Batteries Not Included…

Batteries_Not_IncludedI stumbled upon this trick by accident and it quickly became one of those “gems” you find yourself performing at every opportunity. It is contagious. Whenever I teach a fellow magician “Batteries Not Included,” they end up performing it just as often.

When I perform the trick, it is usually because there happen to be two batteries lying around; a friend is changing out the batteries in a remote for instance. Double A are best, but you can sometimes do the trick with D’s and C’s too.

You can carry a couple of batteries in your pocket to perform anytime.

“Did you know those batteries are magnetic?” Pick them up and lay one next to the other lengthwise. Nothing happens. “Oh wait, you have to rub them together to get a static charge.” Now, hold one battery and the other is magically – supposedly magnetically – stuck to it. When your friend tries it, there is no such magnetism.

If you would like to learn how the trick is done and share with your friends and family, Click here and place a FREE ORDER of Batteries Not Included.

Dracola: A Bloody Good Trick!

dracola_gerald_kirchnerIn the late ’90’s, everyone in the world had their eye on newcomer David Blaine. Including me.

One night, as I watched Blaine’s newest television special, I waited anxiously to see what amazing thing he would do next. He picked up an empty, crushed beer can and was like, “Look, look!” I looked. He moved the can around in a circular motion and it popped back into shape. He waved his hand over the can—the opening resealed—and the can was brand-new again. He cracked it open and handed it to one of the spectators, who took a refreshing swig of crisp beer! The spectators totally freaked! And rightfully so.

My first thought? Camera tricks.

My Second thought? Gross!

He found the can on the ground and asked someone to drink from it—that’s disgusting! Plus, “discovering” the can is weak in my opinion. I knew there was a more dramatic way to perform the trick, so I tinkered around with the idea: is it possible to “resurrect” a can from the dead?

After developing the final routine, my first victim—Ahem! Spectator—stopped by the warehouse to pick up his order. I showed him the trick, which now included the unexpected draining of the can, Dracola style. He was floored! And he was familiar with Blaine’s performance, so it was even better. He said it was like two different tricks—Blaine’s routine just sort of happens. Dracola explodes!

Later, I learned the version Blaine performed was a culmination of ideas from John Kennedy, Anders Moden, and Tim Ellis, who later produced the trick in booklet form, calling it “Healed and Sealed.” Other magicians came up with similar ideas as well, but Healed and Sealed was the best known at the time.

Unlike Healed and Sealed, you can perform Dracola impromptu with a can right out of a vending machine. Thanks to one of magic’s favorite tools, I was able to eliminate many of the weaknesses of the effect—namely, starting with an empty can. The routine itself plays a part too. The vampire theme offers the freedom to drain the contents of the can and to “revive” the soda by returning it back to its original state, inside and out, right in front of your spectator.

Try it yourself and see firsthand the power of this amazing trick. Get Dracola for less than 10 bucks! You will enjoy fooling your friends and family, convincing them you are the true Dracola! Do you hear that? It’s the children of the Sprite. Bwahahahaa!Picture 1

 

 

TV Stuff Still an Easy Sell

dobsonIt is impossible to infer exactly how many lives Wayne Dobson has changed for the better. If we focus only on magicians, perhaps the number is obtainable by simply saying—anyone who has ever seen him perform live or on TV.

It’s not that Wayne is so magical that magicians think of him as some all-powerful wizard. It’s that he is so damn funny you will never forget him. And you’ll find parts of Wayne Dobson’s act—his comedy—creeping into your own performances and even in your daily life.

Wayne Dobson is a master of routine. His beginning, middle, and end are right where they ought to be. He’s done the hard work—the homework—and he has made good magic accessible to other magicians.

That word, accessible, has two meaning when I use it here. His magic is accessible—available to any magician who shops magic stores that stock quality magic—and it’s accessible, meaning within the performance ability of just about anyone willing to learn.

Wayne Dobson’s DVD’s turn happy customers into happy magicians who will reward you with their repeat business. An easy sell. Fun to watch. Comedy that’s both intellectual and slapstick.

TRY IT FREE!

Get Wayne Dobson’s Choice TV Stuff volume one FREE with orders over $40. And get one additional unit FREE with every $40 you spend. Write “DOBSON FREE” in the comments box during checkout to qualify. Start shopping now!

Centsational: The Popularity of Coin Magic

Phlye_copper_english_penny__77807_zoomOne can miss completely the coin section of most magic shops with one quick blink. Compared to the mammoth array of card tricks, coin and money magic are a swirl of soda at the bottom of a Big Gulp.

Why?

It’s not like there is any less demand. A good coin trick is a miser’s dream! When a clever coin trick hits the market, it makes its way through the community like a brush fire, igniting a renewed interest in the classics as well as the cutting edge.

And maybe that’s it: old coin tricks never die.

Coin magic is the wine of the industry, getting better with age. Scotch and Soda is still as popular today as it was when it was first released, only now even lower-end manufacturers have enough experience to make every set a premium version.

As I am writing this article, a fresh supply of Folding Quarters and Bite Coins arrived at the warehouse, and several dozen went right back out the door.

As new gimmicked coins and coin sets are produced, they become part of the infrastructure. The community will always require them like a wall requires its bricks. A few years ago, Chastian Criswell released Cartel Coins and Phlye. Both items are now classics.

Magic shops who want an item with demand—a culture of demand—ought to consider cleaning up and pushing their coin department.

Beginner sets are an easy sell to new magicians looking to add to their repertoire, and longterm magicians looking to restore the coin gimmicks they already own. Focus too on premium coin sets such as Cartel Coins and Phlye. You, and your customers, will relish the change.

Dotcha! Magic and Mayhem with the iPhone

iPhoneGif

I love phone tricks. I have five DVDs available on the subject! I also have a book devoted to iPhone tricks and gags entitled, Magic and Mayhem with the iPhone. It doesn’t have a release date yet, but it’s coming soon. Stay tuned!

Since I’m always on my iphone, I thought, why not try and come up with a fun little gag to share here on the blog? I use iMessage a lot and so I decided to play around with that. What’s my least favorite part about texting? The waiting for a reply, of course. You know, the three dancing dots that pop up as the person you’re texting is texting you back. I’ve had to stare at those three dancing dots many times. That got me thinking, wouldn’t it be funny if you could just leave that text bubble floating there? How long would someone sit waiting for a text that wasn’t ever coming? Turns out, people will wait an almost unbearably long time. It’s pretty funny. As you can imagine, I proceeded to torture friends and family with this gif for days.

text1

I created the Dotcha! gif on Photoshop. The initial image was good, but I wanted to see if I could find a better image elsewhere. Google didn’t have the images I was looking for, but I did find a post on cnet by Jason Cipriani describing the same idea. He almost had it right. What’s the difference? His bubble gif does not look like the iMessage bubble gif. So close!

I’m offering it here to all those who love mischief and pranks for free. Enjoy!

Click Here to Download your copy of Dotcha! by Gerald Kirchner, It’s FREE!

QR Code

Williams Magic on Loyalty, Trends, and the Filter Factor

Emory C. Williams, Sr. and his wife Nathailia.

Emory C. Williams, Sr. and his wife Nathailia.

Magic is cyclical, and very few people have seen the cycles from Emory Williams, Jr’s point of view. He’s multigenerational, mobile, online, and brick and mortar.

Williams Magic has one of the best reputations in the magic business. There is “just something about the way they do business,” said one magician on a magic forum.

The well-known magic shop, founded by Emory C. Williams, Sr. and his wife Nathailia, operated in the same location for twenty-four years in Tucson, Arizona. Recently, Emory Jr. moved the business to Vail, Arizona.

In addition to their online store and their Vail location, Williams Magic also operates the world’s first, full-service mobile magic shop—traveling across the nation bringing magic to areas that are otherwise void a retail experience.

We caught up with Emory Jr. to get his take on what makes a great magic store and what he feels are the positive and negative trends affecting the magic business today.

Wholesale Magic: I hear it all the time, “…since Williams Magic closed.” Did you close your store, or are you still open for business?

Williams Magic: Well, we didn’t go out of business if that’s what you’re asking. We did close the shop we had on 22nd Street in Tucson for 24 years. There were a number of factors involved in that decision. For example, one big reason was when the stock market took a dive in late 2007/2008 our business took a dramatic downward turn. The economy captured everyone’s attention and people stopped buying magic. That was the real turning point when I decided to create the world’s first fully-mobile, full-service magic shop. That project began to consume my time and attention until it came to fruition in early 2010. In 2012, the economy was not recovering as we had hoped, and with me spending more time on the road it became much more difficult for my parents to run the Tucson shop on their own.

AvatarThe bottom line is we divided our business into three different focuses. One is our web site which I recently rebuilt with an entirely new look. Another is our mobile shop. The third is our small, local business in the town of Vail, AZ, where we maintain a local presence to serve the Tucson magicians and the Vail kids, beginners and tourists.

Wholesale Magic: Your Mobile Magic Shop is quite popular it seems from the chatter online. Do you see a good turnout from longterm magicians on location?

Williams Magic: That’s a very interesting topic that needs about an hour to discuss. First, we only stop for clubs and long term magicians. Our mobile shop is not designed for the general public, only for magicians. When we plan a trip through an area we contact the local clubs and ask them to get the word out. When we first visit an area the clubs usually bring out a good number of magicians but it seems the more we return to the same area the attendance gradually declines. There are a number of reasons for this as well. Membership in local clubs across the country is dwindling due to economic reasons, employment related issues, simple attrition and other factors. But the verbal support never dwindles. Everyone who comes out expresses gratitude for our stop and they indicate how much they wish us success with this venture.

Wholesale Magic: Very few shops have your customer loyalty. Your customers talk about you with such passion. What do you offer that makes William’s Magic so special in their eyes?

Williams Magic: My Dad and Mom have now been in business over 47 years and they built Williams Magic from the ground up. They have always run a customer focused business with the highest integrity. They treat everyone as they would like to be treated themselves and actually try to entertain and serve the customer. When a new person walked into our Tucson store they were overwhelmed with magic entertainment, free refreshments, smiles and genuine care. When a magician walked into our store we tried to determine what they needed or wanted and did our best to provide those items. We never tried to “sell” them the latest and greatest magic item on the market. Instead we always tried to establish a personal relationship with them for the long term. We sincerely enjoy our business and develop customer relationships based on trust. I’m a third generation magician and that’s what I continue to do with our web business and our mobile magic shop. I guess you could say we never try to “trick” our customers.

Wholesale Magic: I have heard you say you act as “a filter” for magicians, what do you mean exactly?

Williams Magic: There are so many new magic items hitting the market every single day that it is difficult for anyone to keep up. We do our best to review and evaluate new items to determine their practicality and worth. We try to filter out the really bad stuff and only recommend the good items. Since we have a web site that extends around the world and we ship to many countries, we list (and sometimes stock) items that we don’t like because some customers insist on buying what they “think” they want without asking questions. But if a customer will simply ask us our opinion we will tell them what we think of an item. Too many magic sellers today are more interested in “selling” their product, regardless of whether the customer can actually use it or not. I try to learn more about my customers by asking what they perform, what they like, what they don’t like, then I make specific recommendations for them but I never pressure them or try to “sell” to them. I will demonstrate the items and stake my reputation on those recommendations.

Wholesale Magic: What magic industry trends have you most concerned?

Williams Magic: There are so many, where do I begin? One of the biggest and saddest trends is that we are losing all the traditional brick and mortar magic shops. Some people don’t consider this a problem, in fact, they think the online world is better because of all the so called social media. The problem is the magic shops cultivate magicians, online media such as YouTube shows bad magicians teaching bad magic to a whole new generation of bad magicians.  And I won’t even mention the irresponsible exposure of magic secrets. I come from a time when magicians respected the art and each other. That is no longer the case.

As magic shops close magic wholesalers lose outlets through which to sell their inventories. After magic shops close magic wholesalers will begin to close. After magic wholesalers close magic manufacturers will begin to go out of business because they can’t sell enough of their product to make a profit.  As manufacturers go out of business the new generation of magicians will lose sources for good, quality products at reasonable prices. We’ve already seen the closure of Morrissey Magic in Canada, possibly the largest and most respected manufacturer of aluminum magic products in the world. This is not a pretty spiral.

Today’s magicians are more into pranking their friends (and strangers) than they are into entertaining audiences. Customers today are always looking for “something new” rather than something to add to their act. After they have pranked their friends, and their friends’ friends, they need new things. The most common questions a customer asks are, “What’s new” and, “How much?” This relegates the art of magic to the level of puzzles. That’s not what real magicians are about.

Wholesale Magic: Are there any wholesale-specific trends that have you concerned?

Williams Magic: I don’t like the new way of “pre-selling” magic.  We are being bombarded with hype about the latest and greatest products that will be “the hottest selling product of the year” and we are required to pre-order a dozen or so even before it hits the market. I’m tired of buying the proverbial pig in a poke, then getting stuck with it after everyone finds out it’s no good. There seems to be no way to stop this.

I think it’s wrong the way some online dealers are given preferential treatment. They sometimes get shipments with exclusive rights for 30-days so they can sell to everyone while we have to wait until “the next shipment.” By then our customers have either already bought the item or have decided they don’t want it so that hurts our bottom line.

Wholesale Magic: What new magic industry trends do you think are positive within the community?

Williams Magic: I’m not certain I have an answer for that. It seems some wholesalers and dealers are trying to adapt by offering online lectures and education but I’m afraid it’s too little, too late. I’m not optimistic about salvaging magic as we have come to know it. I believe magic will pass through a cycle where people will lose interest, then it may eventually rebound but I have no clue what it will look like then. That will be long after I’m gone.

Wholesale Magic: Do you see a spike in your brick and mortar (or mobile sales) after a televised magic program?

Williams Magic: Not at all. Many people enjoy watching magic but most people don’t have the personality to want to perform. After a televised program a few of our magician customers will come in and ask if we saw the program but it doesn’t increase sales. New people who wander in after a televised program usually ask questions like, “Does he have real powers?” or they’ll comment on how much they enjoyed the show but they still don’t buy. Televised magic shows have never really helped us at all.

Wholesale Magic: Which famous magicians do you hear about the most out on the road… maybe a top three in order?

Williams Magic: Well, number one would be me because I’m standing there in front of them.  Just joking. I guess it would be Criss Angel, David Blaine, David Copperfield. Those are the most mentioned in casual conversation. Usually these names are followed by, “What do you think of them?” for the first two, and, “We haven’t heard much about him lately” for the third.

Wholesale Magic: Still having fun in the magic business after all these years?

Williams Magic: We do enjoy demonstrating magic to the new people at our roadside shop in Vail because of the excitement and sense of wonder in kids’ and beginners’ eyes. And I enjoy meeting with the magicians across the country with our mobile shop. But we are all saddened to see what’s happening to magic in general, the way new items are marketed with slick videos, the instant downloads, etc. The magic business used to be a business run by magicians who sincerely wanted to serve other magicians.

Would you like to see your magic shop or your favorite magic shop spotlighted by Wholesale Magic? Contact us for details.

Customers Xtreme: The Tudor Movement

Tudor_2013__79401_zoomDon’t let the name fool you. Tudor 2013 isn’t dated material now that it is 2014. Rather, the timestamp is like a journal entry, necessary to someone—Brian Tudor—who, at a relatively young age, grandfathered a significant movement in the magic industry.

There was a time in the early 2000’s when the debate between “to flourish or not to flourish” reached a pinnacle point. Half the magic population was against it, the other half really didn’t understand the negativity.

With the release of SHOWOFF, Brian Tudor changed the argument. He took it to the extreme. Flourishing—card manipulation—became a separate entity. Fans of the craft finally said, “Fine. If you don’t want visible card manipulation to be part of magic, we’ll do our own thing.” And they did.

Brian Tudor’s Showoff, Showoff II, Showoff III, Card Sharp, and Generation Xtreme influenced a movement that is not only alive today, it is… in a word, flourishing.

So when you see the title, Tudor Twenty-Thirteen, realize it’s not time-sensitive material. It is a chapter in an ongoing saga. It’s part of a movement. Customers crave Tudor’s work because it is entertaining in a way that some do not understand and others cannot live without.

If you don’t stock Brian Tudor’s DVD’s, you probably haven’t experienced the demand firsthand. The demo video sells the DVD online, and playing the DVD in your store on an overhead TV will net sales all day long. Image how a student inspired by Tudor can spread the word of card manipulation—and your store—to a whole school of potential new magicians.

Kovari: The Ferrari of Chinese Sticks

ultimatekovar__19699_zoomChinese Sticks have become a cheap prop, the bulk of which are manufactured for beginners. By the time these beginners perform paying gigs, the Chinese Sticks of their youth feel like children’s toys. And, for the most part, they are children’s toys. Though there are some quality Chinese Sticks available today.

The clunky weights and plastic tubes of slum-Sticks are nothing more than an inexpensive way to expose magicians—sometimes the audience as well—to the secrets of a classic trick. However, when Chinese Sticks are performed properly with a quality set, the trick is incredible. We forget what a lasting impression a good Sticks routine has on an audience—it’s the stuff of legends!

As it is, magicians unfamiliar with Kovari Sticks may browse right by them on the web, but in a brick and mortar store, a set does not often gather dust on the shelf. Kovari Sticks are one of those products that exceeds all expectations. Upon opening the box via a mailorder transaction, the customer may feel overwhelmed at first—the solid construction, unique design, and epic performances to come.

Due to the price, I won’t say that the Kovari Sticks are an easy sale. But they are a solid purchase. Your customers will recognize immediately that Kovari Sticks are to Chinese Sticks what Ferrari is to automobiles. Jay Leslie’s attention to detail and his extensive knowledge of both magic and craftsmanship make these Sticks collectable as well as functional.

Despite their dramatic presence on stage, Kovari Sticks are still mailorder friendly—easy to ship and a very low return rate. Storefront merchants will like them too—the return on investment has a fast turnaround time. Bring them in. Sell them out!

Big Box of Magic Still a Thing to Cherish

impcard__13544_zoomIn the early part of the previous decade, a trick hit the market that quickly became a best seller and a consistent source of inspiration for magic creators.

Impossible Card in Bottle by Gerald Kirchner “And Friend”—later revealed as Aaron Smith—was an amazing value; a shoebox-size package filled with magic. It appeared interesting on the web with its old paper label and struck a monumental pose on the shelf of magic shops around the globe. Still to this day, the big box adorned with the familiar cover on the front gets attention even without a demonstration.

When Impossible Card in Bottle was first released, it was an era in the magic industry when it was still desirable to pack as much value as possible into a magic product. Creators who invented a gimmick would create multiple tricks made possible by the device. Even if only one trick was advertised, the item might arrive with a big book of extra ideas for the magician.

This value-packed rule applied to the tricks themselves too. In those days, almost every new trick had at least three phases. As Aaron said in a subsequent writing about magic in general, “One phase is a stunt. Two a puzzle. Three phases is magic.”

Today, tricks are released with just a single phase—stunts in magic packaging. The days of long-form, detailed instructions have been replaced with short overview video clips. Tricks like Impossible Card in Bottle pool into a collection of recent classics—“super tricks” that represent and transport the magician to an era not-at-all obsolete. A chunk of our history that stands proud.

Over the last fourteen years, there have been many tricks that use the concepts from Impossible Card in Bottle and pretend they are new ideas. And to new magicians and magic creators, they are new ideas. There has been and always will be overlap of this nature in the magic community. The problem is—or ought to be—many of those new products focus on a single section of a much larger picture.

In the past, if a magic inventor approached a jobber and demonstrated a single-phase routine, the jobber would decline the trick: “Come back when it’s finished.” Now days, the response is, “We can’t put full retail on this, but we can offer it as an instant download.”

Over time, Impossible Card in Bottle became a family of products, including Impossible Cap in Bottle and Impossible Bill in Bottle, also by Gerald Kirchner “And Friend.” They released another popular bottle trick, Behold the Scarabaeus—a borrowed cellphone magically enters a borrowed water bottle—featuring Fort Knox Coins to Bottle and the bonus, Dracola, a healing soda can effect that starts with a new can instead of a supposedly discarded one.

If you are looking for magic—a big box of magic that has inspired magicians and creators since its release—be sure to stock Impossible Card in Bottle and pitch it to your customers. Better to buy all this magic in one place, than to accidentally get the same trick sold separately.

Shattered Hearts Blows Minds

Shattered HeartsThose of you who read my article, Card Tricks Make a Comeback, know that I really like card magic. I get excited whenever a new card trick comes along. Seeing the trick for the first time is part of the appeal, especially when it fools me or surprises me–catches me off guard.

In the late ’90’s, my friend Chris Brent created a trick called Shattered Hearts. It fits the description above perfectly. We were hanging out at a magic convention in Dallas, Texas and he says, “Do you want to see a new card trick I’ve been working on?”

Of course, I was intrigued. Chris is super-talented. But I really didn’t expect much when he started off with the standard, “Pick a card.” I did as he asked. I returned the card to the deck and he lost it in the pack. It seemed so simple. Even up to the moment when he revealed my card and asked, “Is this your card.”

“Nope,” I said with a wink and a smile.

What came next was totally unexpected. I have seen my share of pick a card tricks, but this, this was special. “Hold your hands out like a cup,” Chris said. And then he snaps the card and hearts flutter down from the face like snowflakes on a bloody-cold winter’s day. Six hearts to be exact. “Was your card the Six of Hearts?” he asked.

“Yes! Yes, it was,” I said.

I was so impressed. The trick was amazing and I had to have it for myself. Chris and I chatted a bit, and as we turned to go back into the dealer’s room, the one and only Phil Goldstein–Max Mavin–was standing right in front of us. Chris had Max do the same pick a card bit, ending with that incredible “raining hearts” finish. In good Max fashion, stroking his chin, he says, “interesting!”

Max liked the trick just as I had. Magic City inked a deal with Chris that night. Today, every magic shop across the globe has the opportunity to carry Shattered Hearts, a signature trick by my friend, the talented Chris Brent.

Want to get in on the action, too? Amaze your customers and ink a sale every time you demo this killer trick. Buy twelve Shattered Hearts, GET TWO FREE! I’ll call it my “Jobber’s Dozen.” Add a dozen to your cart on Wholesale Magic and the site will automatically give you two Shattered Hearts 100% FREE!

Order today and put “double order” in the comments box and I will send you four Shattered Hearts FREE!

Google