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December 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 12
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The Magic Is in the Deck

The Right Cards Turn Novices Into Pro Magicians


“[Customers] want tricks that "are easy to do but look unbelievable, like you've practiced for hours,” Bob Bokor, UMSI Incorporated
Pick a card, any card ... but from which deck? Shuffling through the multitude of magic card decks out there can be a bit tricky. Starting with the basics will lead a magician to becoming a King or Queen of magic, instead of being just a Joker.

In buying a deck of cards, people basically look for two things, Bob Bokor, president of UMSI Incorporated, a magic supply company based in Middlesex, N.J., told TDmonthly Magazine.

First of all, people want what´s new. Second, they want tricks that "are easy to do but look unbelievable, like you've practiced for hours," he said.

The number-three seller out of more than a thousand items at UMSI Incorporated is the new Ghostly Animated Match. Bokor, a magician for longer than 30 years, invented this card trick, which requires a regular wooden match to work its magic.

For beginning magicians, though, it's recommended they first purchase a Stripper deck.

"It is the most versatile of all the decks," said Fred "Presto" Broder, owner of Presto Magic in Long Beach, Calif. "It's extremely easy to use, so that makes it the deck."

The Stripper deck, also referred to as a Wizard or Taper deck, can be used for more than 100 tricks. When the customers that visit Presto´s store find out that many of the decks are good for only one trick, they tend to back off. All he has to do is show them the Stripper deck and they regain interest.

Presto, who has been a magician for 35 years, recommends moving on to the Svengali deck after mastering the Stripper deck. Both of these decks are best-sellers in his store, which he has owned since 1977.

The Svengali deck has been around since the early 1900s. It is "one of the most popular-selling decks of cards in all of magic," said Gerald Kirchner, vice president of Magic City, a wholesale magic distributor in Paramount, Calif. With the Svengali deck, a best-seller at Magic City, a magician can show each of the 52 different cards, flip them over and then suddenly they're all the same card.

Beyond the tricks offered with the use of the Stripper and Svengali decks, there are stacks of decks waiting to thrill an audience. Another big seller is the Invisible deck, Presto pointed out, because the effect that can be done with this deck can be enhanced by the magician's own style.

"Good magicians will take a standard deck of cards and do different things with them, which makes them almost new tricks," he said.

Many of the new trick decks out there are variations of previous decks that needed to be fine-tuned, said Presto.

What does the future hold for this type of magic? More card tricks and decks from professional magicians, according to Presto.

"In order to make a name for themselves they try to develop a move that's strictly theirs so it can be called by their name," he said.

What follows are a few popular card decks.





MSRP: $14.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Magic Sets



This deck is a best-seller at many magic stores. At any time it is a regular deck of cards. But with one cut, it can turn into an entire deck of the Queen of Hearts (or any other face). The deck comes with instructions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5182      (added 10/26/2005)
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MSRP: $14.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Magic Sets
Card Games



The P.D.A. stands for "Personal Deck Assistant." Based on the principle created with the Invisible Deck, this allows a magician to ask a spectator for his or her shopping list and the requested items appear on the blank cards. It comes with a booklet of instructions on how to put the deck together; the magician creates the deck with his or her own handwriting. It was created by Adam Grace.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5183      (added 10/26/2005)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Magic Sets



Developed by Bob Farmer and Gerald Kirchner, this regular deck of cards is shuffled and placed face-to-face. Then it's shuffled into a big, messy pile. The cards are spread out and one more cut is made. And "bammo." The cards are spread out a final time, and they are in brand-new-deck order, from Ace to King. It comes with instructions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5184      (added 10/26/2005)
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MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Magic Sets



The spectator selects a card from, for example, a blue-backed deck of cards. The card is pulled out. The magician shows that the cards are all blue-backed, but the spectator somehow picked the only card in the deck with a red back. Developed by Chris Boyer, the deck comes with instructions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5186      (added 10/26/2005)
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MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 10 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Magic Sets



The Invisible deck is a classic in magic. But this deck of cards stands out because it features images from the first Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.” The deck comes with a drawer box for the magician's accessibility.
― Ed Evans, owner of All Things Fun! in West Berlin, N.J., told TDmonthly that Harry Potter items are among his best sellers: “Wands, robes, hats, games and, of course, books. We restock this line in waves and we’ve had Harry Potter merchandise in our top-10 since our opening in 2004. We host large-scale release events for the books and are recognized as a headquarters for all things Harry Potter.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5188      (added 10/26/2005)
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MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Magic Sets



Wile E. Coyote often tried to catch the Road Runner with an ACME portable hole. The deck uses the concept of this hole that could be placed anywhere. The spectator chooses a card and the magician draws a hole with a marker on the back of the deck. The magician then peels off the hole, shuffles the cards and throws the hole into the deck. The hole then appears on the card that was chosen. It was created by John Talbot.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5189      (added 10/26/2005)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 10 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Magic Sets



The magician begins the trick with a deck of cards that are blank on both sides. As the routine goes along, the magician begins "printing" the cards´ faces. But then the cards don't have backs. The cards are shuffled. Now they have backs but no faces. Suddenly, the cards have backs and faces. The magician cuts the cards once more and they all turn blank again.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5190      (added 10/26/2005)
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