Review by Andy Martin for Fifi The Card Pecker by Jack Hughes

Review by Andy Martin for Fifi The Card Pecker by Jack Hughes
Review by Andy Martin for Fifi The Card Pecker by Jack Hughes
5 out of 5

First there was Otto, then Jo-Anne and Gwendolyn, and along with many others I finally have tracked down Jack Hughes’ wonderful Fifi ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Fifi is bold and beautiful and quite a lot larger than the modern day standard duck: Warren Hamilton’s Jo-Anne, though they both weigh about the same (approximately  1 lb.), and I’ve included a photo at the end for comparison.

Fifi uses a different approach to picking the cards, with no moving parts or stickness, which works surprisingly well – I had a few issues at first until I got the knack of it.  It is easier to grab more than one card, but that is true of all ducks depending on the state of the cards.  Fifi is designed for bridge sized playing cards (which I include) – many items from the UK use bridge sized decks because that was certainly much more common last century (and I expect it still is).

I do think the colors and size make Fifi a little more fun, but as I have mentioned before the Card Duck appeal primarily stems from the interaction of the performer with the duck – it could be a sock puppet and you could get just as much out of it.  But for collectors Fifi will look amazing in your collection ๐Ÿ™‚

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Review by Horst Paffen for Majestic Meteor Ball by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot

Review by Horst Paffen for Majestic Meteor Ball by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot
Review by Horst Paffen for Majestic Meteor Ball by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot
5 out of 5

Like the vast majority of Magic Wagon props, these give a lot visually.

A physical error has crept into the instructions, but this does not detract from the trick at all. Of course, facts should always be correct in a presentation if they have a real background. The boiling point of gold is not 2,856 degrees Celsius (5,173 degrees Fahrenheit), but 2970 degrees Celsius (5,378 degrees Fahrenheit).

Since I studied biology and chemistry, I could not let this stand.

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Review by Andy Martin for New Four Ace Jumbo (Four of a Kind) by Thayer Quality Magic

Review by Andy Martin for New Four Ace Jumbo (Four of a Kind) by Thayer Quality Magic
Review by Andy Martin for New Four Ace Jumbo (Four of a Kind) by Thayer Quality Magic
5 out of 5

This is really a simple and useful switching stand for Jumbo cards.  It can be used for a clean Four Aces effect or for the transformation to any desired set of a few cards.  According to Verrall Wass (Tomorrow’s Devant, The Sphinx, August 1944, pg. 154) this effect was actually invented by Ned Williams (Robert Harbin) and although Ned is not credited he is mentioned in the ad.  This also was known as Four of a Kind (well at least the instructions that came with it say that, but I have found no other reference to it being called that name).

To perform it requires two decks of Jumbo cards, and with this effect the new style, thinner Jumbo Bicycles work better than the old thicker ones so I have included two brand new decks of current Bicycle Jumbo Cards.

Possible Presentations:

  • A demo of this effect is performed by Dr. Albo on Disc 9 of The Ultimate Thayer. However, Dr. Albo uses random indifferent cards rather than the A, 2, 3, 4 of each suit as mentioned in the effect below.   Using A, 2, 3, 4 is a really nice way of performing the Four Aces, and makes it easier to spot the movement of the aces.  In addition with the A, 2, 3, 4 presentation the other three aces actually move to the designated pile rather than being replaced with an indifferent 4th card. So you end up with 3 cards in each pile (2,3,4) and only the aces pile has 4 cards.  Of course you can perform it the more traditional way too – the system is very flexible.
  • Another presentation is to mention that whatever number they choose all of the cards at that number will appear at the chosen spot.  They say “3”, and at location “3” are all four 3’s, and then the magician also shows that all the A’s are in location “1”, all the 2’s in location “2”, and all the 4’s in location “4”.
  • You could use it to produce multiple chosen (forced) cards,
  • Change indifferent cards to Poker hands and you get the winning hand.
  • It could be used with jumbo flash cards and other cards that fit in the slots.

In the ad copy it states: “invite the audience to select or designate any one of the four piles” that is Dealer Speak for “Magician’s Choice” ๐Ÿ™‚  Or you can simply mishear and say “Pile 2” did you say?

This is a very fine looking prop that looks great, has the flexibility to perform multiple effects, and can be used in small parlors and stage settings.

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Review by Horst Paffen for Zodiac Deluxe (Zodiak Exclusiv) by Tony Lackner

Review by Horst Paffen for Zodiac Deluxe (Zodiak Exclusiv) by Tony Lackner
Review by Horst Paffen for Zodiac Deluxe (Zodiak Exclusiv) by Tony Lackner
5 out of 5

I don’t think there is a nice magic device that Andy doesn’t own or at least can describe.

I started doing magic in 1977, but lost all interest around 1990. Do not ask me why – I do not know myself. On November 11, 2019, on the day of St. Martin, I started again from scratch, because I had given away all the magic utensils and a wall full of books in 2006. In the meantime I have all the beautiful pieces again, including from Tony Lackner the Hand of Cleopatra, the Wandering Mummy and Zodiac Deluxe; only the Mummy Garden I no longer have, but since it never worked completely clean, I do not miss it further.

Until 1990 I had published about 40-50 tricks in Werry’s “Magische Welt”, which was taken over after his death by the magician Wittus, well known in Germany. Since the end of 2019, I have invented over 250 tricks, including many small ones, but also a few really good ones, without being immodest.

I am very glad that Andy runs the wonderful website “Martin’s Magic”, it is always very helpful to me.
Among his magic devices there are “toys”, as some magicians mischievously call them, but also quite fantastic tricks. And Zodiak Exclusiv is one of them.

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Jeffrey Greenslade

Posted February 20, 2021:

It was a great pleasure to talk to you by Email recently. I was participating in my first magic auction and your advice was greatly appreciated. I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you do in the world of magic. Your sites are so beautifully presented and so fascinating. I always recommend them to anyone interested in the subject. Very best wishes from the UK and may you Live Long and Conjure!

Jeffrey Greenslade
London UK

Review by Horst Paffen for Egyptian Paddle by Harry Keyl, Keyl's Magic

Review by Horst Paffen for Egyptian Paddle by Harry Keyl, Keyl's Magic
Review by Horst Paffen for Egyptian Paddle by Harry Keyl, Keyl's Magic
4 out of 5

I bought this trick in February 2021 on ebay.de. The trick was accompanied only by a copy of an advertising paper from Keyl’s Magic, from a time before the Euro and when typewriters were still used. Since I like to look in at Martin’s Magic, I then found my trick as “Egyptian Paddle”. Andy did suspect Harry Keyl as the manufacturer, which I was then able to confirm by email with a photocopy of the advertising sheet. Since the sequence of a paddle trick can be easily reproduced from the prop, I wrote a routine for it, which Andy has in bumpy English translation from me.

About Harry Keyl and Keyl’s Magic is unfortunately almost nothing to find on the Internet, although there is a H. Keyl in Zwolle (Netherlands) with the address of “Magic-Harry”.

Andy then sent me the instructions for Harry Keyl’s “Turtle Race”. I will make a trick out of it with three rabbits and a hedgehog and playing cards as race track and train cards. In Germany there is a fairy tale of “Hare and Hedgehog”, where the hedgehog tricks the hare instead of a tortoise. Because the hedgehog man and his wife looked completely the same.

Horst M. Paffen
Near Cologne in Germany

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Review by Andy Martin for Turtle Race by Harry Keyl, Keyl's Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Turtle Race by Harry Keyl, Keyl's Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Turtle Race by Harry Keyl, Keyl's Magic
5 out of 5

Another beauty from the Dutch magic dealer and craftsman Harry Keyl.  This is a wonderful piece of micro-magic that packs neatly inside itself for storage – that’s right the racetrack turns into a case to carry it all!  It looks very similar to the work of the Dutch master Eddy Taytelbaum and this is the first one I have seen.

These were also sold by Supreme Magic Company and it was one of Edwin’s favorite effects and he would often carry the neat set in his pocket ready for the perfect opportunity to perform this adorable miracle ๐Ÿ™‚

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