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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Review by Andy Martin for Zodiac Deluxe (Zodiak Exclusiv) by Tony Lackner

Review by Andy Martin for Zodiac Deluxe (Zodiak Exclusiv) by Tony Lackner
Review by Andy Martin for Zodiac Deluxe (Zodiak Exclusiv) by Tony Lackner
5 out of 5

What a rare beauty this item is from the great German Craftsman Tony Lackner. If you are a fan of his Hand of Cleopatra or his Wandering Mummies you will love this item. This is the Deluxe version c. 1994 Zodiak Exklusiv and it is a better quality version of the earlier release called Zodiak Erganzung c. 1988.

It uses the same types of materials and is beautifully made. The disc will mysteriously reveal their freely chosen symbol every time.

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Review by Andy Martin for Stanley Watson's Hilarious Hacksaw by Supreme Magic Company

Review by Andy Martin for Stanley Watson's Hilarious Hacksaw by Supreme Magic Company
Review by Andy Martin for Stanley Watson's Hilarious Hacksaw by Supreme Magic Company
5 out of 5

Stan Watson was a talented and generous professional performer and I was lucky enough to be at the Sussex Magic Circle when he was a member. You could always see the difference between his performances and the other guys. His scissors are absolute gold and if you are doing the Linking Rings, then you need this hacksaw.  My all time favorite comedy magician Bob Read used to use them to great effect (of course Bob could make anything look Hilarious) 🙂

At only 10” long and 2-½” high, the gaffed saw is the perfect size, large enough to be seen, but small enough to be convenient. Heavily chrome plated and the blade finished to look real, but be harmless.

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Review by Andy Martin for Wonder Clock by Unknown, Germany

Review by Andy Martin for Wonder Clock by Unknown, Germany
Review by Andy Martin for Wonder Clock by Unknown, Germany
5 out of 5

In Vol. 9 of Dr. Albo (pg. 32) it states “the method by which this divination is accomplished was first alluded to in Hocus Pocus Junior in 1624″, though I was unable to find the reference.  A detailed account of how it works can be found in Dr. Albo Vol. 5 (pg. 218).  Ads started appearing c. 1926 in The Sphinx for Floyd Thayer’s elegant wooden version.  The earliest ad that I could find for the more common brass and nickel plated pictured on this page was c. 1929.

These older versions are the best ones, all recent metal ones I have tried are nowhere near as well made or precise.

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Review by Andy Martin for The Imp Bottle (Bottle Imp) by Colin Rose

Review by Andy Martin for The Imp Bottle (Bottle Imp) by Colin Rose
Review by Andy Martin for The Imp Bottle (Bottle Imp) by Colin Rose
5 out of 5

The Imp Bottle (or Bottle Imp as it was also known)  was first sold in the United States c. 1873 in the Hartz Catalog.  The Imp Bottle was clearly described in Professor Hoffman’s Modern Magic c. 1876 and more recently in Dr. Albo Volume 9.   The basic idea was advanced considerably by Floyd Thayer when he invented the Mysterious Jug c. 1926 which was the same basic effect with a different and easier to manage method.

Colin’s version is nicely turned and polished and a talking point before the magic even begins. It will stand erect or lay down whatever you want but only if you know the magic secret! This beautiful little pocket trick lends itself to lots of fun and with a nice story line you can even add it to your current repertoire as a novelty.

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Review by Andy Martin for Otto The Automaton Duck by Laurie Ireland

Review by Andy Martin for Otto The Automaton Duck by Laurie Ireland
Review by Andy Martin for Otto The Automaton Duck by Laurie Ireland
5 out of 5

Here he is the original Card Duck invented by Laurie Ireland c. 1936: Otto The Automaton Duck 🙂

 I’m so pleased to track this rare find down and particularly one in such good condition and working order!  Otto is a big duck – you can see the difference between Warren Hamilton’s Jo-Anne in the final photo.  He is quite substantial and weighing in at almost 4lbs, Otto is ready to take care of business for sure.

What amazes me about Otto is that even though he was the first duck created he has more features than many later card ducks.  Built very solidly by Ireland Magic he has two modes of picking the cards.  One using the more common approach by moving a lever in the base of the duck and the other by attaching a thread that goes off stage and operating Otto hands off and separate from the performer resting alone on a table. (In the photos you can see the ring that is attached to the string, this doesn’t need to hang out if desired and can be tied off inside the body if you want to hide it completely, but I found it useful where it was.)

I like the beak mechanism too – it looks more like a real beak and operates very realistically.  Also because of the way the neck is balanced it is easy to make Otto nod his head which is used quite effectively in the original patter story below (by Jimmy Trimble, Terre Haute, Indiana).

When I ordered Otto I was not sure what to expect but I was very pleased when he arrived and I took him through his paces.  He looks perfectly at home with all of the other ducks that came after him:

Otto The Automaton Duck – One Duck to Rule Them All 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Key Box (Black, Custom Remote) by Anverdi, Tim Hill

Review by Andy Martin for Key Box (Black, Custom Remote) by Anverdi, Tim Hill
Review by Andy Martin for Key Box (Black, Custom Remote) by Anverdi, Tim Hill
5 out of 5

The Seven Keys theme was created by Joseph Kolar in 1927, see here for more details.

This has to be my favorite Anverdi effect!  This is the version that has been cleverly updated by Tim Hill with a modern remote control unit.  The changes include:

  • The standard key box remote plus a small separate fob remote – either can be used.
  • A ten second delay after activating either the key box or the fob remote – this means you can press the button and still use the key for up to ten seconds before it locks.  This turns out to be a very useful feature
  • It has been painted black – I’m not sure if this was done by Tim or not, but it looks good.  You can see the difference in the final photo or the original here.

Anverdi’s Key Box has never looked so good and worked so well 🙂

It sill has all the features I love:

It looks like a nice looking petty cash box – in fact I load it up with cash so it IS a cash box. You’ll notice when you open the box there is the cash and a smaller box inside – this holds the 7 keys (and also turns on the unit when removed).

I show the cash and then take out the little box and rattle it ask the audience what do they think is inside – they invariably say coins. So I say no and tip out the keys and locate the one with the purple key fob (you could use a ribbon etc, but I like the idea of a fob as you could also have a prediction on there if you so desired). I give this to the spectator to lock the box – you never need touch it again after it is closed and locked by the spectator.

I then take off the key fob and shake up the keys so that no one knows which key opens the box. Then I tell the spectator they have 6 chances out of 7 to choose the correct key, and if they do they can keep all of the cash. This gets them interested for sure. Each time they chose a key and they try to open the box I ask them to discard the key in the little box so that we know we tried it. They can change their mind as many times as they want and they can try each key as many times as they want – there is no chance that the box will open. But when they finally leave you with one key, they can pick it up and amazingly the box opens.

This is so clean – nothing added or taken away and it just looks as clean as can be. A real miracle!

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