In a comment to my last post, Mike from The Wizards Ball remarked:
The key difference with [Cyril's] tricks and the Angel window stunt (and his levitations) is that half the spectators are not stooges. To my mind that is really lazy magic.
Notwithstanding the fact that, to my eyes and experience, almost none of the spectators in the Angel video are stooges (or need to be), I have to take issue with Mike's general point. I used to parrot the standard magical purist line, that using stooges is somehow "cheating," or "lazy magic." A related viewpoint with regards to magic on television, is that the use of camera tricks -- or what has euphemistically been referred to as "creative editing" -- is unacceptable to "real magicians."
I have now come to understand that all magic is cheating; in fact, a pretty good definition of the magical arts (with apologies to Darwin Ortiz), would be the judicious and subtle use of cheating to create the illusion of impossibility. If you're a magician, cheating is your job! Assuming you accept that premise (and if you don't you're going to have trouble with that "illusion of impossibility" thing), it becomes obviously silly to try to make some determination about what is and is not acceptable cheating.
As far as I'm concerned, anything is permissible as long as it helps create the illusion of impossibility. Camera trickery, stooges, an entire fake set -- everything is okay as long as it contributes to the power and believability of the illusion. The great mentalist Ted Annemann once said (I'm paraphrasing), "If you need to use nine stooges to fool a tenth person, then go right ahead."
"But," he added, "it had better be one hell of a trick."
This brings up a more serious concern with the use of stooges and creative editing; there is an increasing risk that your audience will catch on and cease to trust you. Ironically, even though they know you are cheating to create the illusion, if they catch you, or even suspect you, you're dead in the water as far as your effectiveness goes.
The risk that my audience might lose faith in me is one reason why I never use camera trickery; the other reason is that I never perform on TV.