A magician never reveals his secrets.
But David Copperfield’s production team had to break that golden rule after a court required the process behind one of his tricks be revealed during a Las Vegas trial.
The famous magician – and the MGM Grand casino-resort, which hosts the show – is currently involved in a negligence lawsuit filed by a former audience member.
British tourist Gavin Cox, 58, says he fell while participating in a “Lucky #13” trick in Las Vegas in November, 2013.
He claims the fall has left him with both body and brain injuries and medical bills totalling more than 239,000 pounds ($435,000), according to NBC News.
During proceedings, the attorneys for Copperfield and MGM Grand sought to keep opening statements, closing arguments and other portions of the trial — in which the details of the magician’s illusions were discussed — closed to the public and the media.
However, Mr Cox’s attorney Benedict Morelli argued people other than Copperfield, including former audience participants, already know what’s involved in carrying out the trick.
The judge sided with Mr Cox’s attorney, allowing the secrets of one of Copperfield’s famous tricks to be made public.
What’s involved in the ‘Lucky 13’ trick?
This is the breakdown of the trick:
- 13 audience members are randomly selected and brought on stage to sit on a platform
- A giant curtain is then flung over them to obscure them from view
- A few minutes later, the curtain is pulled back to reveal they have all disappeared
- Copperfield then points to the back of the room to reveal all thirteen members
In court, Chris Kenner – the show’s executive producer – revealed that the secret behind the disappearance and then reappearance of audience participants was secret passageways.
The lucky 13 are guided by stagehands through different passageways in the resort – according to the Washington Post, participants even exit and re-enter the building – before being guided to the back of the theatre.
Why the lawsuit?
Mr Cox claims he followed a route through hallways and an outdoor area near a door that would have led him inside to the back of the theatre. However, it was at that point when he hit the floor.
He was taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder at the time.
Mr Cox’s attorney claims the confluence of events caused his client to fall and be injured — running in a dark area, following an unknown route, encountering an unknown incline, and dust and debris due to construction in the area.
When Mr Morelli asked Mr Copperfield whether or not a participant’s injury was his fault, Mr Copperfield responded: “It would depend on what happened. If I did something wrong, it would be my fault.”
MGM Grand’s attorney Jerry Popovich claimed the trick has been performed thousands of times without issues.
“Mr Cox did not slip, he tripped,” he said, explaining that the site where the accident happened, about six metres before reaching the door to re-enter the casino, is essentially level with only a 1-degree drop.
So now you know how it’s done, the trick’s a bit lame, right?
If you were left a bit disappointed by that reveal, we’ve got a better trick.
1. Think of a number between 1 and 10
2. Now double it
3. Now add 10
4. Divide by two
5. Now subtract the number you were first thinking of
Now here comes the big reveal…
The number you’re left with is…five.