• Publication date: February 14, 2011

A Master of Illusion Bares All Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed

For years magicians, reminiscent of a secret society, informally forbade their colleagues from revealing the craft's secrets. Those bold enough to break this tradition were blacklisted from an industry whose very foundation is built upon illusion. If audiences understand, sometimes literally, that tricks involve nothing more than smoke and mirrors, their related mystery and intrigue disappears � just like a rabbit inside a hat. This is the principle of the so-called 'Magician's Code,' in which fellow practitioners respect the time and effort colleagues invest to learn and master a complex, unquestionably scientific art of deception. Most importantly, one must also remember that revealing magic's techniques to the public threatens its performers' livelihood.

For years magicians, reminiscent of a secret society, informally forbade their colleagues from revealing the craft's secrets. Those bold enough to break this tradition were blacklisted from an industry whose very foundation is built upon illusion. If audiences understand, sometimes literally, that tricks involve nothing more than smoke and mirrors, their related mystery and intrigue disappears � just like a rabbit inside a hat. This is the principle of the so-called 'Magician's Code,' in which fellow practitioners respect the time and effort colleagues invest to learn and master a complex, unquestionably scientific art of deception. Most importantly, one must also remember that revealing magic's techniques to the public threatens its performers' livelihood.

As its name suggests, Breaking the Magician's Code ignores tradition. Each week the Masked Magician (Vegas performer Val Valentino) reveals the process behind 5 or 6 different tricks. Some of the tricks are classics, such as cutting a woman in half with a buzz saw or catching a bullet between the teeth. Others are more contemporary, like walking on water (a Criss Angel standard) or holding one's breath for 18 minutes (made famous by David Blaine).

While ordinary viewers will be undoubtedly surprised by Valentino's revelations, many may also continue to respect magicians' code of secrecy. After all, isn't the mystery surrounding magic at least half of what makes it so entertaining? Are audiences who watch the program willfully depriving themselves of the art's 'magic?' Ultimately that is for each individual to decide. If one plays the devil's advocate, however, he or she may argue that Valentino is raising the bar, forcing performers to continuously develop new and improved showstoppers, or at least refine already existing illusions.

In response to his critics, Valentino asserts that a magician's skill lies more in his or her showmanship, not necessarily the complexity or originality of a particular illusion. In an age where children are wowed by video games and technology, time-honored forms of entertainment may seem too old fashioned. Programs such as Breaking the Magician's Code may motivate youngsters to continue a tradition that might otherwise be forgotten. Still, who's to say that Valentino is not fooling us, continuing to hide magicians' true techniques? Is the program itself an illusion? Watch and make your own decision.

Showing On: MBC Action

Year: 2008-09

Duration: 60 minutes

Genre: Education, How-To, Mystery

Starring:

Mitch Pileggi

Val Valentino

Mark Thompson

Created By: Nash Entertainment

Rating: TV-PG