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 🙂

Click here for more information.

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!

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Hippity Hop Rabbits by B.C. Magic Mfg. Co.

Review by Andy Martin for Hippity Hop Rabbits by B.C. Magic Mfg. Co.
Review by Andy Martin for Hippity Hop Rabbits by B.C. Magic Mfg. Co.
5 out of 5

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

This is one of the best quality versions I have seen.  All wood construction with bright colors and good size of about 11″.  They use a simple and reliable mechanism without magnets, so there are no surprises 🙂

It was created by B.C. Magic Mfg. Co. – a higher-end magic manufacturing company started c. 1977 by Dr. Armand Brodeur and Mr. Robert Chaney.  They began by leasing some space from the original Rings ‘n’ Things on Helen Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri and Mike Brazill endorsed their work.  They were a wholly separate company from Rings ‘n’ Things but Mike helped them by obtaining distribution for them through the RNT network.  From what I can tell they only lasted a few years and closed down c. 1980 when Mike first closed the RNT doors.

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Color Changing Candle by Okito-Williams

Review by Andy Martin for Color Changing Candle by Okito-Williams
Review by Andy Martin for Color Changing Candle by Okito-Williams
5 out of 5

The Color Changing Candle is #5 in the Okito-Williams Replicas of the Masters series made in a limited edition of just 30 units. This is an amazing mechanical device and it was featured in Dr Albo’s first book The Oriental Magic of The Bambergs (pg. 76) and in The Ultimate Okito on DVD 4 Okito’s original version is demonstrated and explained.

The basic idea of a “Color Changing Candle” was invented by Ed Massey, not Okito, however, Okito built the apparatus in his own inimitable fashion including variations with the mechanics which greatly improved the overall handling. Carl Williams included several of his own mechanical improvements without detracting from the Okito design. These improvements have not only made the apparatus more reliable and performable but have done so without compromising the original Okito design.

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Frozen in Time (New visual) by Masuda

Review by Andy Martin for Frozen in Time (New visual) by Masuda
Review by Andy Martin for Frozen in Time (New visual) by Masuda
5 out of 5

This original version of Frozen in Time was created by the Japanese Close-up performer and inventor Katsuya Masuda in 1990. Along with many other clever effects Masuda has been at the forefront of innovative magic for over 30 years. 

I love this effect!  It looks so good and is surprisingly easy to do. There was recently a high-tech version of this effect with remote control released, but frankly this works so well and is easy to do I don’t think it is worth the extra expense or hassle of having one more thing that can go wrong in your show.

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Review by Andy Martin for Triple Haunted Skeleton Key by Buma

Review by Andy Martin for Triple Haunted Skeleton Key by Buma
Review by Andy Martin for Triple Haunted Skeleton Key by Buma
5 out of 5

Wow a really unique Haunted Skeleton Key hand crafted from scratch by the amazing Buma complete with a very unique gimmick you’ll really blow them all away with. Takes a little practice to make it look as good as Buma does in the video, but not hard too do.

Just look at the time Buma put in to create such a unique key. Great job Buma!

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Review by Andy Martin for Perfection Card Box by National Magic Company

Review by Andy Martin for Perfection Card Box by National Magic Company
Review by Andy Martin for Perfection Card Box by National Magic Company
4 out of 5

This is a very worthy attempt by Jim Sherman’s National Magic Company to create a card box as good as P&L’s stunning Ultra Perfect Card Box. 

My copy is past it’s prime (and it looks like the interior has been repainted), but you can see how close Jim got.  The soldering is not as clean and the overall finish  is a not as shiny (though that could be age).  If you look at the final photos you can see how similar it looks to the Standard Model P&L pictured.  But a very worthy attempt and a nice looking card box for sure.

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for DeLuxe Gammatration and Cosmovision by John Snyder, R.W. Hull

Review by Andy Martin for DeLuxe Gammatration and Cosmovision by John Snyder,  R.W. Hull
Review by Andy Martin for DeLuxe Gammatration and Cosmovision by John Snyder, R.W. Hull
5 out of 5

Gammatration and Cosmovision was invented by R.W. Hull c. 1935 and was refined and perfectly manufactured by John Snyder c. 1938 and less than fifty of the deluxe version were created. It is a very clever piece of magic combining two basic effects – the penetration of a jumbo card and the visible transposition of the two jumbo cards complete with signature!  And at the end both cards can be minutely examined there are no holes or damage.

The instructions are quite long and confusing but once you understand what is going on the effect is easy to do and basically works itself.  A little practice is important to get the routine smooth but if you spend an hour or two playing with this you’ll have a miracle on your hands that will amaze and amuse all who see it.  This will even fool the boys down the club.

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Card Go by Jack Hughes

Review by Andy Martin for Card Go by Jack Hughes
Review by Andy Martin for Card Go by Jack Hughes
5 out of 5

The legendary British Inventor, Craftsman, and Dealer, Jack Hughes, invented this item c. 1938 when he was building magic for Davenports. 

This is a very rare find and the first time I have seen a genuine Jack Hughes original – if you look closely on the base, you can clearly see the name “J. Hughes” stamped not once but twice. Not only is this the original, it is the best version of the effect I have seen.  Some key points:

  • It works with both Bridge and Poker sized cards
  • Allows for more than one card to be vanished with zero reset.  You can vanish one after the other up to five cards (not that you would want that many, but multiple vanishes does look good).
  • The release uses two prongs made from clock springs, one on either side, which are very reliable and make for a clean vanish almost every time.
  • Easy load – just drop the card in the frame (as though it was just a frame!).
  • No premature Vanishes.
  • The Vanish does not require visual queues, you can stare at the audience the whole time.
  • Never misses – some versions of Card Go can miss and seeing a card flutter to the floor maybe funny but it is not very magical.
  • Almost silent operation.

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Khamun Ring Mystery by Magic Wagon

Review by Andy Martin for Khamun Ring Mystery by Magic Wagon
Review by Andy Martin for Khamun Ring Mystery by Magic Wagon
5 out of 5

This item is remake of the amazing close-up effect by Clarence Miller called  Nuts & Bolts.  Apart from the ornate design this uses the same method as Clarence.  Magic Wagon changed one key part by removing the need for black art, but to be honest I’m not convinced it was a necessary change and now you can’t freely show the back of the cabinet and an extra action is required for the effect. It does look a little cleaner when you look inside the box closely, but I’m not sure how big a problem that was with the original.  The look is definitely way more impressive and the construction will last a lifetime, but otherwise it is all Clarence.  For collectors who like the ornate style there is no doubt the Magic Wagon version will appeal more, but as I a have said many times when it comes to entertaining and fooling the public, less is often more.

On to the videos … things are really heating up in the Magic Wagon YouTube world and competition is stiff. For this bad boy there are six versions!!!  Not all good Magic Wagon items get many (or any) videos but if they are easy to do and visual then they will get more.  I don’t ever recall seeing six videos so this item is very popular!  I’ve included five (which is my website’s limit) on this page.  The winner is the amazing Simon Corneille who was clearly inspired to produce an outstanding video with all the extra trimmings that Simon is making a name for.   Simon’s video is a real inspiration 🙂 There maybe more videos at some point so follow this link for more demonstrations.  (I should add that Simon did add a few extra pieces to be able to perform his video, including buying two sets of the prop itself.)

Click here for more information.

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