Review by Andy Martin for Snooker Prediction Box by Taylor Imagineering

Review by Andy Martin for Snooker Prediction Box by Taylor Imagineering
Review by Andy Martin for Snooker Prediction Box by Taylor Imagineering
5 out of 5

What a beauty this is from Christopher Taylor at Taylor Imagineering.  If you are a regular visitor to my site you may know that I get quite tired with electronic effects and the reasons are quite simple:  invariably they are expensive, use rechargeable batteries (which all eventually die and cannot easily be replaced), and amazingly are often less reliable or impressive than non electronic versions.  What I like about Christopher Taylor and the magic he produces is that he is a performer himself and he truly cares about the magic he produces. 

Nothing could be clearer than in the production of this beautiful Snooker Prediction Box.  Start with the careful and clear video instructions he has produced for this box.  Everything you could want to ask is mentioned clearly in a full screen video and you are left understanding precisely how the box works and what to do and,  just as importantly, what not to do.  The unit comes with two remote receivers (a digital readout and a vibrating one) and he includes all the necessary batteries (which are regular batteries and easy to replace) and even a screwdriver and (get this) a magnet to retrieve the battery should it fall out of your hands beneath the battery compartment!  Talk about attention to detail 🙂

The box looks authentic and uses real snooker balls which are large, brightly colored and solid to the touch.  There is nothing to see inside or outside of the box and it can be freely held by the spectator.  When it comes to the moment to remove the balls and track them you can use either the vibrating receiver or the digital readout.  Both methods have their benefits but one really nice feature of the digital readout is that it remembers the order and the position of each ball removed so you’ll have nothing to remember (which sometimes in a live performance is crucial!).

The unit, like all of Christopher’s products, is totally reliable – and straight out of the box it worked first time with no fussing or fiddling about.  The remotes are all digitally printed, with custom circuit boards and have clear markings for the on position. I can’t imagine what else you could do to this item – there are even 6 balls instead of the more common 3 or 4 which really covers pretty much everything.

It comes with no routine per se but you could easily perform it as straight mentalism. 

Straight Routine: Have 3-6 people up on stage and ask each of them to each choose any ball from the box with your back turned.  Then when they are all done turn around and read their minds one by one.

Card to Wallet Routine: Or you could add an extra twist using a card to wallet such as this one.  Create 6 color cards – I simply went into Word and created a page with 6 squares each of a different color and cut them out and taped them to some blank faced playing cards – and have them in your pocket in the same order as in the box.  As the audience are making their selections you can easily peel of the cards and when done slip them into the wallet (even within an envelope if you want in a zippered compartment too).  This would be my routine:

Invite a single audience member up and show them the box and have them think about three balls in the box.  Have them choose the first ball and place it in their left pocket, the second ball in their right pocket and the final ball in their jacket pocket.  (Load the wallet with the selections) and turn around and ask them to concentrate on the three balls.  Focus on the left pocket first and call out the color, now the right pocket and call out the color.  Now, focus on the inner pocket and call out the color.  Finally, make sure your hands are clearly seen empty and slowly remove the wallet from your jacket pocket.  Open it up and slowly unzip the inner pocket and remove the three cards inside (or the envelope if you are going the whole way!).  One by one turn them over saying that what is also amazing is that not only did I know precisely what color was placed in each of your pockets I placed these three cards inside this wallet before we started and they also match the same colors.  And the crowd goes crazy 🙂

Pocket Prediction Routine (Free Will):   Or if you omit the wallet and place one of each of the color cards in six different pockets.  This could be played as a demonstration or lack thereof of Free Will.  Each time they choose a color you ask them to place it in the pocket that has the color.  Now when they are done (and they can take as many as six balls with this routine).  You say before we began I placed three (or whatever) different cards in three of my pockets.  In my left pocket I placed this card which is black – what color ball do you have in your left pocket? Black!  In my inside jacket pocket I placed this card which is yellow – what color ball do you have in your inside jacket pocket! Yellow!  And finally in my rear pocket I placed this card which is Green – what color do you have in your rear pocket?  Green! 

I really like this approach and it looks way more amazing than the effort involved.

The final thing I wanted to mention about Christopher Taylor is on top of all of this he seems like a really nice guy.  He replies to your emails and goes the extra mile to make you happy.  If you read his posts of The Cafe his comments are fair and honorable, which is so often not the case in the magic world.

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Forcing Shopping Bag by Mr. Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Forcing Shopping Bag by Mr. Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Forcing Shopping Bag by Mr. Magic
4 out of 5

Mr. Magic is a low-price creator of magic from India.  I’m not sure who is actually behind the operation but they sell a lot of magic through their main distributor: Murphy’s Magic.  You won’t find much from Mr. Magic on my site, but recently for a great routine for the ABC blocks by Duane Lafin I needed a cheap and simple forcing bag and for $6 this was perfect.  Looks good and is very deceptive.  The construction would probably not hold up under duress but for this effect I could not find a better looking bag.

You have to supply your own cards or forcing items, I’m using A, B, C letters for the ABC effect.

Click here for more information.

Jon Wilson

Posted July 28, 2021:

Dear Andy,
You have been instrumental in both your website and yourself and your reviews of magic. Without you, where would a collector learn or appreciate the art more. You have developed a library and collection of your own magic that only the world could enjoy. I want to thank you for everything you do because you have no idea how much it opens up the world to magic. Thank You And! Sincerely, Jon

Jon Wilson
Iowa

Review by Andy Martin for Witch Boxes by Thomas Pohle

Review by Andy Martin for Witch Boxes by Thomas Pohle
Review by Andy Martin for Witch Boxes by Thomas Pohle
5 out of 5

One of Thomas Pohle’s best. Beautifully made precision boxes with various possible routines. My favorite is an amazing prediction effect where the spectator matches the colored chips previously hidden inside the boxes by the performer. In which the spectator places a different color chip in front of each box, with no force whatsoever, and yet every time they match with the chips inside each of the boxes.

The amazing magic and craftsmanship of Thomas Pohle was long unsung, but thanks to Joe Long and myself I think Thomas Pohle is much better known in the USA and beyond these days. Thomas certainly deserves it after creating beautiful clever magic for over thirty years!

Click here for more information.

Ed Shernoff

Posted July 24, 2021:

Andy, After too many years it’s time I said THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Thank you for your your web site, for your passion, for your hard work and dedication, knowledge, and for making all this available to collectors for free. The value of what you provide is unprecedented in our hobby.
I can’t express my gratitude enough at how invaluable your work has been to me over the years!
THANK YOU!
Ed

Ed Shernoff
cincinnati

Review by Andy Martin for Treasure Box by Mikame Craft

Review by Andy Martin for Treasure Box by Mikame Craft
Review by Andy Martin for Treasure Box by Mikame Craft
5 out of 5

One of my earliest Mikame Craft purchases back in 2001. What I really like about this little production box is the cool routine that Mr. Mikame demonstrates in the video. Instead of showing the box empty then producing something, which is how tip over trunks are normally presented, he switches the whole routine around and gets a better and more magical result using the exact same box:

  • Begin by showing the box filled with brightly colored silks
  • Close the box and snap your fingers
  • Open it up and produce the spring flowers (or spring bills would work well too)
  • Show the box clearly empty – the silks have vanished!
  • Now close the box and snap your fingers again.
  • When you open again it is now filled with silks again 🙂

As I see more and more magic and crank out more of my infamous Speed Demos it becomes so clear how simple changes to routines can make the difference between a winner and a dud.  I think this is a great routine and really shines for this little box.

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Review by Andy Martin for Mini Astro-Ball Cabinet by N8 Quality Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Mini Astro-Ball Cabinet by N8 Quality Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Mini Astro-Ball Cabinet by N8 Quality Magic
5 out of 5

When Jim Simon of Worth Magic (before Milson-Worth) created the Astro-Ball Cabinet c. 1965 it caused quite a stir because Jim basically took Phase 1 of Stewart James’ Sefalaljia (which was a ground breaking five phase routine when it appeared in issue 69 of The Jinx December 2, 1939). As Stewart James himself said in an interview with Jeff Busby in 1987: “I expect the originality in that version was the use of a cocktail glass.” Ouch!

I think that Stewart James would be happier with Ottavio Belli’s routine because he has really amped up the handling and by giving up the ability for the cabinet to be minutely examined (it is clearly empty so why push it!) allows you to perform the transposition twice without any reset.  If you watch the video you almost can’t imagine it works the same way as the standard Astro-Ball Cabinet. Ottavio  is very fluid with the props and when he performs the transportation into the glass the second time it is all over for the normal handling.

A beautiful cabinet with a great routine and this item is quite rare – so what more are you looking for 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for BDM Safe Box by Bazar de Magia, Martin Pacheco

Review by Andy Martin for BDM Safe Box by Bazar de Magia, Martin Pacheco
Review by Andy Martin for BDM Safe Box by Bazar de Magia, Martin Pacheco
5 out of 5

It has been 22 years since Bazar de Magic released Murphy’s Chest c. 1998 and this is their follow-up.  I really like it, I know it is not a cool wooden box which collector’s like the best, but as a practical and suspicion free lock box for a Seven Keys type of effect it is hard to beat.  It is easy to perform with no hidden switches or set-up and can be freely handled by the spectator.  Even the keys are actually different which is pretty rare with this type of effect.  When I look at the various boxes and locks I have tried for this effect, this even rivals my favorite Anverdi item

What I most like about this box is that it really looks like a normal, everyday petty cash box that you can buy at amazon.  The method is very easy to learn and with minimal audience control you can give the box to the spectators to try each key and if you want you can even have them open the box with the final key too.

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Die Box by Homer Hudson

Review by Andy Martin for Die Box by Homer Hudson
Review by Andy Martin for Die Box by Homer Hudson
5 out of 5

This is one of the most well known items built by Homer Hudson in Southern California and for years it was the small die box to beat.  It looks great and works perfectly. 

Homer Hudson was a prolific builder of magic props for most of his life.  He was best known for his silk screened novelty side tables and die boxes.  He originally worked for Floyd Thayer in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He created most of the props marketed by Golden’s Magic Wand of Southern California during the 1950’s and 1960’s and then sold directly as himself and through major dealers from the late 1960’s until his retirement in 1995.

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Review by Andy Martin for Vampire Block by Homer Hudson

Review by Andy Martin for Vampire Block by Homer Hudson
Review by Andy Martin for Vampire Block by Homer Hudson
5 out of 5

The Escaping Vampire (or Vampire Block or Vampire Die or Visible Vampire as this type of block penetration is often known as today) was created by Ben Wallace c. 1945. 

This one was built by Homer Hudson and it looks great and works perfectly.  Homer Hudson was a prolific builder of magic props for most of his life.  He was best known for his silk screened novelty side tables and die boxes.  He originally worked for Floyd Thayer in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He created most of the props marketed by Golden’s Magic Wand of Southern California during the 1950’s and 1960’s and then sold directly as himself and through major dealers from the late 1960’s until his retirement in 1995.

Click here for more information.

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