Review by Andy Martin for The Orb of Time (1 of only 3 made) by Michael Baker

Review by Andy Martin for The Orb of Time (1 of only 3 made) by Michael Baker
Review by Andy Martin for The Orb of Time (1 of only 3 made) by Michael Baker
5 out of 5

Here is another work of art from Michael Baker and only three of these were ever made.  As is often the case with Michael’s creations he spared no expense or time in the creation of this remarkable miracle.  Every panel has a different picture and the colors are rich and intoxicating.

The method is as clever as the props are beautiful and there is a lot going on to create the perfect illusion of an impossible transposition from the large cabinet to the small.  Even though right up to the last second you can show the orb is inside the large cabinet, it magically transports itself to the smaller cabinet.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Speed Demo for this bad boy, and I hope you are too 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Arrow of Truth by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot

Review by Andy Martin for Arrow of Truth by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot
Review by Andy Martin for Arrow of Truth by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot
5 out of 5

This item from Magic Wagon is inspired by two of my favorite effects: Tony Lackner’s Hand of Cleopatra and John Good’s/Collectors’ Workshop’s Clock of San Marco’s Square. Right up front I would say I would not replace either with Arrow of Truth … 🙁

However, I am referring to the traditional uses of Cleopatra and San Marco’s.  Luckily, thanks to the clever guys at Magic Wagon this box can reveal two items, not one.  And the always thinking John M. Talbot shows how this feature can be used for more than a nice copy of two classic effects.  John has created five effects that are included with the instructions:

  • Elementary My Dear Watson – this is closest to how I perform Cleopatra, with an extra twist thanks to the ability for the two reveals.
  • Sally Picks a Card – this is my favorite and John really shows you how to squeeze a great surprise, which is a little scary, from an otherwise innocent two reveal system.
  • Point The Way – John makes use of some interesting Steampunk cards and a real compass.
  • Dead or AliveThe Room goes dark and a scream is heard in the distance 🙂  Need I say anymore,  John knows how to have some fun!
  • Win or Lose – another novel use of this box as an old gambling device.

I don’t know under what circumstances John gets involved with Magic Wagon’s effects, but I do know when he does the item is significantly better thanks to his clever routines and out of the box thinking.  I hope the partnership continues because some Magic Wagon items that start out as nice boxes literally transform into real miracles  when he gets involved.

Great job Magic Wagon, and please stick around John 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Time Odyssey – The Vanishing Alarm Clock by Collectors' Workshop

Review by Andy Martin for Time Odyssey - The Vanishing Alarm Clock by Collectors' Workshop
Review by Andy Martin for Time Odyssey – The Vanishing Alarm Clock by Collectors' Workshop
5 out of 5

This is easily one of the very best items created by the original Collectors’ Workshop Founders and Dream Team of Rich Block and Nick Ruggiero. This has it all:

  • Startling Vanish and Reappearance of a real Alarm Clock
  • Incredibly reliable remote control
  • Hilarious Situation Comedy built into the Routine
  • Easy to perform and easy to set up
  • Intriguing Props and Sounds
  • Packs neatly into a custom ATA case for storage

Most importantly, unlike some of the more complex items such as P.T. Barnum’s Delight, this is incredibly reliable and works right out of the box.  You have to read the detailed instructions but it all sets-up logically and in my testing it has not failed once.  It is very solid, you set it up and follow the directions and you have comedy gold at the push of a button and one of the most amazing visual vanishes of a clock you will ever find!

Time Odyssey is hard to find these days and it has not been reproduced by George Robinson, who purchased  Collectors’ Workshop twenty years ago, due to the complexity of the manufacturing required. One of the many reasons Collectors’ Workshop have been so revered by Collectors and Performers over the years is due to amazing effects like Time Odyssey 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for The Telegraph Chest by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot

Review by Andy Martin for The Telegraph Chest by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot
Review by Andy Martin for The Telegraph Chest by Magic Wagon, John M. Talbot
5 out of 5

This is Magic Wagon’s miniaturized version of  World’s Greatest Prediction Chest by Arturo, Roydon, Bob Mason and a wonderful job they have done too!

John M. Talbot wrote the instructions for Magic Wagon, and that is always a good thing because John will often taken an idea and flip it on its head to create a whole new approach which is better than the original ideas for the unit.  In this case John describes four main ideas:

  1. Formal Future Show/Event – this is the primary routine that was created for the original Prediction Chest and The Telegraph Chest works perfectly in this mode.  I personally feel that the original bigger chest in the plastic display box is more suited to this type of presentation but that is just personal preference, you can certainly use The Telegraph Chest for this.  In fact if you picked up a plastic chest (from Amazon for example) you could quickly reproduce almost the same set-up.
  2. Formal Same Day Show/Event – this is a similar routine to 1. but I think it is more suited to the size of the box.
  3. Casual Home Performance – this would be perfect for any large family meal or get together
  4. Non-Prediction Presentation featuring Houdini – this is my personal favorite because it views this prediction chest as something quite different and John has created a routine that involves Harry Houdini with multiple magical moments happening and an engaging story line.  This is why Magic Wagon ask John to get involved because he has devised a use for the box that you would not normally consider and you’ll love it 🙂

For those that like clever props, you’ll love this, and if you want to really amaze them you’ll love this, and if you like tinkering and combining different props together you’ll love this too.  Something for everyone and John M. Talbot has done plenty to help you along the way.

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Review by Andy Martin for Brainbow Divination by Magic Wagon

Review by Andy Martin for Brainbow Divination by Magic Wagon
Review by Andy Martin for Brainbow Divination by Magic Wagon
5 out of 5

This is a revised version of the Davenports/Demon Telepathic Colours sold by Davenport’s and Hamleys c. 1953, and later sold by MBC Magic Studio (Ron MacMillan’s first store) c. 1962 and International Unique Magic (Ron’s MacMillan’s later store) c. 1985.  Magic Wagon uses the same method but they  have increased the number of colors that can be divined from four to six and of course added their own high quality box production.  The colors on the insert are quite stunning and can easily be seen from quite a distance.

The method distinguishes itself from similar effects because there are no sliding panels or tubes to look through.  However, because of the six colors it does rely on a fraction more memory work which you will know if you’ve reached fifty gets harder and harder to jam into the old noggin 🙂   There is a tiny gimmick which can be hidden in plain site or replaced with various other easily available alternatives.

The effect can be easily repeated if required.  A very nice effect from Magic Wagon that you’ll love playing with!

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Review by Andy Martin for Di-Mini-Fish by Warren Stephens

Review by Andy Martin for Di-Mini-Fish by Warren Stephens
Review by Andy Martin for Di-Mini-Fish by Warren Stephens
5 out of 5

This wonderful item was created by Warren Stephens c. 1969 and sold by Abbott’s until c. 1997 and what an unusual item it is! I don’t believe they have been available for over twenty years. This version has been refurbished and works perfectly. It has a new clear and thick plastic sheet which is more solid than the original and it looks amazing (The final image shows a photo of the original Di-Mini-Fish for comparison).

It comes with a very funny patter story that is still funny today 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Tile Deal (Magic Tile Puzzle) by Martin Duffy, Winston Freer

Review by Andy Martin for Tile Deal (Magic Tile Puzzle) by Martin Duffy, Winston Freer
Review by Andy Martin for Tile Deal (Magic Tile Puzzle) by Martin Duffy, Winston Freer
5 out of 5

Wow! Winston Freer was a Genius! What an incredible miracle this effect is! Very different in method from anything similar that I have seen. This is based on a principle developed by Paul Curry called the Curry Paradaox c. 1953. However Freer adds an ingenious allowance for the area lost by redistribution which allows you to show the area to be EXACTLY THE SAME, before and after the removal of three tiles.

This is a really great version of the Tile Deal or Magic Tile Puzzle by Winston Freer built by Martin Duffy of the UK. It is very nicely made and finished.  It is very similar in size and dimensions to the John Rogers version, but this is all wood instead of Corian tiles.  It could even be an early version of John Rogers version.

To be honest although the definitive collector’s version is probably the John Rogers version, if you want to perform this effect, then this all wooden version is easier to perform.  It is about 10oz lighter and the tiles are easier to get out by hand instead of having to tip them out.  If you are a casual performer it won’t matter, but if you were doing this a lot I think the Corian would be harder to use.  Also I think the Corian might in fact be more brittle because in the instructions is says perform on a soft mat to avoid chipping the tiles.)

(Notice: the three final photos show a comparison with the John Rogers version, but of course you only get this wooden one.)

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Review by Andy Martin for Vampire Flexible Glass by Oswald Rae, Stuart Robson

Review by Andy Martin for Vampire Flexible Glass by Oswald Rae, Stuart Robson
Review by Andy Martin for Vampire Flexible Glass by Oswald Rae, Stuart Robson
5 out of 5

Flexible Glass or Bending Glass (as it was known in the UK) was invented by British Magician Oswald Rae.  Max Andrews released it in the UK through his Vampire Magic company and gave USA manufacturing rights to Stuart Robson* who released it as Vampire Flexible Glass.  As Rae presented it he used a piece of glass covered with a newspaper or a brown paper bag. In the January 1946 issue (Vol. III, #8) of Hugard’s Magic Monthly, Milbourne Christopher’s Column suggested using a mirror which has been pretty much the standard ever since.

This is the original version with glass created and sold under license by Stuart Robson and includes:

  • Model Glass Window
  • Red Dagger (Wooden)
  • Colored ribbons and bodkins (I did have to replace the ribbons and bodkins)
  • Instructions and clear handling presentation

What I like about this version is how deceptive the size of the frame and the glass is.  The tolerances are very tight and in fact by rounding the corners of the glass they even squeeze out a little more space. The version used by Doug Henning here, made perfectly by Wellington Enterprises, may still be the best version of this effect, but for an item that is about 75 years old this is surprisingly good and very deceptive.

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Review by Andy Martin for Improved Delsey Miracle by Ted Lesley

Review by Andy Martin for Improved Delsey Miracle by Ted Lesley
Review by Andy Martin for Improved Delsey Miracle by Ted Lesley
5 out of 5

This incredibly miracle was invented by German Mentalist Ted Lesley and it is the first one I have ever seen. Ted’s inspiration for this effect was Stanton Carlisle who published an effect with a locking briefcase in Peter Warlock’s Pentagram magazine (according to the instructions, though I was unable to find the actual effect in either the original Pentagram or the New Pentagram).   From this germ of an idea Ted Lesley came up with his first 100% non-force method using an electronically gimmicked briefcase.  After a few more years of usage Ted finally arrived at this beautiful improved version that uses no electronics and works quietly and perfectly every time.

When you read the effect the finale will sound similar to Al Koran’s Gold Medallion however, the big difference with the Delsey Miracle is because there are two magical moments there is no heat on the final reveal which seals the complete miracle.  In fact this final version of Ted Lesley’s miracle uses a combination of methods and subtleties that make it seem truly miraculous.  If you were ever to perform this, as Ted did many times, there is no doubt you would leave the audience stunned.

What is particularly amazing with this version that uses zero electronics or remote controls is that the spectator can examine the case until they are blue in the face and when they try to open the case it is locked solid.  They try another number and still nothing and when they finally succeed it opens in their hands and you have not touched the case or gone near it during this time.  The method works perfectly every time and is as quiet as a mouse.  There is absolutely no force and any 3 digit number can be used and it is different for every performance. You will love it. 🙂

You could also use this in conjunction with any effect where a number is used to get to the contents of the case.  And the case is large and durable enough to store your whole act too, it is a real beauty.

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