Number 98 - 11th May 2002


Fifty Greatest Magic Tricks (Channel 4 Monday evening) certainly got you all going! I don't think I've ever known a magic programme provoke such a reaction. I found the whole show highly entertaining whether I was agreeing with the "Top 50" or not... it really didn't matter. What I liked was the sheer pace of the production and the fact that I couldn't help but try and guess what was coming next. I took the show's title with a pinch of salt, "Fifty Greatest Magic Tricks" come on... but without such a title I doubt that it would have been commissioned. By the time we got down to the top ten, things suddenly got serious: 10. Hans Moretti (Crossbow) 9. Richard Ross (Linking Rings) 8. Paul Daniels (Chop Cup) 7. Tom Mullica (Cigarettes) 6. David Copperfield (Flying) 5. Robert Harbin (Zig-Zag) 4. Lance Burton (Doves) 3. The Pendragons (Sub Trunk) 2. David Blaine (Levitation) 1. David Copperfield (Death Saw). I was delighted to see the Linking Rings making it into the top ten performed (and virtually reinvented from the clangy old trick that once was) by Richard Ross - superb. I'm not so sure about the inclusion of David Blaine's "TV only" levitation though at number 2. They might as well have used a clip of Yoda levitating an X-Wing fighter from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - that levitation pre-dated Blaine and used the same method!


It is worth noting that there are restrictions that come into play when compiling such a show. Certain magic clips will simply not be available, no show has an unlimited budget, a brilliant "live" trick may not look good on TV, and so on, but for me one real omission was Wayne Dobson's Note in Wallet/vent routine. Members of The Magic Circle received a questionnaire from the production company and this was used (but not exclusively) to assemble the "Top 50." What really came over was that magic is FUN no matter whether you're performing it or watching it... something that is often missed in televised magic "specials." The show has had some excellent press, presented magic not taking itself too seriously for once, and was nothing but good for "magic" overall. Its target audience were a Channel 4 15-50 audience I'd guess, and I think it met them head on. There's a full review this week from Ian Rowland. (Many thanks Ian even if I disagree with you about Adam and Joe, and I may be on my own here, but they made me laugh, and their "escape from an exploding trunk" should have made it into the top 20 as far as I'm concerned!) Fifty Greatest Magic Tricks 11.5.02


The Great Kovari has created illusions and special effects for Oldham Coliseum Theatre's forthcoming production of The Invisible Man written by Ken Hill, based on the novel by HG Wells. See the Invisible Man live on stage (!) from May 16th to June 8th. Tickets 4.50 - 12.75. Box Office: 0161 624 2829 Invisible man sculpture (left) from (Actual page: Click Here) 11.5.02


MidKnight Magic are advertising with MagicWeek from this week. The business is a small family run concern based in Glastonbury, Somerset. Catering for the complete beginner right through to working professionals they stock a wide range of 'beginners' items as well as more advanced products including props for the escapologist. Although they don't have a shop at present they plan to hold workshops in the near future on storytelling, juggling, and face painting, and they also plan to set up a magic club for beginners interested in learning the art. Pay them a visit today: 11.5.02


The Surrey Society Of Magicians held their annual Close-up competition on Thursday April 25th. Theo Theodoris won with the same act that he uses when entertaining at private parties "I am very, very, pleased as I have been so close in the last three Surrey competitions." In previous years Theo had always entered with a new act but this time decided to simply present the act that he knows inside out. Clive Hyams came second and Bruce Spelln third. 11.5.02


Penn & Teller Get Killed on Friday 17th May in their 1989 movie epic with more twists than twizzle. And the Masked Magician gets killed in Diagnosis Murder on the 14th. See TV Magic for details.11.5.02


Tim Saiet has just returned from a hectic weekend performing at the National Book Fair in Macedonia. Hired to promote British culture Tim found himself swamped by the enthusiastic crowds, many of whom had never seen a close-up magician before. Harry Potter is as huge there as anywhere else and the Book Fair featured a Harry Potter competition for the children. The show was covered by both national television and the press. Tim went on to perform a stand up show at the National Theatre for the British Ambassador and his family and a delighted audience of over 700. 11.5.02


Doc Eason has landed! I met the Doc a few years ago at a convention in Austria, a professional "bar magician" for many years and a great performer... Here are some dates not to miss: Lecturing at The Magic Circle on Monday night (members only), Leatherhead on Wednesday, the Leeds Convention on the 19th and Edinburgh on the 22nd. See What's On 11.5.02


Rex Cooper will be presenting his lecture for the Kidderminster League of Magicians on Thursday 16th May at their headquarters: The Swan Hotel, High Street, Stourport on Severn, Worcestershire DY13 8BX. Meeting at 7.30pm for 8pm start. Visiting magicians are welcome to join them for what promises to be an enjoyable and interesting evening. Non-members 3.00 Map: Click Here


There's an article from David Lang this week following on from Tony Russell's Disclosure! that appeared a few weeks ago: Son of Disclosure!  Congratulations to 14 year old Steve Dela who has just won the 'George Shinton Close-up Trophy 2002'  I've just finished work on a new website for International Magic Close-up Magician of the Year Peter Wardell. Peter is one of the country's leading close-up performers, and a real master of street magic  Don't forget the Bristol Day of Magic tomorrow, always a great convention  That's it - see you next week, Duncan. 11.5.02