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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic names and the media » » P & T's "Fool us", fools no one! They did it again! (31 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Steven Webb
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I didn't read the whole thresd but wanted to comment because my wife and I were talking about this exact bit last night.

This actually helps magicians more than hurts them I think.

Think about it, they show the traditional method a nd expose it to everyone. Those who thought this was how it was done feel confirmed, those who don't have that aha moment.

Then, the mistake happens and tje girl is sawed in half.


Moments later she comes out alive and well. Clearly, there is another method involved that they didn't expose. Now the method that everyone just understand stands under great suspicion! There is no reason to belueve it and you are left more confused then before. Everyone who sees the trick in the future will be grasping at straws.

Now, I'm not a performer so I may be wrong but it seems to me that this helps more than hurts.
MartiniMagic
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I love Penn and Teller. The are really different than magicians. They started on off Broadway.

Since they do reveal a lot and are irevrant, the show Fool Us works that much better especially when they are fooled.

I was looking for some blatant exposure in a video I once saw where they gave everyone in the audience a TT, hundreds of people, and then performed I think a silk routine with them. I could not find it but found this instead.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GN98dykPqcE

I think this is pretty bad because a lot of people still use the two methods they exposed and use it to make a living. Not everyone is as bright and creative as P and T and to throw away so much for laughs that never came (I don't think the audience got it) is bad IMO. And I do not believe that people will not remember the stairs and a mirror hiding the escape when the see a magician performing with a box on a platform. The audience was huge for this exposure and it lives on forever as well. So for what it gained IMO it was reckless and unessasary. They are smart and talented enough to do magic with the stihick.

That's my opinion but I am still a big fan.
MeetMagicMike
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Great posts by Steven webb and MartiniMagic

They each focused on "is this unwarranted and harmful exposure?" rather than the simplistic "All exposure is bad".

They both discussed the merits and harm done in these examples.

MartiniMagic, I pretty much agree with your thoughts on this although an argument could be made that those steps were awfully bulky and you can hardly expose mirrors because they are at the forefront of every ones mind when watching stage illusion. Still it wasn't one of P & T's best bits.
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lunatik
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I read a quote on another thread that I think is great and applies here.

"The most common reaction I get from Spectators is, "No way!" From magicians, "I have NO IDEA how you did that."


Giving a spectator a method IMO will lead them to the latter reaction "I have no IDEA how you did that". Most would rather have a "NO WAY!" reaction as they are astonished as opposed to having the mindset of a magician which is trying to just figure out the method. Why present an effect to encourage this type of future behavior?
"Don't let your Dreams become Fantasies"
magicwatcher2005
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Darwin Ortiz's Strong Magic is an entire book dedicated to dealing with one very simple fact: MOST audiences will consider possible solutions to any effect they see, including those who exclaim your beloved "No Way!". If you think they simply believe they've just witnessed a true miracle, equal to any chronicled in the Bible, and that they will not think beyond that to ponder possible methods then you are an even bigger fool than I give you credit for.

Because Ortiz knows that audiences virtually ALWAYS think about the "how" of any magic effect he goes to great lengths to teach concepts and methods for discrediting any possible solution, preferably before the audience can invest too much time considering it. In many case this discrediting is done either through "convincers", or by a more advanced approach called "canceling". This is advanced thinking, clearly beyond the grasp of some, but astute performers know - as does Ortiz - that most audiences will already be thinking of solutions. Convincers and canceling techniques reduce (or entirely prevent) this train of thought from occurring in the first place - and many times they include what simple-minded magicians might classify as "exposure".

A fine example of this can be found in mentalism. Often a mentalist will introduce an envelope into which a billet containing secret information is placed. Almost without exception the mentalist will first hold the envelope up to the light (and/or invite the spectator to do so), proclaiming it is impossible to see through it and view the hidden writing within. According to the "rationale" (term used loosely) presented by some in this thread, those mentalists are guilty of exposure. After all, there actually ARE some mentalism tricks that DO rely on being able to read through an envelope. So when the performer holds one up to show that we cannot see through it he is, at the same time, "exposing" that secret "see-through-envelope" technique... right?

On the other hand, if we are able to rise above such simple-minded thinking we may realize that this performer is actually discrediting that theory - not only for his own instant purposes, but potentially for all future performances that same audience may witness. So later, that performer (or another) may actually use a translucent envelope to his advantage, without the audience suspecting the truth.

Seem far fetched? Consider Bob Cassidy's brilliant Two Envelope Test (aka The White Dwarf). Not only is the point strongly made that one cannot see through the envelope(s) and detect what is inside, but in reality that is exactly what the performer will be doing in a moment (!) In what can only be seen as a stroke of pure genius, Cassidy has used both cancellation and convincers to "prove" to the audience that he is not doing what he actually IS doing. The strength of this effect cannot be overstated, and that is only the case because the performer has first taken the step of "exposing" [while disproving] a method that he will actually be using in a few moments. Without that exposure there is no miracle; the audience may very well suspect the envelope is "see through", and failing to disprove that before the thought can take hold means possible failure of the entire routine.

Mindlessly saying "exposure is bad", without actually defining exactly what constitutes "exposure", is no more true (or false) than saying "guns are bad". Sure, guns are bad when they're used to shoot down innocent store clerks - but when they're used (by the police) to take out the bad guys before any other innocent victims can be slaughtered... well, then maybe guns start to look pretty good.

So it is with "exposure". Want to complain about it? Then define it. Explain EXACTLY what you say is being exposed, and how that information is harming ANY performer and/or the art form itself. Or, you know, crawl back into your mother's basement and continue to whine about Youtube on Twitter (or whatever).

.
lunatik
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That's one opinion, but not the be all say all. What's wrong with just letting them being entertained instead of spoon feeding them methods? If one has to resort to exposing methods, why would most people not be happy if I exposed their entire show if I justified it by using totally different methods in which to cancel out what was exposed? By what you and others are purporting, there shouldn't be any problem with doing so.

P.S. How's your Barney puppet doing?
"Don't let your Dreams become Fantasies"
tomsk192
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Here is an interesting example: Silk to Egg.

Although many performers, including such esteemed names as Whit Haydn and Bob Sanders, do the 'Sucker Silk to Egg', which exposes the method, yet there are others who do not do the 'Sucker' bit, and the trick plays along quite happily for them.

I don't notice anybody whaling on Sanders, Haydn or countless others that do the 'Sucker' routine. Why? Firstly, because although the actual method is being exposed, it is then cancelled out later on.( Just like the sawing in half illusion as done by P&T.) Secondly, I'd say that some people really dislike P&T, and this is just a way to have a good old fashioned b*tch.

Food for thought.
lunatik
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Given that, Would my example be ok
"Don't let your Dreams become Fantasies"
magicwatcher2005
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On Sep 2, 2014, lunatik wrote:
That's one opinion, but not the be all say all. What's wrong with just letting them being entertained instead of spoon feeding them methods? If one has to resort to exposing methods, why would most people not be happy if I exposed their entire show if I justified it by using totally different methods in which to cancel out what was exposed? By what you and others are purporting, there shouldn't be any problem with doing so.


Your argument remains sophomoric. However, you accidentally make an interesting point. Some producers feel there IS no problem with presenting an entire show in which secret after secret is exposed - they've been calling it "Magic's Biggest Secrets Revealed!". It's gotten great ratings and has been very successful across the entire MBSR franchise for many years. In fact, given your inherent nastiness and ongoing threats to do such a thing it might actually turn out to be your "calling".

But the thing is - and there's really no getting around this - in spite of MANY exposure show episodes revealing dozens upon dozens of actual secrets (unlike the phony secrets "revealed" in Penn and Teller's sawing) - thousands of professional magicians still thrive in the marketplace, and NONE of the major performers (Mac, Lance, DC, etc.) have suffered any negative results in the least. If anything it's made the subject of magic more interesting for a much larger audience and allowed skilled performers to use the very existence of the "masked Magician" to their advantage.

Quote:
On Sep 2, 2014, lunatik wrote: P.S. How's your Barney puppet doing?


I don't have a "Barney puppet" - that's your twisted fantasy, not mine. In fact, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a "Barney puppet", but I am not surprised in the least that you DO.

.
Dougini
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I suppose I undertstand the apathy of the Pros, since you are constantly updating your acts. Me, I'm a simple sort. Show magic to my friends once in a while. I'm really miffed about paying $35 to $40 for an effect, just to see the Masked Moron expose it for all! Charlie Justice did not give Bruce Nash permission. Valentino openly exposed it. No credit given...nothing.

That's low-life behavior to me...

Doug
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On Sep 2, 2014, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
Explain EXACTLY what you say is being exposed, and how that information is harming ANY performer and/or the art form itself

You ask for a example of exposure - ok, here's one.

On Fool Us, Penn & Teller sometimes say that they know the method, sometimes they have a quiet discussion with the performer and then confirm that they know the method, sometimes they drop a public "hint" such as the fact that it's a one-way deck, and sometimes they admit they they've been fooled. And sometimes they completely expose the performer's method, publicly. As they did for Chris Dugdale, which was gratuitous, spiteful, malicious, and bad for magic.

They also exposed an effect that Jon Allen performed, which is his creation and he markets it. Fortunately, they method that he used on the show differed from that of his marketed effect, so the public exposure by P&T was, by happenstance, harmless.

One could argue that appearing on Fool Us is inviting one's method to be exposed. But I disagree - in most cases, Penn & Teller weren't fooled yet they didn't publicly expose the method. Public exposure on prime-time television of the methods of certain performers, done apparently on a whim, isn't nice, and isn't good for magic.

Dave
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magicwatcher2005
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Quote:
On Sep 2, 2014, Dave Le Fevre wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 2, 2014, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
Explain EXACTLY what you say is being exposed, and how that information is harming ANY performer and/or the art form itself

You ask for a example of exposure - ok, here's one.

On Fool Us, Penn and Teller sometimes say that they know the method, sometimes they have a quiet discussion with the performer and then confirm that they know the method, sometimes they drop a public "hint" such as the fact that it's a one-way deck, and sometimes they admit they they've been fooled. And sometimes they completely expose the performer's method, publicly. As they did for Chris Dugdale, which was gratuitous, spiteful, malicious, and bad for magic.

They also exposed an effect that Jon Allen performed, which is his creation and he markets it. Fortunately, they method that he used on the show differed from that of his marketed effect, so the public exposure by P and T was, by happenstance, harmless.

One could argue that appearing on Fool Us is inviting one's method to be exposed. But I disagree - in most cases, Penn and Teller weren't fooled yet they didn't publicly expose the method. Public exposure on prime-time television of the methods of certain performers, done apparently on a whim, isn't nice, and isn't good for magic.

Dave


Thank you, Dave. however, I'm NOT saying that Penn and Teller have never exposed valued secrets in their careers. I'm sure you can find many examples that will seem egregious on one level or another. However, in their "Sawing a Lady in Half" - the topic of THIS particular thread - I contend there is no exposure of any secret that any respectable magician would use... or should even care about.

I understand that some will always see them as villainous exposers of the treasured secrets (in Steinmeyer's "empty safe"), and therefore feel that anything they perform which even hints at "exposure" is evil, evil, evil. But as yet no one has actually been able to explain in detail what exactly they have exposed in the Sawing effect. Oh, we've got plenty of other examples being pointed out, and we have out resident lunatic besmirching anyone who would disagree with him... but no actual spelling-out of what priceless secrets they've so cavalierly "exposed".

Feel free to enlighten me on that with specific regard to the Penn and Teller performance that is the subject of this thread - https://tv.yahoo.com/video/penn-teller-r......687.html

.
lunatik
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Quote:
On Sep 2, 2014, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 2, 2014, lunatik wrote:
That's one opinion, but not the be all say all. What's wrong with just letting them being entertained instead of spoon feeding them methods? If one has to resort to exposing methods, why would most people not be happy if I exposed their entire show if I justified it by using totally different methods in which to cancel out what was exposed? By what you and others are purporting, there shouldn't be any problem with doing so.


Your argument remains sophomoric. However, you accidentally make an interesting point. Some producers feel there IS no problem with presenting an entire show in which secret after secret is exposed - they've been calling it "Magic's Biggest Secrets Revealed!". It's gotten great ratings and has been very successful across the entire MBSR franchise for many years. In fact, given your inherent nastiness and ongoing threats to do such a thing it might actually turn out to be your "calling".

But the thing is - and there's really no getting around this - in spite of MANY exposure show episodes revealing dozens upon dozens of actual secrets (unlike the phony secrets "revealed" in Penn and Teller's sawing) - thousands of professional magicians still thrive in the marketplace, and NONE of the major performers (Mac, Lance, DC, etc.) have suffered any negative results in the least. If anything it's made the subject of magic more interesting for a much larger audience and allowed skilled performers to use the very existence of the "masked Magician" to their advantage.

Quote:
On Sep 2, 2014, lunatik wrote: P.S. How's your Barney puppet doing?


I don't have a "Barney puppet" - that's your twisted fantasy, not mine. In fact, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a "Barney puppet", but I am not surprised in the least that you DO.

.


I know reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, so let me say it again. Not just having a show that only exposes methods but to then perform the effect with a totally different method, canceling out what they just saw. It by your logic would be justified as you're leading them down a path but then switch it up on them. How is that any different than what P&T do? Don't worry , I'll answer it for you...there is no difference.

Ok, so maybe you have a stuffed bird or dog lol
"Don't let your Dreams become Fantasies"
magicwatcher2005
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On Sep 2, 2014, lunatik wrote:
[[...]
I know reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, so let me say it again. Not just having a show that only exposes methods but to then perform the effect with a totally different method, canceling out what they just saw. It by your logic would be justified as you're leading them down a path but then switch it up on them. How is that any different than what P&T do? Don't worry , I'll answer it for you...there is no difference.

Ok, so maybe you have a stuffed bird or dog lol



Now that's funny - YOU criticizing some else's "reading comprehension".

Your total lack of respect for any opinion other than your own renders your own opinion worthless to any rational individual. But THIS thread - the one you have posted almost nothing but nonsense to - is about Penn and Teller's Sawing a Lady in Half routine.

It's NOT about their past history of supposed exposure.

It's NOT about the show Fool Us.

It's NOT about Youtube videos.


It IS about their Sawing a Lady in Half routine. Though I know you will not, I still challenge you to detail what genuine "secrets" they've exposed in that routine. And the reason I know you will not is because I know you CANNOT. The only "secrets" they've "exposed" are non-existent ones that no actual magician would ever use.

.
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They exposed deceptive s####s on national TV ... I'd shun them ... They didn't invent DS and it's not theirs to give away. They sold out and I'm amazed anyone would run damage control for their magical treason. Absolutely no difference between them and the Masked Magician... Except they make a lot more money at it!!!!
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
magicwatcher2005
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On Sep 2, 2014, Slim King wrote:
They exposed deceptive s####s on national TV ... I'd shun them ... They didn't invent DS and it's not theirs to give away. They sold out and I'm amazed anyone would run damage control for their magical treason. Absolutely no difference between them and the Masked Magician... Except they make a lot more money at it!!!!


We're in the "Secret Sessions" forum here, Slim - it's okay to write "deceptive stairs" without self censoring. So you say Penn and Teller exposed deceptive stairs? Where exactly did you see them do that?

Oh, and I can't speak intelligently about how much money the Masked Magician made, but I can guarantee you the network that broadcast the MM series made WAY more money than Penn and Teller.

Anyway, where did P and T expose deceptive stairs again?

.
tomsk192
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To be honest, they didn't and it doesn't matter much anyway, because Slim did just coin the phrase 'magical treason', which I love. ROSHAMBO!!!!
Ado
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On Sep 2, 2014, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
Anyway, where did P and T expose deceptive stairs again?


The Emmy Awards in 88. That, to me, pretty much looked like what you're asking for, if not more. And at the end on the show, they did not even use any other magical mean taht the audience would be left pondering about, unlike with the lady sawed inhalf. To me, it was just exposure after exposure.

P!
magicwatcher2005
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On Sep 2, 2014, Ado wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 2, 2014, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
Anyway, where did P and T expose deceptive stairs again?


The Emmy Awards in 88. That, to me, pretty much looked like what you're asking for, if not more. And at the end on the show, they did not even use any other magical mean taht the audience would be left pondering about, unlike with the lady sawed inhalf. To me, it was just exposure after exposure.

P!


You're talking about the stairs in THIS video? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GN98dykPqcE

Wow, if you think those are "deceptive stairs" you need to go back to beginner magic class. The actual illusion prop called "Deceptive Stairs" looks nothing like that monstrosity, which was clearly built and dressed to be entirely obvious to the entire audience from the very beginning. You could fit three adults in that massive thing, and covering it with solid pink sparkley fabric is the absolute opposite of what any illusion builder would do - IF he intended for it to deceive (which Penn and Teller clearly did not).



As for your contention that they "did not even use any other magical mean that the audience would be left pondering about..." I have to wonder how do you know? All you've seen is a heavily edited Youtube video; in the actual performance Teller was not in the cardboard box for quite some time before the washing machine was dropped. Instead there was a very clever switch in which a "stunt double" took Teller's place. The fellow you see diving out of the cardboard box at the last second was not Teller, who reappeared in the theater far too quickly to have been the guy jumping out of the box. Teller's reappearance was not shown in that Youtube video.

From the audience point of view Teller somehow reappeared among them, even though they believed they had seen him leaping free from danger way up on the right end of the stage just a fraction of a second earlier. But you couldn't know any of that because you've drawn your conclusions based on incomplete information.


(PS: Here are some actual "Deceptive Stairs", just to help you know the difference for future reference.)

Click here to view attached image.
magicwatcher2005
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On Sep 3, 2014, MeetMagicMike wrote:
[...]

I DO recognize that thinking magician's have to take into account what the audience thinks they know. I was just watching "Worlds Greatest Magic I" and saw Jan Tamariz lift up the small table he was at and say "see, no magnets, no holes, nothing". Why would he do that? Could it be that he actually put some thought into it?


Holy crap! Juan Tamaiz exposed trick tables, magnets, and holes? OMG, he's worse than Penn and Teller, the Masked Magician, and Youtube all rolled into one!!!

I've given this some thought and come to realize that lunatik and others think we should just do a trick and then sit back and let the audience award us with the praise and adoration we so richly deserve. Scripting, plot twists, provers, convincers... forget all that clap-trap. That's just meandering down the potential road to ruin via "exposure".

So how can we scrupulously avoid even a hint of exposure? I mean, we can't say, "Look, my hands are empty" because then we'll be exposing the "secret" of hiding stuff in our hands. We can't say, "Nothing up my sleeve" because then we're exposing sleeving. Forget the stock line, "No trapdoors, mirrors, or hidden assistants" when they're examining a prop because we'll be exposing... um, trapdoors, mirrors, and hidden assistants.

It's starting to seem that if we want to adhere to the hyper-zealous anti-"exposure" crowd that's surfaced in this thread we'll have to stick to nothing but silent acts. Because - if you buy into the nonsense espoused by some here - virtually anything we say or do to convince out audience we're not doing something they might suspect makes us guilty of "exposure".

Crap! I can't believe I have to throw out years of hard work developing and refining my scripts; Plus now I gotta go find a bunch of loud music to perform to...

.
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