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4599Re: [fulldome] Perception: See Beyond the Illusion opens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

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  • Philip Groce
    Jul 16 12:52 PM
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      John Young:

      Congratulations!  I think your use of live theater is brilliant.

      I do have to correct you, however.  In the late 1970's and early 80's, the then Brest Planetarium in Jacksonville, Fl,  presented several runs of "illusionist"  and "magic" shows.  We tied it to UFOs and showed how the human brain can be fooled into believing almost anything. Our illusionist was "The Amazing Fielding".  He later became a fixture at LA's Magic Castle in the late 80s.  We did a month of evening weekend shows on Perception, Deception (slight-of-hand) and Psychic "tricks" once a year to sell-out audiences. In one set of shows, we took advantage of the fact that we had several major hospitals a block or two away and did a series on psychic surgery.  We had close circuit cameras as well to see if anyone could spot the deception. Our point was this, if so-called "psychics" could fool doctors/surgeons, what chance would people without any science education have in seeing the fraud.  It was fun and, yes, Fielding always had a beautiful assistant.  Fielding very seldom had to reveal his illusions, but worked hard to show that there was both an "Art & Science to Magic" and always ended his presentation by letting the audiences know that he was an entertainer and that he performed "illusions" and not "reality" . He "hoped that his demonstrations would make his audiences better observers and better scientists."  He ended his shows by stating "Nothing makes a magician happier than people trying to figure out "how did he do that?" So on your way home, you are all scientists performing thought experiments.  I wish you luck!"

      The only reason we stopped the annual shows was that Fielding made more money working the larger performance houses and we couldn't afford him.
      The planetarium staff, however, often grew very tired of his using Heart's "Magic Man" as his opening theme. It was a little cheesy!  They were only compensated when they discovered his stash of 150 proof Rum he used in his fire-breathing act.

      Phil


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