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I deck variations

Here’s a few variations on the I deck (If you have to ask what it is, this isn’t for you)
There are a few – who would rather keep it under their hat – but they switch the ID deck into play while handing the spectator a different coloured box and deck,

The volunteer is given their choice of red or blue. They are asked to shuffle. They hand their deck back. That are asked to shuffle the other deck. In the process the first deck is exchanged for the ID.

Then the volunteer is asked to hold the “original” deck (red or blue) and hand back the second deck.

From that point you’re open to having anyone pick a card from the second deck OR the volunteer names a card which is removed from the second deck (or whatever you want to do)
The point is that the supposedly shuffled ID is being held by the volunteer until the revelation.
– – – – – – – –

Yes it seems like a long description and work (I myself don’t bother doing it this way) BUT after the performance the spectators who try to reconstruct the effect rule-out trick decks because “it was shuffled”

The whole routine is reminiscent of Billy McCombs version of Himber rings, where you involve people sitting to the right and sitting to the left – so you can do what you need to do. It plays well, from the times I’ve seen it.
My clean-up is to say that I’ll explain just one. The cards (invisible) that I handed you were ALL the_________ so you had no choice. Now when I put the card away, there’s no need to cut the cards and put it on the bottom or do any other clean-up because that explanation allows you to put their card back where you found it, and you’re done.

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Does your show have card tricks for my 8 year old?

My son loves card tricks. Are there any card tricks in the show?
This refers to kids parties. I say “yes” but explain that the kids show is a time-tested formula of colorful boxes, handkercheifs and audience participation. There are many kids that don’t know what cards are so the actual show is designed where I stand in one area and hold things up so everyone can see…. usually, card tricks need to be performed on a table and when you have 15 kids and all the adults, it’s doesn’t show well to do tricks, on a table where people can’t see them.

However, I’d be happy to do some special card tricks for the kids after the official show, where they can gather around a table and take part… and that way you can have two shows for the price of one. How does that sound?

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A better way to do a newspaper tear

If you’re still doing a newspaper tear where, at the end, you need to fold things….. during the tearing process it would be more natural to fold “halves” a few time – or at least flip them over- instead of laying them on top of each other.

The necessary folding action will look similar to actions they have already seen and that last bit of bending won’t raise eyebrows.

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Whats the Best Prop I Can Buy?

What’s best trick? is completely subjective. It’s like asking “What’s the best car to own?” or “Who’s the best band?” T
he effect you create with (or without) a prop becomes the effect you create in the minds of the audience – so – the “Best Effect” may have nothing to do with a particular version… it’s the performance that counts. It’s the impression you create.

I’ve seen magicians kill with a simple effect like Mental Manipulation and bomb with highly technical effect.

I’m not putting-down anyone with technical skills. I’ve worked my entire life to present sophisticated slights throughout diverse routines. Performing the “best” effect may have nothing to do with the prop alone… It might have everything to do with your ability to entertain. When you ask “What’s the best?” all you get are opinions. Opinions don’t perfect your ability to entertain, your knowledge does. I’d rather see magicians think about it this way “I like this effect, can you give me some tips for me to make it better considering my style and the venue it’s in?

“Opinions don’t perfect your ability to entertain, your knowledge does.”

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What’s the Best Trick?

What’s best trick? is completely subjective. It’s like asking “What’s the best car to own?” or “Who’s the best band?” T
he effect you create with (or without) a prop becomes the effect you create in the minds of the audience – so – the “Best Effect” may have nothing to do with a particular version… it’s the performance that counts. It’s the impression you create.

I’ve seen magicians kill with a simple effect like Mental Manipulation and bomb with highly technical effect.

I’m not putting-down anyone with technical skills. I’ve worked my entire life to present sophisticated slights throughout diverse routines. Performing the “best” effect may have nothing to do with the prop alone… It might have everything to do with your ability to entertain. When you ask “What’s the best?” all you get are opinions. Opinions don’t perfect your ability to entertain, your knowledge does. I’d rather see magicians think about it this way “I like this effect, can you give me some tips for me to make it better considering my style and the venue it’s in?

“Opinions don’t perfect your ability to entertain, your knowledge does.”

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Are you funny?

I am very funny, are you? (What you do when someone challenges you.)

Reciently I received an inquiry for my services. The customer inqired “Are you funny? I answerd yes “Because I am very funny, I always have my children laughing. I might even be funnier then you!” I responded “Maybe we should put an act together and go on the road.” What this did was to force her to consider that she wasn’t as funny as she believed or she would be the performer and I would be the customer. And the bonus was that I accecpted her as being funny without alienating her.
My first thought was, I know I’m not getting tip because everything I do will be judged – not enjoyed. Then I tried to sell the show in a way that removed the lady’s ego so the audience would be happy and I would get paid. Here is what my sales presentastion included. Many times I’ve performed for other entertainers and even though they had an idea of what I was doing, I always recieved a nice round of applause. That’s my goal, to entertain the audience, I’m sure you want that too. So when the show is on, please watch the faces of your guests and count the number of times they applaude. That’s what I do. It’s a little hobby I have while I’m performing.

I continued with the normal sales presentation. She booked the show. At the show her two kids tried to interject some comments but I kept going and gave them lot’s of extra jokes. Actually the kids were’nt very funny and if I let them have the floor they would have embarresed themselves. Same with the dad. I just wanted to do my show without being scruitinized like at a close up contest at a magician’s convention.

I watched the lady relax after ten minutes and she even laughed at some of the jokes but she kept walking around. I suspect that part of her was envious. Why should it matter, she was living in a gated community where the houses cost several million, not kidding, each.

In the end, the audience saw a great show and I made sure to promt them to tell the host how much fun thay had. But still she had to give me a little jab. She handed me the rolled up cash and went back to the Party. I had to corner her husband explaining that she was $20 short. Always count the money in front of them even if they live in a seven million dollar house.

The bottom line, If someone challenges you during the selling process, it’s good and bad. It’s good if you get the show because you know they are discernind and you passed the test. It’s bad because you usually have to push back a little risking the possible loss of employment.

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Abbott’s Hole In One tips.

A better way to perform Abbott’s Hole In One

I have found that Hole In One works better if you don’t use all the balls (the front hole is empty) and here is why:

Tell the volunteer to take four balls. While they examine their four you rearange the remaining four to sit in the four corner holes . It only takes three seconds.

Ask them to hand you the colour of their choice. Place it on the spot. Cover the glass with the other glass, do your thing, remove the silk. Because the spot in front of the glass is empty the audience can see the selected ball in the glass. Otherwise the effect can only be shown to people who are standing because the front ball obscures the effect.

I like to use a 27 inch silk places on square. The audience can see my knuckles but not under the silk Just check your lighting before the performance and if you can see through the silk then cover the big glass first, with a table napkin with the corner allowing the spread of the napkin to hang over the front. Have the volunteer place the silk on top. The silk underneath may be slippery enough they both slide off the glass but the cloth napkin will hold better.

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I want to be a magician

Consider the rich kid with as many toys as he wants. He plays with them few months until they become used, old and not fun any more. His attention is on his next new toy even though the ones he has still work perfectly. In some cases the toys are abused so much they don’t work at all.

Now consider the kid who is not well off. He is told that his toys cost a lot of money. He is not given a new toy just because he wants it so the toys he does get are more valuable to him. Consider the big shot who buys a new car every year. He may not take care of it as much as a retired person on a fixed income with an older model. The older person usually drives more carefully planning on their car to last longer.

What does this have to do with magic? Many new people have a hard time learning sleight of hand yet I’ve seen a small number of others that can easily do complicated moves with kittle practice. More often then not, the people who can perform sleights with no practice don’t appreciate the skill it takes for others. They’re like the rich kid who needs a new toy every week or the guy who trades his car every year. Since they have no challenge to perfect their magic they don’t believe others would pay them to entertain them. They don’t see any value to their performance and their interest in performing magic is disposable. For the majority of magicians, it’s not easy to master sleights, so when they become proficient they are proud of their accomplishment. It’s the people who struggle with a sleight that usually use it more often. So, if you’re new to magic just remember these words practice, practice, practice.

DVDs are almost as good as having a teacher sit next to you. I remember when I learned a new trick or sleight and would have to show James Swoger (my mentor) that I culd do it correctly or he would make me practice for another week. He wouldn’t teach anything new until I could perform what I learned the week before. With that in mind I decided to include all the details I could, when producing our DVDs. My goal is to make you able to perform our effects without taking weeks to learn. While most people do not master moves, before skipping ahead on the DVD, they can replay chapters repeatedly until they get it. Just for the record, many of our instructions are only produced with pictures and text because the elements that need shown are not moving.
Sometimes photos or written instructions work better.Learn the effect then reread the instructions or view the DVD again in a few weeks and pick up more details. Remember, if something is difficult to learn, you will have an appreciation someone else may not.

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Can you do a two hour show (or longer)?

The prospect asks: Can you come over my house and put a show on for two hour?

I did this one time because an agent talked me into it, never again. I’d rather do two shows in a day then to perform three versions of the sucker sliding die box painted different colors and four color changing hank tricks just to kill time.

Occasionally you will get this request. The only time a two hour show is possible, in my opinion, is if you are a Taro Card Reader, face painter, making extravagant balloons or performing strolling magic. Some might argue this isn’t really a “show” and they are right. A show consists of putting on a complete performance in front of an audience. So for you who do this sort of thing, here is how I like to explain my position:

Well, yes I can put on a show for two hours. As a matter of fact I could keep everyone sitting for half a day… if they were other magicians or lived in a European country. When I’m working for an audience of kids or adults in America, people expect variety. They want different activities and they want variety. When I’m performing the show I usually do for a group like yours I’ve found that it needs to start with some sleight of hand, then several segments of audience participation mixed with some mind boggling tricks in between and finally the big number to close with. If I’m there for more then an hour then what i do is no longer a novelty. Even the biggest names in show business only put on a 70 to 90 minute show. Think about your favorite concert and remember when the main singer left the stage and the band played a few songs by themselves? That’s because even in a big show people want to experience variety.

The show that I’ve been doing for several years has something that appears, something that disappears, something that changes color, something that changes places, something that floats in the air and the animals, birds and audience participation. Usually about 35 to 45 minutes is the appropriate time for a show with this much going on. But let me help you figure out some other activities your guests can do…. Then I name several games of activities before going back to exactly what I do.

I’ve heard the prospective client say, many times, they do not want to do any work. This is probably why they are looking upon you to fill their needs.

Another approach I’ve taken is to ask if there are going to be any relatives or parents or (if business) people in the same business attending. Then point out how the first part of the event should be a time where they all can talk to each other because that’s what they need to do.

Sometimes the prospective client will tell me they saw another performer who did perform for two hours. I usually respond “Was it some kind of a clown or storyteller?”. They explain what the other person did (which I can use to sell my good points) or in most cases they can not tell me what the other person did because they were out of the room… and again this is an important point… a good show should have people hanging on the next word out of the performers mouth. A long show is just a time filler. Other activities are needed. Add strolling magic or balloon animals and charge acordingly. Suggest strolling for an hour, ten minutes to set the show in place then the actual stand up performance. Even with this approach some clients just have their group sit. For some reason they think a party is right time to go comatose and I’ve seen plenty of it.

So.. they need to make a decision as to weather they just want someone to kill time or do they want a performance with a beginning, middle and an end.

Sometimes you will lose the show but if that’s all the customer wants is to kill time, they are talking to the wrong person. I value what I do. I am not a baby-sitter or window dressing for anyone…. unless they want to pay me the daily rate of fifteen hundred dollars, at which point, I’m yours all day.

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I’ve seen that trick before!

You know a trick – how it works – and don’t find it interesting any more.

I often hear people at conventions tell me that they have already seen a trick or a version of it. To me this means they know how it works and don’t want to buy it.

My question is: who are you performing the show for? Are you out there to make the audience happy or your performance is for your own therapy? I hope you are performing the magic the audience likes best otherwise you should let someone else do the job.

Example: The Zombie Ball. Blackstone Jr., used to call it “The ball on the stick trick” and in most cases he was right. The exception to the rule was for people who had a background in theater…. or better yet puppetry. These people know how to make the ball act as if it was a separate entity as thought it has a mind of it’s own.

While I perform the Zombie Ball occasionally. I would rather perform the floating ball like Okito, using two assistants, but many of my shows are on platforms at convention halls or schools where the correct curtains don’t exist…. so I perform the Zombie Ball. Yes. I’ve seen the trick before, many times but does that mean my audience should not? Just because you know how a musician plays his guitar or piano does that mean they should not?

The question I’m trying to ask is “Do you do this magic to make yourself feel good or because it’s an art form and you are making the audience feel good?

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Tricks We’ve Paid to Own

This is a partial list of what Jay Leslie has paid for the right to produce or has invented. Everything from House of Enchantment including but not limited to the following:

  1. 4 Balls & Net Book
  2. 7th Wonder Card Box (Swoger)
  3. Acrobatic Thimbles (Jack Flosso) LINK
  4. Al Levito (Al O’Hagen)
  5. Animal Fair (Riedel) LINK
  6. Amazo (Will De Seive)
  7. Any Card Called For Napkin (U.F.Grant)
  8. Apple Trick (Schlenenger)
  9. Assistants Revenge, Jay Leslie Model
  10. Astro Question Chart (Wm S Koske)
  11. Atomic Vision (U.F.Grant)
  12. Austrailian torture crib escape, book (Pilhinha) Link
  13. Baffler (Ed Massey)
  14. Ball Box (Die box, U.F.Grant)
  15. Blok Cord (A. Allen)
  16. Box Of Bagdad (Riedel)
  17. Brain Wash (Jack Dean to Ed Mellon)
  18. Brillant Ring Box (U.F.Grant)
  19. Cabinet Of Deodar (Ed Massey)
  20. Card Assyst (Ed Mellon)
  21. Card Dagger (Ed Massey)
  22. Card In Glass (Ed Massey)
  23. Cards Of Silver (Ed Mellon) LINK
  24. Century Silk Frame (Ed Massey)
  25. Cig Gil (John Snyder to Haines) LINK
  26. Clipboard For Mentalism (Nelson)
  27. Coincimental (Thorton to Ed Mellon)
  28. Corker (Ed Massey)
  29. Chinese Surprise Production Tube (Riedel)
  30. Coin Through Coin (Jay Leslie)
  31. Color Off (Mark Jacobs)
  32. Cut And Restored String (Shleneger)
  33. Digitelephathy (Swoger)
  34. Disk Of Demascus LINK
  35. Death Trap (Jay Leslie)
  36. Devils Dagger (card dagger , Ed Massey) LINK
  37. Double E.S.P. (Jay Leslie)
  38. Easy Sensory Perception (Jay Leslie)
  39. Eerie Rabbit LINK
  40. Elastic Lady, Jay leslie Model
  41. Elder Blindfold (Dave Elder)
  42. Enchanted Card Slide (N. Andounain)
  43. Enchanted Confections (Swoger) LINK
  44. Enchanted Cottage (Gen Grant)
  45. Enchanted Mirror Penetration (Haines)
  46. Errie Rabbit (Melbourn Christopher)
  47. Easy E.S.P (Jay Leslie)
  48. Eye Spy (J.G. Thompson to Ed Mellon)
  49. Fantastic Poker Hand (Ed Mellon)
  50. Floating Power (Snyder to Haines)
  51. Gizmo Box (MAK)
  52. Gammatration (R.W. Hull to Mark Jacobs)
  53. Ghost Coins (
  54. Golden Disk Of Amun Re (Riedel)
  55. Grant’s Lightning Card Stand LINK
  56. Harvey And the Soldier (Harry Stanley)
  57. Himbers Invisable (Richard Himber)
  58. How to escape from handcuffs, book (De-val) Link
  59. Indestructable Ribbon (Ed Massey) LINK
  60. Instra Mental (Ed Mellon)
  61. Impossible Card Flight (Chuck Smith)
  62. Impromtulism (Ed Mellon)
  63. Improved Sucker Blocks And Tube (Riedel)
  64. Keni Key (Leslie Swoger)
  65. Keys Of Judah (O’Hagen to Ed Mellon)
  66. Lock pickimg: part one, book (de-Val) Link
  67. Lock pickimg: part two, book (de-Val) Link
  68. Ma Jong Box (Sherms)
  69. Mandarin Box (Riedel)
  70. Man In The Moon (Harry Stanley)
  71. Mar Mix (Mark Jacobs) LINK
  72. Melting Through Metal (Jay Leslie)
  73. Mental Eyes (Harry K Frankie)
  74. Mental Slate (Swoger)
  75. Ment A Flex (Grant)
  76. Ment O Flex (Ed Mellon)
  77. Miracle Money (Mellon Swoger Leslie)
  78. Mental Case (Ed Mellon)
  79. Mentalism By Design (J.G. Thompsom to Ed Mellon)
  80. Modern handcuff secrets for magicians, book (Norman) Link
  81. Moonlight Madness (J.G. Thompson to Ed Mellon)
  82. Mongolian Water Mystery (Mengie)
  83. M T Pad (Chuck Smith)
  84. New Quik Color Change (Leo Demskie)
  85. How to make your own tricj handcuffs, book (Novak) Link
  86. Out Of The 5th Dimension (Ed Mellon)
  87. Orchids To You (Reidel)
  88. Pagoda Trick (Cucko Clock) (Riedel)
  89. Phantini’s Numeracle (Gene Grant to Ed Mellon)
  90. Phantom Plastic (Riedel)
  91. Photo Plastic (Chuck Smith)
  92. Plak O (Mark Jacobs)
  93. Pseudo Memory (Ed Mellon)
  94. Puffy Coin (Jay Leslie)
  95. Push Down Dove Vanish (Riedel)
  96. Quantimental (Ed Mellon Jim Swoger)
  97. Rabbit Garage (Riedel)
  98. Rameses Ribbon (Riedel)
  99. Real secrets and methods of the challenge rope escape, book (Jacobs) Link
  100. (Regow’s Tall Drink LINK
  101. Reidel’s Improved Square Circle
  102. Rib Blok (Mark Jacobs) LINK
  103. Ribbon Fantastique (Ed Massey)
  104. Rice Box To Lantern (Riedel)
  105. Ring Off (Jacobs) LINK
  106. Sammy The Seal (Riedel)
  107. Sans Peer Book Test (Woodward, Mellon)
  108. Screwy (R.W. Hull)
  109. Skeleton In The Closet (Jim Swoger)
  110. Sliding Glue (Swoger)
  111. Son Of A Switch (Ed Mellon)
  112. Spectra Mental (Ed Mellon)
  113. Sphinx Production Box (Riedel)
  114. Square Circle Circus (Jay Leslie)
  115. Stage Size Chineese Gong (Riedel)
  116. Stop Light (Harry Stanley)
  117. Story locks, book, (Terry Roses) Link
  118. Synonymental (Ed Mellon)
  119. Tall Dring (Swoger) LINK
  120. Tapit (Heath)
  121. Telastrophy (Ed Mellon)
  122. Tele Message (A. Allen, Stuart Judah)
  123. Telephonic (Grant, Mellon)
  124. Tele Pix (Sid Bergson to Ed Mellon)
  125. Temple Of Wang (Riedel)
  126. Ten To One (John Snyder)
  127. That’s the Spirit (Stuart Judah to Ed Mellon)
  128. The handcuff king act, book (Hull) Link
  129. Topsy Turvy Drink (Swoger)
  130. Trick With No Name (Jay Leslie)
  131. Tri Thought (Ed Mellon)
  132. Tricky Bottles (Swoger)
  133. Trifecta (Jay Leslie)
  134. Twin Forcast (J.G.Thompson to Ed Mellon)
  135. Twirl Around Box (Riedel)
  136. Unicorn Box (Reidel)
  137. Ultimate Ring And String (Jay Leslie)
  138. Util I Prop (Herb Ort)
  139. Wand A Blok (Mark Jacobs)
  140. What Lee Jacobs din’t tell you about the rope escape, book (Novak) Link
  141. Wonder Coin Box (Leslie, Swoger)
  142. Wonder Soldier (Mark Jacobs, Jim Swoger)
  143. Words Of Jaks (Dr. Jaks to Ed Mellon)
  144. Wun Fang and His Golden Coin (Harry Stanley) LINK

Please consider buying from the manufacturer that developed a particular item. Legitimate manufacturers take the time to invent or design new magic and without your support they will not stay in business.

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The History of Plastic in Making Magic Tricks (We are #1)

When Jim Swoger, founder of The House Of Enchantment, was released from military service in 1945 he made friends with a man who worked for Rohm Haas, the Plexiglas people. Rohm Hass invented and manufactured plastic materials of different compositions and colors. Jim took a personal tour. It was a pretty big deal because he didn’t drive and they sent a chauffeured car from New Jersey to Pittsburgh and took him back. Jim brought samples home (which I still have a few of) and made the first plastic trick, a flip over box (in the photo). The next project was a
crystal box that made spring flowers appear, then he was off and running. Jim, being the first manufacturer of plastic magic, was called ” The Plastic King”. The banner to the right was made in 1948. Notice the phrase “Home Of Plastic Magic”.

Three sided Production Dice were made in 1947-48. The original dice had black spots. They were made by drilling holes completely through the white plastic. Then using a Plug Drill, dots were made from black plastic and bonding into the dice. Sparkly dots came later, which were punched out and glued to the surface.
Other items: The Massey Card Dagger was made from wood and metal andthe blade was plastic. According to Jim, Ed Massey didn’t want to spend anextra 50 cents to make the blade from metal.

Swoger experimented with different techniques in manufacturing. Genii Tubes were made, in two sizes using his oven at home. Jim laid the black and the white acrylic over two different size forms and the heat of his home oven allowed the plastic to form the shapes shown in that photo. They were then assembled into the Genii Tubes. ABC Block Tricks (without the letters) were made around 1947-48.

The Vampire Block was made until the 70s. Jim glued black plastic to red before cutting the parts for assembly. (Notice how the inside of the tube is black.)

Made in the late 40s, The Card Between Plates (T.V. card frame) is perhaps the nicest example of Jim’s work. Here you can see the emergence of the “Layered Look” the House of Enchantment is known for. The advantages to this type of construction is that the audience can see props from a distance better and the layers give these props a distinguished appearance. Below is an example of wood and plastic aterials used to make our Rib Blocks. As you can see, The house Of Enchantment is a pioneer in designing and making magic.