Review by Andy Martin for Bunko Blocks Deluxe (with Zen and Again) by Loyd's, Michael Baker

Review by Andy Martin for Bunko Blocks Deluxe (with Zen and Again) by Loyd's, Michael Baker
Review by Andy Martin for Bunko Blocks Deluxe (with Zen and Again) by Loyd's, Michael Baker
5 out of 5

When I first saw Michael Baker’s Zen and Again on his website I was very excited because I thought he had taken Loyd’s Bunko Blocks and added some beautiful boxes with an Oriental theme to create the perfect set for a Bunko Blocks Deluxe effect. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed because Michael does not use the mechanical method with Zen and Again that makes the Bunko Blocks so effective.  In fact, after contacting Michael he had not even heard of Bunko Blocks so was unaware when he created  Zen and Again of the effect or the method created by Loyd c. 1945. Don’t get me wrong Michael’s version does use gimmicked blocks which do work, but I’m not convinced it is anywhere as close to the real miracle that can be achieved with the Bunko Blocks.

So what I did was combine both effects: Loyd’s Bunko Blocks  and Michael’s Zen and Again boxes, and now you really do have a wonderful routine and a complete fooler too – a true Bunko Blocks Deluxe 🙂

Michael’s Zen and Again also comes with updated patter, or you can use a variant (updated for modern PC sensibilities) of the original Loyd handing and patter and you have a really perfect miracle that looks the part too!

I do include Michael’s blocks which you can see in the photos but to be honest I can’t imagine why you would use them over the original mechanical Bunko Blocks. The Bunko Blocks have these features:

  • No Shells.
  • Nothing added or taken away.
  • Instant Reset.
  • No Extra Blocks.
  • No Exchange of Blocks.
  • No Sleight of Hand.
  • All Blocks are shown on all sides.

which no other solution has.

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Review by Andy Martin for Tele-Flash by Supreme Magic Company

Review by Andy Martin for Tele-Flash by Supreme Magic Company
Review by Andy Martin for Tele-Flash by Supreme Magic Company
5 out of 5

This is Supreme Magic’s version of the Jack Hughes’ Teleflash effect c. 1951 and is featured in World of Magic – Vol. 2.

It is one of the nicest effects I’ve seen from Supreme and this copy is in excellent condition even though it is 32 years old. The mechanism Works perfectly with a number of choices on how to activate the mechanism.

  • You can make it 100% self-contained using Flash Paper – the flash paper itself triggers the mechanism.
  • You operate it by hand your-self.
  • You can have your assistant operate it from off stage.

No electronics are required and the card can be handed out as a souvenir or reused as you decide.  It can use your favorite brand of cards too, Poker or Bridge size.

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Review by Andy Martin for Casino Royale by Magic Wagon

Review by Andy Martin for Casino Royale by Magic Wagon
Review by Andy Martin for Casino Royale by Magic Wagon
5 out of 5

This clever beauty from Magic Wagon is based upon one of Clarence Miller’s rare and sought after items called The Treasure Chest c. 2001. 

Magic Wagon’s version is compact and works very consistently and handles four chips instead of Clarence’s three half dollars. There are no electronics and reset is instant.  This is a good utility item and  I think would work best as part of a bigger routine utilizing the four chips – instead of just showing the box doing the effect and moving on.

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Review by Andy Martin for Obedient Ball by Lloyd Chambers, Floyd Thayer, Louis Gaynor

Review by Andy Martin for Obedient Ball by Lloyd Chambers, Floyd Thayer, Louis Gaynor
Review by Andy Martin for Obedient Ball by Lloyd Chambers, Floyd Thayer, Louis Gaynor
5 out of 5

Another beautiful wooden prop from Louis Gaynor and what a clever beauty this is demonstrated by the still amazing Joe Stevens 🙂 This is a remake of the Lloyd Chambers and Floyd Thayer Obedient Ball c. 1941 which is described in Lloyd Chambers’ book Original Ideas in Magic and called The Spirit Ball.

What distinguishes this version of the classic Obedient Ball effect is that the 3″ diameter wooden ball has a huge 7/8″ hole directly through the center that you can clearly see through, and yet the ball still stops and starts under the complete control of the performer.  And nothing is added or taken away – it is a very clever idea expertly recreated by Louis Gaynor that you will love.

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Review by Andy Martin for Bank Night Gone Wrong Deluxe by Tony Lackner, Eckhard Boettcher

Review by Andy Martin for Bank Night Gone Wrong Deluxe by Tony Lackner, Eckhard Boettcher
Review by Andy Martin for Bank Night Gone Wrong Deluxe by Tony Lackner, Eckhard Boettcher
5 out of 5

There were only 2 or 3 sets of this wonderful prop created by the talented German Craftsman Tony Lackner and routined by the prolific Eckhard Boettcher. The props are beautiful and work perfectly, and much better than the similar copies made by Mikame Craft and others in later years.  But what I really like most about the effect is it is one of the best versions of Bank Night I have seen.

  • Firstly, the spectator always wins so they are not disappointed when the envelope is opened.
  • Secondly, it looks like the magician looses at the same time.
  • Finally, the reveal of the other choices shows that the magician did win in the end, so everyone goes away happy 🙂

The method is totally clean and this really is a strong effect that can be seen easily in a  parlor and small stage thanks to the large colored chips created by Tony.

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Review by Andy Martin for Mini Hippity-Hop Rabbits by Vienna Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Mini Hippity-Hop Rabbits by Vienna Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Mini Hippity-Hop Rabbits by Vienna Magic
5 out of 5

The Elusive Rabbits or Hippity-Hop Rabbits was invented by The Great Norman (Norman Hazeldene) c. 1947.

This cute set from Vienna Magic are very similar in design and method to the stunning ones created by the highly talented German craftsman Horst Dieter Christ c. 1977.  They are a great size for close-up and work very smoothly.

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Review by Andy Martin for Classic Epic Deluxe by Richard Osterlind

Review by Andy Martin for Classic Epic Deluxe by Richard Osterlind
Review by Andy Martin for Classic Epic Deluxe by Richard Osterlind
5 out of 5

If you are looking for a version of Mental Epic true to Hen Fetsch’s original vision c. 1954 then you should look no further than this beauty released by Richard Osterlind.  And even though Richard Osterlind often performs without a gimmicked board using his Ultra Board the three way prediction is much easier when performed the way Hen Fetsch described it using a gimmicked board like this.

It is the perfect size, looks beautiful and clear from a distance, and operates flawlessly.

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Review by Andy Martin for The Cylinder and Coins by Joe Porper, R. Paul Wilson

Review by Andy Martin for The Cylinder and Coins by Joe Porper, R. Paul Wilson
Review by Andy Martin for The Cylinder and Coins by Joe Porper, R. Paul Wilson
5 out of 5

John Ramsay’s Cylinder and Coins continues to stir the hearts and minds of magicians all around the world well over 70 years after it was first introduced to the world by Victor Farelli c. 1948 when he published John Ramsay’s Cylinder and Coins in a small photo-illustrated booklet. With the performance of Eric Mead on Penn & Teller in 2017 it seems to have been reinvigorated all over again.

If you wanted to have the best shot of actually mastering this effect without spending most of your life like Eric Mead has to master it then you could look no further than this beautiful set from Joe Porper and R. Paul Wilson c.  2004.  Doesn’t mean it will be easy or you will succeed but you’ll have a shot and feel good about doing it too.

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Review by Andy Martin for Jack Hughes World of Magic (Compilation Edition) by Jack Hughes, Derek Lever

Review by Andy Martin for Jack Hughes World of Magic (Compilation Edition) by Jack Hughes, Derek Lever
Review by Andy Martin for Jack Hughes World of Magic (Compilation Edition) by Jack Hughes, Derek Lever
5 out of 5

The legendary British Inventor, Craftsman, and Dealer, Jack Hughes, invented many staples in magic that we take for granted today (including: TV Card Frame (1936), Coins in Glass (before Copenetro) (1939), Attaboy (early 1930s), Clatter Box (1951) and many more.

I grew up in the UK dreaming of owning some Jack Hughes effects. It was clear that the House of Hughes was producing some of the best magic around. I was able to buy a few of his items, but for the most part his effects were too expensive for my pocket.

Thirty years on, it is a wonderful pleasure to look through this impressive volume to relive so much of Jack’s magic.  The Jack Hughes World of Magic Compilation Edition by Derek Lever was presented to the registrants of the 2012 FISM convention. It covers all three volumes that were released earlier by Derek Lever and gives very detailed instructions on how to build nearly all of the House of Hughes magic.

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Review by Andy Martin for Jumbo Sidekick (2016) by Collectors' Workshop

Review by Andy Martin for Jumbo Sidekick (2016) by Collectors' Workshop
Review by Andy Martin for Jumbo Sidekick (2016) by Collectors' Workshop
5 out of 5

Designed originally by Rich Bloch and Nick Ruggiero; with exclusive permission from George J. Cook.  This is the latest version newly redesigned by George Robinson in 2016 with new electronics and mechanics and now even more reliable than ever.

In early 2017 I finally received this extremely popular item from the Collectors’ Workshop line-up from my good friend George Robinson at Viking/CW.  Unfortunately, due to a massive kitchen renovation, it was put away in a storage room for over two years and I did not uncover it until this morning.

Firstly, it is packed to withstand a bomb blast.  These new custom PVC cases that George is using are amazing.  I read the detailed instructions and then set about my first attempt to set this up.  Like most multi-phase electro-mechanical props it takes a while the first time to get it right.  George’s instructions are clear and detailed but it took a few moments to affix the rose.  Everything else was straight forward. It uses 4 AA batteries and the ones it came with worked perfectly. Once you have set it up a couple of times you could easily go from case to fully assembled in ten minutes or less.  This model works by sound or remote control and there is an enforced 7 second delay between events.  The four basic events are:

  1. Curtain falls
  2. Rose flies into the air
  3. Tabletop tips over causing all the items to fall on the floor and exposes the selected (wrong) card
  4. The pip flies off to reveal the correct card.

While testing this I ran through the full cycle ten times.  The first one out of the gate was nearly perfect, except that the pip fell when the table fell.  It turns out that there is a cover to hide jumbo card on the table and you have to make sure it doesn’t pull off the pip when it falls.  This is covered in the instructions but I didn’t take it too seriously at first.  You need to take it seriously. I ended up rolling the cover away from the card and it worked best that way.  The one other issue I had was I did not set-up the rose properly so it did not fire.  Otherwise things were very reliable.  The last three attempts worked perfectly each time.

I ordered this because I have had plans for some time to do a stage/parlor show in 2020, instead of the normal close-up I perform for my company each year. The last one I did was back in 2010 . Unfortunately since the time I ordered this in 2017 I have decided not to do any more big stage sized shows, they are just too much work and I really enjoy the closeness and ease of the close-up performances of the last few years.  Yes I’m getting too old 🙁

It is a shame because this is a beautiful routine and I know it would be perfect for me. This is the basic routine that Rich Bloch laid out thirty years ago, sheer comedy genius …

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