TLC's "What Is Magic?"-Is David Blaine Doing Magic or Trying to Kill Himself?

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The Problem With Magic shows

The problem with magic shows, as I ponder, is that one can only stand them for so long until the desire to figure out how the tricks are done so overwhelm the audience that a long magic show begins to bore. Or maybe it's just me.

Over my many years I've seen magicians make entire ships disappear. Disappearing humans and tigers is so yesterday nowadays it seems. Card tricks and rabbits in a hat are the stuff of parlor games.

So I watched David Blaine's "What Is Magic?" on the Discovery network with not a whole lot of enthusiasm. David Blaine's brand of magic is a bit simplistic with an added element of danger. Blaine does some really unusual "tricks" that amazed even my jaded self.

First, Blaine does a lot with a deck of cards. While that might sound simple and boring , Blaine did some really amazing things with that deck of cards. His main schtick was to have the recipient of the magic trick to somehow write their name on the card in question. He'd get a participant to sign, say, the Jack of Hearts. He'd put the signed jack of hearts back into a full deck than he'd begin a slow shuffle. Intriguingly the deck would begin to "shorten" as Blaine called it. It was easily viewable the sight of what was a thick deck of 52 was gradually getting thinner and thinner until it appeared to be only ten cards left in the deck. And sure enough the jack of heart, signed by the participant and you can't do such a thing in advance as the audience is expected to understand, could be found in the remaining few cards.

Well I was impressed.

Blaine performs these magic tricks in interesting places. Usually there's some sort of crowd around and the crowds are generally not attending a grand opera is what I'm saying here. He gets a group of yucksters, he does his magic trick, he impresses everyone so well that everyone begins high-fiving, jiving and laughing with the joy of the mystery.

Tricks with cards done on the street with most ordinary people as participants is one thing and has an allure. But Blaine adds another element to the show. He does dangerous stunts.

The night I watched Blaine actually caught a bullet inside of a little cup he'd place in his mouth. He also allowed a big boxer type of fellow punch him in the stomach as hard as he could. By me the punch in the stomach was more amazing than the bullet show, more on why in a bit.

The big boxer guy did punch Blaine's stomach with a force that the viewer could plainly see. Blaine endured the punch handily and even asked for another punch to eliminate any skeptics.

I imagine the man has figured out how to harden his abdominals muscles to a point where he effectively handles such a massive punch so long as he is prepared to receive it. Still, that sure takes some discipline and training I must imagine.

As for the bullet in the mouth cup trick, by me the greater "magic" in that trick is the guy actually shooting the gun! Getting a bullet to go from a loaded gun into a small cup which happens to be in someone's mouth seems to be a greater trick than being the guy with the cup in the mouth to receive the bullet. I understand that should the guy firing the gun make a mistake it would be the guy holding the cup in his mouth that would suffer the pain of losing an eyeball, maybe dying. But the greater talent, at least as my very non-magical self sees it, is the guy doing the aiming.

Here's a link to a short video of Blaine taking that bullet in his mouth.

I've frankly had enough of David Blaine's magic show as I'm really not into magic all that much save for once a while, when I'm at a big theme park that features a magic show or maybe preparing to do a review on a magic show.  Fox instance.

But for zealous magic fans, David Blaine's show is the one to watch.

When I watched David Blaine's What is Magic? Show it was on the TLC channel, Thursday nights at 10 e.

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