Fly Me to the Moon: Magicians and Early Cinema

"In some sense all cinema is a kind of death and resurrection trick. It captures moments that, until cinema, would've been fleeting, and allows them to survive."  Stuart Nolan, Applied Magician

In the early 20th century, magicians were at the forefront of cinema innovation, and there was often no distinction for the audience between a magic show and a film screening - indeed, events would often contain elements of both. Imagine what it must have been like for audiences at the time to see George Méliès' spaceship hitting the moon in the eye, RW Paul's flying car driving off into space and circling the rings of Saturn or Segundo de Chomon's self-brushing hair and suitcases with minds of their own.

In this illustrated discussion event, Watershed's 2013 magicians in residence Stuart Nolan and Kieron Kirkland joined Professor of Film History Ian Christie and Watershed Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove to explore the rich influence of magic and magicians on pioneers of early film. The talk reveals some of these early innovations to show the roots of the often-used cliché 'the magic of the movies'.