By Tara Fowler
The “Incredible Burt Wonderstone” conjures itself into theaters this Friday. Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi star as two Vegas magicians who must team up to take on a new breed of illusionist: a street performer played by Jim Carrey. In honor of this new feature (which will find itself dueling a wizard at the box office this weekend), we combed the Internet for five interesting facts you may not know about one of the world’s most elusive arts.
1) Prince Charles is a trained stage magician: The Prince of Wales is a member of Britain’s Magic Circle, having gained entrance in 1975 after performing the famous Cups and Balls trick. Other famous members include Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield, and Jonathan and Charlotte Pendragon.
2) At least 12 magicians have died as a result of attempting the Bullet Catch: Luckily one of them wasn’t Christian Bale. In all seriousness, however, this trick, which involves a bullet being shot at the performer, is one of the deadliest of all. The best-documented death was that of Chung Lung Soo, an American magician who attempted the feat on stage in March 1918, only to be shot dead. Rumors still persist that his death was in fact a murder by a rival magician.
3) One of the most famous performers of the Cups and Balls trick was born without hands or legs: Matthias Buchinger dazzled audiences in the early 1700s with his mastery of the complicated (even for people with fingers) trick.
4) The world’s fastest magician is Eldon D. Wigton: His name might not sound impressive (or maybe it does), but the fact that he performed 225 tricks in two minutes certainly is. Wigton hoped to break his own record one day, but unfortunately he passed away in early March.
5) Speaking of records: In 2008, Walter Rolfo and Piero Ustignani pulled 300 rabbits out of a hat. The most magicians in a magic show was 106. The most expensive magic show ever cost over $28 million and was put on by Siegfried and Roy. The most magic tricks performed underwater (yep, there’s a record for that) was 13, staged by Alessandro Politi in 2009. And the records don’t stop there… There’s also “Most Glasses Broken During a Mind Control Stage Illusion,” “Lowest Death Dive Escape,” and more at the Guinness World Records website.
And because there’s no other way to close out a post about magic than to share David Bowie aka Jareth the Goblin King’s “Magic Dance” from “Labyrinth” with you, we’ll leave you to it.