HBO is Developing a Show About Magicians Fighting Adolf Hitler and it Might Be Based on a True Story
According to “Variety”, it’ll be an “offbeat drama” about, quote, “a motley group of conmen and magicians who use their skills at deception to battle Hitler.”
Magicians fighting Hitler? That’s pretty intriguing. And here’s the kicker…It could actually be based on a TRUE story.
There was a British magician named Jasper Maskelyne who worked with British military intelligence.
He assembled a group called the “Magic Gang,” which included over a dozen assistants…with architects, carpenters, chemists, electricians, and stage-set builders.
They created some elaborate illusions to deceive the Germans.
For example, Maskelyne made fake buildings, and used an array of lighting and mirrors to confuse German bombers on the exact locations of the Suez Canal and the Egyptian city Alexandria.
And in an Egyptian battle, Maskelyne used trickery to make the Germans think the Allied forces would be attacking from the South, when they were really coming from the North.
According to an account on Wikipedia, The Magic Gang created 2,000 fake tanks with “convincing pyrotechnics” and fake tank tracks and camouflaged the actual tanks as regular jeeps and trucks.
But it was even more complicated than that. There was “a fake railway line, fake radio conversations, fake sounds of construction and a fake water pipeline.”
After the war, Maskelyne wrote a book on their adventures called “Magic: Top Secret”. (The book isn’t currently available, as far as I can tell.)
It’s unknown if Maskelyne was the inspiration for “Hobgoblin” or not. The show is being developed by novelist Michael Chabon, who wrote the novels “Wonder Boys” and “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”.