Review by Andy Martin for reVamped by Kent Bergmann

Review by Andy Martin for reVamped by Kent Bergmann
Review by Andy Martin for reVamped by Kent Bergmann
5 out of 5

I’ve been a big fan of the Wandering Mummy theme in magic for more than twenty years and wrote a history of the effect here.  One of the big holes in my account was this beautiful and clever version from Kent Bergmann during his Z-Wood Magic days.  This is easily the most sort after effect from Kent’s whole line and since Kent stopped selling them eight years ago I’ve never seen one come up for sale on the secondary market.  And it is easy to see why.

Not only is the effect one of the most popular themes with collectors in close-up magic with versions from Eddy Taytelbaum, Alan Warner, Tony Lackner, Richard Gerlitz, Francois Danis and others. But Kent turned the whole method and story on its head and created something that is still clearly a Wandering Mummy, but with a totally unique approach to the method and the story.  His approach, though based on the others before it has three distinct advantages:

  • The two caskets are cleverly gimmicked such that the vampire can appear or disappear at will in either casket as many times as desired.  This allows for more flexibility in the story line.
  • Any sounds of the mummy vanishing are covered by the clever idea of rolling the caskets in and out of the main crypt – this is a really nice touch.
  • The story line seems a little more logical because we are all familiar (from the movies) with how vampires travel in their secret coffins.

Needless to say Kent’s choice of woods and fine attention to detail, ensure this item looks stunning too. This is a very rare beauty and is very welcome nestled in with all of the other mummy’s 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Expert Performance Table (Red) by Stevens Magic, Heather Jay

Review by Andy Martin for Expert Performance Table (Red) by Stevens Magic, Heather Jay
Review by Andy Martin for Expert Performance Table (Red) by Stevens Magic, Heather Jay
5 out of 5

I just received this table from my good friends at Stevens Magic.  Joe + Mark really did a great job tracking down Magician Heather Jay to build to build these beauties.  They are very quick to set-up, feel amazing to the touch, beautiful for spreading cards and other items that benefit from a high quality close-up pad, and much more solid than you would imagine.  They really look elegant, so make sure you look the part too when you perform with one of these.

I purchased this specifically for my Speed Demos but will use it whenever I need to add a bit of class to my performance.  Very happy with this bad boy 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for The Hand of The Unseen (Devil's Phantom Deck) by Viking Mfg., Devil of France

Review by Andy Martin for The Hand of The Unseen (Devil's Phantom Deck) by Viking Mfg., Devil of France
Review by Andy Martin for The Hand of The Unseen (Devil's Phantom Deck) by Viking Mfg., Devil of France
5 out of 5

This clever deck was built by Devil of France (Monaco) and distributed in the USA exclusively by George Robinson of Viking Mfg.  George had only fifty units made and they all sold out very quickly and he only advertised it twice.  This is the first time I have seen or heard of this item which shows how rare it is.

As issued it comes with two detailed pages of instructions, the gimmicked deck in a standard bicycle deck, and the thick paper clock-face. But to do justice to it you probably want to dress it up with some better themed cards (I use the these Magic ones, but it takes just a minute to switch to your favorite deck). Ideally you should use two decks which you switch smoothly using something like this device or this one.   I also throw in an authentic looking Haunted Key which I use at the beginning to check for the existence of any magic spirits.

This deck works very reliably with easily obtainable batteries (2 x A23 (12v) and 1x 1.5v N size) and a small key fob remote (see final photo).  It is quiet but because it works on vibrations you can hear the vibrations in a totally quiet room.  With a normal amount of ambient noise there is little issue.  However, you do need to perform this on a close-up pad or table with padding because otherwise the vibrations will be exaggerated by the table just like a loud speaker.

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Review by Andy Martin for Zig Zag Card by Vincenzo Di Fatta

Review by Andy Martin for Zig Zag Card by Vincenzo Di Fatta
Review by Andy Martin for Zig Zag Card by Vincenzo Di Fatta
4 out of 5

This is Vincenzo Di Fatta version of Mike Shelley’s and Morty Rudnick’s Zig Zag Card Outdone. Even though it came out 21 years later it is not more deceptive.  The plastic manufacture makes it more durable and solid, but it is about twice as thick as the original and it is easier to flash things if you don’t keep the unit straight on.  It is still a great illusion, but I just think the original is better.

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Review by Andy Martin for The Key of the Chrononaut by Master Payne, MagicCrafter

Review by Andy Martin for The Key of the Chrononaut by Master Payne, MagicCrafter
Review by Andy Martin for The Key of the Chrononaut by Master Payne, MagicCrafter
5 out of 5

Master Payne is releasing a pet pocket trick from his Steampunk Show. Key of the Chrononaut is an updated and steam fitted adaptation of the Rings of Hindustan trick. A classic effect featured in  Dunniger’s Complete Encyclopedia of Magic (also known as: the Chinese Ring Illusion, The Two Ring Trick, Magical Mystery Rings, the Chinese Rings of Mystery), sold by Edwells c. 1933 and E-Z Magic c. 1966.  A particularly nice version was sold by Alan Wong too.

Brian Cook has constructed this prop out of the finest of materials and to his exacting specifications. The gears have been made from the finest walnut and fitted with brass like interior rings. They truly are a work of art. Plus Brian has added his own twist on this routine which allows both gear rings to be examined at the beginning and conclusion of the trick, allowing you to fool those in the know.

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Review by Andy Martin for Dial-X by U.F. Grant, Schuyler Reynolds

Review by Andy Martin for Dial-X by U.F. Grant, Schuyler Reynolds
Review by Andy Martin for Dial-X by U.F. Grant, Schuyler Reynolds
5 out of 5

This is the original version of Dial-X invented by U.F. Grant and Schuyler Reynolds and what a clever and useful device it is.  Small enough to fit in the pocket, amazing enough to carry with you.  It is a quite stunning to think that 70 years on it still works perfectly and has not lost any of it’s charm.

The idea for Dial-X was so unique that Grant & Reynolds filed and received a USA Patent for the idea: #US2639923A, so when you see the Patent Pending sign on this effect they were not kidding, it was titled Mechanical Puzzle and granted on May 26, 1953.

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Review by Andy Martin for Zig Zag Card OutDone by Mike Shelley, Morty Rudnick, Magical Mysteries

Review by Andy Martin for Zig Zag Card OutDone by Mike Shelley, Morty Rudnick, Magical Mysteries
Review by Andy Martin for Zig Zag Card OutDone by Mike Shelley, Morty Rudnick, Magical Mysteries
5 out of 5

Danny Korem created a very elegant (and expensive) Zig Zag Card c. 1978.  Then Mike Shelley and Morty Rudnick of Magical Mysteries released this version c. 1988 streamlining the method and it has been copied ever since.  

It is simpler than Danny’s version, and is pretty much perfect.  Very easy to do, with basic props made from thin artboard that don’t scream gimmicked, and there are no angle issues either.  You you can sign the center of the card and watch the middle with the signature be slid all the way over right before your eyes!

I have a few other versions of this effect, but there is no question that this version created by Mike Shelley and Morty Rudnick of Magical Mysteries is the best I have seen. (Mike also created jumbo versions of this including one with Mickey Mouse, and he had Viking Mfg. create a collectors version made out of wood.  In my opinion the simplicity of the original was also one of the reasons it was so effective.)

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Review by Andy Martin for Dizzy Dominoes by Tonny Van Dommelen

Review by Andy Martin for Dizzy Dominoes by Tonny Van Dommelen
Review by Andy Martin for Dizzy Dominoes by Tonny Van Dommelen
5 out of 5

The amazing Dutch FISM 1958 Grand Prix winner Tonny Van Dommelen created one of the most overlooked close-up miracles ever when in 1965 he started selling his wonderful close-up routine: Dizzy Dominoes.

There have been many versions sold by dealers since then, but one of the most attractive and visually best was this original set from Holland.  In fact, the Dutch micro-magic master Eddy Taytelbaum also created a set and his looked very similar to these ones from Tonny Van Dommelen (see final photo).

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