Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Problem With Magic Instructions

The problem with magic instructions is that people , especially magicians, don’t read them. Especially if they are written in Chinese or Japanese and you don’t speak either language.  I stand guilty as well. When something comes in from Tenyo, instructions  used to be in English. Now they send an instruction sheet in English along with the item or give you the code for  instructions on line. The item  does come to you with instructions with Asian writing and are extremely well illustrated, so one may be tempted to try to figure it out without actually reading the English instructions. Mistake!

I got a call the other day from a customer who had purchased a Tenyo item from us. He was furious, as he paid a lofty price (some Tenyo items are expensive) and he said it didn’t work. One thing I know about Tenyo is that their magic works. Most of it is excellent. I couldn’t believe it didn’t work. It’s not like this person was a beginner. He’s a pro.

“Did you read the instructions?” I asked.

“Of course. And the first time I showed it to someone, he caught on right away.” was the reply.

He was really upset.

“Calm down. It’s only a magic trick. If it doesn’t work or is so obvious that it can be detected, send it back. But let me check it out  here.” I said.

Of course I gave that job to Phil. So Phil looked at the illustrations and tried to follow them and low and behold he saw that it didn’t work. Then he got the English instructions and read them carefully and followed them step by step. “Aha, now it works.”

I phoned my customer and asked if he was sure he read the instructions. It turns out he didn’t. He thought looking at the illustrations would be sufficient. He called back later, after reading the instructions and apologized. “It works perfectly.” he said.

Phil always said, “When you buy a trick, read the instructions first. See how the trick works and then forget about the instructions and make it your own!” I think that’s pretty good advice!

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That Magic Flame

Do you remember when you were a kid and saw a good magic trick? Something lit up inside of you. Wonder, curiosity, awe, and bewilderment. You saw it. It happened. But  how? Its impossible. Then one day you got a magic set, perhaps for Christmas or a birthday. Some of the secrets were revealed to you, and now you could create that feeling of wonder in others. How powerful is that?

Somewhere along the way you got busy with other things. School, music, whatever. Then you might have been surfing TV and saw Penn and Teller’s Fool Us or America’s Got Talent and that little spark that lit you up all those years ago rekindled. “Hey, I used to do stuff like that? How come I stopped?”

That’s the story of someone that came in the other day to buy magic. He had bought some on line and in Walmart and finally decided it was time to go to a real magic shop. He was delighted to find out that he came in during our 40th Anniversary Sale and would be getting a 20% discount, 10% automatically, another 5% because we had whatever he was buying in stock and another 5% because he came in person. He had started as a young kid and then felt compelled to go back to it. He handled a deck of cards well and felt the difference between a regular Bicycle Deck and the Gold Standard.

The magic flame may have dimmed over the years, smouldering just under the surface, waiting for the right time to come forth and when it does, watch out. The message here is don’t get rid of your magic even if you lose interest from time to time. You never know when that flame will flare up again. It  ofter happens to people who become uncles or grandparents. Has it happened to you?

Another message. Get a child you love a magic trick or kit and light the flame. He or she will never forget you.magic table.jpg

While on the subject we received a new kit with a table. Check it out.




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Computers, Magic and Christmas.

It’s coming up fast. It’s been hectic here. I started writing this morning and now it’s 4:00pm and I haven’t written anything. It’s great seeing everyone, so today our computers decide to work very slowly. Ouch!  Anyhow, they did pick up and all is well, but it was frustrating.

The Tenyo stuff arrived today for you Tenyo fans. If you’re doing Christmas shows and you want to add anything, click here. I spoke too soon. The computer is running slow again. What did we do without computers?

Anyhow, come in and see us while our 40th Anniversary Sale is on.

  • 10% on everything in the catalog
  • an additional 5% if we have it in the shop
  • and an additional 5% if you buy in person.

The Sale lasts until Dec.3rd and we’re open Saturdays too, from 11am to 5pm.

Hope to see you or hear from you.




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Old Magic Classics/New Magic Audiences

As I was putting my pick of the day on Facebook, not that I do it everyday, I realized that some magicians may be passing by some great classics because they are not the latest or hottest items on the market. For example, some magicians come into the shop and get all excited when they see we have effects or DVDs by Shin Lim, who does have  some great stuff. The old stuff doesn’t get the hype. That’s exactly the reason you should be using it!

My pick of the day was Diminishing Cards. We have a few versions of it. Viking’s is top notch quality. Viking makes beautiful equipment. We carry their Silk to Egg Deluxe Set and routine, which is another classic. We have cheaper models but if you want professional stuff this is it!  What makes it so special? Besides the exceptional egg, it comes with two 18″ silks and something special that the others don’t have, plus a great routine.

We also have their Brass Bill Tube which blows people away. Have you used your bill tube lately? I did a demo for a guy and he went nuts. I said, “Shall I put it with your other stuff?” “Oh no,” he replied. “I’m not that good a magician. I would never be able to do it.”  I showed it how it was done and he said,”Sold!”

I also have Palmo Ball -Stillwell Style, made by Viking. It’s like a dye tube but a little different. Its a great little gimmick for silks. Fits nicely in the hand,  Try it, you’ll like it. Oh, and speaking of gimmicks if you’re looking for a finger flasher we have their  Flint flasher, which is dependable and easy to use. (We carry Morrissey’s as well, also dependable.)

There’s not a new item mentioned in the above. Will you use them? Yes. Will your audience be impressed? You bet!




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The Magic Filter

Last week I wrote about the overwhelming amount of magic in the market today. Tomorrow there will be even more. There’s no end to it. As Albert Goshman said about the food in the Brown Derby, “There’s a lot of it and some of it is good.”

I, as a magic dealer, meet magicians at every level and in every category, from children’s parties , corporate magicians, street magicians, restaurant magicians. to hypnotists, mentalists, you name it. When they come into the shop, and know exactly what they want, that’s one thing. Do I have an Arm Chopper? Yes.

If  they don’t know what they want, and I know them, I will steer them in the right direction. If I don’t know them, I ask a lot of questions like, how do you classify yourself, beginner, intermediate or expert. People are usually honest about that.  Who is your audience? Friends and family, do you do shows,  etc. Close-up, parlour, stage,  bar, restaurant. I narrow the field for them and for me. What is the price range? No use showing a $200.00 trick when they only want to spend $20.00. Do they mind practicing or do they want instant gratification. Easy to do. No work at all. Are they readers, or visual? Do they need something with a DVD. So we spend a little time trying to understand the magician before we get down to brass tacks.

Sometimes, and here’s the problem, they see something on youtube. That’s what they want. Do I have it? Let’s say I do. I ask the above questions because I know what is involved in doing this particular trick. I could take the money and run but I don’t. Sometimes they have never even touched magic before. Could they do Paragon 3D or Nightcrawler? I don’t think so, even though they are both excellent effects. I ask, “Do you want to do the magic or just learn the secret?” If they want to do it, I will tell them its not for them, yet. Let me show you something else. Usually a Svengali Deck will do the trick, pun intended. I know a novice will never do those other tricks and will probably be turned off magic. I’m more interested in making a customer than making a sale. Everything looks so easy on youtube.

A kid came in with his mother. I don’t think he was even 12. He wanted The 100th Monkey. I said to his mother, “I don’t think its for him. It’s a great mentalist effect but not cheap (over $100.00) and I don’t know if he can carry it off. Perhaps I can show him something else.”

She said, “He wants it. Give it to him. He’s very determined.” So I did.

Next time they came in, I asked how that worked out. Fabulous. So I don’t know everything it seems. But I’m learning!


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