Yif, also known as, Yif magician or Wang Yifeng, is a Taiwanese magician. He hit the spotlight after one of his videos went viral online on his YouTube channel. He performed a couple of magic tricks in the video including the rubber band trick and the dollar trick. Then, later on, he went on to perform the French bread trick. This is whereby he is given two pieces of dough in a restaurant.
He splits the dough into two. First, he acts like he is massaging the first piece of dough then he “magically” transforms it into a real French Croissant, which is a piece type of bread. Next, he takes the other piece and then he folds it as he massages it slowly leaving the people in the restaurant waiting eagerly to see what the bread would turn into. All of a sudden he starts pulling it and it mysteriously from his hand and he pulls for even a longer time than before. He surprises the crowd by pulling out a long piece of bread from his arm which is known as a French Baguette. This video gained over a million views in a very short time. This made him an overnight sensation. His magic trick led him to even be invited by Ellen DeGeneres on a talk in her show -Ellen DeGeneres.
Yif magician and his Popularity in his Youtube channel.
His YouTube videos are normally in Chinese but they have English Subtitles so you can hear what he is saying. But the languages he uses are not of much importance. since seeing him doing his magic tricks is very refreshing as he is very skillful and you can feel the passion as he does it and the people around him when he is performing are a clear citation to his works. Yif’s YouTube channel has well over 150,000 subscribers who support him through each and every video. Here he is seen doing some of his popular tricks such as the flying noodle, coin penetration, the eternal imprint and the famous light speed teleportation. All of these videos have helped entertain and has built his fan base.
Yif Magician Performing his Magic Trick in his youtube channel: Art of Magic
In 2014 Yif’s internet fame led him to become the magician to perform at the Spring Festival Gala in China. This is a spot that is usually given to highly experienced and famous Chinese magicians. But this year magician Yif had deserved the spot for his outstanding magic performance on the internet. Unfortunately for Yif magician, his performances had some flaws here and there which led to him and his performance being dubbed as a fake. Some claim that it didn’t even require a camera to spot the tube he was hiding under his arms to prove that his performance was a fake, they said that there was a certain feeling that his performance brought along with it that made things not to feel right.
Well, even his money trick was claimed to have been done with two Chinese Yens instead of one. But still who cares Yif’s performances were still amazing as some would say and people should stop focusing on the flaws but they should enjoy the show. Some even claimed that Yif is an illusionist not a magician. Even after all these allegations of which everyone expected Yif to deny, he confirmed them by saying that the night was not going well not even for him and that he has had better performances. All-in-all no one cared about the flows but about how the show was performed and whether people enjoyed it.
Yif Magician Controversies
Haters are always going to hate, as some even went further ahead from calling him a fake to claiming that he even had plastic surgery done on him to change his looks. Some have even said that he is a Chinese guy and that in no way does he represent the Taiwanese and others claim that he is Taiwanese and that he doesn’t represent the Chinese people in any way. So much for trying to entertain people.
Yif magician claims that it is true that he always used camera trickery and video editing “Photoshop”, in his videos and he apologized for doing it and he promised that he would start afresh by doing tricks that he could do on live TV and on live events too. Thinking about how Yif’s video had become viral so quick and made him an internet sensation to the point that people claimed him to be the next big thing in magic is something that has made a lot of his fans pissed at him and many nasty comments said about him. Truly the reputation that he had built for himself had been damaged and it might even be beyond recovery.
Mahdi Gilbert is a professional Canadian magician/ illusion. He has specialized in close-up magic tricks less to say the card tricks. Short to say that Gilbert is sleight of hand, and learning magic for him was very difficult since all the book that were there were written for people who had hands.
His Journey to being a Magician
As a kid, people told him that he could not do any magic tricks because of physical stature but that never made Mahdi give up. He went on to practice on his own while he slowly reinvented magic tricks made by others with hands so that they could work for him. It was always difficult for Mahdi, at the beginning as he was starting to try and do the card tricks, to lift up the cards. To solve this Mahdi had to stay up late into the night just to practice the card tricks as he made up his own magic tricks. He always believed that if he became a magician he would be able to do anything and nothing, not even his lack of hands would prevent him from becoming one. This made him become self-sufficient for himself in life.
How Mahdi Gilbert fooled Penn and Teller
Mahdi Gilbert was able to appear on Penn&Teller; Fool Us. He performed the oil and water card trick which fooled Penn and Teller. This landed him a grand trip to go to Las Vegas and perform at Penn and Teller’s Grand opening.
Mahdi has managed to appear on our Magic which is a talk show by R. Paul Wilson. There he has been praised for doing the impossible which is doing magic tricks while being sleight of hand and that he also invents his own magic tricks, which makes him special since it is very unique in magic if not rare.
Gilbert has also assisted Ricky Jay in the writing of the book The Greatest German Living which is about a magician called, Matthias Buchinger, also a magician was born without hands and he also did not have legs.
From dropping out of school at the young age of 16 and performing in the street to earn his daily meal to performing in front of tens of thousands of people in sold-out arenas in Japan and walking the streets of Japan disguised because of his fame, Cyril Takayama is the epitome of the 21st-century entertainer. Fluent in both English and Japanese, the famous magician has united Western and Oriental people into one huge fanbase. Cyril fell in love with the art of magic at the age of six, after seeing a magician cutting himself in half and making a woman levitate. When he was 12, he joined the junior program at the illustrious ‘Magic Castle’ in Hollywood, and as we said earlier, at the age of 17, the young magician was performing on the streets of Shinjuku. He was then approached by a rich businessman who noticed the young boy’s talent and wanted him to work as an entertainer in his hotel. That was when Cyril’s determination and talent began paying off, as the businessman sent him to contests and magic assemblies. In 1991, Cyril Takayama was awarded a top prize by The International Federation of Magic. The magician’s popularity then soared, and he has appeared in more than 15 TV specials in Japan and a few television series. Some of his most notable Cyril Takayama magic tricks include:
The Hamburger Grab
This trick’s premise is that Cyril can not decide on what burger to buy, so he decides to sample the menu itself. He would often have a person from the audience pick the burger for him, which adds to the effect that the trick has on the audience. After the burger is picked, he simply reaches into the menu and literally pulls out an actual burger, leaving behind only the outline of what used to be the image of the burger. He then shows the burger to the audience, just so they make sure it’s real and takes a bite out of it. Although already pretty amazing, the trick is not complete until he puts the burger back onto the menu, only this time, the image of the burger is missing the bite that he has just taken.As any other trick, we want to know how it’s done, even if, some would say, knowing the secret behind a trick takes half of the joy away.
The Possible explanation:
Magician Cyril Takayama magic (The Hamburger Grab) Revealed video
There are many speculations circulating online about how Cyril Takayama pulls this off. Probably one of the most popular is the one that says that there is a man hidden behind the menu who simply removes the pictures of the burgers to pass Cyril the actual burger. When Cyril grabs the burger, he pulls it out slowly so that the man behind the menu has time to properly put the blank image where the first one was. The rest of the explanation is easy to figure out. When Cyril puts the burger back on, he covers that area long enough for his helper to replace the blank one with the image of a bitten burger. This is a very plausible explanation, as Cyril does actually keep his fingers and hands together for a pretty long time, and the production and vanish off the burger take a few seconds, all this while his hands completely cover the area. All we know for sure is that we will probably never know how the magician actually did it.
The next trick has been the subject of controversy for a while, with illusionist Criss Angel being accused of stealing this magical effect from Cyril Takayama. This may have been caused because the magicians had the same adviser, but we are not here to discuss this so, without further ado:
Card Through Window
All Cyril needs for this trick is a deck of cards and a glass panel. The magician performs his signature piece of magic in a variety of settings, even on glass-bottomed boats. He begins by choosing a random spectator and giving him or her the deck of cards. After the spectator has chosen a card, Cyril hands them a pen and tells them to sign the card, or even draw something on it. The next step is putting the card back and shuffling the deck thoroughly. The aspect that adds a lot of mystery to the trick is that Cyril even invites his ‘victim’ to shuffle the deck. With the card well hidden and the deck shuffled, the next part of the trick is truly eye candy. As Cyril rapidly flicks all the cards at the window, only one gets stuck, backside facing the audience. It is only when he tries to grab it that the audience realizes what happened. The card is stuck on the other side of the glass, and as Cyril goes around to take it, he then reveals it to be the one that the spectator signed in the beginning.
There are many variations of this magic effect and the Internet is full of videos and explanations of them. Most of the explanations that we have found require a secret magician’s assistant. First of all, this trick should obviously be performed in an area with a large window nearby. Second, the spectators must be facing away from this window. Also, The second deck of cards is needed. The magician’s assistant will have this deck and he/ she could be standing behind the window so they could see the chosen card and stick the corresponding one from the other deck to the window. There is a possible method through which the spectators only have the impression that they chose the card. This requires a minimum sleight of hand and only one duplicate card. Coming back to the original, Cyril’s trick includes a signature on the card. The assistant could, at some extent, fake the signature, of course, but nothing from Cyril Takayama’s footage of the trick hints towards an assistant or even a duplicate card, as he points out that he will throw the deck at the window and no one is seen behind the glass. He even performs this using an aquarium so, unfortunately for us, the secret behind this one remains uncovered.
Cyril Takayama Magic: Card through window revealed
As Cyril became more famous every day, more and more people recognized him on the street and most of them were really passionate about their love for the young magician. He began wearing a disguise and called himself Sero-Jisan, which translates to ‘Old Man Sero’, a pun on the performer’s Japanese name. But of course, the ingenious magician had to make a trick even out of this, so, as he walks by in his baggy clothes, he sneezes and, what do you know, his head falls off. This trick has always had a pretty big impact on the crowd, as you might imagine, or, considering that you are willingly reading an article on Cyril Takayama, as you might have seen.
While many are saying that all the performer is doing is bend his body, there is definitely more going on with this particular trick. First of all, the large clothes are a definite must to perform this one. Second, a certain object is used, something like a long, flexible, sheet of metal that goes around the performer’s neck and down to his chest, where the magicians can casually hold it while pretending to hold his jacket. Of course, in order to pull off the trick and offer the full experience to the audience, the magician must be able to ‘drop’ his head all the way down to his crotch, he must be able to move his legs, and the audience must not see if the magician is bending his legs. There is a lot going on with engineering, counterbalances, illusions, extreme dexterity and strength but, unfortunately, even if we knew all the details, we would not be allowed to disclose them. The trick still works only with the flexible metal sheet, to which another ‘bar’ of some sort can be easily crafted and added to support the shoulder area of the clothes, giving a much better effect.
Cyril Takayama Magic (The Cigarette Trick)
Another impressive trick from Japanese magician’s Cyril Takayama repertoire is the cigarette trick. In this trick, the magician casually asks someone for a cigarette and while holding it in his left hand, he simply taps the cigarette with his right hand, pushing it towards his left palm. He then clenches his left fist, lightly blows towards it and just like that, the cigarette is gone. Magician Cyril then quickly rubs his palms together for half a second then, while rubbing his left fist, the cigarette slowly rises from the hand in which we have seen, only seconds ago, nothing.
He then passes the cigarette to his right hand, only to grab it again with his left one, but half a second later, he opens his left hand to once again reveal… nothing. This time, he shows the audience his empty right hand, so the cigarette could be anywhere. By simply touching his thumb with his index finger, he makes the cigarette reappear between those two. You may have mostly figured how the trick goes on, and it MAY be more comfortable to watch the video but bear with us, for we shall give you the explanation.
Cyril Takayama Magic (The cigarette trick) Revealed
What this trick requires, not unlike any other magic trick, is an insane level of dexterity. Also, the performer must be able to maintain favorable angles with the audience. This is called sleight of hand, and it refers to fine motor skills used by performing artists. It is strongly associated with close-up magicians like Cyril Takayama, card cheating and of course, stealing. We do not recommend using this skill for that last one. Getting back to the trick we were describing earlier, we must take it step by step. When Cyril taps the cigarette with his right hand, once the cigarette is completely inside his left hand, he quickly grabs it with his the tip of his left thumb and his left index finger. He then blows towards his left fist and with an elegant move, he reveals that the cigarette is not there. The blow and the elegant move of his left hand not only serve as attention distracters but are also great things to master and try to execute as natural as possible, enhancing the performer’s showmanship. The next thing Cyril does is quickly rub his palms, at that point passing the cigarette from his right to his left hand. The entire trick is based on sleight of hand and the elegance with which the magician presents the act. As simple as it sounds, these things take years of practice to fully master.
Cyril is also known to borrow items of people in order to perform his tricks. The magician stated that he likes to ‘stimulate people’s minds using the things they are already knowledgeable about’. With a collection of magic effects that include acrobatics, sleight of hand, disguises, and with his great storytelling skills, Cyril Takayama is one of magic’s more versatile acts.
Andy Nyman is an English actor, producer, and magician, born on the 13th of April, 1966, in Leicester. He is best known for ‘Death at a Funeral’, a 2007 comedy about a man who is trying to expose a dark secret regarding a recently deceased patriarch of a rather dysfunctional British family, ‘Severance’, a comedic horror film from 2006 and ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’. The last one is an animation focused on the adventures of a flock of sheep that get lost in ‘the Big City’, and Andy Nyman’s role is that of a sheep called Nuts. The name says it all. In 2006, Nyman won the award for best actor at the Festival of Irish & British Film for his role in ‘Shut up and Shoot Me’ as Colin Frampton. He has also appeared in a supernatural drama series called ‘Crooked House’in 2008 and in Charlie Brooker’s horror satire ‘Dead Set’, as a sleazy reality show producer called Patrick.
Andy Nyman’s magic
Respected all around the globe, Andy Nyman has been doing magic for over 30 years and has created some of the most well known magic effects of the past 20 years. As a proficient mentalist and illusionist, Andy Nyman has frequently collaborated with Derren Brown, an English illusionist known for his acts that he claims are achieved through purely psychological means. Brown and Nyman have collaborated in the writing of the acclaimed TV shows ‘Derren Brown – Mind Control’, a breakthrough show where Brown shows the audiences a variety of tricks through the use of suggestion, showmanship, misdirection and psychology, and ‘Trick of the Mind’. The first show we mentioned has brought Andy Nyman and Derren Brown a Silver Rose award at the 2003 Montreux Television Festival, one of the highest distinctions that a writer and television program can receive. In 2008, Nyman was awarded the Member of the Inner Magic Circle title, being included in the best 300 magicians of the world.
Nyman has invented a lot of magic routines, influencing many of the world’s most talented magicians, most notably Derren Brown. In 2011, he published a book called ‘Bulletproof’, which includes over 40 of Nyman’s magic routines, some edgy, some dark, some even hilarious, but all with the unique ‘Nyman feel’. The book was only sold in 750 copies and was an instant sell out, becoming a collector’s item.One of the most notable magical effects done by Derren Brown and Andy Nyman was the prediction of the lottery numbers in 2009, on a live show, which left everyone speechless. Derren and Andy had spent five years talking about this one trick and, after one year of intense preparation, Derren successfully predicted all six winning numbers, in front of a huge TV audience. The event had a massive success, making headline news in the United Kingdon, Australia, China, and America. Also, the event immediately became the most watched video on YouTube and the most discussed topic on Twitter, while the magicians’ websites crashed because of the massive traffic they were getting. Obviously, Andy and Derren had been banned from buying a lottery ticket and profiting from the prediction.
Ghost Stories: A Play written by Andy Nyman
‘Ghost Stories’ is a play that Andy Nyman wrote in collaboration with Jeremy Dyson, one the creators of ‘The League of Gentlemen’, a dark comedy TV series that premiered on BBC Two in 1999. The play premiered in February 2010 at the Liverpool Playhouse. Later, it got transferred on London, at the Lyric Hammersmith, for a longer run. After that, it transferred again to play from June 2010 to 2011 at the Duke of York’s Theatre. In 2016, the show concluded its Australian National Tour at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. Prior to that, the show had reopened in 2014 at the Arts Theatre and ran until January 2015. Andy Nyman played the role of Professor Phillip Goodman. The play’s runtime is only 80 minutes, without any interval, and it is notable for its publicized warnings advising against anyone younger than 15 attending. The show surrounds itself with mystery, the marketing of the show outside theaters being rather unusual. By that, we mean that there are absolutely no production photographs, and all the public gets before actually seeing the play are stills and video monitors that show the shocked reactions of the members of the audience. On the official site of the show, there is an issued warning saying ‘Please be advised that ‘Ghost Stories’ contains moments of extreme shock and tension.’ One could say that the publicity round this production has overdone warnings about its unsuitability for minors and those of a nervous disposition. The creators have even added an announcement at the end of the play, asking the audience to keep the secrets of ‘Ghost Stories’ to themselves, so that they would not spoil the experience for others with any prior information about the act. The play is a production that comes complete with smell effects, dry ice, a strong sense of atmosphere and an effective soundscape. The Daily Express has described the show as ‘brilliantly scary’.
People who have reviewed the show did not betray the producers’ trust and have confined themselves to outlining the basic structure of the plot, without giving away any details or twists within the story. The plot revolves around Dr. Phillip Goodman, a Professor of Parapsychology, played by our article’s subject, Andy Nyman. The professor is delivering
a lecture on ghost stories, in which he discusses a website featuring ghostly pictures. The website is scienceofghosts.com, feel free to check it out if you do not wish to sleep tonight. Anyway, professor Goodman has three recorded interviews with people who claim to have had a supernatural experience of some sort, each story seeming to hinge on the feeling of guilt. The stories are then narrated by a night watchman, a teen driver and a businessman who is awaiting his first child. As each interview is played back, the actors re-enact the horrible stories on stage. At the end of the play, the three stories are drawn together, with a twist, as Nyman’s character becomes a participant, rather than just a narrator. The smell effects, the dry ice, and the impeccable soundscape, combined with the horrible stories and a vicious dark humor, are guaranteed to make you leave the theater feeling shaken, stirred, but nonetheless entertained. If not, we applaud you for having nerves of steel.
Brilliant and deeply unsettling, the play will surely remain known as one of the best horror plays of this era.
Another notable production that Andy Nyman starred in is Steven Knight’s ‘Peaky Blinders’, a British television crime drama that is based upon the exploits of a Birmingham gang during the aftermath of the First World War. The story centers on the Romani/ Irish gang called Peaky Blinders and their highly ambitious and cunning boss, Tommy Shelby, a character played by Cillian Murphy.
In peaky blinders, Andy Nyman plays the role of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill. Churchill sends a detective of the Royal constabulary, Chief Inspector Chester Campbell, played by Sam Neill, over to Birmingham, on a mission to suppress disorder and uprising in the city and recover a stolen cache of weapons that were meant to be shipped to Libya. Although ably played by Andy Nyman, as David Stubbs at The Guardian says, when Churchill appears briefly on screen in the series, he seems to be more like a caricature, caused by the fact that the fictional characters are so well drawn. Andy Nyman appeared in the first series of the show only in three episodes, the role of Winston Churchill being taken in the second series by British actor Richard McCabe. Nevertheless, ‘Peaky Blinders’ is a show that we, and probably Andy Nyman himself, recommend.
Andy Nyman talks about his role as Winston Churchill in Peaky blinders
Born on the 2nd of September 1973, magician Cyril Takayama is perhaps best known for his street performances in Japan and Korea. The American magician comes from a family of immigrants, his father being from Okinawa, Japan, and his mother being French of Moroccan descent. Both his parents were beauticians. Although born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the renowned magician is currently based in Tokyo, Japan. Straddling both the Western and Oriental cultures and connecting with his audiences around the globe, one could say that Cyril Takayama is the embodiment of the 21st-century entertainer.
Early life and the love for Magic
The magician fell in love with the art of magic since he was a boy, at the very young age of six, when he saw a man making a woman levitate and cutting himself in half. He first performed in front of an audience during his junior high school’s talent show and, at the age of 12, he became a junior member at ‘the most unusual private club in the world’, the illustrious Magic Castle in Hollywood. The Magic Castle, apart from being the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, is a nightclub for magicians and magic enthusiasts like our magician, Cyril. As a teen, Cyril was a bit of a trouble maker.
Back to Japan From USA
At the age of 15, his behavior led him to being expelled. One year later, at the age of 16, he dropped out of school. As one may expect, his family was not very content with the young magician’s decisions, so his father decided to send Cyril back to Japan. Just like that, Cyril was on a plane headed towards his home country. But the magician had other things planned.During a stopover in Tokyo, he got off the plane and decided not to get back on. So, the magician ended up busking on the streets of Shinjuku, house of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, earning so little that he could only afford one meal a day.
At the age of 17, young magician Cyril Takayama was trying to become a member of certain Japanese magic circles, but they all considered him an outsider, so that was not a success for him. It was then when he got approached by a rich Japanese businessman. The man recognized Cyril’s talent and proposed the magician to work for him at his hotel, four to five days a week. This is when Cyril started to build up a career based on his magic skills. He proceeded to perform as a magician for wedding receptions and parties and after a while, he had created his own stage show. Impressed by the young man’s uncanny ability to materialize, manipulate, transpose and teleport any object at will, the businessman, named Ito, sent Cyril to many competitions and magic assemblies. At the age of 21, the magician was already reaping the harvest of his determination that he proved when he decided to perform on the streets of Shinjuku. The International Federation of Magic Societies awarded Cyril a top prize in 1991, as well in 1994.
His popularity began to soar, and Cyril is now considered one of the early pioneers of street magic. Some of his signature tricks include the hamburger in the menu trick, where he literally pulls a hamburger out of a menu, also revealing that the image of the burger is missing. After taking a bite, he then puts it back on the menu, only this time, the image of the burger is missing the piece that he bit. After that, he picks another burger off the menu, the image, again, disappearing, and he just leaves with it, leaving the audience in awe.
Magician Cyril Takayama Doing Hamburger and Card tricks
Another impressive one is the card through window trick. In this one, he lets someone pick a card from the deck, sign it with a marker, and shuffle the deck thoroughly. He then shuffles the deck again and throws it at a window. As all the cards fall down, only one remains stuck onto the window, but as he tries to grab it, he reveals that the card is actually on the other side of the window. After going to the other side, the card is revealed to be the signed one that the magician shuffled in the deck.
Cyril Takayama has appeared in two television series, reaching audiences in over 26 countries, and in over 15 prime time television specials in Japan. His success allowed him to travel, sharing his magic tricks and visiting countries all over the globe. He got the ‘Magician of the Year’ title in 2007, securing his place among history’s best magicians, icons such as Seiegfried & Roy, a German – American duo of entertainers, and David Copperfield, described by Forbes as the most commercially successful magician in history. Later in 2007, Cyril embarked on a tour throughout Japan, performing his shows to sold out audiences in 35 cities. In 2009, Cyril starred in ‘Cyril, Simply Magic’, a three part English-language television special produced in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and AXN Asia. Known as a great storyteller, Cyril decided to leave the traditional street magic genre behind and star in a TV series that featured a new fun and innovative way of magic storytelling.
He also starred on ‘Cyril’s Family Vacation’, a show in which all his ‘family members’ have magic in their DNA. Showing his comedic timing and acting skills, and by using prosthetics, Cyril morphed into his grandmother, his uncle and his cousin Tiny. The show presents us Cyril’s ‘family’ creating magical moments in front of unsuspecting locals and tourists alike. In 2014, Cyril starred in ‘Magiculous Rio’, a show filmed entirely in Rio de Janeiro. Once again showcasing Cyril’s fresh approach to magic storytelling, the show takes a turn towards the ridiculous/ funny, with Cyril trying to blend into everyday situations, often looking more hilarious than serious. Cyril Takayama’s net worth is estimated to be in the range of approximately 600 million dollars in 2017, including stocks, properties, and luxury goods such as private planes and yachts.
Fans and haters of Cyril Takayama
As any other famous magician, Cyril Takayama has a devoted fanbase, some even believing that he has some sort of demon powers. Also, he has his share of non-believers, as well as people who claim to have discovered some of his tricks’ secrets. There are hundreds of videos online of people performing Cyril Takayama’s tricks and then revealing the secrets behind them. For example, there are people who say that the secret behind the hamburger trick is actually that the menu has removable pictures of the burgers and someone behind it is handing the burgers to Cyril and switching the pictures when needed. Cyril himself has explained some of his tricks for the public, the videos being available online. One of the most notable events regarding the revealing of Takayama’s secret was on a live Japanese show. When Cyril entered the stage hovering in mid-air on a board, everyone in the public was amazed, except 19 years old Airi Taira, who yelled that she had seen the trick performed on another TV show and said ‘His hand is stuck to the car, and it’s a fake hand, and there’s a bar from the car that’s attached to him!’. Cyril then took his jacket off, allowing the show’s host to check his arm, who then confirmed that it was real. However, when the host asked to check inside the car, Cyril stepped in front of him and explained that the hoverboard magic is the secret of the trick.
In the words of Cyril Takayama: keep the magic real!
Bess Houdini, born as Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner in Brooklyn New York, was the wife and stage assistant of the legendary Harry Houdini. Her date of birth is not surely known, as with her famous husband. Some say it is the 22nd of January, 1876, others say that it is the 23rd or even put the year as 1875.
How Harry and Bess Houdini met and got married.
Bess was not a native American, her family originally being from Germany. Her father was a cabinet maker called Gebhard Rahner and her mother was called Balbina Rahner. Just like her husband, Bess Houdini was caught in the showbiz early, in her teen years. She met Harry while she was working in Coney Island in ‘The Floral Sisters’, a song and dance act. At the time, Houdini was performing his acts accompanied by his younger brother, founder of the Magician’s Guild, Theodore Hardeen, also known as Dash. He was the first magician to perform the act of escaping from a submerged straitjacket in front of an audience, rather than behind a curtain. It was him who first courted Bess but, unfortunately for him, she fell in love with his older brother, Harry, whom she married on June 22, 1894.
Harry and Bess Houdini working together as Houdinis
Bess replaced Dash in Houdini’s performances, as Houdini’s trusty assistant. The couple performed together as The Houdinis for several years. After Harry’s huge success as ‘The Handcuff King’, they only occasionally worked as a duo, performing the ‘Metamorphosis’ stage illusion. When they were not performing this act, Bess took it upon herself to make sure that, as she said, her husband was well dressed and had clean ears. She also made Houdini’s costumes for his full evening show, took care of their collected dolls and their pets, particularly their dogs.
Love towards Pets especially Dogs
Bess suffered from a condition that prevented her from having children, as her niece Marie Hinson Blood said. It is safe to suppose that this had a great impact on her affection towards the dogs. The couple had two dogs, named Charlie (photo) and Bobby. At some point, they even had to smuggle Charlie across borders, when the dog accompanied them on their first European tour. The Houdinis adored the little Pomeranian ball of fur, which they had from the Grand Duke of Russia. Eight years after being adopted by the Houdinis, Charlie died, leaving both Harry and Bess with a broken heart. Bess then brought another canine member to the family when she bought Bobby, a fox terrier, from a butcher who would not let her feed the dog a bone. Houdini even taught this one to escape from a straitjacket and a pair of miniature handcuffs, calling him ‘Bobby the Handcuff King’. As with Charlie, the Houdinis had Bobby for eight years, and after his death, Houdini wrote an affectionate eulogy for ‘his good faithful Bobby’. The eulogy, originally published in MUM Magazine, is reprinted in Gibson’s ‘Houdini on Magic’.
After the death of Harry Houdini
After Houdini’s death in 1926, Bess ran ‘Mrs. Harry Houdini’s Rendezvous’, a tea room in New York, which is currently the site of Rockefeller Center. She occasionally performed by herself but also continued promoting her late husband’s legacy along with Edward Saint, her manager, and companion. In 1936, they held the legendary Final Houdini Séance on top of the Knickerbocker Hotel. Two years later, Bess helped form a group of female magicians and enthusiasts called ‘The MagiGals’. She also had a role as herself in 1938 in ‘Religious Racketeers’, movie directed by Frank O’Connor.
A much loved and respected figure even today, Bess, the woman behind the legendary Houdini, died on February 11, 1943, aboard a train in Needles, California.
Harry Houdini also famous by his stage name Ehrich Weiss is arguably the greatest magician of all time. His performances were ingenious and way ahead of his time. Many other magicians after him use Harry Houdini magic tricks. He often brushed his shoulders with death every time he performed but this never shook him. He was a daring bravado who was willing to go to any lengths to make sure a performance was perfect. Houdini died but nevertheless, he left us with some great memories that magicians and fans will never forget. Here are some of Houdini’s greatest ever magic tricks.
List of Greatest Harry Houdini magic Tricks
The disappearing elephant
This illusion was performed by Houdini in 1918. The normal routine at the time was to make small animals like birds and rabbits disappear. Vanishing such a large creature was unprecedented at the time. Only Harry had the courage to attempt such a fete and he made it happen. He had a specially made closet that could spin really fast. He enlisted the services of a big elephant as well. The elephant was directed into the closet and the closet was shut. A huge curtain was then drawn over the large cabinet and a few moments passed. Houdini then drew the curtains and opened the door to the cabinet. Lo and behold, the elephant had disappeared and the closet was rotated around the audience to prove that the elephant had indeed vanished. The trick was very simple. Houdini got a pair of professional handlers who were strategically positioned in the cabinet. When the elephant got in, the handlers put a very dark tarp over the animal. When the cabinet was reopened, it was really impossible for anyone in the audience to see the elephant, let alone its shape. The action of rotating the cabinet after opening it also made it extremely impossible for anyone to spot the creature.
The Straightjacket Escape
Some magicians have over the years failed to successfully replicate some of Houdini’s stunts. This is because some of this stunts were particularly dangerous and not advisable. But Houdini loved the dangerous and untested stunts. Most of the Harry Houdini magic tricks requires a lot of courage and ability to take risks. They were his specialty. The straight jacket escape was one such dangerous stunt. Houdini famously said that he once saw a person who was trapped in a straightjacket and was desperately trying to free himself. It’s from here, that Houdini got this idea from. Since his hands were tied to his back, it was really difficult for him to escape from the jacket. However, Houdini developed an ingenious, yet painful way of escape. In this Harry Houdini magic trick, He would wriggle around in the jacket all the while trying to get his hands to the front. Most times he ended up dislocating his shoulder, but this never stopped him. After his hands came to the front, he would then proceed to use his teeth to free himself. He became so adept at escaping the jacket that he went a notch higher by performing stunts where he would be bound in the straight jacket, while suspended upside down, with his ankles bound. He was so good at this stunt, that he would set himself free after only three minutes.
Initially, Harry had envisioned this stunt to be much more difficult than the one which he performed. He had planned to be buried alive, in a six feet deep pit, wearing a straightjacket, and in a casket. It is also worth noting that sandy soil was Houdini’s choice of soil. This stunt was one of the most difficult stunts that Houdini ever performed among all the Harry Houdini magic tricks and all observers agreed that the originally envisioned version would have been almost impossible to perform. He, however, went ahead and performed buried alive in 1915 in front of a packed crowd. Houdini was shackled and buried six feet below under a huge heap of sand. He managed to unchain himself and began the excruciating process of trying to claw his way back to the top. The sheer weight of the sand was unbearable for Houdini and at one point, he even panicked. He had to dig deep into his energy reserves to be able to claw out of the hole. On reaching the top, he was so exhausted that he fell unconscious. He had to be ushered to safety by his assistants. Harry had planned to again attempt the stunt, but this time, according to his earlier specifications. Sadly, he never got to perform the act like he wanted, because he died before he could revise it.
The Chinese Water Torture Cell
This stunt was so dangerous, that the audience was always advised never to try it at home, or anywhere. The peculiar thing about Harry Houdini was that most of his tricks were actually real life, and he always put his life on the line when he attempted these risky stunts. The Chinese Water Torture Cell was no different. Houdini had to escape from a glass pond full of water. But that’s just the start of the story. He was immersed into the pond suspended upside down, and with his feet chained. A system of pulleys had to be used to enable the safe dropping of the magician. Houdini would then be dropped into the tank and left for two minutes to free himself. A curtain would be drawn over the tank, and after two minutes, the curtain would be lifted, revealing a free Houdini. This stunt was so dangerous, that a man with an axe always stood beside the glass tank, to break the tank if Houdini was unable to break free.
The Handcuff Escape
During Houdini’s time, the Handcuff escape was a very common magic trick by many magicians. It was really simple. A pair of early, heavy cuffs was fastened around your wrist and you had to escape out of your chains in the shortest time possible. The artist had to invent a hiding place for the keys to the handcuffs from whence he would now locate the keys, and free himself from the cuffs. This trick was so common in the early 20th century that everybody was used to it. What set Houdini apart was the ease and speed at which he would set himself free. This is exactly what made him famous. He would free himself from the handcuffs in seconds while other magicians usually took minutes to free themselves. So how did he do it? Harry custom built for himself a belt that had soft steel compartments where he stored the keys to the cuffs. He was thus able to get the keys discretely and free himself from the cuffs within seconds.
The Overboard Escape
This was another really dangerous trick that Harry accomplished. He took escape artistry to a whole new level with this one. If someone was chained and trapped, it had to be Harry Houdini. This trick was another form of box escape, but it had a slight variation. In July of 1912, he performed the overboard escape in front of a huge crowd. The stunt was a bit scary because his feet and hands were heavily chained. He was also placed in a wooden box, and a very heavy weight placed on top of the box for the sinking effect. The box was nailed all round just to make the escape difficult, and a huge weight attached to the box for a sinking effect. He was then dropped into New York’s East river where he was supposed to escape in under a minute. So did he really escape? Well, your guess is as good as mine. He did.
The Milk can Escape
The old fashioned metallic milk can was a really small vessel. Its height was roughly the height of an average man from his legs to his waist. So when Harry suggested that he would attempt a milk can escape, everybody thought he was crazy. But Harry never failed to deliver, and the milk can escape went ahead as planned. In his own words, Houdini once claimed that the Milk Can trick was the best trick he ever attempted. This trick was performed in 1901 and it didn’t disappoint. In this Harry Houdini magic tricks, Harry was handcuffed and squeezed into a milk can. The fact that he actually fitted into the can is a thing of wonder. After being cramped into the can the can, it was completely filled with water and the lid securely shut on the top. Houdini involved the audience in the act by asking them to hold their breaths as he submerged into the water. No one in the crowd was able to hold their breath for more than two minutes. Harry was able to hold his for more than two minutes, and also uncuff himself and escape from the milk can.
Murderer’s row escape
This was a truly vintage Harry Houdini Classic act. Murderer’s row was an infamous prison where the worst of the worst were locked up. Convicted murderers were the permanent inhabitants of these halls. The facility was so secure, that in all its existence, there had never been a reported escape. Well, this looked like Houdini territory and the setting of a very famous act. In 1906, he was cuffed and stripped of his clothes so he would not hide any keys in his garments. He was then locked up in one of the prison’s cells and his clothes thrown in the next cell. Typical of Harry, he freed himself in under two minutes, opened the cell door- which had also been locked from the outside- opened the next cell, where his clothes lay, and even had time to unlock other cells and shuffle up the prisoners. All these exploits he achieved in less than 21 minutes.
The Indian Needle Trick
This was one of the more disgusting tricks that Harry performed. But it was still a sight to behold. Houdini would swallow up to 100 needles, all attached to about 20 yards of thread. He would then open up his mouth to reveal its emptiness as a sign that he had indeed swallowed all the sharp needles. Crowds would line up just to see Houdini, the man who could swallow sharp needles. After a few moments, he would insert his fingers into his mouth and pull out the whole yarn with all the needles attached. So how was he able to achieve this fete without injuring himself? Well, for starters, a lot of practice and mouth movements. He would trap the threaded needles between his teeth and lower lip. They would then be exchanged with the unthreaded needles and thread when he appeared like he was swallowing them. The hard job was being able to hide the needles from the audience when he opened his mouth to reveal that there were no contents. He found a clever way of doing this because he used his fingers to completely hide the prop.
The Brick Wall Walk
In this 1914 New York performance, Houdini performed a simply out of this world trick. Before the audience’s very eyes, Harry’s assistants built a large wall on top of a carpet -to ensure no possibility of a trap door- that was erected perpendicularly so that the audience would have a clear view of Harry. The wall was nine feet tall and 10 feet wide. Audience members were even invited to confirm that the wall was real. After all this, Harry appeared on one side of the wall with a screen in front of him, and another on the other side of the wall. When the screens were pulled away, Harry was on the other side of the wall. The trick was so spectacular that the audience momentarily froze and forgot to applause. Houdini was able to cross over to the other side by the use of Hammock that was V-shaped in nature. The hammock was under the wall and so nobody could ever suspect. His performance on stage was also exemplary which added to the spectacular nature of the act.These Harry Houdini magic tricks are used by many other magicians after him.
Houdini is a legend of magic and some people even term him as the father of all magic. So great was his magic, that it is still used as a guide for even the best magicians today. Some of the tricks are even considered too dangerous to perform today – even with all the high-tech equipment available these days. It is safe to say that his legendary status will live forever. If you have any different opinion about our Harry Houdini magic tricks article, Please Leave your comment below.
The life of Percy Thomas Tibbles known by his stage name P.T. Selbit began in the village of Hampstead, in the year 1881, unfortunately, the precise month and day is unknown. As a magician, he is not as renowned as Houdini but has still earned himself a place in the history books of magic, as the inventor of illusions performed today.
While he was still a boy, Tibbles become the apprentice to a silversmith, a position that would later be the most ideal for him to be introduced to the world of the magical arts. Some time after, the silversmith leased his basement space to Charles Morritt, magician, hypnotist and inventor of tricks. Tibbles found the skills of this character to be quite intriguing, so much so that he would secretly sneak away from his work to observed the man, while he planned and practiced his illusions.Charles later began teaching the boy his ways magic and became his mentor in the craft.
Having studied his teacher well and mastered many tricks, Tibbles decided that it was time start his own career in the arts but he would need a name to go by. By spelling his last in reverse and removing one of the B’s, he came up with “Selbit” that would be accompanied by the first two letters of his initials in front – P.T. Selbit.He would use this name for acts that only included coin and card tricks.
How P.T. Selbit Started Magic as his Career
In about 1901, Selbit started a career in journalism and published “The Magician’s Handbook”, signed with his stage name, along with several others down the line. P.T Selbit later began working in music halls, between 1902 and 1908, under the name Joan Hetebas a “pseudo-Egyptian” character that he created, who wore a wig and robe drenched in grease paint.The inspiration for this idea came to Pt Selbit when he realized that the people had lost interest in the play out English stories and developed a thirst for what was deemed as exotic performances. While performing in these halls, in 1905 to 1910, also worked as an editor for “The Wizard” magazine and published three books; “The Magical Entertainer in 1906, and both “The Magic Art of Entertaining” and “Conjuring Patter” in 1907.
In 1910, P.T. selbit decided to leave his everyday jobs behind and take his magic on the road with his illusion act called “Spirit Paintings”. In this illusion, an audience member was selected to give the name if a renowned artist and a picture in style of their work would appear on an illuminated canvas.Due to his success in the last, Selbit organized another tour with the illusion titled “The Might Cheese”. In this case, audience involvement was also a factor, a volunteer was asked to attempt at tipping over the model of a cheese wheel but it was said to be impossible. This was so because the wheel contained a gyroscope, which is a disc with a continuously rotating axis that causes the object to change its course of movement instead of falling down when force is applied.
After being on the road for almost two years, 1912 Pt Selbit got a job assisting magicians, Devant and Maskelyne, who were on a mission to rule the magic scene in Britain.He was given the task of touring different music halls and shows of their illusion, “Window of a Haunted House”.He later part ways with them in 1913 and began constructing his next illusion, “Walking through Walls”, he introduced to the world in 1914 at St. George’s Hall, in Liverpool. In the illusion, a young lady used a trapdoor, which goes under the wall and when she came out on the other side, it would seem as though she came through the wall.Later that year, Harry Housing performed the act himself at the Hammerstein’s roof garden, New York, while using a brick wall instead. When accused by Selbit’s associates of stealing the idea, Houdini claimed that he had fairly bought the rights to it from the creator of this version, fellow magician, Sidney Josolyne. These claims did not sit well with Selbit, so the matter was brought before the courts.
P.T. Selbit and his Sawing a Woman in half Magic Trick
In December 1920, Pt Selbit had constructed an illusion that would take the magic world by storm but he needed help in presenting it. So chose a hand full of promoters and theater agents to give a sneak peek, in hopes that they would be persuaded to hire for shows at their establishments. The goal was accomplished and on January 17th, 1921, P.T. Selbit introduced the world his illusion, “Sawing through a Woman” at Finsbury Park Empire theater in London. It required a female assistant to step into a coffin-sized box, then her neck, wrist, and ankles were bound by a thick rope. The box was closed and placed in a horizontal position and a saw was used to cut through the middle, where her waist would have been, to give idea that she was being cut into precise halves.This became a popular with other magicians executing their own version of it, to this day. About five months later, he went to America with hopes of gaining much success from the illusion but he was shocked to learn that magician, Horace Goulding was already doing just that. Goulding made claims of being the rightful creator to the act and another battle in the courts ensued. Realizing that he would be unable to accomplish much success, so returned to England after the preceding had ended, in 1922.
Back home, P.T Selbit continued to create more illusions through the years, like “Girl/ Man without a Middle” and “Through the Eye of a Needle” in 1924, “The Million Dollar Mystery”, “Stretching a Girl”, “Avoiding the Crush”, “Selbit’s Blocks” and “Siberia Chain Escape” is also thought to be one his. Bit despite his efforts, none could hold a glass to “Sawing through a Woman”. Sadly, after numerous attempts to gaining high success, Selbit passed away in 1943 and was somewhere between the age of 61 and 62.
Alan Alan born, Alan Rabinowitz was an English Escapologist and a magician/illusionist. He was born on November 1926 in London, England. He created magic tricks which are now being used by magicians all over the world. He was even honored by the Magic Circus which is in Britain.
Alan came into the spotlight for performing for the media in stunts that shook the world. He made headlines once when one of his media staged performances of him being buried alive almost went wrong which really must have shaken him but he never gave up he went on to do the burning-rope straitjacket escape which he has been credited with devising it himself.
The life of Alan Alan the escapologist
He was born on 20th November 1926 in London which is in England. As a child, one of the famous magicians who made him fall in love with and become a magician was Dante the Magician who was a Danish showman. During his teenage years, he decided to create his own magic and escape acts which later led him to be taken on tour by Reggie Dennis who in fact gave him the nickname Alan Alan.
In the late fifties, he was the one who managed Tommy Cooper’s magic shop in London. Later own he became the proprietor of his own shop.
Later own Alan Alan the escapologist mentored some magicians. He was also Michael Vincent’s mentor, whom later came to become The Magic Circle’s magician of the year.
Apart from reinventing Houdini’s and other magicians magic tricks he also created his own magic tricks including the close-up magic trick called the decimated coin in which a coin seems to shatter into pieces, sharpshooter effect in which a gunshot seems to shoot one card which has been chosen in a card pack. He really was a legend to the extent that Davis Copperfield said that he had idolized him ever since he was a little boy.
His standing and influence in the world of magic was well received and he was recognized in 2006. This is when the Magic Circle chose him to receive the Maskelyne Award for his services and contributions to the British Magic.
Alan Alan’s Magic tricks
The burning rope straitjacket escape was an escape trick whereby he would be tied upside down using a rope while he is hanging feet above the ground wearing a straitjacket. Then the rope would be lit and he would only have a few minutes to let himself loose and escape before the rope burns out. This act was a complete reinvention of a routine that had been pioneered by Houdini. Risky as it was he had almost gotten himself killed including one time when he fell off of the rope and fell on the stage.Before doing the stunt he once claimed that he would free himself faster than it took to tie him on the rope.Even though this was risky for him still he heightened the dangers more and more on every performance.
He even did a performance whereby he had handcuffs on him and he was left dangling above a cage of lions and even to make it more dangerous and scaring, above a row of sharp swords.
For all that matters, it is that he got his fame because the stunts he did were staged and performed for the media.
He has been hosted by many TV shows including the Magic of David Copperfield. Ironic thing is that while he was training the inmates he once decided to teach them how to escape from handcuffs
Well sorry to say he unfortunately passed on on the 4th of July in 2014. It will be worth it to say that his life was well lived having in mind the fact that he had and he still is inspiring many to join the magic industry. During his life he was known as the British Houdini.
Jasper Maskelyne was a stage magician who used to perform his magic even during the war, thus he gained the name the war magician. He is from a long family line of stage magic performers. He is the son of Nevil Maskelyne and he also was the grandson of John Nevil Maskelyne who were both stage magician performers. He was born on September 29, 1892, in Wandsworth, London, England. He is well known for helping the British army together with his magic gang to defend their bases, supply, and even Bays against their attackers.
How Jasper Maskelyne made the Bay disappear(His biggest trick ever)
He is claimed to have once made a port disappear so that the German bombers, who were attacking them at the time could not find it. Sound impossible doesn’t it? Well, he and his Magic Gang were given the task to make Alexandria bay to disappear so that their attackers, the Germans, could not find it since it was there that they received most of their supplies through British ships. Jasper Maskelyne teamed up with his Magic Gang and they drew up a plan to make Alexandria bay to disappear. First Jasper and his Magic gang drew up some plans. They decided that they would create a fake Bay in another area using cardboards. This was obviously going to work since the German bombers were attacking through the sky, that is using aircraft, so when they looked down at the fake Bay they would think it was the real Bay.Too bad for the Germans for they did not have GPS tracking systems on them. Jasper Maskelyne and his Magic Gang therefore, ordered for all the lights on Alexandria bay to be switched off and those on the fake Bay which was at Maryat to be switched on. Well, the illusion worked perfectly for 3 days. From then on Maskelyn helped the army to create decoys like tankers which were used to scare off the German attackers and their allies attackers. He even once created a dummy Sherman tanker which scared the hell out of his attackers.
Jasper Maskelyne as a stage magician
Apart from creating decoys for the war. Jasper was a well-known stage magician/illusionist. He even wrote the Book of Magic in 1936 which described his magic tricks like the hand sleighing and his card and rope tricks. Jasper entertained large crowds where he even used to eat razor4 blades from a box one at a time.
Jasper Maskelyne in the Army
When World War II broke out, Jasper Maskelyne, the war magician decided to join the Royal Engineers since he thought that his skills would be very useful in helping the army to camouflage. In 1940 Maskelyne was trained at the Camouflage Development and training Centre where he claimed that a lifetime of hiding things had taught him how to camouflage more than tigers and rabbits will ever know. He claimed that the training was boring. One of the people in the Royal Engineers claimed that he used to entertain them at Farnham even though he was rather unsuccessful at camouflaging concrete pill boxes.
He worked in operation Bertram. His job was to make sure the German Field Marshal thought that the attack was coming from the south while it was coming from the north. This was done successfully. To trick the German Field Marshal he and the Magic gang camouflaged a thousand tankers that were in the north to look like trucks and on the south they put 2,000 fake tanks with convincing pyrotechnics. All these worked perfectly and to add a little more fake camouflage into their tricks, they built a fake radio conversation, fake railway line and even fake sounds of construction. They also constructed a fake water pipeline and made it appear as if it wouldn’t be ready before attacks. All of these succeeded and they won the attack which took the German Field Marshal by surprise.
Jasper Maskelyne after the war
After the world war II the Magic Gang disbanded although Maskelyne received praise from Wiston Churchill, he did not receive the appreciation he desired. He tried to resume his career as a stage magician but he was unsuccessful. He then moved to Kenya where he helped fight the Mau Mau and he also opened his own driving school. He died in Kenya in 1973.
Reception of his works
Well not everyone believed in his stories mostly the military historian and Magician Richard Stokes. Stokes writes and states that many chronological inaccuracies and unsubstantiated events, concluding that Maskelyne’s wartime exploits had been heavily fictionalized. He even cats out the presence of two Maskelynes doubting whether Jasper Maskelyne was descended from Neil Maskelyne the famous astronomer.