How Penn and Teller's Magic Bullet Catch is Done (2023)


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Penn & Teller's Magic Bullet:


Tonight, we're going to be dismantling penn, teller's magic bullet catch trick.

Essentially what they do is they have a signed bullet from someone in the audience, both of them inside of a revolver that they they both have on each side of the stage.

They point it at each other's mouths.

They pull the trigger and then they seemingly catch the other bullet in their mouth right.

The bullets somehow get across the stage into the other person's mouth right, but they do a very good job.

Making it appear that there's no possible way that could have happened.

Yeah yeah they have like a line all the way down to stage separating them, so they're they're picking two random people in the audience to inspect these bullets.

Is this a real bull, so they're signing one thing on the bullet and then one thing on the casing: okay, so they're saying these bullets have to pass through these panes of glass and we're gonna.

Do it using these magic wands, the hammer doesn't have a primer on it or uh yeah.

I seriously can't strike it can't strike the uh properly to fire.

It's not that hard.

Just push yourself, I don't think so.

Basically, your initials right home there they had the bullet signed by an audience member and the uh cartridge signed by the same or the shell signed by the same audience, member, both pen and teller.

They had them, showed them pushing it into the revolver cylinder, and here they set it down now watch watch what pen does here and see if it makes any sense to what they're actually trying to do they're going to get uh helmets and a bulletproof vest.

He touches the bulletproof vest and then he picks up his eye gear here right.

Well, that's probably that's it right! There then, because then there's just someone backstage right that switches, the two bullets he had to turn around and grab the vest again, and there was enough time while he was putting on the goggles for someone backstage to to switch the bullets right.

But you can see him put the vest on at this point or 95 of the trick has already been completed, all right, so yeah theatrics theatrics.

He says when I say ears, everyone plug your ears and then they fire.

The bullet, so basically those bullets were in their mouth for, like five minutes, that's great, like maybe yeah, for three minutes, that's like impressive in and of itself where, if he can like deliver a whole monologue by just hiding a bullet somewhere in his mouth and his voice is not noticeably different.

Okay, so then he asks him.

Has it been through the barrel of a guy smell it? Can you spell the gunpowder, see the rifling.

Are your three initials on there yeah? Is it in your writing? Yes, that's your bullet yeah.

So then here's the last part tell me what you see on that shell.

As it comes out, how did they switch only the bullet and not the shell? Basically, it would have to be like a rigged bullet where yeah that they could just pop off.

You do some sort of specific hand movement like a twist or maybe you can press some part of it, so yeah, let's walk through uh your whole theory for how this works.

Okay, so the first thing that happens all right.

The first thing that they do is they have them sign the bullet, and if these are bullets that are able to be released like this, I just removed the bullet from the casing.

At this point, it's palmed and then he has another bullet and he's holding it specifically like this.

When he's showing the camera- and he has him sign, just a shell- they signed that, but it's a different bullet altogether, and I think that this round is what goes into a dummy round.

I think this is a wax round like it has a wax tip on it, something that's not an actual bullets can be fired across the stage now.

At this point, the the tip that's signed is already in their hand, they palm the cartridge.

That's signed, the tip was covered when they signed it.

They put it in like this and they have the audience member push it in, even though you can't see the bullet, because it's already in the cylinder, this is a dummy round, perhaps with a wax bullet.

So can you scrub to the points in the video yeah where these events specifically happened? As you just said, they pick the bullet, they sign the tip, then they do a switch and they replace it with the dummy around the dummy round.

Now, when they're holding it they're making sure not to hold it.

You know like this, but to cover the tip, because it's not signed because it's unsigned they have the real one in their hand, so to clarify right now.

Each one has one cartridge: two bullets at some point: the they release the bullet from the cartridge, the signed bullet tip.

So this is probably where they they do the drop.

So for some reason they go all the way back to the back of the stage and they pull out these glass stands now.

What I think is happening is that these glass stands are either positioned perfectly over a hole over a hole, so they can there's a hole in the pole.

They can just drop it in and it drops underneath the ceiling so they'd be dropping the signed bullet tip in the hollow tube.

Well, then, where would they retrieve it because it's the same part where they go? Get the bulletproof equipment, yeah yeah? Really close, but I think I think when they get the bulletproof equipment, if what you're saying is true, that's when they're retrieving the uh bullet from the other side of the stage.

If the signed bullet tip hasn't already been dropped to people underneath the stage who could be doing several things, they could be making it look like it was shot or they could be transcribing the symbol on an already spent bullet cartridge.

That's very true, too.

If they did the drop there, they have plenty of time to draw like a smiley face in the same market.

Realistically, the audience member is not going to remember specifically what, like, they drew a smiley face, the just the specific nuances of just the pen, stroke yeah, trying to draw your signature with a sharpie.

They write and they write it in a split second look at it for like a second and then it's away from their memory for five minutes.

Okay, so then, here they're still covering the tip they put the bullet in the cylinder, which I think is the dummy round, and then they have them push it in so sign bullet.

If it's already out of their hands is underneath the stage and it's being brought and put on the other person's side of the stage most likely in the back and most likely in their bulletproof vest on the inside of the front here.

Well, I think when they put their bulletproof vest on the bullets in there and they a practice maneuver retrieve it with their mouth from the inside of the bulletproof vest 100.

So at this point, so the sign bullet from teller, side of stage and the sign bullet from penn side stage have already crossed and they're in each other's mouths and the the cartridges in what I believe is a dummy round are in their respective guns on the side of the stage that they were signed on yeah.

So the switch has happened.

Now is the next part, so no sleight of hand is happening here.

You think I don't think so.

I think there's two things happening now.

One is that they're not aiming the guns at each other.

I think the camera gives the illusion that they are, but what I think is that they're actually at a a slight axis, like this yeah so and named like one or two degrees to the side, and maybe the laser pointer is offset if the laser is offset, then the laser is pointing directly at the person.

The gun is pointing slightly off right and that's going through the the glass yeah at the distance they're standing apart visually.

It's far enough away from the audience where there's been like no way to tell that it's misaligned where they're pointing the gun.

So so the only thing I think that the dummy round- that's in their gun, perhaps I don't know- has a wax tip.

I was looking up videos on wax tips.

Yeah they're meant to you know, explode on impact, but that's still dangerous if they were pointing at each other and since they openly talk so much about how they're they're never in actual any danger right- and I believe that, because they've been doing it so long, I don't think they would use a real blank either.

I don't think they would if they were pointing it at each other, so I think that they would have to have it offset so so you believe that the glass is broken by a practical projectile and it's not the glass itself is not rigged to.

I don't know how the area I don't understand how the glass could be rigged.

I can't see them doing that.

You don't think that's safe enough to fire a dummy around 15 degrees off of the target.

I just I don't see them doing it.

I don't see them.

I don't see them firing any a projectile on stage with gunpowder based on their philosophy.

Look at the bullet hole that forms here, yeah through the class that might give a little bit of a clue.

So it's pretty small and compact right right right.

It is off-center which lends to the theory that if it were a practical projectile, then they're, probably not aiming directly at each other, also play the clip where we're firing where it goes through.

Okay, this part's always funny you see like something go across the screen.

Almost look closely and you'll see like a streak across the screen of like gunsmoke right there.

Oh, is that the projectile right there whoa.

Once again.

I don't really know the physics about this.

I could be completely wrong, but I figured there might be a way to hook an electrical charge.

That's what I was through the glass.

That's what that was my initial treat it treat it with some sort of transparent.

I can see that I can see that for the whole glass shattering, but just a tiny hole.

You know what I mean right, yeah right it would have to be very specifically fine-tuned for it to be caught on video.

The bullets are way too slow to be real.

That's a good point! Maybe there's not even enough gunpowder for for that to if it did even point at him right yeah, it wouldn't do anything like a paintball.

That's why it could be a paintball for rehearsing it to make it look.

Convincing teller has to whip his head back exactly like at the right moment, yeah and right, so they go ears, but you can practice that all right.

I think that explains it.

The next thing that they do afterwards is they they ask them to.

You know, inspect the bullet and say: has this been through the barrel of a gun as though they would [ __ ] know and are they gonna in one second go yeah? It has yeah yeah like you, he puts the idea, they do have rifling on them and stuff like that.

So I don't even know what that looks like, I think, um.

If, if the rifling really does show up, then you could easily there's, probably they have a machine or something they could just run it through to put ridges on it.

Probably probably, that's also why I think they probably had spent bullets already and they just had people replicated replicate the markings I mean that makes could be either yeah.

I mean they already know the pens they're using.

So it's just a matter of taking the pen and doing something remotely similar and the person's not going to know the difference at a minute level of detail, and then the next thing is obviously they ask them to smell the cartridge uh.

Does it smell like gunpowder yeah, because gunpowder did explode inside of it, but I think that that's how the magic bullet catch is done.

Yeah, extraordinarily unfair, dependent, teller, breaking it down frame by frame modern video, playback technology.

We showed them.


How Penn and Teller's Magic Bullet Catch is Done? ›

Their version upped the ante by using two guns and two bullets – doubling the danger. Penn & Teller simultaneously shoot at each other, catching the bullets in their mouths. During their act they wear bulletproof vests and helmets.

How did Penn and Teller do the bullet catch? ›

Their version upped the ante by using two guns and two bullets – doubling the danger. Penn & Teller simultaneously shoot at each other, catching the bullets in their mouths. During their act they wear bulletproof vests and helmets.

How did Houdini catch the bullet? ›

In his version, he used to catch the bullet on a porcelain plate. COHEN: I've actually held the plate that he used. He was performing this, and the bullet actually pierced through his body, and he fell down onto the stage.

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At the end of each magic act, Penn & Teller use their combined century's worth of magic knowledge and card trick history to guess the secret to the magic trick. If they're wrong, the magicians win a “Fool Us Trophy” and a chance to be a guest opening act for Penn & Teller's long-running Las Vegas show.

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David Blaine attempts one of the most famous and deadliest effects in magic. In his 2010 television special, what is magic?, blaine catches a . 22 caliber bullet fired from a rifle into a small metal cup in his mouth.

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If the gun is to be loaded in front of the audience, a wax bullet is loaded into the firearm. The spray of liquid wax from the barrel of the gun is enough to break the pane of glass. The magician uses misdirection to exchange the marked bullet with one made of wax and place the marked bullet into his or her mouth.

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The speed of sound is 1100 fps, or 750 mph, or 1200 kph, some bullets travel a little slower than that, most travel a great deal faster.

Did Houdini do the bullet catch trick? ›

Houdini never did the trick. This just added to the legend of the bullet catch -- a trick so dangerous even Houdini wouldn't try it. But now handcuff and restraint expert, Joe Fox, has discovered this intriguing nugget in the April 1937 issue of Genii.

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Is it possible to grab a bullet? ›

A bullet fired straight up would eventually reach a maximum height. It probably wouldn't stop completely; more likely, it would be drifting sideways at a couple meters per second. At that speed, as long as you were in the right place at the right time, you could snatch it out of the air.

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Aug 17, 2020

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First comes The Pledge: The magician shows you something relatively ordinary, like a dove. Second is The Turn: The magician takes the dove and makes it do something extraordinary, like disappear. Finally, there's The Prestige: The magician tops that disappearance and makes the dove reappear.

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Bullets of different sizes and calibers can puncture skin more easily: buckshot will perforate skin at 145 miles per hour and bullets from a . 38 caliber revolver will do so at just 130 miles per hour. Bullets from a 9mm handgun may max out at speeds as low as 102 miles per hour.

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Attributes and Secondary Characteristics
AttributesSecondary Characteristics
1 more row

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Undergraduate Grants and Scholarships. Like other Ivy League schools, Penn undergraduate aid is entirely need-based. The University does not award scholarships based on academic or athletic merit. Penn is committed to meeting your full demonstrated need for eight academic semesters with grant-based aid.

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- Penn & Teller. “Is there a meet and greet with them after the show?” you bet there is. and, you can take pictures too.

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Velocities of between 38.1 and 61.6 meters/second (125 and 202 ft./second) will produce at least minimal damage to the surface of the skin, though without perforation.

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Regardless of your speed and finesse, no human can dodge a bullet at close range. The bullet is simply traveling too fast. Even the slowest handguns shoot a bullet at 760 miles per hour, SciAm explains.

Can a human theoretically catch a bullet? ›

The answer you are looking for is no. The point of bullets is to kill people. If you tried, you would find the bullet goes by too fast to see, much less reach out and catch. If the bullet hit your fingers, most likely they would be shot off.

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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Gilbert Genesta (born as Royden Joseph Gilbert Raison DelaGenesta; March 29, 1878 – November 9, 1930) was an American escape artist and magician who died while performing a water barrel escape. Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S.

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Penn & Teller Effect

He demonstrates how powerful they are by shooting a few nails in a board. He then activates the trigger into his hand but nothing comes out. He explains that the nails had been put on a string in the nail gun that was in a specific sequence and all he had to do was memorize the sequence.

Is it possible to catch a bullet? ›

A bullet fired straight up would eventually reach a maximum height. It probably wouldn't stop completely; more likely, it would be drifting sideways at a couple meters per second. At that speed, as long as you were in the right place at the right time, you could snatch it out of the air.

Why does Penn Teller have one red fingernail? ›

According to the New York Post, Penn's mom would always tell the juggler that he needed to keep his hands looking neat for the audience. The red fingernail has since become his way of honoring his mom's advice. Upon learning Penn's explanation, many fans expressed how much they admired his intentions.

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"Teller speaks very well, but he decided to work silently in magic because he was working rough environments where he was apt to be heckled. And Teller just thought if he was quiet, they'd grow weary of heckling him." Teller opened up about his decision to not speak while working in a 2015 interview with NPR.

How does an angled nail gun work? ›

Being able to tilt the front of the machine backwards prevents the front of the tool from hitting the workpiece, so it allows nails to be fired into tight corners or close to the floor. This would be impossible if you were using a straight nailer, and it is in these applications where an angled nailer is invaluable.

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Jandro. A master of unconventional magic, Jandro combines impossible magic tricks with comedy to take audiences on an unforgettable journey. The Spanish comedy mentalist and card magician fooled Penn and Teller FOUR times, most recently as part of a show that aired on October 2021.

What does one black fingernail mean on a man? ›

That's when he came up with the Polished Man project, which encourages men to become a #PolishedMan by painting one fingernail for a week. That single nail on a hand of five nails, represents the 1 in 5 children who will tragically be a victim of sexual violence at some point in their lives.

What does one black fingernail mean? ›

In fact, the sentiment behind black nail polish on the ring finger actually supports a very noble and important cause. Many people, including some prominent celebrities, have joined hands and painted a single fingernail in solidarity with the prevention of violence that is enacted against children.

Why does Penn paint his nails? ›

Momma's boy. According to the New York Post, Penn's mom would always tell the juggler that he needed to keep his hands looking neat for the audience. The red fingernail has since become his way of honoring his mom's advice. Upon learning Penn's explanation, many fans expressed how much they admired his intentions.

Has anyone fooled Penn and Teller? ›

Shin Lim. Shin Lim, a close-up card magician, has not only fooled Penn and Teller once, but twice. Known for his dexterity and sleight of hand, Shin first appeared on “Fool Us” in 2015, where he performed a mind-boggling routine involving a disappearing ink signature on a card.

Are Penn and Teller friends? ›

Penn and long-time partner Teller are best friends, but their relationship is based on respect rather than love.

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