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Its been a very busy year for me and I haven’t posted here in quite a while. One of the projects that has occupied me for the past while has been editing the documentary series on Magic Legend Walter Zaney Blaney. Walter is a close personal friend and mentor in magic but to the rest of the magic community he is the inventor of one of the greatest illusions ever created for magicians. The Blaney Ladder Levitation is a portable levitation effect that can be performed only a few feet in front of an audience. I have owned and performed one for many years now.
As a professional magician who performs mostly in Ontario Canada I don’t get a lot of chance to visit fellow magicians who perform far away. We run into each other at magic conventions or gatherings but other than travelling to see their show it doesn’t happen nearly enough. When another illusionist comes to a theatre near you its a treat to enjoy their show as well as visit them backstage. Comedy Magician Mac King recently performed at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and brought the house down with his outstanding show. If you are ever in Las Vegas make sure to see his show which has played and will continue to play at Harrahs Casino for years. Its an afternoon show and ranks as one of the top shows in Las Vegas according to tripadvisor.
I have had the chance to see Mac’s show twice in Las Vegas but didn’t want to miss it in Burlington so I didn’t hesitate to get tickets. Mac takes the time to meet and greet the entire audience after the show, thats they type of guy he is. It was nice to catch up and have a quick visit backstage.
Visiting with Mac King backstage at the Burlington Arts Centre
As a professional magician in Toronto Ontario I have had the opportunity to work with many fellow professional entertainers. One such entertainer can be considered an expert in his field as he has a 60 year legacy performing for live audiences. Walter Zaney Blaney has over 4000 shows under his belt and knows what he is talking about. Here he explains the four stages of magic in a clip from Still Zaney After All These Years, a documentary series edited by Magician Timothy Drake and filmed by Illusionist Ryan Joyce.
Several years ago myself and fellow magician Ryan Joyce decided to embark on the journey of sharing some of the life of Walter Blaney on video. If you know Walter personally you would have had the honour of being able to hear some wonderful stories from his 60 years in the magic business personally. It only made sense that these stories be shared so future generations of magicians and magic historians can experience them also.
Walter is best known in the magic world as the inventor of the famous Ladder Levitation Illusion. In this chapter of the documentary series titled ” Still Zaney After All These Years ” Walter tells the story of how after a very successful run performing his illusion exclusively he decided to pass the performing rights on to Illusionist David Copperfield. This chapter includes commentary from David Copperfield, Lance Burton and Magic Magazine Editor Stan Allen. To keep updated on additional chapters as they are added you can subscribe to the youtube channel or like the official Facebook page.
IllusionistTimothy Drake has the honour of working with many talented performers in his magic career. Drake performs magic and illusions at special events and corporate events across Ontario and Canada, but primarily in the Toronto and South Western Ontario region. At a recent magic show in London, Ontario Magician Timothy Drake met up with Matt Elvis Martin. A very talented Elvis Impersonator in London. Matt worked the crowd close up performing many of the Kings classics. It was a performance enjoyed by all in attendance.
Magician Timothy Drake meets Elvis in London Ontario
As a professional MagicianTimothy Drake has learned that you don’t move upward and onward in your career without the help and backing of your fellow magicians. From the birthday party to the largest of corporate entertainment shows, the success you may enjoy in that performance is due to the sharing of secrets, advice and assistance from friends in magic. A recent Holographic Project in Toronto would not have been successfully completed if not for the help of to good friends and fellow magicians, The Amazing Corbin and Peter Mennie.
Thats what magicians do….. they help other magicians to further their art. Drake has assisted in the past with media for both Peter and Corbin. Drake recently completed a long overdue website for The Amazing Corbin that you can see here. Its a circle that keeps repeating. Who knows what will happen next. No matter what… it promised to be yet another adventure.
This summer Timothy Drake the Magician will step back to his roots as Timothy Drake the film maker. Every magician has a magician who inspired his magic or influenced him in one way or another creatively. For many magicians and illusionists that magician was Walter Zaney Blaney. Walter is known in the magic world for both his corporate stand up act and his inventions that made the world of magic and illusion an easier place for performers.
Over the next few months Drake will be editing a documentary filmed by fellow illusionist Ryan Joyce. Ryan and Timothy visited many of magics elite performers during a visit to Las Vegas NV. Below is a snippet of that footage from the upcoming documentary called ” Still Zaney After All These Years” This clip features Magician Jeff Hobson speaking about Walter Blaney.
For many years magician Timothy Drake utilized a 3D Holographic project effect at the Shriners Haunted Mansion to created the virtual ghost special effects seen wandering its spooky halls. The illusion of objects floating in mid air is created for the viewer. That special effect eventually found its way into multiple trade shows across North America. Recently Toronto Magician Timothy Drake was asked to recreate that effect but in a much larger scale for a corporate client in Ottawa, Ontario. Objects up to 10 feet wide appeared, floated and vanished in mid air. Fellow London Magician Peter Mennie joined Timothy in Ottawa for the two day build. It proved a very large ( pardon the pun) success.
I’ve posted in my blog before about Eric Leclerc and his 365 day magic video project on youtube. Eric like many others started such a project but unlike others he has finished it. Well almost finished it. He has two more magic videos to post at the time I write this.
Eric has proven his diversity again with this hilarious video where almost everything goes wrong on his morning television appearance.
I stumbled upon this photo today and thought I’d post it. Several years back when the Greg Frewin Show was just getting started in Niagara Falls a group of magicians from both Canada and the USA all gathered together and dropped in to see the show. After a great show we all posed together for this shot.
I’ve posted before about my friend Dan Sperry and his original approach to magic. I recently learned that Dan has just landed a full time show in NYC. Congrats Dan! The new show playing at Times Scare ( yes I spelled that right ) will start soon.
Your idea of a magic show is about to change as you step into the twisted mind of Dan Sperry for an evening of Shock Illusion that you will never forget. Dan Sperry’s live show has been described as “David Copperfield meets Marilyn Manson” on FOX TV and “A Rocky Horror meets magic brand of illusion complete with audience participation and comedy..” by WHERE Magazine.
With over 5 Million views on YouTube, 15 Million live television viewers, and sold out appearances across America with his live tour you can now catch MAGIC SHOW starring Dan Sperry LIVE every night in his own theater at TIMES SCARE. Experience the unimaginable as the urban legend of Bloody Mary is confronted on stage, a nail-biting game of Russian Roulette is played with an audience member, the ancient practice of Voo Doo is encountered and the supernatural is manifested. Dan exceeds the title of “Most Original Magic”, given to him by The World Magic Awards, by using razor blades, buzz saws, broken glass, blunt objects, blood, mutilated babies…and candy to create an whimsically entertaining non-stop roller coaster ride of pure mayhem. No rabbits in hats. No showgirls. No stupid card tricks As you will soon see in the case of Dan Sperry: Magic No Longer Sucks.
If you ever find yourself in Las Vegas make sure to look up the Rick Thomas Magic Show. Rick is one of those guys who performs from his heart as he really does love his craft. I’ve been to his Vegas home and its half house, half magic museum. He has a large tiger sanctuary in the back where he keeps and cares for his tigers.
A group of friends and I went to see Ricks show recently during a Vegas trip for a magic convention and all posed with Rick after the show.
Some things in the magic world just don’t make sense. Back in 2005 I was asked to submit and article written on and about the Shriners Haunted Mansion project I had built for the last several years. It was to be featured on the October Issue of Linking Ring Magazine ( a popular magicians magazine ) They wanted to feature the article for the October issues for a Halloween theme. I wrote the article and sent in several photos including one specifically taken to be used as a cover shot. I wasn’t promised the cover but had hoped to get it because the article I wrote was to be the feature article that month. Making the cover is considered an honour in the magic industry. Fellow magician and friend Ryan Joyce is a talented photographer and agreed to take the shot. We were both very happy with how it turned out. We wanted it to look magical and spooky for Halloween. I think we hit the mark.
When the magazine came out it turned out they went with a photo of another performer who had also been featured in that months issue. His article was a 3 page black and white spread compared to my 7 page colour spread so it surprised me to see the editors choice. The other performer was Steve Dacri a well known and popular magician and I immediately emailed him and teased him about STEALING MY COVER. It became a running joke between us for years as every time I met him I’d remind him that he stole the cover from me. At our last meeting I asked Steve if he’d sign the cover for me if I mailed him a copy. His response was… ” Only if you quite bugging me about it!” Steve passed away from cancer before I was able to have him sign it. He will be missed by many in the magic world.
I got a surprise about a year later when I got a special package in the mail. It was a trophy! It was the Howard Bammon Award from Linking Ring Magazine for ” Best Article of the year” for the story I contributed that earlier October. I was honoured and quite happy about the entire thing.
" Best Article of 2005" Linking Ring Magazine's Howard Bammon Award
Whats better than 3 magicians hanging out? Well 4 magicians hanging out of course! In the summer of 2010 Walter Blaney came to visit his canadian counterparts in the magic world and a trip to the Greg Frewin Theatre in Niagara Falls had to be on the list. After the show we all hung out and talked ” magic speak” ( a bunch of boring technical magic stuff that non-magicians would find boring ) and also caught up on old times. In this photo from left to right are Magicians Timothy Drake, Greg Frewin, Walter Blaney and Ryan Joyce.
A good time was had by all. Greg always puts on a good show.
Many performers come and go in the magic world but few make such an impact in their art to the level that Walter “Zaney” Blaney has. Walter Blaney is a legend amoung magicians and the inventor of many great magic illusions. I am happy to own some of those illusions and feature them in my magic performances across Canada. Walters most famous illusion would of course be the Ladder Levitation Illusion. I’ve been lucky to have Walter as a close personal friend and mentor for many years and both my career and personal life have benefited from that greatly. This is my very favourite photo of Walter. I have a signed copy of it hanging in my living room.
With Summer now a memory we are entering fall and I am dreading the return of the terrible white stuff. Call it white and fluffy and attach any Christmas memories to it but the fact remains that it’s a magicians nemesis. Many times I’ve come very close to having some serious accidents driving to and from shows on snow covered roads of Ontario in the winter. Such is life in Canada.
Back in 2005 a fundraising show I was hired to do was to take place on a Sunday Morning. I don’t know why they expected people to turn out for a magic show at 10:30 am but the client did and the client is always right so it was ON WITH THE SHOW.
Of course Mother Nature had different plans and dropped a blizzard on us in the early AM hrs blocking most roads for miles. Attendance for that show topped a whopping 25 people who braved the storm. We had seating for 275. Not one of my more happy shows I can tell you that. But the show DID go on and thats what matters. We still had fun.
After the show I decided to mark the occasion and take a photo that I could look back and laugh at some day. Ryan Joyce was a special guest at that show and posed in this photo with me.
As you can see this project was a very large one. The size of it wasn’t the hard part. The fact that it average temperatures I had to build it in were in the 100 F or 38 C range made it a difficult build.
I like to feature other performers here from time to time and today is not exception. Magician Peter Mennie was one of my first friends in magic when I moved to London. Peter has a vast background in magic and has done more magic shows than anyone else in the city. His shows are not only mystifying but they are very funny as well. His shows run the range from corporate banquet to family shows. His close up magic is in demand across Ontario.
You may have seen him performing his close up table magic at local restaurants in London. As a magician there is nothing I like better than being fooled and this trick of Peters really fooled me. Here is a video from a recent performance on television.
Criss Angel. Now there is a name I am sure you have heard of. Criss Angel became a household name a few years ago from his television show Mindfreak. The amazing magic he APPEARED to do in front of unrehearsed people on the streets of Las Vegas shot him to fame quickly. Criss Angels use of camera tricks to accomplish these amazing feats of magic has been hotly debated among professional magicians in the industry. Some feel camera tricks are simply another tool of magic to fool an audience and others feel its not real performance if you are using cameras to do what skill, misdirection and sleight of hand normally do. Only time will tell.
When the Canadian Association of Magicians held their bi-annual CAM convention Illusionist Ryan Joyce was asked to headline the gala evening theatre show for magicians. Ryans opening illusion required him to start the show with a video so Ryan thought it might be fun to make a video that magicians would get a laugh out of. When you are going to do something that will delight some magicians and upset others you want to be able to share both the blame and the credit with someone and in this case Ryan chose me.. Timothy Drake.
Both Ryan and I are Apple/Mac users and we both enjoyed the now famous MAC vs PC ads on television. If you aren’t familiar with them search ” mac ads” on youtube and you’ll find them. We decided to use that Mac vs Pc format to produce a Criss Angel Spoof ( making fun of the camera tricks, wardrobe, language and fan base ) to introduce Ryans first illusion of the evening. The video you are about to see was scripted, shot and edited in 24 hrs. With only very short notice I hurried down to McCullochs Costume and assembled the closest I could get to Criss Angels wardrobe. I personally think look as much like Alice Cooper in this video as I do Criss Angel but thats another story.
On Sept 14th The Society of American Magicians awarded Illusionist David Copperfield the title of “Magician of the Century” as well as ” King of Magic”. Copperfield needs no introduction to either laymen ( what we magicians call you non-magicians ) or magicians. His pioneering magic and illusion had inspired many of todays magic performers around the world. I recently attended his show in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand and had the honor of meeting him backstage after the show. He proved a most gracious host.
Here is the illusion that inspired me to take the step into performing the Magic arts. I hope it will inspire others as well.
Congratulations David Copperfield….. you have earned it.
Friends of mine know I love Tim Burtons work. I had a special project at Universal Studios in Hollywood once and during a break I got to meet one of my favourite Tim Burton Icons… the man himself BeettleJuice.
As luck would have it… we were both having a bad hair day that day.
Yeah…. and I know that I had some nerve to wear a Disney necktie at Universal Studios.
A friend of mine took on the massive challenge of posting a magic video on youtube every day for an entire year. He is nuts! There is no other way to say it. Ok… he is nuts and very creative and talented… thats a better way to say it. Its a lot of work and I have been quite impressed at how he keeps it fresh each day. I bumped into him at a recent Magicians Convention in Las Vegas called MAGIC Live. I’ll post more on the convention later but in the meantime enjoy this video of what happened when he met up with magic legend Walter Blaney ( more on him later as well ) and myself at the MAGIC Live convention.
To subscribe and follow Erics project on YouTube you can click here. He has over 6000 subscribers so you won’t be alone.
…. Illusionist Ryan Joyce says he knows who the Canada’s Got Talent Winner already is! Can Ryan Joyce really know who the winner of Canadas Got Talent really is before auditions even start? If you know Ryan.. you’d say he does.
One of the perks of this career choice of mine is the imaginative and creative people you meet. Dan Sperry is one of those people. Dan is one of those guys that cuts his own path in magic. He has worked very hard for every bit of success he has enjoyed and I am sure we will see much more of that success in years to come.
Here is a photo of Me, Dan Sperry, and Ryan Joyce backstage after a show.
Backstage with Dan Sperry
Enjoy this video of Dan Sperry performing a pretty cool illusion like no other.
As we enter the last holiday weekend of summer I am reminded of Canada Day. I performed outdoors in Sarnia and got to hook up with my buddy Ben Burland after the show as he was performing elsewhere in the park. ( check him out at http://www.thebenshow.com )
The Drake visits with Ben Burland after our shows on Canada Day.
I performed the Compressed Illusion as part of this show. I just love the look on my assistants ( Rebecca ) face when she gets compressed to a fraction of her height. She makes this illusion work. Thanks Rebecca!
Last summer I had the honor of meeting Marshall Brodien one of the great legends in magic. Many will remember him as the man who sold a million decks of ” TV MAGIC CARDS” on tv in the 70′s but he did so much more. Look him up if you don’t know more about him.