Teller, the half of magic duo Penn & Teller whose voice was stolen by a vengeful warlock centuries ago, is suing a Dutch
magician illusionist who is threatening to reveal the secret behind one of his most iconic tricks.
Or, rather, illusions. Tricks are something a whore does for money.
When it appears in Penn & Teller shows, the feat in question is called "Shadows."
In the act, Teller (birth name; Raymond Teller, but now just that) appears before a vase containing a flower, the shadow of which is projected onto a paper background. As Teller cuts leaves and petals from the flower's silhouette, leaves and petals from the actual flower fall along with the shadows.
Here's a video of him performing it. (Skip ahead to 0:45 for the goods.)
Teller's partner-in-magic Penn Jillette has said the trick, which Teller invented as a teenager and copyrighted in 1983, is "probably the best bit in our show."
Seinfeld's Jason Alexander (who is, evidently, super into magic?) said he cried the first time he watched it.
Now Dutchman Gerard Dogge has figured out the "Shadows" secret and, after uploading a video of himself performing the illusion on Youtube, has offered to reveal it to anyone willing to pay $3,050.
According to court documents, Teller first responded by offering to pay the $3,050, on the condition that Dogge remove the video. Dogge refused, allegedly countering with "a much higher sum," and threatening again to sell the secret if Teller "did not come to terms soon."
Teller opted instead to sue him for damages in a Nevada court.
The Youtube video has since been removed.
While illusions can be protected under trade secret and intellectual property laws, previous attempts by magicians to claim damages following what they claimed to be theft of their tricks have met with limited success.
Here's what the 15,000-member International Brotherhood of Magicians has to say on the issue of ethics:
All members of the International Brotherhood of Magicians agree to oppose the willful exposure to the public of any principles of the Art of Magic, or the methods employed in any magic effect or illusion.
The Alliance is certainly going to frown upon this.
[Image via AP]