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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » The risk to mentalists and the brilliance of Derren Brown's disclaimer. (39 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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IAIN
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Can't remember what book I read it in, but in regards to Uri - he was thoroughly exposed in his native country, and in fairly big papers too...but his fan base didn't really diminish all that much... it was before he came over to the States and the whole Puthoff and Targ stuff...

over here, The People (a redtop nonsense newspaper) used to try and regularly expose certain magicians/mentalists...they went after chan canasta at least a couple of times, exposing some of his work, but he embraced it saying "very clever, yes I think it could also be done like that"...i always liked how some magicians saw canasta, and didn't like him, partly because of the methods he used...i thought it just made him even more brilliant...

well, remarkable (a-ho ho ho)...

loved his clipped overtly polite tone, but he also looked like he would be quite handy in a scrap too...

always felt that tommy wonder would play his slightly dandified brother if they were in a sitcom together...
Marmen
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There are some psychic forces at work here. I was just about to post about the People exposures but Iain beat me to it!

I do remember Maurice Fogel recommending that you should not go in too strong in your claims to be the real thing. You should be a bit ambivalent about it. Maurice thought that you should imply that you are real but never come straight out and say it directly. I think I agree with this. It can lead to all sorts of trouble if you go in too strong with your claims. It sets up a challenge, brings sceptics and jealous magicians out of the woodwork wanting to expose you and sometimes all hell will break loose which may be good for business but may not be. And as Tony Corinda once remarked, "To cap it all it is quite unnecessary".

I know that Fogel was quite devastated at one time with some terribly publicity he got when the People newspaper exposed him in his earlier days. He was very upset at the time since he was at the height of his career. I even heard (although I am not sure whether to believe it or not) that he took to wearing a sandwich board in the street saying "Helliwell is not being fair to Fogel" Arthur Helliwell was the journalist who exposed him. I do know it quite traumatised him and Alan Alan told me that "Maurice was a broken man" after the incident. Personally I would have just laughed my head off, taken a week or two off and come back when the fuss died down.

One thing I will say is that if you bill yourself as a "comedy mentalist" you will not need a disclaimer of any kind. Nobody will believe you are the real thing the second you use the word "comedy". The more that you make people laugh the less they will believe you are for real. They may be less bored by you but they won't think you are for real. Not that I believe too many people believe you are the real thing anyway. Just being on a stage is a disclaimer in itself. People do believe in psychics but believe it less when they see it in an entertainment setting.

But who the hell wants to go around in their daily life pretending to have psychic powers anyway?
mastermindreader
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Well put, Marmen. (I agree with about ninety percent of what you wrote, and there's no point in quibbling over the other ten percent.) As I've mentioned in the past, the only time I'm in my mentalist persona is when I'm on stage. That guy is the real thing.

I'm just Bob.

(One of the biggest ironies, though, is that it is usually other mentalists and magicians, not newspapers or laymen, who attempt to expose mentalists. Richard Himber, for example, was a nemesis of Dunninger, constantly proclaiming him to be a fraud to anyone who would listen.)
Joe Atmore
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And yet Dunninger would actually use a certain Ellery Queen magazine in his performances! Wonder if Richard gave him a discount on the price Smile
Best Thoughts,

Joe Atmore
International Artists Consultant Uri Geller's Phenomenon TV Series;
PEA Bob Haines Memorial Award;
Dunninger Show Recreation;
Author of Dunninger Knows and Dunninger's Brain Busters

JosephAtmore.com
mastermindreader
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Joe-

I've often thought that Dunninger did that as a subtle dig at Himber. He had quite a good sense of humor at the time, although in his later years, as evidenced in his autobiography, he had no love lost for Himber, who he viewed largely as an annoying publicity seeker.

I wonder if he used the Ellery Queen test just to see if he could bait Himber into publicly exposing his own effect, which he was selling to magicians at an exorbitant price (for the time.)

The world remembered, and many still remember, Dunninger but few even know of Himber or the fact that he was actually an orchestra leader and a part-time magician/hobbyist.
Joe Atmore
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You are probably right Bob. Himber actually was not just talk as you know. On at least two occasions he and his band jammed the phone lines during a radio program so the wanted call couldn't get through. Routines in the future had to be redesigned and the network execs were not pleased.
Best Thoughts,

Joe Atmore
International Artists Consultant Uri Geller's Phenomenon TV Series;
PEA Bob Haines Memorial Award;
Dunninger Show Recreation;
Author of Dunninger Knows and Dunninger's Brain Busters

JosephAtmore.com
mastermindreader
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In a sense, I guess you could call Himber an early mentalism terrorist.Smile
IAIN
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So are we saying there were two sides to Himber?
mastermindreader
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Very good, Iain.
Scott Soloff
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Quote:
On Jul 28, 2014, Marmen wrote:

I do remember Maurice Fogel recommending that you should not go in too strong in your claims to be the real thing. You should be a bit ambivalent about it.


Personally, this is the approach that I like the best.

Best wishes,


Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
mastermindreader
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My claim to being a mind reader has never bothered any of the skeptics organizations in the least because of the context and wording of my claim. Some very prominent members of the skeptics' community, in fact, are friends and/or fans of mine.
sandsjr
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On Jul 28, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
My claim to being a mind reader has never bothered any of the skeptics organizations in the least because of the context and wording of my claim. Some very prominent members of the skeptics' community, in fact, are friends and/or fans of mine.


This is exactly what I meant in the "favorite mentalists" thread when I said, ..."the way you walk the line suits my tastes perfectly." There's a beautiful gray area where mystery and entertainment reside. But for some reason, some people don't get that. (referencing another thread)
Alex R. Weinberg
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It's true if you get caught with a few tricks it can ruin your reputation as a mentalist.
mastermindreader
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It never hurt Uri or Dunninger or even Kreskin. (The original edition of Kamman and Marks' "The Psychology of the Psychic" was a complete expose of the latters act.)
sandsjr
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On Jul 28, 2014, Alex R. Weinberg wrote:
It's true if you get caught with a few tricks it can ruin your reputation as a mentalist.


Only if you have a reputation to be ruined AND you claim what you do is the real thing.
mastermindreader
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The original edition of Kamman and Marks' "The Psychology of the Psychic" contained a complete expose of the latter's act. And Kreskin's career wasn't effected in the least.
sandsjr
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On Jul 28, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
It never hurt Uri or Dunninger or even Kreskin. (The original edition of Kamman and Marks' "The Psychology of the Psychic" was a complete expose of the latters act.)


Actually, that's true as well. It may have hurt them in the eyes of some but not in the eyes of the majority. Cognitive Dissonance again.
Suffolk
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90% of the public couldn't give a rat's ass.
They just want to be entertained.
mastermindreader
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Yep.
morgaine_le_fey
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On Jul 28, 2014, Suffolk wrote:
90% of the public couldn't give a rat's ass.
They just want to be entertained.


That's the bottom line. And if some wiseguy wants to impress his (girl)friend(s) by trying to figure me out, all it takes is a fine cold reading session, a hard hitting drawing duplication ("you're SO predictable") and the meanest and fastest cardtrick in town!
But even this has only happened to me about 3 times...

xxx Morgaine
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