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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Copperfield Bermuda Triangle (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

redbull
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David Copperfield has joked and spoken briefly about the Bermuda Triangle special he made in 1988 saying that it was the worst special he did and how it was a bad career move.

I'm a pretty young guy so I don't remember what the public response was to the special but was the public opinion of it bad? Why does Copperfield regret it. I've seen the special and I like the work in it. That was the year he unveiled the Death Saw.
Frank Tougas
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I think he was referring to the big finale trick of the ship disappearance. It was overproduced and really not that much of a spellbinder. The rest of the special was as you say, pretty good.

I don't know how old you are but many years before you were born a great old time comedian, Jack Benny, used to make fun of one of his movies, "A Horn Blows at Midnight". Even free dishes didn't help. He made it almost a running joke on his television show but actually the movie, though silly, wasn't all that bad.

In a way Copperfield was following the traditions of comics who make fun of their own shortcomings. Johnny Carson's Custer Sketch is a prime example.

Anyway I've probably confused you with all the ancient references. But that's my 2 cents.

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
WRandall
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I think David's being too hard on himself, probably for the show business reasons that Frank pointed out.

For me, the interesting thing about the '88 special was how few illusions were shown from the stage of Ceaser's Palace. The Death Saw was the main focus. After that, he reprised Run Duck Run, and then there was the Webster/Consuela head switch routine. This is all strong material and, I believe, came off great. But compared to most of his other specials, that's not a lot of stage magic. Everything else was taped on location as a kind of music video, and then the Triangle sequence, which was like a mini-movie. If the '88 special wasn't as strong as his others, I suggest that it was because much of the magic was not taped in "real time" in front of a live audience.

In fact, The Bermuda Triangle sequence seems like a continuation of the style he used in the Alcatraz sequence the year before. If you view these two pieces as what they are - short films with magic - they're impressive and entertaining as hell. The Alcatraz sequence, especially, has a lot of strong magic beats in it. He was stretching himself as a performer and a creative artist with the movie style, so I would never call it a mistake. But, ultimately, I think the technique was less convincing as "magic" for the home viewers.

He more than made up for it the very next year. Not only is there a lot of great stage magic - including a couple of terrific close-up tricks done for the live audience with video screen projection - but the Imploding Building wasn't done as a mini-movie. The primary feature of the thing was that long, uninterrupted steady-cam shot at the end. IMO, this gave the piece an urgency and credibilty that a lot of cuts and stagey shots would have weakened. It's probably my favorite of his big illusions, mostly for those reasons.

But whatever flaws Triangle might have, that boat did seem to come out of nowhere. And that's my take on 1988.

Will
redbull
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Will and Frank are right,

And as a side note, his Bermuda special was really his duck and montage show with the exception of his opening and closing effects. He used Webster a lot and also had a couple montages. (I love his revamp of Kole's No Feet illusion)

As for a "short film" take on magic I think it's a great idea and can be extremely entertaining, however, I think for some reason the public doesn't give it as much credibility. Why is that?
Osiris
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For starters, we all have "bad shows" and bits we did in our past that seemed like a great idea at the time BUT... (I used to dress up like a Genii for years... arrgh!)

The Bermuda Triangle show was over-produced... probably the most elaborate use of Harary's PERSPECTIVE that's ever been set to film. I actually liked the bit where DC got sucked into the small pyramid though... it was very deceptive and rather cool. Personally, I thought the Niagra Falls and segments of the Grand Canyon shows were far worse (more dull, boring, etc.) than this particular instalment.
revlovejoy
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As I remember it in my youth, Death Saw was the most impressive thing I had seen that wasn't the "final grand illusion."

It took me years to be convinced that maybe those weren't really his actual legs.

Watching it again on the 15year retrospective DVD, I don't see it the same way, but at the time, I was seriously impressed.
WRandall
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Quote:
On 2005-03-26 07:42, Osiris wrote:
I actually liked the bit where DC got sucked into the small pyramid though... it was very deceptive and rather cool.


I've always liked the Pyramid vanish, too. It looks like we're seeing his hand up until the very moment he disappears. And the panels blowing away from the illusion, as opposed to being removed by assistants, is such a great touch.
magic 12376
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Frank,
actually the ship appeared then exploded in the end.
Ronald R. Romiski
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Don't forget, that those kind of effects are to promote the "live show". It's a kind of marketing to get people to go to your shows. And... It works!
magicjohn2278
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Why is it I haven't seen a Copperfield TV special for what seems like years? (At least here in the UK.) Can someone tell me which was the last he made?
MikeJRogers
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Same here in Australia John. Neither of our countries have purchased the rights to a Copperfield special in years. The last special aired in AUS was the special with Claudia acting as the interviewer, the special name escapes me right now.

The audience base must not be big enough to warrant purchasing anymore specials, well at least that's the only reason I can think of why they wouldn't purchase and air the newer ones.

Sad isn't it?

Mike
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magic 12376
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John,
The last special I am aware of was Tornado of Fire.

Ronald R. Romiski
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Your right Ronald. D.C.'s last TV special was the Tornado of Fire. The interesting thing in David Copperfield's TV specials is that depending the country in which they air on TV they're always a litle bit different. For exemple : The Tornado of Fire special aired in the U.S., in Germany and in the Netherlands, but depending the country, effects were left out from the original US TV show when it was shown in Germany.
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Oliver Twist
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