Paul Gertner is a wonderful magician who has appeared on Penn and Teller’s “Fool Us” TV show twice. He fooled them the first time with a card trick, and when he went back for a second shot a few months ago, he worked up a new twist on the classic cups-and-balls routine, as you can see above.
After watching that, take a look at his blog post, in which he explains his battle with the network’s legal department over using a beer can on the air, and how many hours of design and rehearsal went into the final performance of the trick, which he had proposed even though he didn’t know how to do it yet!
The idea of pitching a magic trick and then having to figure out a method was something that is part of my creative process. I don’t do it all the time… but when working with companies on trade shows or sales meetings over the last 40+ years it was not uncommon to pitch an idea that did not yet exist. There have been many times that I’ve hung up the phone and turned to my wife Kathy and said: “Well they like the idea… it’s a GO!” And she would say: “So how are you going to do it?” And I would say: “I’m not exactly sure… I got to work that part out.” Most memorable was the time I told a client that sold fork lift trucks that I could cut a woman in half while she was lifted 25 feet in the air on two forklifts in the exhibit hall in McCormick Place in Chicago. Of course, the more difficult conversation was telling Kathy that I wanted her to be the woman who got cut in half while high in the air. Kathy agreed… we did it at quite a few shows… and it was a huge success.