Review by Andy Martin for Rising Coin Castle by Mikame Craft

Review by Andy Martin for Rising Coin Castle by Mikame Craft
Review by Andy Martin for Rising Coin Castle by Mikame Craft
5 out of 5

Different from Douglas-Wayne Illusioneering, But More Practical! If you have ever seen the Douglas-Wayne Illusioneering version of this effect you will at first be a bit disappointed. The Douglas-Wayne Illusioneering version is a faithful reproduction of the drawings in Hoffmann’s Modern Magic. It is smaller, particularly the tower the coin rises up on, and it is slightly better made. However, it is quite a big pain to set-up and how the coin rises behind the window can be seen in certain lighting conditions.

With the Mikame version, reset is much, much easier using a clockwork mechanism and the coin rises in broad daylight with no clue as to how even with bright lights shining on the tower. It is also wide enough so that the coin rises without touching the sides so it really does look like it is rising unaided.

The kicker of course is that when it gets to the top you hear it hit the top and then find it in the little box that is locked and on top. The coin can be signed if desired.

To the audience this Mikame version probably looks better and since it is much easier to reset, I believe it is more likely to be actually performed, rather than sitting on the shelf looking cool.

The collector will certainly prefer the Douglas-Wayne Illusioneering version, however if you really want to perform this more than once a year I think you are better off with the Mikame version. Although the craftsmanship doesn’t quite measure up to Douglas-Wayne Illusioneering Quality it is still a very nice piece and something you will be proud to own and perform.

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Review by Andy Martin for Walking Table (Two Way) by Anverdi

Review by Andy Martin for Walking Table (Two Way) by Anverdi
Review by Andy Martin for Walking Table (Two Way) by Anverdi
5 out of 5

Another brilliantly made electronic item from the always amazing Anverdi.  Harry Stanley was talking about the earliest version of this table as early as 1963 in The Gen October, 1963. c. 1970 these tables were available from Tannen’s too. The first version of this table only went in one direction – typically away from the performer and off stage.  But the later version (and this version) can go back and forth.  I’m not sure exactly when the improvement was made but somewhen between 1972 and 1983.

This is a very solid table that works on both hard surfaces and short-pile carpet (I don’t think it would work too well on a shaggy carpet, but maybe)  It comes with a small (about the size of a card case) two-way remote with on/off button on the remote, and there is also an on/off button in the base.  This has a remote fishing line that allows you to turn the base on (or off) during performance too by pulling on the line.  Or you could leave it on and just use the remote to move the table backwards and forwards.  It works very well and although there is some wobble in the table due to the momentum and stopping and starting, the table when stationary is very solid and rigid.  The early versions only had three long struts which made for a much more wobbly table, but this version uses six legs with a sold base half way up (which can hold items if desired) and it is about as solid as you can make such a small table.

In the video it sounds pretty loud, that is primarily because the video is right there on the wooden floor and picks up all the sounds.  Of course this is really a stage item  anyway. The fact that the table moves back and forth is no magical mystery to a modern day audience of course, and the impact of the table moving is for the surprise not the deep mystery.  This item like most of Anverdi’s items uses readily available batteries and it works as well today as it did 40+ years ago.  It all packs down into a small convenient carry case.

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Review by Andy Martin for Run Run Run by Smoky Mountain Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Run Run Run by Smoky Mountain Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Run Run Run by Smoky Mountain Magic
5 out of 5

In 1939 the Englishman Harry Leat invented what became one of the best and most enduring children’s effects of all time: Run Rabbit Run. Like the Die Box, with which it bears some obvious similarities, it has inspired craftsmen and dealers ever since.

I have tried many versions over the years, but all of them use the same basic mechanism to move the rabbit and perform the vanish.  Dan Wolfe has changed that with a refreshing face lift on this 80 year old effect.  Firstly, he has made it so that you can change the theme easily from Rabbits to Santa, Elephants and Monkeys (you have to purchase the extra skins from Dan directly).  Secondly, and most dramatically he has complete rethought the rabbit movement and vanish.  The rabbit that you see go back and forth is actually the rabbit that vanishes in the end and it is a very clean and satisfying approach and unlike any other version on the market.

The unit is quite a lot larger than most standard outfits and even comes with a stand should you need it.  It is made exceptionally well and will last most likely a lifetime. The set-up is quick and with Dan’s very clear and well produced video you will be fooling the kids in no time. 

This is a real beauty Dan, great job 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Ribbon Fantastique by Ed Massey

Review by Andy Martin for Ribbon Fantastique by Ed Massey
Review by Andy Martin for Ribbon Fantastique by Ed Massey
5 out of 5

I was twelve years old when I first saw this effect demonstrated at Ron MacMillan’s International Unique Magic Studio on Leather Lane in London. Along with seeing Eddie Gibson’s Coin Unique for the first time this visit to Ron’s studio on my birthday remains with me because I had never seen such amazing magic before.; These tricks were truly unbelievable to my young mind. Over the years I have seen many versions of Ribbon Fantastique and it continues to amaze me how simple it is to accomplish something so clean and surprising. The phrase “it’s a fooler” does not even get close to how wonderful this effect is. Invented by the genius Ed Massey c. 1945, it remains to this day one of his most effective creations.

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Review by Andy Martin for Hyottoko's Journey by Francois Danis

Review by Andy Martin for Hyottoko's Journey by Francois Danis
Review by Andy Martin for Hyottoko's Journey by Francois Danis
5 out of 5

Francois Danis is a big paddle fan and over the years has created some real beauties. His latest offering, Hyottoko’s Journey, is probably his most ambitious, beautiful, and amazing yet.

Like all great men Francois has also taken advantage of his wife’s (Pascaline) talents by protecting the paddles in a beautiful, embroidered case, hand-crafted by Pascaline. It really complements the paddles perfectly and I hope to see more of Pascaline’s talents on display in future projects from Francois 🙂  In fact, I’m ordering some of Pascaline’s beautiful handmade stitched gifts from her store right now!

For the story teller what is really neat about this set is that instead of being a collection of three separate paddles Francois has created a routine that brings together all of the paddles flowing from one to the next.

You receive:

  • A paddle with three fans.
  • A paddle with a sleeve and paper lanterns.
  • A mechanical paddle with Noh’s masks.
  • A small display stand with Hyottoko’s face.
  • A unique embroidered case to store them all.

There are three sections to the included patter:

  • The Fans Paddle – a five phase routine
  • The Paper Lantern’s Paddle – a three phase routine
  • The Noh Masks Paddle – a three phase routine

These are all brought together in an adorable story called The Concubine Story, and what is neat is the embroidered case is featured throughout the story as you remove and replace the paddles from the case.  You set everything up in the case before you start and you are off to the races.  What a great idea that makes it easy to manage the paddles and also gives the audience something pretty to focus on too 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Coin Slide (#13 of 17) by Clarence Miller, Oran B. Dent

Review by Andy Martin for Coin Slide (#13 of 17) by Clarence Miller, Oran B. Dent
Review by Andy Martin for Coin Slide (#13 of 17) by Clarence Miller, Oran B. Dent
5 out of 5

Thayer’s Mystic Coin Slide c. 1921 appears to have been the first version of this type of effect, followed by Carl Brema’s Coin Slide or Magic Mint c. 1925.  The term “coin slide” should not be confused with the gimmick used to load a coin into the center of a ball of wool (or in nest of box routines) which was used much earlier.

This is Clarence’s wonderful version and not only do you get a pretty little box, adorned with a cute little rabbit, it comes with two wonderful routines (and a variation) which make it seem much more than just a pretty slide. So often with a coin slide it is kind of a one off routine – you change the coin from one coin to another, but with Clarence’s routines this simple effect is turned into a feature effect. And only 17 of these beauties were made.

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Review by Andy Martin for New Koornwinder Kar (T-227) by Tenyo, Dick Koornwinder

Review by Andy Martin for New Koornwinder Kar (T-227) by Tenyo, Dick Koornwinder
Review by Andy Martin for New Koornwinder Kar (T-227) by Tenyo, Dick Koornwinder
5 out of 5

This lovely and unique effect was invented by the Dutch Magician Dick Koornwinder in the 1960’s and you can read about the original version here.  Tenyo is the only company that Mr. Koornwinder has officially licensed his creation to, regardless of all the versions you might have seen.

Tenyo’s version is different from the original because it has a locking mechanism with a memory, which adds a new dimension to an already perfect effect.

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