Opinions on the Masked Magician?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Antonio Diavolo, Jun 9, 2017.

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  1. I have mixed feelings on Val. He has said he wanted to get a new generation of kids into magic which is always a good thing, but I'm not sure his method is the best way. 99% of the tricks Val revealed are nearly impossible for his audience to perform on his own. Occasionally he'd reveal a trick that could be easily replicated but not often.

    He also kinda perpetuates that idea that knowledge of the secret is very important in magic. Even though the methods are very important to us, we all know that the way the trick is presented is just as, if not more important than the secret when performing. Plus most of the secrets are pretty boring to a layperson anyway.

    A lot of people make the argument that "he's only revealing old tricks and it promotes magicians to come up with new stuff" Which I also disagree with as many tricks, sleights, and methods that are still used today, have been around since the 20s.

    One good thing that has come out of the Masked Magician for me personally though. On a few occasions, I've had a person I was doing a trick for say "Oh I've watched all the Masked Magician episodes. I'll be able to figure this out" before I do the trick. Of course they weren't able to because I don't regularly perform tricks that were revealed on that show but they kinda trick themselves into thinking they know how it's done before the trick so they look in all the wrong places.

    Anyway, I have no idea if what I said made any sense. This post was basically just to hear what you guys have to say on the topic.

    Hopefully someone understands what I'm saying here and can put their thoughts much more eloquently than I can.
    ParkinT likes this.
  2. I cannot say I agree or disagree with the masked magician TV specials. Did they serve a purpose? Yes. Did they get many more people to watch a TV special that normally may not have? Yes. Did it create enjoyment and satisfaction for viewers and maybe even spark some new interest into magic? Yes. I'm not saying it was right or wrong to expose effects, but he did do what he intended to do and followed through. It's almost like the old theory of even "bad" publicity is publicity.
    Brett Hurley and Antonio Diavolo like this.
  3. Watching the show a couple of times, I realized that his performance style was so bad that nobody would watch him if he wasn't revealing the secrets (well maybe to see his scantily clad assistants -- Fitzke would be proud).
  4. The specials were overwhelmingly negative in my view. A focus on the methods rather than style or emotion, poor performances overall and the pesky tendency to continue to reveal the magic long after the specials are over. He continues to do damage.

    Many of the effects that he exposed were currently being performed by magicians. I was a 10 year old kid when they came on and I could recognize effects that had been on various other magic specials. Much of the magic he performed was common in other magicians acts, be it on the strip or cruise ships or otherwise. Some of the magic was brand new as well with its creation being in the 1960's-1990's.

    It is true that there were some "gag" methods but any magician who has seen the specials knows that there were many legitimate methods exposed in an attitude of hate.
  5. I honestly never watched a full one. As a kid, I was obsessed with magic, but I thought - "What good would learning how to vanish an Elephant get me? If anything, I just wont like it when people vanish elephants for me!". Not to mention that when I first saw one of his specials ( a re run when I was 4), I tuned in as he was doing a knife through tounge... Freaked me out.

    However, Val did it to "reinvigorate the love of magic" which he most certainly did (though I think the David Blaine approach would've had less controversy). I do not think it was too much of a problem for modern magicians, as we all do a ton of card magic now, and stage magicians were hurt the most. Further more, a ton of tricks he did were old tricks no one is going to do now. If you tune your performance correctly, no one will be able to realize the trick you did was the same one somebody did on tv 20 years ago.

    Not to mention the fact that no laymen besides a creepy enthusiast is going to watch and be obsessed with Mr. M to the point where if he did see a trick performed, he would instantly remember and blurt it out. It really has not had a negative effect on us (Magicians around 2015 and beyond, probably no one after 2004). If anything, it was indeed a positive effect.

    Yes, It was wrong of him to expose the tricks, but magic is forever changing, which is why it has been around since pre-history as a form of entertainment, and will continue to do so. The fact that magic can adapt is what sets it apart. The ability for magic to be personalized by each and every magician is what has given it the ability to adapt to several cultural aspects. This in turn is what has kept magic as a mainstay form of entertainment, and what will keep it going as its own part of culture.
    Trust me, Those last 2 sentences are from a 15 page-double-spaced-times-new-roman-12-point final history essay I wrote on the topic of the cultural effects of magic. I have done my research...
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  6. That's kinda what I was trying to say. I also should've mentioned that I don't think Val's true intention was "getting a new generation into magic". He knew exactly what he was doing with his show. Plus, before the show, he was a relatively unknown dove magician. Kinda backfired on him though because I've found that a lot of people didn't realize he revealed his face in the second of the specials.
  7. Yeah Val was an awful performer. He wasn't that great as a dove magician and the fact that his entire body was covered in black and he had someone else narrate exactly what he was doing. Plus, because of the nature of the show, he didn't have to put on a good performance if he's just going to reveal it right away. I'm not saying that that's any excuse. Penn and Teller can do a magnificent show where only one of them talks. Plus, they can still entertain while revealing their tricks, or preparing to reveal them.

    I honestly don't know how lay people enjoyed the show to be honest. As most of us know, the secret behind some of the greatest tricks are kind of underwhelming. I mean I enjoy learning the tricks because the creativity and ingenuity in certain sleights and tricks interests me. But most people watching the show likely just wanted to know how the trick was done. Maybe they felt like they now held some sort of secret knowledge about the magic community or maybe they kept seeing the extremely impressive tricks they'd tease throughout the episode and kept tuning in to see how it was done.

    Idk. Maybe that makes sense. Tl:dr, I agree with you.
  8. I'm not sure I entirely agree. Like you said, a lot of the information he released was useless to the average viewer. Anyone who wanted to get into magic would not need or want to know how to vanish tanks and elephants. They want to learn cool tricks they can learn with objects they have at home and perform for their friends and family. He revealed those tricks for the sake of revealing them.

    A lot of people who aren't into magic won't remember the secret like you said. I showed my sister a trick she taught me years ago and she was impressed. I heard a story of a guy who did a TT handkerchief vanish for someone and they said "the kid in Burt Wonderstone used a fake thumb but I have no idea how you did that."

    Magic does adapt and change with society, but many sleights and methods that were invented by Erdnase, Houdini, Slydini, etc. are still being used by magicians today. Also, as Josh said, he even revealed tricks that weren't even that old some were created less than a decade before the specials aired.

  9. Let me ask you this: If revealing a trick to the public is negative, why on earth are books published and people teaching? Some tricks are OK to be taught. Here is a complete list of tricks Val revealed. Excuse the Links, Idk why they showed up (I copied this from a list btw)
    Lady to Tiger
    Chinese Lantern
    Exploding Packing Crate
    Zig Zag Girl
    Chinese Linking Rings
    Sawing a Woman in Half (Selbit's Sawing)
    Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat
    Sword Basket
    Vanishing Elephant
    Woman in the Painting
    Noah's Ark
    Lady of Steel
    Vanishing Scarves
    Walking Through a Solid Brick Wall
    Suit of Armor
    Shooting an Arrow Through a Woman
    Switching Places
    Disappearing Doves
    Box of Pain
    Water Torture Escape

    Bed of Spikes
    (Death of Cora)
    The Stretch
    Daggers of Death
    Disappearing Scarf
    The Haunted House
    Disappearing Radio
    Bullet Catch
    Turning Water Into Ice
    Mismatch Girl
    Vanishing Tank

    Car Crusher Escape
    Spike Torture
    Buried Alive
    Pincushion Thumb
    Death Trap
    The Cannon and the Crate Now yes, It was wrong of him to teach any major sleights - but I see like 2 here, but you find me 15 tricks in the first run of specials he taught that a majority of magicians today use, and I will agree with you. Further more, Val agreed to only reveal old tricks (though I guess this changed after the 4 first specials). Fast forward to 2008 where Val does 13 more episodes, and I still only count about 15 or 16 tricks we would actually use - and that is being lenient (most tricks would not be used, except by stage magicians who stick to old school tricks, or work in circuses, where the old school style is in demand). Here is a full list of tricks:

    Basically what I'm saying is, Yes it was wrong of him to reveal all these effects, but it does not effect magic at all today, and probably didn't effect it too much when the episodes were being made.

    I leave you with this thought: Why did Val have to stop after 4 specials? Because he was being criticized by every-other person. Not just magicians. Laymen. And that's not me talking - Val says this in an episode (the one where he reveals himself).
  10. My opinion of those shows was, and is, "Meh."

    Because that show is just as good as most magic shows out there, unfortunately.
    Antonio Diavolo and Maaz Hasan like this.
  11. Here's your 15 tricks that are still or were currently popular at the time of the specials

    Lady to Tiger - Was used by Doug Henning as well as Seigfried and Roy(by Seigfried and Roy during the run of the specials infact)
    Zig Zag Girl - One of the most popular stage illusions of all time
    Chinese Linking Rings - This closes many magicins shows. I can think of 5 off the top of my head.
    Metamorphosis - One of the most popular stage illusions of all time
    Sawing a Woman in Half (Selbit's Sawing) - One of the most popular stage illusions of all time
    Sword Basket - One of the most popular stage illusions of all time
    Woman in the Painting - Created by the Pendragons, this was one of their signature acts at the time of the specials
    Suit of Armor - Extremley popular effect, currently used notably by Kevin James
    Water Torture Escape - This is the classic method and is an extremely popular effect for escape artists. Most notably a couple months before it was used on a special produced by the Pendragons called Houdini Unlocking his Secrets
    The Stretch - created by P. T. Selbit this was currently being used by Seigfried and Roy on the strip during the run of the specials
    The Haunted House - This is the very popular doll house illusion. It has been used by the likes of David Copperfield, Doug henning and Lance Burton
    Disappearing Radio - This is still very popular and tips the main mechanics of the vanishing birdcage for dove workers
    Mismatch Girl - This was currently being performed in Lance Burton's show at the time of the specials
    Vanishing Tank - This was used by Lance Burton to create a UFO on one of his latest special at the same time of the MM specials
    Car Crusher Escape - This was basically Lance Burton's car crusher finale from one of his latest specials
    Cremation - This is a classic and very popular stage effect, used by many
    Buried Alive - This was the exact Jim Steinmeyer solution used by Lance Burton to close one of his latest specials
    Death Trap - This is the Andre Kole table of death. This has been used by Lance Burton, David Copperfield and many others.

    As I show above, if you watched the specials you would understand the working of large portions of most of the acts on the strip. You would also know the secrets to large portions of any number of the TV specials playing at the time. The show attacks some of the Pendragon's and Lance Burton's legacy of headlining effects. If you were to watch any number of cruise ship, theme park, ren-fair or state fair magicians you would also know a large part of most of their acts.

    It did effect the magic community and continues to effect the magic community through You Tube and Netflix

    He didn't stop though, and they didn't stop afterwards. Val Valentino still performs in South America from time to time and they continued the Masked Magician specials to reveal much of what you see in David Blaine's early specials.
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  12. In an interview with The Magic News Wire, Lance Burton talked about how he put the Mismatch Girl into his show directly AFTER the Masked Magician revealed it. It was a deliberate move by Lance to show that the MM show was not going to stop him from doing anything he wanted to do with his show. By this I mean the show aired, and Lance Burton called his producer and said, "Hey, we're putting Mismatch Girl into the show." "Lance, you know that was just revealed on the Masked Magician, right?" "Yeah, that's why I'm doing it."
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  13. I was aware of this. I mentioned it because Maaz Hasan asked for examples of popular effects that are used by professionals that were revealed by the Masked Magician.

    Personally, I think that Lance's idea was misguided. I think that this helped out the plot of the Magic Revealed episodes. The premise of the show was that if you watched the it you would know the secrets of the pros. When Lance added the effect he was just living up to that promise. He guaranteed that anyone who watched the specials, then watched his show would know exactly how an effect worked. At that point he's not doing magic. Maybe it's theater, maybe it's an illusion, maybe it's magical or magic like, but once the audience knows the secret, it isn't magic. He purposefully inserted a presentation into his show that would not be seen as magic to a part of his audience, I'm not sure that act helps magic out.

    The most positive thing that I think came of Lance's decision to add the Mismade Lady to his act is that it is a glowing exception to the claim made by Val Valentino and other magicians that discount what he did. That claim is that, "None of the magic that he revealed uses practical methods in use by professionals today." This claim is completely false but it is continually brought up as evidence that what he did had no effect on the magic community.
  14. @ChristopherT I understand why he believes it was a good idea. In all reality, his show continued to run and it didn't stop his success.
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  15. Lance and crew changed the presentation and bits of the methodology so it seemed like what the MM had on his show would never work as the method for what they were seeing. It was a popular part of his show.

    And that's my point. Exposure is not the looming beast it's often made out to be. If exposure is hurting someone's performance, then in my opinion that person needs to work on making a better show.

    Let me put it this way. The methods of Victorian era fraudulent mediums have been in print and widely available for over a century. They've been put into many movies and TV shows and such. That doesn't stop my Theatrical Victorian Seance from giving my sitters an hour of weird, inexplicable experiences.

    The linking rings are probably one of the most exposed tricks in the world - that doesn't stop my friend Danny from rocking that routine at the fairs. Because his is unique, interesting, engaging, and really funny.

    The problem is not that things get exposed. While that sucks, it's really just a theatrical annoyance more than anything. The problem is that the performers are not creating the space and incentive for the audience to step into and feel safe enjoying the performance. Far too many magicians are challenging their audience to figure out the tricks. Or boring them to death. Too many people don't think about what the audience is experiencing. They just get up there and do their thing and expect adulation.

    The Masked Magician was just boring. His biggest offense wasn't exposing all those tricks, it was being so bad that the only attention he could garner on a regular basis was by showing secrets. Just like the YouTube kiddies.

    In the end, if a performer is creative and original, exposure will never impact them.
  16. @Josh Burch
    Game. Set. Match.
    I was half asleep when I wrote that. Totally forgot to think too much about most stage magicians. My bad.

    I also had no idea he was still performing.

    However, I'm gonna have to agree with @ChristopherT here - I think if someone customizes there routine and tricks no one will recognize them.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  17. The difference between a book and a TV show is that it takes no effort to stumble across a TV show revealing magic tricks. Only the people who want to make the effort to actually learn tricks will go out and buy (or borrow from a library) books about magic. I do agree that what he did seemingly had very little impact on the magic industry. It's not like anyone was put out of a job because of the show (as far as I know)
  18. That's true. The show is available to watch on YouTube and Netflix. I also had no idea he still performs. I thought he was ostracized to the point of quitting after his show. But I think I disagree that it has a significant impact on magic. Only a small portion of people who will see the tricks performed live will have seen the show and an even smaller amount within that group will remember how it's done. As you said, some of the tricks are still being performed today. But this is where the problem of YouTube and Netflix comes in. After seeing these tricks, people can easily Google how they were done and find a plethora of other tricks that were revealed by Val. Now the magic is gone for them.

    Tl;dr: What Val did with his show was still very wrong in my opinion, especially when he revealed tricks being used by magicians at the time, but I don't think I despise him as much as many other people do.
  19. That's very true. As I mentioned before, I've seen examples of people performing effects that people already knew the secret to. Before I fully learned the linking rings routine, I had known the secret from a cheap set that came in a magic kit. I saw other magicians perform the trick and I thought "okay there's no way he's doing that the way I was" and years later, I found out he was. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, I'm just avoiding revealing the secret even though everyone here probably already knows it.
    Magic tricks are always performed in a way to convince the audience what they think it is, isn't true. When someone sees something float, they will likely immediately think it's fishing line. As soon as a magician passes a ring around it, that theory goes out the window. When you perform closeup using any sort of prop, people will usually suspect it of being gimmicked. Whether it is or isn't, if you can successfully convince them that there is no gimmick, they will usually drop that theory. This is just from my experience by the way. I'm not saying this is true for all magicians.
  20. The best part of the Mask Magician was his Mask. I'm still searching for that Mask. They don't sell one like that anywhere. Anyone know where I can get one?
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