This is how “they” get you! I’ve been purchasing a few of Carl Williams pieces recently and just when you think you are above all of the addictions of classic magic effects, you realize you’re right back where you started and can’t stop yourself. This is another stunning beauty meticulously re-created by Carl to duplicate the original Okito masterpiece. And what a clever and perplexing illusion it is. Spend a little time working with this and you will have a true baffler for both magicians and lay people. And amazingly the whole unit can be minutely examined. I guess I’ll be tracking down more of Carl’s work because he is so good 🙂
Originally called “Berg’s Wand-O-Ring,” this effect was devised by Joe Berg and built by Okito, when it won the award at a contest by the Society of American Magicians Assembly No. 3 in 1947.
Effect: The apparatus is a small cabinet which has no lid, but has a removable front panel and two slots in the side so a wand can be lowered in. There is also a hole in the center of the front panel and another in the back. Three differently colored washer-like rings are introduced, and one of them is freely chosen. The box can be inspected by the audience if necessary; then the wand is lowered into it and the front panel slid into place. Next the chosen ring is lowered into the cabinet and held there while a length of ribbon is threaded through the hole in the rear, through the ring, and out through the hole in the front. For a moment the ring is lifted from the cabinet to show it has been threaded on the ribbon, and then it is replaced inside.
Suddenly the ribbon is pulled taut, the wand is lifted out of the cabinet and the chosen ring is seen to be threaded on it instead of on the ribbon. The ribbon is removed and everything given for critical examination.
My favorite Anverdi item is his very clever and perplexing Key Box c. 1982 from almost forty years ago! Until recently I thought it was at the top of the food chain for effects that became known as The Seven Keys to Baldpate by Annemann and invented by Joseph Kolar c. 1927. That is until I saw this rare beauty, Keyrumba c. 1990, from the amazing Carl Williams. And what a stunning beauty it is.
It is a beautiful prop for sure. The effect is well known but Keyrumba is about as clean as you can get and operates by a hidden remote control so there is no need for the extra box used by Anverdi’s Key Box. Keyrumba comes with eight identical keys and you can use as many or as few as you want for the routine – any one will open the box or not, 100% under your control.
The props supplied are of the highest quality, as expected from the late master craftsman Carl Williams. The chest is perfectly crafted. The inlaid woodwork is beautiful. The set offered is complete with the chest, all the keys, remote, necessary setting tool, and a photocopy of the original instructions and extra tips.
P&L created two versions of this aptly named Perfect Card Box: the Standard Model c. 1921 and the Thin Model c. 1932. They are both still pretty “thin” because the Standard is only 9/16″ thick and to be honest I prefer the Standard. To me this is easily the prettiest, most practical, most convincing, and one of the hardest to figure out of all card boxes I have seen. I prefer it to both Brema/Viking ones I have here and here, and the Joe Porper one too. When I received it, even though I have worked with over 40 different card boxes and I had the instructions in front of me, it still took me about thirty minutes to figure out how to open the flap. Once you have the knack it is easy, but that first ah-ha moment took me a while – which is the true test of the Perfect Card Box 🙂
Pictured is the Standard Model and it will vanish/change at least thirteen Poker sized cards. That is an amazing load and all in 9/16″ of solid silver. I am really amazed by this stunning card box! Although I’ve read that P&L only hallmarked the Thin Model with their famous P&L Logo that is not true because this is the Standard Model and the P&L Logo is clear as day. This was made with what P&L call Solid Cupro Silver – this is probably what we call Sterling Silver today (since Sterling Silver is silver with about 7.5% copper added for strength), and it shines up beautifully with a bit of elbow grease and polish.
I love this version of the Fantastic Figures of Foo from Jack Hughes that Jack created under license from Regow’s Magic Studio in the USA. The whole outfit packs away neatly in the beautifully made stand which acts as a carry case for the paddles and chalk as well as the stand during the performance. The paddles are large enough to be seen on the stage or in a parlor situation too. A real beauty and the stand even has the the original “Jack Hughes Maker of Magic” label still in place. It is really easy to do and you’ll be doing this within minutes of receiving it.
Effect: Display the four paddles, calling attention to the fact there are 5 sets of numbers on each side of each paddle. Thus each of the paddles contains 10 entirely different sets of numerals. Hand the paddles and easel to a spectator for examination. Then instruct him to place the paddles on the easel in any arrangement he desires. There is no force and he has a free choice. Call attention to the fact there are over 300 different combinations possible. Magician steps away while the spectator arranges the paddles. The spectator is instructed to add up the columns of figures as he has arranged them and to write the answer in the space provided on the bottom of the easel. After this has been completed, the Magician, without once seeing the front of the paddles announces the correct answer.
Cesaral Open Perceptions is easily the best version of this type of effect I have seen. Performed well it is completely impossible to fathom. It is very reliable and works very cleanly. The big issue I have with it is that as it arrives you have to do some work to come up with a clean presentation. You have to find a box or a card case or something to store the transmitter in, and you have to find somewhere to jam the receiver. And when you spend this sort of cash you shouldn’t have to worry about such things. Even if you use the ink stamp, which is an optional extra, you still have to carry around an ink pad (for the stamp) and have somewhere to put the receiver.
When I received this I set about to find the perfect container that could hold everything I needed to perform the effect and be central to the effect too – to justify the box in the first place. I tried about 10 different containers but each of them had issues – too big, too small, not very impressive, etc. When I found this Cold Cast Bronze trinket box with Isis, the Eye of Horus and a Scarab beautifully decorating the box I was sure I had found the perfect device. I was able to quickly gimmick the transmitter so that it could be placed at in the bottom of the box without suspicion. The trinket box cannot be thoroughly examined on the inside, but it will withstand a cursory glance when you look inside. With more effort you could make it more permanent, but given that the box is just used to hold the items you are using there is no heat on it and I have not seen a reason to take it to the next level. But you could if you desired.
Effect: Here is the effect as I perform it. You introduce the beautiful Egyptian Trinket Box and say that it has mystic powers to magnify people’s thoughts which can be picked up by sensitive individuals. You than remove two decks of cards and some empty envelopes. You give the spectator a choice of decks (magician’s choice) and they remove the cards from the chosen deck and give the cards a shuffle. With your back turned they remove any card from the deck and place it inside an envelope and place it on the table. This is repeated with as many spectators as you desire. Up to five works perfectly. In each case they have a 100% free choice of card that they choose from the deck in their hands and no one sees card but them. When it comes to freely choosing a card there is no cleaner way. Remember you are looking away this whole time.
Once each spectator has safely chosen their card and secured them in the opaque envelopes you turn around and pick-up each envelope one by one and wave it over the the Trinket Box for Isis to get an impression. In fact, if you desire, you don’t have to do this and you can have the spectator do this. It is a personal preference. Either way you can name directly or remove a card from the second deck and in all cases you are 100% correct. There is nothing to see or explain this amazing miracle – except for some powerful mind reading thanks to Isis!
This uses Bicycle brand cards and each card has professional chipped – the finished deck is slightly thicker (due to the chips) than a normal deck by about 8 cards and I normally just remove 8 cards but I’m pretty sure no one would ever notice. The scanning perimeter for the receiver is pretty wide and waving the envelope anywhere near the box works perfectly. You have options whether you wave the envelope or the spectator does – the receiver remembers them all and you can easily cycle through the choices. Comes with the optional stamp too, but this is probably not something I would use particularly as it requires carrying around an ink pad too.
But this is a beautiful outfit and everything fits neatly inside the box. The rechargeable batteries keep their charge for months, and are very reliable.
The effect is cleanest mentalism at its best: you ask two spectators to think of a red card and a black card respectively (absolutely no force). You write down two predictions with their backs to the audience and place them in the stands. You now ask the two to reveal their cards and place them in the stands too. When you turn around the stand the cards match perfectly every time. It is clean and instantly resets.
The stand is turned to perfection and there is even a plastic insert to ensure years of trouble free twisting and the joints are all very solid. The cards fit inside the stand securely without any movement so you place the cards at the perfect angle. You’ll not find a better version of this classic effect.
When looking for billet boxes, I think this is as close to a dream as you can get it. Max Krause did an amazing job in the design of this bad boy and I’m pleased to see it back in the collection!
This device has a lot of flexibility and can be used for many routines but here is a description of the Lottery Prediction effect. The performer hands out 60 cards each with a different number on them as well as dry erase markers. Each person is asked to cover up their number by using the marker. All of the numbers are then placed in the box held by another spectator. The box is brought on stage and the spectator is asked to unlock and open it. Six more spectators are then invited on stage and each is asked to remove one color from the box.
The performer than explains the odds of finding all six numbers. He then asks the spectators to reveal the numbers by wiping away the dry erase. There is a prediction that has been in plain view the entire performance, which is opened and shown to match the audience’s selections exactly! Next stop Powerball!!
I’ve owned lots of billet boxes and prediction boxes and this one and the Dr. Q are the only ones I still currently own, which says a lot for how perfect it is! Thanks for reminding me JP!
It works beautifully with two unique cooperating devices:
to Vanish the block using a self-working vanish* devised by Michael Baker and Bob Tysl that instantly causes the block to vanish without any apparent moves or clues.
to make the block Reappear threaded on the rod using Sewell’s Block on rod (c. 1940 by Len J. Sewell).
The whole outfit is perfectly proportioned and best of all it is not too large with the block a healthy 3″ square, the vanish pedestal is ~12″ high and the reappearance cabinet ~11″ wide, so it will fit neatly in your collection with room to spare.
The finish on these pieces is also amazing with bright rich colors that are deep and enduring. There is no doubt if I was trying to maintain a physical collection instead of my ongoing project I would keep this item safely right here with me.
Few props I have purchased over the last 20 years of collecting magic have caused a lump in my throat and I’m pleased to say that The Baker, Tysl, Sewell Vanishing & Reappearing Block by Michael Baker is most certainly a new one to add to the list.
This was the first Alan Warner piece I ever purchased, and man oh man did it leave an impression. The method is fantastic and practical (as well as self working.) But even more so, the craftsmanship is superb. I was stunned at the level of detail which goes into making something like this. It is truly inspiring. I only hope that my collection will continue to expand over the coming years. One thing’s for sure: Alan Warner is one of the best creators on the planet. In my opinion, he is the best creator of wooden magic. You can’t top his work.
Over the years I have seen many versions of Ribbon Fantastique and it continues to amaze me how simple it is to accomplish something so clean and surprising. The phrase “it’s a fooler” does not even get close to how wonderful this effect is.Invented by the genius Ed Massey, it remains to this day one of his most effective creations.
This is a wonderful version from Kent over at 3D Magic Works. It comes in two colors: Blue Marble Box and Gray Marble Box and both are shown together in the photos. This is a perfect size for walk around and comes with a unique routine expertly demonstrated by the wonderful Madison Hagler. Madison really performs this effect so well I was even wondering if the method was different 🙂 A really great version of this classic.
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