Greetings from all of us at Hank Lee’s Magic Factory. It’s raining again. But, I am fully prepared. Slicker, Rain Hat. Galoshes. Ark. No matter what the weather people throw at me, I’m ready!
This week, I feel like I need to drag out the old soapbox. Lucky you! The topic is “Pre-Order” items.
I have been in this business of magic for 36 years. I remember when dinosaur magicians roamed the earth. Back in the olden days, we somehow managed without pre-orders. We sold items that had actually come into stock before they were advertised. Or, within a few days of being advertised. It seems intrinsically sound business practice. To be honest, things were different in the dino-days. New items were advertised by print media. Magazine ads. Our famous quarterly EXTRAs that were snail-mailed to thousands and thousands of customers.
But, the Internet changed all of that. Now, new items are advertised as being on “pre-order.” Which would be all well and good, if there was some rhyme or reason to the length of “Pre-Orders.” Some pre-orders are for just a week or two. Some, like the Little Man disaster, can be for two years. Why should anyone wait that long, having ponied up their money for an item that isn’t coming out anytime soon.
I have thought long and hard about simply not listing “Pre-Orders.” Just advertise the item when it is actually available. But, this would be tantamount to economic suicide. Every other dealer on the web would be advertising the hot new item. Hank Lee’s would be holding off until the item is available. And, the “cream” of the sales would go to the competition. It makes no sense from a business standpoint.
I know you are following along, and saying, “What’s the solution?”
For the solution, we must go to the source of the problem. It all started with the magic distributors and wholesalers. They are the folks who exist between the guys who manufacture the magic and the guys like us who live in the trenches of retail magic. It is clearly to the distributors’ advantage to create the “Pre-Order” mentality. By getting the magic shops to advertise and of course order the “Pre-Order” items, they keep the “machine” running at top speed.
Now, to the solution. Simple. The distributors should not advertise items before they are actually in stock. Or, if they advertise an item to the dealers, the dealers should not be allowed to advertise the item until it is in stock at the distributors.
That way, the playing field is level. Every dealer gets the chance to advertise the new items at the same time. And, to have them in stock or on the way to them from the distributor.
You, the customer, will get the new items far closer to the time you pay for them.
I think this is a great solution. And, I would love to hear from anyone who either agrees or disagrees. I am always at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This has been a long one. And, I apologize. But, it’s been on my mind a lot lately, and I felt I needed to talk about it.
FREE GIFT: For those of you who have read this far, I feel that you deserve a little something. So, if you are among the first 50 people to place an order this weekend, we have a very neat free gift for you! We have had some cool license plate frames made up. They say “I Love Magic” across the top bar. And, there is some little mention of Hank Lee’s Magic Factory on the bottom bar. If you would like to advertise your love of magic on your very own vehicle, just put the words FREE GIFT in the Customer Notes box and we will send one your way.
Now, to this week’s Excitement.
BUY MORE GET MORE: Starting right now and running through Tuesday October 25th at midnight, we are having a Buy More Get More event.
Here is how it works: For each order you place during the event, you will get a Promotional Gift Certificate which you can use towards any future purchase here at Hank Lee’s. The value of the coupon depends entirely on the size of your order. Here is the breakdown:
* Order between $25.00 and $100.00: Coupon is for 20% of the merchandise total. (Orders less than $25.00 get our sincere thanks, but sadly no coupon)
* Order between $100.00 and $300.00: Coupon is for 25% of the merchandise total.
* Order over $300.00: Coupon is for 30% of the merchandise total.
When you place your order online at www.magicfact.com, please put the secret phrase BUY MORE GET MORE in the Customer Notes Box of the online checkout. If you place your order by email or FAX, just include the secret phrase with your order. And, if you place your order by phone, toll free at 800 874 7400, please mention the secret phrase to get your coupon. The coupon will be sent along with your order and can be used whenever you wish, no expiration date. You will get a coupon for every order you place during the event. Just don’t lose the coupons, please. The Buy More Get More event includes every item we carry!
And now, this week’s Hotlist!
(1) Santa, Skunk & The Magic Chimney – Tommy James: Tommy James has done it again! His latest for the holiday season is a vanish, a homing card and a double card-onback all in the same routine!
Show the kids seven picture cards. There is a picture of Santa, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Christmas Tree, Candy Cane, A Present and a Skunk. A skunk? What does a skunk have to do with Christmas? Stink-ee. The skunk is even wearing a Santa
Have a child help to select a card. Explain that whichever card they choose will disappear in the magic chimney.
As you shuffle through the cards, the child tells you when to stop. They stop you at the skunk!
“I'm sorry. We can't use the skunk. He has nothing to do with Christmas. Lets get rid of him. Toss the skunk into your case.
Begin shuffling again and again the child tells you when to stop. They stop at the skunk!
“ I thought we got rid of that pesky skunk!” Discard him again. Show all the cards, one by one. No skunk.
Begin shuffling and once again the child stops at the skunk! The kids are in a frenzy.
Discard the skunk for a third time. Finally the child stops at Santa Claus.
Explain you will now make the picture of Santa disappear in the magic chimney.
Turn to get the chimney and there is the skunk hanging on your back! The kids go wild trying to tell you. You finally realize what they are telling you and remove the skunk from your back and discard him.
Place Santa into the chimney and cover him with a green scarf. Explain that when you say Merry and they shout Christmas, Santa will disappear. Merry Christmas! Remove the scarf and Santa is gone! But the kids can see that you're holding him under the scarf and are quick to let you know.
Admit you've been caught. Bring Santa from under the scarf and explain that Santa did not disappear because they didn't say the magic words loud enough. Really? Really.
Replace Santa in the chimney. Merry CHRISTMAS! Remove the scarf and he is gone! Once again, the kids see you holding the card under the cloth. Once again admit you've been caught and remove the card. Guess what? It’s a picture of the skunk! You don't see the skunk but the kids do and they go wild trying to tell you. Finally you see the skunk, react and discard him.
“I guess I did make Santa disappear! Yes, I did, I just made Santa disappear! Do you know what that means? No Santa equals no presents! Bummer. Do you think we should bring Santa back?”
Cover the chimney and have the kids say the magic words. Whisk the scarf away, but no Santa. Repeat this a few times but still, no Santa.
“I guess Santa isn't coming back, boys and girls.”
Turn around to put the chimney away and Santa is now hanging on your back! The kids go wild! Remove Santa and have the boys and girls give themselves a nice hand
for doing their magic and bringing Santa back.
The routine is super easy to perform. Add some comedy wands to make this even funnier. Can we suggest Tommy James' Comedy Christmas Wand?
The cards measure 4.5" by 6.5" and are printed on quality stock. The chimney is beautifully silk screened and the stand is removable for packing. Complete with the gimmicked cards for the double card on back, green opaque scarf and complete instructions with routine and patter. Another winner by Tommy James!
Note: This is a non-discountable item.
(2) Restored Credit – David Regal: Imagine a flashy, quick-hitting trick that is always in your wallet, always ready to go, never needs a reset, and uses a unique gimmick to create the impression of advanced sleight of hand…
That’s Restored Credit.
Restored Credit is a broken-and-restored credit card routine. It was explained in Approaching Magic and it is now realized with beautiful custom-made props.
David performs this trick perhaps more than any other, as there are so many opportunities to bring out a credit card in everyday life. But even if you don’t carry credit cards, you can do this trick!
You receive a custom-made gimmicked credit card, a matching un-gimmicked card, and an instructional DVD. You will love the gimmick, as it creates a beautiful illusion and the trick practically works itself.
(3) Chill – Tom Wright: A brand new concept by underground sensation Tom Wright.
Imagine being able to perform the classic Haunted Deck while the spectator holds the cards.
A card is freely chosen from a regular deck of cards. The card is openly lost in the deck while the spectator holds everything.
Now, without you touching anything, the cards cut themselves in the spectator's hands!
The selected card then slowly crawls out the deck, and immediately everything can be examined. You have to see this to believe it.
Precision made gimmick included
Use any pack of cards
No table required
Nothing is attached to the deck
Fully examinable before and after the effect
Everything happens in the spectator's own hands.
Very easy to do; comes with an instructional DVD
Note: This is a non-discountable item.
(4) Production Truck Illusion – Wayne Rogers: Paul Romhany presents Wayne Rogers Production Truck Illusion.
Perfect for Trade Shows and Corporate Events.
This very commercial prop will be a valuable addition to any stage show. Perform it completely surrounded under any working condition - the ultimate production of a person and perfect for product launches.
Simple to customize by attaching company or product signage to the sides of the truck.
Remove product from the interior before producing the magician's assistant.
Think of the possibilities!
Wayne Rogers' Production Truck Illusion book comes complete with full color working plans by Las Vegas illusion builder Tim Clothier. Plus detailed photographs of each individual part that makes up this extremely commercial illusion.
A Special Bonus is included to help make this illusion even easier to construct.
It's the ideal illusion for a magician to build at home.
32 pages. 8.5" x 11" Perfect Bound - This is a full color book with plans included.
"I have known Wayne Rogers for over 30 years, and his creativity is something I have always admired about him. He has a skill not only in design but also in building quality props. Everything he releases on the market has been tested throughout the years in almost every possible performing situation. The Production Truck Illusion is a good example of this. He still uses the very first one he built. Over time he made slight modifications, and the end result is a highly practical and impossible production of a person. Wayne has performed this in pretty much every possible situation, and it's perfect for trade-shows, production launches and general cabaret shows." - Paul Romhany
(5) Vertigo – Rick Lax: On the edge of reason. On the edge of logic. There is Vertigo.
Vertigo is a mind-bending, logic-warping demonstration of skill. Vertigo takes you one step closer to the edge.
Remove the cards from the box. Show the box empty. Delicately, you set the box on the edge of the deck.
Slowly, you release your fingers. The box remains suspended.
That's not the end. It's only the beginning.
Set the cards - all 52 of 'em - on the edge of the empty box. Once again, remove your hand. This time, the entire deck remains suspended.
It looks impossible, but it's easy-to-do once you've mastered the secret.
Perform Vertigo standing up or sitting down. Use your favorite pack of cards. No threads, no wires, no magnets. Self-contained. Instantly reset. And the best part is, when you're done, you can hand the cards out or go right into your favorite card trick or cardistry demonstration.
Note: This is a non-discountable item.
(6) Sweet and Sharp: Brings the classic Smash and Stab right up to date. A fantastic routine with a killer twist your audience will never see coming.
Sweet and Sharp leads the audience up the garden path then hits them right between the eyes.
Choose to do the effect without the nail and you have a Smash and Stab which can be adapted to a find the candy routine, ideal for the children's magician. The candies can be handed out and the nail can be removed from the effect completely.
This is really organic, totally baffling and unbelievably good.
Note: This is a non-discountable item.
(7) Revelations – Claude Bix: Claude Rix is a great magician, known all over the world. He has traveled worldwide presenting his lectures and counted among his friends Fred Kaps, Ali Bongo and Pavel.
Come and discover his excellent trick The Dice. He has fooled many magicians with this trick over the years and you finally have the opportunity to get it in a beautiful collector's box.
Show a deck of cards face up to the spectator, mix the deck and the viewer is invited to choose a card. The card is returned to the deck, which is then mixed.
Deal the deck into six packets on the table.
The spectator rolls the die.
The packet corresponding to the number on the die is the one that will be used.
Take this packet and deal the cards into six piles, and once again the viewer is invited to roll the die. The pile matching the number on the die is the one that will be used. When this final packet of cards is dealt into six piles, the very last card is the chosen card!
With this new version you can finally show all the deck before you start, during and at the end. The audience will really feel like they witnessed a real miracle.
The Revelation set includes:
The trick "The Dice - Ultimate Version"
A special Bicycle deck of cards
The explanation DVD in French, sub-titled in English
7 photos from Claude Rix's personal collection
(8) The Enigma – Paulino Gil: Enigma has been a feature of Paulino Gil's impromptu work for nearly 30 years.
A wonderful close up effect in which a loop of string penetrates through the fingers again and again under increasingly impossible conditions.
Enigma was one of the most talked about tricks at the Essential Magic Conference and is now released for the first time.
The routine builds one impossibility on another as first one loop of string, then two strings and, finally, a chain, penetrate the fingers of the magician's hand.
Easy to do. Always ready.
Comes complete with instructional DVD and all the props.
Note: This is a non-discountable item.
(9) Al Koran – The Unique Years – Martin Breese: This new book, compiled and edited by Martin Breese, gathers together all of Al Koran's magazine articles from the Magic Wand, The Gen, The Wizard and Pentagram. It also features virtually all of the commercial effects that Al released via the Unique Magic Studio in London. Included as well are the effects that Al released himself while living in the USA.
The book includes a great introduction and article about Al Koran by the amazing mentalist Peter Zenner. Illustrated throughout by Phil Shaw and has a fantastic dust jacket designed by Paul Griffin.
Here are a few comments:
Richard Kaufman: "The name of Al Koran is still legendary many years after his death and this book will tell you why."
Steve Shufton: "Al Koran's influence continues to thrive in the magic and mentalist communities. What an extreme pleasure I had in reading this, the latest Al Koran work released by Martin Breese.
Larry Becker: "This is an absolute must for Al Koran fans and gathers together his magazine contributions and commercially-released effects - all in one book."
Ben Harris: "Exceptional material in an exceptional book."
Peter Zenner: "I was very pleased to be able to contribute to and be involved in such a worthwhile book." man born Edward Charles Doe, who carved out a unique spot for himself under a new name. Did you know Koran performed a magical/musical act entitled 'Song & Sorcery?' I didn't; and I found this a fascinating piece of information, especially given the reason why.
200 pages. - 9.5" x 6.5" Hardbound with dust jacket - Illustrated with line drawing and black and white photographs.
Note: This is a non-discountable item.
(10) The Mark – Steve Fearson: By now you've undoubtedly seen those new-fangled Quick Response codes or QR codes. They're those little square grids printed on products and in ads, they're popping up everywhere. You point a mobile phone or device at them and they are able to interact with it in various ways.
QR Codes are the future of marketing. At the moment they're also a novelty and a curiosity.
Almost everyone has a cell phone or mobile device. Over 30% off those users already have a code reader installed. That means at least one person in any small group is likely to have one. And people love using them
The QR Code can also store someone's personal data, like an electronic business card. And believe it or not, more than a few forward-thinking people have embraced the technology entirely and actually tattooed their scan code on their hand!
It's absolutely true. But most importantly, it makes for an interesting line of patter that will engage your audience's attention immediately!
That having been said, Steve Fearson is helping you to get in on the act with Magic QR Code Tattoos. These high quality temporary tattoos are easy to apply and remain crisp and vivid for up to a week. They'll stay on through showering, swimming, etc. Each one reveals a playing card on the mobile device or cell phone when scanned. No internet connection is necessary.
A card is selected and held by the spectator, hidden from your view. You tell the spectator that scanning the tattoo on your wrist with their phone will enable them to see your thoughts, and that you are going to attempt to visualize their card. They scan the tattoo and see that you were indeed thinking of exactly their card!
The tattoo is a great icebreaker, it will capture your audience's attention immediately.
In addition to the basic routine, Steve includes two bonus effects!
You deal cards face up onto the table, one at a time. The spectator stops you at any time. The cards before and after the selection are seen to be different. It seems there is no way you could have known which card they would select. You introduce the code tattoo, they scan it and it reveals the name of the card they selected!
Or how about this?
You ask a beautiful woman to simply think of a playing card. No cards are used, they just think of a playing card. When your tattoo is scanned, it matches exactly!
Your package includes 9 temporary tattoos. 6 hand or wrist sized and 3 shoulder sized.
(11) Magical Mathematics – Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham: This new book reveals the secrets of amazing, fun-to-perform card tricks, and the profound mathematical ideas behind them. They will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it. Each card trick introduces a new mathematical idea, and varying the tricks in turn takes readers to the very threshold of today's mathematical knowledge. For example, the Gilbreath Principle — a fantastic effect where the cards remain in control despite being shuffled — is found to share an intimate connection with the Mandelbrot set. Other card tricks link to the mathematical secrets of combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, topology, the Riemann hypothesis, and even Fermat's last theorem.
It’s like magic meets The Big Bang TV Show. Magical Mathematics covers the mathematics of juggling and shows how the I Ching connects to the history of probability and magic tricks both old and new. It tells the stories — and reveals the best tricks — of the eccentric and brilliant inventors of mathematical magic. Magical Mathematics exposes old gambling secrets through the mathematics of shuffling cards, explains the classic street-gambling scam of three-card monte, traces the history of mathematical magic back to the thirteenth century and the oldest mathematical trick — and much more.
And that’s this week’s Just Ten Days Until Halloween Hotlist. Which begs the question, “shouldn’t you be visiting our Halloween Shop by Clicking Here? Of course you should!
This week, as in all weeks, I want to personally thank you for taking time out from your busy schedules to visit with us at Hank Lee’s Magic Factory.
Whether it’s online at www.magicfact.com or in person at 102 North Street in Medford, we do love the company!