is doing a fine job (I broke down and ordered expanded basic cable just for this).

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The title pretty much says it all: Criss Angel has been named Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts.
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Postby Guest » 10/15/05 10:49 PM

Congrats, Criss. I think he is doing a great job shedding some much needed publicity and light on our great art. Especially since Blaine no longer does anymore " magic." Anyways, this post is directed towards Mr. Richard Kaufman. Mr. Kaufman, i know that you are close to the Angel Production team and Criss himself and I am wondering why Criss is publicly selling the effects he performs on TV? It makes no sense to me whatsoever. I mean he is suppose to be Mr. Mindfreak and he publicly stated that he was going to sell the sinful effect on his website and then he went on and performed it. It just contradicts his whole character that he is trying to establish. I know that it is a business, but I mean why not just market it to magic sites, such as hocus pocus or hank lee's. Don't put an advertisment on your own site that says pay me 100 bucks and i will sell u my secret to levitate; as is the case with his Mastermind vol.2 series dvd. I mean i don't see how this can help him in the public spree with laymen. It kills his image and character.

I know i may be a nobody in the world of magic and to be honest, that is how i like it.(i am like Criss when he stated he tried to stay away from fellow magicians his whole life) but if anyone like Mr. Kaufman can tell Criss to perhaps change his marketing tactics for selling the effects he does on TV, then i think it can only help him and his fellow mystery workers. I mean, i know it is a business, but can't he make the same revenue by marketing them on magic related sites, not his own. I heard that this is what Blaine will be doing in the spring too on his special. Performing crazy effects and then going out and selling them to the public in order to make money. If this is what magic on tv is going to become, then i say, well, that is pretty f**king tragic! I mean, why do Magicians feel afraid nowadays to let their audiences experience wonder and mystery. Read Osterlind's essays and you'll know what i am talkng about. Anyways, i hope my grassroot movement can perhaps change Criss' marketing approach. Besides that, I love Criss, he has changed the game, and for those who can't keep up or bring something new to our " wonderful game," then by all means, don't let the door hit you on the way out!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/16/05 04:45 AM

I'm not going to tell Criss anything. If he has the permission of the creators of these effects to sell them, then it's up to him how he does it. But, if I can remember, the next time I interview Criss I'll ask him about it.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 10/16/05 09:49 AM

Having read up on Criss's apparent sale of magic effects to the public - it does strike me as odd as to what possible rationale there could be ( besides financial ) to this decision ?

Here you have a performer who has worked so hard to create a truly mysterious persona - only to have that image of 'perhaps this is real' completely shattered by the revelation - that hey, you too can levitate for $100 USD ... and the kicker, Criss goes on to say that this is exactly the method that he uses ...

I'm sorry - but that strikes me as completely short-sighted

The public "believe" that Blaine can float ... Criss Angel uses a gimmick which you can buy for $100 ...

Where is the mystery and intrigue now ... ??? Criss Angel - who quickly elevated himself above the rank of 'magician' through his marketing - has now ... in the eyes of the public who come across this ... made a very rapid descent to somebody who relies on easily purchased gimmicks ( excuse the pun )

I can't recall either Copperfield / Lance Burton / Siegfried & Roy actively performing a signature routine and then immediately offering it for sale to the public. And yet - all of these performers have found many other avenues to push merchandise ( the most standard method being here's a simple effect which you too can perform at home -- not something such as a levitation - which in the public eye's - should require skill and 'real magic' to accomplish ... )
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Postby Jim Riser » 10/16/05 09:51 AM

jmagic;
From a marketing position, Criss' marketing plan seems excellent to me. People will see his show, go to his web site, order from him. This will allow several important things to happen:
1. He will receive the initial flood of impulse orders before the Penguins and Magic Makers can get into position to sell ripoffs.
2. He will receive full price for his items and not have to share profits with other "dealers". There will be no discount sales by shady "online dealers" who merely have items drop shipped by suppliers.
3. He will build his own customer base.
4. He will establish his own brand name.
5. He can control the quality of what is being sold.
6. He can control the prices on his items.

If he does not profit from his hard work and his show, who will? I see no reason for him to support a whole marketing system of distributors with their own markups.

I do not know Criss; but agree with his marketing plan. This sounds like a sound business plan to me. He benefits as do his customers. :)

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Postby CraigMitchell » 10/16/05 10:12 AM

That's fine if you want to sell magic.

But surely this kills his credibility as a true 'miracle worker'

Criss has basically admitted publicly that what he does is accomplished by no more than trickery and gimmicks.

The gains to be made by selling magic are short term.

Your reputation and persona as a someone who 'perhaps can really do the bizarre' are worth far more !
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 10/16/05 11:10 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
...the next time I interview Criss I'll ask him about it.
Does this mean another cover story on Angel soon?

Hopefully not.

I'd opine that two lengthy cover stories on any one person within the span of the last two years is pretty sufficient to tell me what I need/want to know about that person.
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Postby Guest » 10/16/05 11:19 AM

Thanks, Craig. i am glad someone sees it from my point of view. Mr. Kaufman, i am not telling him NOT TO SELL,BUT RATHER HOW HE SHOOULD BE SELLING THEM. Or at least price them out of the range for the mere curious,like Kohler does with his fine magic supplies.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/16/05 11:27 AM

This reminds me of a story about Tim Ellis. Tim owns the magic shop in Melbourne, and when Copperfield was coming to town Tim and Kristina decided to save up and buy an advertisment in the show progamme. After commiting to the ad they were informed that Copperfield had refused the sale because he didn't want magic to be percieved as something you can buy in a shop (that last bit is a paraphrase).

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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/16/05 11:32 AM

Originally posted by Craig Mitchell:
That's fine if you want to sell magic.

But surely this kills his credibility as a true 'miracle worker'
Well, I think this viewpoint is too analytical to be representative of all but a tiny minority of his audience. And I think it's amazing how people can compartmentalize -- I've had people at the Magic Castle say, in one sentence, that they know how he did one of his tricks, and in the next, ask me if the levitation was real magic.

But think about this: Even if it were true magic, it's still something that you can learn. Criss learned how to levitate. And he can teach you.

Why couldn't a genuine magic power be learned from a DVD?

I understand that this line of thinking seems ridiculous, but that's oly because we (most of us) already dismiss the entire concept of real magic. But if you believed that what Criss is doing might be real, why wouldn't you believe he could teach you to do it too?
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Postby Guest » 10/16/05 11:37 AM

I don't watch the Criss Angel show cuz my wife won't let me but I agree with Jim on his selling of material. Frankly the first thing I thought of when I saw he was selling effects was "Better him doing it before Magic Makers releases their versions". I think I'll go to his site and see what is up.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 10/16/05 12:21 PM

"But if you believed that what Criss is doing might be real, why wouldn't you believe he could teach you to do it too"

No problem there if you want to go down that route. But he's not selling something that emphasises that his abilility / secret is something special or unique to him as a skilled performer ... he's selling a gimmick which he advertises as being able to be made for under $300 by anyone ...

Now I've:

1 - Attached a monetary value to a piece of magic ( which before seemed ethereal ) This brings it back to the realm of possible very quickly

2 - Removed all concept of mystery of the method to something which can now easily be constructed

The biggest contradiction here is that Criss has stepped completely out of character. He's now crossed from the world of mystery to a very real world of nuts & bolts - and a $100 purchase ...

Siegfried & Roy built up an aura of of mystery during their performance - they truly managed to to leave the audience with the notion the 'true magic lies all around us' ... Roy's connection with his animals was seen as something very special and unique. They did not break the illusion by selling a "Learn how to make your elephant disappear" gimmick for $100 at the end of their performance.

Copperfield talks about the power of dreams in many of his routines. Imagine at the end of his Flying routine - after he has taken the audience on a very powerful journey - that he again, breaks out of character - and destroys the illusion by selling the new improved John Gaughan plans to the audience which you can build for under $300.

I just cannot see this break with character development as a 'mystery man' / 'worker of the bizarre / impossible' as being a positive step in the rise to stardom ...
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Postby Michael Kamen » 10/16/05 12:53 PM

I do not think Criss' success is contingent on convincing anyone he has supernatural powers, and magicians who think that is what they are about are not doing the art any service imho.

The only question for Criss' success is, can he excite the audience's attention, long enough to make his sponsors happy, and keep them coming back. If he keeps doing what he has been doing, I think he can.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 10/16/05 01:37 PM

"I do not think Criss' success is contingent on convincing anyone he has supernatural powers"

Not supernatural powers ( although I do note that Criss has gone for a mindfreak / bizarre cult like theme ). That what he does is far more special and unique to him the performer than a gimmick which you - the layperson - can build for under $300 ...

In choosing to market his merchandise in this manner, Criss has knowingly or unknowingly removed all emphasis away from him the performer to a gimmicked object which can be built & made.

Magic is supposed to be more than the tools of the trade ... why throw the emphasis back on the physical ?

As Ian noted above "Copperfield had refused the sale because he didn't want magic to be percieved as something you can buy in a shop (that last bit is a paraphrase)"

And rightly so ...
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Postby Michael Kamen » 10/16/05 02:02 PM

I take your point about uniqueness, etc. For what its worth, I watched last Wednesday night and failed to see the pitch about selling any magic tricks let alone the levitation one. He is selling the quarter through can on his website as near as I can tell. Possibly one would have to pay close attention to the final credits to find the pitch. For my part and I am guessing I am not the only one, when the show is over I just want to go to bed.

Other than that, I can recall as a boy reading the Lou Tannen catalogue with deep awe. What gave me the right to read it? If I could only have bought some of those illusions described, it would have been quite the equivalent to me of having real supernatural powers. Of course, I could not afford them so instead focused on developing skill of the hands but that is another story. I wonder if Criss' appeal is not quite a reasonable entry point to the art, for young people whose magical subterranean depths are fertile.
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Postby Guest » 10/16/05 02:56 PM

This is a touchy subject it seems. All i know is that Magicians have been succeeding on TV for nearly 50 yrs without having to " plug " their effects to laymen. To be quite honest, it is quite ridiculous. However, I am all for the notion that " magicians are the only ones who care about secrets, the audience just wants to be entertained. " But there is a line that can't be crossed. By selling it like this, you are killing the theatrics of the art. And trust me, people ask me the same thing all the time, do copperfield and blaine really levitate? Besides, the point though, Criss' release is too late. the best marketed levitation just came out....
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Postby Tim Ellis » 10/16/05 03:38 PM

Hi to Ian Kendall! Gee you've got a good memory about that Copperfield programme thing! Just to update you, I sold the Magic Shop about 8 years ago but I did cop some flak from the young owners of another magic shop here in Melbourne last year: Sue-Anne and I brought our our 3 teaching DVDs and the other Magic Shop had a thread on their Forum saying 'Ellis & Webster have sold out'. Their argument was the same as this current thread about Criss Angel - people could see our show, then visit our website, then buy the DVDs of our secrets.

Some argued this was just the same as Daryl, Michael Ammar, Tommy Wonder and countless others who have sold their secrets in books and videos for years.

Others argue that there is a difference in selling to 'the public' vs 'the magic community'. However, D'Lites are sold to the public - was Rocco criticised in this way? There are late night advertorials selling magic to the public by prominent magicians - did they get the same treatment?

Look at the other side of the coin - Blaine did the right thing by the magic community and paid Anders Moden the rights to 'Healed & Sealed', and then it was available on Ebay within 12 hours of going to air, and on Fearson's site a few days after that, and finally released all over the magic community capitalising on Blaine's performance of it but without Blaine getting a cent for it. Instead, the exclusivity he paid for the effect was gone.

Look at the number of tricks that are sold within the magic community (and on the net to laypeople who are casual magic fans) that use Blaine's name to hook the buyers in. "Do the trick you saw Blaine do on TV". The same rings true with Copperfield and Angel too.

Be honest, why should these guys respect a magic community that rips them off or, at best, rides on their coat tails and cashes in on their success?

Yes, Craig Mitchell is right when he suggests that this may not be a great image/business decision on Angel's part, but time will tell... and if Blaine is planning on doing the same thing, maybe they can't both be wrong.

I know, in the past, magicians have endorsed boxes of cheap plastic magic with their photos on the front. Many have sold card trick books to their audience after the show. The very act of selling these things to the public implies that magic is a skill that can be purchased.

I guess Criss Angel is making sure that instead of a plastic coin slide, his fans are buying magic that lives up to their expectations.
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Postby Guest » 10/16/05 04:19 PM

At the least, Criss should password protect his site where he is selling the Dvds, just like derren brown does on his own site.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 10/16/05 04:58 PM

Good point, he could use a password, but then he would only be selling to those who already are in the magic community (ie: "What is Eugene's surname?" "What is The Professor's first name"). I think Criss Angel is trying to create a following of people who have been introduced to magic through his work.

I've posted eight points to consider here:

http://magicunlimited.typepad.com/magic ... l_sel.html
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Postby Guest » 10/16/05 05:19 PM

Tim,you do have some valid points. Like, for starters, the magic community, for the most part, sucks!! By the way, i highly respect your work, sir. Also, with today's f##ked up world, i don't think laymen really care to be honest about how things are done. Most of my audience respect that I can even conceive the idea to the things i do because they know it is impossible. Plus, like already mentioned on this forum, many don't even know about Criss yet because he is on cable and not network. Furthermore, maybe he will only have the dvds up for sale for an alotted amount of time.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 10/16/05 11:29 PM

Hi Tim

Great to get your feedback ...

Sure, Criss can sell anything he chooses in whatever manner he deems fit. And plugging your merchandise on TV is a no-brainer to those in the marketing world.

I would just have thought that the real gains ( being financial and otherwise - although a long term prospect ) would be to build up your image as the 'impossible worker' - that is my key area of discussion.

Surely a high paid gig ( owing to your now fame as someone who is no ordinary magician ) is worth far more than any money that you may receive from selling some DVDs ?

Maybe I'm wrong - and Blaine is kicking himself that he too didn't plug his effects on TV ?

"... his fans are buying magic that lives up to their expectations."

I don't know - how many prospective purchases are going to be happy after spending $100 and finding that their version of the levitation isn't nearly as exciting as the one they saw on TV ?

If Criss' desire is to promote magic amongst beginners with high quality props - good for him ( anything is better than the cheap and nasty sets )

"The very act of selling these things to the public implies that magic is a skill that can be purchased."

Ah - good point. But this is a simple effect which you can purchase and perform ... not the self same illusion and method that I perform which 'has taken years of practise and dedication' and obviously requires something far more special than $100 gimmick ( this always being the underlying mindscript )

It's definitely an interesting discussion topic :-)
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Postby Guest » 10/17/05 12:22 AM

just visited criss' official website, and it seems as though he has taken his mindseries dvd vol 2 off the site. hmmm, interesting? .....
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/17/05 05:54 AM

Criss's artist has just finished the ad for the second DVD on the levitation and sent it to us for Genii, so don't read anything into the fact that it's not on his website at the moment.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/17/05 07:35 AM

Wonderful! He is providing some high profile public awareness of magic. Also a boost to magic in general as opposed to the usual limits of on-stage or at a table varieties usually shown.
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Postby Guest » 10/17/05 10:31 AM

Don't let yourself get too upset about the audience's knowing how its done.

One of the best illustrations of the value of PERFORMANCE was something I saw at the Edmar Magic Shop. A grade-school sized boy came in looking for something to buy. Earl Edwards reached for a Ball and Vase. The boy said he owned one of those in his magic set and knew how to work it. Earl said, "Does yours work like this?" He then performed the ball and vase -- as opposed to doing the ball and vase. When he finished the boy said, "Mine doesn't work like that."

Dr Jacks once astounded me with a card trick. What most impressed me was when I learned later that it was done with a trick deck like the one which was in my pocket at the time!!!!! (Brainwave)
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Postby Edward » 10/18/05 04:31 PM

I just don't understand this? If Chris can do this with the public then why can't I?? If can't tell someone how to do a clssssc pssss. then why can Chris? Is it only because he's well known and not me? Explain this to me please!!
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Postby Michael Kamen » 10/18/05 05:40 PM

Edward, I do not think Criss Angel is selling lessons in the classic pass. Do you want to give lessons in it? Does anyone want to pay you for this? If so, who is stopping you?
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/18/05 07:23 PM

Criss is MARKETING a trick invented by someone that sold him the rights to it. The coin in can is not easy to do and anyone that buys the DVD will have to put some time and effort into it to get it right

It is a terrific effect and when I saw it done on the originator's demo, online, it had me completely baffled.
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Postby Guest » 10/19/05 09:34 AM

We should keep in mind that television has ALWAYS been about commerce, and never about Art.

Soap Operas were/are crummy endless dramas to keep floor-scrubbers tuned-in on a regular basis to sell them Tide and Bounty.

The "news" ? Ditto with different stuff pitched at us.

Cars and Booze during televised sports events.

What Criss has done (and rumor suggests that Blaine is thinking of going this way also) is make the transition from Cable Show to Infomercial.

Mark Wilson and Harry Blackstone had magic sets you could buy, but they were filled with the traditional paddle tricks and wire puzzles of centuries past.

My concern is that some big creepy company may figure this stuff out and start selling folding quarters and invisible decks at the commercials during someone else's magic special.

Please enjoy your stay on the slippery slope...
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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 10/19/05 09:48 AM

The Mark Wilson Course in Magic is much more than "paddle tricks and wire puzzles of centuries past." One of the premiums he offered on an infomercial I saw for the course run during the holiday season was an effect using the out to lunch principle. Another premium offered was the self folding bill.

I'm not offering any opinion here just wanted to add this observation.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/19/05 10:06 AM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
Originally posted by tonga:
[b] Don't let yourself get too upset about the audience's knowing how its done.

One of the best illustrations of the value of PERFORMANCE was ...
Did the guy go looking for a holdout or extra balls or sleeving or ...? Nope he just thought that the trick prop was doing something different. Maybe he missed a move BUT he knew it was the prop. Apples versus sliced apples there. No banana.

For real people who are not self involved in the secrets they know, muggles if you will, this is not the case. Things that might fly by magicians because of their stilted expectations will not necessarily fly by your average audience member. Where a magician may on some level want to be fooled, a regular person does not want to be made the fool.

In general when someone knows 'the secret', what they experience is different than those who don't know the secret get. Those who don't know get that awe and mystery experience. Those who do know get to appreciate the performance BUT not the magic. [/b]
Staying on track here, I am curious to see what comes of Criss's site and those who take his path into mystery. What sort of magic will they perform and invent a few years from now. I will reserve comment on muggle blowback till I see some in real life.

I wish him and his the best in this experiment.
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Postby Guest » 10/19/05 01:24 PM

My question is, "Is Chriss really selling anything at all?"

He took my money 3 months ago, for "Coin thru Soda Can", and I have not seen a product in the mail yet. Pre-Order is one thing, but this is rediculous.

I have been self employed for over 30 years, and if I treated my customers like that, I would not have lasted 1 year.

Phil
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Postby Guest » 10/20/05 11:21 PM

Criss selling effects from his television specials sends a very bad message. First, it implies that if you have the money, you can do what he does. Let's get real, lay-people who buy these effects aren't thinking about the theatrical skill need to pull this stuff off. Once they know the secret, the method and the "performance" become one in the same (in thier minds).

Secondly, the pipming of this material says that its value can be reduced to a dollar amount. Is it unreasonable to think that people outside of magic may have thought that Criss' secrets were priceless/sacred. I guess everything does have a price.

Tim Ellis writes:

"Craig Mitchell is right when he suggests that this may not be a great image/business decision on Angel's part, but time will tell... and if Blaine is planning on doing the same thing, maybe they can't both be wrong."


Yes they can!

Mr. Ellis continues:

"Be honest, why should these guys respect a magic community that rips them off or, at best, rides on their coat tails and cashes in on their success?"

This isn't about respecting "a magic community". It's about respecting MAGIC. Personally, I'm shocked that a magician of your stature has these views.

Once upon a time, magicians kept their secrets. How I long for those times.

Blaq
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Postby Tim Ellis » 10/21/05 06:25 AM

Blaq,

I certainly understand your thinking and, believe it or not, I agree with it. I long for the time when secrets were secrets too.

However, it does come back to the "magic community".

The reality is that when a magician comes out with a brand new trick, especially if he does it on TV, other magicians seem to "need" to know how it's done. Many will be offended if the magician won't explain or sell the trick. They seem to feel that, as magicians, they have a right to know every secret.

For example, look at the "dead fly" trick Blaine did on TV. He didn't sell it or advertise how to do it, but booklets were released by magic dealers to cater for the demand from magicians who wanted to know how the trick was done. Whether or not it was the same method Blaine used was immaterial.

After the first Criss Angel episode aired here (Levitation) I had dozens of people calling me up asking "How did he do it?" They were ALL magicians! They figured that, seeing as they didn't know how he did some of the levitations, he must have "cheated" with camera editing and stooges. Unless I explained how he did it, they were going to believe it was "fake".

The non-magicians I spoke to were much more reasonable, they enjoyed the show and said Criss was very good.

Meanwhile, the magic shops were getting call after call from magicians trying to buy Criss's levitations.

Now the demand for secrets is coming from within the community. If Criss doesn't want to cater to that demand (instead simply leaving the levitation a secret), others will. "Do the levitation Criss Angel did on TV" will be touted all over the internet and through the magic magazines as people try to cash in on the demand.

Criss is advertising his tricks on his website, so I still feel that's different from plugging it to the general public. He's still keeping it "within" the community. He knows that people will try to make money from his success, so why shouldn't he?

D'Lites are, in my opinion, are different story. They are sold to the general public and promoted for sale on TV during advertorials. So are the 'TV Magic' sets. But that's a debate for another thread!

In summary, if I went on TV with a brand new trick, and I tried to keep it's method secret, odds are that within a very short period of time someone would bring out "their version" of my trick and start selling it.

I'd rather be in your world Blaq, where other magicians would respect my right to keep a secret than demand their right to know how it's done.
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Postby Guest » 10/21/05 06:43 PM

Hey, I've just happened to have fallen on this forum by accident but I might have some insight on this subject.
The reason why he might be selling this trick is maybe because it's not his trick. Let me explain...
He has not created both sinful or this levitation (he does mention the creators), therefor I belive it's not really his call. All he's doing is hopping on the money train. He is simply there to make some extra money out of the tricks and release his name as much as he can.

Even if he wasn't selling these tricks, Wayne hounchin(creator of sinful) and the creator of the levitation (Jacob Spiney) would eventually do so. So why not get a cut out of this? The creators sell more because Criss Angel is on the cover, and criss gets publicity and a percentage in return.

So I don't think it's totally criss' call.
It's kinda like healed and sealed, how that trick got so popular after Blaine did it. All the creator had to add to his publicity was " as performed by Blaine" and then everyone wanted it.

I doubt we'll ever see any of Criss' creations on the market.

But I do agree, it should be kept more to the magic community.

Hope this will add some insight
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Postby Brian Marks » 10/21/05 08:23 PM

I recall Blaine using a folding quarter. They believe he could bit quarter which was widely available before he even did the show.

I went to see the Amazing Kreskin a few months ago. On sitting down, the guy behind me,50 something was describing how some magician named Ricky Jay did a trick for him 30 years ago where a card he names appears to be the only card down in a face up deck. This guy could not stop thinking about it for 30 years! Finally this guy go to some magic shop and gets lessons. The first trick he learns is the invisible deck.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 10/22/05 04:20 AM

Joga is right on the button with the 'Healed & Sealed' saga.

Anders Moden published it as 'shareware' on the Electronic Grymoire, very few magicians tried it, even though it was right there available to them.

I started doing it and performed it during a trip to the USA for FFFF. Magicians were so freaked out by it they were offering me big $$$$ for the secret. I explained it was not mine to give. I contacted Anders and paid him for the right to put my version of his trick in our next lecture notes.

The next time we toured the USA Sue-Anne explained the method in a 20 minute private workshop only to people who purchased the notes. It was our attempt to keep the secret somewhat secret, and to make sure those who did it, did it properly.

Blaine's people saw the lecture in New York, contacted Anders, and paid him for the TV rights to the trick.

After Blaine did it, unscrupulous dealers brought out the trick and sold it to everyone. One even gave it away as a "free bonus with every purchase".

In the end Anders was literally forced to bring out 'Healed & Sealed' as a manuscript for three reasons: 1 - To establish that the trick really was his. 2 - To teach people how to do the trick properly. 3 - To channel money that people were spending anyway to the rightful inventor of the effect!

(You can read more if you really want to here: http://www.magicunlimited.com/Pubrepop_ripoff.htm )

However, you can see that, even if you want to keep magic a secret, there are magicians out there working against you (and they're not all wearing masks).
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Postby John LeBlanc » 10/22/05 08:01 AM

Originally posted by Blaq:
Criss selling effects from his television specials sends a very bad message. First, it implies that if you have the money, you can do what he does.
Oh, please.

First, the business side of magic -- from which well all of us draw or have drawn -- is based on the fact (not implication) that for a price you can have secrets.

I know a close-up magician who had boxes and boxes of close-up tricks that had been opened and performed exactly zero times. They were bought from one of the Big Guys in mail order magic. Why did he spend that jack? TO LEARN THE SECRETS. Nothing more.

Now, what separates that guy -- ostinsibly a magician -- from someone else -- who loves to paint their fingernails (all of them) black, wear black, have black hair, and God knows what else is painted black -- from acquiring the same secrets?

Nothing.

Originally posted by Blaq:
Let's get real, lay-people who buy these effects aren't thinking about the theatrical skill need to pull this stuff off. Once they know the secret, the method and the "performance" become one in the same (in thier minds).
Let's see, do we know a group of people who regularly confuse "method" and "performance"? Oh yes, many of those who call themselves magicians. And that's because you can attach the word magician to anyone who has purchased an Adams magic trick in Toys-R-Us, all the way up to those at whose feet many of us would bow down. Unfortunately, it's a fairly generic word these days.

One of the most consistant complaints made of many magicians these days -- and that hasn't substantially changed for a very, very long time -- is that they put to much emphasis on the secrets and forget about the performance aspect.

My thinking on why that is? Because much of what makes up the world of magic is filled with normal people who are called "magicians" only because they purchased, learned and maybe even performed a trick.

Let's not draw some line in the sand between "us" and "them" because, largely, we are "them". The difference is only by degree.

As to dramatic and "believable" performance ability, tell you what, I'll bet you get ten random goth kids in a room with ten random amateur magicians, and I'll bet the goth kids can perform a magic trick with better performance skills than the magicians.


Originally posted by Blaq:
Secondly, the pipming of this material says that its value can be reduced to a dollar amount. Is it unreasonable to think that people outside of magic may have thought that Criss' secrets were priceless/sacred. I guess everything does have a price.
Everything does have a price. And that price is based on value and value is ultimately determined by the buyer.

Besides, what do you mean by the word "value"? Many of us on this side of the fence use the word "value" to mean more than just the intrinsic value of a trick. But that's magic as art and not magic as commerce. I think it's not useful to the discussion to pretend there is one and not the other -- or worse, apply the one to Criss and the other to everyone else who gets a pass.

Now that Criss has elevated the art of magic in the minds of plenty of people, I think there's not a single thing wrong with him selling magic however and to whomever shows interest in him and his magic. To suggest he's doing anything substantially different than those who have come before him is silly at best, and disingenuous at worst.

John
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