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Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented…
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Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to… (original 2004; edition 2004)

by Jim Steinmeyer, Teller (Foreword)

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295838,041 (3.94)3
Member:Ryan.King
Title:Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear
Authors:Jim Steinmeyer
Other authors:Teller (Foreword)
Info:Da Capo Press (2004), Paperback, 392 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear by Jim Steinmeyer (2004)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Entertaining survey of stage magic covering the 19th and (first part of the)
20th centuries.

It's very strange, I find watching 'magicians' on-stage incredibly boring and
highly sleep-inducing. Reading about them is fascinating! ( )
  captbirdseye | Feb 4, 2014 |
Terrifically enjoyable history of magic. You may have heard the line "they do it all with mirrors." That turns out to be quite accurate.

True in India. True here ( )
  ben_a | Oct 18, 2012 |
A great overview of the Golden age of Magic & the characters that inhabited it. Very good on their interactions, their inventions but less so on the "wonder" of what was, probably the finest age to be a magician. You don't have to have a particular interest in magic to enjoy this, just the need to be captivated and enjoy peformance art. At times flabby & that is what stopped me giving it 5 stars ( )
  aadyer | Feb 24, 2011 |
About the Author. Jim Steinmeyer identifies himself on the World Wide Web as "a designer and inventor of illusions and theatrical special effects, for magicians and Broadway shows." Steinmeyer invented and created illusions for Doug Henning, David Copperfield, the Pendragons, Lance Burton, Ricky Jay and others. His best known illusions include Vanishing the Statue of Liberty, Origami Illusion, Hologram Illusion, Interlude, and Walking Through a Mirror. Steinmeyer designed special effects for theatrical shows, such as, Beauty and the Beast, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins, and Phantom of the Opera. The Academy of Magical Arts (Hollywood's Magic Castle) awarded him with The Creative Fellowship in 1991. Only 32 years old at the time, Steinmeyer was the youngest person ever to win The Creative Fellowship. Many people know Steinmeyer best as a researcher and writer of magic history. Some of his more recent written works include Hiding the Elephant (2004), The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, Aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer" (2005), The Magic of Alan Wakeling: The Works of a Master Magician (2006), and Art and Artifice: And Other Essays of Illusion (2006). For his earlier writings, The Academy of Magical Arts awarded Steinmeyer with the Literary Fellowship Award in 2002. You can read more about Jim Steinmeyer at his web site. See http://www.jimsteinmeyer.com/. ( )
  MrJack | Jun 24, 2009 |
An interesting overview of the development of the stage magician's art around the turn of the twentieth century. Although Steinmeyer reveals a number of the secrets behind famous effects, one of the points he keeps returning to is that the trick itself is secondary to the conjurer's delivery of it. There are some nice anecdotes along these lines, my favourite of which is the recounting of Thurston's method for producing an expression of shocked amazement from children viewing his levitation effect up close. ( )
1 vote oblongpictures | Nov 27, 2007 |
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In November 1995 I found myself standing offstage at a Los Angeles theatre with a borwn Sicilian donkey named Midget, who, I was about to tell the audience, could disappear.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786714018, Paperback)

Now in paperback comes Jim Steinmeyer's astonishing chronicle of half a century of illusionary innovation, backstage chicanery, and keen competition within the world of magicians. Lauded by today's finest magicians and critics, Hiding the Elephant is a cultural history of the efforts among legendary conjurers to make things materialize, levitate, and disappear. Steinmeyer unveils the secrets and life stories of the fascinating personalities behind optical marvels such as floating ghosts interacting with live actors, disembodied heads, and vanishing ladies. He demystifies Pepper's Ghost, Harry Kellar's Levitation of Princess Karnak, Charles Morritt's Disappearing Donkey, and Houdini's landmark vanishing of Jennie the elephant in 1918. The dramatic mix of science and history, with revealing diagrams, photographs and magicians' portraits by William Stout, provides a glimpse behind the curtain at the backstage story of magic.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:12 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Harry Houdini was the greatest escape artist in history, yet known to his contemporaries as a terrible stage magician. Nevertheless, in 1918 he performed a single illusion that has been hotly debated ever since: Under the bright lights at New York's Hippodrome Theater, he made a live elephant disappear. Where did he learn this amazing trick and how did it work? The astonishing answers lie in magic expert Jim Steinmeyer's chronicle of more than half a century of illusionary innovation, backstage chicanery and espionage, elevated showmanship, and keen competition within the world of magicians. Steinmeyer has penned the cultural history of magic during its "Golden Age" in America and abroad - the breathtaking race among legendary conjurers to make things materialize, levitate, and disappear." "Translating the art of the illusionist to the printed page, Steinmeyer unveils the secrets and life stories of the fascinating personalities behind optical marvels such as floating ghosts interacting with live actors, disembodied heads, and vanishing ladies. He demystifies such tricks as Pepper's Ghost, The Sphinx of Colonel Joseph Stodare, Harry Kellar's The Levitation of Princess Karnak, and Charles Morritt's Disappearing Donkey - and with his brilliant descriptions, provides a front row seat to the most celebrated and controversial magic performances in history."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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