Friday, April 18, 2008

Is That A Box Of Matzoh I See?

Greetings from all of us at Hank Lee’s Magic Factory. Spring is definitely in the air! The trees are budding, the daffodils are in bloom, the temperature is hovering in the low 50’s. It’s the reason we put up with the hideous New England winters. So that we can enjoy the delightful New England spring. It’s a big price to pay, but on days like today it does seem worth it.
On the home front, Lucas is getting closer to making his college decision, every day. He was accepted at nine of the ten schools at which he auditioned. Only Boston University decided that they didn’t want Lucas. What’s the old saying about being a prophet in your own home town? Anyway, he is leaning towards Oberlin College. They have a wonderful classical voice program. And, the fact that the school is located exactly in the middle of nowhere (I’m sure I will hear about this) reduces the distraction factor and gives the kid a better chance to concentrate on his work. Of course, it’s not in stone yet, but we are getting closer by the day.
Aron is just about finishing up this semester in Gainesville, and will be home in about 10 days. I am really looking forward to spending some time with my elder son. I might even get us some tickets to a Red Sox game. Did I mention the Red Sox? In first place at the moment, even with a yet-to-be-hitting David Ortiz. Could this be another pennant year? Too early to tell (yes). It’s a long season (yes).
Our good friend Mike Maione has been taking “official” photos at the Conclave for the past few years. Great photos, for sure! If you would like to enjoy a slideshow of this year’s Conclave, just click here, or go to this link:
It’s a big file, so be patient, OK?
I am going to cut this a little short this week, as I am about to locate the hammock and get it set up so I can enjoy the lovely weather.
And now, to this week’s excitement.
DVD GIVEAWAY: This week it’s a plain old giveaway. You got it. A DVD Giveaway! For the next seven days, from right now until Thursday, April 24th, at midnight, you have the opportunity to get DVDs for free! But, you have to get them the old fashioned way. You have to earn them.
Here's the way it works. For every order of $100 or more, you get one free DVD (your choice of any single DVD that sells for $35.00 or less). If you spend $200 or more, you get two free DVDs (again, your choice). $300 or more gets you three free DVDs. And on it goes. The more you buy, the more you get for free! It's an incredible deal when you figure that the average price of a DVD is $35.00! In order to claim your free DVD, just put the name of the DVD in the Customer Notes Box at the bottom of the second page of the online checkout (after you fill in your name, address, etc.) at If you phone your order in to our toll free number at 800 874 7400, just let the order-person know what free DVD you want. If you FAX the order to us at 781 395 2034, same thing. Just let us know which ones you want. Remember, the giveaway ends on Thursday, April 24th, at midnight!

Now, let’s take a peek at this week’s Hotlist!
Combustible Ashtray: Another brand new one from Rick Haslett, and you are going to have all kinds of fun with this one!
The Combustible Ashtray will ignite flash cigarettes, flash paper, flash bills, flash cotton.
Just place the paper in the ashtray, and, on your command at any time, without touching the ashtray, the paper will go up in a flash!
Totally silent in working. So simple to use. $79.00 (10.1449)

Puzzle Paradox - Larry Becker and Lee Earle:
Show two 11 x 14 inch jigsaw puzzles; one is fully assembled in a thin poster frame and the other is still boxed. "One of the reasons jigsaw puzzles are - well, puzzling - is that they often use a picture that provides one set of patterns, cut into completely random shapes formed by yet another pattern. Most folks solve such puzzles through a process of elimination: they assemble the straight edged, outside pieces into a 'frame' and then work their way toward the middle. Some puzzle addicts find it more challenging to assemble the puzzle face down."
Shake the pieces inside the box, then open it for everyone to see the assortment of pieces inside. "Each of you take one piece, please," offer to three nearby participants, "and do your best to memorize its unique shape."
Taking another piece from the box and handing it to the first participant for comparison, you instruct, "Cup them in your hands and mix them. It will still be simple to pick out your piece because there are but two choices." Retrieve them from the helper and toss them back into the box.
Approaching the next person, you withdraw three or four more pieces from the box and hand them to that helper, saying, "Now you try it. It gets tougher with more pieces, yes? Although I suppose with fewer than half a dozen different shapes, it's still fairly easy." Those pieces are also returned to the box.
For the third helper you say, "Toss your piece back into the box." Give the pieces a shake and hold the lidless box for the participant to view the contents, "Your challenge is more complex; with a 250 piece puzzle, the odds against you finding your piece on the first try are 249 to 1."
"Unless," you remind, "you have assembled that puzzle so many times it's burned into memory, as I have with this one." Place the lid on the box, hand it to helper #3 and instruct, "Give the pieces a good shaking, please, then lift the lid just enough to take just one piece, hidden in your hand. Don't take a right angle corner piece - there are only four of them. Find an inside piece with no straight sides; there are more of those."
When the piece has been removed you set the box aside and say, "When I'm ready, hold up that piece, with the back side toward me, as I count to three. Understood? (Yes.) Go! One..two..three. Got it!"
Pick up the assembled puzzle, move his finger back and forth just above the surface as you view the shapes, stop over one of them, pry it from the puzzle, and say, "This is it. I'm positive."
"If you just compared the pieces, not everyone could see the result. Instead, try your piece for fit where I made the hole." The selected puzzle piece slips easily into place - a perfect match!
Here are the details that will drive you nuts: The puzzle box and frame are totally ungimmicked. There are no switches. Every piece taken is freely selected. When the participants compare their pieces there is no question that each is a truly different shape. You employ no sleights or moves and no memorization is needed. Nothing else is used, added, or taken away (ie: no plastic baggies, etc!). You get both custom made puzzles (one is fully assembled in the frame and the other is in the box) plus complete presentation instructions.
Puzzle Paradox is as clean as clean can be from the guys who originated the concept.
$149.50 (60.1516)

Radio Control Table: Rick Haslett has done it again! The RC Table is truly a mentalist's dream!
This table will allow you to perform numerous PK effects with the press of a handheld remote control. The table can be examined with no chance of detection.
Comes with a small pedestal that will ignite, at your control, flash paper, flash cotton, flash bills, etc. It will even pop a balloon.
The table allows you to perform many PK effects that you already own by remote control!
This is a real beauty, and we are so pleased that Rick has given Hank Lee’s Magic Factory the exclusive on the RC Table, which means you will find it here and nowhere else!
$749.00 (40.626)

Twister - Jay Sankey:
Unlike most key bend handlings, with Twister the just-examined key stays in full-view before, not just before and after the bend, but even during the bend! The audience actually gets to see the key bend without any cover and then you can immediately hand it out. No switching!!
You can even have the key initialed by a spectator and still do the incredible bend! Even crazier, A spectator can actually take hold of the head of the key and twist it a full 90-degrees! And again, you can hand it right out, no switching!
Twister comes complete with a specially machined gimmick and an exciting full-length instructional DVD featuring several different handlings including: -The Two-Handed Twist -The Nail Twist -Mike Skutt's Presentation -The One Hand Switch -The Spectator Twist -You'll even learn several ways to untwist the key! Also, because Twister features the same design of key as the best-selling Killer Key effect, the two make for an outstanding combination! $30.00 (40.628)

"Over the years I've performed several different bent key routines and handlings under real world conditions, but I keep coming back to Twister. It's super practical, great on angles, extremely easy and crazy visual!"
- Jay Sankey

Telethought Wallet – Chris Kenworthey: Want to leave your audience shaken, but not stirred? Desirous of creating a “Bond” with them? Now, you can take your magic to the extreme with Chris Kenworthey’s Telethought Wallet.
Imagine a spectator is invited to think of any word, symbol, picture, number, etc. She writes it on a card. The card is inserted into a sleek, black wallet, face down. Nothing is ever added or taken away. And there are no moves! Remember, without any moves at all, without withdrawing anything from the wallet, one hundred percent of the spectator’s information is delivered secretly, ingeniously, and imperceptibly to the performer. The principle relies on state-of-the-art, cutting edge technology. (It literally is something “Q” would create for James Bond!)
The Gimmick:
The gimmick is in view throughout the entire performance, yet the audience doesn’t know it. It yields the complete information to the performer and yet is absolutely indetectable! Keep in mind there are no electronics, no impression devices, no flaps, no moves whatsoever and yet the performer gleans every one of the spectator’s thoughts every time - guaranteed!
The Telethought Wallet will fool you and everyone in the audience. It’s that good! Elicit the professional expertise of a leading, world class leather craftsman. Infuse the creative mind-bending sophistication for performing the impossible for which Chris Kenworthey is known. Complement all of this with the preeminent and extraordinary research of one of Fortune 500’s most advanced “think tanks” and the result is an effect that will leave your audience breathless, speechless, and clueless. This, dear friends, is the day the magic world will change ... forever.
The Telethought Wallet is inspiring to say the least! For those of you who truly desire iconic impact, your search is over.
Available in two sizes:
* Shirt Pocket (4.2” x 2.75”) $59.00 (40.627)
* Secretary Style (7” x 4”) $149.00 (40.627A)
Throw out every peek wallet you own. They’re “old school.” Usher in a new generation of thought detection with the revolutionary Telethought Wallet. If you truly desire Extra Sensory Deception then the Telethought Wallet is for you.

Magical Moments With Bob Swadling DVD - Volume 1:
Bob Swadling, one of the most talented and also one of the nicest people in magic, has been a professional close-up magician for 16 years. He has performed at The Magic Castle and on The Stars of Magic in Hollywood, on TV Specials in Japan and also in Europe. He has been an advisor and technical consultant on many TV shows. He has won many top awards and is the owner of Swadling magic. He invents, manufactures, and performs his own brand of close-up magic.
Tricks Performed and Explained
* Lucky Lady
* Face Change
* 52-1
* Coin Through Handkerchief - Double Deception
* Coffee Cup Capers - Power Pack
* It's Amazing - Power Pack - Double Deception
* Commercial Matrix
* Acrobatic Card - Power Pack
* Twister
* Sympathetic Matchboxes - Performance Only
* Cigarette Vanish
* Up Close with a Frog - Power Pack
* The Kristal Card Stab - Performance Only
$34.95 (DVD00866)

Casino Cut Card - Thom Peterson:
More fun than a barrel of Pit Bosses!
(If that's what you're into)
The Magician shows the cut card. A cut card (you explain) is used to determine where to cut a deck of cards in blackjack. Three selections are made. One by one, the Casino Cut Card turns into each of the spectator's selections.
Looking cooler!
Lastly, the Casino Card is swiped along the remainder of the deck where...(Can you feel the tension?)...The card turns into a strange mish-mash of multiple cards - creating a sure-fire way to get kicked out of a casino!
A great, easy-to-do effect that instantly resets, and uses only one sleight. $24.95 (30.1325)

Magical Moments with Bob Swadling DVD - Volume 2:
Following on the success of Volume 1, Bob has released this exciting Volume 2. Often referred to as The Best Kept Secret in Magic, Bob has been professional close-up magician for 16 years. He has performed at The Magic Castle and on The Stars of Magic in Hollywood, on TV Specials in Japan and also in Europe. He has been an advisor and technical consultant on many TV shows. He ahs won many top awards and is the owner of Swadling Magic. He invents, manufactures, and performs his own brand of close-up magic.
Tricks Performed and Explained
* Coin in Bottle
* Bob's "No Moves" Coin box
* Is it a Circle, or is it a Square? - Performance Only
* CONnoisseur's Three Shell Game
* Signed Cards to Wallet
* Fred Kaps' Homing Card - Performance Only
* Torn & Restored Card
* Aces to Pocket
* Ring of fire - Performance Only
$34.95 (DVD00867)

Secrets Of The Octopus Deck Revealed - Bill Abbott:
Learn about the amazing deck that can manipulate, control & extract thoughts from absolute strangers! Bill Abbott’s Octopus Deck entertains audiences close-up and on stage and is now in an affordable Do-It-Yourself version!
The Octopus Deck Routine:
Begin by fanning the deck before two spectators and ask each of them to think of any card. After brief questions you instantly name the two freely thought of cards.
Wrapping rubber bands around the deck, you toss it to an audience member across the room and ask them to peek at any card. The deck is then passed to another person to do the same. Without any questions you name their selected cards.
Finally you ask two people to join you on stage. Removing the rubber bands from the deck you hand half the deck to each spectator and ask them to place the cards inside a pocket. The two spectators reach inside their pockets and remove any card and place it in another pocket, without looking at it. You write something on a piece of paper and hand it to an audience member. Both of the unknown cards, are removed and named out loud for the first time.
Your prediction is an exact match!
The Octopus Deck Details:
* The Octopus Deck can be freely shuffled by a spectator between each phase.
* There is no miscalling of the selected cards.
* The cards they see are the cards you name.
* Can be performed close-up and surrounded.
* Resets instantly for walk-around performances.
* The Octopus Deck is a complete mind reading act in 3 phases.
* The Octopus Deck can play to the largest audience, involving as many as 6 spectators in a single performance.
* Surefire and reliable so you get the right cards every time.
The Secrets of the Octopus Deck Revealed Package Includes:
Special cards made by The United States Playing Card Company in red-backed Bicycle cards. Complete details on how to construct your very own Octopus Deck in under two hours! The 21 page illustrated instructional booklet with detailed script with routines and ideas along with the complete history of the Octopus Deck researched & developed over the past 9 years. And as an outstanding bonus feature included is Bob Farmer's 'Fishing For Octopus' pumping system designed for the Octopus Deck and Paolo Cavalli's 'Radarama' script & pumping sequence, also formulated just for the Octopus Deck!
Pages 21 - Saddle Stitched. $49.95 (BK01576)

Cabaret Card Magic - Bill Abbott:
Have you ever dreamed of being a performer who can fill a room with personality, excitement and mystery, without resorting to a lot of props to do the filling? Does the idea of carrying a deck of playing cards in your pocket and having a limitless supply of entertainment options available to present to large audiences appeal to you? In this book, Bill Abbott reveals how to turn your card tricks into real magical experiences that can entertain and mystify large audiences. Proper selection of material, the effect of your performance environment on that material, as well as the use of stories and how to generate consistent applause are some of the tools Bill discusses in detail. Ultimately, what is revealed here is how to create commercial card magic for the stage. Bullet-proof performances that will work for any audience and in any environment. You already know that a deck of cards packs small. Now learn how to make it play big.
* Dedication
* Foreword
* Contents
* Cards On Stage
* The Princess & The Pea
* Pokerface
* The Last Romance of Diamond Jack
* EZ Action Ultra-Mental Deck
Pages 19 - Saddle Stitched. $24.95 (BK01574)

Praise for Bill Abbott's Cabaret Card Magic...
"As a professional magician for over 12 years, I am very picky when it comes to material selection for my act. Having read this booklet, I will be putting two of the routines directly into my show and I'm anxious to try out the third. Bill is a true artist. Whether it's an effect, a method or a presentation, Bill remains unsatisfied until he has created something truly unique. The routines in this booklet are a breath of fresh air for the stand-up performer. The effects are easy to do, the presentations are simple to carry out and their impact on a lay audience is HUGE! To top it all off, each routine is fully scripted, complete with all the lines, comedy, bits of business and psychology that makes each blockbuster routine play so well."
- Richard Sanders - from the Foreword

Foundations : The Art of Staging Magic - Eberhard Riese:
Although the art of magic does not only consist of tricks and technique, roughly 99% of all magic books mainly deal with these topics. "New" tricks, techniques and moves, those seen by the lay audience, upstage all the other, behind the scenes, backstage elements, which are equally if not more important to a successful presentation.
Eberhard Riese, director of many successful magic acts, recipient of the 2006 Creative Fellowship of The Academy of Magical Arts and for many years editor of the German magic magazine "MAGIE", puts his cards on the table: expounding his experience and his knowledge of all the "other" aspects of the creation and development of a magic act.
Beginning with the finding of an idea, he describes everything which is important: the designing of a stage figure, the equipment, the props and effects, the selection of music (or patter), the focus and plot of a presentation and much more. Numerous hints and tips which are really helpful to any artist aspiring to perform at their best!
Many examples are given from Riese's work in Stuttgart, so that one obtains a view into the working techniques used in the creation of many successful magic acts, among others those from Roxanne, Peggy Fox, Topas, Franklin, ChaPeau, Nils Bennett, Wave, Simon Pierro, Andy Haeussler, Dr. Marrax and other successful European magicians and Allied Arts performers, whose presentations were developed or improved with the techniques described in this book.
The book is a basic work in which no tricks are explained, however, it contains everything you have to know for the magic and performing arts.
Excerpt from Jim Steinmeyer's foreword:
"Something strange has been happening to Stuttgart. I first became aware of it years ago, when it became obvious to me, from many thousands of miles away, that this German city was turning out magicians - great magicians, creative magicians, innovative magicians - at a surprising rate. Perhaps it was something in the water? magicians from all around Germany were attracted there, made their pilgrimage and, like Lourdes, something miraculous was happening.
It wasn't until I had a chance to talk to Topas and Nils Bennett that I fully understood.
It wasn't "something", it was "someone", Eberhard Riese. Here was the catalyst, the inspiration and teacher to great magicians. When I finally met "Ebs," the founder of the Stuttgart group, it was hard to believe that this quiet, modest man was really capable of such alchemy. And then I heard him talk about magic. (...) I believe that Eberhard Riese's careful work in magic is beckoning to us. Through this text, this wizard of Stuttgart will have the pleasure of reaching many more serious students. They will see him, and have an opportunity to make the most of their own efforts: creative, determined, and innovative."
180 pages, hard bound, with a foreword by Jim Steinmeyer, numerous photos completely in color. $69.00 (BK01577)

And that, fellow kids, is this week’s hotter than hot Hotlist. All kinds of great stuff, just calling your collective names. And don’t forget about the Free DVDs, yours for the asking! As always, I hope you will find some time to spend with us either online at or in person at 102 North Street in Medford, just a few miles North of Boston! Either way, we love the company.
Hank Lee