Magicians on The Big Screen
Updated: May 12
Magic has come a long way. It was once understood as a godly supernatural power; then, debunked by scientists and philosophers who found the whole idea absurd; then, being frowned upon during the skepticism and uncertainty the turmoil of war brought and now, being considered a respected art form that is performed on numerous stages and platforms.
In the modern day, magic is art. It is a form of entertainment that people understand requires discipline, practice and a special skillset. From bigger arenas in Vegas to children’s birthday parties, magic has become a performative art that requires audience participation and attention. I mean, who would say no to a good magic show?
Looking at this grand trajectory of how magic has evolved over time and in people’s minds, check out my list of favorite Magicians on the screen!
Perhaps, one of the most famous magicians of all time, Copperfield has performed magic since the 1970s, with his TV specials reaching millions of viewers every time. He was one of the firsts to bring this art form to the mainstream audiences and even today, millions of people know his name.
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are a comedic magic duo who have been performing together since the 1970s. They have their own TV series, "Penn & Teller: Fool Us," in which other magicians try to fool them with their tricks.
Angel is known for his daredevil stunts as well as his magic tricks. He had his own TV series, "Mindfreak," which aired from 2005 to 2010. Criss has also been named “Magician of the Year” an unprecedented six times, including from The Magic Castle, and was the youngest magician inducted into the International Magicians Society Hall of Fame.
Brown is a British mentalist who is known for his psychological illusions. He has had several TV series, including "Derren Brown: Mind Control" and "Derren Brown: Apocalypse." Derren began his UK television career in December of 2000 with a series of specials called Mind Control. In the UK, he is the most famous name in psychological manipulation. His impressive (and long!) list of tricks include playing Russian Roulette live, convincing people to commit armed robbery, successfully predicting the National Lottery, motivating a shy man to land a packed passenger plane at 30,000 feet and hypnotising a man to assassinate Stephen Fry.
Burton is a classic magician who has been performing since the 1980s. He had his own TV special, "Lance Burton: Master Magician," which aired in 1992. His journey as a magician began when he was nearly 6 years old and partook in a trick with Harry Collins, who was performing at the Christmas party Burton and his mother went to. From the moment Collins pulled out silver coins from behind Burton’s ears, he knew he wanted to do something just like that and entertain people along the way. Now, he is one of the most notable magicians of all time.
Blaine is a modern-day magician who is known for his endurance stunts as well as his magic tricks. He has had several TV specials, including "David Blaine: Real or Magic" and "David Blaine: Beyond Magic." He might also be one of the most recognized magicians of modern time, with his several appearances in shows and YouTube viewers.
These are just a few of the many famous magicians who have appeared on television over the years. If you know any more, don’t forget to leave a comment.
And if you’re in Washington DC and want to check out a Magic show yourself, come and have your mind blown at my show The Good Liar: Brian Curry.