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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Bullet Catch Between The Teeth » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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vinsmagic
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Does anyone remember a magician who used to catch a bullet between his teeth? A plate of glass was placed in front of him. The glass shattered, and he caught the bullet. I believe his name was Ralph Beallia, not sure of the spelling, he also claimed to have steel teeth

vinny
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DavidEscapes
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Hi Vinny

Quite a few people have done this trick. The most famous people to have done it recently were Penn and Teller. They did it double though! Firing a bullet at each other at the same time. The presentation and set up for it was fantastic, far better than the actual trick for my money Smile Those guys really know how to work an audience.

Have fun

Duncan
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Harry Murphy
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Hans Moretti performs this effect as you have described. He once (as a joke I believe) stated that he put a metal box device in his mouth and the bullet was caught in that box (total BS of course, but the interviewer ate it up).

Harry Anderson used to perform the Bullet Catch in the manner you described too.

Presently, Nimblewit of Whip Flash performing at the Maryland Renaissance Fair also does the bullet catch as you describe.

In fact, I think that I could name 4 or 5 performers, who I have seen within the two years, who perform the Bullet catch as described. It is not as uncommon a trick as one would believe. It is still a dangerous and potentially lethal effect.

The only version I have ever performed is to have a marked bullet shot at the palm of my hand with my arm outstretched to the side. The bullet is shot through a pane of window glass (which shatters) and is caught in my hand (I do a dramatic spin). Bullet is dropped in a wine glass and is given to the spectator to identify (her/his mark). I went to this presentation because I noticed that some people didn’t like to touch a bullet that I spit into a glass (noticed that back in the 1970!!!!) and I don’t like to spit the bullet into a glass. Personal preference changed the presentation. It works for me.

Hope this helps.
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Missing_Link
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Hi all

Harry - congrats on the promotion!

The Penn & Teller bullet catch presentation is just one of their best routines ever. The sight of them, mouths wide open and the red laser dot wavering on their faces is priceless.

I don't like guns so this is a routine that, while I appreciate it, I haven't been tempted to use in my act. I wonder if anyone has heard of, or done, a version using a catapult/sling shot? I have an old Black Widow somewhere... I may be some time.

Cheers

ML
Harry Murphy
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ML thanks for the congrats.

Sling shot! Man that would be a challenge. It would be darn difficult to the “necessary” thing to make it work.

I was checking performance notes and found that I haven’t performed the Bullet Catch in a little over 5 years! Where does time go? Actually the reason I dropped the catch is that my audiences are very mixed and include a lot of children and youths. I didn’t want them to go home and try to catch a bullet! So I just do the Razor Blade trick now! (OK, that was just a feeble joke!)

I agree with you that Penn and Teller’s version is the one of the best I have ever seen. The safety glasses, the Kevlar vests and helmets, and the lasers sure help sell the effect. I thought that the Penn only version that they performed on World’s Greatest Magic (V?) was the absolute best version I had ever seen. Then they turn around and make it better!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Missing_Link
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I agree Harry, it would be tough. I've posted a few musings about it in the Banquet Room, if any one is interested...
Payne
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The man in question is Ralf Bialla who died in 1972 when he fell of a cliff from a dizzy spell brought on by the injuries he had suffered through the years from doing the trick. Unlike other performers who pretended to cath the bullet, Ralf Bialla actually did the stunt.

If I remember correctly he had both ear lobes removed by gunshot, a bullet in the cheek (face) and one lodged inoperably in the back of his throat.

I remember seeing him as a child on the "Wild World of Sports" and they slowed the film down so you could actually see the bullet traveling from the gun to his steel teeth. You can read more about him in "12 Who Have Died"
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
vinsmagic
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Payne, thanks. I did not know he had passed away. I only remember seeing him perform this trick on TV, at a wrestling match. He did this in the center of the ring.

Thanks also for the correct spelling of his name.
Vinny
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Harry Murphy
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Thanks for that Payne! I had totally forgotten about Ralf’s act! I saw it once in the mid 60’s and thought that if it was real (truly catching a bullet!) then he was totally crazy! I never had the opportunity to talk to him.

Even if he was catching a projectile (bullet) I suspect that there was more to it than reflexes and steel teeth. I would suspect reduced grains of gunpowder, etc. Still, any projectile coming at you can injure, maim, and kill (as it did Ralf). Remember, that there have been dozens of people killed by the discharge of a “blank” cartridge because they mistakenly thought that no bullet meant no danger!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
nappa
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Yea, Penn and Teller did it on World's Greatest Magic. It was a great trick and I'd like to see them do it live someday.
Liquid B
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It seems everyone has beaten me to the punch by mentioning the coveted Penn & Teller bullet catch. Oh well.
Kent Messmer
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FYI - Penn and Teller did a sling shot and a marked bean on Letterman a few years ago. They showed it in slow motion replay and it looked like Teller really caught it. (of course blood was involved)
Schaden
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I've come up with my own verision of this effect. It's called the "bullet stop". It is just like the Matrix; you stop bullets in mid air.

As for Teller, he did it really well. Normally the "catcher" rolls around on the ground, then gets up and shows it. This is a great illusion. Recommend it highly.
tkuhns
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The Penn & Teller version is extremely convincing -- they are very fair about the whole thing, and make a big deal about the Line in the Middle of the Stage that they never cross.
Scott Xavier
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Wasn't Pen and Teller's effect created by Banachek? I believe the secret of the effect lies there!
MichaelG.
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Denny form Denny & Lee used to do the Bullet Catch to close his act, but took it out after (several times) audience members who were used to inspect the gun stuffed things in the barrel, like pins.

Denny always inspected the gun when it was handed back, and upon finding debris in the barrel he would stop the show.

Can you imagine if it had been fired with pins in the barrel? Hey, that could kill somebody!
Looch
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Dr. Zodiac- Yes, I believe Penn and Teller use Banachek's method of performing the bullet catch. I also read that somewhere.

Can anyone else shed any more light on this matter?

peezz Smile
Banachek
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Yes it is true, the method, and parts of the presentation, (very little) of the Penn & Teller bullet catch presentaion are mine.

I used to perform the bullet catch with a partner years ago. Then by myself. In fact, I did the original buried alive on a show called "In search for Houdini" and many other crazy stunts in the 80's.

Anyway, P&T came over to the house, saw the bullet catch on tape, and asked for it. I gave it to them. Maybe I will tell the whole story during my guest host spot if it is brought up.

They changed the staging to suit them, and now it really is Penn & Teller's. They have three different presentations for it --that is very impressive.

Just to recoup, the method (including the glass and laser)is mine, but the presentaion is all P&T. They are truly incredible people. On top of that, to this day they still give me credit in all their playbills where they perform the effect; that says a lot about their true character.

:dance:
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midnightmjb
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A beautiful version of this was performed years ago by the late Chung Ling Soo (Bill Robinson) called "The Living Target" - the illusion that led to his death when a live round was shot at him by mistake.

Just wanted to give credit to an icon of magic that seemed to have been forgotten here.

Matt (Midnight Magic)
Darrin Cook
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To pick up on a theme of Mumblepeas, a gun does NOT need a bullet in it in order to be dangerous.

Actor and model John Hexum was killed when he put a gun loaded with a blank to his head and pulled the trigger. The concussive force was enough to kill him.

Harry Anderson planned to do a bullet catch, and thought that he would use a "harmless" wax bullet. Fortunately, he decided to try out the effect, and was stunned to see the "harmless" wax bullet blast a hole in the fence he shot!
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