Kraft’s Famous Magic Kit!

Sometimes it feels like I’m perpetually cleaning out my office. This time I found a super rare Kraft’s Famous Magic Kit. This is a punch out magic kit that was created by Harlan Tarbell!

From what I’ve heard (mostly from Richard Kaufman) is that there are two versions of this punch out kit. The 1936 version for Morton’s Salt which has Tarbell’s name on the cover and the version that I have from 1938 for Kraft which doesn’t have Tarbell’s name anywhere on it.

I suspect that the Kraft version is a bit more rare than the Morton version as I’ve found many instances of that one being sold, but I can’t find a single mention of the Kraft version. I’m guessing since it lacked Tarbell’s name, less people saved them.

If this is something you’re interested in, I just added it to my Used Magic For Sale page!

Virtual Show Prop Shelf

The dismantling of my Virtual Magic Show is continuing. Today I took apart the spinning shelf that held all of my props for the show.

As the show progressed, I simply rotated the shelf counter clockwise to get to the next set of props. From an efficiency standpoint, it was great! It was also nice to glace at the holders, and if there was an empty one, then a prop wasn’t set for the show or was missing!

I’m getting rid of the board, and keeping all the holders. If I need to recreate this, it won’t be hard to do.

-Louie

Adding Production to Your Show

I’m always thinking about how to use video screens to make the show play bigger. It’s technology that 10 years ago really wasn’t within the grasp of the average magician, but now for less than $1,000 you can have a compete set up…even less if you already have a laptop computer!

micheal buble

One of the things about the Micheal Buble show that I was recently at, was that the screens weren’t just for making him bigger. There were three screens and sometimes there was a “set piece” like a the moon above. Sometimes it was a close up of a band member or the audience in the middle with Buble on the sides or vice versa.

This is something that doing a couple seasons on Masters of Illusion taught me, that the background adds a lot. In their tech sheet they ask if there’s something you want as your background. Something simple like adding a picture of a workshop when you’re doing a bit about inventing a trick, or a picture of your wife when you’re doing a routine about your wife adds a lot of production value to your show, and that’s just still images.

-Louie

Changing Seats…

Somedays I get to a gig and see that it’s really set up for my show to struggle. Here’s the set up at a recent fair:

view from stage

The hay bales are probably 35-40 feet way from the stage, and in full sun. Due to the direction the stage faced, there really wasn’t much I could do about the sun, but I could work on the hay bales. I drug most of them closer to the stage:

stage

Closing the gap to the audience really helped me connect. It also stopped people from using the area in front of the stage as a walkway through the fairgrounds. I always do what I can to give my show the best possible conditions based on the situation.

-Louie

Auto Spring Fan Card Revelation

When I travel, I usually have a ziploc bag full of things that I can use to make gaffed items or fix broken gaffs.

magic trick inventors kit

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about gimmicking an Auto Spring Fan. It’s because of this bag of stuff I was able to start work on making the gimmicked Auto Spring Fan.

Gimmicked auto spring fan with flap card

I spent some time splitting cards, so that they fan wouldn’t be super thick and glued them over the existing backs of the cards on the fan, and added a flap card

Auto spring fan card revelation

I’m happy to report from a technical standpoint, the trick functions properly. The next step will be to actually try it for an audience!

-Louie

Auto Spring Fan…

The other day I was at a magic shop in Mesa, AZ and I bought an auto spring fan of cards on a whim. If you don’t know what an Auto Spring Fan is, it’s a packet of cards that pops open into a fan automatically. I thought I was probably just going to have a kid hold them in pictures after the show.

Magic shop mesa, AZ



During the drive to the gig, I thought about what else could be done with them. There’s not a lot you can do besides open them. Then I got an idea, they could be used as a card revelation. The idea is the whole fanned deck would turn into the selected card.

I realized that if I held the closed deck face down and fanned them so that I was tightening the spring, I could show the backs of the cards on the edge that’s normally hidden.

This allows me to have all the cards on the back (except for the top card) to have the corner shown when fanned to be the same card. Having the top card change would simply be making a flap card.

…at least that’s how it is in my head. Now to actually make the gimmick, which is the real work!

-Louie

Postcards!

I was on the road and ran out of things to autograph for people at the show, so I made a quick order for some new postcards

Magician autograph postcards

Printing has changed in my lifetime. My first business cards cost way more than these postcards and were only black and white…and took about a month to make. I had these in about a week from when I ordered them.

You will notice that on the back I have Magic and Comedy, and when listed, I try to put magic first. It’s a little thing where people like to use “comedy magician” , however in my show the magic is first…at least in my mind.

There’s really no excuse, aside from laziness to not have promo. I will go on record saying that sometimes laziness is a valid excuse!

-Louie

William’s Magic in Tuscon

Last week I was performing about 45 minutes from Tuscon, AZ in a small town. I saw there was a magic shop in Tuscon, so I made the drive up to William’s Magic. I had heard of Williams Magic in the past, they had a mobile magic shop that travelled the country and went to magic conventions and clubs.

Williams magic shop in tuscon

I had a blast chatting with Emory and while it’s mostly a pitch shop, he had a few things that I needed (like a double face deck).

Williams magic shop in tuscon

The district that the shop was in allowed walking beers, so it was a rare occasion that I got to have a local beer in a local magic shop!

Williams magic shop in tuscon

I always try to be good about supporting magic shops when I travel. If you don’t support them, you can’t complain when they close!
-Louie

Photo Ops!

When you are out performing, I always try to keep an eye out for photo ops. Moments where I can take a picture and it will make good social media content. Once you do this a while you start to have some ones you do often. Things like a dog watching my flea circus or law enforcement playing the three shell game!

Three shell game

Once you have a few “hits” you know what to look for, but don’t get soo blinded by the hits that you aren’t on the look out for new things!

card sticker on kid

For example the new thing I’m doing where I peel the picture off of the card and stick it onto a kid. This is a great photo op!

-Louie

ReLearning Dice Stacking…

When I was younger I used to dice stack and was pretty good at it…but that was 20 years ago. I’ve played with it off and on over the last few decades, but never really worked too hard at in. I’m trying to keep up the skill, and not sure what I want to do with it, but I’d like to get past a bit of the basic skill I’ve retained.

This week at the AirBnB, I put my dice and cup in the kitchen and whenever I walk by it I have to practice!

dice stacking magic trick

I have a little three phase routine that I have to do. It’s four dice one at a time, then two pairs of two and finally all four dice at once. If I fail on any of the stacks I need to start over. This should help me get my skills back a little bit. Once I get those stacks consistent, I’m going to start working on some more exotic stacks.

-Louie