to the #1 street magic information site including
David Blaine reviews, latest information and interesting facts.
Discovered a David Blaine tidbit? TV update? Email us!
The facts behind the Street Magic Special that started magic again.
yourself. It's time for
Blaine had an ambition to spread his magic throughout the country and the world. With a friend videotaping action on the street, David took his rare brand of sleight of hand into Times Square, New York.
Contrary to overwhelming belief, Blaine had never performed street magic before this point.
unsuspecting passersby for a few minutes at a time, he performed small
hand magic using nothing more than a deck of cards and the spare change
people let him borrow. The
results for such a simple idea were phenomenal.
David Blaine's camera caught reactions of people screaming in
the street, laughing in shock, and crying in hysteria.
This raw early footage would be something to look back on now
- in light of the fame Blaine has achieved so far.
crudely editing rough footage at home, David brought it to ABC.
Without an appointment of any kind, he boldly used his magic
to gain an introduction to the station's president, Ted Harbert.
David played the tape for Harbert, and the executive showed interest
in the idea.
president gathered other execs in his main office and the show began.
Harbert proceeded to select a card and tear a corner from it
as proof that there could be no duplicate.
He then shuffled the card into the deck.
David took the cards, looked, and suddenly tossed them into the
air, scattering them all over the private office.
When the cards settled, Blaine casually looked over at the window
in the office. Although
the office was several stories up and the window unopenable - frozen
for many years - there, stuck
to the other side of the double paned glass, was Harbert's seven
of diamonds with the missing corner he now held in his hand.
ABC executive matched the corner in his hand to the one outside his
window and he realized he was looking at a miracle.
he could turn around to give David any feedback, Blaine moved to a corner
of the room and performed the levitation he was becoming famous for.
Harbert stared, and then stated in a wide-eyed and full tone,
"It's done. It's a done
journey into fame had begun.
executives agreed to pay Blaine an even $1,000,000 to produce the Special
- not a huge amount for a primetime event, but to Blaine (sleeping on
a friend's couch at the time) it was a fortune - and represented a way
to express the single most important concept he had learned in putting
together the footage that excited ABC in the first place: focusing the
camera on the wild and unpredictable reactions of actual people
would produce a different kind of magic than had ever been witnessed.
Blaine had the idea. He
knew that people reacted strongly to him and his brand of grunge
magic. Watching related
specials on TV he saw that the camera paid more attention to big tricks
and fancy girls and shiny backdrops than to the actual REACTION of the
audience. But the thing
happening **in the moment** was the REACTION of genuine people.
Why wasn't more attention being paid to this?
your magic is as good as Blaine's is and creates that much excitement
in people - why not deliberately focus on it?
It would certainly be a "new take" on the subject.
was told about the reality based television series named COPS.
He tuned the show in and was immediately drawn to the realness
of the camera on the street boldly filming real life people in a real
life situation. He wanted
the producer of COPS to film his "reality based" magic special.
This was the first intelligent move (of many) Blaine made in
producing the hour of raw footage needed to fill the time slot.
the check for $375,000 that ABC's payroll department handed him to begin
filming, Blaine got into a battered van with a few friends who acted
as consultants, his new producer and a camera operator, and drove across
the United States. They stopped in small towns, big cities, and back
woods country rural areas while the camera crew got out and filmed Blaine
performing magic for anyone he met, hoping for nothing more than pure
reactions and good footage of his sleight of hand magic with cards and
got the footage, but it wasn't necessarily easy to get.
reality-based shows, it's just that. reality.
Things go wrong. Occasional
difficulties in filming caused Blaine to miss some of the best footage
and reactions he's ever shot.
At times the crew would not leave the van fearing local bad neighborhoods
and rough trade. But Blaine's
magic broke down many doors and opened up a new world where apparently
anything could happen.
following year, David Blaine: Street Magic aired nationally on
primetime ABC television.
soon as the hour-long show aired, controversy began to swirl around
David Blaine. People questioned
his feats, believing he may have been a con man, the devil, or a sacred
guru. they simply weren't sure.
People witnessed as he impossibly bit coins in half, read spectators'
minds, and performed outstanding sleight of hand (which many took to
be real magic). Watching
him approach total strangers on the street intrigued many viewers,
as it was something they had never seen before.
They witnessed people running away in fright, and grown men laughing
show was unlike any other hour of magic and it was the start of Blaine
beginning to change the very face of magic and the way it was THEN perceived
by the public. For this
alone, magicians in all corners of the globe should be grateful.
Magic was suffering the fate of a corpse laying in a coffin.
It was stale and had not had any real blood pumped into since
Doug Henning in the 70's and before that, Houdini in the early 1900's.
in-your-face special captured people on the street from every walk of
any other magic broadcast of the day, David's 'street magic' focused
solely on the interaction of real audiences in real places.
The final cut was amazing..
deliberately breaking every social boundary he could, he made the show
a riveting success. Although
not a monster hit in ratings, it proved Blaine could produce an arresting
sleight of hand show in a reality based format - and that the character
he adopted for the show worked -the wandering and lonely "maker
of miracles". With this
documentary-esque Special in the can, David Blaine began to make an
international name for himself and dedicated the show to the woman he
loved most, his mother Patrice.
PERFORM DAVID BLAINE STREET MAGIC
Content © 2004 1streetmagic.com. All Rights Reserved.
Not affiliated with David Blaine,
information web site ONLY. David
Blaine Magic Information site created by ellusionist.
Special thanks to RT Showmann for long hours of research and writing. Also written by Brad Christian.
Much thanks to Manoj Kaushal for tireless hours of initial site design and graphic work.
We dig Google.