Thursday, 14 July 2011


My son and I are loving the Penn and Teller: Fool Us show.
Having hung out with magical peeps over the years, and having dug out a fair few books on illusions, I can often figure out how the tricks performed for Penn and Teller are done. Heck, I even have a magnetic ring of my own! (It was given to me by a friend, along with the warning: Keep it well away from credit cards.)
Richard Bellars had me stumped. If you missed it, prepare to be boggled...

So what d'you think? I reckon I've cracked it...

Many tricks rely on a force. There are a handful of dead simple ways to force any playing card upon your victim. In these instances, as P&T recently commented, whatever occurs beyond the force is trivial. If I know beforehand that my victim is going to end up with the seven of spades, I can pre-book a Lancaster bomber painted with the seven of spades to fly over my victim at the very moment I guess their chosen card incorrectly.
In this case, I can't believe that the results were forced. (That said, I have seen Derren Brown force a dart, but there could be any number of ways he could have achieved that result outside of a studio filled with a live audience.)
Ergo, the results were written down after the event and placed into Richard's shoe.
When and how?

What's with the briefcase then? Richard initially alludes to his prediction being placed in the briefcase, and later asks Teller to bring 'the prediction up to the table'.
Misdirection right?
Well, I'm guessing it serves partly as misdirection, but it's a double misdirection because it primarily serves as a means of bringing a 'table' onto the stage. Yep, some stage-hand brings a table onto the stage after the results are known. We don't get to see this because the camera has cut to the audience. And P&T don't notice because they're walking back to their seats. But you can catch the stage-hand leaving the stage at 6:15/6:16. (I find tables easier to spot than police stations.) It's a seemingly insignificant occurrence, and all but identical to how P&T wangled a victim's mobile phone off stage in the pilot show. (It was then inserted into a fish backstage.) Furthermore, with no hint of the prediction being stored in his shoe, all attention is focused on the briefcase.
I'm going to guess that, hidden in the table's pedestal is a shoe containing the 'prediction' which has just been written off-stage. Sure, Richard ultimately slips his shoe off with ease, although he feigns an amount of resistance. Those laces, which he sees fit to crowbar into his script, really aren't doing their job too well eh! Note how his feet are obscured by the pedestal at 6:31 and how he looks down at his feet. Once he has left the pedestal, he nervously checks his feet several more times (notably at 6:50), presumably to ensure that the shoe is on properly and that the prediction isn't hanging out. Finally, check out one last nervous glance at the pedestal at 10:41 the moment Richard has shaken hands with Jonathan to scuttle away.
What d'you reckon? Nice trick with some wonderful choreography and a great plot. :o)
Now to figure out that blasted spirit cabinet...

1 comment:

Tor Hershman said...

.[____].---{Your blog's grapic 'tis too cool}