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Profile of mattneufeld
Magicbarry: Excellent, excellent post!
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Profile of DaveB
Well said Magicbarry.
And I also enjoyed Doug Henning...he was what started my interest in magic many years ago. I can remember like it was yesterday watching him tear and restore a small piece of cigarette paper and being in complete awe. After that I was hooked.
Jason Purdy
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Profile of Jason Purdy
Regarding the exposure shows: I (as well) have many personal feelings about the exposure shows. My thoughts and feelings have changed with the passing of time since the first Fox television show. Exposure to me seems like a way to gloat. Similar to a magician who has the attitude of "I know something you don’t know". Fox seems to have the need to openly reveal SOME of the methods that we use to entertain. ENTERTAIN... Isn’t that what it is all about? Entertainment?

I would imagine that in times such as the Salem witch trials, some conjurers would rather have had an effect or trick exposed than be hanged. On the contrary, wasn’t Reginald Scot's exposé "The Discoverie of Witchcraft” (originally published in 1584) something that may have upset a few magicians, alchemists, witch doctors, etc.? Scot's book was an attempt to separate the conjurer's craft from "black magic".

Houdini himself supposedly had a "personal" quest to debunk psychic(s) (entertainers). Of course he had good reason as far as I know. But I am sure some people were not two happy about it. On the other hand, many new
"psychic" entertainers probably had a lot of ammo to work with. (Publicity, public interests, and knowledge of the methods themselves!)

I have seen exposures on the Maury Povich (sp?) show. I "acquired" a videotape from a local video store years ago. The tape was yet another "masked magician" exposing effects. It was called "Mystery Magician, he dares to expose the secrets behind magic's most mystifying illusions". (For example Sawing, Sword Suspension, Zig Zag, Lady to Tiger, linking rings, etc.) Sounds familiar!

This tape was a CBS/FOX Company video copyright 1986. The executive Producer was John Freemont, Producer Alex Parris, and Director Peter Hamilton. I do not know these people, but I am convinced that perhaps they, (along with the current production staff of Fox TV) were embarrassed on stage as a child while assisting a magician during a performance! This is why entertainers should NEVER treat an onstage helper in a derogatory way. Because they will be embarrassed, perhaps cry, and vow to themselves that when they grow up (if ever) they would do everything in their power to expose some secret workings of magicians' effects!

Even after all the exposed shows, I have many people tell me they turned the channel, because they did not want to know. I have had others who say, "I always wondered how they did that." Or" I know that is not the
'real' way to do it", "I have seen it done better, faster etc."

I think back to when I was a child trying to find out how the "linking rings" were done. I looked through every book at the local library. I never found the secret at the library! However, I did find many other things that continued my interests in the magical arts. Things that I still use to this day!

I had to work hard. I spent many hours with my nose in those books! I WANTED to know how those things were done! I had the librarian specially get books on loan from the Library of Congress for me! All the information was there... but I had to research. I would have liked to have been able to watch a few hours of a show to get the methods. BUT what then, would that have made me, a "magician" or
"entertainer"? I like to watch the TV specials on operations. I used to want to be a doctor. I have seen the shows. I have a strong stomach. But I am not a doctor!

Here are the two things that sadden me the most. Even on the street magic exposé, the people were having fun! A homeless guy in the street, a few "tough looking" teens etc. Everyone was having a blast. They were entertained. Magic is most entertaining when you don’t know the secret! Once you know the secret, it is basically just a puzzle.

The second is, all the people in this world that have never seen a "live" magic show. They may have seen it on TV, but not live. They may have seen the "masked maggots" (oops my fingers are getting tired), so if and when they see a real entertainer, one who is not claming to possess any
"unnatural" or "supernatural" powers, just a showman (or woman) entertaining and making people forget about their own problems, suddenly from the back of the room they may have the urge to yell, "It's a trick deck! I saw this on TV. I saw how you guys do ALL your magic tricks! You are a fake!"

Actually no, I am real. A few hours in front of your television will never reveal ALL. And no, this is not a trick deck! (Or is it?)
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Profile of Magicbarry
Well, now I'm red-faced, because I realised last night that I didn't cover all the bases on intellectual property law— there are two other branches. So to continue:

4) Industrial design: doesn't apply to magic.

5) Confidential information and trade secrets. Well, this one actually can apply, under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, few magic tricks qualify.

This aspect of intellectual property law would apply if an exposer was revealing a secret exclusive to one magician, who had told him the secret in confidence.

If, however, the exposer was revealing the workings of a trick that many magicians use, it's a secret that would be considered public knowledge, since any of the general public would have access to the secret through legal means, such as a magic book purchased in a store, or simple word of mouth. A "magician's code" would not be considered a confidentiality agreement; in court, it would likely only be considered "common courtesy."

An example where this law might actually come into play is one involving the company I work for. I have been an acquisitions editor for a publishing house for the last 6 years. A few years before I came here, someone apparently approached our company with a proposal for a book that would reveal the secrets of many of a major magician's illusions. As I understand it, this author had worked for this magician, and had access to the secrets.

The illusions in question were illusions used solely by that magician, and the author had learned the secrets with the understanding that they were to be confidential. My colleagues were aware that the magician in question was prepared to sue if the book was published, and declined the project.

If someone was to reveal the secret to a trick used exclusively by you, you could potentially win a lawsuit on the basis of this law. However, you would have to prove that the exposure of that secret had negatively impacted your success as a magician, and that would be difficult to prove.

Let me point out that while I have a familiarity with copyright law (given my profession), I am not a lawyer, and an intellectual property lawyer might have a different interpretation of the law.

Unfortunately, no matter how you slice it, someone like the Masked Magician can't be stopped, except by poor ratings. The fact is, he's not a terribly good magician; the only way he can make a name for himself is by being a snitch.
Magnus Maccormack
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Profile of Magnus Maccormack
It seems as though the general consensus is to simply ignore the exposure specials. I couldn't agree more. A network like Fox thrives on making a name for themselves by being "edgy" and by "pushing the envelope" Look at many of their other specials. Where else can you see the worlds greatest sporting disasters or people being mauled by wild animals?

The best thing to do is just don't give it any thought. The vast majority of the public who want to see us perform and want to be entertained really don't care about these specials.

I encountered a good example the day after it aired. In my non-magic life I am a Junior High School teacher. I regularly use magic in my lessons. (To reinforce concepts or just to have a captive audience... teenagers are frighteningly honest!) Only one kid actually saw the show and he asked me if that was how I did my magic. I said no, recreated a couple of the card effects with a straight deck and bam, he was convinced that the show was a scam and not real
"magic". This kid is a very typical student too.

The moral of this story—the magic is in the connection between the magician and the spectator. We remember this and no exposure show can have any real effect. For more on this check out any of Randy Wakeman's posts in the Food For Thought forum.

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Profile of Telemus
After the first masked magician "exposure", there were quite a few lay people asking me questions and commenting on the show. The only people who comment on the shows now are "magicians". The general public does not seem to care or pay any attention to it. I would say if Fox ruined your act then you probably need to learn how to be a little more original and entertain.
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