Review by Andy Martin for Al Stanger's Miracle Poker Machine by Al Stanger, John Mendoza, Gaetan Bloom

Review by Andy Martin for Al Stanger's Miracle Poker Machine by Al Stanger, John Mendoza, Gaetan Bloom
Review by Andy Martin for Al Stanger's Miracle Poker Machine by Al Stanger, John Mendoza, Gaetan Bloom
5 out of 5

Wow, this is Incredible!

Before I go further let me say how these days I am less and less interested in any sort of electronic magic. I have had way too many issues with things breaking or running out of juice at the wrong time. So when I first purchased this beauty, I did so with some reluctance. However, I am so glad that I did. My greatest passion in life is writing software. Magic is great fun, but for me writing software is my true joy, and this clever little machine is a very fine piece of programming. I had no idea how it worked until I read the clear instructions by John Mendoza. Once you understand the basic principle you can’t help but appreciate the thought that Al Stanger put into the programming of this clever machine.

All this being said, without the original routine by John, and the even more simplified routine by Gaetan Bloom that appeared in later releases (and is featured in my youtube video), it would be just a clever calculator, but when you work with John’s or Gaetan’s incredible four phase routine you really do move into the miracle class. Each phase builds on top of the previous one to end up with an incredible climax.

This calculator is not for everyone. It is not hard to use or learn, but it does take some practice and patience, and you should be comfortable with technology – the order of buttons that you press is very important, and if you don’t press the right buttons you can find yourself in quite a different place than you expected! However, for those magicians who want something a bit different that will fool them all, I could not recommend this more heartily.

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Review by Andy Martin for Frozen in Time (High-Tech Version) by Masuda

Review by Andy Martin for Frozen in Time (High-Tech Version) by Masuda
Review by Andy Martin for Frozen in Time (High-Tech Version) by Masuda
5 out of 5

The original version of Frozen in Time was created by the Japanese Close-up performer and inventor Katsuya Masuda in 1990. Along with many other clever effects
Masuda has been at the forefront of innovative magic for over 30 years.  This new high-tech version is a real beauty and works like a dream. The magician shows a wooden case to the spectator and asks them to name any hour.  Then the magician asks
the spectator to open the wooden box. There is the photo frame inside the box, and inside the frame is a photo of a pocket watch. The time on the watch photograph is the exact same hour chosen by the spectator!

Features:

  • The magician doesn’t touch the box from start to finish
  • Latest technology enables operation by remote control
  • It can be inspected before and after
  • The photo can be taken out from the box to be fully examined
  • Photo frame is the same thickness as original version, and can be seen from any angle

It uses standard batteries so you won’t have any replacement issues.  The only thing I would have changed was to have supplied a switch for the main box to avoid having to remove the batteries when not in use.

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Review by Andy Martin for Parade of Queens (Parlor Size) by Meir Yedid Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Parade of Queens (Parlor Size) by Meir Yedid Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Parade of Queens (Parlor Size) by Meir Yedid Magic
5 out of 5

One of my most popular packet tricks when I grew up in England was an effect I purchased from Ron Macmillan’s International Magic called Any Queen Called For. I used to say it was better than John Bannon’s Twisted Sisters which I still believe it is if you perform it three times in a row. These days the closest effect I do to “Any Queen Called For”, is Gordon Bean’s Entourage which uses the same gimmicks as “Any Queen Called For”, but adds four jokers for a kicker ending. Because these effects do not have different colored backs they are easier to perform multiple times, which I like to do as they strengthen the effect.

However, if you just want to perform the effect once then a variation of The Parade of The Kings, put out by Supreme magic at least as early as 1971, will provide a stronger reaction. This version put out by Meir Yedid Magic is perfect and the parlor size of the cards means that the cards are easily seen by larger groups without being too large to handle comfortably or fit neatly in your pocket.

In Paul Hallas’ excellent book “Still Small, Still Deadly” (page 83) he goes into great detail of the history of “Packet Trick Brainwaves” effects which is fascinating reading. The book is still available as an e-book from Lybrary.com.

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Review by Andy Martin for Uncanny Die by Eddy Taytelbaum

Review by Andy Martin for Uncanny Die by Eddy Taytelbaum
Review by Andy Martin for Uncanny Die by Eddy Taytelbaum
5 out of 5

A beautiful close-up effect that goes as follows: Small black box houses three different colored dice. One die is simply tilted out, placed in the pocket, and the box clearly only shows two remaining dice. Box is closed and slightly shaken to demonstrate that there are still the dice loose inside. Magic words, box is opened and the die has returned to the box. The method is quite diabolical and automatic in execution. No palming and no fancy moves.

There is no doubt that Eddy Taytelbaum created the best version of this effect in both this standard size (2 1/4″ x 1″ x 1″) and jumbo size (3 1/2″ long box) c. 1970. What I am not 100% sure about is who invented the effect. According to Anverdi’s book (page 177) it says Anverdi first saw the German Marvello perform it. I believe this is a typo and the book is referring to the German Marvillo (Arnold Liebertz – 1927-1989) who was a semi-pro dealer and inventor. Marvillo’s version was called Dice Capers.

Marvillo claims it was his invention and given that he created a number of other unique dice effect this holds true but I cannot be sure since I have no dates for when Dice Capers was created. Eddy and Marvillo were almost the same age. In addition Eddy used to sell his magic abroad through Anverdi himself so it is reasonable to think if Anverdi knew that Eddy had created this effect before Marvillo he would have written that down in his book too. One other interesting fact is that in the original German instructions for Dice Capers it says that the idea came from MAVO in Holland. Unfortunately, I can find no information about MAVO, but given he was from Holland maybe Eddy knew him and they worked together on the idea. If you have ever tried to track down the origins of magic you’ll find lots of clues and garden paths but not too many facts, because so much is simply not written down.

Either way, this would not be the first time that Eddy Taytelbaum had created the best version of a micro-magic effect, the most famous example would be his Mummy effect as seen here. Uncanny Die is from Eddy’s later period where he toned down the artistic features of his creations – they were still perfectly constructed but much simpler in design.

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Review by Andy Martin for Magiro's Miracle Mirror Penetration (Okito Style) by Limited Edition Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Magiro's Miracle Mirror Penetration (Okito Style) by Limited Edition Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Magiro's Miracle Mirror Penetration (Okito Style) by Limited Edition Magic
5 out of 5

One of my favorite glass penetrations is the Glass (Quadruple) Penetration that was invented by Peter Warlock in 1937. It is sometimes known as the English Glass Penetration and there have been a number of versions created, even as recently as 2008 when Magic Wagon created their Mod Quad Penetration. It is a wonderful illusion and a real fooler for sure.

The Miracle Mirror Penetration invented by Magiro and reproduced here, better than ever, by the talented Paul Lembo with guidance from the principle of the Limited Edition Magic line, Joe Long, uses a similar underlying method to the Warlock version, but it has a number of key changes and improvements that make it even more perplexing. The biggest change is that instead of just penetrating a pane of glass the penetration occurs to a framed mirror that is 100% isolated from the world with a solid cover which can be shown from all sides at any time.

Nothing is added or taken away and it really is one of the cleanest penetrations you will ever see. This is the strictly limited Okito Style version and only ten of them exist.

(Notice in the Paul Lembo video above he forgets to remove the cover at the end to show the mirror in place, which is a key part to showing the effectiveness of the illusion.)

Highly Recommended to lovers of perplexing and beautiful magic everywhere.

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Review by Andy Martin for Mental Dice by Marc Antoine

Review by Andy Martin for Mental Dice by Marc Antoine
Review by Andy Martin for Mental Dice by Marc Antoine
5 out of 5

This is probably the best version of electronic mental die type effects that began with the Dutch inventor Anverdi c. 1977 (over 41 years ago). It looks great, fits neatly in the pocket, and works flawlessly. The dice themselves are a good size being almost 1″, so they can be seen easily and they feel good when held in the hands.

However, I have one issue with this and in fact many of the creations by Marc Antoine and even LabcoMagic – they use rechargeable batteries that are not easy to replace. Now, they may last for two, four, or even ten years. But none of them will last 41 years like the Anverdi version which used standard batteries. There are a lot of battery options today and even if you use rechargeable batteries please use ones that can easily be replaced without sending them back to the creator or requiring a soldering iron!

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Review by Andy Martin for The Mummy by Eddy Taytelbaum

Review by Andy Martin for The Mummy by Eddy Taytelbaum
Review by Andy Martin for The Mummy by Eddy Taytelbaum
5 out of 5

If there is one effect that seems to capture the imagination of all Magic Collectors surely it is The Mummy or Wandering Mummy routine.   The finest example of The Mummy has to be this amazing beauty created by Eddy Taytelbaum.

Between 1964 and 1966 Eddy Taytelbaum was shown either Inzani-Henley’s or Oskar Rey’s set by a friend and was requested to create a unique version. Which of course Eddy did, producing what many collectors consider not only the finest Mummy version, but arguably one of the prettiest and most collectible examples of micro magic ever produced.

(Click here for more history about The Wandering Mummy)

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Review by Andy Martin for The Mummy (Original Version) by Alan Warner

Review by Andy Martin for The Mummy (Original Version) by Alan Warner
Review by Andy Martin for The Mummy (Original Version) by Alan Warner
5 out of 5

This is one of Alan’s finest hours and over 40 years later still remains one of his most cherished effects.

In 1973, Alan Warner was approached by Max Randegger to design a version of the Mummy.  Max was given the routines, notes, and details for the fabrication of the Mummy by the widow of Oscar Rey.  Max supplied Alan with an Oskar Rey set and details and created and advertised his first version of The Mummy in 1974.  What is noteworthy is this was Alan’s first piece of Mini-Magic made in Teak, which of course became his primary focus in subsequent years.  Unlike the Oskar Rey, Inzani-Henley, and Eddy Taytelbaum versions Alan chose a different mechanism for the release and was the first to use a 3-D Mummy instead of a flat Mummy.  Alan, ever the perfectionist, was not fully happy with the release and so discontinued production of his Mummy until 2003/4 when he released Mummy II.

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Review by Andy Martin for Jewel Chest of Sea-Ling by Richard Gerlitz

Review by Andy Martin for Jewel Chest of Sea-Ling by Richard Gerlitz
5 out of 5

This is Richard Gerlitz’s beautiful re-imagination of Loyd’s wonderful Jewel Chest of Ching See that was first advertised for $25 in Genii Magazine in November 1944 (Vol. 9 – No. 3). The Chest of Ching See itself is most likely derived from the Phantom Die Cabinet offered by Thayer Quality Magic as far back as 1912. In the Thayer Catalog #8 of 1936 the price for the Phantom Die was just $12.50. Owen’s also have produced an outstanding Phantom Die Cabinet that was advertised in the 1997 catalog for $650. Mike O’Dowd also created a version of the Jewel Chest of Ching See in the 1970’s.

But all of them pale to this rare and magnificent treasure released by Richard Gerlitz in 2002. This was one of Richard’s early releases and he only created ten sets. This Jewel Chest and Richard’s stunning Butterfly Boxes are by far my favorites. Not only has Richard created a stunning piece of apparatus to look at, he has also improved the mechanics and made it smoother and quieter and created a significantly more interesting routine involving the theft of Sea-Ling’s treasure.

These almost never come up for sale because there are only ten in the world and there are way more avid Gerlitz collectors out there, so when they do become available you need to move. Hard to believe in 2002 these only cost $795. Expect to pay a lot more than that today.

Highly Recommended for anyone who loves perfect and beautiful apparatus that will last a lifetime and appreciate in value too.

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