I’m not a magician.
I don’t even play one on TV.
But I do enjoy magic,
–especially the vintage posters
from the golden age of stage magicians —
There’s something very compelling
about them that I find irresistible.
In the history of stage magic,
there is this legend —
it’s more like a curse —
— a cursed magic trick .
The trick is called ‘the bullet catch’ —
and it’s ‘curse’,
if you believe in such things, has killed—
— you know, like DEAD —
at least 12 very talented
and skilled magicians
who have attempted to perform it.
Basically, the illusionists
keep getting killed by the illusion.
… some trick, huh ?
Harry Houdini was said to be considering
adding the trick to his repertoire,
when his friend and fellow magician
Harry Kellar gave him this advice:
” Don’t try the bullet-catching trick.
There is always the biggest kind of risk
that some dog will ‘job’ you.
And we can’t afford to lose Houdini.
Harry, listen to your friend Kellar,
who loves you as his own son, and don’t do it! “
And he never did.
But plenty of others did try it.
Another one bites the dust.
What’s supposed to happen
is that the magician stands
on one end of the stage holding
some kind of fragile object in front of him,
while at the other end,
a marksman takes steady aim
with a loaded gun
and a specially marked real bullet—
—- and then fires,
from about 30 feet away.
(That doesn’t sound at all dangerous, does it?)
the bullet crashes
through the fragile object
( a plate, a glass, etc )
the magician is holding
in front of him,
but he magically catches the
offending bullet between his teeth.
(I’m not sure you need
all that lead in your diet… )
if the Muscleheaded Blog was one
of your typical media outlets,
— you’d now get a 10 minute lecture
on how you should never
try any of this at home.
But my philosophy is that :
if someone’s dumb enough
to wanna try this at home,
— let’s let ’em go right ahead and do it.
The gene pool always could
use some chlorine, ya know.
I’m pretty sure that
none of that would apply
to the obviously intelligent,
and very discerning readers
of this here blog, anyway.
enough kissing ass….
— back to the Bullet Catch Trick.
The fact that this trick
keeps going wrong,
and killing the magicians that try it
has obviously caused
some consternation among performers,
and as I indicated,
has caused the gag
to acquire a mystique,
— a mythology — if you will,
all it’s own.
The most famous example
of this trick going completely
horribly horrible was in London, in 1918.
A very popular magician of the time,
— an American by the stage name
of Chung Ling Soo
(no, he wasn’t of Asian descent)
decided to use the trick in his act —
guns being guns,
…. and bullets being bullets, well…
It weren’t pretty.
In front of a crowd of over
2000 paying customers, too.
All that blood ain’t good for business, ya know.
So, the trick went pretty
much silent for about 70 years….
A couple people trying it here and there,
….. some hits, some misses ….
It was revived for a TV special in 2012,
by magician Steve Cohen.
Now, this guy IS really skilled,
a student and teacher of magic —
— so this ‘curse’ was finally
gonna be put to bed for good, right?
think that if you want.
On a New York City shooting range,
with a small audience in attendance
and cameras taping every second of the event,
Cohen took his place
in front of a glass plate,
and a guy with a Glock 9 mm
about 30 feet away —
and when he dropped his handkerchief,
the shooter took his shot.
Screaming in pain,
(actually, the word
‘squealing’ comes to mind)
Steve Cohen hit the floor,
and was quickly taken to the hospital —
He had been hit by glass shards from the panel,
— as the bullet shattered it.
He ended up bruised,
and swearing off the trick.
The curse continues ? ?
Give me the lady
with the disappearing dress
trick every time.
(Keep the boots, please)
It’s magic, man.