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Topic: Magic Shop Tricks
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Mar 27, 2019 10:35AM)
At the age of 61, I find myself, once again behind the counter of a magic shop.
The Magic Dove, in Cocoa Florida has a great collection of stuff. They're open seven days a week.

The guy behind the counter on Sundays: 12 -5 or Wednesdays 10 - 6 does a heck of a cups and balls routine.

Stop by and say hello.

I slung magic across the counter as a kid, in the seventies. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing has changed. I've got some pretty darned good routines worked up for:

Nickels to Dimes, Ball and Vase, Triumph and Sponge Balls.

If anyone has any great stories or recommendations for magic across the counter, let me know. (I'm hip to Arcade Dreams, btw)

Message: Posted by: sethb (Mar 27, 2019 11:57AM)
Having cut my teenage teeth on a set of Jumping Gems from Kanter's Magic Shop in Philadelphia in the 1960's, I'm partial to paddle tricks. I always liked the Jumping Gems --- it's easy to perform, no tough sleights, and virtually undetectable if done properly. Everything can be handed out for inspection afterwards if you like (probably an important feature for beginners, not so much for more advanced magis). The trick resets instantly, can be carried in the pocket, is very visual and needs no long patter explanations (like a lot of bad card tricks do). The move is easily to do once you understand the paddle principle, learn how to hold the sticks correctly, and watch yourself in a mirror to get the knack of synchronizing everything properly.

The sticks are generally $10 or less, unless you want to get real fancy ones from Joe Porper or Rings-and-Things. I actually prefer the black plastic ones, which don't appear to be an intricate mechanical gadget. D. Robbins (E-Z Magic) sells a nice set of jewel sticks that can probably retail for $10 or less. I used to pitch this set, and the only issue I have with it is that, in my opinion, the instructions aren't very good. So you either have to show the buyer how to do the paddle move correctly, or make up a page with your own instructions to give out with the trick. And I think you can do a lot more with a set of Jumping Gems than you can with a Hot Rod, which is basically a "one-trick pony," although it relies on the same principle.

The same holds true for the Money Paddle, another great paddle effect. But it requires a little more careful handling and a little more setup/reset time. But because it deals with money and the basic human impulse of greed and getting something for nothing, it's always very popular and impressive. Unless you want a fancy Porper Money Paddle, you can usually pick one up for under $15. Just make sure that the handle of the paddle makes it easy to perform the required move. I've seen Money Paddles with handles that are too flat when they should be square, or are just too thin to provide good control over the paddle. Once again, I prefer a cheapie plastic Money Paddle, which looks more innocent; D. Robbins sells a nice plastic paddle that can probably retail for $10 or less. It uses a piece of aluminum foil in place of the usual "solid mirror" kicker finale, but for a starter, it's certainly fine.

Another nice paddle effect is the Color Changing Knives. However, I never liked them because an effective routine requires one or more switches, which can be tough for a beginner to accomplish by sleight-of-hand, and is suspicious and unconvincing if the kid is always going to his/her pockets. Additionally, I never thought the paddle move was convincing for the knives, since the exposed top of the knife blades changes position when you do the move, providing a real "tell" to observant viewers. But Whit Haydn and many others have had great success with the trick, so maybe I'm being a little too picky! I'd save the fancy but expensive Mogar knives for later, let the beginners start out with something cheaper until they get the trick under their belts.

You might also want to think about a Copper/Silver coin, which probably runs about $15 retail, but can be a good introduction to coin magic. No question that the Cups & Balls is the ultimate magician's trick and can teach a lot about basic sleights, wand use, misdirection and patter --- if someone doesn't get frustrated and is willing to put in the time and effort to master it. I don't think it's a beginner trick, more of an intermediate one. And it doesn't hurt to start with an inexpensive set of Fun, Inc. (Royal Magic) set of plastic cups. By the way, a "C" or a "D" size alkaline battery makes a great final load for these cups and is easy to work with; its solidity and weight always make for a very impressive final load. Royal Magic also sells a good companion pamphlet at a reasonable price, that explains the C & B basics without being overwhelming.

Finally, I may be old-fashioned, but I believe a good magic book is probably just as important as a good trick, if not more so. Think about Volume 1 of the Tarbell Course or something similar. Dover Publications carries a number of fine and inexpensive public domain reprints, such as Hugard's "Modern Magic Manual," "Learn Magic" by Henry Hay, and "A Book of Magic for Young Magicians" by Alan Kronzek, as well as the first edition of Bobo's "Modern Coin Magic."

Good luck behind the counter --- who knows, you may be selling stuff to some future Harry Blackstones or Lance Burtons!! SETH
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Mar 27, 2019 01:38PM)
Great ideas!

I'm digging through stuff looking for a set of jumping gems.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Mar 27, 2019 07:37PM)
One of my most prized magic shop purchases, was Karl Fulves Self-working Card Tricks book. The Illusions Magic Shop owner here in Cleveland, Buck Bressler, showed me a single trick out of the book and it fried me. Bad. I asked how much the trick was and he told me it was out of a book that had a lot of other great effects.

Illusions has closed and Buck has retired, but I still reference that book to this day.
Message: Posted by: peppermeat2000 (Mar 27, 2019 08:52PM)
Professors Nightmare
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Mar 28, 2019 07:17AM)
Those are all great suggestions. I've sold several professor's nightmares. We have Fulves book on the shelf. I'll have to take a look at it on Sunday, when I'm back in.
Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Mar 28, 2019 05:44PM)
[quote]On Mar 27, 2019, Wizard of Oz wrote:
One of my most prized magic shop purchases, was Karl Fulves Self-working Card Tricks book. The Illusions Magic Shop owner here in Cleveland, Buck Bressler, showed me a single trick out of the book and it fried me. Bad. I asked how much the trick was and he told me it was out of a book that had a lot of other great effects.

Illusions has closed and Buck has retired, but I still reference that book to this day. [/quote]

Buck is still selling the rest of his inventory and some of his excellent book collection on Facebook. Magic for sale, groups. Check out some great deals on hard to find books!
Message: Posted by: sethb (Mar 28, 2019 07:08PM)
In the 1960's when I was visiting Al Flosso and his Hornmann/Martinka magic shop, he made sure that I always went home with at least one book in addition to the Chick Pan, Phantom Tube, Temple Screen, Milk Pitcher or whatever else I was buying that day. I eventually bought all six volumes of the Tarbell Course (this was before Volume 7 came out), and I even got a copy of Greater Magic from him.

But the first book he sold me was the best --- Bruce Elliot's "Classic Secrets of Magic." Anyone wanting to learn about the Egg Bag, the Cups & Balls, the Miser's Dream, the Ambitious Card and other great tricks would do well to get a copy. It's still available as an e-book on Amazon, and I'm guessing that used hardbound copies can easily be found at www.advancedbookexchange.com, which offers used books from thousands of booksellers in the US and the UK.

This in no way denigrates the DVD revolution, it just wasn't available in 1965! And there are some great DVD's like Michael Ammar's set on the Cups & Balls, Bob White on the Egg Bag, and the coin sleight videos by David Roth, just to mention a few. SETH
Message: Posted by: Julie (Mar 28, 2019 08:14PM)
Hello Kent

Talking Dice (2 dice in a six-sided plastic box) and Crazy Cube (1 die that fits into a small plastic cylinder with a lid and then that whole thing fits into a larger cylinder/lid that is an expanded version of the first) are both excellent tricks that are easy to pitch with an opportunity to make a comfortable profit.

Message: Posted by: Wx4usa (Mar 28, 2019 09:04PM)
I am down in your area fairly often so I must stop when you’re in. I am particularly fond of the TT. I had two injuries that have affected my cardistty and coin handling so I migrated to the TT. I love close up and the TT offers some incredible outside the box potential. Don’t overlook it. In a small store where I grew up I showed almost 100 different killer effects with the TT. That was 30 years ago. Perhaps I’ll see you one day soon on Cocoa. -Hal
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 29, 2019 06:27AM)
Glad to see you have the Fulves books available for sale. I have found that they are ideal for getting a serious beginner launched form tricks into magic.

So, I would suggest having an effect for each mastered (rope, coins, cards, etc). Then, when they show the proper astonishment and interest,
you can open the book and point to the name, page and description - plus the "easy to learn" aspect.

If they bite you baited hook, you can ask them back to demonstrate their proficiency (maybe a Saturday afternoon customer-based magic show)

Of course, you select the Fulves book from a shelf filled with "more advanced" books ;)

The salesman in me would look to creating a lifetime learner over a quick sale.
Message: Posted by: Wx4usa (Mar 29, 2019 02:57PM)
You’re so right Ken, recognizing the lifetime value of a customer is a missing facet of retail today even many magic shops. Many sell em once to never sell them again.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Mar 29, 2019 03:30PM)
Docc Hilford has a pamphlet about mentalism and bizarre magic with dealer items. I think it's called "Band of the Hand". I may be mistaken about the title....

It's nice to hear that you're still around Kent!

Best regards, Gaddy from SF (now in Portland OR...)
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Mar 29, 2019 08:35PM)
[quote]On Mar 28, 2019, kentfgunn wrote:
Those are all great suggestions. I've sold several professor's nightmares. We have Fulves book on the shelf. I'll have to take a look at it on Sunday, when I'm back in. [/quote]

The trick I'm thinking of may be one of the last or first in the book, but I can't remember what it's called. It's an extremely visual sandwich effect, where the performer squeezes the top and bottom cards of the deck with one hand, and with a quick flick, shoots the balance of the deck into his other hand. The spectator's chosen card is in the hand with the remaining top and bottom card...in the middle of the two.

It always gets a great reaction and extremely easy to do...but looks like advanced card control.
Message: Posted by: MGordonB (Mar 29, 2019 09:09PM)
Quick as a Wink
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Mar 30, 2019 06:26PM)
Scott Alexander was lecturing through Florida. He was pimping this updated version of a truly classic packet trick.

In stock at Royal Magic and . . .
The Magic Dove Shop in Cocoa Florida. You can come in on Wednesdays or Saturdays and see the demo live or . .

Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Mar 30, 2019 09:30PM)
Always fun to see that chestnut performed in the right hands. It fries, every time.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Apr 19, 2019 11:54AM)
Another Dove Magic Shop memory.




Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Apr 24, 2019 01:58PM)
The hits keep coming.

Madam Zolta!

Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Apr 25, 2019 01:51AM)
In the seventies I became friends with the owner of the Eagle Magic shop in Minneapolis. Then I started working behind the counter. As I was a computer guy I had little interface with the general public. I wanted to work at the shop to broaden my experience with John Q. Public. After some time working there I found I never got to know that guy. Instead, I found myself categorizing people when they entered the shop. I had criteria to determine how to sell something to each category I had organized. It is difficult to describe the categories as it was based on some kind of feeling.

Anyway, I was good. I only worked on Saturday. Normally the shop took in about eighty bucks on that day. After working there for awhile, I kicked it up over eight hundred a day. So here are some of my techniques.

When showing a magician a trick I would either fool them with the trick or explain how it worked. If the trick had some kind of fancy mechanism it worked well just to let the guy play with the fancy gimmick.

Then my sequence of delivery triggered a sale. When I brought out the trick to make a pitch, I would place the box it came in on the counter behind me. Then I would perform the trick for the customer. Eventually I found that I could not look at the person just after I fooled them. I would perform the effect then I kept my eyes down, and turned around as if fetching the box behind me. I took some time doing this. My goal was to allow the customer time to mull it over without me pressing on his space. Then I would turn with box in hand, drop it on the table and announce the cost of the item. I did not attempt a close. I just placed the box on the table and announced the price and waited patiently. I usually got the sale.

Another technique I used required a lay person browsing that was not interested in magic; especially if it were an attractive lady. Often these people would be after a gag headline and was waiting for the owner to print it. When I had a customer after a magic trick I would invite the waiting lady over to my counter to see something. I did the trick for her. Then she would say, “Oh my,” responding well. I would thank her for watching and she moved back to the other side of the store. My customer would usually say, “I’ll take it.”

Well, just thought someone would find this interesting.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 25, 2019 02:41PM)
Watching Color Monte, it occurs to me that it could become practically sleight free by stripping one or more cards. Has anyone ever tried that approach?

My vote for cheap effect that will fly out of the showroom on demo-ing is Wild Card.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Apr 26, 2019 01:06PM)

That was insightful. Thank you.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Apr 26, 2019 01:11PM)

Did you watch the Madam Zolta video? Regardless, we sell Wild Card sets. I never liked the Hamman count, so at the Magic Dove we do (a much abridged version) of Madam Zolta.

The subject of stripping the cards goes back a long way. In the video I'm using Scott Alexander's Pro Version of Color Monte. If you watch it you'll see how that idea pans out.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 26, 2019 09:02PM)
Oh my, just looked at Madam Zolta. I think that was the first trick I ever saw demod at Tannen's when I was a kid and I was hooked.