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David Le
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I'm not going to give so much away, but I know David Copperfield has some "computerized thingy" that he uses for flying Smile

Anyone who knows how it's done will know how I'm talking about.

My question is: has there been a magician of the old days who has been able to FLY and soar thru space as easily and as grand as David Copperfield? (and some of the ripoff artists who do flying too)

If so, was it computerized, or was there a need for "superstrong" operators who controlled the illusion manually? Smile

Lastly, who was that who invented the concept of flying? I forgot his name. refresh my memory Smile

Thanks!
briansmagic
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I think it was Foy who came up with that concept only he applied it to theatre and treated it as stage craft techniques, not magic. You know, "Flying By Foy".
boblinds
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Using cables and muscle to "fly" actors is a concept that dates back to ancient Greek theater where the actors playing the gods would be lowered to the performing area to resolve the conflicts of the drama. This is the origin of the term "deus ex machina."

Modern flying techniques using counterweights, cables, muscle, harnesses, fast release couplings, etc. was invented by George Kirby and dates back to the end of the 19th century in London.

In the 1950s, Peter Foy -- who served his apprenticeship with Kirby's company in London -- founded Flying by Foy to specialize in theatrical flying effects based on some of his own innovations in the field.
David Le
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The flying method is also used in a live Disney Aladdin play, right? Smile

But this flying that Foy does, does he CONCEAL the ----or does he do plays and drama and just let people use their imagination?

or was Foy's field magic and illusion? Smile

Thanks.

- The idea in theater is NOT to conceal anything but to let people use their imagination (that was what I was trying to say)

In magic, it's a whole lot different Smile

So, rephrasing my question: was Foy a magician or a mere expert in theater regardless of what kind (of theater)?
Dennis Michael
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I have a love for this sort of thing. Levitations, and flying.

If you want to do research on this topic, consider the following books:


  • Stage Flying, 431 B.C. to Modern Times by John A. McKinven. (Does not reveal Cooperfied method.)
  • Encyclopedia of Suspensions and Levitations by Bruce Armstrong


I purchased these books from Denny & Lee, and they are very interesting reading. One can get some good ideas from these books. You must have a love for levitations and suspensions to enjoy these books. They are really for those who love to read about our craft. No real astonishing mysteries, just those ingenious ideas from the past.
Dennis Michael
Dougini
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Copperfield's system is custom-made for him by John Gaughan.

It resembles nothing like I've ever seen before. I doubt seriously if it could be duplicated. Mr. Foy even wanted to see it, as I understand.

The Pendragons and Lance Burton use a similar system that combines the Don Wayne Ball with the flying. Each system is unique to the performer, and I must say I'm glad it's not general knowledge!

We signed secrecy agreements when we signed on with D.C., so I cannot go into detail, but the actual method is very old.

As I understand it, the D.C. Flying rig was improved, and updated, then retired. Too bad. IMO, it was one of his best.

Doug
David Le
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Um, why was it retired? Smile

I take there could be some other reason other than just DC wanting to end his show with PORTAL and THIRTEEN, or were there technical problems with flying?

:)
Dennis Michael
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Now, I really don't know but here is my guess with flying. First and formost, David Cooperfield's Flying act must be done with split second timing from beginining to end. If any of the stage hands involved was off one second the effect would be compromised and revealed to the audience. The spinning hoops for instance is a prime example.

The effect required strict weight control and strength to pull it off. Get David's DVD from his website and study this illusion. It's a beautiful well timed masterpiece. It's a magical masterpiece, a ballot without the Tu-Tu. He make his mark and his personal statement of his skill. How long can such prefection pressure go on related to this illusion?

David Le I "PM" you the location of the US patent plans on the basic concept of John Gaughan's design. It should answer most of your questions.
Dennis Michael
David Le
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Thanks! Smile

yeah, I have his DVD and I have seen this illusion a LOT.

stage hands?? I thought the entire thing was computerized!
Smile
Jeff007
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Den Dowhy: Everything you said is right on.
Alikzam
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He just has a huge ITR. I swear. Smile
brianmayo
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You know DC's flying IS public knowlege. Its there in black and white in the PTO database which is available online for free. (though its obviously registered under Gaughn's name) Just for those of you interested...
Dougini
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And...

One reason it's been retired.

Another reason is, it's so HUGE and heavy! It took almost a whole 40 foot trailer! The time it takes to set up and take down is daunting, to say the least.

Methods are improving, and D.C. stays on top of the latest.

Doug
David Le
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Yeah, his shows are as "unplugged" as they can be by today, but he is still miles ahead of others because of his performance skills, his wisdom and his genius Smile

so he doesn't need to fly....... especially when he can travel to the other side of the world in just seconds Smile
brianmayo
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That comment really cracked me up.

It reminds me of a pretty well known illusionist I recently saw perform where he did a pole levitation in the first half, then in the second half did a broom suspension.

It cracked me up, because if I know he can cause somebody to rise in the air with no real support, I would surely believe he can cause somebody to be suspended on a broom. Smile

Yeah, I guess transporting yourself pretty much makes flying moot...
David Le
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Sometimes, david doesn't do PORTAL, his Hawaii illusion because of certain "weather" conditions Smile

But if you know how PORTAL is done, then you should understand that David can easily choose and switch beaches as he pleases. Smile

And for you lurkers out there, no PORTAL is an illusion that does not involve special effects. Heck sfx would be too expensive a method to pull it off.

Anyways, he can also make 13 people disappear. those 13 are not stooged and I take that any "lay" person would think of making those random people vanish more amazing than seeing a performer fly himself.

Because when a layman sees a performer fly, IMO, it really doesn't matter because everyone knows that THE performer is in control of whatever he DOES to himself, but making 13 random people disappear? that's different! Smile
Dougini
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Good point, David!

I'm amazed at how much behind-the-scenes knowledge you seem to have about D.C.! I'm glad you don't blatantly expose his methods in the forums you post in! More than 100 people are employed by him and depend on those secrets to stay employed! I was very fortunate to be a part of the local stage team 3 years in a row...

In regard to those 13 people, you're right, they're not stooges, per se, but still must all sign secrecy agreements...that's the rule for anyone he uses in his shows.

If you look around the various forums, though, you'll find people that HAVE been part of the show are singing like canaries! Too bad.

Glad that doesn't happen here (in the open forums, anyway). Banquet Room stuff only... Smile

Doug
David Le
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Dougini,

really, man? you worked for David C.? cool!

Yeah, I know about the contract stuff of THIRTEEN. people say David Copperfield is full of himself cuz of that issue regarding THIRTEEN. You know what I say to them? maybe THEY are full of themselves.

;) Magicians full of themselves are the ones who overdo their acts such as the ones who dye their doves yellow and produce dozens of them just to impress the magic boys who they know. Smile
Dougini
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The problem I have with working for D.C., is that his crew does NOT like "magicians". Period. Their stance is something like:

"We have a magician already, we don't NEED any more!"

If you ever want to work on D.C.'s local crew...never, I mean NEVER mention you do ANY magic tricks, NEVER even do a trick with a quarter (my mistake) while "on duty". I got "called on the carpet" in a very embarrassing way, because of a simple quarter vanish I did while waiting for overhead pipes to "come in".

Man, the anger, and immediate removal of me, really surprised me. My Technical Director (a friend) was told originally that "No magicians allowed on crew" was the rule. He never told me that, and just casually mentioned to "not do tricks, not show off, etc", while on the crew. I had no idea they were so adamant about not having a "magician" aboard.

They're very anal about such things.

You wanna be on the local stage crew when he comes to town? Don't ever say you do "magic", or are a magician.

Just some friendly advice. I'd like to be on the crew again, someday, but I'll have to wait until his crew rotates people in that don't know who I am! LOL!

Doug
magictim
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Are the hoop passing methods in this levitation copyrighted? There are some ideas I had using a the two hoop pass...
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