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Topic: The 10 Greatest Magicians of all time!
Message: Posted by: TheRock (Jul 25, 2005 10:24PM)
If you had to rate the 10 GREATEST MAGICIANS of all time, and you had to do it according to these categories (not in any specific order), SKILL, PERFORMANCE, PRESENTATION, EFFECTIVENESS, SHOWMANSHIP, ENTERTAINMENT VALUE, and CREATIVITY, who would they be?

Please rate them starting with 10 being the LEAST greastest ghoing all the way to #1 being the GREATEST. But please TRY to rank them according to the catagories above?

Who would they be?
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Jul 26, 2005 01:05PM)
How do you narrow the massive list down to just ten? Certainly, it can't be done without offending some of the truely great. Now, if we break them into categories...(Note: As this is off the top of my head, with apologies to the Greats left out.)

Illusionists & Big Stage Acts

10. Jean Robert-Houdin
9. Harry Keller/Howard Thurston
8. Harry Blackstone, Jr.
7. Jasper Maskelyne
6. Harry Blackstone, Sr.
5. Mark Wilson
4. Doug Henning
3. Harry Houdini
2. David Copperfield
1. Siegfried & Roy - Can't have one without the other!

Close-Up & Specialists

10. Joseph Dunninger
9. Theodore Annemann
8. Cardini
7. J.B. Bobo
6. Meir Yedid
5. Juan Tamariz
4. Paul Daniels
3. Eugene Burger
2. Tony Slydini
1. Dai Vernon

Comedy & Wiseguys

10. Gene Anderson
9. Mac King
8. Ali Bongo
7. Bill Malone
6. Jay Marshall
5. Johnny Carson
4. Penn & Teller
3. The Amazing Jonathan
2. Carl Ballantine
1. Harry Anderson

Kid's Stars

10. Bev Bergeron
9. David Ginn
8. Trixie Bond
7. Barry Mitchell
6. Jim Kleefield
5. David Kaye
4. Samuel Patrick Smith
3. A. Robins AKA The Banana Man
2. Frances Ireland Marshall
1. Mark Wilson
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Jul 26, 2005 02:32PM)
Tough question, but since you are talking personal choices.

1. Harry Keller
2. Harry Blackstone, Sr.
3. Howard Thurston
4. Dai Vernon
5. Tony Slydini
6. Mark Wilson
7. J B Bobo
8. Daryl Easton
9. Harry Lorrayne
10. Mac King
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 26, 2005 04:45PM)
I think you should have said,"Top 10 You have Seen." How can one compare, say, Kellar and Thurston when you have never seen them.

In no particular order... my top 10 would be:

Fred Kaps
Slydini
Blackstone Sr.
Carl Ballantine
Jay Marshall
Paul Daniels
Persi Diaconis
Channing Pollock
Don Alan/Albert Goshman (tied)
Moretti

Posted: Jul 26, 2005 5:48pm
I have to add a few:

Johnny Thompson
Johnny Paul
Ken Brooke
Pat Page
Robert Harbin
Sara Kabagujina and Sultangali Shukurov (Russian FISM winners)
Tom Mullica
VERONIN (possibly the funniest artiste I have ever seen)
Otto Wessely
Mac Ronay
Christian Fechner's FISM Illusion Act
Norm Nielsen
Phoa Yan Tiong
Tamariz
Daryl
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 26, 2005 05:35PM)
I realize you're asking for 10, but I'm gonna say:

#1: SIEGFRIED AND ROY!!!!!!!!!

And I'll give runner up to Houdini.
Message: Posted by: Ed Hutchison (Jul 26, 2005 09:24PM)
I agree with Pete Biro. It is tough to rank performers that I have not seen.

But, off the top of my head, and in no particular order, here are some acts that I have enjoyed enough to want to see over and over again: (in fact, I have seen most of the following several times)

Kohl and Company
Slydini
Del Ray
Andre Cole
Blackstone, Jr.
Kreskin
Moretti
Jay Marshall
Al Goshman
Walter Cummings
Message: Posted by: Lord of Illusion (Jul 27, 2005 06:58AM)
[quote]
...SKILL, PERFORMANCE, PRESENTATION, EFFECTIVENESS, SHOWMANSHIP, ENTERTAINMENT VALUE, and CREATIVITY, who would they be?

[/quote]

Ok, haven't gotten my list together (still recovering from my emergency move), but how can Houdini not be the # one on anyones list? He's been gone for 80+years and if you ask someone on the street to name a magician, it's usually Houdini, Copperfield, and a mixture for third choice.

Ok, his skill was questionable. Performence, the same. Efectiveness, very near if not at the top (as an escape artist, as a magician, less so). Showmanship, well, it doesn't get better (and for the S&R folks glitz does not = showmanship), entertainment value, in his day #1, today less so. Creativity #1 (he practically invented his art)

So, that brings up a different spin on the question...

Are the # one old artist (houdini, kellar and thruston) better than the # one modern artists (Copperfield, S&R and Blain)?

*and I know that last set will create a firestorm*

Azrael
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 27, 2005 07:48AM)
Gotta say, Azrael, Siegfried and Roy have a lot more going on than glitz. They didn't start with glitz. Look where they came from- and how far they came. People love THEM, not the glitz. I have to give credit where credit is due. Siegfried and Roy: TOP OF MY LIST. Houdini's right up there too, at #2. Some have said they don't want to rate a performer they haven't seen. And it could be that those of us who did rank him, didn't put him at the top of our lists for some of the reasons YOU mentioned above ;). In which case, we've made a fair call.
Message: Posted by: magic mike (Jul 27, 2005 03:17PM)
I'm not trying to throw a monkeywrench into the works but, if you haven't seen a Magician perform then you are really going by what others say. Therefore, how can one really express one's opinion!

My favorite Magicians, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, are:

Channing Pollock
Cardini
Fred Kaps
General Grant
Kohl & Co.
David Oliver
Jon Stetson
Rico
Dick Gufterson
Joseph Gabriel
Amos Levkovitch
Johnny Thompson
Harry Blackstone Sr.
Vito Lupo
Norm Nielsen
Slydini

(Channing, however, was the first Magician that really impressed me.)
Message: Posted by: Lord of Illusion (Jul 27, 2005 10:09PM)
Yes they do/did, but...

"People love THEM, not the glitz. I have to give credit where credit is due."

Almost all of the really great magicians started scratching dirt and became over time the people that we respect and love. I'm not knocking them, just their legacy (as magicians) outside of Las Vegas. In 80+ years do you think they'll be at the top of lay peoples list? Please don't think I don't like them...I think they're fantastic.

Ok, Magic Mike, that criteria leaves out almost every magician that is "great" before the 40's or so. I think that we can allow for the legends (Herrmann the Great, Milani, Thurston, Kellar, TGL, etc.) because very few, if anyone, alive saw most of them - but most people agree that they were great performers and entertainers.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 28, 2005 07:49AM)
As a matter of fact I do believe Siegfried and Roy will be at the top of lay people's lists in 80+ years. Their legacy extends far beyond Las Vegas. The WORLD LOVES Siegfried and Roy.
Message: Posted by: TheRock (Jul 28, 2005 11:06AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-27 08:48, magicalaurie wrote:
Gotta say, Azrael, Siegfried and Roy have a lot more going on than glitz. They didn't start with glitz. Look where they came from- and how far they came. People love THEM, not the glitz. I have to give credit where credit is due. Siegfried and Roy: TOP OF MY LIST. Houdini's right up there too, at #2. Some have said they don't want to rate a performer they haven't seen. And it could be that those of us who did rank him, didn't put him at the top of our lists for some of the reasons YOU mentioned above ;). In which case, we've made a fair call.
[/quote]

Wasn't Houdini more of an escape artist then a magician? I know he did magic, but didn't he focus mostly (and build his career and name) on escapes?
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 28, 2005 11:36AM)
Billy Bishop
Johnny Thompson
Jack Kodell
Tony Marx
Don Alan
Jack Pyle
Jay Marshall
Terry Vecky
John Shirley
Bev Bergeron
Stan Kramien
Marshall Brodine
Blackstone Jr.
Andre Kole

All I have seen do their acts or shows many times live on the stage. They all deliver a great show no matter what the performing conditions are!
[quote]
On 2005-07-27 08:48, magicalaurie wrote:
Siegfried and Roy have a lot more going on than glitz. They didn't start with glitz. Look where they came from- and how far they came. People love THEM, not the glitz. I have to give credit where credit is due. Siegfried and Roy: TOP OF MY LIST.
[/quote]
Have you seen their show live on stage?
Message: Posted by: Dr. JK (Jul 28, 2005 01:12PM)
TheRock,

Yes, Houdini did focus on escapes, but he is known as a magician. Only magicians think to call Harry Houdini an "escape artist." Statistically speaking, if you were to take a random sample of laymen and ask them to name the first magician that comes to their mind, I am sure that Houdini would be on top by a comfortable margin, with several others trailing behind.

I have to agree with Azrael that Harry Houdini was one of the greatest magical entertainers ever, and therefore I give him my number one spot.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jul 28, 2005 04:00PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-25 23:24, TheRock wrote:
If you had to rate the 10 GREATEST MAGICIANS of all time, and you had to do it according to these categories (not in any specific order), SKILL, PERFORMANCE, PRESENTATION, EFFECTIVENESS, SHOWMANSHIP, ENTERTAINMENT VALUE, and CREATIVITY, who would they be?

Please rate them starting with 10 being the LEAST greastest ghoing all the way to #1 being the GREATEST. But please TRY to rank them according to the catagories above?

Who would they be?
[/quote]



Tough question!!

But I guess fame & Exposure because of all of the above catagories are what the Public, Lay audience percieve as success not what we as Magicians think!!
The public know all about Siegfried& Roy but couldn't tell you who won the last 3 FISM stage acts!!!-who really cares? Certainly not me.


So here goes- from different generations & as seen by the world!!

1 Harry Houdini

2 Blackstone (senior)

3 Mark Wilson

4 Doug Henning

5 David Copperfield

6 Kreskin

7 Siegfried & Roy

8 Paul Daniels

9 Harry Anderson

10 David Blaine


Also missing & must be included from a magicians point of view as well as fame in different parts of the world & very skillfull & entertaining etc who gave us the ideas & techniques for much of what we use today etc

Fred Kaps

Channing Pollock

Cardini

Max Malini

Richard Ross

Johnny Thomson

Tommy Cooper

Norm Neilson

Don Alan

Lance Burton

Joseph Dunninger

Theres many missing& apoligise for that but this could go into many different forms of entertainment so hopefully the top 10 are known worldwide
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 28, 2005 05:04PM)
What's your question, Glenn?
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jul 28, 2005 05:17PM)
Hmmm...not one person mentioned:

John Henry Anderson
Alexander Herrmann
Bautier DeKolta
David Devant
Servais LeRoy
Del Ray
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 28, 2005 06:50PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 18:04, magicalaurie wrote:
What's your question, Glenn?
[/quote]
Have you seen the Siegfried and Roy show live on the stage was the question. I never saw their big show but I saw their act at the MGM. It was quite spectacular.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 28, 2005 08:21PM)
I've met more than ten great magicians and would not want to insult any of them by leaving them off a list.
Message: Posted by: Ed Hutchison (Jul 28, 2005 08:35PM)
I saw Del Ray perform twice, and, if you check above, you'll find that he made my list. He was a great, great, entertainer.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 29, 2005 07:47AM)
Thanks for clarifying, Glenn. :) Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to see their show live. Wish I had. Glad you were able to. I have seen them on T.V. and Video quite a bit, though. They will always be top of my list. LOVE those guys. :)

I do agree with Mr. Townsend. The number 10 doesn't really work here.
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Jul 29, 2005 08:30AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 21:35, Ed Hutchison wrote:
I saw Del Ray perform twice, and, if you check above, you'll find that he made my list. He was a great, great, entertainer.


[/quote]

That's for darn sure. Most magicians have never even heard of Del Ray.(and from what I can tell, that was fine with him.) I would rather watch a 1 hour video of Del Ray than have had a lifetime pass to see Siegfried & Roy in person any time I wanted. And I'm not kidding about that.

Vandy
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 29, 2005 04:30PM)
I'd take your lifetime pass off your hands, Vandy :)
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Jul 29, 2005 10:15PM)
If I had one it would be yours. "Compliments of me"

Vandy
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jul 31, 2005 06:11PM)
Nobody mentioned Richiardi, Jr. I saw him many years ago at the Village Gate in NYC and again a few years later at Madison Square Garden. If you ever saw him perform the Broom Suspension, you would rank him as one of the greatest stage illusionists.

Although I have only seen a brief clip of him doing the Thumb Tie, I think that Willard the Wizard also deserves a spot on the list. He had at least three completely different two hour illusion shows. Who else could do that today?

Jim
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Aug 1, 2005 09:23PM)
Jim-

Of Course!! Richiardi

Just last week I dug out an old video special of his hosted by actor Christopher Lee all filmed Live which made it even better

His Broomstick & Levitations as well as DeKolta chair were incredible but what I originally wanted to see was his very Dramatic "Razor Blade Illusion

Couldve heard a pin drop as he bought them out-Fabulous stuff
Message: Posted by: Michael Taggert (Aug 1, 2005 09:31PM)
Ching ling Soo!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Aug 2, 2005 08:04AM)
Blutrol,

Do you mean Chung Ling Soo (William Robinson) or Ching Ling Foo?
Message: Posted by: Rennie (Oct 7, 2005 08:58AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 19:50, bishthemagish wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 18:04, magicalaurie wrote:
What's your question, Glenn?
[/quote]
Have you seen the Siegfried and Roy show live on the stage was the question. I never saw their big show but I saw their act at the MGM. It was quite spectacular.
[/quote]
I had the opportunity to see Siegfried & Roy live at the Mirage and it was a very impressive show. It was one of the best stage shows ever.The one thing I really remember was the energy that Roy had on stage and every show both he and Siegfried acted toward the audience like this show was their first and showed a lot of enthusiasm. So sad about Roy now, sure hope he has a total recovery as they both deserve recognition for what they did for magic.
Rennie
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Oct 9, 2005 10:39PM)
You're very lucky to have had the opportunity to see their show live, Rennie. :)
Message: Posted by: español jeff (Oct 12, 2005 06:37AM)
I saw Doug Henning on Broadway (Iin the Magic Show) around 1975, or so. I don't remember the exact year, but it was a performance I'll never forget. Stunning was totally stunning.
Message: Posted by: The Magician (Oct 13, 2005 11:49AM)
1. Dai Vernon
2. David Copperfield
3. Paul Daniels
4. Siegfried and Roy
5. Harry Blackstone
7. Larry Jennings
8. Houdini
9. Mark Wilson
10. Michael Ammar

In no particular order
Message: Posted by: Roland (Jul 16, 2018 04:28PM)
"Greatest" is one of the difficult words here. Of course, there are many magicians I would LOVE to have seen and many of my favorites I don't think are the "greatest". Nonetheless, this futile pursuit is continued here... https://www.carnivalofillusion.com/best-magicians-of-all-time.php Amazingly there is FILM of many of them! We based this list on which magicians altered the future of magic. That is how we chose to interpret the definition of "great".
Message: Posted by: imgic (Dec 29, 2018 10:31PM)
Too difficult a question, given we’ll see Thurston, Keller, Hermann, Chung Ling Soo, or so many others of the golden age of magic...
Message: Posted by: TomB (Jul 9, 2019 04:48AM)
I had to split it between inventors and performers

Magic Inventor Trick
Buatier de Kolta  Vanishing Lady, Vanishing Birdcage
John Nevil Maskelyne Levitation with hoop pass
Harry Houdini Metamorphosis, Chinese Water Torture Cell, Vanishing Elephant
Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin Ethereal Suspension, light and heavy box, Inexhaustible Bottle
P.T. Selbit sawing a lady in half
Robert Harbin  zig zag
Servais Le Roy Asrah, Palanquin
David Devant Mascot Moth, Artists’ Dream, Obliging Kettle
Harry Kellar The Levitation of Princess Karnac
Jim Steinmeyer Origami

Performer
David Copperfield Story telling, museum.of magic, classic stage performer
Tommy Wonder rolled up sleeves vanishing birdcage, great attention to detail
Harry Blackstone Jr Floating lightbulb. great voice and stage presence
Doug Henning Classic stage performer
Lance Burton Classic stage performer
Dai Vernon double turnover, cups and balls
The Pendragons Fastest Metamorphosis, clear sawing a woman in half
Cyril Takayama Street Magic
Pop Haydin entertaining, love his expressions, love his patter
Kevin James Floating Rose, Snow, Bowl-a-rama (also very entertaining)

Respected but lack of video (Thurston, Herrmann the Great)
Message: Posted by: GlennLawrence (Jul 9, 2019 01:30PM)
Generally not a fan of these "top 10 greatest" lists, but I will chime in on Seigfried & Roy. I saw the show in 2000 and really liked it. Maybe not the most mind blowing magic ever seen, but visually it had to be the most spectacular show I'm ever likely to witness. Everything about it, from the tigers to the costumes to the music and staging was just fantastic. It would only be a year or two after that Roy's mishap would force the show to close, so I'm lucky I got to see it when I did.