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Monthly Archives: November 2008

  • Magic Combos!

    Posted on November 26, 2008 by chris ballinger

    You may have noticed the strange infomercials that have been popping up around the site. When Brian asked me to make commercials for the sets I'm not sure that's exactly what he had in mind. Even though the commercials are super cheesy and kind of ugly, the sets themselves are awesome.

    We wanted to offer something a little different from the standard magic set; and so we set out to create something that we would actually use. Each combo includes effects from our professional shows. We also wanted to be sure that you knew how to use your new stuff so we went out and made our own instructional DVDs.

    First we'll take a look at the Close-Up Combo:
    This set includes a professional set of Professor's Nightmare Ropes which can be used for the standard routine as well as 'Fraid Knot and Fiber Optics routines. Also included is a set of Super Soft Sponge Balls and a Stripper Deck. But the real jewel of the set is the Aluminum Cups and Balls. It comes with cork balls with a knitted covering, three dashing cups and a magic wand. And let's not forget the Instructional DVD that covers everything including two Stripper Deck routines, two Sponge Ball routines and bonus Cups and Balls routines.

    Next up is the Street Magic Combo:
    Everything in this set has been featured on various street magic television specials. It includes the famous Bite Out Quarter trick. It also includes the Perfect PENetration trick, which allows you to push a pen through just about anything. Some of the tricks are pulled from my personal street shows; such as the Magic Sugar Packet, Vanishing Napkin, and Torn & Restored Napkin. Also included in the set is the classic Coin in Bottle effect. And the Invisible Deck, which is one of the best card tricks ever devised: a freely named card is impossibly turned over in a deck of cards. This set also includes a DVD which teaches several effects with the supplied gimmicks.

    And finally, the Stage Magic Combo:
    This set is ideal for those interested in performing for a larger audience. Whether it's for a talent show or to perform at parties and special event; this set is very commercial. The Magic Blooming Flower and Ultra Egg Bag are so versatile that they can fit into any routine. The 6 Card Repeat is a classic effect that never fails to please. The set also includes The Jumbo Moving Pips which is a variation on the Hoppin Spots effect that has been a best seller for us. The Stage set also features my personal Chinese Linking Rings routine with the exact seamless metal rings that I use in my professional shows! And of course you get the Instructional DVD which explains all of the routines plus tips on misdirection and performing.

    All three sets will propel your magic into the next level and they make fantastic gifts. These kits really are something special and I hope you all enjoy them. Please click one of the images below to see more about these awesome sets:

    Close-Up Magic Combo:null
    Street Magic Combo:null
    Stage magic Combo:null

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  • Magic Geek Catalog

    Posted on November 24, 2008 by brian sutherland

    We're excited to announce the release of our 2008-2009 printed catalog!

    Magic Geek Catalog

    To download the PDF version, simply right-click (Windows) or click and hold (Mac) on the Catalog Image above, then from the pop-up menu choose "Save Link to Disk", "Download Link to Disk" or something similar. To view online just click once and the Acrobat Reader application will likely open within your browser.

    If you would like to recieve it via mail, please fill out the form below for your free copy today!

    First Name:
    Last Name:
    Address 1:
    Address 2:
    Zip / Province:

    Email Address:

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  • What's the Difference - Part 7

    Posted on November 19, 2008 by chris ballinger

    Reading Hidden Writing Thingies

    Mentalists have always been after a way of seeing what they are not supposed to . Here I outline a few of our most popular devices for secretly reading a hidden message.

    Mental Board by I-Magic:
    The spectator writes something down on a little slip of paper. This is folded up and placed somewhere that the performer cannot see. Then the performer somehow manages to recreate the drawing or word written by the spectator. This is my least favorite of the gimmicks that we'll be taking a look at today. You may like it, if you really work at it, but I have not been able to get it to work 100% of the time.


    Strengths: When it works, it's an amazing effect and it is very inexpensive.
    Weaknesses: The instructions are lacking and the method doesn't always work. I've also been caught once by someone who saw how the trick works.

    I don't want to say "don't buy this." It has its place in mentalism and can be a killer effect. It's just going to take a little practice and nerve from the performer to achieve the reaction it deserves.

    Thought Transmitter by John Cornelius:
    A thought of word, number, or symbol is written on a post-it note and hidden inside of the opaque wallet. You can then draw, or state whatever was hidden from you.


    Strengths: This is mentalism at it's best. The gimmick is awesome and the possibilities are endless.
    Weaknesses: I don't want to give anything away, but there are batteries involved and they aren't the easiest kind to find or replace. Also, if the spectator puts the post-it in the wrong place, it will be hard to get a clear reading.

    TeleThought Wallet by Chris Kenworthey:
    This basically has the same effect as the Thought Transmitter, but it's a little more user-friendly.


    Strengths: You don't have to hide the actual peek from your audience. Again, not wanting to give anything away, In the video demo, the wallet is just lying on the table in front of the spectator. I can see everything that they wrote on the card; while they can see nothing. It's like having x-ray vision!
    Weaknesses: The wallet kind of looks funny. The edges are trimmed with gold and there are plastic slips on either side.

    Well, there you have it. My review of mentalism thingies that let you see things that are supposed to be hidden from you. Have fun getting into people's heads.

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  • It's Magic

    Posted on November 10, 2008 by chris ballinger

    This weekend a few of us went to the It's Magic show presented by Milt Larson and Terry Hill. Now in its 52nd year, It's Magic is a traveling show which features a variety of different magic acts every year. And whenever I get to see it, I am reminded of how much I love magic.

    nullMe with Milt Larson, founder of the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

    This year featured an amazing line up of magicians including Tom Ogden, Dan Birch, Danny Cole, Jason Latimer, Eric Buss, and Chuck Jones & Company. If you ever get a chance to see any of these acts I recommend you jump on it.

    The show was hosted by Ogden who kept the crowd laughing with his classic one-liners. The audience let out audible gasps as Birch wowed them with his dove act. Cole beautifully wove magic and music in his CD manipulation act. Latimer ended his set with his new laser act which, if you haven't seen, you should look up on youtube. The always zany Buss shot a bajillion snakes out of cans in his Snake Symphony routine. And amid flashy large-scale illusions, Chuck Jones did a very touching Floating Table routine with a little girl from the audience.

    nullFrom left to right: Danny Cole, Dan Birch, me, Tom Ogden, Eric Buss, Jason Latimer and Chuck Jones.

    My wife and I stumbled upon a variety show on our honeymoon in Hanover where we saw Danny Cole perform almost five years ago and Jason Latimer used to stop by our old retail shop when he was studying at UCSB. It was great to watch their acts again and see some things that were new to us. Live performance is a very important part of magic and so it's really great when we get to participate in it and support it.

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  • Turkey Time!

    Posted on November 6, 2008 by chris ballinger

    Thanksgiving is fast approaching and for most of you that means big family get-togethers. What better time to try out some new magic than when great uncle Freddy starts telling a story about his new tomato patch? So here's a list of my top five favorite tricks to do for family during our Thanksgiving festivities:

    #5: Flow by Dan Hauss:
    This is a great trick for picnics and parties because it uses something that is already around: a bottle of liquid. You can do the trick with a water bottle, juice bottle, soda bottle, iced tea bottle, etc. And the reactions you get are going to be huge. You might want to set up a whole bunch of them before your thanksgiving feast because people are going to be asking to see it again and again.

    #4: Knife Thru Arm by MAK Magic:
    This might not be good for every family member to see, but if you want to freak them out, here's your chance. With so much turkey and ham to carve, it only makes sense that you would hack into your arm with a giant knife. Yummy.

    #3: Loops by Yigal Mesika:
    This is one of those gimmicks that works beautifully during a moment of downtime. Picture this: you're sitting at the table with family members on either side of you and suddenly you make an empty cup slide across the table on its own; or make a fork spin without touching it. Really good dinner table possibilities.

    #2: Sticky Situation by Andy Leviss:
    You make a big deal about how you want to eat your turkey, but you don't have anywhere to put your gum. No worries, just completely restore it into a newly wrapped stick and put it into your pocket for later.

    #1: Spirit Feather by Fun Inc.:
    Thanksgiving is all about Native Americans and Pilgrims coming together and celebrating their harvest. Why not do a trick with some patter about a feather from a Native Headdress that does a ceremonial dance? I'm sure you can come up with a cool storyline for this beautiful trick.

    Well, that's the list. Be sure you get the tricks you plan on doing for Thanksgiving soon so that you have enough time to practice. Here are a few other ideas that didn't make the cut, but were so close that I had to mention them here:

    Multiplying Foil Balls: Foil's great for wrapping leftovers, but it's also great for magic.
    Diminishing Milk: Utterly good dinner table magic. Your family will have a cow. (Somebody stop me.)
    Chop Mug: Looks so real you might loose it in the shuffle; so be careful.
    Healed and Sealed: If you don't already have this, you need it. Audiences go crazy for it.
    Linking Mints: Refreshing after-dinner magic!


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  • A Star from Magic Geek

    Posted on November 3, 2008 by chris ballinger

    One of the assistants in the video demos is performing at Disney's California Adventure. If you happen to be at the Resort, you might catch Colleen singing and dancing in the High School Musical 3: Right Here, Right Now show!


    My family and I took a trip down there to see her first performance and it was a lot of fun. The show is very entertaining and it was great to see her up there doing what she does best (aside from watching magic tricks.) Hopefully we'll still be able to get her into the shop to film some new demos from time to time.


    Also, while we were in the park I noticed one of the photographers springing a deck of cards. I asked him if he did any tricks and he proceeded to show me a really good trick. So great job California-Adventure-photo-taker-card-springy guy!


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