Arguably the most legendary illusion of all time, David Copperfield’s vanish of the Statue of Liberty has always been a full-fledged display of what it is about him that made him a household name in magic: the man knew how to create a spectacle, and he knew how to really get people talking about him, as this routine continues attracting discussion and wide speculation, decades after it has been performed.
What made this routine amazing was that it was done with a live audience witnessing the entire thing. It wasn’t a case of paid actors pretending to be an audience, but a genuine gathering of people who were fortunate enough to witness a historical event.
Copperfield’s script for the vanish was very simple: the Statue was bathed in a circle of lights, and hidden behind a curtain. Once the curtains go down, the Statue was gone, and the searchlights passed through the entire thing, with nobody the wiser what happened to the Statue. The curtains go back up, and boom, the Statue was back before everyone knew it.
Whenever a magician makes something appear or reappear, spectators tend to assume that there is something peculiar or pre-set about the item that vanished that allowed the magician to make it disappear. The reason this particular vanish really got everyone’s attention was the fact that it seemed logistically impossible to move the Statue of Liberty from one place to another in a flash without it requiring massive machinery to pull off, but Copperfield did it with just a few magical gestures and a curtain.
For me, this is one of the most pivotal moments of magic, because it made people believe that there was something really amazing about Mr. Copperfield, and this awe and wonder extended to a lot of his contemporaries by sheer virtue of the notoriety the illusion has gained. Half the people who talk and speculate about this particular illusion have never even seen the actual illusion in question, which just makes the whole thing hilarious.
Ask any person over the age of fifteen what is the most striking magic trick they have ever seen or heard of, and a significant number of them will respond with this one. I’m almost willing to bet on that.
.:205/365: The Chair Suspension
There are a million and one versions of levitation effects out there, but personally, this has to be one of my favourites, and not simply because it’s part of my repertoire.
The script is rather simple, and if you noticed the video I showed last July 1, the Boa levitation works on the same principle: essentially, you have one person who lies down across a board supported by two chairs. You remove one of the chairs while holding up the board, then you remove the board, and lo and behold, your assistant, or even volunteer, remains hovering in the air, instead of falling to the floor.
Very simple, very effective, and has relatively portable materials. As a levitation routine, you definitely can’t ask for much more if you’re searching for portability, although I still believe that the Abnormal Lift routine has this beat by a mile, simply because unlike most other levitations, the Lift involves levitation as performed by your very own audience, which just heightens the effect, more than anything else.
.:206/365:Levitating Over The Grand Canyon:.
Apparently, not only Criss Angel can use some camera trickery to get away with an act completely unperformable live, but I’m willing to cut David Copperfield some slack because Bonnie Tyler is in the clip, singing “Holding Out For A Hero”. That makes up for everything. Everything, I say.
This effect is arguably the most eye-popping levitation effect you will ever witness, although I doubt you will see it live. Despite that, this is merely an extension of Copperfield’s amazing stage magic routine called “Flying”, where he really does fly all over a stage area with audiences watching him, and for a clever little convincer, they even show him flying inside a glass box, as if to taunt the people who believe it’s the work of invisible wires.
This routine just ups the scale of that act by making Copperfield fly all the way across the Grand Canyon with the wind blowing through his hair, with no green or blue screen to back him up, at that. Needless to say, he stunned a lot of people with this one, and definitely got everyone talking yet again.
Am I a fan of this routine? Well, not really. I prefer his routines that can be performed live, but I watch this video less as an actual magic act and more as a music video, in all honesty.