Monday, June 14, 2010

Some of the greatest lesser known magicians

Some of the greatest lesser known magicians

We have all heard of the likes of Harry Houdini, Lance Burton, Penn & Teller, David Copperfield, The Amazing Jonathan & Criss Angel, but there are a few magicians that were great in their own right. And in fact most of the above mentioned magicians were inspired by such magicians that I shall name below. They were never all that famous in the likes of playing Vegas or having TV specials, but they were masters of their craft and they were just as good if not better than those of today. They didn’t have the publicity machine like the magicians of today and they didn’t really have a gimmick like some of the famous ones, but they didn’t need it. These men and women were magicians, masters of their craft and experts in illusion and slight of hand, history should never forget these people.

Harry Blackstone Jr.: A man following in the path of his father, Harry Blackstone Sr, he was a true gentleman of magic. He also had that mystique to him and his persona. His look could easily be compared to Doctor Strange or the classic villain who would tie the damsel to the train tracks, but his heart was as big as anything in the world. One of the classic tricks I remember watching him do was the bird cage that he would have members of the audience put their hands on and then make is disappear even as they were touching it.

Doug Henning: A magician who has been lost to a long list of other magicians, he did stand out amongst them in my opinion. His Zig Zag trick was his trick that he was most notably known for and when he did that trick you were in awe. You could watch it over and over again and still be entertained. He unfortunately died at an early age of 52 due to cancer, one thing he could not escape from.

The Pendragons: A husband and wife duo, these magicians are known the world over and have been entertaining people for years. They are masters at the famous Houdini trick “the metamorphosis” and do it in a much better and classy style than anyone in the world. It is such a privilege to watch them work. In fact during a rehearsal for a trick Jonathan Pendragon was shot through the chest with an arrow. He has since made a full recovery and both he and his wife are still doing magic today.

Harry Anderson: Some may know this name as his was the judge from the popular TV series Night Court. He was known as a practical joker and had a very good career as a stand-up comedian and was a part of the early years of Saturday Night Live. What some people may not know is that he is a accomplished magician. His card tricks are second to know and he makes you feel like you are a part of the trick all the time while making a fool of you.

Carl Ballantine: We know about the Amazing Jonathan, but what about the Amazing Ballantine? This man was the true and original Amazing Jonathan, now I am a huge fan of Jonathan’s, but Carl Ballantine was the forefather of comedy magic.  Some may know him from the TV series McHale’s Navy with Ernest Borgnine as Lester Gruber, but he was a vaudeville man from years before. His comedic magical timing was second to none and I highly recommending you to look him up on youtube. You can still find a few clips of him out there.

Jeff Mcbride: The original Criss Angel, and by far much more entertaining and a lot less whiny. Jeff performs his magic with a dark sinister side to it, almost as if you were watching an evil warlock casting spells. He incorporates Japanese Kabuki into his act and does mask transformations better and faster than anyone else in the world. He is an accomplished teacher and master of the craft on magic, but yet so many people have never heard of him. He is truly a great magician to watch.

Now while I am sure that I am missing some, these are the ones that stand out in mind.  I have been a fan of magic since as far back as I can remember. I got my first magic set when I was a young lad and I remember doing mini show for my family and friends. I would always look forward to the David Copperfield specials and watch intently as the magicians at the state fair would entertain and amaze us all. Like I said, these are the ones that got me into magic and made me a fan of the entertainment and joy that goes along with watching it. So check out these magicians and look into a few others, also check out your local magic shop, there are few left in the world, but they are worth going to and supporting.

Be safe…and pick card any card,
John Cannon

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