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Magic in the movies

Here's something I learned just today. Did you know that the fictional superhero, The Shadow was co-created by professional magician, Walter B. Gibson? He apparently wrote over 300 stories for The Shadow in the 1930s and 40s back when it was in pulp magazine and serial form.

As a magician, Gibson wrote over 100 books on magic and was even a ghost writer for some books by Harry Houdini, Howard Thurston and Dunninger to name but a few.

The Shadow would, of course, grow in popularity over the years and in 1994 was turned into a feature film starring Alec Baldwin as The Shadow.

It's interesting to me how magicians can become involved in other forms of entertainment, such as theatre, film and television. I myself have recently become involved in public speaking for students and sports teams. Learning about how magicians present themselves and think differently can inspire them and to think outside the box.

Magicians can also be hired for more practical work in film. For instance, the late, legendary magician, David Berglas was hired to work on the James Bond film, Octopussy. There is a scene in the film that takes place at an auction and Bond (Roger Moore) has to secretly switch a Fabergé egg for an identical fake one. Again, I didn't know until recently that the switch we see in the film is genuine and Moore was taught by Berglas.

There are also magicians who have actually appeared in movies and, once again, I refer you to a James Bond film. In the film Tomorrow Never Dies, the late Ricky Jay, an exquisite card magician, plays a villain named Gupta. It's unfortunate though, because Ricky was hired for one particular reason.

His speciality act was 'cards as weapons' and he could fling playing cards from his hands at such speed and accuracy that he could pierce fruit and even wood!

Ricky was hired because his ability to throw cards would have made a great weapon and gimmick for a Bond henchman. Sadly, although scenes of Ricky using this ability were shot for the film, they were all cut.

Here is a deleted scene of Ricky using his cards as weapons for the film:

There's a great little video on YouTube about David's involvement with Octopussy here:

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