I talked about the quantity of magic on television in another essay "Is Magic in Another Golden Age?"
So it's been a good year for magic, and who were the most influential and dominant magicians? Here's my take, in reverse order. Also, you can watch a video of the top ten here.
10: Shin Lim
Crowned this year, Lim is the reigning FISM World Champion in Close up Card Magic and he made a significant splash on television’s Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us.” Lim’s extraordinary use of dramatic smoke and his stunning transpositions not only fooled Penn & Teller, he created a viral video that was a must see by magicians in 2015.
9: Justin Flom
We live in an internet age and if there’s an internet magician, it’s Justin Flom. He was the brains behind SyFi’s “Wizard Wars.” And with numerous followers on social media and YouTube, he continually releases online videos that are popular, flashy and baffling.
8. Justin Willman
Willman continues to tour and perform baffling magic on television. In 2015, he had his own magic special on Comedy Central called “Sleight of Mouth.” I think Willman is the “next big thing.” And who would have known that someone could create a magic viral video at his own wedding?
7. Mat Franco
After his win in 2014 on “America’s Got Talent,” this year, Franco launched his own Las Vegas show. Based on his AGT win, he’s one of the best known magicians in the world and look for lots more from this talented artist.
Teacher to others and a master magician and entertainer, McBride always makes his mark in the world of magic.
No list of the top ten magicians during the last ten years is complete without Jeff McBride.
Known for his television series Magician Impossible, English magician Dynamo continues to tour, perform and make television appearances. Based on the quantity of press that Dynamo receives and his continued popularity, he makes this list.
Performing daily in his own Las Vegas show, Mac King has created a hilarious stage persona. Through his "Mac King Comedy Magic Show," this amazing comedy magician continues to be a magic ambassador to the masses.
3. Franz Harary
Here’s someone that truly thinks “big.” Long known for his “Mega Magic,” which consists of large scale illusions and staging, Harary is an international star. In 2015, he produced and launched his “House of Magic” in Macau where he stars in his own 90-minute theatrical illusion show. If it has anything to do with Franz Harary, you know that it’s big and spectacular.
2. Penn & Teller
Known as “the bad boys of magic,” Penn & Teller star in their own Las Vegas show, are television personalities, and household names. Their “Fool Us” television series showcases excellent magic performed by themselves and other magicians. It’s the most entertaining show on television that features magic. Look for more in 2016 as the show has been renewed for another season.
1. David Copperfield
He’s a household name and stars in his own Las Vegas illusion and magic show. Copperfield is immensely popular and makes numerous appearances on television as a featured guest. With his entertaining and theatrical presentations and ability to connect with audiences through comedy as well as drama, no one presents magic like David Copperfield.
After reviewing some 150 products in 2015, here's my list of the best of the best. You can watch a video of the top ten here.
10. Bold Project by Justin Miller, Volumes 2 & 3
Miller’s DVDs promise close-up with “bold presentations, methods and reactions.” I discovered powerful, well thought through effects with a variety of everyday objects and cards, and Miller loves transpositions. Add his thorough explanations that offer lots of insights that can apply to your magic, and in these DVDs, you’ll find lots to like.
9. Center Stage by John Guastaferro
With Center Stage, Guastaferro offers a collection of fourteen excellent routines for stand up and close up. Some are new and many have been previously published but feature improvements. There’s a great multiple card revelation, four ace assembly, mystery card, a ring on straw and an unusual card effect with a luggage tag. I discovered lots of winning effects.
8. Kids Show Masterplan by Danny Orleans
In this great book, Orleans covers the real work of being successful in the art of performing magic for families and kids. It discusses topics that you don’t find in other books such as the psychology of working with kids, creating a character, adapting to rooms, the selection of tricks and structuring a show. He even teaches tricks and presents marketing ideas.
7. Freedom Writer by Mark Allen and Paul Harris
We’ve all played with swami writers and here’s an innovative new concept.
Just as the ads state: “You never have to fumble to find the gimmick. You never stick anything onto your finger or hide anything in your hands. Your fingers and hands are always empty.” When you want to perform the classic prediction effect, Freedom Writer is waiting, in place and ready to go when you need it.
6. A Thought Well Stolen by Ben Harris
This routine successfully merges two powerful effects: “Any Card at Any Number” and Paul Curry’s “Out of This World” into a single effect that creates an amazing experience. I like this one and it can be a great addition and even a closer to your show.
5. Chardistry by Daniel Chard
On this first rate DVD, Chard teaches ten routines with playing cards. Many are outstanding and they range in difficulty from mostly self working to those with knuckle busting moves. There’s a strong comedy opener where randomly selected cards form jokes. I liked the “Card under Box” and “Collectors” routines, and effects where cards are burned and cards lose their pips. And for those who love knuckle busters, Chard teaches a production of all of the cards in a suit, in order, which ends in a kicker finish.
4. Unreal by Josh Jay
An excellent title, this four-disc set offers a performance of Jay’s one-man show, and teaches for stand-up and close-up, as well as. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jay’s impressive and entertaining one-man show. (Keep in mind that not all of the tricks in the show are taught here.) What he does teach is a wealth of great effects for a variety of skill levels.
I liked Jay’s bill to impossible place, and you’ll learn strong transpositions and triumphs, predictions, a great oil and water, anniversary waltz and lots more.
3. Wordsmyth by Francis Menotti
“Wordsmyth” is something of a book test that’s been combined with Scrabble letter tiles to create a seemingly coincidental, against the odds, revelation. Menotti used this routine to fool Penn & Teller on the “Fool Us” television show. “Wordsmyth” is amazing mentalism that features inherently interesting props, is refreshingly different, and is a fooler that brilliantly and seamlessly combines several magic methods. What is there not to like?
2. Will Fern: Bring It!
Here’s a title from a worker who has amazing skills and hilarious comic timing. The capstone is Fern’s take on memorized deck, which amazes everyone, lay people and magicians alike, and is immensely entertaining.
He also teaches coins-through-table, a great five-phased coins across, his handling of classic “Chicago Opener,” and “Card on Seat.” It’s another great title in Anthony Asimov’s “Black Rabbit Series.”
1.Card Under Glass by Doc Eason
“Doc Eason Card Under Glass” is an outstanding DVD. During Eason’s 20-minute show, and at four unexpected moments, cards mysteriously end up under a drink. And Eason enhances and surrounds the core effect with transpositions, ambitious card, triumph, 3-card monte and more - all of which are entertaining routines in themselves. And you get to learn these. The DVD even discusses how to successfully perform magic and teaches the necessary sleights. This is what made “Card Under Glass” the best magic product of 2015.