Best Okito Box and Routine...Your opinion?

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Postby John Pezzullo » 01/27/02 03:23 AM

Okito made his original coin box from a pill box: a natural pre-existing object that people would recognize.
NOW--what do you think your box SHOULD look like?
The answer is ... nothing special, nothing unusual. No dragon!


You could always says that it's a pill box from an old Chinese herbalist.

:)
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Postby steve » 01/27/02 05:36 AM

George, thanks for mentioning that- I recently saw a clear one for sale and it immediately caught my attention and got me thinking. Anyone use a clear box? If so, how are they to work with? Only issue I see is there would be very light.

[ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: Steve S. ]
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Postby Terry » 01/27/02 06:28 AM

Re Zachary boxes - have you seen Robert Bengel work them? Mr Zachary has a manuscript he sells with his boxes that has Robert's ideas on the boxes. You could also try to contact Robert for his lecture notes. Paul Cummins might have an idea on how to contact Robert. Last I heard, Robert was a salesman for Big Bertha, a golf club manufacturer in Atlanta.
I personally like the feel & weight of the Zachary boxes.
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Postby Guest » 01/27/02 09:15 AM

I share Richard's aversion to modifications that make the box look even more like apparatus than it needs to. The standard Johnson box suits me fine, although one I bought at Tannen's last year proved defective -- the lid was suitably loose over the opening but would stick to the bottom of the box. I brought it back to the store when David Roth happened to be there. "He's right," Mr. Roth said. "Ya can't do the MOVE!" It was nice having that calibre of validation on hand.

Elements of the Mohammed Bey booklet of Okito Routines (published by Tannen's) have stood me in good stead for many years, particularly the handling of repeat penetrations of both the Okito box and a pack of cards. It took me a long time, though, to figure out that Bey's (ie., Sam Horowitz's) recommended turnover move -- in the course of shaking the box -- is badly flawed, both from the standpoint of misdirection and the fact that the rattling inevitably sounds different (with a brass box, anyway) before and after the turnover.
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Postby George Olson » 01/27/02 10:14 AM

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:

Oh my god! I forgot all about those. Didn't they have a small green gem or button on the top of the lid? Were they turned by Dick Ferguson or some other NW guy?


Bill:

Mine's got a Red one, I don't remember, ask Steve he'd know.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/27/02 12:00 PM

The best routines and sleights to use with the Okito coin box are David Roth's. They are light years ahead of what anyone else has ever done, even in the 15 years since I wrote David Roth's Expert Coin Magic.
Don't bother to fool around with the other stuff: learn David's material. :)
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Postby Bill Duncan » 01/27/02 12:32 PM

Chad Long's X-Tracting 4 is one of the best constructed box routines I've ever seen. It's in his lecture notes and uses a standard Boston style box. I believe there's a book of his magic in the works.

The routine is in a class with Roth's material. You are so far ahead of the audience that there's simply no back tracking:

  • Four coins are placed into a box.
  • The lid is placed on the box.
  • The box is placed on the table.
  • The lid is lifted to show the coins.
  • The coins vanish from the box and appear in the hands one at a time without opening the box until they'll all out.

It's tough but not as hard as the Heavy Box routine in Expert Coin Magic.

The best box I've seen is the Magna Coin Box from Johnson. It comes with a 'post' coin and has small circular indentions in the lid and bottom which appear to be design elements but actually allow you to use the box as a Boston style box (with the post coin). You don't have to switch the bottom because a normal coin won't work. You can see a picture here.

David Roth, in addition to revitalizing the Okito box, has a coinbox set that kicks some serious butt! It's expensive but if you're a box fan it's a must have! You can find it here.

[ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: Bill Duncan ]
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Postby Guest » 01/27/02 09:02 PM

With the posts of the walnut boxes, it brought to my recollection of some boxes that look pretty nice turned out of Asian Padauk Burl and Black Palm from Central America.

I haven't seen them in person, but they looked pretty nice from the pictures.

Here is the link: http://www.shamrockmagicandcollectibles ... PX0?pid=18
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Postby Steve Hook » 01/27/02 10:45 PM

My absolute favorite coin box routine uses a Boston Box: "Monty Hall Goes Close-Up" by Jay Sankey (Magical Arts Journal; Vol. 1, #10; 5/87).

I used it successfully for years. It has a little longer buildup, meaning you must pick the right place and time. Coincidentally, the last time I performed it was at a Super Bowl party, at the request of the host. It absolutely blew this group away.

Basically, the effect is an impossible, ultra-convincing transposition of a borrowed ring and some coins. Hope you can check it out.

Steve H

[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: Steve Hook ]
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Postby Paul Green » 01/27/02 11:43 PM

Hi,

Another great routine for the Okito Box belongs to Ken Brooke. It appeared in one of the numbered manusripts. It is called the Magic Box.

Coin penetrates not only the coin box, but a deck of cards as well. I have used this routine over the years and have found it to be quite nice.

Regards,

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Postby reed mcclintock » 01/28/02 03:46 AM

Hello
As far as routines go with Okito boxes, I bought, what I concider to be a truly dynamic routine. Released in 1981 by Shigeo Futagawa. Called Coin Box Routine. This a very straight forward stone cold fooler. Those who have it I am sure can attest to it. But I am also a big fan of his coin magic. so never mind what I said. dont look for the routine. forget I even mentioned it. what coin box routine.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.(waving hands in front of face using jedi mind trick) "You don't want this routine".
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 07:50 AM

I have used the same Johnson Products one for over twenty years and it has held up over the test of time and abuse. My favorite routine to use with it for a long time has been a combination of "penetrations" with Mike Bernstein's routine (he used to lecture on it and it is on one of his videos) coupled with a plug box as a finale.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat http://www.bigfoot.com/~thoughtreader
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 09:16 AM

A brief aside: I did my Okito routine for my dentist last year after a drilling/filling session (I think my need to perform for him constitutes some variant of the Stockholm effect). As I packed up to leave, he noticed that I was securing my Okito box for safe transport with rubber bands. He then went to his cabinet and took out a small, round foam-rubber-lined plastic case used for transporting newly manufactured dental crowns. It was a perfect fit for my Johnson box. I've carried my Okito box in this case ever since and haven't had to paw through my shoulder bag looking for the lid and loose coins, etc.

Next time you hit your dentist up for dental dam, you might want to ask if s/he has any of those cases lying around too.

[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: Ralph Bonheim ]
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/28/02 10:27 AM

I've been racking my incredibly-shrinking-brain for any vagrant memory of having seen any magician perform an Okito Box routine in public for lay people or any professional performing a routine on television (for millions of people). However, over the years I've seen countless routines at magic conventions and on instructional video-tapes; and, when pressed, I occasionally perform Marlo's "S.O.C." routine or Aronson's "S.O.See-Through" variation.

When Okito concocted the routine using the pill boxes of yesteryear, the prop radiated a certain ordinary, commonplace aura. Later, it became a dealer's delight--an evergreen prop that could be tarted-up in countless styles, gaffed to a fare-thee-well, and used is thousands of wild and wacky ways. As a magician's "plaything," it is endlessly fascinating; a perfect prop for lazy, crazy Saturday Sessions.

However...

...as we are now continually chided by Mystery School Adherents and sniffers of the Actors-As-Presenters Army, we are asked, "What's your motivation, Captain Marvel?"

"What's your narrative spin?"

"How will you make that little weird box and the antics of your little coins really meaningful?"

(long pause)

"Never mind," they say, walking away, "I see that you are deeply discussing the merits of the box's design."

P.S. Please don't misunderstand me. I own and cherish the 31 Okito boxes now in my drawer. I even have one with a dragon on its lid and I take them out every six months to polish away the tarnish. My borderline rant, my friends, is only meant to punctuate the thread with a "fray" possibly worth more discussion.

Did it work?

Onward...

[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: Jon Racherbaumer ]
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Postby Steve Bryant » 01/28/02 12:14 PM

I have seen Carl Andrews do the Okito box for a lay audience.
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 12:32 PM

Good gravy, Mr. Racherbaumer! What's my motivation? OK, I'll have a crack at this (since anything beats resuming work on my videoscript about overactive-bladder therapies).

If I can rephrase slightly, what's the justification for having and using a coin box? Here are some answers:

1. As I "position" it, the Okito box is the box my coins come in (although I may produce one or two more in some magical fashion). It's not a common object, but it is a reasonable container for some coins. In that sense, magic with a coin box is almost as well justified as magic involving a card case.

2. In my own coin box patter, I describe the coins and box as miniature representations of the magician and his lovely assistant (JFK and Elizabeth Regina, respectively; and I do crack a joke apologizing for adhering to gender stereotypes), along with their locked trunk. Miniprop standing in for maxiprop.

3. Without overdoing it, I have used the Okito box as a hedge against the too-perfect nature of some of my coins-only work: "You see, the way this box works is, it's got an invisible hole through which a contortionist coin can squeeze." Put some heat on the box, since it can take it, and take a little off my sleight-weary hands.

4. My entire Okito routine lasts maybe a minute and a half, and it has left friends, colleagues, and random ne'er-do-wells moderately slack-jawed with amazement. What better justification?

Of course, for a magician who produces four coins visually from thin air and then pulls a coin box out of his/her pocket for a couple of other diversions, there's less justification going on. Rational routining is essential. But there's not a lot of justification in the universe for three chrome-plated cups with nylon-mesh balls either.

ciao
r
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 12:51 PM

In the book monetas,monetas y monetas, Juan Tamariz has an Okito Box squenze described. It is based on Ken Brookes routine but has some interesting things in it.
Has everybody a chance to see Ken Brookes routine from Mr. Brooke? I would likedo know if he use it only as a dealer item or if he did this for lay audiences.
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Postby Paul Green » 01/28/02 03:46 PM

Hi Frank,

As I mentioned above, I have used the Ken Brooke routine for lay audiences. It is a very good routine. Most of the things Ken did for magicians played well for lay people. I owe a lot to Ken Brooke.

As an additional routine, I would also suggest the Milt Kort routine from Bobo. The O-Korto routine has been the inspiration for many routines.

Regards,

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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/28/02 03:49 PM

The question posed by the Mystery-School guy (not me) was about the performer's "motivation" as an actor in a dramatic situation rather than asking about a motivation for using an odd, metal box.
BTW, Ralph, thanks for sharing your rationales for using the box. They are useful to the guys who still use the Okito box in the real world.

This is indeed a good thing.

Onward...
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 05:36 PM

Hmm...not sure I want to meet up with this Mystery School guy. Penance time: back to the overactive-bladder script (the things I must do to earn the coins that go in the box!).

Cheers
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Postby John Pezzullo » 01/28/02 06:19 PM

Jon Racherbaumer wrote:

I've been racking my incredibly-shrinking-brain for any vagrant memory of having seen any magician perform an Okito Box routine in public for lay people or any professional performing a routine on television (for millions of people).


Keeping in mind that my brain is also subject to intermittent shrinkage......didn't Don Alan perfrom an Okito Box routine in one of his "Magic Ranch" television shows?
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Postby John Pezzullo » 01/28/02 06:27 PM

Another solid routine that found its way into print was Fred Kaps' 'Okorto For Two'. It was published in Jeff Busby's "Arcane" (Issue #11) back in 1984.
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Postby John Pezzullo » 01/28/02 06:48 PM

...and let's not forget the "big bucks" coin box routines that incorporate gaffed coins.

David Stahl's 'The World's Most Expensive Okito Box Routine', published in "Don't Stall, Stahl!" (1978), requires the following:

-Hoo Koin Box
-Copper/Silver/Brass set
-Chinatown Half that matches the CSB set
-Copper/Silver coin
-regular Half Dollar
-regular English Penny

John Mendoza, who authored the manuscript, wrote that it was the best Okito Box routine that he'd ever seen.
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 06:56 PM

Ahhh...the Okito Box!
There's something about the little brass nugget that captures our imagination. We ponder it, feel it, listen to it...
"Is there any way I can get this coin out of here without removing the lid?", he says.
"No," comes the reply.
And away we go.

There's a beautiful simplicity inherent in this prop that drives us all nuts.

Is there a more appealing sound then that lid sliding across the box? Whooshing across and snapping it shut?

Perhaps the rifle of a perfect Faro...

Transpositions, transformations, penetrations...it's got a lot going for it.

To be really successful with it, your audience has to get involved, somehow, someway...get them involved. Otherwise it's an expose', or worse! a puzzle.
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Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 01/29/02 08:40 PM

I must strongly disagree with Richard Kaufman's statement that David Roth's work with the Okito Coin box is the best there is.

Without question, THE ABSOLUTELY FINEST ROUTINES AND SLEIGHTS EVER DEVELOPED WITH AN OKITO COIN BOX WERE THOSE CREATED BY THE LATE FRANK THOMPSON OF BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. THERE IS NO CLOSE SECOND!!!!

Frank developed many seminal sleights and moves and his routines were nothing short of sensational. I am well familiar with the Okito Coin Box work of David Roth. It is very good. However, it pales in comparison to what Frank Thompson did!!!!

If Richard had seen Frank's work, I have no doubt he would agree with me. Over the years I have met a number of magicians who were very familiar with David Roth's Okito Coin Box magic and were fortunate enough to have seen Frank Thompson's Okito Coin Box work. They all felt as I do. Frank Thompson was the best by far. :cool:

[ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: Harvey Rosenthal ]
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Postby Rene Clement » 01/29/02 08:43 PM

Does anyone still remember the Sam Schwartz "Incredibox" ?
This was the ultimate Okito Box in it's time.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/29/02 09:36 PM

Regarding Harvey's statement about the Okito Box work of Frank Thompson's versus David Roth's: it is well to keep in mind that there is no love lost between David and Harvey, and I would say that Harvey, despite his inevitable protest, is not the best judge of David Roth's work with the Okito Box.
I have seen Howie Schwarzman perform some of Frank Thompson's Okito box work and it was good, but it did not compare to the Roth material. Now that's just my opinion, of course, but it's worth something, isn't it?
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Postby Guest » 01/30/02 04:02 AM

We have stumbled on the vintage where the gripes of Roth are stored.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/31/02 09:04 AM

So, what is the best size box? Quarters, halves or big bux? :confused:
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Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 01/31/02 04:01 PM

When I first came in contact with this thread, I read all the posts. One stood out like a red flag. It was my friend Richard Kaufmans post where he stated "The best routines and sleights to use with the Okito coin box are David Roth's. They are light years ahead of what anyone else has ever done, even in the 15 years since I wrote David Roth's Expert Coin Magic. Don't bother to fool around with the other stuff: learn David's material."

Richard's remarks are, in my opinion, colored by his friendship with David Roth and the fact that he published David's book.

In his response to my post comparing the Okito Coin Box work of Frank Thompson with that of David Roth, Richard stated that, "it is well to keep in mind that there is no love lost between David and Harvey, and I would say that Harvey, despite his inevitable protest, is not the best judge of David Roths work with the Okito Box."

Richard is quite correct that David Roth is not one of my favorite people. However it is insulting when he imputes that, because I do not like David personally, my comparison of his Okito Coin Box work with Frank Thompsons cannot be fair-minded. I have never stated anywhere, to anyone, that Davids work with the Okito Coin Box was deficient in any respect. In fact, I have praised his work in this area to many people. In my recent post I stated that, "I am well familiar with the Okito Coin Box work of David Roth It is very good." I mean that sincerely.

Richard never met Frank Thompson and obviously never saw him do any of his Okito Coin Box magic. His evaluation of Franks work in this area, as he states, is based on having seen Howie Schwarzman perform some of Franks coin box magic. In his opinion, Richard states that the Frank Thompson Okito Coin Box work that he saw Howie Schwarzman perform "was good, but it did not compare to the Roth material." The last sentence of his post is my favorite: "Now that's just my opinion, of course, but it's worth something, isn't it?" Since he asked a question, he certainly deserves a frank answer -- No Richard, your opinions regarding Frank Thompson, whom you never saw work, is worth less than nothing!

I knew Frank Thompson well and spent a great deal of time with him, especially after I moved to Maryland from New York City in 1970. We got together frequently and Frank shared a great deal of his card and coin magic with me. I have known David Roth since he was about 12 years old. As I mentioned earlier, I am very familiar with his Okito Coin Box work. Over the years I have seen him do a number of his Okito Coin Box routines and have read everything he has published in this area. My comparison of the Okito Coin Box work of Thompson and Roth is based on an intimate knowledge of their work in this area. I did not denigrate Roth's Okito Coin Box magic. I simply indicated that in comparison to Frank Thompson's sleights and routines, it was not nearly as good. My opinion is shared by many knowledgeable magicians who have seen both Thompson and Roth work.

As you may well know, Robert Oppenheimer was one of the finest physicists in the middle of the last century. When compared to his contemporary, Albert Einstein, Oppenheimer paled in comparison.

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Postby Brian Morton » 01/31/02 04:06 PM

We have stumbled on the vintage where the gripes of Roth are stored.

Priceless!

On topic, however, I think Roth's Out With Five is the best seated Okito routine, however, if you don't work with tables, Jamy Ian Swiss's "In The Hands Okito" from his new 2001 Magic Castle Notes is awesome. He showed it to me and my wife at JR's on 46th in NYC back in '95 and I waited six years for him to publish it, and it was worth the wait. But learning the Roth Spill Out Steal is the penance one pays for such a great routine -- 'taint easy.

brian
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Postby Guest » 02/01/02 05:28 AM

Priceless!


[Full disclosure: The pun originated with cartoonist Arno Roth]
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Postby Eric Rose » 02/10/02 05:34 AM

I don't imagine many will see this since I've come in so late in the thread, but I happened across a nice impromptu okito box last week. Several coffee shops now carry hi-intensity mints in Clik-Clak boxes ( I got mine at a Borders Bookstore coffee shop). This is a small round metal box with a unique lid that "locks" onto the box when you press in the lid sides. It unlocks by pressing the center of the lid, expanding the lid sides again. The name comes from the clicking noise of doing this action. The lid locks equally well on either the top or the bottom of the box. The box diameter holds Morgan dollars with about 1/4" inch to spare. The box is made of stamped painted aluminum, and is lighter than most boxes, so it takes a little getting used to for "the move". Once you get the touch, it flips like a gem. I'm particularly partial to it right now for two reasons: first, you don't have to spend much time describing what it is. Secondly, the locking lid explains why you would want to keep coins in the box - it really does protect them. I showed this to Jerry Phillips at Robert's Magic in Davenport the other day and he inspired the name "Neato Okito". I'm sure dozens of guys have discovered this box before me, but I think this takes the trick back to the impromptu roots it came from.
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Postby cataquet » 02/23/02 11:21 AM

Sam Schwartz's Incredibox!! My God, I remember that one. In fact, I still have it.

I used to use it all the time, but when the slot box came along, it was retired. I eventually got a Jim Zachary slot box, and I've just gotten used to it. If you think that lid on the Z box is big, look at the Incredibox. The lid alone was bigger than the Z box!

The Incredibox had a coin that was magnetic and could disappear into the lid or the base of the box. So, you could turn a okito box into a boston box, and then back into an okito box ditching the extra coin in two moves. Very clever, but, as I said, it was a bit too big (and too gimmicky).

Bye for now

Harold

[ February 23, 2002: Message edited by: Harold Cataquet ]
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Postby Guest » 02/13/05 12:25 PM

Hello all, from a new member that is returning to magic after 43 years! I have a question about my David Roth 3-box set I purchased from a magic shop.
I know the dealer is reputable, and is one of the largest. I bought the 3-box Roth set plus the David Roth Ultimate Coin Magic Vol 2 DVD.

Upon arriving home, I was startled to see that the 3 boxes were of less thickness than the other boxes I have seen. The walls are about 1/2 the thickness of a US Half or UK Penny. Also, the manual appears to be a photocopy. Every thing I read online about this set (I researched before plopping down $100!!) said these were the best, but mine seem so thin!
I do not wish to offend the owner of the shop; he is a very reputable dealer and 1 of the largest. However, I feel there was a mistake made and need to know before I take it back!
Any suggestions about the set and how I should approach the shop would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely
Chalmers
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Postby Guest » 03/05/05 07:28 PM

I finally got up my nerve and expressed my concern to the owner of the shop where I bought my Roth boxes.

They are indeed David Roth's set. They were purchased directly from Mr. Roth at a convention.
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Postby Ruben Padilla » 03/08/05 10:35 AM

Interesting, Chalmers. I also purchased a Roth set from a reputable dealer in California (now out of business), and the instructions were photocopied, but the quality of the boxes was fine. In fact, upon closer examination, all three boxes were engraved with a tiny "z". I quickly learned that they were the famous Zachary boxes, packaged as the David Roth set. I didn't complain because I happen to like the Z boxes, but does anybody know of this (Z boxes being sold as Roth's)???
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Postby cataquet » 03/08/05 01:21 PM

Jim Zachary used to make them for David Roth. Then something happened, and David found someone else to make them for him. I think that the next generation of the Roth's boxes were in black. I think that later, Roth went back to the brass look.

That's all I know...
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Postby darticus » 02/20/09 11:44 AM

I am using the Beyond Okito box and trying to learn how to do the moves. Even the okito turnover is a problem when you can't see it done. Any thoughts on where I can get some instructions? Thanks Ron
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Postby Chris Deleo » 07/13/09 12:50 PM

you can do no better than Roth's work in Expert Coin Magic. Just about 90 pages of that book are devoted to coin box magic. All your sleights are covered and explained and the routines are top notch...some, like his box switches, are knuckle busters, but most of the material is within reach of the dedicated coin worker.

Beyond that, Dave Neighbors released a book on the subject. I do not own it, but if it's anything like his other books, you're to get some great, off-beat routines. His thinking is always outside the box...no pun intended

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