March 2014 | Volume 23 | Number 7

Solving the Puzzle of Ryan Oakes

By Tom Wallace

Solving the Puzzle of Ryan Oakes

Acclaimed by his peers even as a youngster, Ryan Oakes has forged a successful career in magic, somehow keeping a low profile while being involved in highly visible projects. Corporate shows, a television series, and a magic set branded with his name keep Ryan busy, in New York City — and far beyond.

Tempered Glass Phenomena

By William E. Spooner

Tempered Glass Phenomena

Call them Prince Rupert's Drops or the Devil's Tears. No matter the name, the curious properties of tempered glass products have intrigued and entertained scientists and magicians for centuries.

Sirens at Sea

By Rory Johnston

Sirens at Sea

A magic production show starring a female magician is still unusual, especially when the producer is also a woman. But having one woman create and produce three such shows, running concurrently on different cruise ships, and star in one herself is truly unique. Yet that is what Connie Boyd has achieved.

The Rameses Royal Centenary

By Chris Woodward

The Rameses Royal Centenary

March 1914 saw the first Royal Variety Performance for the King and Queen of England at the London Palladium. And it was a magician, Rameses the Necromancer, who was chosen to close the show.

Wizard Wars

By Alan Howard


Pair up four magicians, give them some random items, and see what magic they can create. That's the premise behind Wizard Wars, a pilot for a new television show on Syfy cable network.

Correction: As the March issue went to print, the pilot episode of Wizard Wars was scheduled to premiere on Tuesday, March 4. It has since been pulled from that time slot, with no new airdate available.

Plus Updates on…

  • The 2014 edition of the Columbus Magi-Fest
  • Extreme Vegas, a hybrid magic/dance/circus production
  • The Winter Festival of Magic in Indianapolis
  • Derek Hughes' Insomnia
  • Remembrances of Scott Lewis, Dave Madden, and Brian McCullagh

Bonus Content for the March Issue…

  • The original test competition that led to the pilot episode of Wizard Wars
  • Jason England explaining some of the finer points of tricks from Close Culls
  • Convention Podcast: Florida State Magic Convention


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Fifteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Jason England, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Brandon Kopf, Francis Menotti, Arthur Trace:

Hungry? by Mathieu Bich
Cruise Magic 101 by Nick Lewin
Psy-Colony by Gary Brown
Click 2 by Valdemar Gestur
Twisted Queens by SansMinds
Instant Fortune Teller by McTaggart and Hall
Allegro by Miguel Puga
EP by Valdemar Gestur
SoundzAmazing by MagiGadgets
RE by Chris Webb
Heinstein's Dream by Karl Hein
Built to Last with Doug Conn
Showmanship for Magicians by Dariel Fitzkee
Alluminati by Chris Oberle
MAYHEW: What Women Want by John Lovick

First Look

Harapan Ong

First Look: Close Culls Close Culls

Readers of MAGIC Magazine will recognize the name Harapan Ong, as he has previously shared several moves and routines in Joshua Jay's "Talk About Tricks" column. Of his native Singapore, Harapan says, "We don't get much outside influence from other magicians, but I believe this has been a blessing in disguise. It has given me the potential to explore magic without preconceived limits or constraints." Most of Harapan's material deals with the spread cull, a sleight he has dissected and enhanced in several intriguing ways, as you will see in these four effects excerpted from his new booklet, Close Culls.

Loving Mentalism

Ian Rowland

Loving Mentalism Gorilla Mentalism

This month's "Loving Mentalism" comes with an apology. There are already so many mentalism routines featuring gorillas, and I'm sure readers will be bored by the very idea of trudging through yet another. Alas, in a shameful display of barren creativity, that's exactly what's on offer this month — one more gorilla mentalism routine to add to the pile. What's it about? Well, attention blindness is the theme, and it's about putting a picture of a 300-pound gorilla right in front of people and yet, due to a quirk of the mind, they never even notice it's there.

Bent on Deception

Mike Bent

Bent on Deception Get Smart: Control vs. Chaos

A lot of children's entertainers are at the extreme ends of the control vs. chaos seesaw. Some are control freaks who don't allow for any spontaneity and make the kids almost afraid to laugh or respond. Others are the wacky uncle who comes for a visit, gets the kids all hyper and sugared up, and then leaves right before the inevitable meltdown. I've learned that, for me, the answer isn't just a balance between the two, because when you're working with kids, things can easily tip out of balance. The answer is much easier than that and can be broken down into six easy steps.

Classic Correspondence from Egyptian Hall Museum

Mike Caveney

Classic Correspondence from Egyptian Hall Museum Percy Naldrett to Reg Wishart

Everyone who knew Percy Naldrett said he was a character. By the time of his death in 1973 at age 88, he had become a grand old man of magic, having witnessed so much of what the British magic scene had to offer during the 20th century. Naldrett was an inveterate letter-writer and his missives were filled with news, gossip, advice, and opinions. This letter to a magician named Reginald Wishart described, among other topics, Amac's illusion called Find the Lady.

For What It's Worth

Mark Kornhauser

For What It's Worth Pulitzer Prize for Kornhauser?

Although I have always had a preference for the Nobel Peace Prize, who could turn down a Pulitzer? Unfortunately, it costs fifty dollars just to submit an application to the nominating committee. And who knows, I might not even qualify. But simply having the name "Kornhauser" and "Pulitzer" in the title makes it more likely that there will be some status benefit for me. It's just the way Google and humans work. I'm simply applying the widely accepted self-aggrandizing ethos of the day. I have broken no laws and I manage to draw attention to myself. Thanks for listening. Like me on Facebook.

Walkabout Soup

Simon Coronel

Walkabout Soup Expensive Illumination

There was this card sandwich routine that I used to do, one of those "Jacks-as-detectives trap the chosen card between them" type of effects. I'd given it a deliberately melodramatic presentation. Part of the script went: "This is going to be a film noir piece. Imagine that we're doing this in a dark room with an overhead spotlight and a Henry Mancini track playing. We didn't have the production budget to do it for real, so use your imagination." Given that I usually performed the routine in restaurants, this was obviously a joke. But then I thought, What about actually doing it? Actually getting an overhead spotlight, killing the lights, and doing the trick to dramatic music. Particularly in the Magic Castle's Close-up Gallery, that would look awesome…

Real-World Methods

Scott Tokar

Real-World Methods One Thing

Cocky. That is what the famous Dutch magician Peter Pit used to call me. Back when I was a Junior at the Magic Castle, maybe seventeen or eighteen years old, I didn't get along so well with Peter, maybe because he often called me "cocky" or maybe because I was just too self-assertive. But even though we didn't form a close bond of friendship — or even a mutual respect, for that matter — Peter Pit gave me, as a young man, the most important advice I have ever received: "In order to become a real success in magic, you should focus on one thing and master it. Take that one thing and make it yours."

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