News10 movie aficionado Jonathan Mumm's weekly post on all things film.
To help publicize their movies, the Hollywood studios will often send promotional items to critics and entertainment reporters to help pique their interest in their latest release. So this week what should arrive in the mail from Warner Brothers but "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Mageic Kit!"
In the movie "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone", Steve Carell's character is a bullied and lonely as a young boy until he gets a magic set for his birthday and teams up with a pal who will turn out to be Steve Buscemi. The two of them become a successful stage magic act in Las Vegas until their popularity is threatened by the sudden appearance of the new "street magician"(Jim Carrey) who specializes in dangerous and outrageous stunts.
The arrival of the kit brought back memories of my own childhood when I was fascinated by feats of magic and read all I could about Harry Houdini. My best friend's brother was an amateur magician and put on great shows in their basement. Then my own brother took it up and became quite good at it.
He used to get catalogs full of magic tricks from companies like Top Hat in the United States and Supreme Magic in England and there would be quite a bit of excitement in the household when his latest acquisition would arrive.
I dabbled in magic a little myself and did a few card tricks, but Fred performed such amazing tricks as the Linking Rings, the Floating Ball, the Disappearing Milk in a Pitcher!
Looking in my Burt Wonderstone kit, I found the Disappearing Scarf, practiced it a few times in front of the mirror and then tried it out on the kids assembled at our family's Little Theatre in Roseville for play practice. They were intrigued, mystified! "Do it again! Do it again!"
A bit heady from my obvious success, I complied and did it again, thus violating one of the first tenants of magic: Never do the same trick twice for the same audience!
Yes, this time they figured it and groaned at how simple the solution was. And that is why a magician never reveals the secret of the trick to anyone but another magician. The fun for an audience is the mystification, the "how did you do that?" sense of wonder. Once they know how it's done, it can't help but be a let down because, after all, it is just a trick.
Although, come to think of it, the secret of the Disappearing Scarf is actually revealed in the movie!
By Jonathan Mumm, email@example.com