Since 1998, SAM 161 has auspiciously had David Copperfield’s name as its second title.  David told us 24 years ago he would be honored to have his name associated with our New Jersey assembly, and we in turn have been honored to be connected. That alliance led to a fantastic Zoom meeting in May. President Doug Thornton flew to Las Vegas for the rescheduled MAGIC Live convention, arriving a week early to chat with David inside the hallowed Robert-Houdin Room in David’s International Museum & Library of the Conjuring Arts.

It was an hourlong chat covering David’s youth in Metuchen, New Jersey, his interest in ventriloquism, and then magic. He talked about SAM Assembly 1 in New York and how Ed Mishell and Leslie P. Guest had made him feel welcome even though they had to sneak him in. Relaxed, and in welcoming, easygoing spirits, David told stories and praised many others that he knew.

Our team of Greg Ferdinand and Topher Sutton co-hosted the Zoom, and Topher expertly coordinated the questions from some of our participants: Michael Tallon, Noel Britten, Will Fern, Scott Leavitt, and SAM National President Tom Gentile.

Answering Michael’s question, David said his favorite piece in his current show is the half hour adventure with the alien called Blu and the spaceship. Noel asked David what elements of an illusion make him strive to continue working on it. David said it has to do with the piece being worth it; he wants to move things forward like with the Flying illusion. He said “the Death Saw was worth it, but it was torturous” trying to get it right. “A spaceship appearing over people’s heads, that’s worth it.”  

Will asked what might make David just give it up. David said the challenge is not having enough time to get things accomplished. As far as giving it up he said, “If the audience wasn’t happy or benefitting,” then he might wonder what’s the point. Scott asked which current magicians inspire David, and he answered it’s “the moments of greatness” that inspire him. For example, David saw a tape of Richiardi doing the Square Circle, and it’s brilliant. Tom asked if there were any TV specials he wished he could redo or do differently, and David said, “All of them.” He also spoke briefly about the ups and downs relationship with Doug Henning but that he focuses on the good stuff and good memories of Doug.