SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 08: Magician David Copperfield launches his first Australian tour in 10 years, 'David Copperfield � An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion', at Sheraton On The Park on August 8, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

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Magic has been with us for a long time. The playing cards magicians often use date back to the early 1300s and the dress of the figures on the King, Queen and Jack are representative of the times. Royalty would have “court jesters” that would perform magic and entertain the Royal families.

It didn’t take long for swindlers to realize the value of magic to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. One popular game was called “Three Card Monte.” Where the person is shown three cards that are moved around and to win you guess where the right card ends up.

Here Are A Few Fun Facts About Magic

  • As you might expect, David Copperfield is the big winner in yearly income taking in close to $70 million per year.
  • Harry Houdini is probably the most famous illusionist ever. He was also president of the Society of American Magicians 1917-1926. It started in 1902 with 24 members.
  • Magicians Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn (“Siegfried & Roy”) staged the most expensive magic show in history with a price tag of $35.7 million. Dozens of wild animals, a fire breathing mechanical dragon and a cast of 60 dancers and performers worked during the 5,750 shows in Las Vegas.
  • David Copperfield may be the money winner but magician Doug Henning is the TV winner. Over 50 million viewers saw the first of his eight “World of Magic” one-hour NBC specials in December of 1975.
  • The longest running TV magic show was Dick “Mr. Magic” Williams, WMC-TV’s “Magicland.” The 1,200 shows aired over 23 years. January 1966 to January 1989.
  • Lots of magicians use birds, rabbits and other animals in their acts but 80,000 animals in one magic act? Penn and Teller produced 80,000 bees during one of their TV specials.
  • Magicians are no strangers to danger. Australian Robert Gallup was leg-manacled, handcuffed, chained, placed in a secured mailbag and locked in a steel cage. He was dropped out of a C-123 transport plane 17,000 feet above the Mojave Desert. Traveling at 140 mph he freed himself, retrieved the parachute attached to the outside of the cage, in time to land safely. Don’t try this at home.

Some Final Thoughts

Magicians have a code of never revealing how tricks are done except to another magician and even then the secret may remain a secret. I think all of us at one time or another have delighted in amazing our friends with some simple card trick we learned somewhere.

We like to be amazed. How does David Copperfield make a jet plane disappear or walk through the Great Wall of China? How do you saw a woman in half? Please don’t try that at home. What are your favorite magic tricks? Or, is it real magic?

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