Review by Andy Martin for Chest of Destiny by Tabman

Review by Andy Martin for Chest of Destiny by Tabman
Review by Andy Martin for Chest of Destiny by Tabman
5 out of 5

T.A. Waters created his amazing routine Box Office c. 1979 and he liked it so much that it is the first routine described in his 800+ page book Mind, Myth & Magick. Since it’s publication here are plenty of versions of the trick around, and I’ve even made up a couple myself. This is one of the few that actually had permission from T.A. Waters to create it for resale. It is Tabman’s Chest of Destiny c. 1994 and it is one of best versions I have seen of this effect.

The box looks like a real antique aged box. It is the perfect height and size for the effect and everything works precisely as it should. The spectator gets to choose any one of the five casted relics and when the tray is lifted there is just one prediction, and it matches the choice of the spectator.

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Review by Andy Martin for Mind Paintings II by Magic Wagon

Review by Andy Martin for Mind Paintings II by Magic Wagon
Review by Andy Martin for Mind Paintings II by Magic Wagon
5 out of 5

So here is another version of the T.A. Waters’ amazing Box Office which has been recreated so many times it is hard to keep up.

Another entry from Magic Wagon c. 2012 and the mechanism works perfectly every time. Whatever painting the spectator chooses it matches the selection in the bottom of the box.

Magic Wagon have actually created at least four versions of Box Office including:

so it is a common theme for them.

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Review by Andy Martin for Multum in Parvo Plus by Mephisto-Huis

Review by Andy Martin for Multum in Parvo Plus by Mephisto-Huis
Review by Andy Martin for Multum in Parvo Plus by Mephisto-Huis
5 out of 5

This is the best version of the effect using the significantly simplified and self-contained method created by the Malaysian Magician and Inventor, Tan Hock Chuan, in 1947, though conceived years earlier.

Tan Hock Chuan published his version in The Magic Wand (Vol. 36, 1947) after reading an effect that was credited to Benson DuLay in The Magic Wand (Vol. 35, 1946) called: Milko Multum Im Parvo. DuLay’s version was considerably more complex and required the use of a custom glasses, table and tray and although the effect was pretty much the same, once you had seen Tan Hock Chuan’s version that was 100% self contained in the glasses, there was little reason to ever use the DuLay version again. In Bart Whaley’s wonderful resource, Who’s Who in Magic, Benson Dulay is credited as the creator of Multum in Parvo, and Burtini even won 1st Prize for the Invention, at the 1948 FISM. This is accurate, but the version that everyone sees and has used pretty much since is the self-contained version created by Tan Hock Chuan. Indeed, in Tan Hock Chuan’s original version he actually vanishes the small tumbler at the end using a Squash style gimmick, which makes for an even more impressive ending to an already clever routine.

The normal routine is as follows: You start with a small glass of milk and proceed to fill the next bigger one with the previous sized glass. In the end you have filled the jug from the small glass. Then to top it off you fill every single glass with milk too! Beautiful!

This version created in the 1960’s is custom crafted by Mephisto-Huis using thick Perspex (plexi-glass) and is still the gold standard for this effect.

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Review by Andy Martin for Powell Stevens Otto Mauer Coin Casket by Dave Powell

Review by Andy Martin for Powell Stevens Otto Mauer Coin Casket by Dave Powell
Review by Andy Martin for Powell Stevens Otto Mauer Coin Casket by Dave Powell
5 out of 5

This is a very impressive creation from Dave Powell in conjunction with Stevens Magic. Based upon a coin casket created by New York craftsman Otto Mauer in th 1870’s to vanish four silver coins one at a time when the lid was closed. Otto’s customers and friends included: Trewey, Imro Fox, Horace Goldin, De Bier, Ducrot, Hermann, T. Nelson Downs, Houdini and Thurston!

The coin casket that Dave based his one on was well over 100 years old with over 60 individual parts involving a complex mechanism of solid brass parts and springs, and it still worked perfectly. All handmade and fitted into a decorated wooden box with antique brass fittings! It took over six months to get this project to fruition. Four half dollars, one at a time, are put into the four slots on top of the inner casket. Upon closing the door one coin vanishes! This is repeated three more times until all four coins have vanished!

I’ve included four genuine Silver Walking Liberty Half Dollar Coins because something this beautiful needs the best coins. This casket is significantly nicer than the versions created by George Richbark and the most reliable Coin Casket I have handled – though I have not seen the Original Otto Mauer which I suspect is still going strong.

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Review by Andy Martin for The Delben Domino by Delben

Review by Andy Martin for The Delben Domino by Delben
Review by Andy Martin for The Delben Domino by Delben
5 out of 5

Ben Stone created this c. 1980 and it was has a great twist on the Tenyo’s What’s Next (c. 1969) theme. During his lifetime Ben made about 500 of these.

Every time you turn it around it has different spots on each side. You repeat this and the spectators are given the standard false explanation and then you hit them with the impossible at the end of the standard routine by actually vanishing one of the spots which leaves a 2″ diameter hole in the Delben Domino.

Of all the What’s Next type effects I like this one from Ben Stone of DelBen magic the best. Built from metal not cardboard or plastic, it will last a lifetime. The surprise ending where you have an actual hole going through the metal card: “But where did the hole come from?” is priceless!

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Review by Andy Martin for Two Hole Wrist Chopper by Delben

Review by Andy Martin for Two Hole Wrist Chopper by Delben
Review by Andy Martin for Two Hole Wrist Chopper by Delben
5 out of 5

Ben Stone invented the Two Hole Wrist Chopper c. 1949 and although Joe Karson (of Zombie fame) might want to lay claim to it (and it is still called the Karson Wrist Chopper on the Owen’s site) – he did not invent it, but Ben Stone did and it is clearly documented by Michael Rose in his book Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie (Chapter 11).

This is one of my favorite illusions. Unlike most chopper illusions this defies explanation because at the end the blade which can be examined is clearly surrounding the wrists with no explanation at all how it could have penetrated them. If you are looking to spice up your parlor or stage act this is large enough to see and amaze, but small enough to pack!

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Review by Andy Martin for Wild Card by Frank Garcia, Peter Kane

Review by Andy Martin for Wild Card by Frank Garcia, Peter Kane
Review by Andy Martin for Wild Card by Frank Garcia, Peter Kane
5 out of 5

I know that many British magicians and authors like to say that Wild Card was created by Peter Kane but this is simply not true.  It is true that when Wild Card was first released by Lou Tannen there was no mention of Peter Kane’s inspiration which ruffled a lot of feathers and that is pretty much what caused bad blood between the two ever since.  But Frank Garcia clearly states the source on the very first page of his book Wild Card Miracles (c. 1977):

WILD CARD was originally inspired by an idea called ‘Watch the Ace’ by Peter Kane and described for him by Gus Southall in Hugard’s Magic monthly (April 1962). The effect was called to my attention by Bill Simon.

I like the account as detailed on Magicpedia concerning Wild Card:

Bill Simon read the Kane effect and showed it to Lou Tannen one day at Tannen’s Magic Shop shortly after it appeared. Lou asked Frank Garcia to work out a handling of the effect so Tannen could place it on the market–and this is how “Wild Card” was born. The Garcia handling is very different from Peter Kane’s. Had Lou Tannen put “Based on Peter Kane’s ‘Watch the Ace'” on the instruction sheet, Garcia would have received the credit he deserved for his superior variation. Instead, the Garcia marketed handling carried no credit and Garcia was accused of stealing Peter Kane’s trick. In fact, Garcia used only Kane’s idea of doing the routine with double-faced cards.

Having read Peter Kane’s original Watch The Ace description in Hugard’s Magic Monthly I know for a fact that I would never have performed this effect.  But the way it is explained by Frank Garcia made it much more palatable for a hobbyist with my skill set.  In fact the version that I learned and still perform today was called One over the Eight and was in Harry Baron’s book Card Tricks for Beginners.  Harry’s version is very similar to Routine #2 (pg. 17) described in Wild Card Miracles, though attributed to Dave Lederman.

Either way I thank Peter Kane for inspiring Frank Garcia to create such a beautiful card effect which is probably my all time favorite packet trick.

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For a thorough listing of many Wild Card effects don’t forget to view Denis Behr’s amazing resource: Conjuring Archive.

Review by Andy Martin for Coins in Glass by Jack Hughes

Review by Andy Martin for Coins in Glass by Jack Hughes
Review by Andy Martin for Coins in Glass by Jack Hughes
5 out of 5

Jack Hughes, the legendary British Inventor, Craftsman, and Dealer who invented many staples in magic that we take for granted today (including: TV Card Frame (1936), Attaboy (early 1930s), Clatter Box (1963) and many more. He also invented this beauty Coins in Glass (before Copenetro) c. 1939 even though when Bob Kline introduced his version of Coins in Glass called Copenetro (with the same method) almost 10 years later in 1947, he claimed he had invented it and that Jack Hughes was the pirate.  I think history speaks for itself here and there is no doubt in my mind that Jack Hughes was the originator of the Visible Coins to Glass effect that many people attribute to Bob Kline.

I used to perform this effect all the time as a teenager and into my 20’s – it was always reliable and a great crowd pleaser.

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Review by Andy Martin for First Class (#5 of 30) by 3D Magic Works

Review by Andy Martin for First Class (#5 of 30) by 3D Magic Works
Review by Andy Martin for First Class (#5 of 30) by 3D Magic Works
5 out of 5

Released in 2018, this is the first Limited Edition release from the amazing Kent Bergmann’s 3D Magic Works and what a beauty it is. Kent has barely been in business for two years, and already there is no other magic manufacturer that gets close to the Digital Printed marvels that he produces. Aimed squarely at the Magic Collector there are only 30 numbered sets of First Class and each set includes genuine USPS Limited Edition “Art of Magic” postage stamps to add to the exclusivity.

First Class is the most expensive effect Kent has produced to date, but when you look at the individual pieces it represents amazing value for what you receive. Many people believe with Digital Printing you just press a button and out pops the finished article. This could not be further from the truth and Kent details some of the process here. Digital Printing certainly makes it easier to reproduce the same pieces accurately and consistently, but it takes real attention to detail to produce such wonderful effects as these.

With First Class the spectator picks any of five beautiful “Art of Magic” stamps and places the chosen one into the Outgoing Mailbox. After emptying the five Incoming Mailboxes of their white envelopes, they are clearly empty and closed up. Then the stamp disappears from the Outgoing box and appears in the correct Incoming box, and just in case the spectators were wondering what appears in the other boxes they all now have uniquely colored envelopes themselves.

This first Limited Edition sold out within a couple of days, and based on the quality and value of this set keep an eye open on Kent’s site because I’m sure the next miracle will be snapped up even quicker next time!

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Review by Andy Martin for Bulletproof by Collectors' Workshop

Review by Andy Martin for Bulletproof by Collectors' Workshop
Review by Andy Martin for Bulletproof by Collectors' Workshop
5 out of 5

In 1936 legendary British Inventor, Craftsman, and Dealer, Jack Hughes, invented what became known as the Television or TV Card Frame (or sometimes Television Glass Frame) where a chosen card appears trapped between two plates of glass set in a houlette. I don’t think there is much doubt as to what version of this classic effect beats them all? Yes it is Bulletproof from the original owners of Collectors’ Workshop, Rich Bloch and Nick Ruggiero, c. 1992.

“I Heard He Did A Great Card Trick”
“I Couldn’t Tell – – I Was in the Eighth Row”
It’s amazing. Otherwise reasonable performers persist in doing card tricks on stage – with standard size cards! True, the first three or four rows are stunned into submission. The rest of the audience has to take it on faith. CW decided to respond, and in so doing, we created what we think will be regarded as the most exciting stage, platform or parlor effect of the decade.

Performer opens a jumbo deck of cards. Spectator freely selects a card and signs his name across the face. The card is immediately torn into pieces and deposited in a small, cloth bag. Performer then displays two pieces of clear lucite. Explaining that he is about to recreate the famous Chung Ling Soo Bullet Catch, the performer bands the two plates together with elastics. These, he announces, are the Bullet Shields. The two transparent plates are placed upright in a thin, unprepared, wood frame, and the frame is mounted on a thin, unprepared transparent lucite tray. All pieces may be examined (for those of you into silly stage waits). The tray is now placed on an unprepared table or, if you
wish, held by the spectator. Displaying a pistol, the performer explains that most bullets are designed to destroy. “This bullet, however, has been specially designed to restore. Let me show you what I mean.” Handing the gun* to a spectator, the performer holds the small bag in front of the plastic shield, advising the spectator to fire when ready. The spectator does so and, with a “Bang”, the following things happen:

The small bag drops open, and a bullet drops out onto the tray. Instantly, the signed jumbo card appears between the two lucite “shields”. The shields may then be removed and handed to the spectator who opens them, retrieves the card and verifies the signature.

It’s an inexplicable effect, well conceived and brilliantly executed by the craftspeople at Collector’s Workshop. And, you can see it all over the theater.

This is the one to beat!

This is by far the most convincing and effective of all the TV Card Frame effects. Uses jumbo cards, a beautiful wooden frame, that has no possible room to conceal a whole jumbo card, combined with an entertaining routine.

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