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10 Epic Magic Trick Failures


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Harry Blackstone's Orange Bowl Queen Appearance
Harry Blackstone, Jr., pictured here in 1980, was the son of famous stage magician The Great Blackstone. © Bettmann/Corbis
Harry Blackstone, Jr., pictured here in 1980, was the son of famous stage magician The Great Blackstone. © Bettmann/Corbis

Harry Blackstone, Jr.'s magical failure didn't kill him, but it certainly bruised his reputation as one of the world's greatest illusionists [source: Mundo NoRain]. He was performing in a half-time show during the 1987 Orange Bowl football game when things began to go wrong. Blackstone fumbled his way through his whole act, and the awkward performance culminated in a technical problem that revealed the secret behind one of his illusions.

For his final trick, Blackstone was going to make Myrka Dellanos, the Orange Bowl Queen, appear out of thin air. When they rehearsed, though, she must not have been wearing the long cape that goes with her title. Here's how the trick was supposed to go down: a large box comes up from under the stage, and Blacksone's assistants show you that it's completely empty. Then they close the box, and when it reopens Dellanos magically appears within.

Unfortunately for Blackstone, the big reveal was neither what he nor the audience expected. The trick basically used an elevator to raise Dellanos out of the floor inside of the mirrored box, but her cape got caught. When they reopened the box, everyone saw Dellanos stuck halfway [source: Mcleod]. Blackstone tried to block the audience's view with his body while the elevator completed its trip, but what was going on was painfully clear. What would the Alliance of Magicians have said? Blackstone's snafu followed him around for years afterward [source: Donaghy].