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Monthly Archives: October 2007

  • Card Trick of the Week 4

    Posted on October 29, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Dunninger's Delight

    Very few tricks have this range. You can perform this as a mentalism effect, teleportation effect, card trick, close-up, on stage, or in the street.

    A card is selected or named and lost in the pack. The deck is handed to the spectator, who looks through the cards confirming that the selection is still present. Without touching the cards, you cause the selected card to vanish. It is found in some impossible place. Sealed in an envelope or taped to the wall or locked in a steel safe hanging over a pool of alligators. Anything you can dream up: that's where the card travels.

    The gimmick is very simple, but the DVD goes over some amazing applications. Kenton Knepper describes a very simple way to performing the effect, as well as a more complicated psychological method.

    Either way you do the trick, the impact stays the same because the magic happens in their hands. They see the card there one second and the next, it vanishes; and you can be standing way over on the other side of the room.

    Geek Factiod: This trick is named after one of the most famous mentalists of all time, Joseph Dunninger. Under the name "The Amazing Dunninger", he read the minds of such notables as Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Pope Pius XII.

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  • Making the Demos

    Posted on October 26, 2007 by chris ballinger

    The goals of the videos are to show you exactly what the effect looks like when done in a performance setting. Here's how we did it:

    Step 1:
    Learn the Trick. As with all magic, if there was something that we didn't already perform, we had to learn it and then practice until it could be performed flawlessly. There were also cases where I (Chris) had made up my own handling and patter for tricks. We went back over all the original instructions to make sure that nothing was performed any differently than the way you would learn the trick.

    Step 2:
    The Set-Up. We used two lighting kits, a lapel microphone, and a Canon GL-2 digital camera. A TV was hooked up as a monitor so I could check his angles and make sure everything was centered correctly. A black backdrop and dark clothing was used so that there was nothing distracting from the magic.

    Step 3:
    The Assistants. For a lot of the tricks, we had to make a point that there was a free selection or examinable props, so we brought in a few of our friends to help out. These demos were filmed with one take to get their real reactions. We want to give a little shout-out and thank you to Brooke Clark; Chris' sisters, Colleen and Rachel; Brian's wife, Lynne; and his kids Ava and Wyatt for helping out with a few of the demos.

    Step 4:
    Editing. We wanted the editing to be very simple. Cuts were kept to a minimum and only used to change angles for a better view of the trick. Not wanting to waste anyone's time, the format is quick: title, effect, where you can get it. A lot of people browse the internet with their sound off. So, if we could get away with it, we opted to show the effect without patter; just laying down some music instead.

    Step 5:
    File Management. Clear, high-quality video takes up a lot of file space. If you post files that big on a website, it would take forever to upload to your computer. We used a file squeezing program to keep the quality up and the file size down. The small file is then uploaded to YouTube and embedded on our site.

    If you have any comments or suggestions on the videos, let us know. We want to make shopping for magic easier and more personal, so we'll try to accommodate in any way we can.

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  • Card Trick of the Week 3

    Posted on October 18, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Red Hot Mama:

    The effect: A card is freely selected from a blue-backed deck of cards. After being lost in the deck, the back of the selected card changes red. Offering to do the trick again, you remove the red card and have the spectator select a second card. But something goes wrong. It appears that the second card has not changed red. To make it up to the audience, you turn over the first selection, (which has been on the table the entire time) to show that it has changed into the newly selected card!

    I love this routine. I use it for my opener because it starts off with an impossible effect, then seamlessly goes into a sucker trick that ends with a transformation. It's not very often that a trick is this clean, uses no gimmicks, and uses such easy sleights.

    I learned it on the first volume of Micheal Ammar's Easy to Master Card Miracles. Ammar teaches this trick (crediting Ryan, Everhart, and Leech) so that a very fresh beginner could easily pick it up. I can't speak highly enough about this series. Every volume is packed with solid, usable card magic. The first DVD alone has tricks like 8 Card Brainwave, The Secret to a Perfect Royal Flush, and Triumph which I use in my professional shows all the time. Not to mention, it comes with the gimmick for the Insurance Policy.

    Geek Factoid: This trick was featured by YouTube under the title "The World's Best Card Trick." The video currently holds the honors of #18 Most Viewed, #17 Most Discussed, and #36 Top Favorites for All Time in the Entertainment category.

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  • Fooler Dooler's Rainbow Ropes

    Posted on October 16, 2007 by chris ballinger

    I've seen other versions of this trick on the market and I'm not going to lie, I wasn't a fan. When I opened this version I was happily surprised. At the end of the routine the ropes aren't dyed or glued, they are knitted with three different colored fibers. This makes them stronger; more precise; and gives them really cool ends that won't fray. I'm proud to pass the rope out for inspection.

    But the real gem is the DVD. Daryl is a great teacher and he goes through the routine point by point. He took a  trick I had once thought was boring and one-dimensional and opened up to new possibilities. For instance: this trick is traditionally an opener, but Daryl shows several methods of transportation and presentation that make the routine possible at any point in your show.

    Daryl also goes over several "convincers" that really sell the effect. He outlines a killer way to count the ropes and gives some great routine options in case you don't want to use "fairy dust." After seeing the quality and instructional material, I did a full 180 on this trick and would recommend the Fooler Dooler's version of the Rainbow Ropes to any magician.

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  • Myspace

    Posted on October 11, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Now you can be friends with Magic Geek Inc.! Check out our myspace page and get connected to our network of magicians.


    Check out our videos, photos, and discussions. We will be posting updates and reviews on new effects and loads of inside info on the magic world.

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  • Refraction

    Posted on October 9, 2007 by chris ballinger

    The effect is stunning: you cause the stem of a wineglass to bend while it is held by a spectator. At the end of the effect the wineglass can be signed and given away as a souvenir. The magic lasts long after your show has ended when an audience member takes home something that defies logic. It is something they will show off and brag about for a long time after. As working magicians, we find this effect practical, elegant, and absolutely mind-blowing.

    The DVD goes over how to manufacture the gimmick in about three minutes with materials that cost less than $20. Penn then goes through methods of getting into the routine, including audience examination of the props and handling of the gimmick. You will learn the psychological subtleties and crowd control methods that really sell the effect. David then turns over explanation to Rodney James Piper, who goes over the cabaret handling of the effect.

    We would recommend this effect to the seasoned Mentalist. It works great as a finale for metal bending routines. A fork and a key bending routine are covered in the DVD, but we highly recommend using effects like Mind Bender or Loops along with this trick.

    The production value is often lacking in magic videos and DVDs. Refraction is a wonderful exception. Instructional DVDs featuring a single, new effect usually suffer from poor audio, blurry or shoddy camera work, and out-of-control editing. In Refraction, David Penn clearly explains the effect and subtleties in a studio setting. A lot of time and energy went into this and it really shows.

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  • Card Trick of the Week 2

    Posted on October 8, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Phil Trick
    This week we wanted to showcase a trick that is very easy to do, but has a reputation of fooling magicians. The effect is this: someone mentally selects a card and you explain that you will name their selection. "Its name is Phil." Get it? You named their card. The cheap trick and cheesy joke sets the audience up for a whopper: the card they mentally selected is removed, all the other cards are shown to have different names written on their backs, and the selected card is shown to be the only one labeled Phil.

    There is nothing to memorize, nothing to switch, the deck does everything. The effect itself is so unbeatable that this deck finds its way into professional shows all the time. And the reactions are huge! The audience thinks the trick was just a silly joke, so when you show them that "Phil" is printed on the back of the randomly named card, they flip out. 

    Geek Factoid: The basic premise of "Phil" can be traced back to Fed Lowe's "Christened Reverse." Trevor Duffy reinvented a version that was created by Phil Goldstein in the early 1980s, called "Final Fred," which was introduced in a lecture at the 1985 FISM convention in Madrid. Duffy and Goldstein have discussed the issue of the prior invention and luckily an arrangement has been made allowing Duffy to market the effect with Goldstein's approval. The ironic thing is that Duffy's version was entitled "Phil" before becoming aware of Phil Goldstein's similar effect.

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  • Places of Magic 1

    Posted on October 4, 2007 by chris ballinger

    Maison de la Magie “The House of Magic”
    Location: Blois, France 

    Significance: Former home of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin and current magic museum/theater. 

    History: Home of watchmaker-turned-magician Robert-Houdin who is considered by most to be the father of the modern style of stage magic. Escape artist Erich Weiss adopted the stage name Harry Houdini in honor of the French magician. His illusions and style of magic were the inspiration for the short story, “Eisenheim the Illusionist,” and subsequently the film, The Illusionist. 

    Stats: The mansion has been converted into a museum dedicated to the magical arts. Known for his automatons, the front of the house has giant, mechanical dragons that come out of the windows periodically and look around. The house consists of three sections: the museum, the theater, and something called a "Hallucinoscope" where you strap on a pair of angled mirror glasses and walk through an "underwater" installation that hangs from the ceiling. 

    Interesting Fact: The mansion was converted and refurbished with $11 million of taxpayers’ money. This town is serious about their magic.

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