Friday, May 30, 2008

Triple Points!

Greetings from all of us at Hank Lee’s Magic Factory. I must tell you that I had the most enjoyable Memorial Day weekend ever. Actually, Saturday and Sunday were a little tough, as Bonnie presented me with her official Honey-Do list, and this year it was a good one! Clean all the deck furniture; scrub the deck, both front and back; move the tables out into the backyard, set up the chairs, hang the decorations. Wait a second, this is starting to sound like a party. And you know how much I love a party. Well, it was a party, on Monday. And it was a fabulous party. Four of the Senior Moms (which is to say Moms of Seniors) got together and threw a graduation party for Lucas and three of his friends. It was a great idea, and we had over 200 people during the four hour event. Over 100 of them were hungry teenagers. So, the food was devoured as if it has been attacked by locust. The good part was, well, every part. I can’t remember when I had a better time at a social event. Even when the policeman showed up at the door (and you know it’s a good party when the cops show up even though it’s two o’clock in the afternoon). Seems some cars were blocking the street and needed to be moved. Darn, I thought we were making too much noise. Maybe next time.

This morning at work, I came across an old wooden soap box. So, I decided what better time and place to hop up on the soap box than right here, and right now. My soap box subject of the day is “Demo Videos.” We have a ton of them in the Hotlist and the Online Catalog at In the old days, we made them ourselves, and you can still find them by clicking on the HankieVision Button. In the beginning, demo videos served a very important purpose. Watching the demo, you could see what the trick looked like in performance without having to visit the local magic shop. As it turned out, this was not such good news for the local magic shops as it turned out that people preferred sitting at home in front of their computer in their pajamas watching tiny little videos rather than visiting the local magic shop and interacting with live human beings. But, I digress. People worked very hard on their demo videos. Making sure that the video showed the trick in its best light without resorting to video editing and video trickery to dupe the customer. Ah, but my friends, this has all changed. In the past year or so, demos videos have become nothing more than a minute and a half of sizzle and not much steak. It’s like watching a music video where they left out the music. Everyone who produces demo videos tries to out-produce the next guy. Snappy intros, state of the art fancy-shmancy editing, cutting edge technique, even more cutting edge, the cuttingest of edges. But, hold on a second. With all the video hoopla going on, someone forgot about the trick. Oh, yeah, the trick. Isn’t that why you’re watching the demo in the first place? When all I see is a little glimpse of what just might be a magic trick, and it’s shot over the performer’s shoulder so his hands are all but blocked from view, what’s the deal-eo?
Want to know what I think? Doesn’t matter, because I’m going to tell you anyway. I think you want to see the trick. Ideally, performed by the guy who invented it. Done so that you can enjoy the effect and maybe be fooled. And, if not fooled, at least be really pleased with the method and think, “what a clever idea!” Is this too much to ask? Or do I need to watch a cinematic tour of Las Vegas in order to see a cool card trick? I thank you for your attention.

And, now to this week’s excitement.

TRIPLE POINTS: The Hank Lee Rewards Program has been up and running for the past week, and people are collecting some serious points. As a reminder, for every retail dollar you spend with us at Hank Lee’s, you will get one Reward Point. Twenty Reward Points can be redeemed for one dollar in merchandise. Two hundred Reward Points gets you $10.00 in free merchandise. And on and on. The points are automatically added, and your point balance will appear on the invoice that comes with your order. There is no limit to the number of points you can collect. The points will not expire, so you can use them any time. All you need to do is tell us how many points you want to redeem when you place your next order (if you are ordering online, just put the number of points you would like to redeem in the Customer Notes Box and we will deduct the proper number of dollars from your order total). We think it’s a great idea. The perfect way to save for future orders! What could be better?
I’ll tell you what’s better. Triple Points! That’s right, for the next seven days, until June 5th at midnight, we are giving you Triple Points! So, for every dollar you spend, you will get three points. The points will add up so fast that you won’t believe it! And you can use them with your very next order or with an order you place a year from now. The points never expire. So, buy some magic and watch those points accumulate!

Now, let’s take a look at this week’s Hot List!

Sweeney’s Revenge: The goriest of the gory, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Sweeney's Revenge is a gory new effect from MagiCurios inspired by the Straight Razor used by Tony Andruzzi.
Produce an old wooden box and explain that the contents used to belong to the infamous barber, Sweeney Todd. Open the box and produce an old rusty, cut-throat razor, stained in blood.
The razor is handed out and examined. It is returned to you, while you tell the story of how Sweeney would kill his victims in the barber’s chair. One theory is that Sweeney was possessed by an evil spirit. Your theory is that the razor has something to do with his murderous intentions.
Suddenly your eyes roll back, the blade is extended and plunged into your thumb. You slice right around your thumb (you can see the blade go right in). Blood pours out of the wound onto the floor.
After a few terrifying and gory moments, you regain control and drop the blade back into the box. Wipe away the blood, nursing your wound.
Of course the wound is miraculously healed.
Again, this is not for the faint hearted. The razor can be examined before and after the performance and it really looks like it cuts into the flesh (not a mere blood pump)
You get the special mechanical razor, a great storage box lined in velvet and of course the bloody script! $149.95 (60.1523)

Duplicity – John Bannon: Part Two of the Fractal Card Magic series is John Bannon's classic mental card transposition - Reloaded.
A red-backed Ace from one packet changes places with a blue-backed Ace in another packet.
The selected Aces appear face-up in each respective packet. Then their backs prove to be different. As a final climax, all of the other cards are shown to be blank!
Everything is examinable. Perfect for mentalists, table-hoppers, and card magic enthusiasts!
Step-by-step DVD instructions and a photo-illustrated e-book illuminate the workings of Duplicity. All necessary cards, specially printed by the U.S. Playing Card Co. are supplied. $14.95 (30.1344)

"Twisted Sisters is one of the best-selling card tricks of all time. I like this more." - David Regal

Paths To Enchantment – Malcolm Yaffe:
Most children's magicians depend on props to entertain their audiences. Readers of books on the subject of children's magic expect to find detailed accounts of tricks and routines. While this book has plenty of these, its central purpose is to set out in the form of a blueprint a method to enable readers to improve and devise their own routines.
The majority of children's entertainers are so obsessed with obtaining and trying out the latest innovation that they seldom search within themselves and discover what new ideas they can apply to props they already own. One block to such personal invention is the lack of a systematic structure the performer can apply to the task, a foundation on which to develop entertaining ideas from the subconscious.
Paths to Enchantment is believed to be the first cohesive attempt to analyze those aspects of a successful performance, one that gives pleasure to children. Malcolm Yaffe, a veteran of children's magic with more than thirty years' experience in the field, has identified and defined eleven essential techniques on which to build fresh and successful presentations for the tricks you already own:
They See, You Don’t; The Frustrated Wizard; Fantasizing; Animation; Business, Participation, Involvement; The Mischief-Maker; The Success Factor; Add-Ons And Compatibility; Storytelling; Chaos; Emotional Appeals
After explaining each technique, he illustrates how it is applied, using dozens of examples drawn from his professional repertoire, among which are several prize-winning routines and presentations. Included are Yaffe's imaginative re-dressings of such classics as:
Forgetful Freddie; Fantastic Frame; Multiplying Wands; Rope to Silk; The chair Suspension; The Mutilated Sunshade; The Egg Bag; The Gung-Ho Production Box; The Light And Heavy Glass; The Giant And The Dwarf; Crazy Compass; The Linking Rings and more!
Also revealed are completely original utility props and tricks, such as:
The Skeleton Hand In Wand; Fly On Lapel; Marvin The Watch Repairing Mouse; The Magic Card Shop; The Skull From Bucket; The Multiplying Wand Box.
Clear and engaging in its unique approach, Paths to Enchantment maps out the routes necessary to arrive at a higher level of success and professionalism for those who entertain children or who wish to do so. Its content breaks exciting new ground by giving children's magicians and clowns a step-by-step system designed to help them discover their own creative talents and increase the intensity of entertainment in their performances.
255 pages in deluxe hardcover. $39.95 (BK01582)

Presto Ring Flight: A spectator's ring vanishes and magically appears attached to a key chain that was being held tight by a spectator!
Tony Clark's Presto Ring Flight uses no reels and looks like an actual key chain used by most people.
The magic happens in the hands of the spectator!
Comes with step by step instructions with photos to make it easy to learn in a short time.
Plus a free Bonus Effect: Card Flight
A card is selected and shuffled back into the deck. The magician has the spectator cup their hands around the key chain. He tells the spectator that just like their ring, their selected card will magically appear on the key chain. Magician snaps his fingers and tells the spectator to open their hands and see what’s happened. When the spectator opens their hands, they don’t see their card on the key chain. Finally the magician instructs them to look under the metal flap and they are amazed to see a mini playing card that matches their selection!
$35.00 (10.1454)

Psyche – Andrew Gerard: It starts with a coin from their pocket; it bends in their hand and in front of their the end they are left with a bent coin they signed.
Andrew Gerard's dirty little secret is out!
No bending devices are used during the performance of this effect. The only thing that gets bent is your audience's mind.
$44.95 (20.390)

Torn Too - Daniel Garcia:
From the mind of Daniel Garcia comes a torn and restored card routine that will make you smile.
A card is selected and signed.
You explain: Your "secret" is a small "CRIMP" you put in the card so you can find it.
You demonstrate: Your "CRIMP" is actually a hilariously large chunk that you tear off of the corner of their signed card.
You explain: This "CRIMP" allows you to cut to their selection "just by feeling for the missing part".
You confess: There's one small problem with your method... sometimes a spectator with "a highly trained eye" will notice the extra piece. With this, you pick up the torn chunk of card from the table and place it on top of the spectator's signed card.
You give the deck a couple of tiny shakes to position the chunk into place. As you wipe your thumb over the tear, the card is visually restored.
Immediately hand your spectator their signed card. It's completely restored.
Now take a moment to relax and enjoy and bathe in the love. You're completely re-set for the next table. $30.00 (30.1343)

Touch Tricks DVD Vol. 1:
Just download and install the files, and from the very beginning you'll be on your way to learning everything you need to know to perform magic tricks on your iPhone or iPod touch.
No difficult 'sleight-of-hand' techniques. You're going to understand the "how" and "why" behind the illusions, in less than an hour.
Here's a detailed overview of the tricks explained on this DVD
Postcards from the Prefrontal Cortex
You’ve just received a very special postcard and have it in your iPod. Ask your audience to think of several different things: numbers, letters, geography and even a zoo resident.
Then, before anyone says a thing, turn around your postcard and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you knew exactly what they were thinking of!!
Thought Whisper
This effect is an ultra-modern twist on a true classic! Ask your audience to think of a number. Turn on your iPod and show them a new piece of “software that is sensitive to thought waves.” Moments after starting the application, the screen shows a fan of cards and you ask them to again just think of one card. Now the application turns the faces of the cards down, and proceeds to tune into their thoughts, only to pull aside one of the cards. The faces of the remaining cards are turned back over, and it is seen that the very card being thought of by the spectator has been removed!
And the Winners are...
You love movies… and it shows!! You’re about to create a new “magical academy” with your volunteer, and about to blow them out of the water. They make 3 choices… a food item, a movie parody title, and best performers (x2) for the award show you and your audience are about to attend on your iPod.
Everything is done in the open and on the "up and up." Not only did your volunteer make all the choices, they also got all the winners right!
Can I Get Your Number?
The unknown and supernatural realms are fascinating subjects in our culture. You’re about to show someone that there might just be something to the idea of Numerology (the study of the meanings of numbers and their influence on human life) and Color Readings (the study of color influence on personality, choices, etc.)
Your volunteer just thinks of a number and through some revealing insights from the colors they’ve selected, you are able to tell them exactly what number they were thinking of, without anyone writing anything down! $19.95 (DVD00878)

Erazer 2.0 - Adrian Gower:
This is one trick you will want to get your hands on.
Adrian Gower has taken the Brainwave effect to new and exciting limits.
A card is named by your spectator. A blue backed deck is spread between your hands. The named card is seen to be the only card that is face-up. The named card is now turned over to show it has a red colored back! Now to prove you knew this card was going to be selected you show all of the other cards to be blank!
This is a fantastic, easy to do effect with an amazing triple kick!
$30.00 (30.1012)

And that’s this week’s shorter than usual Hot List, but, hey, it was a short week and I was really busy moving all those cars around on Monday. So, I could only bring you the very best of the best, and I do mean the very best. Which brings me to the topic of next week’s Soap Box Derby. Just you wait.
For now, I hope you will find some time to spend with us either online at or in person at 102 North Street in the fine town of Medford.