magic set as a Christmas gift

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
MitsuMatsu
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magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MitsuMatsu » December 24th, 2021, 8:57 pm

Many magicians say that they were hooked by magic for the very first time when they received a "magic set" as gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

I would like to ask your opinions how much percentage of magicians of the time had the same experience?
It may depend on the generation, so how about fifty years ago, thirty years ago, and ten years ago, although I think most children after the internet age have been hooked by online tutoring for magic, not by a magic set.

PS: In Japan, at least 50 years ago, the majority of boys were addicted to magic after seeing a demonstration in the magic corner of a department store and had never been given a magic set.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Tarotist » December 24th, 2021, 9:25 pm

I got a book out of the library and it started me off. A pretty useless book for a beginner come to think of it. "Magic as a Hobby" by Bruce Elliott. It was full of tricks with props that were like nothing on earth and unobtainable if you didn't know what or where a magic shop was (and come to think of it even if you did). I could never do a single trick in the book and come to think of it I still can't. It did start me off though and I got other books out of the library which were less useless. The only other book that was just as useless as the Bruce Elliott one was some awful thing by Peter Warlock also full of tricks with unobtainable items. I really think that if you are going to write a book for the general public, especially beginners you should make sure every single trick can be done with ordinary everyday objects.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 24th, 2021, 11:09 pm

I received some individual jokes and tricks from SS Adams. Then a great magic set made by Platt and Munk with punch out items. And, of course: books. Classic Secrets of Magic, and so on. All before the age of 10.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Tarotist » December 24th, 2021, 11:23 pm

Oddly enough I was reading Classic Secrets of Magic today. A bit advanced for a 10 year old!

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 25th, 2021, 5:45 am

I was initially "hooked" on my 6th birthday by a visit to a magic shop in Brooklyn, New York, where we lived. It was called the Third Avenue Bazaar. That day, I acquired, among some other items, a magic milk pitcher, a thumb tip and a little silk to vanish in it, and the book, Houdini on Magic (which would keep me up late many a night, reading it secretly with a flashlight under the covers). Then, for Christmas (nostalgically, I just realized I'm writing this on Christmas day), my parents gave me a wonderful magic set, made by Remco Toys, called the "Sneaky Pete Magic Show." I think it first came out in the 1950's. (If you Google it, you can find quite a few images). It had a bunch of ultra-cool tricks, including a vanishing cabinet (you vanished things placed inside the cabinet) and a plastic version of Saw the Lady in Half. With the help of the tricks from the magic shop, some excellent tricks I learned from the Houdini book, and the Sneaky Pete set, I gave my first magic show at age 6, at a party thrown by my parents. It would be the first of many.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Edward Pungot » December 25th, 2021, 10:21 am

I think magic is a default from the moment we exit the gift shop. T-0

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby FireyJack » December 25th, 2021, 12:05 pm

Back in the 60's when I was about 10yr's old, my mother would sometimes go to Manchester [ UK ] to do some shopping. I was allowed to spend some time in a Dept Store called Wild's ( I believe ) and down in the basement area they had a small magic section. All the tricks were housed in glass display cabinets, all too expensive for me to be able to buy, and I remember just looking at them and wishing. The following Christmas my mother bought me a David Nixon magic set. The box was in the shape of a briefcase. I thought the tricks were fantastic and enjoyed performing them to my relations. I found a mail order company selling magic tricks and jokes and patronised them for a time. Some 30 years later my son decided for one of my Christmas presents he would buy me a magic set. He told me he only got it for a joke, but I was really pleased to get it because it re-kindled the fun I remembered having as a child, so much so that I made 3 of the tricks that were in the original David Nixon set, and I have continued building up my magic collection which I enjoy showing to friends at home. ( only those that truly enjoy magic!! ) I even needed to buy another wardrobe to house all my magic. I also embarked on a project building my copy of Robert Harbins Zig Zag Illusion. At todays date I am about 80% finished.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Bill Mullins » December 25th, 2021, 2:17 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote: Then a great magic set made by Platt and Munk with punch out items.


This one? I received it as a Christmas gift, too. The tricks are gone, but I still have the book.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Fredrick » December 25th, 2021, 2:51 pm

I too had a Houdini’s Magic kit Like Bill, all that remains is the book. The first book I was given was The Golden Book of Magic by the Great Merlini (Clayton Rawson). It wasn’t until I was exposed to the Jinx and Phoenix magazines that I realized who Rawson was.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Tom Frame » December 25th, 2021, 3:00 pm

I received a Marshall Brodien TV Magic Set at the tender age of 13. Life has never been the same.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Smurf » December 25th, 2021, 9:38 pm

The first set I (& my brother) worked with was the Bill Bixby The Magician set put out by Marshall Brodien. The two early books that I remember were The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay and Scarne on Card Tricks.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Spellbinder » December 26th, 2021, 9:34 am

For Christmas and Birthday presents I like to give a promising young magician a book and some props to go with it. For example, J.B. Bobo's Modern Coin Magic and coins that can't be spent but are good for using with the book - for example a coin with a shell, a double-face coin, some plastic coins, etc. A card book would come with one or two decks of cards plus some tricks with gimmick cards that are mentioned in the book.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby katterfelt0 » December 26th, 2021, 10:37 am

Spellbinder wrote:For Christmas and Birthday presents I like to give a promising young magician a book and some props to go with it.


Depending on the age of the child, I think this is a wonderful book: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Magic-Young-Magicians-Secrets/dp/048627134X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=9V8B2T3ZM7J3&keywords=the+magic+of+alkazar&qid=1640532716&sprefix=the+magic+of+alkazar%2Caps%2C261&sr=8-1.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby katterfelt0 » December 26th, 2021, 10:38 am

Sadly, I have never owned a magic set.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Spellbinder » December 26th, 2021, 12:52 pm


As I recall, I sent that book along with two decks of cards (red and blue), a hank of magician's rope and a pair of safety scissors (medical trauma kind), a salt shaker and some paper napkins, some plastic coins, and maybe a few other things mentioned in the book that I thought the child might not have. Not your usual magic set, but a practical one for use with that particular book. He used it and about a year after receiving it, put on a magic show in our neighborhood that I got to see. As far as I know, he is still in magic and still putting on shows, but of a more advanced type.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 26th, 2021, 1:08 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote: Then a great magic set made by Platt and Munk with punch out items.


This one? I received it as a Christmas gift, too. The tricks are gone, but I still have the book.


Yes, that one. 1967. I was 9. A memorable set.

Jim Steinmeyer got one the same year I did (we're the same age).
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby katterfelt0 » December 26th, 2021, 1:36 pm


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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MitsuMatsu » December 26th, 2021, 9:40 pm

Thank you for sharing many of your experiences with Magic for the first time.
Actually, my interest is a little different.
For example, about 50 years ago, what percentage of the people who are now magicians got into the world of magic as a trigger when they got the magic set.
What percentage do you think it was?

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Spellbinder » December 27th, 2021, 2:29 pm



It's more than about cutting rope- the Electrician's scissors still have sharp points, which are almost useless to magicians cutting ropes. Compare the weight and the cutting power of Medical/ Trauma scissors - https://www.amazon.com/Madison-Supply-Premium-Fluoride-Scissors/dp/B084KX2TC1 and a blunt end.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 27th, 2021, 2:32 pm

MitsuMatsu wrote:Thank you for sharing many of your experiences with Magic for the first time.
Actually, my interest is a little different.
For example, about 50 years ago, what percentage of the people who are now magicians got into the world of magic as a trigger when they got the magic set.
What percentage do you think it was?


It depends upon the era. When AC Gilbert was the biggest toy company in America, and they were putting out between four and eight new sets every year, MORE people got started in magic by receiving a magic set because the sets were of great quality. I think fewer people who get a magic set with cheap crappy contents are led to magic through it.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Spellbinder » December 27th, 2021, 2:35 pm

MitsuMatsu wrote:...about 50 years ago, what percentage of the people who are now magicians got into the world of magic as a trigger when they got the magic set.
What percentage do you think it was?


There's no way to tell. A great many I am sure, but what counts more is the human follow up and mentoring from a magician to some young person, boy or girl, who got the magic set and now gets regular chances to use it and share it with you as he or she learns magic.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 27th, 2021, 3:12 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote: It depends upon the era. When AC Gilbert was the biggest toy company in America, and they were putting out between four and eight new sets every year, MORE people got started in magic by receiving a magic set because the sets were of great quality. I think fewer people who get a magic set with cheap crappy contents are led to magic through it.


Indeed. "Marvin's Magic Deluxe Box of Tricks," sold by Amazon, appears to be a cut above the usual fare, including, among other items, (what appear to be full-sized) metal cups and a Himber Wallet. $88.99.
No extra charge for the extreme hyperbole either: "Look no further as this amazing deluxe magic kit...is packed with numerous tricks that can be mastered in minutes!" (I didn't paste in the web address here cuz it's voluminous.)

This one, offered by Ellusionist ("How to Be a Magician Kit") is about 58 bucks (regular price $66+). It gets stellar reviews, and includes 2 DVDs and an up-to 90 day return policy. (meaning that for anyone who returns it, in effect, the secrets are told before the tricks are sold).
https://ellusionist.com/products/how-to-be-a-magician

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby katterfelt0 » December 27th, 2021, 3:52 pm

Spellbinder wrote:


It's more than about cutting rope- the Electrician's scissors still have sharp points, which are almost useless to magicians cutting ropes. Compare the weight and the cutting power of Medical/ Trauma scissors - https://www.amazon.com/Madison-Supply-Premium-Fluoride-Scissors/dp/B084KX2TC1 and a blunt end.


Mine don't have sharp points, and they have great leverage. I've tried to attach a photo but I keep getting a message that the board attachment quota has been reached.

Your option looks inviting. If mine ever wear out/get lost, I'll give those trauma scissors a go.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 27th, 2021, 3:59 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote: It depends upon the era. When AC Gilbert was the biggest toy company in America, and they were putting out between four and eight new sets every year, MORE people got started in magic by receiving a magic set because the sets were of great quality. I think fewer people who get a magic set with cheap crappy contents are led to magic through it.


Indeed. "Marvin's Magic Deluxe Box of Tricks," sold by Amazon, appears to be a cut above the usual fare, including, among other items, (what appear to be full-sized) metal cups and a Himber Wallet. $88.99.


The cups are high quality plastic and could be used by any magician doing a normal cups and balls routine.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Brad Jeffers » December 27th, 2021, 6:06 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote: "Marvin's Magic Deluxe Box of Tricks," sold by Amazon, appears to be a cut above the usual fare...

Image

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Spellbinder » December 27th, 2021, 7:01 pm

katterfelt0 wrote:
Spellbinder wrote:It's more than about cutting rope- the Electrician's scissors still have sharp points, which are almost useless to magicians cutting ropes. Compare the weight and the cutting power of Medical/ Trauma scissors - https://www.amazon.com/Madison-Supply-Premium-Fluoride-Scissors/dp/B084KX2TC1 and a blunt end.


Mine don't have sharp points, and they have great leverage. I've tried to attach a photo but I keep getting a message that the board attachment quota has been reached.

Your option looks inviting. If mine ever wear out/get lost, I'll give those trauma scissors a go.


I wouldn't suggest that a person who has been using satisfactory scissors for performing rope magic change scissors. I thought we were assembling a magic set and tools for a young person who is just starting out, to begin to learn rope magic with a safe and adequate pair of scissors that can be used specifically for cutting magician's rope. If you have been happy using whatever kind of scissors for your rope magic, no need to switch. But if you're giving out scissors as a magic tool for a Christmas or Birthday present, think safety-first!
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Tarotist » December 27th, 2021, 7:35 pm

I have started off many people in magic without even knowing about it. When you sell thousands upon thousands of svengali decks it is inevitable that quite a few people are going to go on to better things once they spend their money . I know that Channing Pollock and David Copperfield were started of by purchasing something from a magic pitchman.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Edward Pungot » December 27th, 2021, 8:12 pm

I don't think there is one trigger that sends a neophyte over the magic threshold. During the mid-late-eighties of my childhood, magic sets were just conglomerations of the individual packaged Adams Magic tricks. So when I went to Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm my souvenir spending money usually only allowed for one or two tricks. I did eventually get a magic set for Christmas or a birthday one time from a family friend, but I wouldn't say that that was THE trigger. There was the Copperfield T.V. Specials, the back of Boy Scout magazines mail-order tricks, the demo tricks at Magic Masters during a vacation to New Orleans, Tenyo Magic Banks at the Japan stop-over airports, eventual visits to local magic shops, Easy to Master Card Miracles and the L&L catalogue, and a gradual widening of the magic circle which would include the discovery of Genii Magazine and the Magic Castle.

Millennials had the internet, so their induction would probably be David Blaine and YouTube tutorials and Penguin downloads based on Magic Cafe recommendations.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Spellbinder » December 28th, 2021, 4:51 am

There is a different kind of "hooking" that comes from early exposure to magic and magicians. Some decide they want to try performing magic and they become an amateur magician for a time and then drop it. Others are hooked into becoming a practicing magician, whether professional (earn money) or stay amateur, but for life. Still others become magic fans and will go out of their way to attend, watch, and enjoy performances of magic by any magician, amateur or professional. They just like to watch and enjoy magic. Then, I guess, there are some who are the opposite and will avoid magic and magicians for whatever reason... we're not going to change their minds.

My point is, those of us who have become magicians full time, professional or amateur, aren't really in the business of making new magicians, but we all seem to enjoy encouraging promising beginners. We should also encourage magic fans, those who go out of their way to watch magic performed and simply enjoy being part of a magic audience. That's where our real audience is and where our main focus should be... to make magic fans, not magicians.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby AJM » December 28th, 2021, 11:17 am

This is the David Nixon magic set I remember from back in the day. As mentioned earlier, the box was in the style of a briefcase.

https://www.google.com/search?q=david+n ... EGySh60RMM

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 28th, 2021, 1:55 pm

AJM wrote:This is the David Nixon magic set I remember from back in the day. As mentioned earlier, the box was in the style of a briefcase. Andrew


Examining the multiplicity of various images, it appears that it even included an egg bag with (probably) a plastic egg, and a pair of paddles. Also the obligatory cups & balls set, although the cups look to be a bit larger and spiffier than the usual offering.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Paco Nagata » December 29th, 2021, 9:45 am

MitsuMatsu wrote:... about 50 years ago, what percentage of the people who are now magicians got into the world of magic as a trigger when they got the magic set.
What percentage do you think it was?

I guess more than nowadays.
I would dare to say more than 50%.

My son got a magic set last Christmas (2020), but didn't get quite hooked by it. This year he asked Santa for a set to build little robots ala Lego with little motors included. He loves toys with mechanisms.
I mean that nowadays there are so many different hobbies, that children may want to try a few of them before feel hooked by one, whereas 50 years ago, if you got hooked by something you may not have much options to change.

Personally I was hooked by (card) magic because of the "telly," watching Tamariz shows amongst others magicians, when I was 7. Then, I asked the Three Wise Men ("Spanish's Santa") for a magic set.
However I left it because my people didn't pay me much atention; nobody supported my intetest in magic, even my father. So, I got hooked by other hobbies like electronics, cience experiments, astronomy, writing tales, sports...

However, I could never forget the first time I saw a magic trick: a Tamariz card magic trick on TV.
So, I couldn't stop thinking about card magic as the most simple and accessible way to do magic for anyone at any time... The rest is story...

Replying the question, try to check how many veteran magicians claim to have got involved in magic by a magic set. There are so many. Tamariz is one of them.
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician"
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 29th, 2021, 5:06 pm

Paco, that's great that you gave your son a magic set. It's interesting how some of us are immediately attracted to magic at a young age when we are exposed to it in some way, whether it's a trip to the magic shop (that was my case), or getting a magic set (that was also my case, as I received a magic set for Christmas not long after the magic shop experience, although by then, I was already hooked). Or, it may be a friend or a relative who does a trick or tricks for us, and it captivates us. Marlo was asked in an interview what hooked him on magic, and he answered that he saw the 21 card trick and that was it for him - he never turned back. Who would have thought? It's also quite amusing and charming to picture a young Tamariz playing with his magic set.

For others, your son as an example, they do not feel the attraction and get the magic bug right away, and in some cases, they might never get it. But your son is young, and although he diid not seem to be immediately drawn to magic right, you have planted a seed. So you never know. Someday it may result in a magical flower blooming and growing in his heart. Especially since, the very opposite of your own family growing up, you are passionate about magic, and therefore, there is fertile soil in your home to nurture that growth. But from what I know of you, my friend, I know that you will encourage him to follow his dreams, wherever they may lead him.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Edward Pungot » December 29th, 2021, 5:25 pm

If I recall from the Canadian documentary on Vernon, when Mrs. Verner wanted the kids to do something in the household and they refused to comply, she threatened them with having them go watch one of their father's card tricks. I guess when magic is everyday, it ceases to be special. Apparently the threat worked, as crying and compliance immediately followed.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby Paco Nagata » December 29th, 2021, 6:53 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:... But from what I know of you, my friend, I know that you will encourage him to follow his dreams, wherever they may lead him.

You hit the nail on the head here, Alfred!
Your entire post was touching, but this last part shows a special thing: "support."
If you don't support a child's dream, he/she will stop dreaming.
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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 30th, 2021, 11:21 am

Edward Pungot wrote:If I recall from the Canadian documentary on Vernon, when Mrs. Verner wanted the kids to do something in the household and they refused to comply, she threatened them with having them go watch one of their father's card tricks. I guess when magic is everyday, it ceases to be special. Apparently the threat worked, as crying and compliance immediately followed.


I'm sure Vernon got a lot of reactions to his card magic, but someone crying at even the prospect of having to watch one of them, is one I never would have expected. :mrgreen: In any event, from what I've read, Vernon was not home very often, and if those accounts are true, then, in many cases, Mrs. Verner wouldn't have had that particular Sword of Damocles to hang over the kids' heads.

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Re: magic set as a Christmas gift

Postby MitsuMatsu » December 30th, 2021, 6:50 pm

Paco Nagata wrote:I guess more than nowadays.
I would dare to say more than 50%.
Replying the question, try to check how many veteran magicians claim to have got involved in magic by a magic set. There are so many. Tamariz is one of them.


That is a great idea. Thanks for your guessing "more than 50 percentage"!


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