Sunday, October 29, 2023

For David Coppefield It's Always Been About The Moon


On Friday, Oct 27th, the news broke that David Copperfield has plans to make the  MOON  disappear in February 2024. My Facebook feed lit up like a Christmas tree. I've never seen anything like it. I want to delve into this, but first a little history.

You may remember the time, when annual David Copperfield Specials were the highlight of the magic year. Each year promised new magic, new illusions, and often some new spectacular effect. Some years were better than others obviously. But, not one special went by without some stand out piece, sometimes several.

The Statue of Liberty Special was a milestone. Not just being able to make it vanish, but the symbolism that was behind it. If you don't know, there is a story behind this vanish. During the planning stages, David and his manager went to visit famed movie director Frank Capra. They thought he might have a unique take on the presentation of the vanish. And sure enough he did. In the book, Smoke & Mirrors by Rick Marcelli, he shares what happened. Frank Capra heard what Copperfield had in mind, then went into deep thought. A few minutes later, he slammed his hand down on the table! He had it! He told David, "YOU must FAIL at this illusion. You must give it your all, but in the end you must fail. Becuase even the greatest magician of all time cannot make LIBERTY vanish from America!, Capra said. Whoa. Rick Marcelli thought the idea was brilliant. I frankly had goose bumps the first time I read it. David wanted nothing to do with it. He HAD to make the Statue vanish. And in his defense, when you say you're going to do something and then you don't that gives critics an opportunity to eat you alive. I still think it would have been brilliant.

I only bring up this Statue of Liberty though becuase around that time, I had first heard of the Vanishing Moon idea. I believe it was an Andre Kole idea. For the life of me, I cannot locate the quote. I've looked high and low and I know it was written up in a book. But also, David Copperfield did a piece on Oprah, back in the day and he mentioned on her show that his next big thing would be the MOON. 

But if you look even closer, you'll see the Moon crop up often in the world of David Copperfield. In 1992, during the Flying Special, David did one of his interactive tricks. (remember when he was THE ONLY ONLY doing those?) 

His interactive trick dealt with destinations and the final outcome was that you would  end up on the MOON! 

Then there was David's version of the Water Levitation. In the background, a big glowing moon! It perfectly fit the magic happening in front of it.

Fast forward to one of the most unique David Copperfield Specials, the one that was shot in Memphis TN in the round. There was a routine that he talked about the Moon and high tide and low tide. It culminated with the producttion of a glass filled with LIFE! Watch the video below.

At this same time, in David's touring show, he did an interactive routine with the entire audience. Everyone was given a sheet of paper that could be torn into rectangles. One of those rectangles had an image of the moon, I believe all the others were blank. Despite mixing and shuffling, the majority of the audience ended up with the Moon card as their chosen image.

Clearly this fascination with making the moon vanish has stuck with David all these years. I heard that they had created multiple ways to do the effect. One would expect no less from Copperfield. Speculation on the internet, at least some of it leans towards it being like the Statue of Liberty in methodology. I disagree. Many of the mega trick concepts have been exposed on youtube, both magics biggest friend and enemy. I believe the reason we have no seen this trick is David and his team were looking for something that had never been done before. That's my belief at least. And beyond that I'm not going to waste my time trying to think about 'how it was done' before they even do it. I sincerely hope it fools the hell out of me! If it's that strong, I don't want to know!!!

David Copperfield, back in the day was known for this type of thing. In case you're not familiar, here are a few things he did: Levitated a Ferrari On Stage, Made a Lear Jet Vanish while surrounded, Caused The Statue of Liberty to Vanish, Walked Through the Great Wall of China, Made the Orient express train car weightless and then disappear, Made a Large Boat Vanish and Reappear in the Bermuda Triangle, He Flew on stage, not only solo but with a spectator in his arms as well. I'd say the one mis-step was the Tornado of Fire, which was more a David Blaine sort of stunt. There is no need to go that route when you're already KING. 

If I might quote a famous line from a movie, it's from Star Trek the Wrath of Kahn. The dialog is between Spock and Kirk, Spock says, "If I might be so bold, it was a mistake for you to accept promotion, commanding a starship is your first best destiny, anything else is a waste of material." I feel this way about David Copperfield, this type of thing, the Moon Vanish, THIS stuff is your first best destiny. It's what we all loved, it's what put you on the map. It's what we expected from you. That isn't say that David Copperfield isn't talented in other areas. OMG, he's brilliant in so many ways, and surrounds himself with super talented people. But lets face it. We've been waiting for this return. It's the most exciting thing in the world of magic that I can think of in ages. 

Remember that expression, "Shoot for The Moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars!"Like NASA in the 1960s , for David Copperfield, it's always been about The Moon. Mark Your Calendars!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Dirk Arthur Passes Away


Las Vegas Magician Dies

Dirk Arthur, long time Las Vegas Magician died in his sleep Monday Oct 16, 2023. He was the last of the magicians to use Cats, as in Tigers and such. 20 years ago, in October of 2003 famed Illusionist, Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy was attacked on stage by one of his tigers. The event left him partially paralyzed. It was the end of their careers. 

It also signaled the end for many acts that used exotic animals. One by one, those who had been using tigers in their shows, were moving on. The industry was making demands of those who did have tigers and lions to try and prevent further accidents. In one case, the Fercos Brothers had to put a large chain link barrier up in between the stage and the audience to prevent the animals from going among the people.

Dirk Arthur was the last hold out of all of these acts. He retained his animals and did his best to continue performing with them. Though venues became harder to come by because of the negative effects of Roy Horn's accident and constant protests by animal rights activists. 

By all accounts, Dirk Arthur had great passion for his animals, took excellent care of them. The height of his career came in the 1990s when he made several appearances on NBCs Worlds Greatest Magic Specials produced by Gary Ouellett. Arthur was a Las Vegas staple for many years. He was preparing to purchase a theater in Branson MO, to start a new show out there. Dirk Arthur was 63 years old. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Remembering The Magi On HIs Birthday


Websters Dictionary lists the definition of MAGI as, "A Persian Priest or wise man, another definition is sorcerer, or related to magic.  Cesareo Pelaez was born Oct 16th, 1932, he was destined to be a magi from the start. He would fulfill that definition being a wiseman, sorcerer, the kind related to our magic.

Cesareo was certainly many things to many people: teacher, professor, instructor, coach, director, mentor, friend, magician, and magi. I'm sure he was other things as well. He was leader of sorts to a 'rag tag' group of individuals who got together in the late 1970s to pool their resources to buy a theater. What? Yes you read that right, buy a theater! And again, whether they realized it or not, their next endeavor would be working creating, building and then performing in a magic show, a theatrical magic show, a must-cast magic show unlike anything that has been on the stage for 50 years.    If you are a newbie to the world of magic, the theater that was purchased was The Cabot St. Cinema Theatre, the show they created was Le Grand David and his own Spectacular Magic Company. In time they would purchase a second theater, The Larcom Theater, and produce a second completely different show, Le Grand David in Concert. And though the show was his idea, he wasn't even the STAR, he turned that over to David Bull, who would be Le Grand David. Cesareo chose the stage name, Marco the Magi. 

Oh, and in case you're wondering, this show of theirs continued for 36 years, up until the year when Cesareo passed. He died before the Season was over. But the company chose to finish out the season in tribute to their leader and friend.

It takes a special person not only to come up with such things, but to motivate others, outsiders, to pick up that dream as well and run with it. That was Cesareo.

He was one of two people I met in the world of magic that had a life-changing affect on me. And oddly, it wasn't so much the magic that had anything to do with the life change. It was just something he said to me that seemed to clear out the fog and cobwebs of confusion. I know if it wasn't for Cesareo, there would be no blog today. Without his encouragement, I wouldn't have started painting again. At least not as soon as I did. Without his encouragement, I wouldn't have begun to write.

So today I say, Happy Birthday to my friend who left us back in 2012.