Friday, December 3, 2010

From the elves at MAK Magic


WOW, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and a Thanks Giving Feast all in one fantastic week!

The staff here at MAK Magic wishes you all the best during this holiday season. We have been as busy as Santa’s elves. Receiving shipments of all of the coolest magic going and boxing these gems along with some of the best standard magic to ship out to dealers around the globe.

My guess, there are going to be a whole bunch of very happy magicians looking under the tree this year.

Just so you know, we received some very nice items from Magic Depot and Trick Masters as well as the final shipment of Mikame Craft magic.

We will be back to our usual schedule of blogging after the first of the year. Look for new articles on magic products, routine ideas and marketing notes.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

MM

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The season approaches 11.04.10





The holiday season is fast approaching. Folks are already making plans for their Thanksgiving feast. Retailers around the country are decorating for the holidays. Okay, maybe it’s a bit early. However, it is not too early to start stocking up for the holiday sales rush.

Most of us, if not all of us who are in magic started out with a magic set that we found under the Christmas tree or as one of the gifts we received during Chanukah. The point here is, that we were introduced to MAGIC at a very magical time of the year!

We learned cups and balls, ring on string, card effects and in some cases if you were lucky enough to get one of the bigger sets, a mirror box. We would spend hours entertaining our aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings. As the months would pass and the weather warmed up, we would create magic shows in basements or backyards and treat the neighborhood kids to all the tricks we now had perfected.

Those early shows, performed with a towel wrapped around our necks as a cape and our grandfather’s hat to serve as a top hat, introduced us to the one thing that we loved to do... Perform magic.

As the holiday season approaches, wouldn’t it be a good thing to pass those wonderful feeling of being able to amaze and fool family and friends with magic on to the next generation?
MAK has over thirty magic sets in stock. From Pocket Magic Sets, of which there are twelve, to the Ultimate Magic set with over 300 magic tricks. Check out the selection and get them onto your List for the holidays!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Off the Top


Just off the top of Carroll Baker's head...When someone hears the word “Magic” or “Magician”, what is the first thing that they think of? In a non-official survey, 7 out of 10 always thought of the old “Rabbit in the hat trick” and the other 3 thought of a magician in a top hat and tuxedo.

Do you have a top hat? Is it sitting on the shelf collecting lint and dust bunnies? Have you thought of getting a top hat but not sure what to buy.

There are lots of styles still on the market and this blog will try to tell you about your choices.

One of the best Top Hats to consider is the “Collapsible Top Hat”. The Hats come in many colors and look great on any stage. They look elegant and can be used as a production item. The Hats fold flat and are easy to carry. You could even have several of them in a small briefcase that you show on both sides and then pop them into the open position as you produce them and then leave them stacked in a display much bigger than the case they came from.

One of my favorite Folding Top Hats is the Dragon Top Hat. Super cool in both design and looks and will dress up your act nicely and it even has a hidden trapdoor in the bottom.

If you are looking for a place to dump your cards and silks from your manipulation act, the Solid Top Hat with a MAK Eureka table base is the way to go. It screws to the base and is made from a high impact Black Plastic and when not holding up the Top Hat, the base can be used for other tables or props.

The last Top Hat that I’m going to tell you about is a Production item, a Top Hat and the perfect finale to your Card manipulation act. The “Card Fan to Top Hat” folds up like a card fan with very bright card patterns on it and when tossed into the air it changes into the Top Hat on the way down. Beautiful designs and workmanship make this a winner.

I hope this helps in making the decision into which Hat to get but just a little secret between us, you should buy one of each and make a themed act out of MAGIC Top Hats!

Monday, October 18, 2010

WATCHED 10.18.10





Wow! We received the most amazing effect this past week and were literally knocked back on our heels. It was tough getting it away from each other so that we could all test it out. But, let me tell you, WATCHED is an absolute killer! The watch works, so there is no heat on it after the effect. The handling is as easy as any magician could want. AND… The signed coin ends up under the crystal of the watch. Seriously, this is a reputation maker.

You ask for a coin (quarter). You make your mark on one side and have an audience mark the other. Using your “favorite method” vanish the coin. The rest is up to you as to how you do the reveal. Trust me; the look of utter disbelief on the faces of the audience is truly priceless! You can perform WATCHED anywhere! Strolling, table hopping, close-up, platform, anywhere!

This is ”real” magic. Previous versions of this effect have used watches that are gimmicked to the point that they are left as nothing more than a magic prop. This watch can be worn and used, as a working timepiece.

Beyond the coin to watch, the staff is working on other uses for this incredible watch.

Keep check in to see what we have come up with for WATCHED.




Steve, Carroll and Jake

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's Pure Murder 10.15.10


MAK IS BACK IN THE MURDER BUSINESS
No, we are not killing off the population. MAK Magic has begun producing Murder Inc., again! This is a hallowed classic of stage magic. And back just in time for Halloween.
Into Goth, Geek or Bizarre magic, then this prop is perfect for you.


Imagine the reactions of your audience when you place your helpers head into the box, slide the doors into place and then begin to push real metal swords into the box. Once the swords are all in place, you reveal that you have made the head of your helper vanish! No head, no crime! Was it really murder? Replace the door remove the swords and presto their head is restored and no worst for the experience.


As with the original Murder Inc. this illusion is made in the USA, made of heavy gauge aluminum. It has real metal swords and, get this, NO BLACK ART! It is ingenious! In addition to the FIFTEEN metal swords, you get a Eureka table base.

The magic staff asked itself, “How can we not give this stage classic three thumbs up”… We can’t! It gets the full three thumbs even if someone does loose their head!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween's a coming! 10.06.10



Candy Corn Crystal Silk Cylinder

I have always been a big fan of Halloween and the magic that can be themed around this special magical holiday.

The Crystal Silk Cylinder illusion has been in my Halloween shows as an open for many years. I would like to share the basic routine with you without giving away the whole thing as you never know just how many “Muggles” read this blog.

You need: a Crystal Silk Cylinder with the additional tube, 3, 18” silks that match the colors on traditional candy corn Yellow, Orange and White, one bag of candy corn and a medium sized jack-o-lantern candy bucket for trick or treating. You can even decorate the tube with Halloween themed Scrapbook paper from any craft store.

The candy corn is loaded into the load tube on the Crystal Silk Cylinder and everything is set up on your table with the Crystal Silk Cylinder ready to perform.

You produce the silks in your favorite method, my method is straight from Rice’s Silk Encyclopedia using a square knot and rolled up to be produced one at a time with the flick of the silks. This makes for a great magical start. As you hold the tied silks, you blow on the square knot, making the knot dissolve and place the untied silk on your table next to the Crystal Silk Cylinder. After producing all three, untie them and show the Crystal Silk Cylinder empty by doing the secret move and showing the tubes using your best display move.

Place the silks into the tube in the order of the colors of the candy corn. Place the additional tube on the Crystal Silk Cylinder to hide the silks. Then place the main load tube onto the base. Say your favorite magic words… “Trick or Treat!” and remove both tubes to show that the Crystal Silk Cylinder is filled with the candy corn.

The candy bucket is then held lower than the tube and the candy is poured in. If you pour the candy in the bucket with your hands a little farther apart, the noise and look of the effect is such that there will seem like there is a lot more candy than actually is as it pours into the bucket.

Magically yours,

Carroll Baker

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Own your magic 09.22.10

In the grand scheme of things, making an effect entertaining is more important than how many moves it takes to get to the end. For example, a classic of magic, the “Invisible Deck” can be more magical and more mysterious than simply having a card named and found face up in the deck. Draw out the suspense, or, have a short story to tell that creates interest in either you or the journey you take your audience on to get to the end of the effect.

Just doing a magic trick may get your aunt Tillie to think that you are “amazing” or grandma to believe that you are the next David Copperfield, but it will not get you the scores of admiring fans that will boost not only your ego, but your career as well. You need to own ever effect you perform. By own, I do not mean you go out and buy an effect from the “Magic Shop”. What I am saying here is that you first, learn the effect inside out. You need to know, not only the handling of the effect, but, what makes it a good effect. Once you have a mastery of the effect, change it! Yep, I said change it. Most magic guys buy and effect or learn an effect from a book (the best way) or from a DVD. They do it the exact way it was presented. In other words, they do, verbatim; the exact effect without ever attempting to learn what makes it work. They learn the secret move, but not why the effect is so entertaining.

Creating a magical event is much more than doing tricks. It is about giving the audience an experience that will last in their memory for years after. Every time they see a magician, they will remember you and that one effect where they were lost in the magical moment you created.

Challenge yourself every day to take an effect or routine that you do, which may in actuality someone else’s, and make it yours.

Keep the magic real!

Jake Mann

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to increase magic sales 09.23.10

If you are not using the internet to sell or at the very least generate sales leads, you are missing a huge opportunity to build your magic shop business! Retailers who say, “I don’t use the internet”, or “I don’t know the first thing about the internet” cannot hope to compete in today's market. The internet is a tool and can be used to attract customers to your business.

Back before the Internet, shops relied on walk in business. Get a good street location with high traffic and great visibility. This gave you a pretty good chance for getting business. Join the local magic club and offer the members a discount for supporting your shop also increased business and still does.

That was then, this is now. With the advent of e-sales, online shopping, Facebook, Twitter and all the other new advances in the internet such as iphone, ipads, itouch and social connectivity technology magic shop owners need to be internet savvy.

Magic shops must have a website. This should be a given. You may ask why, you might say, every magician in town knows where your shop is located and they all buy from you. Yeah, maybe. But, what about the new magician in town or someone visiting your town or that thirteen year-old kid that just discovered magic? These people will search the internet for the local magic shop. Will they find you? Oh, by the way, no one looks at the yellow pages any more, not really, they Google!

So, how do you use the internet? You become an expert in Social Marketing. If you don’t know what Social Marketing is, you probably still wear leisure suits and think the Bee Gees are groovy. The internet and social marketing is the best thing ever, to happen to small businesses. Because of the internet, mom and pop shops can now sell worldwide or at least across the country.

To get up to speed in the art of Social Market properly, you need the email address of every customer that enters your shop or visits your web site. You will need a Facebook account in the name of your shop and it wouldn’t hurt to have a Twitter account and a blog.

As a magic shop owner, you spend hours perfecting your demo skills, so that when a customer walks into the shop and asks about the newest effect, you can present it flawlessly and thereby make a sale. You, as the owner of a magic shop, need to spend an equal amount of time learning how to market in the internet age as you do practicing your Elmsley count.

Look for more on Social Marketing on future Blog posts.

Glenn

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mikame - We lost a Legend!



We just received some sad news...Yonezo Mikame of Mikame Craft passed away on Thursday. Mr. Mikame was one of the finest crafters of the best-bulit magic effects of the last century.

The magic community has lost a legend. He had many friends in magic, and if you were lucky enough to know him, then you knew the gentle man and truly how special in the magic industry he was!

Rest in peace Mr. Mikame...Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mikame's family.






from the desk of Steve Branham

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bands that are Magical not silly


The magician’s bread, butter and bane, magic for kid.

You have a gig at a family style restaurant and it’s “Kids Eat Free” night. What a nightmare. Hundreds of kids running amuck and you have to entertain them. So, you think to yourself, what shall I do? Sponge balls, nah. Hot Rod, nah. The disappearing little square silk into the hand thing, nah. Dang, you’re stuck.

Here’s the really funny, but true reality, “What is old is new again”. Kids from six to twenty-six are into Silly Bands. You know the elastic bands shaped like animals, cars, rockets and every other conceivable image. Oddly enough, I have seen them on some adults. This fad is a golden opportunity for magicians to add Star Gazer to their kid’s magic! Put out ten years ago, this effect uses Silly Band like elastics that look like stars.

So, place two Star Gazer bands on your wrist the same way you would standard rubber bands (gum bands for those in PA.) Once at the table, notice the kids have on their silly bands. Comment on how cool they are and that you have had yours for a very long time. Go on the say that they are magical and that they can pass right through each other. Yep, I am thinking, the classic “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs”. Create patter that tells a story about two star-crossed lovers that when together are stronger than when they are apart. Or, something to that affect. Use your imagination and don’t simply use the patter that has been floating around for years or is from someone else’s act.

To finish off your routine, borrow a band from one of the kids at the table. Be careful as this can be a bit risky. If the band is extremely fragile or is one that is extra large, you might not be able to use it. Either repeat the routine using different patter or save one of the penetration from your routine for this and make it the finale.

Wow! Okay, now you are the coolest magic person in the world because you do magic with Silly Bands!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is anybody out there?

Okay, we have been blogging for a little over a month now and we would like to know if you, the readers, are getting anything out of the things we put up each week.

Here is your chance to let us know. Email me, Glenn, at glenn@makmagic.com and tell me your thoughts! What would you like to see us talk about on the blog. So far we have had product reviews, and a couple of ideas to change up the use of some standard props. What more should we do? Who knows, your idea may be our next blog post!

Thanks for checking in,

Glenn

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You got balls? How about cups?

Buskers, con men and magicians throughout history have displayed their awe-inspiring “the hand is quicker than the eye” skills with a time honored yet baffling rendition of the Cups and Balls. This seemingly simple effect of passing small objects through a solid cup and making them jump from one cup to the next has mesmerized audiences probably since the time of the Pharaohs. There may even be a painting of a magician doing cups and balls on the walls of a tomb. The picture may be next to one of the same guy been killed for fooling the Pharaoh. Heck the painting might even be on the wall of the magician’s own tomb.

Cups have been created in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials to accommodate an equally as varied style of ball and the all-important final load. If you bump into a magician in the grocery store, chances are better than not that he is probably looking for final loads! Fruits and vegetables are the most popular final loads. Although Johnny Ace Palmer produces baby chicks; Don Allan used baseballs and Paul Gertner produced a solid steel ball as final load. Anything that will fit inside the cup can be used as a final load.

Years ago, Aldo Colombini performed a routine in which he would flip a cup from one hand to the other while it contained the knit ball! That was an amazing feat! Countless different flourishes can be added to a simple routine to step it excitement.

Every magician, whether working close-up, corporate hospitality suites, or street fairs should have a cups and balls routine. They should study Di Vernon’s classic routine and learn from a master of the art. Even a simply performed basic routine that comes with the small plastic set, with enough humor and or mystery added to the routine can make it intriguing even to the toughest crowd. Well-known street performers, real street performers, the likes of Kozmo and Gazzo, and close-up performers like Michael Ammar and Ricky Jay have a cups and balls routine as a staple in their shows.

So, if it’s good enough for the pros…

Check out our full line of cups, combos and chopped cups!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Better use of Props, Kid Show





Have you run out of ideas for your shows but own a ton of props that you are not sure what to do with?

Try combining the effects to make new routines... Instead of a separate vanish and production, how about a transposition or metamorphosis instead?

For example, have you thought about using a Rabbit Wringer and a Circus Wagon together? Using these two effects together will allow you to use more of the stage, making your act look bigger in the eyes of the audience. Using other parts of the stage instead of just the center could help you sell to bigger venues.

Have your Circus wagon set (if you own one, you know what I mean) and ready on one side of the stage and your Rabbit Wringer on the other side of the stage. Instead of using the flat rabbit that comes with the Rabbit Wringer, try using a deflated 12" white latex balloon instead.

Produce your bunny (either a stuffed bunny or a twin bunny). Perform the Wringer effect, squeezing out the balloon from the Rabbit Wringer instead of the flat rabbit . Take off the front of the Rabbit Wringer to show it empty.

Blow up the balloon as you walk across stage to the Circus Wagon. Using a marker, draw a quick shape on the balloon to look like a rabbit (just the head and ears will work). Place the balloon into the Circus wagon. As you activate the Wagon, the Balloon pops and out comes the rabbit for a great finish.

Try this for your next show and see if you don’t get a bigger reaction from your audience.

Carroll Baker
MAK Magic Sales
614-276-1090
www.makmagic.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Frontier Collector's Classic

The Instant Production Box, from Fronter an immediate classic!

Murray Sawchuck is still on “America’s Got Talent” and did you catch Dan Sperry’s performance this week? Plus, we are now in to the second week of Criss Angel’s 6th season of “Mind Freak” his show on A&E. Criss is getting mixed reviews but hey it’s magic on TV and that gets people talking about magic…right? Email at Steve@makmagic.com and let me know what you think.

I want to tell you about an item that we have here at MAK Magic that will become an immediate collectors item. The Instant Production Box, Cherry - Frontier (P9896).

Here are just some of the finer points:

• This beautiful Hand crafted prop is made from cherry wood and stained to a deep rich color.

• It contains 4 windows cut from solid glass and the gimmick is made from real glass mirror. None of that flimsy stuff here.

• A small turntable is built into the base permitting you to spin or rotate the box after your production.

• It measures 8" x 8" x 7.5". Making it a great size for stage or parlor!

• Check out the video on www.MAKMagic.com


The Instant Production Box (P9896) will look wonderful on a shelf in your magic room or center stage in your next performance!

~Steve
MAK Magic

video

Friday, July 30, 2010

Strat-O-Sphere Revisited


Retooling your brain

Do you have a Strat-o-Sphere gathering dust? Are you tired of the traditional presentation? Do you want to add a new twist to it? Try one of these ideas and put the Strat back into your show.

If you do a school show, this is the perfect effect to use for a safety show theme. Traffic Safety is a very important lesson. Using the Stra-O-Sphere is a great way to get the message across and keep the kid’s attention.

Idea One: Start the effect by producing three silks, one of each color that matches the balls for the Strat-o-Sphere. You could produce the silks bare handed or as a continuous production all tied together with square knots from a Change Bag. Continue by placing the silks into a Mirror Box that is shown to be empty. Do the magic, pull out the balls for the Strat-o-Sphere, and continue from there.

Idea Two: Do the kids forget where the Red ball is or miss it changing places in the tube, try tying an 18-inch Red silk around the tube at the top to signify where the Red ball starts out and slide it to the bottom of the tube before raising the tube to show the ball has moved.

Idea Three: As an alternate way to vanish the ball at the end of the routine, try a “Devil’s” hanky instead of the Joker box. The “devil’s” hanky packs flat and makes for the perfect vanish. You can even show both sides of the hanky to prove the ball has vanished.

There you have it. Try these suggestions to step up you Strat. Keep checking out our Blog for more ideas and reviews.

We're bustin' out about BROKE

All right, the magic amigos at MAK MAGIC are at it again. This time we took aim at the coin guys and gals. BROKE is an entertaining and amazing coin effect that will break your audience up as you talk about meeting a guy who was down on his luck, a juggler… kidding here. Anyway, he is down to his last quarter, broke, the quarter, not the guy.

You produce a coin purse from which you dump out pieces of a broken quarter. After some a great story telling and some fun poking at the US Mint and the federal budget, you guessed it, you repair the broken coin. This is something you can carry anywhere, perform surrounded and end up, wait for it…CLEAN. Let me repeat that last bit. You end up CLEAN!

This is a great effect for table-hopper, strollers, close-up artists and coin folk. We give this one three red hats! Red hats…our logo… Come on work with me here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cards at Work!

from the Magic staff at MAK


The staff at MAK sat down with Cards at Work and could not believe the amount of great card magic and entertainment presented here. There are literally, dozens of effects that are amazing and easy to do. Duh, they’re self-working card tricks! Okay, they may be self-working and that might seem lame to some of you, but they are never the less, baffling and will keep a group of spectators glued to your every move. TV personality, actor and magician, Dave McCeary has a presentation style that is easy going and a tad on the crazy side. You will find yourself laughing and learning at the same time as he performs TV Dice, Hands Off, Count Down and even a version of Scarne’s Drunken Poker Deal. This is a must have for anyone new to card tricks and even for those card pros who could use a couple of self-working effects to add to a well rounded card routine at the tables or strolling.

The magic staff at MAK all give this one three thumbs up. Three, there are three of us here hence three thumbs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Frontier Magic gets the point!

from the desk of Steve Branham

July is turning out to be a great month for magic! The Society of American Magicians meet for their annual convention in Atlanta and the International Brotherhood of Magicians Convention took place in San Diego, California. There has been some talk about the upcoming “Essential Magic Conference”. Everyone is wondering, “Could this be the way of magic conventions in the future?” We will have to wait and see!

Speaking of talking, we have been talking a lot about Frontier Magic lately and for good reason. These folks have built some exceptional magic for us such as card boxes, Electric Sawing Thru Neck, the Benton and Foxes Nest of boxes and the Bunny Bucket as well as other classic magic.

Recently, the team has been working on a MAK Magic original bringing a new look and affordability to the old standard. I am speaking of the new Dagger Head Chest. If this looks familiar, it should. The Dagger Head Chest is an economic version of the classic Murder, Inc! This new incarnation is wood constructed. You still get metal daggers as with Murder, Inc. You still get the great effect of pushing fifteen separate daggers in the box containing your helper’s head. You still make your helper’s head vanish, just at a more reasonable cost! Instead of a base, Frontier has added a detachable handle for support, making it easy to set up and pack. The new graphics give it a retro look that could be a call back to the old Mystery Machine on the Scooby Doo shows of the eighties, making it great for a kids show. This effect does not use BLACK ART!

This is a great entry-level illusion for anyone wanting to get into stage magic. Check it out! As with all Frontier Magic, it’s made in America.

Keep the magic alive,
~Steve

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A New Magic Frontier at MAK!

MAK has established a relationship with the father and son team of master wood workers from Frontier Magic to build “quality first” illusions and magic props. Former fine furniture builders, the designers and builders at Frontier have turned their talents to the art of building beautifully handcrafted magic.

We are starting to get in some very nice objects from Frontier Magic. Just last week we received the Card Box and Twin Prediction Card Box. Deeply stained maple boxes that have the appearance of jewelry boxes, these pieces may prove to be collector items. Only time will tell. The idea for the Twin Prediction came about during the discussions on the development of the Card Box as just a random thought and Frontier sent us a prototype that was more than we could have dreamed! The infinite possibilities of this amazing box are staggering!

Yesterday, samples came in for the Benton and Foxes Nest of boxes. Wow! The finish and artisanship on these boxes is unbelievable! The three boxes are finished to create a really an amazing display when stacked with the large box stained a dark walnut, the first inner box a lacquered blonde maple and the load box matches the large box. And, wait until you see the gimmick. Keep checking the blog for more on the B&F Nest of Boxes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Saw is back! Electric Sawing Thru Neck

from the desk of Steve Branham

I remember being a kid and looking through the MAK Magic catalog looking at all the great magic tricks, they had everything from little pocket tricks to those big illusions and I would save my allowance to buy them all!

MAK Magic has brought back a classic…“The Electric Sawing Thru Neck” – P0658.





I get more requests for the return of the Electric Sawing Thru Neck” then any other “Classic” MAK Product.

And why not…

-It uses a real Black & Decker Jig saw

-You can use any spectator as your helper without any training.

-It packs flat.

-Thanks to a clever little feature added by Tony Spina, when the saw passes thru, you cut a carrot in half and not your helper! Check out the improved cutting illusion.

I could not wait to add MAK Magic’s “The Electric Sawing Thru Neck – P0658” to my show and highly recommend this item!

Steve


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Welcome to MAKBlog

Welcome to MAKBlog. A first for all of us here at MAK Magic, our own blog. Technology has come so very far since we started over forty years ago as MAK Magic and even longer as UF Grant Magic. We went from the US Post Office to FAX to websites and emails and now a blog in only a few decades!

Throughout the year and on a monthly, biweekly or even weekly basis we will have several folks from staff write articles and reviews on magic and the newest items and DVDs on the market. We hope you will find this feature useful and will email us any suggestions on ways to make MAKBlog more valuable to you.

Look for feature articles from Steve Branham and Carroll Baker.

Check back with us soon.