When you think of close-up magic, it’s usually a person doing card and coin tricks. Did you know that people have been doing this for hundreds of years?
Close-up magic is my personal favorite genre of illusion; while I enjoy the huge set-pieces of stage magic and the mind-bending qualities of mentalism, there’s something about seeing something small but incredible happen only a few feet in front of you. In this episode of the BBC documentary miniseries History of Magic, great magicians like Channing Pollock, Fay Presto, and the late Paul Daniels give their insights into the why’s and how’s of great close-up magic. Spend your lazy Sunday learning about the wonders that can be conjured through simple human dexterity, and if you want more, check out their episode on disappearing magic, too.
Making an object disappear and reappear before your eyes is one of the cornerstones of magic, whether through sleight of hand or optical illusion. If you find yourself with nothing to do today, spend an hour and watch this documentary from the BBC’s History of Magic series. It opens with the history of Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, explores the origins of famous illusions like Pepper’s Ghost, and closes with an exploration of some of the biggest disappearing acts in television history.