WASHINGTON – Magician and illusionist David Copperfield told PJM a House Resolution designating magic as an art form is a “step” in the direction of teaching magic in public schools.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 642, which would recognize “magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.”
“I think it will help in a number of different ways. There are a number of inventors who invent magic effects, who will be protected better if magic is classified by our government as an art form. It will help protect trade secrets. It will help protect intellectual property and that’s a good thing,” Copperfield said on Capitol Hill.
“Also, people that are looking for grants, not governmental grants but foundations — from corporate grants that will help them and say, ‘hey you are giving money to art. Magic’s an art. The government says so.’ I think that will help them — all the people that are starting to explore magic as the art that it is.”
According to Forbes, Copperfield’s magic shows grossed $63 million in 2015.
In 2013, Forbes estimated Copperfield’s net worth at $800 million.
Sessions said Eric Hogue, mayor of Wylie, Texas, and Copperfield approached him about drafting a resolution related to magic.
“It helps people to grow and learn. It’s about physics. It’s about illusion. It’s about a really fun opportunity…they use this as a form to entertain people, many of whom are disabled, many of whom who are in old-folks homes and may of our veterans who have come back home who are looking for a way to enjoy something else that might get their mind away from where they were and make them feel better,” he said.
PJM asked Copperfield if he would like to see magic taught as part of art programs in public school.
“This will be a step in that direction as part of teaching dancing or saxophone; why not learn magic, too? It’s used in hospitals in my ‘protect magic’ program already but to give it validity of the governmental tip of the hat is going to be a step in the right direction,” he said.
Sessions agreed with Copperfield.
“Certainly you’ll have to ask Mr. Copperfield about what happened to him when he was 16 years old. He taught at New York University this exact thing and we learned today that cinematography really began as a result of these magicians wanting to do what they did to a wider audience, and so they figured out they could put it in media this way,” Sessions said. “Yes, I believe as an opportunity in education it has a great place.”
PJM asked Copperfield if he supports presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who attended one of Copperfield’s birthday parties, or presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
Hogue, who participated in a Capitol Hill briefing with Copperfield on the history of magic, interjected.
“Who do you support, Hillary Clinton or do you support Donald Trump?” asked Hogue.
With a laugh, Copperfield responded, “I support magic.”
PJM then asked Copperfield if there is anything he would like to see “disappear” in Washington after seeing the legislative process in action.
“I think things should appear rather than disappear. I’m trying to make as much positive happen as we can,” he said.
Off-camera, PJM mentioned a Daily Beast story to Copperfield that claimed that he said Trump would make a good magician with his “small hands.”
Copperfield shook his and head and called the story’s headline “click bait” because he was referring to Tony Slydini, not Trump.