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Interview With Lance Burton

Aired January 10, 2004 - 22:26   ET


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: There is magic in the air in Las Vegas right now. Many of the world's top magicians have descended on Sin City for the annual World Magic Seminar. Now when it comes to magic, well I have a confession to make. I'm no great believer. So when I talk to master magician Lance Burton earlier, I told him I was one of the more skeptical ones.

LANCE BURTON: So I'm going to try to do something unusual here over the fiber optic lines. I'm going to try and read your mind. OK?

LIN: All right, I better clean up my thoughts then. OK.

BURTON: OK. Then you have to explain to people also that we didn't set this up.

LIN: Right.

BURTON: We don't have anything...

LIN: No, I have no idea what you're going to do.

BURTON: OK, now Carol, this is what I want you to do. I want you to think of the playing card, and I am going to try and name your card.


BURTON: Now are you familiar with the different playing cards?

LIN: Yes.

BURTON: OK, now don't think of the Ace of spades.

LIN: Not.

BURTON: Because 90 percent of people think of the Ace of spades.

LIN: Right.

BURTON: When you ask them to.

LIN: Gotcha.

BURTON: So if you say Ace of spades, no one will be impressed. Or the queen of hearts or the joker. Those are the other most common ones.


BURTON: Think of one that I wouldn't know ahead of time, what you're thinking of.


BURTON: All right, now do you have one in your mind?

LIN: I do.

BURTON: OK, now don't change your mind. Look right at the camera. I'm going to try and look right in my camera. I'm going to try and name your card. OK, I'm getting an impression. Carol, the name of your card is Bill.

LIN: Duh.

BURTON: That's the card's name. Oh, you think...

LIN: No.

BURTON: ...I'm joking.

LIN: Yes.

BURTON: Oh, OK, I'm sorry. I didn't explain this correctly. You see, I do a lot of work with cards as a magician. So I name all of the cards. I'm on very intimate terms with the cards.

LIN: OK, but I'm thinking of a symbol.

BURTON: What playing card were you thinking of?

LIN: Five of diamonds.

BURTON: Five of diamonds. See, to you, it's the five of diamonds, but I call the five of diamonds Bill.

LIN: Oh, now how am I supposed to know that?

BURTON: OK, I know you think I'm crazy. All right, so just to prove I'm not a nut, I brought along a deck of cards. If you can come in tight, maybe they can get a shot of this. See? That's Debbie.

LIN: Right.

BURTON: That's Karen.

LIN: Right.

BURTON: That's Austin. All the cards have names. And that's how I keep track of them.

LIN: OK. BURTON: And I'm on very intimate terms with all the -- that's Dave there.

LIN: Right.

BURTON: And all the cards have different names, but you weren't thinking of the eight of diamonds. You weren't thinking of Doug.

LIN: No.

BURTON: You were thinking of the five of diamonds.

LIN: Right.

BURTON: So you to you, it's the five of diamonds. To me, it's Bill.

LIN: Oh, God, I can't believe that. Because I rifled through several cards in my mind before I ended upon the five of diamonds. That's amazing. All right look, OK, maybe you've made a bigger believer in me. The true test, though, is if I could do magic, a non- believer. OK, so you've actually sent us something here. I've got a mug here, right, with your name on it?

BURTON: With my name on it. Now this is actually my mom's favorite trick. This is the only trick she does.

LIN: All right.

BURTON: She has one of these mugs back in Kentucky. There's a mug...

LIN: You gave us some directions here.

BURTON: Yes, there's a mug. It has my name on it. It has a little dove, picture of a dove on it.

LIN: And with this magic solution called hot water...

BURTON: Hot water, you pour hot water in it.

LIN: Which is what I'm doing right now...

BURTON: It sounds like you're following the directions correctly.

LIN: And something is supposed to happen here. And while we're watching this, I want to ask you about this magic seminar that's taking place in Las Vegas.

BURTON: The World Magic Seminar, yes, ma'am. That's been going on for gee, 25 years, maybe more.

LIN: And it's magicians from all over the world, young and old?

BURTON: That's correct. There will... LIN: And you trade secrets?

BURTON: There will be over 1,000 magicians in Las Vegas this weekend. They come from all over the world. There are magicians from North America, South America...

LIN: (Unintelligible.)

BURTON: ...Asia, Europe, all ages. It's really a fun event. And I've been attending for over 20 years.

LIN: What do you get out of it?

BURTON: Well, like any industry, you have lectures, where you can learn magic. We have shows, where we have professional magicians performing. We have contests for the amateur magicians or people just starting out can get up and perform their act and...

LIN: And speaking of amateurs, take a look at what's happened to the mug.

BURTON: Ah, what your trick's successful.

LIN: The missing dove.

BURTON: There you go.

LIN: The dove's starting to fade out.

BURTON: That's how it starts. See, next week, you'll be making people float in the air and sawing people in half. That's how it starts.

LIN: That's amazing. Lance Burton, you've made a believer out of me. You have fun at that seminar. And thanks so much for sharing your magic with us tonight.

BURTON: Thanks, Carol, my pleasure.


LIN: How did he guess the five of diamonds? I have no idea. Totally a random pick. We'll try to get the answer some other time.


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