If I asked you to think of the word magician, and then describe one, I may get a lot of different answers, but it would probably would not be a woman, and if it were it wouldn’t be one with 5 or 6 decades under her belt. I don’t know why Joan Caesar, who did so much for magic in Canada, just popped into my head. And Frances Ireland, and Professor June Horowitz….
There is a lovely lady who is a regular customer of ours. She happens to be a grandmother and buys tricks, not to give to her grandchildren, but to perform for them. She has been coming here for a long time and has a lot of tricks under her belt. She’s full of life and enthusiasm. She loves magic and has all kinds of stuff. Dean’s Beads is one of her favorites. She also reads my blog regularly and read the one in which I spoke about the Svengali. She came in and wanted to see the Svengali Deck. When she said that I realized that I was guilty of the title of this post. I had never shown her a card trick. It’s usually the first trick I show someone. Why didn’t I show her that one?
Had she been a teen age girl or a guy, even an older guy, wanting to get into magic, for sure I would have shown her that by now. Had she been a man, I would have shown her that. What is wrong with me? My own mother was in her early 80’s and went to Florida every winter, and she insisted on learning the Svengali and the Mental Photo so she could show it to the our young relatives there. Whatever happened to me between then and now. Age, I guess. Ingrained attitudes are coming to the surface.
Anyhow, when I showed the Svengali to this lady she thought it was marvellous, which it is, and then wanted to know about Mental Photo as well. She loved that too. She took Daryl’s DVDs on Essential Magic on both the Svengali and the Mental Photo as was as excited as any kid I know. A whole new world opened up to her. Guys! Watch out! We “mature” women are taking over!
Tenyo is the manufacturer of a line of magic tricks. We carried them on a regular basis for many years when we started out. They produced a good product and still do as far as I know. Not cheap, but good! We stopped carrying the line when the rip offs started showing up in the dollar stores. It wasn’t that we thought magician’s would buy the rip offs, but the public had access to it and the magicians felt that anyone could easily find out how to do it.
The one I continued to carry though out the years is Silk to Egg. In my opinion it is the most realistic egg I have seen and the trick stops there for Tenyo. Not for real magicians though. Real magicians show how its a fake egg with a hole in it, and the egg is concealed in the hand, and the magician just stuffs the silk in the hole and shows the egg, but not the back side of it with the hole. Real magicians then crack the egg open to show it is real. It’s a classic and much to Tenyo’s credit, they stop where they do.
Another favorite of mine was the Crystal Cleaver. We sold tons of them. It was a real mind blower. We don’t carry it, but we can get it. But not now as our supplier is out of it as I write. It wasn’t long after that the rip offs started. We haven’t carried them since. Some customers collected them and we would order specially for them, but didn’t carry them in the shop, until a few weeks ago. People started asking for Card Surgery. We bought some as suddenly there was a demand for Tenyo items again. We got in The Third Eye, Psychic Money and the Flying Carpet. Not something I would normally do, but people wanted them. I watched the video of Card Surgery and thought it was great, but I wouldn’t open one to look at it, as I didn’t want to be disappointed, and I have trouble selling stuff if its less than I expect. For a while my supplier ran out of them, as it was such a hit. When we finally got them back in stock I bit the bullet and opened one up. It is so clever. I have not opened the others and I don’t know if I will, but this one gets my stamp of approval.
The other 2 Tenyo items we carry, while on the subject are Fortune Sticks, and Moonspinner, which was a favorite of one of my sons.
It’s over 35 years ago that Phil & I opened Perfect Magic. Like everything else there are fads in magic. One day a certain trick is all the rage and then another takes it place, and then another. Sometimes they don’t die or lose popularity. We used to buy Card-Toon by the gross. It’s still a wonderful trick and we still sell them on a regular basis. The appeal of the effect cannot be denied. It is charming and so clever.
The Svengali is still our biggest seller. To a novice its a miracle. The same could be said for most of the trick decks. I got Richard Sanders hooked on magic when he was 11 years old with the Mental Photo Deck. These are classics. I’m still doing those same tricks and when they ask if they could possibly do them I tell them if an old lady like me can do it, surely you can do it, too. They figure that’s true.
One kids’ effect was popular back when we started. Remember Run Rabbit Run? This effect actually gets the kids screaming on the top of their lungs.
The prop is about 22 inches long and 9 ” high. There are four doors that open, 2 in front and 2 in back and they are all opened so you can see right through them. The magician closes the doors and drops a rabbit behind one of the doors into the rabbit hutch. He tells the kids the rabbit is supposed to stay in the hutch but if he manages to sneak out they should let him know. When the rabbit sneaks out the kids go wild. He runs from one hutch to the other but the magician never manages to see him and the kids are screaming. Then he runs back and the kids scream again. Whenever he opens the door the rabbit is still there. Then he peeks out the side. The kids scream and yell. In the end all four doors are opened and the rabbit is gone, to wherever the magician wants him to be.
Why I am telling you about this all of a sudden? One of our customers ordered it the other day and I didn’t know if it was still around. Another dealer had put out a version of it with a Cookie Monster and that was very popular until he got a letter telling him he didn’t have the rights. That was years ago. After that I hadn’t heard about it until now. I ordered it and it was exactly like the original and I remembered what a great trick it was and how the kids loved it. If you do kid shows, this is a winner, easy to handle and lends itself to whatever story you want.
Many magicians have turned to mentalism as their performing art. It has its advantages, no doubt. Not much to carry. No big boxes, no knuckle breaking card tricks, and so on. But it can be expensive to get into. If someone is selling secrets, they usually don’t give it away. And surely the performers don’t give it away. So a really powerful effect may consist of 6 pages and cost $100.00.
I remember years ago ordering just that for someone. When it came in and I saw what it was I felt it was criminal to charge that amount. It was 3 pages of 8 1/2″ x 11″ folded in half and one of the pages was the cover. When the customer came to pick it up he was delighted it came in and was happy to pay for it. Most good books on magic are expensive, and books on mentalism are even more expensive. They are not mass produced and I don’t believe anyone is making a killing on them.
Now I’m not saying there are no props involved. What I am saying is its more portable, because the things that are expensive, you leave at home, like books and DVDs on the subject. Performance is paramount. So you also have to buy books on performance. More money.
There are props like Mental Epic or Slate Boards, and other devices, so when something comes out that is not expensive and is great, I thought I should give it my full endorsement. I’m talking about Mathematical Genius. Maybe I’m prejudice because math was never my forte, and now I look so smart when I perform it. Anyhow, if you want to dazzle someone and don’t want to spend big bucks, this is it. Of course there are many other things you can dazzle people with that are inexpensive, but I really like this one. Check it out!
Filed under Magic, Mentalism
Here we are in Kitchener. We have spent many a Christmas in Kitchener since our friends Romaine and Joan and brother Denis moved there about 12 years ago. We always have a great time and Phil has a bunch of gigs, but this year Romaine and Phil did something special and we had even more fun.
It Mike Robinson’s Birthday and Mike’s cousin Justin asked Romain to put something together for his birthday, which they did. I filmed it and we sent it to Mike. I thought we would share it with you. Mike is a ventriloquist and he did his act was at Magie Montreal in 1987. We have seen him since at different Magic gatherings but the last time we saw him perform was at the CAM Convention in Kitchener and we were killing ourselves laughing. They did a song about a Rooster and Phil played the piano for him. Our cheeks hurt from laughing so much. I hope he had a happy birthday and here is the little skit from Phil and Romaine. There was no script or rehearsal, which I’m sure is evident but they sure had a ball doing it.