Magic at the Psychic Fair!

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performer
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Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby performer » November 27th, 2017, 10:25 am

Some people don't believe me when I tell them that I pitch svengali decks at psychic fairs. Or if they do, they think it a most peculiar activity. Well, here is the proof. I have to work much quieter at psychic fairs or the other psychics might put a hex on me! I still remember years ago they used to get all upset when I first came on the scene. They seemed to think people gazing into sponge balls instead of crystal balls was creating a bit too much of a circus atmosphere and not terribly spiritual. I think the Buddha through the table trick was the last straw.

However, they are all quite used to me now providing I work quietly. Here is an example that may amuse you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4dFiakyyA4

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Re: Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby observer » November 27th, 2017, 2:40 pm

They still have psychic fairs?

performer
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Re: Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby performer » November 27th, 2017, 2:59 pm

Oh yes. Many of them. In Canada many, many, many of them. Oddly enough Canada has the best and most lucrative ones. Americans come up here all the time to do them. Rarely the other way round.

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Christopher1979
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Re: Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby Christopher1979 » November 27th, 2017, 5:31 pm

performer wrote:Oh yes. Many of them. In Canada many, many, many of them. Oddly enough Canada has the best and most lucrative ones. Americans come up here all the time to do them. Rarely the other way round.


Do you think Svengali deck's are as popular now as they were say in the 90's?. I remember seeing them everywhere when i was a kid.

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Re: Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby performer » November 27th, 2017, 6:15 pm

Yep. They are just as popular as they ever were. I asked Ron Macmillan of International Magic the same question 50 years ago. He built his business on the svengali deck and the place is still going after all these years! Ron explained to me the secret was that there was one born every minute!

No, no. I know what you are thinking! He didn't mean what you think he meant! What he was actually saying was that new kids were being born all the time who had never seen the deck so it would always be fresh to those kids. New generation after new generation will continue to buy them.
And of course they do.

However, there are certain lulls where the deck has been over exposed and you have to travel elsewhere to get the money. At one point in Britain I was finding it very hard to sell even a lousy 12 decks a day when the average had always been around 24 decks a day. So for a while I went on to another product, mainly the eyeglass cleaner. But one day I went over to Ireland and sold out of eyeglass cleaners at the Cork Ideal Homes exhibition but luckily I knew an Irish magician who had some svengali decks stored away. He let me have them and I was astonished to sell 60 decks in ONE HOUR! Up to that time I had been having trouble in the UK selling a dozen in an entire day. It had been seen too much. I was due to work Christmas in a Newcastle department store but cancelled it after a bit of indecision and decided to take a chance on Ireland. Grafters have a knack of sniffing out money. An entrepreneur of ANY kind needs that gut instinct and the nerve to act on it. My experience in selling 60 decks in an hour triggered off that gut instinct about Ireland.

I set up in an Irish department store instead and was gratified to be selling 400 decks A DAY! My best day was 478 decks sold! If I had stayed in Newcastle I would have probably been struggling to sell 60 decks a day, Christmas period or not.

When it gets tough and over exposed you go elsewhere. I remember Basil Horwitz telling me I should sell the decks in South Africa because nobody had ever seen it there. He said, "It is virgin territory, Mark". I never did anything about it though. Mind you, having said that I remember well negotiating with the Soviet Embassy trade division in Dublin to sell the cards in the Soviet Union at their GUM department store. I am afraid that was one of my dafter ideas. Luckily my brother talked me out of it on the grounds that at the time of the Russian revolution my Russian grandfather deserted from the Russian army by stealing an army horse and escaping on a ship to New York but alas got off at the wrong stop and ended up in Scotland instead. That is why I ended up Scottish instead of American. Anyway my brother thought that the sins of the grandfather might result in retribution upon the trick card grandchild. I didn't want to end up in Siberia so I lost interest in the idea.

It was good decision because a few years ago I sold the cards at a Russian day in Toronto. I was working to Russians the entire time.. The bastards were paying me with counterfeit money all bloody day!

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Christopher1979
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Favorite Magician: Ricky Jay, Dai Vernon, Darwin Ortiz, Ed Marlo
Location: Phoenix AZ

Re: Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby Christopher1979 » November 28th, 2017, 1:01 pm

performer wrote:Yep. They are just as popular as they ever were. I asked Ron Macmillan of International Magic the same question 50 years ago. He built his business on the svengali deck and the place is still going after all these years! Ron explained to me the secret was that there was one born every minute!

No, no. I know what you are thinking! He didn't mean what you think he meant! What he was actually saying was that new kids were being born all the time who had never seen the deck so it would always be fresh to those kids. New generation after new generation will continue to buy them.
And of course they do.

However, there are certain lulls where the deck has been over exposed and you have to travel elsewhere to get the money. At one point in Britain I was finding it very hard to sell even a lousy 12 decks a day when the average had always been around 24 decks a day. So for a while I went on to another product, mainly the eyeglass cleaner. But one day I went over to Ireland and sold out of eyeglass cleaners at the Cork Ideal Homes exhibition but luckily I knew an Irish magician who had some svengali decks stored away. He let me have them and I was astonished to sell 60 decks in ONE HOUR! Up to that time I had been having trouble in the UK selling a dozen in an entire day. It had been seen too much. I was due to work Christmas in a Newcastle department store but cancelled it after a bit of indecision and decided to take a chance on Ireland. Grafters have a knack of sniffing out money. An entrepreneur of ANY kind needs that gut instinct and the nerve to act on it. My experience in selling 60 decks in an hour triggered off that gut instinct about Ireland.

I set up in an Irish department store instead and was gratified to be selling 400 decks A DAY! My best day was 478 decks sold! If I had stayed in Newcastle I would have probably been struggling to sell 60 decks a day, Christmas period or not.

When it gets tough and over exposed you go elsewhere. I remember Basil Horwitz telling me I should sell the decks in South Africa because nobody had ever seen it there. He said, "It is virgin territory, Mark". I never did anything about it though. Mind you, having said that I remember well negotiating with the Soviet Embassy trade division in Dublin to sell the cards in the Soviet Union at their GUM department store. I am afraid that was one of my dafter ideas. Luckily my brother talked me out of it on the grounds that at the time of the Russian revolution my Russian grandfather deserted from the Russian army by stealing an army horse and escaping on a ship to New York but alas got off at the wrong stop and ended up in Scotland instead. That is why I ended up Scottish instead of American. Anyway my brother thought that the sins of the grandfather might result in retribution upon the trick card grandchild. I didn't want to end up in Siberia so I lost interest in the idea.

It was good decision because a few years ago I sold the cards at a Russian day in Toronto. I was working to Russians the entire time.. The bastards were paying me with counterfeit money all bloody day!



What a wonderful insight and great stories!,i really thought the svengali decks were so well known now that the market was not there anymore. I remember buying my first and only deck when i was 10 from good old Hamleys toy store in London.

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Re: Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby performer » November 28th, 2017, 2:32 pm

You must remember that since then more 10 year olds have been born! And I expect Hamleys are still selling the decks in there to this day. In fact I once trained Marvin Berglas's demonstrators in there at one time. I used to have a very odd exchange program going with Marvin's Magic. A bit like University Exchange programmes. I would send my demonstrators over to him and he would send his over to me. They would go to England and his would come over to Ireland. They would learn wickedness and evil and mine would learn proper behaviour It seemed to work out well.

performer
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Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Magic at the Psychic Fair!

Postby performer » December 22nd, 2017, 1:49 pm

I just noticed there was a mistake in my original post. I said that the average amount of decks I sold in the UK was 24 decks a day. That was a mistake. I meant to say 48 decks. I would order at least 2 gross a week based on an estimate of 48 decks a day over a 6 day week. Only 24 decks would in fact be a very bad day.


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