Ray: Well, Petric and Mia. There was a trick I did about fifteen years ago. It was called X-spot, so I sent it to Joe Stevens. And he said wow; this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. Wait till you see the write-up I give it. Have you ever heard of Petric and Mia? They were doing a show in Europe. We have a good following over in Europe. Well, they did my X-spot and there was a guy in the audience, who was with us from day one, he said. Not only did they do your trick, but also they were selling the deck when the trick was over.
SM: How many products have you manufactured in all?
Ray: I say around two hundred. Every once in a while somebody will just buy us out. Then we rebuild the business. Many years ago I came out with a writer–a nail writer. It was called the Scarab because it looked like a little beetle. We were doing really well with that. I was putting out writers that had chalk or used ink, you name the writing material – we put out a nail writer with it. We sold that off. Then I had a punch that you used to mark a card. It was microscopically adjustable to within a thousandth of an inch. It would raise a little blip on the card but wouldn’t go through the card. You could feel the blip and know what the card was. Meir Yedid is one of the nicest guys you would ever meet. Meir came up and he bought half of what I had. He did that a couple of times. When I had something I would say, I’m calling you first. He would say, don’t touch anything–just hold it all. He would come with his girlfriend and buy me out. When they do that they get it all, the rights, manufacturing, and the whole thing. That’s all I do. I think of these things and make them up.
SM: That’s something I wondered about. Do you have a job? Have you ever had a real job?
Ray: No. That is my job. That’s all I do.
SM: Well you’re a very rare individual.
Ray: I don’t know about that.
Centurian (The Magpad) (Small) – (Click the name of the product to visit the product page)
From Ray & Lisa Piatt. The performer hands an ordinary yellow pad to a spectator and asks her to write a number, the name of a fruit, a pet’s name, color, etc. and then pass it to someone else to do likewise. All this is done while the performer turns his back. After several people have written on the pad, the performer takes it, studies the list and asks one spectator to concentrate on her written item. The performer concentrates too and then places a checkmark next to one of the items. As soon as the spectator calls out her item, the performer immediately turns the pad to the audience showing where he check marked the exact same item! This is repeated until only one-item remains. He circles it, tears off the sheet and hands it to the last spectator as a souvenir. This is so effective; it appears to be the “real thing” in pure psychic entertainment! Large is 5 x 8-inches. “Joe, this is the best mental “mouse trap” that Lisa and I have ever produced for the mentalist’s world.” –Ray Piatt “I told Ray that his “Magpad” might become, not only a real classic, but one of the best psychic items of this century. That’s why we changed its name to ÂCenturian!'” –Joe Stevens
SM: I don’t know too many guys that do that. Actually make a living just inventing magic effects.
Ray: I had a job. I retired from it. I was department head for the county maintenance department. I had the shop built out there and now that’s where I spend all my time–morning till night. A guy came through and bought everything I had–sewing machines, jigs, an eight-ton press, leather, everything. I used the press to cut out pieces. You could do leather, paper, card stock. I just recently sold a table shear, a card shear. You could shear jumbo cards, and it was completely adjustable, like if you buy a die for stripping out poker-sized cards, well, that’s all it would do. If you want to make stripper decks, you can adjust it to do that. The guy was a dealer. That was an excellent shear. I made that myself. You make something yourself, you know exactly how you want it to be.
SM: Well, I’d like to say goodnight now. You’ve been more than generous.
Ray: Yeah. I kept you on the line too long.
SM: No, no – that’s what I’m here to do.
|NOVEMBER 23rd, 2005|
|THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING|
We resumed our conversation, this time focusing more on the questions that I had written out. As in the previous session, it started out slowly and then got into high gear. This time I had done more research and found that he had a page in almost every catalog and was featured in my old Genie Magazines.
SM: Well, I’ve just become more familiar with your products. I went through my Stevens catalogs and you have at least a page in every one. Now first I want to ask you about products. I saw wallets and clipboards. You have several clipboard effects. One of them is called a Gyp board. Is that the correct pronunciation? What is gyp? Why do you call it that?
Ray: What do you mean-what is a gyp?
SM: Why do you call it a gyp board?
Ray: Well, because you’re cheating and to be a gyp, you know you’re a cheater and it rhymes with clip, so I call it a gyp board. Did you ever hear of the word gypped? Like you got gypped.
New Improved Gyp Board – (Click the name of the product to visit the product page)
Various names are called out from the audience, which the performer writes on the paper on his clipboard. A spectator is asked to concentrate on one name and the performer makes a prediction by marking one name. The spectator announces her choice and the performer immediately shows the paper with a check mark beside the chosen name. Furthermore, he circles the name with his marker and hands the paper to the spectator as a souvenir. No switching, swami or nail writing.
SM: I was trying to figure out if it meant something else you know, like NASA. So you’ve done a lot of clipboard stuff. Mentalists, like Kreskin–when he walks about the stage are usually writing on a pad or a board. It’s a natural prop that he reinforces by just using it in the act. I also noticed that you have a yellow legal pad and it had the Staples logo at the top. You must have gone to Staples and bought those. I think the logo is a great convincer that the prop is innocent. This falls into the area of Dai Vernon teaching about adopting natural actions to accomplish an effect.
Millennium Gyp Board – (Click the name of the product to visit the product page)
The performer openly writes out the numbers two through twelve on a dry-erase board. A pair of dice is handed to someone to roll as many times as they wish, proving the dice are regular dice. The performer now says he will predict the total number of the next roll and he secretly places a check mark beside one of the numbers on the board. The spectator rolls and adds the dice. Immediately, the performer shows the board with the check mark beside the number just freely rolled! The board can now be examined.