The Sideshow

Teller of ‘Penn and Teller’ fame suing alleged magic-trick thief

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Magic performer Teller, right, is suing over an allegedly stolen trick (AP)

He's almost as famous for refusing to speak publicly as he is for his magic tricks, but world-renowned illusionist Teller is ready to speak out in court in order to stop an alleged thief he says stole a signature act from the duo Penn and Teller.

Teller (born Raymond Joseph Teller,) 64, filed a federal complaint against a Dutch entertainer, Gerard Dogge, who has allegedly misappropriated Teller's "Shadows" routine, according to Courthouse News Service. Dogge has been offering to sell the secret of Teller's "Shadows" performance to the highest bidder.

According to Teller's complaint, Dogge has been performing the trick without permission. Teller first copyrighted the trick in 1983. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Teller filed his complaint under the name "Teller, an individual." The paper also reports that acts such as "Shadows" can, in fact, be copyrighted as "pantomime" routines.

Dogge, who performs under the name "Gerard Bakardy," posted a video of the routine on YouTube, entitled "Rose & Her Shadow." The video was removed after Teller filed his complaint. Before filing the complaint, Teller contacted Dogge by phone and offered an undisclosed amount of money in return for Dogge not revealing the details of his trick. The two were reportedly not able to reach an agreement. Dogge was offering to reveal the trick to anyone who paid him $3,050.

When Teller registered a copyright for his trick in 1983, he even included a detailed illustration explaining the details of the routine, during which he appears to clip the petals of a rose from a distance while interacting with the rose's shadow. You can view an image of the copyright illustration Teller created in 1983.

The complaint was filed in Nevada, where Penn and Teller live and perform.

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