Michael Mode

Posted November 25, 2019:

Andy,
Thank you for the countless hours, days, and weeks of work you’ve put in to create this ever-growing digital database of deception used by magicians around the world. Appreciate all you do in building this amazing website of wonder.
– Michael Mode

Michael Mode
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan

Review by Andy Martin for The Talismanic Card in Wallet (Window Wallet) by R.A.R. Magic, Ed Brown

Review by Andy Martin for The Talismanic Card in Wallet (Window Wallet) by R.A.R. Magic, Ed Brown
Review by Andy Martin for The Talismanic Card in Wallet (Window Wallet) by R.A.R. Magic, Ed Brown
4 out of 5

This is the Talismanic Card in Wallet or Window Wallet that inspired Dave Bendix to create the Bendix Bombshell.  This wallet was made by Roy Roth, but it is based on the original ones made by Ed Brown. Ed Brown created the Window Wallet c. 1975 and a routine using it was published in Kabbala Vol.3, No. 1, January 1976, called: Between Elmsley, Brown, and Himber. The Window Wallet was the inspiration for a number of great card men including, Ed Marlo, Dave Solomon (using Ed Brown’s own wallet), Jon Rachenbaumer (Talismanic Card in Wallet – Lecture Notes 1, 1976) , and Dave Bendix to create some wonderful Card to Wallet routines.  The second you see the the diagram on page 1 of the Kabbala article you will recognize the familiar set-up for the special Himber wallet that we recognize today as the Bendix Bombshell.

Having seen both wallets up close I still prefer the Bendix, but both wallets have interesting applications.

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Review by Andy Martin for Self-Locking Card Box by Wayne Sanderson, Tannen's

Review by Andy Martin for Self-Locking Card Box by Wayne Sanderson, Tannen's
Review by Andy Martin for Self-Locking Card Box by Wayne Sanderson, Tannen's
4 out of 5

Locking Card boxes have been around at least as early as 1876 with Professor Hoffmann’s seminal Modern Magic and also  1897 with the publication of August Roterberg’s amazing and detailed book New Era Card Tricks but the locking mechanism’s in both Hoffman’s and Roterberg’s designs use springs and/or pressure.   Even Thayer’s beautiful mahogany Lock-Flap Card Box c. 1931 used a similar method. 

Most modern locking card boxes use magnets and as far as I can ascertain this one by Wayne Sanderson was the first of it’s kind and it was released by Tannen’s in 1947.  This particular version is designed for bridge sized cards and can hold a full deck (though not in the card case).  The locking mechanism is so perfectly weighted that it does not need an external magnet to release the flap, just shaking the box in the hand with the correct downward motion will release the flap.  This is actually a nice touch if you have lost as many magnets as I have 🙂  The other feature of note on this box is that it has a black painted interior such that you don’t have to worry about the wood grain changing after the reveal.

The wood used is not a fine hard wood like many of the special card boxes produced today, but it works well and the flap works very reliably.

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Review by Andy Martin for Deluxe Card Box by Bob Koch

Review by Andy Martin for Deluxe Card Box by Bob Koch
Review by Andy Martin for Deluxe Card Box by Bob Koch
5 out of 5

Bob Koch’s card box costs $200, almost three times the price of similar boxes available today, so when Bob makes the claim:

The KOCH Card box is an evolutionary change to the classic flap card box. There are several features that moved it forward beyond what’s available elsewhere.

I wanted to make sure it lives up to the hype.  Particularly when you compare it against such fine modern card box’s as Viking’s: Euro Card Box and Mento-Card Box Plus and Dave Powell’s Victorian Single Deck Box. So before I go into the advertised copy I thought I comment on the features that Bob claims are an evolutionary change and I guess why he can justify charging almost three times the price for this box over the currently available alternatives.

  • Two Flaps: one locking, one not.  Two flaps have been available with Viking’s Mento-Card Box Plus c. 1989.  In addition, the Mento box comes with some clever gimmicked playing cards that can be used even without the flaps which can lead to even more interesting effects and variations.  Bob Farmer has also suggested the use of two flaps as mentioned in the instructions for Bob’s box (though no date is specified).
  • Magnetic Sharpie – this is the first time I have seen the release mechanism built into a prop that can be used in plain sight during the routine.  Though, it might be better to have no release mechanism at all as used by the original Magnetic locking card box by Wayne Sanderson.
  • Consistent grain pattern.  Viking’s Euro Card Box has a consistent grain pattern, and many others use a black interior such as: Mento-Card Box Plus, Self-Locking Card Box, Mel Babcock’s Card Box and others.  The worst box I could find with inconsistent grain was Dave Powell’s Victorian Single Deck Box, but I’m not convinced how many, if any, lay-people would ever notice this.  So this is certainly not a new idea.  That being said I would say that Bob Koch’s grain does match very well.
  • Big enough to carry small enough to fit in your pocket.  The smallest wooden card box that fits a full deck, including card case, is Dave Powell’s Victoran Single Deck Box – it even fits in your back pants pocket, and it is significantly smaller than Bob’s one.  In the photos you can see the sizes shown of the three boxes: Dave Powell, Bob Koch, Viking’s Euro Card Box.  So all although it is true Bob’s box is small enough to fit in your pocket, it is still almost twice as big as a deck of cards so is not small.

In conclusion, I don’t believe that Bob Koch is really breaking any new ground with the box itself. Also, the box is not as strong as Viking’s Euro Card Box which will certainly withstand a lot more rough handling. If it wasn’t so expensive and made such grandiose claims I would have nothing against it.  It is a great box, but at $200 it needs to be much more.

That being said Bob Koch’s Deluxe Card Box is one of the very few Card Boxes I have seen that lies 100% flat.  In fact the only other one I could find is Dave Powell’s one.  This feature is not that interesting for most times a Card Box is used, however, it is vital for the excellent routine by the brilliant Michael Weber that is exclusively designed for Bob’s box  with it’s: two flaps, consistent grain, and lies flat capability. 

Michael Weber’s routine: Things You Don’t Understand, is the first card routine* I have seen that makes use of not only both flaps but also uses the card box as a key part of the routine and way more than simply performing a change or vanish with the card box.  The routine is interesting and funny with multiple-phases and these key features as described by Michael Weber:

  • One of the key concepts used in designing this routine was to begin by having the magic happen away from the box when one card influences the finding of a second card.
  • This is followed by a vanish from inside the box but a reappearance in the half-deck that only the participant had touched up to that point.
  • Finally, a physical action outside the box influenced the object inside the box, and by dumping out the second set of torn pieces, everything “interesting” could be examined.

Michael’s routine even provides a sensible and intriguing reason for using the card box in the first place as his patter begins:

They say you should be careful of things you don’t understand. That’s why I keep this particular deck of cards inside this box; so I don’t confuse it with a deck of cards that has not been cursed.

When you factor in Michael’s wonderful routine which can really only be performed with Bob Koch’s box you still may not be able to claim the Koch Card Box is an evolutionary change to the classic flap card box, but I think you could say it is the best routine devised for a card box.  So is it worth $200? Well that is tricky … if you are going to use to replace your existing card box routine, I don’t really think so.  However, if  you buy it to perform the amazing routine from Michael Weber that only works with this card box then probably so.  And and should you need a card box for anything else too you’ll be pleased to use Bob’s box for that too. 🙂

(* The only other routine that really turns the card box into something really magical that I know is Richard Osterlind’s VooDoo which works perfectly with Viking’s Euro Card Box.)

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Hollie Highfill

Posted November 17, 2019:

I am no magician, but my Aunt and Uncle, Vicki and Manfred Thumm were both magicians. I am excited to see their items on this page of history…. thank you

Hollie Highfill
United States

Thank-you Hollie – Magic Hands were a great company with very high standards and wonderful magic.
You can see their magic here, and photos of Manfred performing here and here.

Review by Andy Martin for Deluxe Eye of The Idol by Eric Hansen

Review by Andy Martin for Deluxe Eye of The Idol by Eric Hansen
Review by Andy Martin for Deluxe Eye of The Idol by Eric Hansen
5 out of 5

Here is a breathtaking beauty from the Master Wood Turner Eric Hansen. If you’re a fan of the old Tenyo item The Eye of The Idol, you are going to love this version. It works using the same method, but it looks absolutely stunning, works perfectly and has even more range than the Tenyo version. It really looks like a miracle.

I rarely keep anything to myself these days, but when I received this bad boy, I thought that I should let is grace my shelves for a while. It is so good that it warrants a place in this coveted list of spectacular magic.

When a magic effect inspires you to just sit down and play with it trying to figure out the best routine you know you have something special, and this is one such piece. Really beautiful work Eric 🙂

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