One Trick Phoney

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
P.T.Widdle
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One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 6th, 2015, 1:18 pm

http://www.espnfc.com/blog/the-toe-poke ... to-reading

"I would happily invite the players to my house, amaze them with some spoon-bending" Geller, 68, told The Sun.

Wow, that sounds exciting. Someone should invite this man to FISM.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 6th, 2015, 1:49 pm

Come to FISM and you'll meet Uri. He loves to sit and talk with people.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 6th, 2015, 1:56 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:He loves to sit and talk with people.


So does my grandmother.

Maybe he'll show me that thing he does with spoons.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Dustin Stinett » May 6th, 2015, 2:34 pm

"Professional illusionist Uri Geller ..."

Works for me.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 6th, 2015, 3:19 pm

I can't believe that he's 68. He certainly doesn't look or act it.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 6th, 2015, 3:44 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:"Professional illusionist Uri Geller ..."

Works for me.


A zebra can't change his stripes, despite the best efforts of some in the magic community to help him do so.

Ask any layman who Uri Geller is and they will say "a psychic." Not a "professional illusionist," or even a magician for that matter. A psychic. And a sad, tired one at that, milking the same spoon bending schtick for years on end.

Re-labeling himself a "professional illusionist" is an insult to legitimate professional illusionists, especially given that Geller participated in the Malaysion plane crash stunt.

And please don't start with, "Oh, this is beating a dead horse" stuff. He's news in the magic community again because FISM made it so.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby AJM » May 6th, 2015, 4:30 pm

I introduced myself to him at the Genii Bash and asked if he would bend me a spoon.

'I can't' was the reply.

Fair enough.

(Andy Greget, on the other hand, was more than happy to show me the Sakakku Scale illusion - he does it so well.)

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Brad Henderson » May 6th, 2015, 5:22 pm

what type of zealotry must possess a magician for them to condemn someone for inventing an effect which not only has provided a lucrative career for the inventor but is the only magic trick to become a modern cultural 'idea' since, perhaps sawing a person in half.

I hope some day to come up with "tired schtick" like that. Heck, I hope we all come up with something like that. Magic will be better for it.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 6th, 2015, 8:20 pm

Sorry, Geller doesn't deserve credit for spoon bending as a magic trick, certainly not in the same way Selbit does for sawing. Selbit was a magician. Geller is a psychic. He certainly deserves credit for spoon spending as a cheap ruse to put over on people to convince them, like all psychics, that he has supernatural powers. His "lucrative career" is the result of being a psychic, not a magician. Whatever people thought sawing to be when it first came out, at least it was presented by someone calling themselves a magician (with the cultural understanding of what that is). Conversely, Geller has always and continues to present his "tricks" as demonstrations of his supernatural powers.

Whatever "modern cultural idea" spoon bending has turned out to be, it is the result of Gellar's efforts as a psychic, not as a magician. I feel this needs repeating because many seem to either refute there is a difference or simply don't care.

A more apt comparison would perhaps be the second deal - invented by a gambler for the sole purpose of cheating people out of their money.

-----

Since the head of this year's FISM has excitedly posted on this forum (in all caps) the news of Gellar appearing at the event, I would like to ask him what his thoughts are as to Gellar's Malaysian plane "episode" last year. Does he condone it? Does he think it's not relevant to Gellar's career as a "professional illusionist?"

------

Uri Geller and Dr.Oz, now there's a comparison...except doctors aren't throwing conventions with him as the guest of honor.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby JHostler » May 6th, 2015, 9:06 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:
Dustin Stinett wrote:"Professional illusionist Uri Geller ..."

Works for me.


...Re-labeling himself a "professional illusionist" is an insult to legitimate professional illusionists...


Uhhh.... well, in the grandest sense of the term, I think he created a pretty darn good illusion. Name one magician whose work is as convincing (to the lay public) as Geller's was in his prime. I think of him as an "entertainer" at an entirely different level than we tend to think of "entertainers."
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 6th, 2015, 9:10 pm

We can all see where this is going.

And now the screaming starts!










That was a little extra for you Amicus fans out there.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 6th, 2015, 9:37 pm

JHostler wrote:Name one magician whose work is as convincing (to the lay public) as Geller's was in his prime.


Anna Eva Fay

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 6th, 2015, 9:51 pm

People remember Houdini today, but no one remembers Ana Eva Fay.

Please name her equivalent to Uri's spoon bending that entered popular culture on the same level.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Bill Mullins » May 6th, 2015, 10:46 pm

Some would reject the classification as "magician", but either the Davenport Brothers or Margery were both huge in their fame.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Brad Henderson » May 7th, 2015, 12:45 am

1) the chief complaint of geller's detractors is that he did what we are supposed to do better than anybody else has done it.

2) psychics ARE magicians. Some just are more self aware, have a larger tool box, than others.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Tom Moore » May 7th, 2015, 6:20 am

. Whatever people thought sawing to be when it first came out, at least it was presented by someone calling themselves a magician (with the cultural understanding of what that is). Conversely, Geller has always and continues to present his "tricks" as demonstrations of his supernatural powers.



....let me stop you right there as you've made a fundamental mistake that basically undermines your whole argument. In the early days of sawing in half it was absolutely presented as "real" and not a trick by people who spent as much if not more money than Gellar does on building up their reputation of being someone with otherworldly knowledge and abilities - ambulances were parked outside theatres, nurse's were stood onstage, buckets of blood were "discreetly" poured down the drain next to the theatre after the show, assistants were deliberately changed so that returning patrons would not see the same girl twice and so assume she had been disposed of, stories were leaked to the press. The one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that for the first 20-30 years of its history sawing in half was presented as every bit as real and genuine as spoon bending. It's really not until you get to the 60's that it became normal for sawing to be presented as the schmultzy, knowing, sanitised, "clearly a trick" routine that we consider to be normal today and even then there were notable outliers whose presentations deliberately echo'd the original premise of the trick. Socar Snr & Richiardi both continued the tradition of presenting sawing (all be it a different method) as something real and deliberately left ambiguity and confusion in their routines so that a significant chunk of their audience believed they might have actually just witnessed someone really being hacked to pieces.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 7th, 2015, 7:41 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:People remember Houdini today, but no one remembers Ana Eva Fay.

Please name her equivalent to Uri's spoon bending that entered popular culture on the same level.


Hopefully the same posthumous recognition outcome will occur in regard to say, David Copperfield and Gellar.
I tend to think that Gellar wont be remembered, but if he is, it will be as a psychic.

Again Richard, you and others, cite Gellar's fame as something to be celebrated. I simply disagree, as it came as a result of efforts that I find morally and ethically objectionable. And it used to be that magicians (Houdini) felt the same way. If there really is no difference between a psychic and a magician, than why did Houdini and other magicians condone Fey and her Spiritualist ilk? Why wasn't Fey invited as a guest of honor to the magic conventions of the day?

Brad, you say that psychics are magicians. The lay public doesn't see it that way. They certainly see a difference, which seems pretty obvious to me. If you really believe that, than I guess you also believe that card gamblers are magicians as well.

To your point, Tom, Sawing was not a fair comparison to spoon bending in the first place, if one believes there is a difference between a professional psychic and a professional magician. Sawing was more like a spook show. And, as I mentioned before, there was (and is) a cultural identification associated with the label of magician as opposed to a psychic.

Magicians do stunts to promote themselves like blindfold driving, jumping off bridges and escaping, and freezing in blocks of ice. Psychics do promotional stunts like going on Twitter and claiming to have powers to supernaturally find a missing airplane. No difference?

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby JHostler » May 7th, 2015, 8:02 am

P.T.Widdle wrote:Magicians do stunts to promote themselves like blindfold driving, jumping off bridges and escaping, and freezing in blocks of ice. Psychics do promotional stunts like going on Twitter and claiming to have powers to supernaturally find a missing airplane. No difference?


The line you still see between these types of entertainment has faded tremendously over the last few decades. Technological advancements alone have left the general public less naïve concerning what might require true "supernatural powers" to achieve. "Reality TV" has further blurred the line between fantasy and fact, leaving cynicism and skepticism in its wake. Geller was just ahead of the curve - reality TV 30 years before its time.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Tom Moore » May 7th, 2015, 8:46 am

To your point, Tom, Sawing was not a fair comparison to spoon bending in the first place, if one believes there is a difference between a professional psychic and a professional magician. Sawing was more like a spook show. And, as I mentioned before, there was (and is) a cultural identification associated with the label of magician as opposed to a psychic.



...and again I have to correct you here. The line between magician and medium was incredibly (and deliberately) blurred by magicians all through history, this notion that audiences "know" that in a magic show it's all 100% tricks and in a psychic show it's 100% genuine is complete nonsense. It's only really once we get to houdini that the notion of a magician as an "honest liar" starts to be used; up until that point (and for many years since) magicians continued to make claims of otherworldly knowledge and powers that really were no different to those of mediums. Even today if you poll the audiences of magicians and psychic's you'll find a significant chunk of people in the magician's audience who believe he does have some sort of genuine mystical power and knowledge, whilst in the audience of a psychic's show you'll find a chunk of people who don't believe at all or who are at least seriously questioning of the genre.

I'm deliberately staying out of the debate about Geller himself but you do need to stop making claims that magicians and psychics are completely different and that magicians have always been good and righteous whilst psychic have always been evil; it's simply not anywhere near as black and white as you want it to be.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 7th, 2015, 9:25 am

You both are claiming blurred lines of distinction as if that is an inevitable, almost desirable, state that exists even today. Let's hope that since the time of Spiritualists, indeed, thanks in part to the efforts of certain magicians of the time to combat them, the profession of magic has evolved ethically to where the default is one of black and white (with unfortunate notable exceptions). In that way, I see professional magic as similar to practicing medicine. There are ethical lines that are more pronounced today than there used to be.

I see Gellar as a modern-day "quack" of magic, akin to what Dr.Oz is becoming. However, people identify Oz as a doctor, whereas Geller has never been identified as a magician (in the public's eyes).

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 7th, 2015, 9:30 am

magician for them to condemn someone for inventing an effect which not only has provided a lucrative career for the inventor but is the only magic trick to become a modern cultural 'idea' since, perhaps sawing a person in half.


the power to sway cutlery is not the issue - nor has it been an issue. Other questions about what validates magical thinking, what brands are known, protected and in what context... not part of our craft per-se.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Bill Mullins » May 7th, 2015, 9:39 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote: the power to sway cutlery


That would be a great line on a business card.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 7th, 2015, 9:59 am

@BillM - feel free to use it - it's given freely - just get the citation right when going into the published record of our craft. :) Neal Stephenson mentioned something similar in Anathem with Rhetors/Incantors.

found a more general term "material rhetoric" online:
http://obstinateobscurity.com/2013/04/2 ... -rhetoric/ slides 10,11

is it white if done on the street/paid show for applause? black if done for a patron's agenda?

between confidence and deception,

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Tom Moore » May 7th, 2015, 10:50 am

I see Gellar as a modern-day "quack" of magic, akin to what Dr.Oz is becoming. However, people identify Oz as a doctor, whereas Geller has never been identified as a magician (in the public's eyes).


....me again.

Maybe not in America but on this side of the Atlantic you'll find Uri has been a regular guest on MAGIC SHOWS on TV for the past 25 years, quite separately to his own (weirdly successful) TV format that has gotten more out and out magicians on prime-time network TV than Masters of Illusion, WGM, Fool us & Wizard Wars combined. He's not called himself "psycic" for some time and generally (with the exception of occasional poor taste publicity stunt) sticks to wishy-washy "power of positive thought" type statements or selling jewellery or fronting magic TV series.

He is something of a poster-child for an industry but if you drill down the details you'll find that most of the things attributed to him just don't stack up - though as a master self-publicist he long ago realised that correcting the wrong things people said about you was much less important than the fact they were talking about you.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Ian Kendall » May 7th, 2015, 11:02 am

I've discusses this with a friend of Gellar's who described a conversation they had. One quote was 'ok, you painted yourself into the corner in the 70s...'

The early claims were made, and then he had to stick to them. Accepting huge amounts of money based on these claims might be construed as a tad unethical.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Brad Henderson » May 7th, 2015, 2:50 pm

magicians take money promising secrets of motivation and mentalists on TV do tricks to 'prove' some type of science concept. I tell my audiences that I am one of the best magicians in tne world.

We are all a 'tad' unethical.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 7th, 2015, 3:01 pm

Tom Moore wrote:He's not called himself "psycic" for some time and generally (with the exception of occasional poor taste publicity stunt) sticks to wishy-washy "power of positive thought" type statements or selling jewellery or fronting magic TV series.


He still refers to himself as a psychic on his Twitter account.

Tom, is the "occasional poor taste publicity stunt" in reference to his Malaysian missing plane tweets? If it is, I would respectfully classify that as much worse than poor taste. And the fact that he did it only a year ago (not in the 70's) calls into question the current character and ethics of the man who was just invited to appear at a major magic convention. People have been thrown out of magic organizations for much less.

Similar to the TM movement, Gellar is trying to redefine himself without copping to what he has done, and magicians seem to be eating it up. He doesn't even have the character to be a reformed psychic - he's digging in his heals while throwing around euphemisms for what he really is...a quack, and as is evident in the article accompanying the initial post, a sad, tired one at that.


Sexy Sadie what have you done
You made a fool of everyone
You made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie ooh what have you done

Sexy Sadie you broke the rules
You layed it down for all to see
You layed it down for all to see
Sexy Sadie oooh you broke the rules

One sunny day the world was waiting for a lover
She came along to turn on everyone
Sexy Sadie the greatest of them all

Sexy Sadie how did you know
The world was waiting just for you
The world was waiting just for you
Sexy Sadie oooh how did you know

Sexy Sadie you'll get yours yet
However big you think you are
However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie oooh you'll get yours yet

We gave her everything we owned just to sit at her table
Just a smile would lighten everything
Sexy Sadie she's the latest and the greatest of them all

She made a fool of everyone
Sexy Sadie

However big you think you are
Sexy Sadie

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Brad Henderson » May 7th, 2015, 3:24 pm

THERE ARE NO RULES

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Brad Henderson » May 7th, 2015, 3:29 pm

PT-

curious here - what is your definition of a 'psychic'?

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Ian Kendall » May 7th, 2015, 5:22 pm

Brad - Geller has accepted large fees for divining the location of various minerals (akin to oil exploration), based on his claim that he can divine the location of various minerals using his psychic powers.

Now, given that the psychic powers are a presentational gimmick, where do you draw the line on financial fraud? Do you believe that saying 'I have powers, pay me a truck load of money to use them' falls under the concept of 'there are no rules', or does it fall under deliberate deception for financial gain?

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Tom Gilbert » May 7th, 2015, 7:13 pm

While, I don't agree that scamming people is proper, throwing money at someone who offers his powers to find minerals without a contract or guarantee.. Hmm. It's hard to tell where the truth fades and fiction takes over with some of the examples given.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby JHostler » May 7th, 2015, 7:48 pm

Peter Sterling, of mining company Zanex, reportedly paid Geller a decent sum (but far less than $1m) to help locate gold in the Solomon Islands. That was sometime in the mid-'80s, and Sterling had been advised by numerous folks that this wasn't a particularly good move. The other company reported to have employed Uri in a similar capacity - Rio-Tinto Zinc Corp. - denied any involvement with him. With regard to treasure hunting alone, this sounds more like a one-time fluke (with Sterling fooling himself) than any sort of serial money-making scam.

Funny how Geller's talent for self-promotion (and greatly exaggerating, rather than playing down, what some folks here consider "unethical behavior") has had such an alienating effect.

OK... let's pick on Kreskin for awhile.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Brad Henderson » May 7th, 2015, 7:53 pm

Ian, my no rules comment was in response to PT's implication that there are rules we as performers must adhere to

there aren't any.

my reply to you was that we are all a tad unethical. I know a magician who teaches intuition classes. For good money. To individuals and corporations.

I know a magicians who sell business insights to corporate grouos, for decent money, but their programs offer little more than hackneyed tricks and buzz words.

These magicians, some are humans we magicians love, promise results that really aren't delivered. But we have no problem with those people.

Today we have many magicians who are experts on psychology and spout nonsense that any experienced magician knows to be nonsense.

One magic autbority, whose claim to fame as a magician was his failure, is a published expert on such matters. how many TED talks are little more than magic tricks with some pop psychology and double speak thrown in?

I realize some will be quick to defend those alluded to: but their clients are happy!

Well, unless the mining company sued Geller and was 'un'happy I'm not sure I see the difference.

they turned to a psychic because they thought he might be able to help. how different is that from someone promising the secrets of success?

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby JHostler » May 7th, 2015, 7:58 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:they turned to a psychic because they thought he might be able to help. how different is that from someone promising the secrets of success?


Nothing to add. I just love the parallel!
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 7th, 2015, 8:40 pm

In an effort not to let this thread go over old ground, I propose to wipe the slate clean in regards to Gellar's past and welcome him to the magic fraternity proper...if he publicly apologizes for the Malaysian missing plane tweets. Just simply say, "It was wrong." That's all.

Until that time, and on those grounds, I will boycott any magic convention that features Gellar, and I urge others to do so as well.
To those who would mock me for this, I hope you sleep well tonight.

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 7th, 2015, 9:26 pm

If you're asking him to apologize for something he did in the past, then you're not "wiping the slate clean."

Truly wiping the slate clean would mean you ignore all past acts (not just the one that suits you) and say everything is good until you feel he does something (yet to happen) that is beyond where you've drawn the line.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 8th, 2015, 8:01 am

Autbority: "One magic autbority, whose claim to fame as a magician was his failure, is a published expert on such matters"

on failure - being bored - boring others?
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 8th, 2015, 10:58 am

Here's a fun game:

On the FISM 2015 Cast page, spot the one "artist" who:

1. Publicly claims to have supernatural powers (i.e "remote viewing")

2. Has used (and profited from) that claim as evidence ("I know it works") of his/her ability to help people find their missing loved ones.

Go!

http://www.fismitaly2015.com/thecast

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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 8th, 2015, 11:36 am

You're beating a dead horse.
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Re: One Trick Phoney

Postby P.T.Widdle » May 8th, 2015, 12:59 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:You're beating a dead horse.


I thought I was providing a fresh perspective (and a fun game!) from being able to see the grid of amazing performers all on one page while looking at them though the simple lens of, "Do you claim to have supernatural powers?"
Does Max Maven make that claim? Does Eugene Burger?

Or for your convention, Richard, does Asi Wind, a fine mentalist, make that claim?
Last edited by P.T.Widdle on May 8th, 2015, 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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