Bernstein Linking Safety Pin Routine by Bruce Bernstein

(c. 1990) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

Effect: Honed to perfection over nearly three decades, the Bernstein Linking Pin Routine is as sharp and mystifying an effect as you will ever see. The magician links two large safety pins together, fairly and plainly. On his command, the pins visibly and slowly melt apart. The unlinking of the pins actually looks like trick photography. The effect is repeated – the pins unlink again – and the illusion looks just as baffling as it did the first time.

The pins are then caused to magically link together in a seemingly impossible manner. One moment the two are separate, and the next, they are linked.

Finally, an ungimmicked finger ring is legitimately locked onto one of the pins. Despite the fairness of the proceedings, the ring melts off of the pin it was locked on. At the same moment the two pins link together, in full view, inches from the spectators.

At the conclusion of the routine, everything can be examined. There’s nothing to find!

The Bernstein Linking Pin Routine requires no specially manufactured gaffs and no complicated sleight-of-hand. Nothing is switched in or out. All that’s required are the two pins and a finger ring. There are no external gimmicks. It’s ready any time.

Included inside are all necessary props and media: two, specially selected and hand-adjusted three-inch safety pins, a broadcast-quality instructional DVD featuring Bernstein’s performance and explanation, and a 17″x22″ poster (no page turning required!) with clear line drawings to make learning easy.

About half a century ago the effect of magically linking and unlinking oversized safety pins became popular under the generic title Piff-Paff-Poof Early versions used ordinary pins (see, for example, a nice handling by Don White in Greater Magic, 1938).

When L. Vosburgh Lyons explained his gaffed approach as Slip, Snap, Spoof in the Phoenix in 1943 it opened up a new range of possibilities, which were taken to new heights by Jerry Andrus.

Worthwhile routines of both sorts have been published by such as Audley Walsh, Slydini and Gaetan Bloom. In 1982 Hans van Senus described a new approach entitled Un-Safety Pins in Apocalypse. This employed a curious set of pins involving one that was not truly gimmicked – only sort of.

Subsequently, Dan Garrett devised a routine based on the van Senus approach. When Bruce Bernstein saw Dan’s lecture, he took the idea in still another direction. The result is The Bernstein Linking Pins Routine, an appealing four-phase routine with a strong finish.

The routine begins with a pair of pins linked together, which magically unlink. The effect is repeated under more stringent conditions. The third phase is a linking phase of Garrett’s which mimics one of the memorable Andrus sequences. For the climax, one pin is closed onto a borrowed finger ring. In an instant, the second pin links on and the ring drops free. All may now be given out for perusal by the spectators.

This is nice thinking; in a manner of speaking, it gives the routine closure. The work is not difficult, although it will take some practice to get the right feel for the actions. It is explained on one giant sheet of typset instructions (which means you don’t have to attempt page turning with props in hand) featuring seventeen line drawings.

(Phil Goldstein – Genii Magazine, April 1991)
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Approx. Price: $15.00 (2001) ***

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