Keys of Judah (with Door) by Stuart Judah

(c. 1956) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

Joseph Kolar invented what became known as The Seven Keys to Baldpate effect c. 1927 when he introduced it at a Thayer Night in Chicago. It was popularized and named by Annemann in his book The Book Without a Name. Kolar’s method involved the switch of a key, and since then it has had many variations.

This commercial product was marketed by Ed Mellon in 1955, apparently coming out between Wolf’s Lock of Gibraltar and Key-R-Rect. At $10, it was a reasonably expensive trick back then. It worked with a different method than either of those products. The two limitations of Lock of Gibraltar were that it did not look like a common type of lock, and that at the end of the routine it could not be fully examined, because any key would have opened it.

The first of these limitations was addressed by Carl Wolf when he began making Key-R-Rect. That trick was manufactured out of a standard Master warded lock, a type in very common general usage. However, the method still involved secretly “setting” the lock so that any key would work. The Keys of Judah used a completely different principle in that any key could be proved to be working or non-working. This method, however, introduced a new limitation, that the lock had to be in the hands of the magician when it was opened.

The full instructions including the secret working and pages of presentation are reprinted verbatim in Burling Hull’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mentalism, published by Hades Magic. This three-volume series, issued in separate loose leaf notebooks, is mostly a compilation of reprinted instruction sheets for commercially available products. There are few if any source references and no indication that any of the creators gave permission for their works to be copied. Many of the instructions, as would be expected, are worth little without the prop.

Stewart James recorded that the Keys of Judah was created by Mystico (J. Elsdon Tuffs) and first published in the British magazine Budget in 1943. It was originally called Key to Thoughts.

This version extended the standard Key of Judah by adding the miniature door frame.

Effect: You show the padlock and how only one key opens the padlock.  Lock the padlock and hand all five keys to the spectator.  They choose any four and leave the final one to you.  Yours is the only one that opens the lock.

Nothing is added or taken away and you can do this close-up or on stage since it is a large, solid padlock.  The keys are all different and no gimmicks to dispose of.  Really wonderful effect.

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Approx. Price: $100.00 (2008) ***

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