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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Rings, strings & things » » Martin Gardner's Skeleton Key (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Mephistopheles
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Perhaps about 30 years ago, I owned a trick called Martin Gardner's Skeleton Key. It consisted of a key attached to a folded metal holder. The trick, or puzzle actually, is you can make the key pop out like a switchblade and no one else can do it. It was made by Montandon Magic in Oklahoma. The only thing I have left is the package. Anyone have this?
Mephistopheles
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Picture of key and package.

Click here to view attached image.
Dick Oslund
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It's listed in a Roger Montandon Catalog @ $.50

The catalog is not dated, but must have been from the late '40s, as there is a Juggler's Bulletin ad, dated MARCH 1947.
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Bill Hegbli
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Is this like Magic Christian's Click Blade Knife from Magic Inc.?

http://www.magicinc.net/clickbladeknife.aspx
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

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Dick Oslund
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I was wondering about Christian's click blade, too! But, all I could remember was "click blade"!

The click blade, apparently was a basic tool (in his country) that Christian "developed" into a "cute and clever" novelty. It was fascinating! He sold a "whole bunch of 'em!!
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Dick Oslund
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P.S.: ha! I just opened the Magic Inc. "link" that Bill, so thoughtfully provided.

The "Inc.'"ad mentions Jay's routine for the KNIFE THRU COAT which Jay showed me back when the click blade came out. It's a GREAT KNIFE THRU COAT that is totally IMPROMPTU!

JUST ABOUT ANY SMALL KNIFE, PLUS A BIT OF "TECHNIQUE" AND TIMING, PLUS A BIT OF SHOWMANSHIP IS NEEDED. I have >>>USED<<< Jay's knife thru coat for 40 years.
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Bill Hegbli
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I had it, did not get it, you hold the knife closed at the fingertips, then with your other hand, hit the hand holding the knife. It would flick open and closed. That was all there was to it. Magic Inc. included the late great Jay Marshell's Knife thru Coat instructions with it, that is really why I sent for it. That was back in the 1970's. It had a wood handle back then, now it looks like they have a plastic handle. Same pinkish purple color.
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Dick Oslund
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Bill! I'll PM you!!!
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Mephistopheles
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Not sure if Gardner's Skeleton Key is the same as Magic Christian's Click Blade Knife. The Gardner effect worked with a sort of "paddle move" that flicked the key out. The key had 3 pieces and no springs or gimmicks. Consisted of a key, holder and bolt. I wrote to an email address for the former owner of Montandon Magic, but it is probably out of date.
Bill Hegbli
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Looking up Montandon Magic, it was in Oklahoma and owned by Roger Montandon, who was born in 1918, so he would be 98 years old now. The shop was started in 1941 and well through 1949. So this is well lost to time and changes in magic. It said that this shop also published "Over the Coffee Cups" by Martin Gardner. In the 1960's Louis Tanned Magic and Magic Inc. carried the book. So either D. Robbins aks E-Z Magic or Magic Inc. now have the publication rights to the book.

http://www.geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Roger_Montandon
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Bill Hegbli
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As a young guy, receiving the Click Blade Knife, I had not attended the Christian lecture, lack of getting the word out in those days of no Internet. So you only found out by he left over products the lecturer left behind with the dealer.

None of the ad copy or the instructions said anything about this being a "I can do it, but you can't" effect. Now that makes sense. Which they would have put that in the instructions. Maybe it would have helped putting all that practice into use.

Don't know if the puzzlement is as good as the old Ring and Spring challenge effect, but it would have made sense at least.

The Click Blade Knife is totally un-gimmicked, nothing secret about it, just the knife and the method used to open and shut the knife, on its own. No springs, wires, magnets, stings, threads, anything.

Just don't take a knife in any government or school building these days. You will be delayed for sure.
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Mephistopheles
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Finally found a video for the Click Knife. It is NOT like the Skeleton Key. Oh well, I will keep searching. Maybe someone with a 3d printer can make the skeleton key. Click Knife video here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NsU7dEtBbw
StarManager
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Wow a giant purple knife like we all carry . . . .
"I'm a professional magician and once in a while I even work." Jonathan Todd Excelsior (StarManager)
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On Sep 22, 2016, Mephistopheles wrote:
Finally found a video for the Click Knife. It is NOT like the Skeleton Key. Oh well, I will keep searching. Maybe someone with a 3d printer can make the skeleton key. Click Knife video here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NsU7dEtBbw



What do you mean it is not like the Skelton Key, it looks to me like the key would word very similar to the knife. Magic Christian may have altered the method, but see that round quarter moon in your picture. That would work the same by running your finger over the end.

If you mean it is not a Key, of course not, it is a knife.

You have to face it, they are no longer made, the only place you might find if you live long enough is on eBay. Why not just for fun, use their picture feature and check. I can guarantee you it will not be in magic collection.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

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"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
indysmagic
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After buying a click knife at a local auction, I ran across this post searching for info. I realized that I had the same skeleton key in a storage container. I pulled it out and cannot seem to make it pop open. I cannot use it at all as one would the click knife. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On Oct 16, 2019, indysmagic wrote:
After buying a click knife at a local auction, I ran across this post searching for info. I realized that I had the same skeleton key in a storage container. I pulled it out and cannot seem to make it pop open. I cannot use it at all as one would the click knife. Any help would be greatly appreciated!



Are you saying you cannot hold the key container "tightly" at your fingertips, not obstructing the key, and tap your hand holding the key container, with the other hand, at the base of your hand, making the hand bounce a little, this action causes the key to pop out open.

You don't tell us what you are doing, so how can we know you are doing anything correctly. They guy in the video used his thumb.

Anyway, the guy that started this thread wants to buy the key, sell it to him.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
FrankFindley
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Boy, what an obscure effect. And it is from Martin Gardner!

I've checked the major archives and only thing found is original ad copy from August 1946 confirming time period Dick stated above.

Image


No published routines, reviews, IBM/SAM meeting perfomances, auction listings, etc. come up. Also very surprised that it doesn't seem listed in Gardner's books unless I am missing it.
FrankFindley
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Oh wait. It is in Karl Fulves Prolix issue 9 page 623, 2011. Here is what conjuringarchive.com summary says:

"Jumping Skeleton Key- on Martin Gardner's Skeleton Key, and knife that jumps out of handle when the performer handles it (Magic Christian), also with nail file, credit information"
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