Review by Andy Martin for Ribbon Fantastique by Ed Massey

Review by Andy Martin for Ribbon Fantastique by Ed Massey
Review by Andy Martin for Ribbon Fantastique by Ed Massey
5 out of 5

I was twelve years old when I first saw this effect demonstrated at Ron MacMillan’s International Unique Magic Studio on Leather Lane in London. Along with seeing Eddie Gibson’s Coin Unique for the first time this visit to Ron’s studio on my birthday remains with me because I had never seen such amazing magic before.; These tricks were truly unbelievable to my young mind. 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 c. 1945, it remains to this day one of his most effective creations.

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Review by Andy Martin for Hyottoko's Journey by Francois Danis

Review by Andy Martin for Hyottoko's Journey by Francois Danis
Review by Andy Martin for Hyottoko's Journey by Francois Danis
5 out of 5

Francois Danis is a big paddle fan and over the years has created some real beauties. His latest offering, Hyottoko’s Journey, is probably his most ambitious, beautiful, and amazing yet.

Like all great men Francois has also taken advantage of his wife’s (Pascaline) talents by protecting the paddles in a beautiful, embroidered case, hand-crafted by Pascaline. It really complements the paddles perfectly and I hope to see more of Pascaline’s talents on display in future projects from Francois 🙂  In fact, I’m ordering some of Pascaline’s beautiful handmade stitched gifts from her store right now!

For the story teller what is really neat about this set is that instead of being a collection of three separate paddles Francois has created a routine that brings together all of the paddles flowing from one to the next.

You receive:

  • A paddle with three fans.
  • A paddle with a sleeve and paper lanterns.
  • A mechanical paddle with Noh’s masks.
  • A small display stand with Hyottoko’s face.
  • A unique embroidered case to store them all.

There are three sections to the included patter:

  • The Fans Paddle – a five phase routine
  • The Paper Lantern’s Paddle – a three phase routine
  • The Noh Masks Paddle – a three phase routine

These are all brought together in an adorable story called The Concubine Story, and what is neat is the embroidered case is featured throughout the story as you remove and replace the paddles from the case.  You set everything up in the case before you start and you are off to the races.  What a great idea that makes it easy to manage the paddles and also gives the audience something pretty to focus on too 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Coin Slide (#13 of 17) by Clarence Miller, Oran B. Dent

Review by Andy Martin for Coin Slide (#13 of 17) by Clarence Miller, Oran B. Dent
Review by Andy Martin for Coin Slide (#13 of 17) by Clarence Miller, Oran B. Dent
5 out of 5

Thayer’s Mystic Coin Slide c. 1921 appears to have been the first version of this type of effect, followed by Carl Brema’s Coin Slide or Magic Mint c. 1925.  The term “coin slide” should not be confused with the gimmick used to load a coin into the center of a ball of wool (or in nest of box routines) which was used much earlier.

This is Clarence’s wonderful version and not only do you get a pretty little box, adorned with a cute little rabbit, it comes with two wonderful routines (and a variation) which make it seem much more than just a pretty slide. So often with a coin slide it is kind of a one off routine – you change the coin from one coin to another, but with Clarence’s routines this simple effect is turned into a feature effect. And only 17 of these beauties were made.

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Review by Andy Martin for New Koornwinder Kar (T-227) by Tenyo, Dick Koornwinder

Review by Andy Martin for New Koornwinder Kar (T-227) by Tenyo, Dick Koornwinder
Review by Andy Martin for New Koornwinder Kar (T-227) by Tenyo, Dick Koornwinder
5 out of 5

This lovely and unique effect was invented by the Dutch Magician Dick Koornwinder in the 1960’s and you can read about the original version here.  Tenyo is the only company that Mr. Koornwinder has officially licensed his creation to, regardless of all the versions you might have seen.

Tenyo’s version is different from the original because it has a locking mechanism with a memory, which adds a new dimension to an already perfect effect.

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Review by Andy Martin for A Strange Way to Stage Hypnosis by Christan P. Taylor

Review by Andy Martin for A Strange Way to Stage Hypnosis by Christan P. Taylor
Review by Andy Martin for A Strange Way to Stage Hypnosis by Christan P. Taylor
5 out of 5

Chris Taylor (aka Chris Doc Strange) has written a really entertaining and useful book here.  To be honest I have zero interest in being a hypnotist (in my early twenties I read a few books on self-hypnosis, but that was a long time ago and I haven’t really thought about it since), but I found this book not only a really good primer on pretty much everything to do with becoming a professional stage hypnotist, but it provides a good grounding for anyone performing to the public, and in fact has some good advice on life in general.

Chris holds no punches and it is quite refreshing to read a book in the magic related arts that is so honest, humble and to the point.  Chris does not oversell anything here, including his performances and experience, and comes over as someone who genuinely cares about the art and human beings in general.  He certainly is not in it just for the money!  

If you are serious about learning to become a professional Stage Hypnotist  this is the perfect place to start.  Chris takes you through how to start, all the pitfalls, and provides tons of real world examples.  He also talks about things like insurance and the stage equipment required.  It is all here and should you still want to read more you could also try out Ormond McGill’s work: The New Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism.  But I would start with Chris’s book, it is much easier to get into and you’ll learn something about life and performing even if you never hypnotize anyone.

Find out more about Chris here: www.DocStrange.co.uk

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Review by Andy Martin for Pen Through Anything by John Cornelius

Review by Andy Martin for Pen Through Anything by John Cornelius
Review by Andy Martin for Pen Through Anything by John Cornelius
5 out of 5

This is the original pen used by John Cornelius, a Mont Blanc style thick black pen which was later changed to a cross style pen as it was cheaper to produce and easier to compete with a number of rip-offs that were quickly appearing on the market place. Also, there was a key update to this idea c. 1996 that did not require a switch called The Perfect Pen here.

This was the effect that caused a flood of imitators but you can’t go wrong with this beautiful and clean original from the amazing and inventive mind of John Cornelius.

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Review by Andy Martin for Time Element Cylinders (Dosen mit Zeitzündung) by Lubor Fiedler

Review by Andy Martin for Time Element Cylinders (Dosen mit Zeitzündung) by Lubor Fiedler
Review by Andy Martin for Time Element Cylinders (Dosen mit Zeitzündung) by Lubor Fiedler
5 out of 5

Lubor Fiedler invented this effect c. 1972 when it was released as Dosen mit Zeitzündung. It was independently invented by Phil Matlin of Canada as Silver Sanctum c. 1979, and later released c. 1985 by Viking Mfg. as Sorcerer’s Stone and again c. 2007 by Viking as Sorcerer’s Stone Improved.  It was also released by Howard Schwarzmann Limited Editions c. 1991 as Lubor Fiedler’s Time Control Capsules, and again by Hank Lee c. 2002 when he purchased the Schwarzmann line.

As with so many of Lubor Fiedler’s ideas it is a brilliant and fundamental idea with many applications.  And based on the number of times it has been released and improved it clearly has some legs and has inspired some great minds.

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Review by Andy Martin for The Watson “Heavies” Cups Limited Edition in Polished Copper by Brian Watson

Review by Andy Martin for The Watson “Heavies” Cups Limited Edition in Polished Copper by Brian Watson
Review by Andy Martin for The Watson “Heavies” Cups Limited Edition in Polished Copper by Brian Watson
5 out of 5

I don’t know if I ever will perform any Cups and Balls routine, but I thought I’d should at least get a set of these heavy, beautiful bad boys and a copy of Brian Watson’s Anytime Anywhere Cups & Balls Book and Brian Watson’s Anytime Anywhere Cups & Balls – Double DVD.  This way I’ll have no excuse and maybe if I can hold on to these amazing cups I’ll break down and read or watch the routine and the rest will be history.  Only time will tell, but I’m hopeful 🙂

The cups themselves are amazing, and they won’t come around too often so this is where they will stay for a while.

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Review by Andy Martin for Electronic Chess Piece Divination by Bob Koch, Jeff Busby, Matt Corin

Review by Andy Martin for Electronic Chess Piece Divination by Bob Koch, Jeff Busby, Matt Corin
Review by Andy Martin for Electronic Chess Piece Divination by Bob Koch, Jeff Busby, Matt Corin
5 out of 5

This was released through Busby-Corin, Inc. which was the Oakland, California company formed when Jeff Busby joined forces with the talented Close-up performer, Matt Corin, from 1979 to 1981.

It is hard to believe this amazing electronic beauty was released in 1981, as it looks and feels like it is from a later period, it is that well designed.  There are no signs of any electronics or switches and there is nothing added or taken away.  No remotes to worry about or lose either.  This is unit #04 and is the only one I’ve ever seen of this fine effect so I don’t believe there are many of these lying around and they certainly don’t come for sale very often.

A very rare beauty created by a master craftsmen for sure. They really don’t make them like this anymore. The woodwork and the electronics are perfect, and work flawlessly almost forty years later! Try that with some of the modern so-called electronic miracles.

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Review by Andy Martin for Talking Skull by Vienna Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Talking Skull by Vienna Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Talking Skull by Vienna Magic
5 out of 5

What a wonderful item from Vienna Magic.  As with most of their magic the skull and electronics are all very well made. The box even holds a deck of cards inside the box, which seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen similar props that cannot accommodate the items you will use with the effect.

One of the great things about this prop is it is a simply matter of pressing a button to create a new recording, and there is also a switch to disguise your voice by slowing it down. There is nothing worse than trying to have a voice from beyond which sounds exactly like your own voice 🙁

This is a utility prop that allows you to easily record any message of a few seconds, including music, and it will replay it when the skull is briefly swiped over the upper right hand corner. However you can freely place the skull in the center and nothing will happen. The box can contain a deck of cards, or a notepad, billets, dominoes, rings, coins, etc. Whatever you what to use as the final revelation. The instructions included tell you how to set-up and use the prop, but do not provide any routine so that is left to the performer.

You could change the PK object (the skull in this case) to something more appropriate if it fitted your routine better because it is simply a magnet in the skull that triggers the recording. And if desired you could simply use a magnetic ring or a concealed magnet in the hand.

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