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Oprah: David Copperfield

Original Air Date: February 19, 1996
Taped: December 1995

Show Transcript:

OPRAH WINFREY: I have never seen anything like that!
Announcer: ...together in our studio for one spellbinding hour.
DAVID COPPERFIELD: Wiggling, stop.
Announcer: Meet the man behind the magic.
OPRAH: Were kids making fun of you in school when you were like doing little crazy magic tricks?
COPPERFIELD: I used magic to kind of fit in, but not unlike anybody else.
Announcer: Discover how he stole the heart of the most beautiful supermodel in the world.
COPPERFIELD: I saved up a bunch of money and I rented a little tiny island.
OPRAH: You're my kind of guy.
Announcer: Coming up, Oprah Winfrey and David Copperfield.
COPPERFIELD: Reach down inside, make sure it's empty. What does this mean?
OPRAH: OK...
Announcer: Together they're magic.
OPRAH: Whoa! Today some of the most amazing and unbelievable things will be happening in this very studio. We are about to meet the man who has levitated over the Grand Canyon, walked through the Great Wall of China and made the Statue of Liberty disappear. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us today on this show. I hear he has a few tricks up his sleeve for me, but I'm going to be watching him closely. Please welcome the greatest illusionist of our time, David Copperfield!
Great to see you. Great to see you. Great to see you.
COPPERFIELD: Wow.
OPRAH: Whoa!
COPPERFIELD: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
OPRAH: Nice to be loved.
COPPERFIELD: That's for me.
OPRAH: That's for you?
COPPERFIELD: It is. They love me.
OPRAH: OK. Woo!
COPPERFIELD: Thank you.
OPRAH: Well, I am so excited--I am so excited because we were just talking about, we love people who are the best at what they do, and you are the best at what you do.
COPPERFIELD: Well, you are the best--you are the best--thank you. Thank you.
OPRAH: You are the best. And I'm just going to move away and let the show begin.
COPPERFIELD: Thank you very much.
OPRAH: All right. All right.
COPPERFIELD: You know, a lot of my critics say I can't get through a show without a pretty lady, a lot of smoke and wind blowing my hair. Today I'm going to prove to you that they're right. I put together an illusion with a pretty lady, a lot of smoke and a fan. And I call the illusion The Fan.


David Preforms The Fan


OPRAH: That was the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen. Was that the most...
COPPERFIELD: Thank you. Thank you. All right.
OPRAH: I have never seen anything like that! Jeez. More magic ahead. How did he do that? We'll ask David about it and about his--I am stunned--about his fiancee, Claudia Schiffer. I don't even care what he has to say about that. And--and when will those wed--I don't care when the wedding bells are going to ring. But first, take a look at David's favorite illusion to perform. This looks like so much fun. I--my God, it's amazing--amazing.


Footage of David Flying


OPRAH: We're here today with David Copperfield. Wasn't that the most amazing thing you ever saw? Now I will tell you--like let me just tell you this, the producer of this show today, Kandi, said to me, `Just flow with things and just let David be himself.' So I had--I'm still looking to see where you disappeared to. I had no idea you were up there. And I will tell you that my crew's been here since 6:00 in the morning with your crew, and they said they've seen you do it like in rehearsal four times, they still can't figure out how you do it. They can't figure out how you do it.
COPPERFIELD: Good.
OPRAH: Good. What's the difference between--is--this isn't magic, is it? Or--but it makes me feel so good. It makes me...
COPPERFIELD: Then it must be magic.
OPRAH: Then it must be magic. It isn't magic, though. It's like--it's creating an illusion.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah. I think so. And if you call yourself an illusionist, you get paid 20 percent more, so it's perfect. No, I mean, it's a whole--I mean, my idols weren't really other magicians. My idols were Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and Orson Welles and Walt Disney. You know, they took their individual art forms and they moved people with them. You know, and I wanted to do the same thing with magic. I wanted to take magic and make it romantic and make it sexy and make it funny and make it goofy and--you know, all the different things that a songwriter gets to express or a filmmaker gets to express. I--it's very similar.
OPRAH: Yeah, you brought high drama to magic.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah, well, thanks.
OPRAH: Yes. Did you always want to do this or do--were kids making fun of you in school when you were like doing little crazy magic tricks?
COPPERFIELD: What is it--ah, I like this audience, you know.
OPRAH: Yeah.
COPPERFIELD: You say something, they go, `Ah.'
OPRAH: Oh, they're great. They're great. They just--they will move with you, yes.
COPPERFIELD: All right. Cool. Well, no, I--I used magic to kind of fit in, not only--unlike anybody else, you know. Other kids went to music class or, you know, were part of the French club or--or whatever.
OPRAH: There's David--yeah.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah, I did ventriloquism. That's me and my--that's my dummy. You can't--you've got to guess which one is which. The--the lines kind of help you decide which one is the--that's me, yeah.
OPRAH: I thought of a great title for a book. I know you have a great book out now, but I thought of a great title for you: "Life is an Illusion."
COPPERFIELD: Yes.
OPRAH: You could do that book, yes.
COPPERFIELD: I could.
OPRAH: Yes. Yes.
COPPERFIELD: You get a percentage of that title, I guess, if I use it.
OPRAH: Now I heard that you first met Claudia there was something about her eyes that just sort of pulled you in?
COPPERFIELD: It was the eyes and the hair and everything else, yes.
OPRAH: And everything else.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah, I mean, she's kind of hard to miss, you know.
OPRAH: How did you propose? Because, you know, you're--you're one of drama and romance. So I can't imagine what that was like.
COPPERFIELD: It was very--it was very romantic and very dramatic.
OPRAH: Was it?
COPPERFIELD: Uh-huh. Yeah. I kind of don't like to talk about this, but, OK, I'll tell you.
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: I--I saved up a bunch of money.
OPRAH: Mm-hmm.
COPPERFIELD: And I rented a little tiny island.
OPRAH: You rented an island?
COPPERFIELD: And--a little island--you know about that.
OPRAH: You are my kind of guy. You're my kind of guy.
COPPERFIELD: Come on. And--and--yeah. And I got a whole bunch of candles and the rest I ca--I don't want to talk about, but--but, yeah, it was--it was very nice.
OPRAH: We have a tape of the--of...
COPPERFIELD: Of that?
OPRAH: No, not of that. No, but we do have...
COPPERFIELD: You were there, too?
OPRAH: We have tape of Claudia. We have tape of Claudia. Watch this.

Footage of Claudia

CLAUDIA SCHIFFER: He's somebody that is very confident in what he does. He--obviously that's why he is so good at it. He's an easy kind of person, so when he's very--when he's into something, when he's--when he wants to do something, he's very passionate about it.
OPRAH: Wow. Wow.
COPPERFIELD: And that--and that--that--that was the island I rented. It was--it was New York.
OPRAH: That's pretty good.
COPPERFIELD: It was a big island.
OPRAH: I saw that ring--a rock on Cl--it was a rock on Claudia's hand. And if you missed it, take a look at it in slow motion.
COPPERFIELD: Oh, no.
OPRAH: We have it in slow motion. Look at this.
COPPERFIELD: How do you get this--what i...
OPRAH: Oh--that is. That is a--that is a nice little pebble there.
COPPERFIELD: Cr--Cracker Jack box I got it out of.
OPRAH: That is a nice thing.
COPPERFIELD: Don't tell her, please.
OPRAH: Don't tell her that. I recognize that--Mulgery it looks like to me.
COPPERFIELD: Ooh, Oprah!
OPRAH: Yeah. It does. It's a beautiful ring--beautiful ring. You have a trick I heard you wanted to do with my ring. I don't wear rings so I borrowed one.
COPPERFIELD: You borrowed one? See, you shouldn't say that because then it's going to look like you don't really care about this ring. It's much more--make believe it's like yours and you really cared about it.
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: OK. OK. Come here. Come here. You want to do something? You want to see something? Have a seat right there. Please have a seat. Yes.
OPRAH: Yes.
COPPERFIELD: I know when I was little--they showed a picture of me when I was a ventriloquist, because I, you know, started with--you know, I started with a little ventriloquist dummy. But then I moved into magic. When I--when I was a little kid magician, these were the shoes that I wore. These are Air Coppers. You put them on, you pump them up and you're gone. This is a little shoe.
OPRAH: Those are cute.
COPPERFIELD: It goes into my back pocket--this back pocket right here. Oprah, take your hand, reach--reach down inside and make sure it's empty.
OPRAH: Ow! Ha-ha, ha-ha.
COPPERFIELD: Oprah, thank you.
OPRAH: OK? OK? OK?
COPPERFIELD: Yep, yep, thank you.
OPRAH: OK?
COPPERFIELD: Could you do that again, please?
OPRAH: Reach down there.
COPPERFIELD: What does this mean?
OPRAH: OK. Sorry.
COPPERFIELD: That's very good. This could be a long show. OK. That's very good. This little shoe goes into my back pocket--this back pocket right there.
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: I need to borrow one of your rings there--is that--is that your favorite ring?
OPRAH: That's my favorite ring.
COPPERFIELD: It is, really?
OPRAH: Thanks, David. It's my favorite ring.
COPPERFIELD: OK, OK, let me--let me see. Can you take it off, please?
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: Let me see. Ooh. There's an inscription: T-I-N.
OPRAH: Oh, God.
COPPERFIELD: See, if this was your ring it would be really emotional.
OPRAH: OK. OK. Here we go.
COPPERFIELD: We're going to get a nice tight shot of Oprah's ring.
OPRAH: Here we go.
COPPERFIELD: Remember what it looks like. Wow, what does that shot remind you of? The Home Shopping Network.
OPRAH: Yes, it does. Oh, that's funny. That's funny. That's good. That's good. That's good.
COPPERFIELD: OK.
OPRAH: OK, I got it.
COPPERFIELD: The ring goes--the ring goes into my hand. Watch, watch, watch. Watch carefully.
OPRAH: Gone.
COPPERFIELD: Blow. Again. One more time. It's over there.
OPRAH: Oh. It's gone.
COPPERFIELD: It be gone. My--my hands--my hands have never left your sight.
OPRAH: That's true.
COPPERFIELD: But the real cool thing is your ring has reappeared back on your finger. Check it out. That would have been good, though, huh?
OPRAH: Yeah. I'm like...
COPPERFIELD: (Sneezes) Excuse me. I'm like--thank you.
OPRAH: That would have been really good.
COPPERFIELD: My--my hands have never left your sight...
OPRAH: Yeah.
COPPERFIELD: ...but when I was a little kid magician, as I said before, I used to make the friends' rings disappear, then the rings would reappear tied into the laces of my shoes.
OPRAH: Uh-huh.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah. Tied into the laces of my little shoes, so their rings--remember that little shoe in my back pocket?
OPRAH: That little shoe.
COPPERFIELD: I haven't touched it, I haven't come close to it. I want you to look--just look, because tied to the little laces of that shoe--is the ring. Is that the ring? Give her a big round of applause.
OPRAH: You are the best. You are the best. I am your biggest fan. You are the best. That is--you are just the best.
COPPERFIELD: I'm just going to stay here.
OPRAH: You are just the best.
COPPERFIELD: All year long.
OPRAH: Well, David has done some downright wild stunts all in the name of entertainment, I can't figure it out how he gets himself out of all these situations. Take a look at this glimpse into the sometime crazy world of David Copperfield.


Brief clips of David preforming some illusions such as The Death Saw, Underwater Escape, Brazilian Water Levitation, Escape from an Imploding Building, Interlude, On the Edge, Squeeze Box, Metamorphosis, and others.



OPRAH: I am now just the biggest David Copperfield fan. We're trying to get a list of every place David's going to be in the next year so I can follow him around the country and be a David groupie. So they'll say, `Get her out of the audience.' Now you want to show me some--some furniture or something. I have no idea what's going to happen here.
COPPERFIELD: We can--we--we can try something right away, if you like? Why don't you--why don't you stand over there. I'll need your assistance as well in this thing, but no rings are necessary.
OPRAH: No rings, OK.
COPPERFIELD: No. You can stand over there. I do need to borrow some people from the audience.
OPRAH: I just stand right here?
COPPERFIELD: So if you're an adult and speak English, raise your hand. You can come, yes, yes. OK, these two guys there. Yes. Come on. Let's get some people over here. Yes. Yes. Yes. Hmm. Come on. Just step right over there. All right. Just--you can move right over there. Now I think we got enough.
You see, I've been traveling around the world collecting artifacts, items that people say are haunted. They say if you concentrate hard enough, you can awaken the spirits inside those objects and cause the objects to move without explanation. And I brought one of those objects with me tonight. It's this table over here, folks. If you're around the table, pick it up and bring it down here. Mm-hmm. Pick it up and bring it over here. Very good.Put it down right th--right there. And everybody examine that table. Really check it out. Make sure there's nothing funny about it or phony about it.Can I ask you what you're looking for? Is it--is it OK? All right. You stand right over here. You move over here. You move over here.Exactly. And everybody get--everybody get down on one knee.
OPRAH: Everybody get down on one knee.
COPPERFIELD: There you go. Good. If any of you have problems with your knees let me know. And if any of you have a trick knee, let me know and I'll give you a spot in the show. OK, fine. Take your fingertips and touch the table like this. We're going to try to--yeah, don't--don't press down. Just keep your fingertips lightly touching the top of the table, eyes focused right here at the center. We're going to try to awaken the spirits inside this table and cause it to rise up into our fingertips. But it's important you follow my instructions exactly and move very slowly. Everybody stand up altogether; stand up. Everybody get back down, please. Get back down. I need you to come with me. You've done nothing wrong. But I want to give everybody a chance. Would you mind taking her place, please? Put your fingertips on the table. Eyes focused right here at the center. We're going to make this table rise very slowly. Stand up very slowly--slower, slower--feel it rise and it will rise. Feel it rise, and it will rise. Table down. Table down. Table down. Everybody down. Everybody down. I need this gentleman to come with me. Let's have a different gentleman. How about you, sir? You mind taking his place? Put your fingertips on the table, eyes focused right here at the center. And stand up altogether. Stand up, very slowly. Feel it rise and it will rise. Come on. Yeah. Now I'm going to try to remove the tablecloth without having the table fall. Stay where you are. Now I don't want you to think your fingertips are stuck to the table. So everybody wiggle your fingers. Wiggle them.Wiggling stop. I think we overdid the wiggling.
OPRAH: Oh, my goodness.
COPPERFIELD: Everybody get back down, please. Get back down.
OPRAH: Get back down.
COPPERFIELD: We're going to give you something to concentrate on. We're going to make an X right here in the center of the table. Keep your eyes on that X. You're all focused in the same place at the same time, and everybody stand up altogether. Stand up. Come on. Feel it rise and it will rise. Good. Keep your bodies away from the table so nothing is touching the table except your fingertips. Now listen carefully: Everyone lift up your left hand. Put it back! Lift up your right hand. Put it back! Listen carefully now. Lift up both hands. Put them back! Catch it! Bring it up! Bring it up! Bring it up! That's very good.
OPRAH: I don't know. I don't know.
COPPERFIELD: Now our table will do whatever we tell it to do. Table, come this way. Come on, table, move this way. If you feel it move, move with it. Come on. Stop. Back this way.
OPRAH: I don't know.
COPPERFIELD: Come on, table, move this way. It's a good thing the table speaks English.
OPRAH: It's a good thing, right. We're like...
COPPERFIELD: And stop. Now our table loves music, so I brought some Alfred Hitchcock music, some Bernard Herman, because the table loves to dance. Come on, table, back and forth. And turn to the right. Come on, table, turn to the right. And reverse, to the left. Faster. Faster, faster, faster. Table drop. Give us all a big round of applause.
OPRAH: Next, we're going to get an inside peek into David's top-secret warehouse--warehouse of magic. I'm speechless. But first, check out when David made a train car from the Orient Express disappear. It was only 70 tons and 85 feet long. No problem.


Footage of David making an Orient Express Dining Car disappear



OPRAH: David Copperfield is my special guest today, and I have never had so much fun. I didn't know you could have this much fun in your 40s. I really didn't. I really didn't. It's just like being a kid again. It's terrific. I hope you at home are enjoying it, too. I wish you could be here, because during the commercial break this lady said something that I was thinking. So I'm going to let you say it for everybody at home. What were--what were you going to say?
Woman #1: I was saying, I've seen his shows on television and I always thought, well, if I really saw it live, I'd know what happened and I'd be able to figure it out. And I still can't figure it out and I'm right here. It is driving me crazy. I--but the staff said the same thing. They've seen it and they can't figure out what...
OPRAH: I know, even my cynical crew--you know, crews around the country--I have a lovely but cynical crew. They can't figure it out either. What do you think? How do you think he did that?
Woman #1: I--I was still looking for him over there. I don't know.I figure there's a tunnel underground and he ran up the--I don't know.
OPRAH: But doesn't it make you feel great?
Woman #1: I said, this is just the most wonderful feeling, to--to be able to see part of it and I've got to see his show now.
OPRAH: Did you--did you have--do you have secrecy agreements, though, David, with people who work close to you? Like, does Claudia have a secrecy agreement? Because does she kno--well, I mean about the magic stuff, yeah.
COPPERFIELD: I have no secrets from Claudia. But, no, of course my--my staff--I've got a big staff. And they sign secrecy agreements, and if they say anything, we kill them.
OPRAH: Chop their heads right off?
COPPERFIELD: That's it.
OPRAH: Has anybody ever, though? Or is there this like--this code, like doctors have this kind of code--there's a code where nobody ever does.
COPPERFIELD: It's a code.
OPRAH: It's a code.
COPPERFIELD: That's it.
OPRAH: Yeah. And how do you know you can let them in?
COPPERFIELD: Well, you kind--you trust them. But actually no one person knows everything. You know, each person knows one particular part of it. When I have things built for me, when we design an illusion, no one builder builds everything. Builder does the...
OPRAH: Really?
COPPERFIELD: Uh-huh.
OPRAH: Well, it sounds like something out of a story book, a secret place where a magician creates all of his illusions. Well, David Copperfield really does have such a place. It's at a highly guarded, secret location, but he did allow our camera crew there for just a little peek under certain conditions, of course. Take a look.
The secret warehouse is somewhere in the Nevada desert. Even our crew had to go to great lengths to keep it secret. Huh-uh, you at home can't see it either.


COPPERFIELD: OK, good. And--and you can take your blindfolds off and you're here. Welcome. This is my laboratory of ...(unintelligible) domain.This is the place where we build illusions, we store illusions,creation, rehearsing. This is a motorcycle that I've used on many TV specials. This motorcycle has disappeared hundreds of times--maybe thousands of times actually and needs a little bit of polish there, but I can show you how it disappears anytime you want.

Brief clips of David preforming Harley's Ghost.

And this is where I sleep. This is the table of death. You lie on here, you get chained up and you have to survive these very solid spikes.

Quick clip of David escaping from the Table of Death.

These are spikes that were on fire beneath me. The ropes I was hanging from were burning and I had to escape before the ropes burned through and made me a human shish kebob. Those of you who thought these spikes were rubber, they're not.

Footage of David doing his most dangerous escape ever.

Oprah, I was glad to have you as a guest even if it's by the magic of videotape to come to my--to my secret laboratory of magic. And, well, you're one of the few that got to see it.


OPRAH: So much fun. This is where the word `amazing' applies.Thanks, everybody. So, David, have you ever made like a--a huge mistake on stage?
COPPERFIELD: All the time. No, I--once I had an accident happen when I was levitating a Ferrari, and it fell--it went up three feet and it fell. And I was actually lucky because if it was up six feet, I would have been underneath it and I would have--I would have disappeared.
OPRAH: Mm-hmm.
COPPERFIELD: And so--but it was maybe 15 years ago. And everybody talked about this, because when you screw up, you know, everybody tells everybody about it. So I got a lot of people coming to the show when I needed people coming to the show at that time and wanted to see me screw up. And so it worked out good.
OPRAH: It worked out for the best.
COPPERFIELD: It worked out for the best.
OPRAH: Are you ever scared, like, for instance--I mean, I know--I mean, every--all of us who are in front of the camera or, you know, work in any business really are--survive and can look good because of all the people who work with us. But, I mean, in the case where the--the fire and the ropes, like if somebody messes up, you're a goner?
COPPERFIELD: Yeah, I mean, human error is a really--you know, you have great precautions, you know. In the case of the car illusion I mentioned, it was the end of the show, so there's no plan B that I could go to. But normally there's a plan B and plan C and everybody is really trained to--to move in other directions, so you'll--hopefully you'll know when something goes wrong.
OPRAH: So when that car fell from the levitation, what did you do?
COPPERFIELD: I looked real stupid.
OPRAH: Do you ever worry about yourself in dangerous situations?
COPPERFIELD: I--I do. Actually, I've done some--I mean, that thing with the spikes is real. I mean, that's really tough. I went over Niagara Falls on a raft.
OPRAH: Yeah.
COPPERFIELD: And...
OPRAH: I saw that on TV.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah, well, that was me. That was no--that was no stunt double, you know? That was the real thing.
OPRAH: So what are you thinking? I mean, I don't know what the moment before the spikes hit--I mean, is it that second that the illusion happens and you--are you thinking, `Hope this works,' or are you feeling very secure, that you know it's going to--what are you thinking in this moment?
COPPERFIELD: You try--you try to preserve your sense of logic, not panicking. Being scared is good. Being scared makes you think of all the different, you know, situations that you--you need to be aware of. Panicking is the worst thing, because that's when you lose your sense of timing. You lose your sense of balance; you lose everything. So the thing is to not panic--is the best lesson that I've learned.
OPRAH: So how did you learn to stay calm in those--those moments?
COPPERFIELD: I have no idea.
OPRAH: No idea.
COPPERFIELD: No.
OPRAH: So like being chained underwater and stuff like that doesn't kind you no kind of...
COPPERFIELD: No, I got hurt actually once in rehearsal. I was--I was in a tank of water and I took in--I tore some ligaments in my legs and I took some water in. And it was in a rehearsal, and I was in a wheelchair for a couple weeks. But finally I did it on the show. It was many, many years ago. And I got back on the horse and I did it again. My parents were in the audience and they kept shooting shots of my parents, and they won an Emmy Award that year for their performance.
OPRAH: Really? Really, I can understand. When we come back, we're going to hear from David's dad and see the dangerous trick that makes him think that David has lost his mind. But first, we followed David to his book signing in New York City. His new book is called "Tales of the Impossible." It's a collection of short stories: "Tales of the Impossible." And we asked some of David's fans--I'm now the biggest one--to share their thoughts on the magic man.
Man #1: You know, I'm sure a lot of people agree with me. You know, he's one of the greatest magicians because of his charisma.
Woman #2: I just think he's great.
Man #2: I watch David Copperfield and say to myself, `Things that I think are impossible, maybe they aren't, just takes a little magic.'
Woman #3: The romance, the drama and the magic is phenomenal.You picked me out of the audience and took me by the hand. You took me up on stage and you kissed me on the cheek right here.
COPPERFIELD: And you wa--did you wash that cheek?
Woman #3: I have never washed it since.
OPRAH: So you know we talk a lot about family on the show, and David says he is very close with his. And I'm sure a great deal of his success can be traced back to loving and supportive parents. It always is when you do well.We caught up with David's dad, and he had this to say about his magical son.
HY KOTKIN: I'm David Copperfield's dad. And from the very beginning I said, `Go for it, kid. Go for it.' I worry about anything he does on stage. There's blades that he--he uses--you know, large--extremely large blades. He does a thing where he hangs upside down in a straitjacket 10 stories high, and I know I shouldn't be concerned, but as a parent you have to be. When he did that, I thought insanity has come into my family. People say, `Are you proud of your son?' You bet. You bet I am.
OPRAH: Oh.
COPPERFIELD: That's nice.
OPRAH: That's nice. So are you guys close?
COPPERFIELD: Yeah.
OPRAH: Did you grow up being close?
COPPERFIELD: They travel with me when I--when I go to Europe or, you know, when I'm in California, they travel with--with us. And, you know, my crew takes care of them, and they do stuff. They run my fan club, and it's really great.
OPRAH: Your dad was saying he always was saying to you, `Go for it. Go for it. Go for it.'
COPPERFIELD: He wanted to be an actor. You know, my mother said, `We want to eat.' So we didn't--he didn't get to do that. You know, so I--I got to be an entertainer, and that's kind of what he wanted to do. So I guess they kind of...
OPRAH: What's really good, though, now is that you're doing magic in all areas. I mean, I--I love the book and ever--and all of that--that says and all the people you got to write for it. But I think the idea of using magic as therapy and using magic--I mean, I'm sure, like, when you go to visit kids, it ma--we're thrilled at 40. Can you imagine what kids must--must think?
COPPERFIELD: Mm-hmm.
OPRAH: And--and if you need some kind of rehabilitation therapy, how does that work?
COPPERFIELD: Well, it--well, it's a program--Project Magic is a program that uses magic as a form of therapy where patients actually learn magic to help them regain their dexterity and their coordination by learning sleight of hand, and--in addition to boosting the patient's self-esteem, by giving them a skill that an able-bodied person doesn't even have. So they learn magic that helps them with their movement, magic that helps them with their--their numbers and colors and memory and planning and all different skills are learned by magic.
OPRAH: So the producer says you're going to teach me some?
COPPERFIELD: If you'd like to learn something. Do you have motor coordination problems?
OPRAH: Uh-huh.
COPPERFIELD: OK. We'll find out.
OPRAH: I'm not good at this.
COPPERFIELD: You're going to try. All right, yes.
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: All right. I want you to--what we're going to do is tie a knot in the rope without letting go of the ends.
OPRAH: We are?
COPPERFIELD: Yes. It's impossible if you think about it...
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: ...but we're going to try it. I want you to hold on to the rope like this with your...
OPRAH: Mm-hmm.
COPPERFIELD: ...palms out like this.
OPRAH: Mm-hmm.
COPPERFIELD: Like this. You're going to go around the arm. Very good, and down. Very good. Making two loops--see the two loops there?
OPRAH: Yeah.
COPPERFIELD: You're going to go in the left side.
OPRAH: Yeah.
COPPERFIELD: Very good. But do--don't let go. Ke--hold on to it.
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: In the left side and then out the right side.
OPRAH: Out the...
COPPERFIELD: Out--out--out this side.
OPRAH: Back out?
COPPERFIELD: No, no, no. Like--there, exactly. So you're going to end up like this.
OPRAH: Uh-huh.
COPPERFIELD: And watch me first. I will have a knot. And you've got--shake it off your hand. Go ahead. Slowly--hold on--hold on tight.
OPRAH: Hold on?
COPPERFIELD: Yeah, hold on. Just let this fall off your hands. Now fall--very good. Spread them out.
OPRAH: Hey!
COPPERFIELD: That's...
OPRAH: I told you I'm not good at it. I--I swear you'd--you would do better with kids. I'm not good at it. I'm not.
COPPERFIELD: But--but this is something you teach--the disabled person learns my part, you see. And they--and they...
OPRAH: OK.
COPPERFIELD: ...and they show it to their parent or their loved one...
OPRAH: Uh-huh.
COPPERFIELD: ...and they're able to do something that they--their par--they can share with their friends and make them feel silly.
OPRAH: OK, so I really do...
COPPERFIELD: It helps them with their coordination, their--their motor skills, memory, communication skills, all these things. Do you want to try it again? Is that--is that the deal?
OPRAH: No, I don't.
COPPERFIELD: OK, fine.
OPRAH: No, I'm not good at it. What is your favorite trick to do? Is it the flying trick that we saw earlier on tape--that's your favorite?
COPPERFIELD: Yeah. Yeah. You bet.
OPRAH: Yeah. Because what's it like to fly? You and Michael Jordan.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah, and I got longer air time.
OPRAH: And--that's right. That's right. Much longer air time.
COPPERFIELD: Hang time, I mean.
OPRAH: Next, questions from our audience. But first, most people go to Niagara Falls, you know, to kind of honeymoon or just look at the falls, but I don't think David and Claudia will. In another one of David's illusions, he's already taken the most scenic route possible.


Footage of David going over Niagara Falls


OPRAH: During the commercial break, this woman had the nerve to ask me: Did the table really move? Or like did I have something to do with it? Did you--I--I--no.
Woman #4: Well--OK. Well, that's...
OPRAH: And everybody else--were were just following the table. I don't know how that happened.
Woman #4: How do you decide that you can do these things--like the Niagara Falls thing?
COPPERFIELD: Pure stupidity.
OPRAH: No, really, David. How did you decide, `Now I'm going to take on the falls?' And during the commercial break he was telling me about what--tell--tell everybody what that felt like.
COPPERFIELD: It was amazing. I mean, hanging on the rope next to Niagara Falls--Niagara Falls right there. No one--knowing that no one ever sees Niagara Falls ju--like that, right next to it like this, and you hang on a rope from a helicopter above, let me tell you, it's unbelievable. So--I mean, I was doing something the stunt people wouldn't do. But the feeling--I said, `You've got to try this. It's amazing.' You know, Niagara Falls right in your face, you know?
OPRAH: That's pretty amazing.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah.
OPRAH: I'm trying to feel it with you so I never have to do it. Yes. I'm going to take it like that. Yes, ma'am?
Woman #5: I heard that while you were performing--I heard that while you were performing one of your acts, you cut off part of your finger. If this is true, what--did did you continue or you--what did you do?
COPPERFIELD: Oh, this is a disgusting story. I was doing a rope trick and I had very sharp scissors and I cut the tip of my finger off. And the tip of my finger was sitting on the scissors and there was blood everywhere, and I was in shock. And I said to the audience, `Ladies and gentlemen, I think Icut my finger off.' And they began to applaud. So they rushed me to the hospital and--the audience didn't--the ambulance did. And they sewed my finger back on, and it was...
OPRAH: Which one was it?
COPPERFIELD: This one. And it's all back together. It's amazing. More better--much better than my magic is God's magic, as we know. And it--he did an amazing job.
OPRAH: Because you kind of need your fingers. You had something to say, yeah?
Man #3: You do great s...
COPPERFIELD: David, David, David, please.
Man #3: Oh, David.
COPPERFIELD: Yes.
Man #3: You do great stuff. But I--my friend and I came here, we were wondering if you could make our hair reappear?
OPRAH: Oh, God.
COPPERFIELD: You don't--you don't--you don't want me. You want Sy Sperling because he's--he's s also a member.
OPRAH: Yeah.
COPPERFIELD: But good luck, though, sir.
OPRAH: In your new book you--you write about snow. You tell that story about a young boy and the magic of snow...
COPPERFIELD: Yeah.
OPRAH: ...who'd never seen snow.
COPPERFIELD: Yeah.
OPRAH: Are you fascinated by it yourself?
COPPERFIELD: Well, in my show I do a piece where I make it snow. I fill the whole audience with snow that I create in my hands. It's really--it's really remarkable.
OPRAH: Oh, she just got a thrill just hearing about it. Jeez.
COPPERFIELD: And in the--in the book, you know, it's a very moving story because it's the first...
OPRAH: Right.
COPPERFIELD: ...thing that I ever saw that was magical to me--I mean, this white stuff falling from the sky and touching my hand and melting in my hand. And I didn't understand it, didn't know what it was. And it always created that sense of wonder in me.


Clip of David making Snow with his bare hands


OPRAH: Wow. We'll be back. But first, during a recent photo shoot for Vanity Fair magazine, David let our cameras kind of tag along and see how they tried to make it snow for the picture.


Clips from photo shoot with Vanity Fair.



OPRAH: David's done specials for 17 years. Looking back, does anything make you cringe?
COPPERFIELD: A lot of bad haircuts.
OPRAH: A lot of bad--styles...
COPPERFIELD: Amazing haircuts.
OPRAH: Oh--oh, look at this one, David.
COPPERFIELD: That's one.
OPRAH: Oh, that--that's nice.
COPPERFIELD: I got that shirt from Sammy Davis Jr.
OPRAH: Oh, OK. Can you tell us what you're working on for the future. I know the special's coming up. Any new illusions there?
COPPERFIELD: I've got a thing, not for the special because my special's going to be all my greatest hits.
OPRAH: Mm-hmm.
COPPERFIELD: My--my new thing I'm working on is with a tornado.
OPRAH: You're working on a tornado?
COPPERFIELD: Yeah. Check it out.
OPRAH: Like kind of being in the midst of one or something?
COPPERFIELD: You're coming with me.
OPRAH: I'm a fan. I don't know if I'm that good of a fan. Hey, do you ever see--do you ever see yourself retiring? Or do you see yourself being 72 and...
COPPERFIELD: And flying with a cane.
OPRAH: And flying with a cane. That's terrific. David's new book is called "Tales of the Impossible." And watch for his new special coming up on CBS April 1st. We can't wait. I'm your biggest fan, David. Thank you for this today. Thank you. This was great!
COPPERFIELD: Thank you.
OPRAH: Thank you. Thank you a lot.



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