Criss Angel is one of the best magicians/illusionists whom I have ever seen. In my own opinion. He was born in New York in 1967. His full name is Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos. He had two brothers JD and Costa. His childhood was a fun one of sorts. His mom was very fascinated on what her son could do. He could do so many things as a little tot. One thing he could do that was pretty advanced for his age, was that he could levitate. For those who don’t know what levitate means it means that he could float in mid-air with no strings attached. A lot of people were amazed on what he could do for his very young age. He was most interested in magic when he was seven. In his words he was hooked and that he could feel the power that the adults did when he saw them perform. His very first live performance was when he was twelve at his neighbor’s birthday party. He made ten dollars. After that he regularly did shows at restaurants. He said that on a good night that he could make a minimum of $100.
After completing high school he didn’t attend college but chose to pursue a full time focus on magic. His parents greatly disagreed his decision to skip college. He said that his parents thought that becoming a magician was in a way stupid. Criss’ parents really were set to have their three sons go to college and become lawyers.
After “defying” his family's wishes he started touring with different acts. When he was traveling and performing he studied the art of magic even more to try and perfect his acts. He didn’t always focus on magic though. He also dabbled in dance, martial arts, and mysticism. In Criss’ words he thought that it was practical.
Criss’ television debut was in 1994 on an ABC one hour special called Secrets. In 1998 he had performed at Madison Square Garden. That show was named Criss Angel: World of Illusion. It was for a Halloween convention. He played that same ten minute show 60 times a day all through the twelve day convention. While doing that he received his big break in his career. After the convention he landed a permanent show at the Underground Theater in Times Square. Then he made a t.v show called Criss Angel: Mindfreak. The show was an up close look at his shows and behind the scenes. The show started in 2001 and ended on September 8, 2010. It had a total of six seasons.
We have talked about his life, his shows, now let's talk about his signature or mostly popular moves he does in his shows. First and probably the one he does the most is levitation. It is a pretty sceptical move mostly because they can’t believe it unless they are they’re to test. Then once they are proven wrong they still believe that it is a fake trick. When Criss does this maneuver he usually does it with flare and style. Meaning he will get in a barrel filled with weights, sink underwater, and levitate while still in the barrel with the chains dangling under the barrel at least five feet in the air. Not only would he levitate himself, but he would levitate almost a whole crowd of people sometimes! Actually in one of his tv specials he taught you how to levitate. Of course not to many people successfully did it. But they practiced it. I don’t know how many people actually learned how. His next signature set of things that he did was escaping lots of tough situations. There has been a whole thirty minute program of his escape acts. The one reason why he did these escapes is because his idol in magic was the one and only Harry Houdini. He has done a plethora of escapes. I will name them from most dangerous to easiest for Criss Angel in my opinion. Being buried in six to ten feet of hardening cement, the explosive car bomb, the one hundred foot box, the underwater straitjacket, Bow catch. The cement grave was one of the most dangerous tricks ever. He was chained in five locks, put in a casket, and if he did all of that he had to open the casket and dig his way through tons of hardening cement. The explosive car bomb is also a very dangerous escape. Criss was put into a truck and chained in five to eight locks, and only given one minute to find the small key in the massive truck before it would start moving and eventually plummet into a one to three hundred foot drop and explode into little magical bits. The next trick on my list was the one hundred foot box. This trick was that Criss Angel would be in this clear box to see him escape. It would be raised to one hundred feet. If he didn’t escape within a three minute time he would drop one hundred feet to the ground. He had to escape a straitjacket, five locks, and then he would raise his arms in victory if completed. The next trick is called in simple terms the underwater straitjacket. Criss will be put in a straitjacket whilst in the trunk of a car slowly being lowered into the ocean. The easiest one he has done in my opinion was the bow catch. He would simply catch a fully drawn back bow and arrow shot and catch it.
He has also had some fails. one that really comes to mind is when he tried to catch a nail. I know that may sound ridiculous, but he almost did it. Technically he caught it. The way he caught it was that the nail went through his hand and was stuck in the middle of it. He was immediately screaming in pain as he realizes that the nail is in his hand. He went into an ambulance and told the cameras to cut. This one really isn’t a fail as much as it was a prank on someone. One person wanted Criss to prank that person’s friend. The prank/trick was to scare the person’s friend. What Criss would try to do was to stop a guillotine to stop dead in its tracks with his mind. The friend was to pull the lever. Criss said “Go!” and the friend would pull the lever. The friend did what Criss asked. But when she pulled the lever it broke and the guillotine came down to fast slicing almost all the way through her friend's neck. The neck blood was fake but it looked real making that friend think that she killed her friend on an accident. Once she was told that it was a prank it was all fine and dandy.
Criss Angel was and is one of the best magicians in my opinion. He has set the bar high for any upcoming magicians and would be a good role model for any one wanting to be involved in magic.