The Big Changes in Magic

Phil and I started Perfect Magic almost 40 years ago. I posted my first blog 6 years ago. I’ve written almost 300 posts. I went to see what I wrote the first time. All I can say is that there were big changes from 40 years ago to 6 years ago, but from 6 years ago to now, there are no big changes. What changed is who is hot in magic! Many magicians today don’t know who Frank Garcia is although they are familiar with Daniel Garcia. They don’t know who Albert Goshman is but when they buy sponge balls they want Magic by Gosh brand. They never heard of Fantasio but they know about vanishing and appearing candles and canes. Now the names asked for are Shin Lim, Greg Wilson, Jon Allen, Dan and Dave to name a few. Most of the oldtimers are gone, unfortunately.

At one time a legend remained a legend, but now new kids come on the block quickly and often the star today is forgotten tomorrow. We have the internet to thank for that. It’s good and bad. Everyday there is tons of new stuff. We try to weed out the bad.

The other big change is the arrival of Downloads which I have written about. Many people haven’t tried it yet, but those who have really like it as it is much less costly. There are downloads of DVD’s and Books. We have over 1900 downloads to choose from.

Another thing has happened. DVDs that were so popular, sell less than they did as they are often copied and sent to friends etc. Now to combat that, most DVD’s also contain a gimmick so the DVD alone is useless unless you have the gimmick.

If I missed any changes, please comment and add it on. I’d appreciate that and so might the other readers. Thanks!


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12 responses to “The Big Changes in Magic

  1. Here’s a big change I’m watching:

    How about the evolution of the “sales pitch videos” that are used to advertise new magic effects? Often it looks like the people inventing magic effects are spending a ton of time and energy producing the videos to market those effects. I’d like to see less flash in the videos and more substance in the effects being marketed. In fairness, I have no tangible proof that this problem is real as I’m not purchasing nearly as many effects as I did between about 1990 and 2004. But oh my…how flashy the “demo videos” have become! I hope the products are equally good, but I suspect a reasonable percentage of them are not. I’d be interested in your experience with “quality of demo video vs quality of actual product” if you care to comment Evy (and Phil !) However, if you don’t want to go down that road I don’t blame you.

    The evolution of online advertising continues to expand: now we have some of the “internet focused” dealers producing videos about “what’s going on the world of magic this week.” I’m aware of at least one weekly video done by a dealer which takes two or three of the latest effects, discusses them without revealing how they are done, and then gives each effect a “grade” complete with comments. Example: “I’ll give this effect a B+. It’s a good effect but is angle sensitive so it’s best used to create a YouTube video rather than performing in front of a live audience.”

    New computer technology is increasingly being used to create actual magic tricks, and it is also driving how those effects are marketed. As is usual with new computer technology, this is a double edged sword. Magic creators and advertisers who put in hard work will create excellent magic tricks and excellent advertising videos. Others will cut corners with mixed results.

    I suspect it will be a few years before we see advertisements for magic during the Super Bowl !! 😉

    Bottom line: computers are changing magic in a huge way.


  2. …PS: and then there are the internet focused dealers who are cutting deals with well known magicians to produce live magic lectures on the internet. Of course if you don’t catch the live lecture, you can download it later.

    Now you can watch a professional magician do a lecture without ever leaving your home! This is a very powerful thing. However I still believe face to face interaction is better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it has crossed my mind that same effects are based on iphones, like Spider Pro, an updated version of the web. Great effect!

      Live is always better, crowd reaction, etc. but some may perfer the comforts of home.

      Thanks for the imput.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul K. This is Brian, the son. I couldn’t agree more about the dvd’s it seems the first few minutes have nothing to do with magic and everything to do with somebody learning to edit or try to show off their movie creating genius. I have one dvd where the first 7 minutes are of the creator walking through some woods on a dark night, highlited by a full moon, 7 minutes of this on a twenty minute instructional DVD.

    As for the most significant change for me? I’m 40 years older. How on earth did that happen?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Brian 🙂
    Absolutely I remember you and follow your blog as well. Hope you, your family and the dogs are well! As for those 40 years… I totally agree. Now THAT was one heck of a vanish!! LOL


  5. How about the appearance and rise of YouTube.
    It’s become THE place for many beginners to see and learn magic. If this meant that they researched and found archive footage of Tony Slydini, Ed Marlo, David Nixon, Paul Daniels, Wayne Dobson, Doug Henning, David Copperfield or Lance Burton etc but sadly it does not. They seek out other beginners who have badly learned a trick for someone little better and who then explain it really badly with no respect or credit for the origins or creator of that routine. Not only do they NOT credit, most of the time they don’t even know (or care) who it belongs to.

    I know of at least one example of where a pro performer gave a lecture, one that was filmed and going to be released on DVD shortly afterwards. By the following morning there was a bootleg copy of this lecture posted online and doing the rounds!

    To make matters worse …. a large percentage of working performers say “Aw. .. it’s the age we live in. Accept it. Get over it. It’ll drive you on to better things”!


    John Gordon – MagicWorks
    Disapperaing Nightly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is so true. Many kids come in and say they know magic from the internet. We encourage them and their parents to buy The Mark Wilson Complete Course in Magic as it will give them the proper way to do things. They generally comply and thank me for it later. We try to encourage them to read instead of just getting the latest hot trick. Thanks for the input.


    • I find this issue REALLY upsetting. Terrible quality teaching done by people (often kids) who should not be revealing secrets in the first place. And then of course no credit is given to the hard work of the creator(s) of the effects.

      Just occurred to me: I wonder if eBay could be convinced to delete such videos…probably not…First Amendment rights. I suppose copyright infringement might be in play here, but who can afford (or has time) to take this problem to a lawyer? That won’t happen because it’s cost prohibitive.

      Another thought…(I could) create an anonymous YouTube account and post comments on these nasty videos. At least slap the wrist of the person who did the posting. Not sure if you can comment on YouTube videos. I will check that.


      • The problem is that most magic is not covered by any rights protection. Only precise wording or a design protected gimmick. Just copying an ‘idea’ and performing it exactly or similarly is not a legal offence.

        Many people have tried to get copies of their work removed with little or no success. Those that have spent ages (and I mean many many months or writing) and it wore them down.

        WORSE in may ways are the Chinese based ‘companys’ who sell copies of practically any DVD and streaming lecture and printed books as downloadable files for a dollar or two.

        I don’t CARE what age we are now in …. or that there may not be laws to protect, their is common sense and ethical practices. IF ONLY the good guys would get together and have all these people BANNED from magic events, BANNED from buying the original (to copy) and BLACKED from everywhere. Sadly I’ve not found that people are prepared to stand up and be counted.

        John Gordon – MagicWorks
        Disappearing Nightly!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for educating me Mr. Gordon. VERY appreciated!!


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