Cyril Takayama is American-Japanese magician who started his career as a teenager busking on the streets of Shinjuku in Tokyo. Today he is regarded as one of the best magicians in the world. The entire one-hour video above is worth watching, but I've queued it to his signature card-through-the-window trick. [via]
Magician Dan White performed a great trick on the Tonight Show on Friday. He gave Jimmy Fallon a quarter asked him to pocket the coin. Then White turned his back and told Fallon to put his hand back in his pocket and either put the coin in his hand or not, then hold out his closed fist. White guessed correctly all three times, and ended with a great surprise. I'm 100% fooled.
Andrew Mayne is a magician, author, and TV show host. He's also coming to our Weekend of Wonder (September 18-20) to teach us all how to escape from a straitjacket. Andrew just wrote an intense true story for The Life Sentence about the time he was seventeen and invited an adult man who was selling a used straitjacket to come to his house so Andrew could try it out and possibly buy it. His parents weren't home at the time, and when Andrew was strapped in and helpless, he had an "Oh shit" moment:
I was unaware of the “handcuff tricks” employed by Corll and Gacy when I was being strapped by a stranger into a straitjacket, a restraint that made me extremely vulnerable.
“This came from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital,” the man explained as he yanked on the leather buckles, cinching them tight around me. “That’s where John Hinkley, Jr., the guy who shot Reagan, is held.
“One more strap.” I couldn’t feel my arms. “They’ve got lots of serial killers there. You ever heard of William Minor?”
“No … Was he a killer?” I nervously asked while trying to see if there was any slack at all in the jacket.
“No. He helped write the dictionary while he was there. Ended up cutting his own dick off because he had bad thoughts about children.”
“Huh … ” I replied, attempting to slide one numb arm under the other.
“Can you get out?” the man asked.
Could I get out?
Because I’m writing this years later, we can all deduce that I wasn’t murdered that day. Much later on, when performing escape acts, I came up with a line about finding a love letter to Jodie Foster in the sleeve. But back then, securely fastened inside a device legally considered cruel and unusual punishment, I didn’t have the certainty of knowing I’d somehow find my way free. My sheer stupidity quickly dawned on me as the man asked me that question. In that moment, I resolved two things. The first was that if he came near me, I would do everything I could to inflict as much bodily damage upon him as possible. The second was that I would never, ever put myself in a similar situation if I could help it.
Read the rest of this essay here. Buy the way, besides teaching attendees how to get out of a straitjacket, everyone who comes to Weekend of Wonder will get a free copy of Andrew's latest novel Name of the Devil, which features a magician-turned-FBI agent named Jessica Blackwood.
For a long time the needs of magic dragons everywhere have been overlooked by playing card manufacturers. Why spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds? What about flames, flowers, paws and… ok let’s not mess with the diamonds. And why are there no Magic Performing Chihuahua Cards? If you’re a magic dragon, those are pretty integral. And the box does even have its own stand? Weird.
So I decided to change all that.
Introducing the Piff the Magic Dragon Deck of Playing Cards! Two years in the making and breaking pasteboard boundaries.
The tuck box is based on my Tacular. So I called it a Tuckular. The original Tacular has legs that unfold and pop out to convert it from a suitcase to a table. They are based on something called a Harbin stand, created by Robert Harbin, one of the greatest magical minds of the 20th century who also happened to be an expert origami enthusiast. When I was on tour in 2012 I came up with a playing card version of it which planted the seed of a complete deck of cards.
We’ve been able to add some sweet stretch goals along the way, with options like metallic green ink, gold Piff coins, sandwich cards and even some stickers. I really want to make it to $50k so we can produce some tiny Mr Piffles’! The dream!
I worked with Claire Blackledge, an artist in the uk, who has created all of my branding and images. She started on these t-shirts (attached) and I loved them so much I got in touch with her and asked her to do more. I think she really knocked this project out of the park.
I’m pretty excited (well, as excited as a magic dragon can be) about these cards. Fingers crossed we can make it to $50k and complete our stretch goals!
The Invisible Deck is one of my favorite trick decks because the effect is simple and stunning. It blows people’s minds.
Take a look at this video above of David Blaine using the deck on a man in the street.
As you can see in the video, Blaine walks up to a man and hands him a deck of cards, which are in a closed card box. While the man is holding the deck, Blaine asks the man to visualize a card in the deck, and to imagine it turning over in the deck.
The man says “ten of diamonds.”
“Check this out,” say Blaine, taking the deck from the man and removing the cards from the box. He fans out the cards. All of them are face up but one: the ten of diamonds. The man is visibly stunned.
“That is unbelievable. That is just terrific. How’d you do that? How’d you do that? It’s so mind boggling I don’t even know what to say about it.”
I used the Invisible deck on my friend and he had a similar reaction. He told me the next day that he was up all night trying to figure out how I did it. (Of course I didn’t tell him.)
I have written a book about making trick card decks (available soon!) that will include instructions for making an invisible deck. If you don't want to wait, you can buy an Invisible Deck from Amazon for under $10.
Dots Impossible ($10) is another trick that fooled eagle-eyed, always suspicious Carla. I fanned a packet of six cards, face down, and told her to pick one and put it face down on the table. Then I showed her the faces of the other five cards. Each had a large red dot. I asked her to flip over her selected card - it had a blue dot. I repeated the trick. No matter which card she picked, it was the odd one out.
This trick uses a simple but effective sleight which is very easy to learn.
With this deck of cards, you can ask a spectator to name a card, then riffle the cards to play a flip-book movie that ends with a little cartoon character pulling the named card out of a hat. The judges of Britain's Got Talent seemed impressed, even the mean guy. You can get the deck for $9 including shipping on Amazon.
I sort of have a love affair with beautiful boxes and my friends and family know it. Recently, I received a couple of wonderful trick boxes from a new friend, Marcel. He ordered them for me from a company called Hakone Maruyama Inc.
Each of these trick boxes has a secret for you to discover in order to get it open. This brown one, in which they call “Small box 4”, took me about 20 minutes to crack.
It was very satisfying.
This lighter one is called “Small box 5” and it is devious. It took me an hour and a half to open and it was worth every minute.
Over time, I definitely will be picking up a few more.
Thank you for the box, Marcel!
I’ve recently discovered the line of cool pocket-size magic tricks made by Tenyo, a Japanese company founded in 1960 that has gained a cult following among amatuer magicians. Tenyo magic tricks are original, clever, and easy to perform.
One of my favorite Tenyo tricks is Flash Dice. It consists of a plastic box and six dice. You can do a number of effects with it. For instance you can put the dice in the box randomly, close the lid, give the box a shake, then lift the lid to reveal that the faces of the dice are arranged in order from 1 to 6. Another shake randomizes the dice, and another reveals the dice are arranged in order from 6 to 1.
Another trick you can do with Flash Dice: Give one of the dice to the spectator and ask him or her to set it on the table with any number they wish facing up. You put the other five dice in the box with random numbers facing up, place the lid on the box, and shake. When you lift the lid, all the dice will show their chosen number.
My 12-year-old says this is her favorite magic trick ever, and Carla (editor of Wink) can’t figure out how it’s done, and she is very hard to fool.
$12 Buy one on Amazon
Only you can make the Imp Bottle lie on its side. When spectators try, they will discover that the bottle stubbornly refuses to stay down. This trick has driven many people insane throughout the years. The secret is a tiny imp inside the bottle that is loyal to you alone. It requires no feeding or care.
Performance video below.
The Imp Bottle is $4 on Amazon with free Prime shipping. https://youtu.be/SpPrMyeB1WU
I use the Stanley SortMaster Junior Organizer to keep my magic tricks organized. It has removable dividers so I can change the size of the compartments, and you can stack and carry up to three organizers at one. Stanley SortMaster Junior Organizer ($16) on Amazon
The Secret Box ($10) is a small metal canister with a lid. Hold it between your fingers and shake it. It will rattle. Hand it to a spectator and ask them to shake it. They will feel and hear something inside the canister. Open the canister and show the spectator that nothing is inside - it is empty. Replace the lid and shake it again. It rattles. Open the canister and hand both pieces to the spectator. They can inspect it as carefully as they want. They won’t find anything out of the ordinary.
I like the muted hues of the Bicycle Pluma deck. The red ink has a lot of brown in it, as if you are looking at the cards through dark sunglasses. The pips are different from the standard Bicycle deck, too -- more old fashioned looking.
The coolest thing about this deck is that, unlike a standard Bicycle deck, the Pluma has a "one-way" design on the back -- one of the leaves under each the four wings is white (the other three are blue). There are a lot of magic tricks you can do with a one-way deck.
Even when you know how it's done, a well-performed cups-and-balls routine is pure magic. Enjoy this entertaining history of one of the world's oldest (it dates backs to ancient Egypt) and most enduring tricks. My favorite part of this excellent presentation is the video of magic great Dai Vernon's routine (Click on the Performances section).
The brass coin squeeze ($15) is a well-designed trick that I've been pestering my friends with lately. It consists of two brass tubes and a brass cylindrical block. The tubes snap together and the brass block fits between them. It looks like nothing can penetrate the tube, but you will show the spectator that you can melt coins right through the plug.
The trick comes with an excellent DVD that shows you how to perform a couple of basic sleight of hand moves (which are optional, but can be used to good effect when performing this trick).