I got a phone call the other day from a grandmother who wanted to get a magic kit for her granddaughter’s birthday. The 8 year old saw a particular kit and wanted it. Did we have it? No, but we used to carry it and could have it if she really wanted it. However being a grandmother myself and a little experienced in the field of magic, I suggested something else. We do have other kits, but it’s never my first choice, even though I know that many magicians started their life in magic with a magic kit.
This is my thinking. I find the quality of the magic in the kits are not always as good as the quality of the magic we sell individually. The items in the kits are usually a little smaller and not that sturdy.
Then there’s the promise of 150, 250 tricks or more. Great expectations. You open the box and if there are 10 props you’re lucky. Then there’s a book or a DVD showing you all the things you can do with those props. And yes, some of them are great. But are you really going to learn 150 or more tricks? I don’t think so.
The person who receives the kit will open it, examine all the props, and discover the secret before knowing what the effect is. Take the Ball and Vase. It’s a wonderful classic, but if you know the secret before seeing it performed, you’ll never get that “awe” feeling, that “how is that possible?” feeling.
What I always did and what I suggested to the grandmother, was to buy a few individual tricks, learn them and do them for her granddaughter. That way the child gets that feeling of wonder. After that she can be exposed to the secret and learn it herself. She will never forget that feeling she had when she first saw it, and when she performs it for others she will know what they feel and that is the true reward of magic.
But there’s even more to it than that. A special bond occurs between the grandparent and the child that the child will never forget and that’s important to the grandparent as well as the child. What child doesn’t remember his favourite uncle that pulled quarters out of his ear?
So these grandparents came up to the shop and bought a bunch of stuff for their grandchild and a Svengali Deck with a book for themselves, they who had never done a magic trick in their lives. They were completely captivated by the magic and assured me they would be back and were excited about going home and learning the magic!