So You Want to Be a Magician – Part 2


Having as I do a “google customised search” set for Magic and Magicians I’m able to quickly scan the latest bits and pieces from my favourite magic sites. On one particular forum a discussion has appeared (or perhaps continued) about the ‘Best Magicians in history’….. what a powerful question – ‘who was (is) the Greatest Magician in History?”

It would be easier to answer the question if we had some idea as to what criteria we need to use to make this judgment.

Are we talking about popularity or influence on the art or contribution to the art or showmanship?

What about originality and creativity?

I guess much will dictated by your knowledge of the history of magic and your exposure to performers. Many of the younger performers may well cite David Blaine or Derren Brown as they are the wider known names. But again if you are a fan of a particular genre then perhaps the names that come to mind will be those who ‘lead’ in your field or area of interest.

For what it’s worth I’ve compiled a top 5 list under various headings for your consideration, discussion and challenge.

Historically the most relevant magicians are perhaps:

1) Houdini

2) Robert Houdin

3) The Maskelyns

4) David Devant

5) Horace Goldin

Perhaps the top 5 Magicians all performers need to read and study

1) Dai Vernon

2) Eugene Burger

3) Fitzkee

4) Max Maven

5) Jaun Tamariz

For me the top five stage performers who bring emotion, personality and wonder to their shows

1) Jeff McBride

2) David Copperfield

3) Fred Kapps

4) Falkenstien and Willard

5) Tommy Wonder A top five gaggle of close-up workers

1) Eugene Burger

2) Tommy Wonder

3) Michael Ammar

4) Juan Tamariz

5) Ricky Jay

On cards – must reads/see

1) Marlow

2) Jennings

3) Bill Malone

4) Ascanio

5) Lenhardt Green

In terms of Mentalism (my favourite genre)¬†all time greats…

1) Fogel

2) Kreskin

3) Max Maven

4) Anneman

5) Banachek

As far as the degree of impact upon the public perception of magic, my top five would be:-

1) David Blaine – his innovative focus on the audience magicien close-up reaction rather than the performance of the effect

2) Penn and Teller – genius at work. Clever, funny, intelligent

3) Derren Brown – reinvigorating mentalism

4) David Copperfield – still the master of Grand Illusion

5) Paul Daniels – who really redefined the relevance of the magician in the 1970’s – 1990’s

My PERSONAL favourites and key influences

1) Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels

2) Eugene Burger

3) Jeff McBride

4) Max Maven

5) Terri Rogers

So what do you think?

As I was trying to restrict myself to a top five I found that I had to omit magicians who have inspired and entertained me…

David Berglas, Richard Osterlind, Bob Cassidy, Harry Lorraine, Roy Walton, Dunniger, Chan Canasta, Cardini, Michael Close, The Piddingtons, Ron and Nancy Spencer, Corinda…… the list goes on.

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