(4 customer reviews)

Dean’s Box by Dean Dill

(c. 2000) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

I really like this box from that nice guy Dean Dill – some people criticize it for not being new – but I think Dean is quite open where he got his ideas from and this is a wonderful effect. You have to learn the routine but the handling is not difficult. And the finish on the box is outstanding!

Effect: Your audience will be blown away. Solid ropes and a solid metal ring enter Dean’s Box, then magically pass through each other in this mystifying multi-phase routine.

The performer presents a container but never explains what’s inside. He proceeds to take two ordinary ropes … and they are … and place them into each end of the cabinet and out through the top. For a moment he covers them. When he releases them they are linked. He does this once more under even more impossible conditions and they join again. As a climax a solid brass ring is introduced…and it is solid. One of the two ropes is freely chosen and thread through the holes in the box. The ring is thrown inside. When the front of the box is opened the ring is now on the rope. Solid through solid, not once, not twice, but three times under ever increasingly impossible conditions.

This is a beautifully made box with a really wonderful series of three effects with some rope and a ring. It is easy to do, though it takes some handling practice.


You may remember Dean Dill’s name from a card trick called “Blizzard” (Marketplace, January 1997). “Blizzard” was a trick that completely fooled everyone, and I have had a lot of fun performing it. Dean has a new trick out, and for the past five months he has been frying magicians and laymen with it. It is called “Dean’s Box,” and you can add my name to the list of people who have been fooled by it.

Dean performed this effect for me at the Magic Castle, and I’m glad I saw him do it, because a description does not do this trick justice. Dean brought a beautiful cherrywood box, measuring 7 inches on a side. The entire front surface of the box is a hinged door that can be opened, allowing a complete view of the interior of the box. On either side of the box are two circular openings. Each of these openings is covered with a little curtain that opens in the middle. This allows objects to be inserted into the box, but does not allow spectators to look into the box from the side. On top of the box is a small, circular trapdoor. On either side of this little door are two notches. These notches allow loops of rope to protrude from the top of the box. Now that you have a general idea of how the box looks, here’s what happens.

Dean brings out two pieces of rope – a white rope and a red rope. The ropes and the box can be thoroughly examined. The box is closed. Dean makes a loop in each of the ropes and holds a rope in each hand. The hands enter the box through the side holes. The ends of the ropes are in view the entire time. Dean pokes open the trapdoor in the top and then removes his right hand from the box. His right hand grabs the loops of rope and brings them up through the trapdoor. The trapdoor is closed. The ropes are trapped in the notches and the centers of the ropes are concealed within Dean’s right hand. Even though the ends of the ropes were in full view the entire time, when Dean opens his hand it is seen that the ropes are now linked together. Grabbing a rope in each hand, the ropes are withdrawn through the top of the box. The ropes are genuinely linked together and can be examined.

In phase two of the routine the ropes link a second time, under even more impossible conditions. In phase three of the routine a 2-inch diameter ring links itself to a rope, even though the ends of the rope are in view the entire time. (This final phase has an added auditory aspect. Dean shows the ring in his right hand. The hand briefly enters the box through the right hand hole. You hear the ring hit the inside of the box. The box is immediately opened and the ring is on the rope.)

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, a description does not begin to do justice to how baffling this trick is. I knew how the first phase worked (it’s based on a routine of Paul Curry’s) but phases two and three completely nailed me. When you add in the fact that all the props can be thoroughly examined before and after the trick, you have a routine that is going to bother people for a very long time. Now, let’s talk about the downside of “Dean’s Box.” This is not a cheap routine. With a price tag of $250, the merely curious need not apply. Table-hoppers would have to carry the box from table to table, which would be a minor hassle, but fortunately, only a small performance area on the tabletop is required. (I have been doing it at the Houdini Lounge, but I have the advantage of being able to store props behind the grand piano. Also, since

I’m working a bar and not a restaurant, I don’t have to worry about the table being too cluttered.) I would imagine that this trick would be of most use to those who entertain guests in their home. The box is very elegant, and would fit in with your other magic collectibles. The trick is not difficult to do – an added bonus for those who do not perform on a regular basis. Those expecting an intricate piece of apparatus will be disappointed. The box is nearly ungaffed. There is one small sneaky thing about the box, but this preparation will never be discovered, even under extensive scrutiny.

For your $250 you get the box, all the necessary props, and a videotape of Dean performing and explaining the routine. (Since making this video Dean has altered the handling of the second phase. He is going to include his new work in a supplemental instruction sheet.) You will have to run through the routine a few times to get comfortable with it. (And please, don’t perform this without sufficient practice. It’s too good to ruin through lack of preparation.)

I think “Dean’s Box” is terrific. It is rare for me to be fooled by a trick, and this trick completely fooled me twice. Even if performed with a pedestrian presentation it would be an amazing mystery. Cloak this trick with a dramatic presentation and you’ve got something that people will remember for a long time. “Dean’s Box” is my pick of the month. Highly recommended.

(Michael Close – Magic Magazine, December 2000)
Text Source: michaelclose.com – click for details

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Approx. Price: $285.00 (2003) ***

Notice: I am not a dealer and this item is not for sale on this site. It maybe available in the links below or at our sister site: qualitymagicsales.com, but not from here so please do not ask.
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4 reviews for Dean’s Box by Dean Dill

  1. Andy Martin

    Sometimes you can sell too much!

    Most magicians I have known have, at one time or another, sold a prop that they never used only to really regret it later. Dean’s Box is one of those for me.

    I don’t really know why I sold it, but I’m glad to have purchased a new one. Interestingly enough, the cloth has changed color from red to black since the first time I purchased this effect.

    This is a beatifully made box with a really wonderful series of three effects with some rope and a ring. It is easy to do, though it takes some handling practice.

    Highly recommended, and this time I won’t sell it!

  2. William Litzler, a.k.a. Ace Willie

    Great for Collectors, but not pratical for regular use

    Like the other reviewer, I bought and later sold this one. It is a great trick and top quality production.

    But the angles are terrible for even a small stage. Like Houdini’s Elephant Vanish, you have to be in the dead center of the theater to see inside. The rest of the audience has to take your word that something cool happened.

    As far as doing it for close-up in a restaurant or walk around, it’s just to much to carry. Plus, the chances of it getting "dinged" are pretty good.

    Still, it is a darn good trick. Just don’t buy it if you plan on adding it to your act.

  3. Greg

    Something to Talk About

    Did you ever want to be able to present an effect that will leave people with something to talk about? This is that effect.

    Dean’s Box is simply a box, which is why it is so provocative. Its simplicity is its greatest strength. The design of the box, the finish of the box, even the size of the box all coalesce into a kind of magic Gestalt that becomes almost mystical. You have to witness a performance to believe it.

    I liken this effect to a spirit cabinet. The performer presents a container but never explains what’s inside. He proceeds to take two ordinary ropes…and they are…and place them into each end of the cabinet and out through the top. For a moment he covers them. When he releases them they are linked. He does this once more under even more impossible conditions and they join again. As a climax a solid brass ring is introduced…and it is solid. One of the two ropes is freely chosen and thread through the holes in the box. The ring is thrown inside. When the front of the box is opened the ring is now on the rope. Solid through solid, not once, not twice, but three times under ever increasingly impossible conditions.

    Are spirits at work, or just great magic? That’s the beauty of Dean’s Box, it can be presented either way. This effect may seem like just a box, but it contains so much more. It won’t leave them talking, it will leave them speechless.

  4. Tom Pearson

    A Winner!

    This is one of my all time favorite tricks to perform. Dean Dill has produced a beautiful box that enables you to perform seemingly impossible miracles with two ropes that link under seemingly impossible conditions. This fools magicians. The working of the ropes linking inside the box is so diabolical and clever that you love performing this routine that Dean demonstrates on his instructional DVD. The box is beautifully made, and I recommend it highly.

    Dean Dill is one of my favorite magicians, and he is as creative and clever as he is a genuinely nice guy.

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