Magic Spectacles

Continuing what is apparently magic week here at Control Geek, I'm working through my backlog today and am clearing out a couple interesting items in my "todo" email folder with which I had some connection. With Believe on the way (and I hear from sources inside that the show needs some work, but they still have some time), Itricks took an interesting look back at other magic spectacles that either were delayed or had other issues:

Forbes.com has a nice roundup of failure. Not this kind. But rather the kind that is first necessary for anyone to truly be great.

Take entrepreneur Bob Compton...

Compton teamed up with magician David Copperfield to launch a magic-themed restaurant in New York City’s Times Square. They had raised $40 million and had completed 80% of the project when a majority equity partner blocked another interested investor to avoid further dilution. “After several years of work, the project imploded,” recalls Compton. “I was extraordinarily depressed.

My friend George Kindler's company Thoughtful Designs had been hired (through PRG) to do the show control systems on this restaurant.  Looking to expand his company beyond its Las Vegas base, George hired me to start an office for him here in NYC, and this Copperfield restaurant was the impetus to making it happen.   Sadly, when the project imploded, PRG, which was trying to turn into a public company, was left holding the bag and ended up getting out of the permanent install business.  All that hurt George's company and I eventually left, and when George's contract expired he left PRG too.  The building was actually built, and now it's a "Mama" Sbarros:


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Speaking of George, with Damon Wooten (also sadly departed) and Jeff Berryman he did show control for EFX, which is in the same space as Ka is now at the MGM.  It too had delays, and was at the time probably the most technically complex show ever done.  Again, from Itricks:

As we look forward to the grand opening of Criss Angel’s Believe at the Luxor, it might give some perspective to look back at another major magic undertaking: EFX at the MGM Grand.

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For instance, you think the Believe delay was bad? Check out this story from the San Francisco Chronicle back in 1995.

Tomorrow night’s opening of “EFX” — a $41 million production that is the most expensive Las Vegas show ever — has been postponed. Technical difficulties caused the delay, according to a representative for “EFX.”

The show, which is to play at the MGM Grand hotel, stars Michael Crawford.

Opening night of “EFX” was almost sold out. No new opening date has been set.

The DAY BEFORE! As in, 24 hours. Imagine you had flown to Vegas for the debut. Crazy.


I saw it the night before the eventual opening, and they did an entire scene under worklight.  The show was spectacular, but terrible.