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The list: 5 spellbinding facts about magic

White gloved hand points wand at upturned top hat
How much do you know about magic, the subject of new stamps from USPS?

The Art of Magic stamp pane and souvenir sheet were released this month. Here are five facts about magic that you may not have known.

1. Harry Houdini was more than an illusionist. He also founded his own film company and was an accomplished aviator who made one of the first flights in Australia. Additionally, during World War I, Houdini taught U.S. soldiers how to escape sinking ships and get out of ropes or handcuffs in case they were caught by the enemy.

2. Magicians seldom reveal the secrets behind their tricks. Unless you’re paying for a private lesson, that is. And if you request a “how to” demonstration, you might be disappointed because of the simplicity behind the mystery.

3. Some magicians hate cell phones more than hecklers. Holding an audience’s attention is increasingly difficult with today’s electronics, these magicians say, pointing to people attempting to record shows or checking their messages and texting during performances.

4. The most expensive magic show ever cost tens of millions of dollars. Siegfried Fishbacher and Roy Horn’s long-running Las Vegas show, which reportedly cost $28 million to stage when it opened in 1990, set a Guinness world record. The show closed after its 5,750th performance in 2003 when Horn was seriously injured by a white tiger.

5. Magical stamps are a postal tradition. The Art of Magic stamps aren’t the first magic-themed offerings from USPS. Other releases have honored Houdini, Harry Potter and Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice.

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