What happens when the king of psychic spoon benders encounters the most extraordinary talent in the modern magic?
Now I’m sitting up and writing this in bed at 35,000 feet in a British Airways jumbo en route to Japan.
But my flights of fancy were matched by a show-stealing raven called Corax on the first edition of my live reality TV show in Germany, a contest to discover the most mesmerising, mystifying act.
Corax’s handler, a blood-chilling figure in leather and chains, seemed able to contact the dead by communicating through the bird. He asked our celebrity guests to write down questions for loved ones who had passed to the next life, then burned the notes and stared into the raven’s eyes.
When he told one guest the message her father had sent, she burst into tears.
The tense atmosphere in the studio spooked Corax, and he escaped from his perch to screech and caw over our heads as the crew scrambled to catch him. We had to cut to a seven-minute commercial break, and the producers were frothing in panic — but nobody needed to worry.
The show smashed every viewing record, winning colossal ratings . . . and Corax and his master, Vincent, were voted the contest’s winners.
Meanwhile, I was presenting a similar show in Holland, dashing from one studio to another, and it felt as though I had my feet in two parallel universes, speaking Dutch and German.
A crisis threatened to throw our whole production into turmoil when the effervescent presenter, Tooske, was rushed to hospital hours before the launch.
I had to act quickly, demanding that people stopped questioning whether the show could go on, and asked instead: “What can we do to make this launch as amazing as possible?”
Positive thinking prevailed, and with a new presenter, Marianne, delivering her performance off the cuff, we had a great first show. I’m also glad to report that Tooske soon recovered.
Within weeks, the shows had switched to Hungary and Turkey, and I was shuttling between two of the world’s most beautiful cities in a private jet.
In Budapest’s Hero Square, vast posters proclaimed, “THE CHOSEN ONE! Who will be the next Uri Geller?”
Hanna and Natalie, my wife and daughter, thought this was hilarious. At dinner, they giggled behind their menus and asked, “What will the Chosen One be eating tonight?”
I was zooming around Europe in my own supersonic jet, but it’s impossible to keep your head in the clouds when you’ve got family like Hanna and Nat to tease you. And I was glad of that, because success stops being fun when your ego flies out of control.
Our presenter in Istanbul was a superstar, the movie-maker Sinan Cetin.He had never tried hosting a live show, and the results were sometimes chaotic, but audiences loved him. Turkey is a country of overflowing emotions, and I have never experienced such affection from TV viewers.
My producers in Budapest treated me to a surprise flight with the greatest aerial acrobat in the world, the stunt pilot Peter Besenyei.
He strapped me into the cockpit so tightly that my eyeballs were bulging, then told me to use my stomach muscles to push the blood back into my head if I started to black out.
The routine that followed took us into freefalls, tailspins, loops, twists and spirals, but never for a moment did I feel at risk.
When my brother-in-law Shipi asked me if I’d been afraid, I told him: “The taxi drivers round Budapest are more dangerous.”
It was one of those jokes that are completely true.
Almost as thrilling was the chance to sit astride a 1918 Harley Davidson which we spotted in a shopping mall. The owner offered to let me take it for a spin, and assured me the old engine could still get up to breakneck speeds.
I remembered my teenage days in Tel Aviv with an ex-army BSA bike, and decided I’d risked my neck more than enough!
Back in England, we threw our home open to the Israeli charity Ezer Mizion, who brought 25 young women who were all fighting cancer.
I’ve often entertained parties of children here, but it was humbling to see the courage of these women, all of them mothers, as they talked about their families.
I ended up calling many of their children back in Israel to say hello and, of course, they all wanted me to shout my 1-2-3 catchphrase in Hebrew, “Achat Shtayim Shalosh!”
This eye-popping shot left a bad taste in my mouth, but it was worth the discomfort to convince youngsters never to start smoking.
We were delighted when the picture appeared in virtually every German national newspaper.
But I got carried away on the show, when I picked up a packet of cigarettes and threw them away as hard as I could — and sprained my wrist!
The dancer Yonca Evcimik was just one of the celebrity guests who helped feed the national obsession with our show.
National celebs in countries which don’t speak English widely are unlikely ever to become internationals stars — you can’t break the States if you don’t talk the language.
That’s been true ever since the advent of sound in Hollywood.
But many of the performers I saw in Holland, Germany, Hungary and Turkey were stunning, and easily a match for the best new names we see on X Factor or American Idol.
Motivational Inspirational Speaker
Motivational, inspirational, empowering compelling 'infotainment' which leaves the audience amazed, mesmerized, motivated, enthusiastic, revitalised and with a much improved positive mental attitude, state of mind & self-belief.
“There is no spoon!”
“The world needs your amazing talents. I need them”
“Uri Geller gave an absolutely resonating talk on his life and career. He had every single magician in the room on the edge of their seats trying to digest as much information as they could. Uri emphasized that the path to frame is through uniqueness and charisma and that professional entertainers must be creative in their pursuits of success and never shy away from publicity.”
Tannens Magic Blog
“The man is a natural magician. He does everything with great care, meticulous misdirection and flawless instinct. The nails are real, the keys are really borrowed, the envelopes are actually sealed, there are no stooges, there are no secret radio devices and there are no props from the magic catalogues.”
James Randi (In an open letter to Abracadabra Magazine)
Sir Elton John
“Eternity is down the hall And you sit there bending spoons In your mind, in your mind”
“I Have watched Uri Geller… I have seen that so I am a believer. It was my house key and the only way I would be able to use it is get a hammer and beat it out back flat again.”
“Better than watching Geller bending silver spoons, better than witnessing new born nebulae’s in bloom”