FACTITIOUS SLEIGHT OF HAND
“Testimony by experts is not the same as expert testimony.”
In 2002, Channel 4 (U.K.) released Magic at War, a ‘documentary’ on Jasper Maskelyne.
Its main strength was archival footage of Maskelyne swallowing razor blades and performing classic stage tricks such as ‘Ringing the Rod’, and ‘ Through the Eye of the Needle’.
The opening words, “a tale of half-truths and misdirection”, could easily have applied to the documentary itself and not just to the subject matter.
The program ostensibly concentrated on Magic–Top Secret, but surprisingly regurgitated the standard Fisher myths with only a few caveats. Magic at War assumed that Maskelyne wrote his own post-war memoirs. It made no mention of a ghost writer. It repeatedly showed a uniformed actor carefully writing out notes for posterity. Voice-overs spouted tendentious lines from Magic–Top Secret. These poetic ramblings on War and Death were not even Maskelyne’s words.
To download my review, click on the image opposite.