David Copperfield TV Specials

I know we’re all thinking about Christmas TV specials right now. Those of us who have stopped thinking about Halloween Christmas specials are, anyway. But there were other specials on TV besides the Christmas and Halloween ones. There were also the non-holiday-related David Copperfield TV specials.


I don’t know how many of these specials there were nor over how many years they aired (Ann Gillian says they have been airing for nine years in one of the videos below), but I do know that I watched and love several of them. Here are my favorites:

The flying special. I wondered for years how Copperfield pulled this one off. Even knowing (thanks to this video), I still think this is one of the best presented illusions ever.

I’m not sure which one this was, but I remembered this segment. I think it was the opening of the show, and I always think of it rather than Footloose anytime I hear “Holding Out For A Hero”.

I was kind of disappointed in the Alcatraz special because David clearly used staged illusions rather than real escape techniques. That was my uninformed opinion, anyway, and even if it isn’t legitimate, I still remained slightly disappointed in this one. I still remember it, though.

The disappearance of the Statue of Liberty blew my mind. So did Morgan Fairchild.


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

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4 thoughts on “David Copperfield TV Specials

  1. I LOVED David Copperfield when I was a kid! I don’t recommend seeing his live show now though… saw it in 2010 in Vegas and he was so not into it:( Kind of ruined the magic for me. I was close enough to see him reading his own childhood story off a sign. Really takes you out of it!

  2. Tenn_Tuxedo says:

    I remember that statue of liberty special.

    How’d he do that?

    Rotating stage the audience was on and 2nd ring of lights on ground. Statue was actually behind the left tower w/it’s lights off. Note how prop tree shakes as stage rotates and helicopter doesn’t change it’s position and moves from right side of space to left.

    Still a great example of 80s tv theatrical performance in all it’s cheese.

  3. I adored magic specials as a kid & was glued to the TV whenever copperfield was on. I remember the great wall of china one & the space shuttle one. He got extremely lazy with the audience participation one in the one special though. He has you start out on 3 islands, go ahead a random number, removes the islands, then has you go back that same number. He was supposed to put other steps in between so that it wouldn’t be so blatantly obvious how the trick worked.

    I still like magic shows these days, but I have long since lost patience for “grand illusions”. Each “grand illusion” is 98% tedious theatrics and only 2% actual trick. On top of that, they don’t require much skill as a magician, the props & assistants do most of the work, any actor could play the magician’s role.
    Close-up magic on the other hand is far better. Far less time is wasted on theatrics, it’s 90% trick. On top of that, I respect close-up magicians more because of the skill level required. While any actor could pull off grand illusions, it takes actual skill to pull off close-up magic, due both to the fact that you have no props & assistants to hide behind, and to the fact that (as the name implies) your audience is right there where they can see everything, not clear across a crowded stadium from you.

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