TV Magic Cards

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.
richardingram
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TV Magic Cards

Postby richardingram » October 2nd, 2015, 10:02 pm

Ted M

The other topic was locked before I could check mine. The date on my instructions with the cards is 1973. The key card is 5 of Hearts.

Regards,

Richard

Ted M
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Ted M » October 2nd, 2015, 10:07 pm

Thanks Richard!

Could anyone else with a vintage deck of TV Magic Cards check their force card and post it here?

Here's my query post, extracted from another thread (now locked):

Marshall Brodien TV Magic Cards commercial:
http://boingboing.net/2015/10/01/tv-mag ... all-b.html

I was given a deck of TV Magic Cards as a kid, but I couldn't do anything but riffle them. Now I understand -- Marshall Brodien tells us they're for ages 6 to 60, and I was only 5.

His deck in the ad has the Ace of Spades as the force card. This could be a completely wrong memory, but I think mine was a low red card, something like the 3 Diamonds. So I'm curious: were these decks not all identical, printed and cut from the same single sheet? Was each TV Magic deck laboriously sorted and hand assembled from 26 regular decks? Does anyone reading this thread (even, perhaps, a BoingBoing reader?) have one or more vintage decks available to check?

performer
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby performer » October 2nd, 2015, 10:47 pm

There was a Canadian version of TV Magic Cards you know. Some sort of deal was made with Marshall Brodien (I know not what) with a fellow in Toronto called Aldo Ippolito. Stancraft the playing card manufacturer were involved.

Aldo told me he ordered 150,OOO decks from Stancraft and Brodien did the same. However, unlike the American TV campaign the Canadian TV promotion was a complete flop even though the Canadian packaging was much more attractive than the Brodien version. They were called "Maverick Magic Cards" in Canada and had a picture of a cowboy on the packaging.

I used to come to Canada at Christmas time only to pitch the cards. I would come all the way over from the UK just for two months to sell them in department stores. The first year I came to do this the Maverick cards were my main competition. They were sold in every variety and toy store and were advertised extensively on television. So I purchased the decks from Haines in the US and had to go through all the hassle of getting them through customs. I remember there was an excise tax on playing cards but an amateur magician named Frank Vickers worked in the government and it seems he lobbied to get the law changed with regard to svengali decks saying that you couldn't play cards with them so they shouldn't be subject to this tax. He actually succeeded in getting the excise tax removed. The trouble was that I had to convince the customs authorities that the obscure exemption existed and that was a load of hassle.

My promotion was a success and I remember selling 50 gross of the damn things over 6 weeks. Naturally I decided to come over again for more of the same. However, this time I was astonished to see not a single store selling Maverick cards any more. No more TV ads any more either. The local magic shop was the only place that had a few. Word got back to me that Aldo's TV commercial had flopped and he was badly burned. He now had probably a hundred thousand or so decks in his warehouse with nowhere to sell them. A department store buyer advised me to do a deal with Aldo over his decks. I could see the advantages of purchasing the decks in Canada rather than having the hassle of bringing them in from the US. Besides the Maverick cards had a far nicer packaging than the Haines decks.

So I approached Aldo who was very wary of me. He had heard how I used to hide his decks from sight the year before in department stores and used to turn off his machine with the TV commercial that he had running in the store. Pitchmen are very wicked people after all.

He wanted a price from me that I did not consider economical. Of course I knew he had no choice but to reduce it since he was stuck with the bloody things. I estimate that he had about a hundred thousand of them in his warehouse and his only customer was the magic shop who would purchase say 4 dozen a year.

So I did a deal with Aldo but naturally wanted the decks on credit. He wasn't too keen on this. He didn't know who the hell I was except that I was a scam artist pitchman who didn't even live in Canada. I remember meeting him in the street to pick up a tiny shipment of the decks. He gave them to me and naturally I tried to walk away without paying for them. He was quite startled and said "What about my money?" I looked suitably puzzled over the question and said, "Don't you give credit in business" He spluttered "But I don't even know you" I conceded he had a point and responded "Well, at least you can't blame me for trying"

And that was the start of my relationship with Aldo which lasted over 15 years. I was virtually his only customer for the decks and I expect I was paying him cost price for them but since he was stuck with them he was glad to at least get rid of them. And I got rid of all hundred thousand over 15 years which is quite remarkable considering that I only used to come over to Canada at Christmas to sell them and not every Christmas either. I still remember when Aldo made his last delivery to me. He said "these are the last ones". It was a historic occasion! I kept a few decks for sentimental reasons and I still have them. Oddly enough antique shops in Canada sell them for $25 nowadays even though when they first came out they were $2.99! I upped the price to $5 though and had to spend ages cutting off the corners which had the old price.

David Ben sold the decks for me in Toronto as did Jay Sankey. Widdle will be interested to know that noted sceptic Joe Nickell sold them for me too. He was living in Canada as a draft dodger from the Vietnam war at the time.

Anyway, now you have the history of the deck in Canada. And that just gave me a thought as I am typing. Someone told me that there is going to be an article coming out in Genii magazine about the svengali deck. I have no idea who wrote it. Maybe it was Marshall Brodien for all I know or perhaps that reprobate Don Driver. I have no idea. However, if the article hasn't gone to press yet perhaps Richard can incorporate the above information into the article. I do herewith allow him to do so.

Anyway at least the history of the lesser known Canadian version of TV Magic Cards is now on the record. Once in every hundred decks I sold the Marshall Brodien instructions would appear in the box for some odd reason, probably as a mistake at Stancraft. However, 99 percent of the decks had Aldo's instructions with 10 tricks printed in English and French as Canada is supposed to be bilingual. I used to tell the customers, "You get instructions for twenty tricks. Ten in English and ten in French" It used to get a laugh.

Anyway there it is for the history buffs among you.

performer
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby performer » October 2nd, 2015, 11:26 pm

Ted M wrote:Thanks Richard!

Could anyone else with a vintage deck of TV Magic Cards check their force card and post it here?

Here's my query post, extracted from another thread (now locked):

Marshall Brodien TV Magic Cards commercial:
http://boingboing.net/2015/10/01/tv-mag ... all-b.html

I was given a deck of TV Magic Cards as a kid, but I couldn't do anything but riffle them. Now I understand -- Marshall Brodien tells us they're for ages 6 to 60, and I was only 5.

His deck in the ad has the Ace of Spades as the force card. This could be a completely wrong memory, but I think mine was a low red card, something like the 3 Diamonds. So I'm curious: were these decks not all identical, printed and cut from the same single sheet? Was each TV Magic deck laboriously sorted and hand assembled from 26 regular decks? Does anyone reading this thread (even, perhaps, a BoingBoing reader?) have one or more vintage decks available to check?


The Canadian decks had the two of clubs for sure, and I think the Ace of Spades. I vaguely remember the ten of hearts too but I may be wrong here.

Ted M
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Ted M » October 3rd, 2015, 12:28 am

That's a terrific piece of history, Mark.

I hope Richard sees it and can include it in the Genii article so it's preserved in print.

Thanks for that.

Fonz
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Fonz » October 3rd, 2015, 10:48 am

I recently purchased a "TV Magic Cards" deck (the case is dated 1970) from a local antique shop. The force card is the Ace of Spades.

Last weekend I performed it at a small gig for a group of sales associates. The spectators 45 years old and over all remembered the commercials quite well, and were still amazed at the effects I showed using this amazing and versatile gaffed deck.

My grandfather (an amateur magician) was seriously upset when the ads for the deck began airing on television. He loved his Haines Svengali deck and felt that he would no longer perform with it thanks to the national exposure that would ensue from the sales of, "TV Magic Cards".

performer
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby performer » October 3rd, 2015, 10:59 am

Oh, I still perform the trick at paid gigs. I have tried for my entire life to escape the deck but have never succeeded.

I.M. Magician
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby I.M. Magician » October 3rd, 2015, 11:09 am

The great thing about the Svengali deck is that you can do so many different effects with it that someone who knows the deck may be fooled.

The same goes for the Stripper deck. Even more so actually because of all the same card Svengali concept being much more detectable.

Fonz
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Fonz » October 3rd, 2015, 4:11 pm

I.M. Magician wrote:The great thing about the Svengali deck is that you can do so many different effects with it that someone who knows the deck may be fooled.

The same goes for the Stripper deck. Even more so actually because of all the same card Svengali concept being much more detectable.



... if the deck is used properly the force card should not be detectable. I have used the deck to fool magicians and have had magicians fool me with the principle more than once. With friends in magic who are "purists", I often see them cringe when they realize I am performing with a Svengali for laypeople.To each his own.

Brad Henderson
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Brad Henderson » October 3rd, 2015, 4:46 pm

a 'purist' places his pleasure above that of his audience.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Q. Kumber » October 3rd, 2015, 4:51 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:a 'purist' places his pleasure above that of his audience.


What a brilliant and perceptive quote.

performer
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby performer » October 3rd, 2015, 8:31 pm

I probably use more sleight of hand with the svengali deck than most purists do with a regular deck. As for the "same card concept" I know the twaddle that magicians come out with that you should never show the cards to be all different and then all the same because that gives the game away that you are using a trick deck.

Utter baloney. I have always said that magicians know nothing about the svengali deck and they only use it for forcing a card or for a couple of tricks at the most. The whole idea of the deck is to show them all the same and then all different. That is the strongest trick you can possibly do with them.

Sure, you can switch the deck for a regular deck if that kind of thing bothers you. Do a Hindu shuffle after you do the switch showing them still to be all the same. Put them on the table and they will grab them and be quite puzzled that it is not a trick deck after all.

But quite frankly I never bother. I simply get round the problem by saying, "This is a trick deck you can buy from a magic shop" and leave it at that. It doesn't make the blindest bit of difference. You will still get massive reaction. However, you have to use my routine if you do that. No other svengali routine is of any use whatsoever.


Leo Garet
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Leo Garet » October 4th, 2015, 8:15 am

Q. Kumber wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:a 'purist' places his pleasure above that of his audience.


What a brilliant and perceptive quote.

Or "her". Let's keep a balance. ;) :)
That said, fully agree with Mister Q. Spot on.

performer
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby performer » October 4th, 2015, 9:14 am

Jolly good. That means that those of us who are not purists can feel terribly superior and look down on those who are. Mind you I do that anyway whether people are purists or not.

I do believe that even people who are not purists (and I am not) should at least learn some basic sleight of hand. It is often the technically incompetent who sneer at the purists. As Murray the escapologist once told me, "You are not a magician unless you can do something with your hands". Mind you I never saw him do any sleight of hand either. Come to think of it I never saw him do a single trick except sell second hand props twice the price of new ones and forget to give people their change. I think I admired that ability of his better than any tricks he could have done, mind you.

Brad Henderson
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Re: TV Magic Cards

Postby Brad Henderson » October 4th, 2015, 10:24 am

Leo Garet wrote:
Q. Kumber wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:a 'purist' places his pleasure above that of his audience.


What a brilliant and perceptive quote.

Or "her". Let's keep a balance. ;) :)
That said, fully agree with Mister Q. Spot on.


thank you. I debated using both pronouns but intentionally chose to use just one for several reasons - not the least of which was feeling the concept of putting one's pleaaure first being, generally, a male trait.

that may not be completely true, but I felt it gave the quote a little more 'punch' that way.


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