Blaine's stunt (a visit to death pole)

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby MaxNY » 05/21/02 10:44 PM

A quick discription about this stunt for the out-of-staters...
But first a quick tour through the gift shop. This year's posters are much cheaper than last years. They were selling both "The pole" and "Frozen" posters. The "frozen" posters were printed on very strong, thin cardboard. The "pole" posters, on poster paper, but I do like their size, about 14" X 36". Does he have a new tatoo of an eye inside his palm? because on the poster he does. Great mis-direction.
The past two stunts were better for viewing David close-up, but moved people past him at a pretty good clip. Here, you can find a chair and just watch, and watch, and watch.
The pole is huge, Octangular in shape, conflicting reports on how high it actually is. Bill Kalush said 80 feet, poster claims 100. They have a 22" platform that people can stand on, for fun. That was interesting, but only one was provided.
The Buried stunt was flawless in execution, the Frozen was seamless in design, but I would have built a glass platform above this death mast. I believe many will compensate thoughts of trickery (a probable wrongful explanation of magnets holding him down.) The King Klalushness said it was obvious his shoes would weigh too much( if clad in metal) for the crash landing on Wednesday night. There was also "cameras everywhere" but no wide screens to be found. I don't want to believe his ever uses trickery for his stunt finals, (no matter what Fox says), and don't believe there is trickery used here, but I liked the transparency of the Buried stunt, and loved the mosaic images that the ice produced, just thought a clear table top platform would look cooler. Heck even the platform divers can be seen through clear "glass" stages.
It is a bitter cold night here in NY. It must be 40 degrees out, and there is queit a wind, this stunt is far colder than Ice Cubed.
I suggested they remove any copper metal staples from the cardboard boxes.
I dove along with the platform divers at The University of Texas, and have several hundred quarry (60 footers) leaps in my past, anything past 40 feet, and water rips you into two if you hit it wrong, I however cannot vouch for boxed air. As Newman said "Why the jump alone will probably kill ya"
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 05/22/02 06:27 AM

Believe it or not, I did a 60-foot quarry jump in Tonawanda, New York when I was 16 and will can attest that you hit the water at a pretty good clip from that height. My body weight back then was about 152 pounds. I crossed my ankles to protect my groin; you also take in a deep breath just before striking the water because you plunge fairly deep into the cold waters.

I did not jump a second time and never mustered the bravado to dive off the platform.

Finally, I would never jump into cardboard boxes no matter how high they were piled.

But--hey!--that's me.

Copperfield on the other hand is shopping around to buy an island. Now that's the way to go. While there he can meditate on John Donne.

Onward...
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Postby MaxNY » 05/22/02 06:40 AM

So last night on the Carson Daly show (old MTV VJ, and Tornato watcher), Blaine proceeded to pull his heart out! Network executives were not going to air it, because it was very well executed, and really gross. The staff of "Later" said that they couldn't find him after he stumbled to his feet, and the stage went dark. Great bit!
You may be able to catch carson Daly re-runs on ...(is it A&E? )
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 05/22/02 06:58 AM

Once again, the thing I'm hearing over and over again today and yesterday, from high school students and adult teachers, and even from a few other lay-adults, is:

"Did you hear about that guy David Blaine pulling his own heart out on TV?!?"

He knows how to get everybody's attention in a unique way, that's for sure.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/22/02 07:06 AM

I loved the bit on Carson Daley. For those who don't know, David & Carson were chatting a bit about the stunts and how David really has to have control over his body. This led into the old pulse-stopping trick. However, David took it a step further. In his usual style, once he got into the magic, he was 100% serious. There was no joking, no smiles, no laughter like earlier in the show. When his pulse stopped, Carson tried to joke a bit "Man...that can't be good for you..." but David just sat there and whipped out "The Stare." After an appropriate, uncomfortable pause, David mumbled something about the control it takes and something or other (I can't recall exactly what he said right now) and then proceeded to unbutton his shirt. He then inserted his hand into his chest (seemed like a "psychic surgery" type thing) with some difficulty and proceeded to come out with a lump of...something. The implication was that it was his heart, of course. As he's doing this, he has a pained expression on his face and when the heart came out, his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed out of his chair and onto the floor. They then cut to a commercial, and when we come back, there's a security guard telling everyone to leave and that the show is over.

And then they had to go and ruin the whole thing by putting a message up on the screen: "The preceeding program contained magic and illusions. No performers were harmed during the filming of this show." Sheesh.

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Postby Michael Edwards » 05/22/02 07:13 AM

Yeah, and they didn't even get as many calls as when Harry Anderson dispatched Skippy!!!! :D
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Postby Paul Cummins » 05/22/02 07:55 AM

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
I loved the bit on Carson Daley.
-Jim
Very accurate description and I agree - it looked GREAT. Carson Daly was out of his seat and three feet behind it looking awed or stunned; certainly he's no actor, I think his reaction was real.

If Houdini was alive he'd be high-fiving Blaine...

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Postby Michael Edwards » 05/22/02 07:58 AM

No, if Houdini were alive, he would be doing everything he could to undermine and devalue Blaine. In Houdini's mind, there was ONLY Houdini.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/22/02 08:08 AM

As with any guy-on-a-ledge scenario, I expect many will be shouting, "Jump! Jump!"

And if he is unharmed, will this start a dive into a pile of cardboard craze?
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/22/02 08:23 AM

Hey Roc... you wanna meet a duck for Pate? How about a Goose? :confused: :eek: :confused:
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Postby Guest » 05/22/02 10:37 AM

What if Blaine isn't going to jump at all? Maybe he is planning to trick us. He might fly off of the pole and sail around Bryant Park like a bird. How about levitating down the pole and landing softly. Any other thoughts?
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Postby Guest » 05/22/02 11:08 AM

I understand your concern, Steve, but Blaine isn't a "Jackass" by any means.

Blaine will be pronounced dead tonight from what I call Rapid Deceleration Syndrome. A fatal concussion of David's skull will be certified by a bonafide doctor. It will be THE news for days around the world with graphic pictures of the accident and of his rheumatiod corpse. After three days (this Saturday night, May 25, 2002) Blaine will raise, miraculously, from the dead with NEW secrets from the underworld to share with us underlings.

When "everyone" is convinced of his supernatural status we're the ones who will be the "jackasses".
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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/22/02 12:36 PM

Conversation at lunch today, in a government cafeteria:

Layman: What does David Blaine do about urinating?

Me: Catheter.

Layman: Is he going to take it off before he jumps?

Me: Uh, I hope so.

That could smart.
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/22/02 12:56 PM

We need "David Blaine meets Evel Knievel" the two most famous stunt dudes since Eric Weiss. :p
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/22/02 01:04 PM

There's an excellent video Meir Yedid has up on the All Magic site. It shows the whole set up, and Blaine getting hoisted up to his perch. Here's the link: Blaine movie

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Postby Guest » 05/22/02 01:11 PM

I'm waiting for the part where Blaine gets a text message on his cellphone to tell him that his fly is undone :D
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 05/22/02 02:10 PM

The Blaine Skit clearly shows the extent of how many of us are "wired" these days. In the dark ages of magic journalism, we found out news via telephone conversations, letters, and sluggish word-of-mouth. By the time magic magazines reported anything, it was 4-10 weeks old. No longer can Genii and Magic cover events like Blaine's "Vertigo." Magic consumers are almost getting the news from direct "feeds."

Before Blaine jumps in a few hours, I was able to download 47 (prequel)stories, watch 2 videos of him being raised to his perch, scan chat rooms for prattle, check out BBS's for reactions and remarks, listen to a live feed by Howard Stern, look at taped stuff from E!, Carson Daley, and elsewhere. Inside Magic and All Magic Guide of course have been covering johnny-on-the-spot.

So...

...We are very close to getting all news, magic and otherwise, 24-7 in real time via devices we wear or will be implanted on our person.

It's ALMOST cool enough and fast enough to suit we magicians.

Such fantastic technology would have boggled Houdini's mind. Today, for example, I received a number of magic effects via e-mail attachments, which were quickly downloaded and reformatted. I took 21 digital pics in less than 10 minutes, instantly converted them to a CD (after tweaking them in PhotoShop) and was able to create a mini-treatise in another 20 minutes, which I downloaded to 10 people in 3 minutes, each living in a different part of the planet.

Am I the only one still impressed by this wizardry?

(Excuse me...the cellphone in my pocket, which is plugged to my ear, is ringing. Gotta go.)

Onward...
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 05/22/02 08:08 PM

A couple of thoughts seconds after the event:

The actual jump was not the point, I think. The point was how he made people care about him beforehand.

Of the replay clips that were chosen, I think it's telling that the coffee-to-coins trick was featured. Meaningful magic.

The new effect, "conquering fear," was (IMHO) not about Blaine eating a snake (the gross-out effect), but about the kid who pulled the "transposed" snake out of his backpack. At first I thought he was just plastering a presentation onto a geek trick. But when the kid was digging for snake in his backpack, I found myself imploring the other people on camera to "let the kid take it out." And that's what happened. More meaningful magic.

I was fascinated with the development of a new climax for the watch steal.

We will hear people talking about this for awhile. We should pay attention to them, listen, and see what it is about this monotone twenty-something guy that moves people.
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Postby MaxNY » 05/22/02 08:22 PM

I enjoyed his bike ride down a New York Avenue.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/22/02 08:27 PM

Am I crazy, or don't stunt men (and women) do this kind of thing every day in every crap movie on cable TV late at night.
Okay, he's not a stunt man. I'm not a pilot, do you want to make a TV special around watching me attempt to land my plane? Besides, what about that foolishness with the little bicycle in traffic? With Blaine walking down the street, then falling face down and laying there, and then what? Nothing?
Beckett would have been amused.
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Postby sleightly » 05/22/02 09:01 PM

While I give David (and his handlers) a great deal of credit for whipping the media (and public) into a frenzy, I thought that, excluding the nice bit with the watch and glass penetration, it was a whole lot of nothing.

So much so that they had to re-run clips.

What messages are being transmitted? It is good to drink in public parks? Eating a snake is good if it helps a kid overcome his fear of snakes?

Ummm...

I understand David's move to performance art, but I must say that I was fairly underwhelmed and just don't get it.

It may not be art, but some (all right, a lot) definitely find it entertaining.

I find it a bit pretentious myself.

But then again, you won't see me on television...

I'm surprised that no hip kid has "glommed" onto the phenomenon and publicly challenged Blaine to a good old-fashioned duel.

Certainly has been done in the past and worked very well for publicity.

Any takers?

ajp
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Postby Adam Brooks » 05/22/02 09:36 PM

Whoever thought of the watch steal thing was a genius; besides the pole stunt, it was bar none my favorite piece of the special. Obviously, the working required made for one VERY special closed jewelry shop, but as we're all so fond of saying, it's the effect the counts, and when Blaine reached through that glass window to get the watch, I just grinned and thought "Now there's the BEST development and climax for a watch steal I have ever seen!"

Oh yeah, and Blaine plummeting 100+ feet into a cardboard cube was neat too. :)

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Postby Mark Jensen » 05/22/02 10:19 PM

This was definitely a low for Blaine. What's laughable is that even the pole stunt is lame compared to similar types of stunts available (The That's Incredible Reunion Special is fresh in my mind).

Even the audience reactions to what little "magic" he did seemed forced and weak in general.

Another special like this one and it'll be David Who?

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Postby Pete Biro » 05/22/02 11:10 PM

Well... hmmm... yes Richard stunt dudes do that all the time here in Hollywood. Sure some get hurt, and Blaine could have been injured for sure.

The jewelry store, well if you have the budget to make a store into a prop why not?

Kennedy's card through window is as good.

And we can buy that.

Lots of cinema verite, music video and commercial type cuts... pretty well produced, but magic content wise it was interesting.

Face it... he's the darling of someone at ABC and at least he stays in character.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/22/02 11:11 PM

I thought that it was very kind of Blaine to provide the words for my review of this show quite early on:

Every second feels like a minute. Every minute feels like an hour. Every hour feels like forever.
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/22/02 11:15 PM

QUESTION.... anyone have a little background on Bill Kalush? I've heard his name in magic before but.... :confused:
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/23/02 01:32 AM

Harry Houdini is alive today. His name is David Blaine.

I thought the pole challenge had a much better dramatic structure than either buried or frozen. The end of frozen was 45 minutes of pure anticlimax: them cutting him out of the ice, with the announcers telling us how dangerous it was. The end of Vertigo was a sensational climax with David leaping 100 feet onto nothing more than a pile of cardboard boxes.

BTW stunt men do 100 feet leaps, but into a nice soft inflatable pillow (and even that smarts). You could get a stunt man to do what Blaine did, but you'd have to pay him some serious coin.

I'm just waiting for Blaine to walk down the streets of New York, doing the Miser's Dream and handing all the money to homeless people.

(I believe the line is "The fall will probably kill you.")
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Postby MaxNY » 05/23/02 05:21 AM

So far, nobody has mentioned the nail in board illusion, so I will. I thought it was also very strong magic. One of the editing techniques that he has used in the past, that he did not use in this special would have worked perfect during the nail driver routine. I would have loved to see him do this for different gatherings, the reaction from the spectators was very strong! I also liked the misdirection...or what I thought was the moment of switch.
Speaking about misdirection, how about "mubbles" during the watch routine. I am a video editor here in New York, and I wonder if you needed the "intro" to the watch trick. He said something overdubbed like..."This isn't a card trick, but follow her watch". I think you need an intro like that. They probably viewed it over and over again, wanting to re-shoot, like it was missing something. The verbal pulled us in more to what was about to happen, it does break down another wall though, something I don't think we have seen with Blaine... kind of a "Let me tell you what we are going to do to this guy, but it will be our secret"
If you loved the walking backwards street art, dig up Lennon's son Sean's music video... he does it throughout the whole video, in New York... so that has been done.
As for the pole drop, ruptured inners will kill you. I thought the interview with the coach was a buzzkill. Get the professional box jumpper off my TV! I wanted to believe that Blaine thought this stuff up, not something that has already been done.
Bill Kalush has always been a made-magic-man here in New York. Mike Borenstein has vouched for his card control, and knowledge. Bill has been with David ever since I have known, and I was the first to put him on videotape (for the Jon Stewart) show on MTV. Bill is a family guy. I have heard that he is like "The Colonel" to our modern day Elvis...nothing goes to Elvis unless The Colonel filters it first.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/23/02 06:25 AM

Only in America. While waiting to watch a magician jump off a pole, I flipped channels and encountered celebrity boxing. Manute Bol (a 7 7 stick figure) against Fridge Perry, and then Joey Buttafuco (sp?) beating up on a woman half his size. So now I'm in a wonderful mood for ...

I liked it much better than I thought I would. I don't like megastunts in general, whether Blaine's or Copperfield's, but this one did tap into my fears, and, unlike David's earlier stunts, it had a genuine climax. Of course, I am a total wuss when it comes to heights. This stunt impressed me, Copperfield's straitjacket escape impressed me, and I was even impressed that Eugene Burger rode the Tower of Terror at Disney World, which I still won't do.

I cringed at the opening promo when I saw David was going to do the "beer can trick," as I have been working on that to show my friends later in the year. Fortunately, I thought he pretty well botched that, and the true effect really didn't come across well.

I thought the watch from jewelry store window was inspired. Sure, it's something you can't recreate without a tv show budget, but it still used magic principles effectively. Very nice.

As to the climactic stunt, it brings new meaning to the old patter line, "Some people ask me how I do this. Some ask me why."
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Postby Tim Ellis » 05/23/02 06:42 AM

Well, I haven't seen the Blaine special yet (someone send me a tape! 3/114 Bent St, Northcote 3070, Victoria, Australia! *g*) but everyone has emailed me telling me he did Soda Resurrection, but badly. It sounds like he did his version of the original Anders Moden version. Those interested in learning a more effective version can now get a copy of our lecture notes '24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis' (featuring FULL DETAILS of how to do this trick properly) from our website www.MagicUnlimited.com I hope Anders was well paid by Blaine for the idea... hold the phone... I just got an email that Blaine used one of our improvements in his method... I wonder if a cheque's in the mail to us too...
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/23/02 07:22 AM

The jump was a stunt, for sure... but magic?

Nyet.

Magic? OK, he jumps, lands in boxes BUT THEY CAN'T FIND HIM... he's not there... where is he?

Back up on the pole.

Easy. Sneaks out under cover of searchers, uses wig, whatever... goes over to back of pole, which would be hollow, with a cable INSIDE to lift him back up ...

Ta Da....

MAGIC ;)
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Postby Michael Edwards » 05/23/02 07:32 AM

Pete: Naw...he just needs to use his twin! Or maybe he can be transported to Tahiti...or have the entire pole disappear...or don a tuxedo and do sponge bunnies :D I think the point is precisely that it is NOT magic! It's a stunt!
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Postby Adam Brooks » 05/23/02 08:39 AM

So far, nobody has mentioned the nail in board illusion, so I will. I thought it was also very strong magic. One of the editing techniques that he has used in the past, that he did not use in this special would have worked perfect during the nail driver routine. I would have loved to see him do this for different gatherings, the reaction from the spectators was very strong! I also liked the misdirection...or what I thought was the moment of switch.
Max, the nail in board thing is a stunt, just like the snake swallowing. There was no trick to the snake swallowing, he actually swallowed the snake, or rather, he downed it far enough so that he could show his mouth empty, and then regurgitate it when everyone has disbanded. It's another tribute to Houdini, who used the same kind of ability to hide keys or lockpicks, or so I have heard.

The board in nail is all technique, strength and showmanship, three things that characterize Blaine and his work. If you don't believe me, get yourself a nail, a soft pinewood plank, and a dishtowel. If you have the arm strength and the right technique, you too can do this.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/23/02 10:58 AM

First, it is my belief that Houdini generally hid his picks in a small brass capsule that he stuck up his butt. The stuff about swallowing and regurgitating may or may not be true. It's a lot easier to hide stuff up your keister than to swallow and regurgitate it.
Next, I was surprised when watching the nail through the board. When Blaine turned to the guy on his right and asked him "is this your bandana" (or whatever he said), the guy did not appear to say "Yes." Which means that the scarf was planted, and since he didn't show us that nothing was in it, I think there was a small piece of hard rubber or metal inside. Wouldn't surprise me in the least. How many times has Blaine done tricks using something a spectator is holding and we all damn well know that he is borrowing or using a gimmicked item that has been given to that spectator. ("Would you like to be on TV? Great, just act like this is yours and let me borrow it from you.")
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Postby Tom Stone » 05/23/02 11:04 AM

Originally posted by Tim Ellis:
I hope Anders was well paid by Blaine for the idea...
I don't know the amount, but yes, the Blaine people paid Anders for the TV-rights.

The description of the effect can be found in Tim's lecture notes.
Other places Anders Moden's effect can be found:
First published at Electronic Grimoire a few years back, with the title "Recycled Soda".
Recently published in the magazine Channel One (but with another title; "Healed & Sealed". Other items in the same issue are material by Lennart Green, myself and a few other swedish magicians).

And should those three sources be difficult to get, you can buy a PDF-file of the effect and description directly from Anders, which I recommend as his latest description contains details not present in the other sources. Anders' email is:
moden@telia.com

Anders is also the inventor of the amazing "Ebony and Ivory" effect that is shown at: http://www.magi.nu/ebony
(Which is unavailable right now, unfortunately)
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Postby Michael Edwards » 05/23/02 11:06 AM

Richard, are you insinuating that david Blaine might use a confederate in his television specials? Shame on him. It's a good thing no other magician would ever do that! ;)

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Postby MaxNY » 05/23/02 11:07 AM

I don't know if we should tip here, but I thought he palmed a carefully crafted weight from his hat, did this when he placed his hat on the spectator. The crafted piece would comfortably fit his palm, and hold a nail. I have never heard of nail-driving with just a cloth.(Might exist)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/23/02 11:07 AM

Blaine's ratings just in:
ABC: David Blaine's special got a 5.9 rating, 10 share.
NBC: Law & Order 12.8 rating, 21 share.
CBS: Country Music Awards (final hour) 9.0 rating, 15 share.
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/23/02 11:11 AM

At first the pole looked like a Rush Walsh Vanishing Pole, but it wasn't ... a missed opportunity fer sure...

Was that store front window a Thayer frame?

SERIOUSLY, THO... does anyone know the results of the important event last night, Manute Bol vs. Refrigerator Perry in the Celebrity Boxing match?

Ratings? :p :p :p
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/23/02 11:13 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
How many times has Blaine done tricks using something a spectator is holding and we all damn well know that he is borrowing or using a gimmicked item that has been given to that spectator.
I presume this is not intended as a criticism, Richard. David Copperfield is certainly not above using stooges, and I don't recall your criticising him in your long backstage interview. Harry Blackstone Jr. did the shirt pull as one of his signature effects -- hardly impromptu, although he tried to make it appear so.

It's a fine(?) tradition in magic. What is unique about Blaine is his use of editing to cut out scenes that would lead to exposing the method. His selective framing (Was anyone near the glass that shattered? Was it set up beforehand?) has also been used on TV by Copperfield and Lance Burton, also without criticism from RJK.

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