This article is a continuation of “The History of Magic as Entertainment (Part 1)”. So far we have discussed the evolution of entertainment magic up to the eighteenth century, and will continue on from the nineteenth century.

The Nineteenth Century

Out of all the popular magic theatres in Europe, Robert-Houdin’s was the most popular in the nineteenth century. His creative illusions and charismatic presence resulted in the modern age of magic. He is also known as the father of modern magic and is considered as the pioneers that helped establish magic as an art form. His “Theatre of Enchanted Evenings” in Paris became a huge commercial success as he used his skills in clock making to create extraordinary instruments that helped in his magic tricks.

Robert-Houdin’s success inspired several magicians, and soon magical theatres and road shows were all over Europe, and magicians were performing levitations, disappearing and re-appearing acts, and bullet catching. These magicians competed fiercely with each other, often copying and altering tricks used by their competitors. The competition led to innovation and creativity; as a result several instruments were created that are predecessors to their modern day versions.

Showmanship became a pre-requisite, and mysterious personas were adopted by many of the magicians. Their personas and the air of mystery surrounding them aided in their performance, and the case stands true for modern day magicians.

The next step in the evolution of entertainment magic was the creation of variety shows. Magicians, musicians, and entertainers of all types got a chance at the stage if there act was interesting enough. The nineteenth century was a time of accelerated development for the magic entertainment industry.

The Twentieth Century

Harry Houdini is the name that defines the early twentieth century for magic. He gained massive popularity from his escape acts, and took it upon himself to unmask fraudulent entertainers. His international popularity inspired many. As a result, Channing Pollock, Robert Harbin, David Copperfield, David Blaine, and Chris Angel followed his footsteps.

The twentieth century also saw the introduction of television, which initially posed a threat to theatres and performances. However, the magicians adapted to this new phenomenon by doing shows on screen.

The rapid pace at which technology has evolved throughout the twentieth century also resulted in new innovations in magic tricks. Illusions on the big stage became a common phenomenon, and Vegas became the city of magicians.

The 1990s saw a totally different breed of magicians led by Chris Angel and David Blaine. New acts were invented and physical endurance became one of the most actively illustrated traits.

The Twenty First Century

The first decade of the twenty first century is already past us, and magic today has become a completely defined art form. Magicians from France, UK, USA, and several other parts of the world perform illusions, metal bending, card tricks, escape acts, and even mind magic.

When it comes to twenty first century magic artists, Fred Sharp is as good as they come. He specializes in illusions, mind magic, metal bending and all kinds of magic tricks. He performs at corporate events, weddings, and trade shows, and can be contacted online or at +971 (0)55 239 5882.

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