MAGIC MENTOR MONDAY: Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

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Welcome to MAGIC MENTOR MONDAY. In this weekly series, I introduce you to my magic mentors – people who have inspired me to become a better magician. Each Monday you’ll meet someone who has offered advice, or acted by example, to help steer my career.

Some of these people are alive, others no longer with us. Some are famous, others not so much. The beauty of mentorship is that you don’t necessarily have to meet your mentor face-to-face, nor even live during the same time in history. Many of the people who motivated me were alive a century before I was born! By reading classic books, old newspapers, and magazine articles, I’ve tracked down stories about their lives and work that continue to inspire me to become a better entertainer.

My “big three” mentors are Max Malini, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, and Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. Each of these giants will be featured in coming weeks. You’ll also read about more contemporary figures like Harry Lorayne and Albert Goshman, non-magicians Danny Kaye and Sammy Davis, Jr. and even fictional characters like Willy Wonka.

How do mentors inspire? They set examples, helping us imagine how we too might solve a particular problem. By seeing the world through a mentor’s lens, we can learn more about them, and about ourselves, at the same time.

This week we’ll focus on the father of modern conjuring: JEAN EUGÈNE ROBERT-HOUDIN (1805-1871)

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NY Times Review: Now You See It: Tales of Amazing Illusions

Some viewers will no doubt be annoyed at having been misled by the title of “Lost Magic Decoded,” a frothy special Thursday night on History, carrying as it does the implication that the secrets behind some legendary illusions will be revealed.

But Steve Cohen, the program’s genial host, is an adherent to the magicians’ code; don’t expect to learn how to make a rope rise skyward out of a basket here. But do expect to hear some tasty stories about magic tricks of yore, and to see some pretty baffling modern-day magic by Mr. Cohen as well.

Mr. Cohen, who is known as the Millionaires’ Magician for his magic show at the Waldorf-Astoria, sets out to run down four illusions from the distant past. The idea isn’t to reveal how they were done but to see if they actually can be done or were really just embellished legends. Along the way Mr. Cohen finds some of history’s odder true stories and throws in a few bits from his parlor show. […]

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Announcing “LOST MAGIC DECODED” My upcoming TV special

Tune in to watch my TV special, Lost Magic Decoded, premiering on History Channel!

Airdate: October 18th, 9-11pm ET (check local listings)

LOST MAGIC DECODED will both shock and surprise you. If you have been a guest at my weekly show at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in NYC, you have never seen me in anything but a tuxedo.

But here I trade my tailcoat for traveling clothes and venture throughout the states and across Europe to India to hunt down legendary magic tricks. Once I determine whether they are real or fables, I resurrect each one for a modern audience.

For exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes photos, follow the show on Twitter: @lostmagicTV

And visit the Facebook page for even more: https://www.facebook.com/LostMagicDecoded

Here is a synopsis of the show. […]

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