With a flick of the hand, a wave of the wand, and with a single word, magicians make things disappear or appear. Who wouldn’t be entertained by magic? Everyone loves magic shows. As more and more magic shows appear on television and stage, and even on the Internet, our appetite for these shows increased.
Here are the best magicians of the modern times that followed the steps of Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, a clock maker turned magician and automaton maker.
Penn and Teller
The hosts of the well-received and popular Showtime series Bullshit! challenge pseudoscience and the paranormal. The duo are highly talented illusionists doing tricks involving nail guns, catching bullets in their teeth, and hanging themselves.
Watch the famous duo in the video below.
Dynamo is one of the new breeds of magicians who do their tricks out in the open. Known as street magicians, Dynamo and magicians like him use minimum props to perform their crafts. The magician came to prominence via his documentary show Dynamo: Magician Impossible. His famous tricks include walking on water on the Thames, transforming snow into diamonds, and freezing water of a fountain.
Watch Dynamo in action here.
This magician uses his show to shine a light on religious charlatans and quacks. Brown was once a Christian now an atheist who uses suggestion and misdirection to mesmerize his audiences. One of his famous tricks is when he guessed which gun barrel contained a bullet during a Russian roulette stunt.
Here’s Darren Brown tricking people.
The Great Lafayette
The Great Lafayette is considered to be the highest-paid entertainer of his time. His real name is Sigmund Neuberger, and his famous trick involves swapping places with a live lion. While doing this trick at the Empire Palace theater in 1911, the flamboyant magician met his end when a stage lamp fell and ignited the set. His audience thought that it was all part of his show and later found out about the tragic event.
Criss Angel is both a hated and loved figure in the world of magic. This daredevil does his magic tricks both on stage and on the streets. He used the television to mass-market his wares and is considered to be the most commercially successful magicians ever. Criss Angel was awarded as the magician of the year three times by Magic Castle Hollywood, and he signed a ten-year contract to perform with the world famous Cirque du Soleil.
Criss Angel doing a magic trick.
David Blaine called this magician as his greatest teacher and watching him in action certainly doesn’t disappoint. A master in card tricks, Ricky Jay is considered one of the best in the business. The former Wall Street accountant, barman, and professional gambler is also an actor appearing on David Mamet‘s films.
Watch Ricky Jay’s famous Card Control in the video below.
Houdini is the most famous name in the magic industry. The Budapest-born escapologist was brought up in America. Known for staging shows where he is chained or jailed and escaping from the shackles, Houdini also used his magic to expose spiritualism. Aside from that, Houdini is alleged to be a spy of the British government and supplied the government information about the governments of the countries where he held his shows.
Watch the legendary Houdini in the video below.
Considered to be the Gentleman Pickpocket, Apollo Robbins is a master pickpocket. He even fooled Jimmy Carter‘s secret service in 2001 when he picked their pockets of Carter’s itinerary, an agent’s badge, and the keys to Carter’s motorcade. After that, Robbins is now advising the US defense department on how to teach military personnel about cognition and deception.
Watch Apollo Robbins demonstrating his skills.
Sadowitz shows are full of profanities causing him never to appear in mainstream television shows. Widely considered as the best close-up magician in the world, Sadowitz blends gags and trickery to make his magic work.
Here’s Sadowitz’s famous “Come Together” trick performed by an amateur magician.
Perhaps the most famous magician today, Blaine started from doing card tricks and illusions. As he got more famous, the magician transitioned to elaborate public imprisonments. Some of his performances include spending three days entombed inside six tons of ice, being buried beneath a tank of water in New York, and spending 44 days in a suspended glass box over the Thames. Still, Blaine is more famous for his street magics.
Here’s David Blaine doing magic with Harrison Ford.