Archive for the 'Nathan Burton' Category

Getting Ready To Perform With Nathan Burton

Posted by Michael on April 16th, 2021

A final video from 5 Minutes To Showtime, this time featuring Nathan Burton. Let’s hope performers all over the world will be back on stage soon.

Nathan Burton Pioneers AGT Magic

Posted by Michael on May 23rd, 2014

If memory serves, the first magician to see any success on America’s Got Talent was Nathan Burton. There was another magic act that year (more on that later), but we’re pretty sure that Nathan appeared on the show first. In a promotional piece urging people to audition for the show, Burton says that he did not win, he did not walk away with a million dollars but because of America’s Got Talent he has sold a million dollars worth of tickets.

Here is the audition that sold a million tickets for Nathan.

Ferguson Explains Magic (NSFW-ish), Manticore Passes And More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on March 26th, 2014

On Monday night, which as iTricks told you was Houdini’s 140th birthday, Craig Ferguson took a little time to explain the difference between magicians and illusionists. It is not exactly the most adult (or mature) humor on the ol’ Interweb, the guy is on in the middle of the night for a reason, so be warned.

Sad news from Vegas, white tiger Mantecore has passed away. Most famous as the animal that injured Roy Horn on stage, it was Roy himself who broke the news on the Siegfried and Roy Facebook page with a touching tribute to the cat. Mantecore was 17.

More from Vegas, the Las Vegas Sun’s John Katsilometes has comments from Murray Sawchuck about being chucked from Nathan Burton’s show; he thinks his friendship with Burton’s ex-producer may be to blame. Nathan Burton still is not talking.

And from Suburban Chicago comes a nice feature on Jeanette Andrews in the Daily Herald. Among the topics discussed are her artist in residency experiences and collaborations with scientists. The 24 year old may not be a familiar name (yet), but you will be able to see her when Masters of Illusion runs later this year on CW.

Teller Wins, Vegas Feuds, Now Dogs Hate Magic And Much More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on March 24th, 2014

The latest viral magic video making the rounds features Finnish magician and mentalist Jose Ahonen making treats disappear right in front of expectant and confused dogs. Ahonen has millions of hits for this… I did it once and ended up with a mastiff standing on my chest demanding a treat!

Teller has won his copyright infringement suit against Belgian magician Gerard Dogge. The Hollywood Reporter has an easy to read summary of the case and ruling.

The Daily Mail’s featured the story of Paul Daniels (then Ted Daniels) discovering magic as a young man.

Norm Clarke reported in his Las Vegas Review-Journal late last week that Murray Sawchuck and his wife were removed by security from Nathan Burton’s show at the Saxe Theater before the performance even began. Sawchuck was quoted by Clarke as saying that the theater manager said that Burton had requested that the couple, who had texted him to let him know that they were viewing the show, be removed.

Finally, do not forget that ABC’s Modern Family is visiting Las Vegas this week. Although this episode is not getting the attention of the show’s visit to Australia (which did see Sofia Vergara in a bathing suit), it will feature magic in the storyline and Ed Alonzo.

The Return of the World’s Greatest Magic

Posted by Michael on November 25th, 2013

Michael Lauck is a columnist for iTricks and he loves TV as much as magic. His work appears on Mondays.

Part one of this article appeared last week.

In 1994, Gary Ouellet changed TV magic.

The World’s Greatest Magic combined high level magic with the variety show format. It was a new kind of magic special that lead to a boom in TV magic.

The World’s Greatest Magic was not the first all star magic extravaganza on television, but it was the first in a long time. More importantly, it was the right special at the right time to revitalize magic on television. The family friendly show on the night before Thanksgiving had strong ratings that beat powerhouses such as Roseanne and Beverly Hills 90210. It not only won the night but proved to be NBC’s highest rated special of the year. A live tour was announced. The network quickly ordered a second special for the next year and another special starring Lance Burton from the WGM production team. Other networks also signed deals for productions from the team. Even though there was some concern voiced by magicians over Mac King’s “teach a trick” segments, WGM was probably one of the biggest forces in the 1990s to put magic in the spotlight.

On the night before Thanksgiving 1995 NBC aired World’s Greatest Magic II. Alan Thicke replaced Robert Urich as the host, but the show essentially followed the same formula as the original. Mac King again taught tricks in segments wrapped around each commercial break and throughout the show the final effect, Penn and Teller’s bullet catch, was advertised. Magicians featured included Dirk Arthur, Joaquin and Lillia Ayala, Jason Byrne, Bret Daniels, Paul Gertner, Jeff Hobson, The Amazing Johnathan, Mark Kalin and Jinger, René Lavand, Luis de Matos, Max Maven, Jeff McBride, Tom Ogden, Rick Thomas and Melinda. Much like the original, WGM2 was a huge success. It won the night with a 21 share and won every individual half hour contest except the first (finishing second to Grace Under Fire). The magic special even beat the second installment of the much anticipated Beatles Anthology documentary.

The success of World’s Greatest Magic II again led to a live tour and an order for a third installment for Thanksgiving Eve of 1996. Some magicians would again complain about Mac King’s segments, but these complaints were again brushed aside with the defense that the segments invited those interested into the world of magic using tricks easily found in beginners’ books. What could not be argued with was the successful magic programs being created by Ouellet and his team. Melinda would receive her own special produced by the team and ABC would collaborate with the group to create the Champions of Magic specials. CBS would also try its hand with Magicians’ Favorite Magicians, which was not produced by the WGM team.

The World’s Greatest Magic III saw John Ritter sign on as host and he would stay on through the rest of the specials. By this time, at least in my family, WGM was part of Thanksgiving. This incarnation ended with The Pendragons vanishing 25 showgirls. The line up included Bob Arno, Dirk Arthur, Nathan Burton, Greg Frewin, Joseph Gabriel, Galina, Han Klok and Sittah, Jeff Hobson, Guy Hollingworth, Peter Marvey, Pendragons, Jean Pierre Vallarino, David Williamson and Steve Wyrick. It’s success would lead to World’s Greatest Magic IV in 1997.

WGM4 saw the return of Lance Burton, who escaped from the Jaws of Death in the show finale, and featured Juliana Chen, Lennart Green, Raymond Crowe, Tabary, Carl Cloutier, Johnathan David Bass, The Hamners, Tim Kole and Jenny-Lynn, Ken Mate, Bruce Block, Dexion, Sherry Lukas, Kirby VanBurch, Ayala and Lilla, Rick Thomas and Max Maven. This version saw a change in the production team with Gary Ouellet and Gregory Sills acting as producers with Gary Pudney staying on in the role of executive producer. Despite the great line up for the special, it faced a new and unexpected competition from Fox who, only two days before, had aired the first of their Breaking the Magicians’ Code, or “Masked Magician,” specials.

The World’s Greatest Magic IV did well enough for a fifth installment to air on the night before Thanksgiving 1998. It featured Harry Anderson, Mike Caveney, Michael Ammar, James Dimarre, Goldfinger and Dove, Peter Gossamer, Hans Klok and The Majestix with Brett Daniels transporting actress Kelly Packard, then of Baywatch and later of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, across Grand Canyon as a finale. The special was not well received by magicians, at least if the club reports and letters to magic magazines of the time are to be believed. It certainly appears that by WGM5 the era of the rand illusion magic special was over and I personally think that the Masked Magician was to blame.

It would be easy to blame the downfall of the World’s Greatest Magic specials on the exposures of the Breaking the Magicians’ Code shows. Personally, I do not think it was the exposure of effects as much as it was the over-exposure of magic. Believe it or not, by the time World’s Greatest Magic V aired, Fox had not only rebroadcast the original Masked Magician special, it had released and re-aired three additional specials. Even though Gary Ouellet and the WGM team were producing multiple specials, they were fairly spread out over the year. ABC may have showed a Champions of Magic special in the summer with a WGM special in late fall and one or two single act driven specials aired throughout the year. In 1998, though, three new Breaking the Magicians’ Code specials had aired in March, May and October.

By the time the World’s Greatest Magic V aired in November, it faced two problems. First of all, it had to avoid any of the effects that had been shown in the Masked Magician shows. Even worse, it had to try to overcome the disenchantment that the Masked Magician was causing (whether that be caused by exposures or over-exposure). David Blaine’s first special had come out in 1997 and he seemed to be offering something very new and different to the magic shown in World’s Greatest Magic and Masked Magician specials. Perhaps this new brand of special featuring a close, in your face style of “street magic” was the final nail in the WGM coffin.

The night before Thanksgiving, at least for magic fans, would never be the same.

More Information on Nathan Burton’s Forthcoming Reality Show

Posted by Editor on October 15th, 2012

How impressed is Mike Weatherford in the concept of a reality show centering around the Nathan Burton, his sister Emily and mother Nancy? So impressed that he quotes himself:

Nathan Burton’s magic show? It’s solid.

But when I heard Burton is closing the deal on a reality TV show? “That’s the real show,” I thought.

“I agree,” I wrote.

Nathan Burton Emily Burton  Nancy Burton.jpg

Weatherford has a few details about the sizzle reel produced by Freemantle media to help sell the program to a network. Apparently, there is a fair amount of poolside male nudity, juxtaposed with some sage care from mother Nancy.

At first, “I really just stayed in the background,” she says. “I thought, ‘They’re not interested in the old lady. … We had a pool party so they could film and the boys all ripped off their trunks and were jumping around naked. I was just cleaning up the drinks and the sodas.”

But later, “They called and said, ‘We need more footage of Mom.’ ”

The prize footage turned out to be from the crowded dressing room.

“They’re all young. They get pretty risque and I just sit there and don’t pay attention.”

Burton told iTricks last week that FremantleMedia has an agreement with a network but cannot disclose which one.

I completely agree with Weatherford in his assessment that their inherent drama in running an independent Vegas production. Simply put, in the game of shows you either sell or you die. The Burtons are quite literally the blueprint on how to succeed in Sin City. But it’s not easy, and the lengths they go to making things work have been remarkable.

This is all made-to-order reality fare and the Burtons are natural characters. We can hopefully get more information as this moves along the path to production.

UPDATED! What is the Tentative Title of Nathan Burton’s New Reality Show?

Posted by Editor on October 11th, 2012

UPDATE: We have heard from Nathan himself who tells us the show indeed has found a network home however they cannot disclose which it is.

nathan burton.jpg

Although we would have personally went with “Here Comes Honey Moo Moo” to capitalize on Criss Angel’s favorite nickname for him, the tentative title for Nathan Burton’s new reality show is “Family Magic”. It will focus on the behind the scenes family dynamic of his comedy magic show, specifically his sister Emily and mother Nancy.

The goal? To have a persistent line around the block like another family-focused Vegas reality show: Pawn Stars.

Or at least that’s what Nathan tells Mike Weatherford.

“Anytime I drive past the ‘Pawn Stars,’ I go, ‘That’s what I want,’  ” the magician says.

We are also told the rest of his crew including the dancers and middle acts will feature into the program.

Although the project is currently being shopped by Fremantle media to various networks, there is no deal in place just yet with a network. It is the personal opinion of this blogger that ANY television project is a long shot after you factor in all the vital decisions that are made outside of the talents control. Burton’s move to the Saxe Theater makes sense for many behind the scenes reasons.

Is it a gamble? In my opinion, yes. But in a town like Vegas is there any other move to make?