Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour Episode 3 India

Last stop, India Penn & Teller go to India to learn about the Indian rope trick, and real street magic in the densely populated country.


Their guide is Lee Siegel, author of Net of Magic, a book on the street magicians of India.

The spend some time in Shadipur, a suburb of Dehli, home to the best Indian magicians. There is a magician’s union there, and their leader performs some magic for Penn & Teller, including vanishing a young boy.

The magician union also includes jugglers. A top juggler performs for P&T, and Penn is quite impressed.

While watching a performance by Naseeb in the Red Fort, the show gets shut down by the authorities. If the cameras hadn’t been there, the police would have beaten the performers.

While winding through the maze of Shadipur, they come across some illegal animal handlers, with bears, monkeys and owls. The conditions are pretty grim.

They watch another performance, where a young boy is stabbed through the throat, and then cured. After the performance, the magician sells rings as a good luck charm.

Penn & Teller act as ponzies in Naseeb’s act. Afterwards, they feel some regret about doing it.

While on a train from Delhi to Calcutta, Penn is reading T. Rex and the Cradle of Doom by Walter Alvarez.

Their guide in Calcutta, Paul, does the world famous “Car on the head” trick.

In Calcutta, they go to a show where the entire cast is made up of the magician’s family, where his wife’s head is set on fire, he puts skewers through his brother’s face, and his two brother-in-laws eat raw snakes and chickens.

Penn & Teller then head to the Taj Mahal in Agra, to see Issa Mudin perform the Indian rope trick.

After they are disapointed with the results, they set out to perform it themselves.

Penn goes thrugh a ceremony, in order to have Rompursan make him a top. Rompursan is now his top guru.Quotes

“Puppet people, I hate puppet people.” – Penn Jillette

“See what kind of father Teller would be? Teller would be a great father. Fit right in in India. He took naturally to that, slicing off the head of a child, didn’t he? Took to that like a duck to water.” – Penn Jillette, after Teller presented Naseeb with a trick knife, and demonstrated it on his kid.

“Shadipur, I’ve never been to a place like that…Being there with the filth of the water, and the flies, and the misery. And it wasn’t just a field trip to see how bad poverty can get, it was these are magicians, people we knew, people we liked, people we saw doing shows, and they have all this incredible culture. And I would trade all that culture for one clean bathroom and a flush toilet. But seeing them live like that was very sobering. Except the puppet people, they deserve to live like that, all over the world.” – Penn Jillette

“I know that some crybabies in the West are going to be upset by them ripping apart live birds with their teeth, and some would say that you could rationalize it by saying that it’s a different culture and that we have to accept that. But I don’t think that’s the way to rationalize it. It’s a goddamn chicken! Toughen up! It’s just a chicken! How many chickens are killed a day in just the UK? Self-righteous son of a bitch. It’s just a chicken!” – Penn Jillette

“The Indian Elephant, the Cadillac of beasts of burden….The Indian Elephant, the Winnebago of beasts of burden.” – Penn Jillette

“How do you get down from an elephant? You don’t, you get down from a duck.” – Penn Jillette

Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour Episode 2 Egypt

Onward to Egypt! Penn & Teller go to the busy streets of Cairo looking for street performers (gali gali).

The cups and balls routine was invented in Egypt by the Gali Gali men thousands of years ago.

Penn & Teller brought their own cans of foods, avoiding the Egyptian food.

Penn & Teller do their 3 of clubs trick for Shona, their driver.

Teller speaks! He talks about sharing tricks with magicians, trying to overcome the language barrier.

While Penn & Teller are doing a trick in a Cairo coffee house, one of the waiters eats glass, bricks and nails

They meet with Koram, the grandson of Luxor Gali Gali, who did magic on the Ed Sullivan show in the 1940s. He does some magic for Teller.

Penn & Teller vanish the pyramids.

Penn & Teller visit with The Great Bafa of Alexandria, a snake swallower. He also does a cigarette vanish.

Penn & Teller head to Beni Hassan tombs, for the earliest representations of the cups and balls. Penn finds some 4000 year old juggling paintings.

They perform their version of the cups and balls in the tomb.

During the closing credits, they float one of the pyramids.


“This is Teller brushing his teeth with bottled water. Teller has goggles here that he wears in the shower so he doesn’t get stuff in his eyes when he’s showering. And he actually put tape over his mouth to shower, so he wouldn’t get any microbes in there. We’re Penn & Teller, and we’re here in Egypt, so you don’t have to go.” – Penn Jillette

“Our first taste of Egyptian magic: the Chinese linking rings” – Penn Jillette

“Avast ye maties, I’m on the ship of the desert!” – Penn, just before he goes on an explicit and wild camel ride

“No one knows how many people live in Cairo, but my best guess is 17,272,423, and everyone of them drives. It’s the second most polluted city in the world.” – Penn Jillette

“Since they all heard at our little fanclub that we were eating canned pears, they’ve decided to, now it’s 10 o’clock in the evening over here, and they’re having canned pears at just about noon on the West coast, and we’re enjoying it with them.” – Penn Jillette

Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour Episode 1 China

Welcome to China! Penn & Teller make a visit to the Great Wall, a traditional Chinese magic show, a magic school, various villages, to see how traditional Chinese magic is still performed today.

Notes:Magicians will spend their whole life perfecting a single trick, such as the man who does nothing but produce bowls, or the mask changer. Tricks are passed down from master to apprentice, and the apprentice will not change one thing about the act, even the banter, unlike in the Western world, where new performers always try to improve and personalize each new trick they learn.

Penn & Teller brought their own chicken fried rice and chop-suey from Canada, instead of eating the crickets, sparrows and scorpions available in the local market.

Even inside, the temperature was well below zero when they visited the magic museum in Wu Chow, yet performers would come out and perform their tricks, for only Penn & Teller and the camera crew.

The guys’ van gets hit by a truck, and though one of the crew’s head goes through the rear glass, and Penn’s shoulder through the side window, everyone is alive and (relatively) well.

Penn and a Chinese woman have a session juggling fire. She is 32, and has been juggling since she was 9. She also juggles while standing on a galloping horse.

In Wanking, Teller performs the string and needle trick at the local market.

They close their time in China by performing the national magic trick.

“Penn & Teller rule!” – Chinese kids

“All together in his robe, we’re looking at about 80 pounds [of bowls].” – Wendy the translator, referring to the magician who produces bowls on stage

“I don’t know about Teller, but my Chinese food is coming out of a can.” – Penn

“My dad hated three things in the world: acordians, fuzzy catterpillars, and plate spinning.” – Penn Jillette

“Penn & Teller rule!” – A Chinese guy

“This is some sort of nutty dream … where they would build this huge magic world, and it’s very, very clear, if you build it, and don’t heat it, no one will come.” – Penn Jillette

“Penn & Teller rule!” – Chinese men

“Penn & Teller rule!” – Chinese juggler

“Really, what you’re seeing on the streets of China is, they’ve got about seven and a half minutes of material, crammed into two and a half hours.” – Penn Jillette