Penn and Teller Revealing Magic?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MOD, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. #1 MOD, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2014
    Hello Guys,

    Is it true that PEN AND TELLER used to reveal magic tricks ? Did they reveal other people's stuff or just their own original creations (which is okay)? How do Penn and Teller justify exposing Magic? If they are exposing tricks what makes them different from old Masked Magician ?
  2. Also - a lot of what they "Expose" is not actually real - it's stuff they invented in order to reveal.
  3. Because Penn & Teller are good magicians many people will defend them revealing magic. I feel they have violated the code, no matter how good or entertaining a show.
  4. I think what Penn and Teller did with things like their transparent cups and balls, their truck trick and so on, is less exposure than redefining the effect.

    Take their cups and balls. The classic effect is that balls magically appear, disappear and translocate under cups, maybe with some penetration thrown in for good measure. In Penn and Teller's routine, that's not the effect. In their routine, the effect is that human perception can be manipulated and misdirected even under apparently "transparent" conditions. This effect is just given a structure and a framing by the use of cups and balls, which are familiar magic props and so enable the audience to keep up with the narrative.

    And their "Trick Truck" truck trick. The effect isn't that Teller can withstand being run over by a truck. That's just the introductory premise. The effect is that people can be fooled by thinking too small, that, in order to deceive, someone might go to lengths unimaginable in other circumstances. In this case, those unimaginable lengths are gimmicking a whole truck.

    So, what Penn and Teller did in these apparent displays of exposure is create "meta-magic", magic which told a story about the process and structure of magic and how wonderful it is. In other words, they found a way to share the wonder that we, as magicians, feel when we see a beautiful method, without actually revealing any secrets which would be detrimental to the art.
  5. As far as I know, the tricks were neither classics nor commercial ones, they were created or I should say recreated by Penn and Teller so that the exposure would make a person facepalm.

    They are very good with the code and in "Fool us", they try their best to not reveal a magician's secret which I respect.
  6. They have been shunned from the Magic Castle for doing what they did with namely their cups and balls routine as an example however Teller justifies this perfectly as he clearly explains how "revealing" the trick gratifies the effect overall as people at the end usually cannot reply to being asked "how did they do it?" according to him.

  7. IF you see the comments on the cups and balls video, people are still going like "I still don't get it?"
  8. In the early days they exposed the linking rings and several other classic bits of magic. . . I was there, I saw them doing so. But it is also when they introduced THE ROSE and had magicians gobsmacked.

    Over time they changed things around to where they tipped their own creations.
  9. Penn and Teller are both a comedy and a magic act, and it's a little hard to tell which comes first sometimes. They've got a long history of revealing some of their routines while keeping others secret. I can't speak to what they were doing before the Magic Castle took a disliking to them, but the exposure I've seen in their specials tends to be of tricks that were designed to be exposed because the effect is more about the method than the actual trick. As has been said before, they like to use such performances to highlight certain aspects of human perception and psychology. One of my personal favorites is when Teller uses sleight of hand to do something as simple as pretend to light a cigarette on stage.
  10. Precisely.
  11. #12 spoook, Jul 14, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2014
    Does it matter if people didn't understand misdirection with the cups and balls?

    It's a classic effect done by many magicians today. What is the purpose of the code if it's okay to give away the secrets of the classics in magic?

    I thought the purpose of the code was to protect the secrets of magic?
    Isn't magic trivial if the audience knows all the secrets?
    How about other magicians who preform the cups and balls?

    How can we defend Penn & Teller but chastise those who reveal on you tube?
    After all aren't Penn & Teller on you tube revealing the secret to the cups and balls?
  12. I posted this earlier but it fits with this thread as well...

    "DON'T GIVE IT AWAY."?By SARGENT, THE MERRY WIZARD. Mahatma May 1898 (yes 1898)
    "Omne ignotum pro magnifico"

    I notice with regret a tendency among
    magicians of a certain class, to select some
    trick of minor importance and to expose the
    secret to their audience. Now this is not
    only extremely bad art, but in many ways
    it militates directly against the performer
    who indulges in such questionable methods.
    In the first place, when the audience find
    how easily they have been deceived, they
    imagine that all tricks are of the same nature
    and give the performer no credit for being

    Every magician should play his character
    through to the end consistently. Now it is
    just as inconsistent for the magician to expose
    a trick that he has' carried through
    successfully, as it would be for an actor at
    the end of a realistic stage representation
    of a storm, to step forward and throwing
    aside the character he was playing, explain to the audience that the
    sound of rain was produced by a handful of dried peas and a series
    of wooden pegs; that the sound of wind was made by a piece of silk
    and a revolving cylinder, the thunder by shaking a sheet of iron, etc.

    This may all be useful information and strictly true, but the audience
    this case, as in the case of the magician, have paid their good
    money to be amused and having enjoyed the illusion, they prefer to
    let it rest there, assuming, as they have a right to do, that this is
    neither time or place for a discussion of ways and means.

    My pupils often say to me that they have seen magicians win a
    laugh or applause by this kind of work, but the man who has to resort
    to that method to gain applause is in the wrong business.
    Many excuses are offered by these men, the favorite one being
    that others do the same thing. Granted, but are they the highest
    type of magicians? Are they the successful ones, and if so, have
    they succeeded on account of this kind of work, or in spite of it?
    That is, have they so many good points that this weakness is forgivable
    in them ? If such is the ease it seems to me that it were far
    better to imitate what is best in their work, rather than to perpetuate
    their weaknesses, if, indeed, it is necessary to imitate at all, which I
    am by no means willing to allow.
  13. Fact is EVERY major performer of magic is guilty of exposure on some level, it's only become a major issue in recent years due to the Youtube 12 year old mental giants tipping commercial pieces and of course my old chum Val donning his mask and doing the same (usually revealing the least used principles . . . there was a Masked Magician prior to Val who did a lot worse damage however, named Hal Marquat).

    Birthday Party Magicians are known to teach the kids a trick as well as give away premiums that consist of simple, cheaply made effects like a Coin Slide or Snapper or else they give the kids the booklet 101 Tricks You Can Do.

    Most of the Top Rated Acts sell a magic kit at their shows

    Many Top Performers are consultants with various cereal, junk food and fast food companies (like Mark Wilson) that place How To magic tricks with the product

    In the early 20th Century numerous major names had their own Comic Books and Comic Strips in which magic was tipped; it was just such a periodical that made Mandrake popular.

    So understand, there is no innocent blood when it comes to this issue; who hasn't done Paper Wads Over the Head? A Sucker Effect like the Die Box? These things do expose a method as part of the presentation so as the lure the audience into your confidence enough for you to hit them hard at the end. . . Look at the classic Mark Wilson routine "Backstage with the Magician".

    There is a lot to be considered when you start complaining about major names exposing secrets.
  14. One more reason to respect this man.

    Also I would like to mention the fact that Jay Sankey had a TV show called Spellz that taught sleights like french drop, palming, and DL to young children...I do not believe he created those.

    What is strange is that people are fine with Brad Christian making a DVD out of effects that are completely traditional while if PandT partially expose a trick as a part of their act, it is suddenly a big problem.

    I want ONE PERSON to respond to this if they have done an illusion and somebody responded "I can do it, because I learned from PandT".

    Yeah, didn't think so.
  15. Also while we are at it, T11 as well as Ellusionist give away free "Beginner" material. So why not chill out on calling everything "Exposure"
  16. With the T11 and the E you have you sign up for takes a bit of effort. It's not like youtube where you watch a Rciky Jay or Dai Vernon effect and then right next to it is five or six how to videos. That is just out there for anyone to click on. You can't google how to do a MCR routine and have T11 or E or Vanishing or Penguin or fill in the magic seller. You google magician has five cards picked and finds them all. That is going to take you to an exposure video not a retail shop. There is a difference.
  17. So let me get this straight, you are fine with exposure if it takes enough effort to "Sign up"? that's what it takes to get into the secret society of magic and bla bla? Are you kidding me?

    And seriously if your primary concern is that the layman will learn something, than I can bet that they are more likely to learn from these videos on t11 and Ellusionist than they are to learn from a P&T work...P&T are faster than their exposure.
  18. In fact, undoubtedly, some anti-exposure extrimists would even label Wayne Houchin's brilliant show "Science of magic" as exposure.
  19. No I'm not kidding.

    Part of paying your dues is doing the leg work. Someone who googles how a magician did something they just saw or someone who clicks on a video on youtube next the the effect they just saw is someone who wants to see how it works, not someone who wants to learn magic. That or they are a magician looking to learn how to do a new effect with out having to pay which is wrong and a whole other debate. They are different than someone who wants to learn magic. Someone who goes to the library and finds where the magic books are (793.8). Someone who takes time to sign up for the five or six basic effects find out they are the same things they are learning in the books from the library, is then going to find these forums or the ones over on E or the green monster. From there they will hear about the IBM or SAM and the local Rings and Assemblies. Find out there are other local magicians in the area. They find the threads where we talk about the books. Tarbell and Mark Wilson, Bobo and Royal Road. They learn about the code of conduct of the IBM and the SAM. They learn that part of magic is knowing how to keep a secret.

    So yes, there is a difference between someone who takes some effort to learn and someone who just wants to know. Someone who learns the right way and not from stealing it from the internet, and yes learning from the exposure on Youtube is stealing from the person who created the effect or who owns the copyright to the book that it is in.

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