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Thread: America's Got Talent trick - how?

  1. #1
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    America's Got Talent trick - how?

    OK, on America's Got Talent last night, one of the magicians, (Nathan Blick?), did a very clever trick. He's done variations of it in several appearances, but less concentrate on last night, because it was simple and I can't figure it out.

    He comes onto the stage pulling a wagon - sort of an oversized Radio Flyer-type wagon, with a structure on it the size of a small telephone booth. The structure is made of clear plastic/vinyl, and made to look like an oversized Barbie package. He pulls up a small curtain which was straddling the structure at the bottom, leaves it there for a second, pulls it away, and reveals a woman (dressed as a Barbie figure, leading to a bit of comedy schtick thereafter).

    The wagon appears much too small to conceal the woman in it's base. The structure has clear walls all the way around, and he does a 360 loop as he brings it on stage so you can see there's nothing unusual behind it. It's transparent so it appears there can be no false walls or anything. The wagon base is elevated from the floor so it appears impossible that the girl came up from the floor, and you can see over the top so it appears impossible she came down from above.

    I had it Tivo'd and watched in slo-mo and saw nothing obvious...

    So how'd he do it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Gallant
    This picture answers more than words ever could.

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    My guess is by one of the methods that you've dismissed as being unlikely. Probably the wagon is big enough to conceal the girl, or you just think that the case is transparent, etc.

    I don't really see what is entertaining about this stuff. I find it more infuriating than anything else. I mean, there are any number of feats of strength or intellect that I can say (like with magic) "how did he do that?" I have no idea "how" Lance Armstrong won the Tour all those times for instance other than that he practiced riding a bike just like Criss Angel practices doing all those "amazing" tricks.

    I mean, if you ask Lance "how did you do it" he'll explain it to you. If you ask Criss Angel he'll act like a jerk and tell you it's a "secret." So to me, magic is just the art of keeping things a secret, which I don't find entertaining.

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    Account closed How To Go
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    The only magicians I like are the ones who can show you how the trick works, and it's still awesome. Close-up magicians who excel at sleight-of-hand are great, as are insane card wizards like Ricky Jay -- ie, stuff where it's the mind-blowing skill at their art that makes it great, rather than silly gizmos or hidden wires or whatever.

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    Rumors have been swirling for a long time that Lance has some secrets too...

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    Some sort of mirrored screen perhaps?

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    Battle Dancer How To Go Wholly Schmidt's Avatar
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    Man, my roommate was watching Criss Angel when I came home last night. I hate hate hate that guy. Not my roommate.

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    Cyril Takayama is more entertaining than both Chris Angel and David Blaine.

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    It's a shame Randy Pitchford from Gearbox doesn't post here, he could probably tell you as he used to be a magician. I remember once in the pub he showed me how to do David Blaine's levitation trick, and it blew my mind at the time, perhaps partly because it was so incredibly simple. I subsequently repeated it for several impressed friends and relatives, although I think enough people know how it's done now that it's hard to get away with.

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    99% the box was rigged so that it looked empty from both sides, but wasn't. 1% there was a color-matching curtain behind him, and some drapery ensued.

    H.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Whitta
    I think enough people know how it's done now that it's hard to get away with.
    Is that the one were you slip your leg out from a slit in your pants?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wong
    Is that the one were you slip your leg out from a slit in your pants?
    No, it's the one where you stand away from your audience at a 45-degree angle, and then raise yourself up on the ball of your furthermost foot while keeping the foot that's facing the audience perfectly straight. If you get the angle right the audience can't see where the ball of your foot is making contact with the floor and it doesn't indeed appear that you are levitating.

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    6th Grade Spelling Bee Loser World's End Supernova Rimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yurislave
    Rumors have been swirling for a long time that Lance has some secrets too...
    Yes, and they're always started by the same person, who claims he said something in a room full of 10 other people who think she's batshit insane. Well, except her husband, who keeps saying "LANCE DOPED OMGWTF"

    How many tests does he have to take before people get the picture?

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    Are you now or have you ever been a cyclist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rimbo
    How many tests does he have to take before people get the picture?
    No more, but if Floyd Landis flunks one, Lance goes down too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpoofyChop
    I don't really see what is entertaining about this stuff. I find it more infuriating than anything else. I mean, there are any number of feats of strength or intellect that I can say (like with magic) "how did he do that?" I have no idea "how" Lance Armstrong won the Tour all those times for instance other than that he practiced riding a bike just like Criss Angel practices doing all those "amazing" tricks.
    As with special effects for movies, "magic" stage effects are often far more dull and unentertaining to explain. It's far more fun to watch the effect and be amazed by it, than to learn how it was accomplished, in most cases. Often, if you're interested in how a director was able to pull off a "trick" in one of their movies, all you have to do is buy a specialized trade magazine or their "Special Edition" DVD to find out. With most commercially successful magicians, it's no different. Walk into a magic store and buy the instructions or a DVD. It's intellectual property just like a song or a video game. There's nothing to get infuriated about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrel Killer
    No more, but if Floyd Landis flunks one, Lance goes down too.
    How's that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Whitta
    No, it's the one where you stand away from your audience at a 45-degree angle, and then raise yourself up on the ball of your furthermost foot while keeping the foot that's facing the audience perfectly straight. If you get the angle right the audience can't see where the ball of your foot is making contact with the floor and it doesn't indeed appear that you are levitating.
    Ha, that sounds like the old "watch me pull my finger off trick."

    I had a cousin who would make it appear as if he yanked his right pointer finger off at the second knuckle and then reattach it. It was really just his left thumb that "came off." He had his finger curled into this fist.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by K0NY
    There's nothing to get infuriated about.
    Have you seen Criss Angel? He's very maddening.

  20. #20
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    So, he pulls out a giant wagon and you wonder how the magic gets done? I'm going to take a guess and say inside the giant wagon.

  21. #21
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    A good rule of thumb for figuring out how a magician does a particular trick - if he or she goes to great lengths to show how a fairly obvious method of accomplishing the trick COULDN'T POSSIBLY be happening here, that's usually exactly what is happening.

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    Here's the trick. Dunno where the girl was.

  23. #23
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    She was in the base of the wagon. The tallness of the glass case makes the wagon look shorter than it is: it's large enough to hold Barbie if she lies down on her back, with the hollow wooden box hiding her knees. Note the sequence of events just before she appears:

    1. He raises the curtain to hide the lower half of the glass case. At this point Barbie removes her legs from the box and gets herself in a position behind the curtain.
    2. He removes the box on the platform next to the case. He carries it to the side of the case for several seconds, ostensibly so he can stand on it to raise the curtain to the top of the case. Really, it's to give Barbie enough time to place herself fully behind the case in a standing squat.
    3. He raises the curtain to the top of the glass case. Barbie, hidden by the curtain, stands up at the same time.
    4. He drops the curtain.

    I don't know if that's exactly how it was done, but it seems doable.

    (Edit: Fixed duping error.)
    Last edited by SRFisher; 08-03-2006 at 09:30 PM.

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    SR - I think you're right.

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    Last night they had a different act on - "Quick Change".

    It was a woman with a male assistant (the latter didn't do much - basically a reversal of the traditional male magician, female assistant). Over the course of the ~two minute act, the woman did a wardrobe change about 6 times, each time progressively faster and with progressively less obscuring her while she did it.

    i.e. the first time, she went into a booth and emerged about 3 seconds later in a new outfit. Not all that shocking - a tearaway top outfit or something like that.

    But, as I said, the changes got faster and less obscured. On the last one, her male assistant dropped a bag of oversized glitter over her, and in the time it took for the glitter to reach the floor (~1 second), her outfit changed. I watched it frame-by-frame in Tivo and am still not sure how it was done.

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    Phil, I am pretty sure that act has been on youtube for a while - search for "Quick Change Artist".

    I agree it's pretty impressive, especially the glitter (really it's like silver confetti, though the pieces appeared to be more or less poker-chip sized so maybe it's mutant confetti).

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    Betty is a powerful wizard!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_Stein
    On the last one, her male assistant dropped a bag of oversized glitter over her, and in the time it took for the glitter to reach the floor (~1 second), her outfit changed. I watched it frame-by-frame in Tivo and am still not sure how it was done.
    I just watched it on youtube ... pretty neat. It looks like on the glitter change, she's wearing the same dress and it just changes color. Could she be ripping a very thin red filter off? It's enticing to think that maybe it's a liquid crystal dress and she just has to switch it to white, or that the glitter contained nano-lint that sticks instantly to the dress fabric.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_Stein
    Last night they had a different act on - "Quick Change".
    Well at the risk of sounding like a wishy washy idiot, I was completely bowled over by Quick Change last night. Honestly I wouldn't really call it "magic" because there's no hint of the smugness that I always dislike in the magic I've seen. Dunno.

    Anyway, loved it loved it loved it.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_Stein
    SR - I think you're right.

    Yep, looking back at it, he's 99.99% right. He checks her position before he lifts the box, and you can see the wagon shaking during her reposition. I was thinking trapdoor, but the wagon answer is much easier, and thus much more likely.

    H.

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