Blog – Stevens Magic Emporium Stevens Magic Emporium - A full service Magic Dealer and Shop with Professional Magic, Stage Magic, Close-up Magic, and Illusions. Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:15:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie by Michael E. Rose Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:13:22 +0000

Thanks to Mike Rose for allowing Stevens Magic to post this historic gem! for the nice words about my Karson article. It is a sampling from the book Mike wrote about Karson back in 2000. The book is sold out…

Joe Karson Magician

This is a photo of Joe Karson performing his second most famous trick, The World’s Fastest Card Trick. This trick, honed to perfection by Karson, was published as a booklet and sold to the magic community. The performance of this trick was the epitome of Karson’s comedic talent. Other than “Zombie,” this booklet, or a performance of the trick, is often the only other thing remembered about Joe Karson. When this book was published in 1948, Karson was riding the crest of his wave of popularity. The World’s Fastest Card Trick was often a show stopper when Karson performed it at various magic conventions and shows.

Karson released the entire work on this trick. He gave the reader the presentation, the method (what little there was), the patter, and most importantly, the timing. This was truly designed as a personality piece. Not much magic happened at all, just a simple card change. However, in Karson’s hands, this trick literally got screams of laughter when he performed it in his act.

The book was only ten pages, and with the exception of the cover art, had no illustrations. Karson printed and sold a lot of these little books, primarily because so many magicians had seen him perform the trick so effectively. Although over fifty years old, copies of the book are not that difficult to find (often autographed). This book should be studied by every magician with comedic aspirations.

joe karson beyond zombie

In addition to having his mail order magic business, “Karson Xclusives,” Joe Karson also had a retail magic shop in Springfield, Massachusetts. Over the years, Karson had two locations for his magic shop. Here is a photo of his first location, which he occupied from 1940 to 1943. The shop is located on the extreme left end of the photo, under the “Coca-Cola” sign. This is the location where Massachusetts native (and magic legend), Jay Marshall, worked for Karson. This photo was taken circa 1940, and, unfortunately, the building is no longer standing (it is now just a landscaped hill). What appears to be a tower sticking up out of the left end of the building is actually part of the railroad bridge that the building was butting up against. The railroad bridge still stands and is in use today.

Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie by Michael E. Rose

Here’s a modern day photo of the building where Karson had his second retail magic shop. His shop took up the fifth (top) floor of the building. This was a much more spacious location, and Karson had several rooms. In the rooms, Karson had his wood shop, storage, office, sales counter, and even a spraying booth. Karson was at this location from 1944 to 1955. This was also the last location that Karson had a magic shop. After 1955, Karson closed his retail location, and only sold magic through mail order and wholesale to other magic dealers.

In 1949, master magic craftsman, Nick Ruggiero worked for Karson at this location. One of Ruggiero’s duties was to complete the final assembly work on the “Zombies.” This included, polishing the “Zombie” balls and assembling the gimmicks. Ruggiero only worked for Karson for about a year, leaving to go to work as an assistant for Blackstone Sr. (Ruggiero got his job with Blackstone the magician through a referral from Karson).

Joe Karson - Magician - Beyond Zombie

Joe Karson started out his performing career often doing a Chinese theme act. Although by the early 1940’s he was primarily performing a modern comedy magic act, sans the Chinese costume and make-up, he would occasionally resurrect his old Chinese magic act. This photo is an action shot (snapped by an audience member) of Joe and his second wife, Anne, presenting the Chinese magic act at the Abbott’s Magic Get-Together in 1948 (In their Chinese magic act, Joe used the stage name “Chan Lin” and Anne went by “Ahn Nee” [Annie]).

One of Karson’s more unique and rare magic inventions was his “Voodoo.” It was a self-contained (that’s right, no assistants of any kind!) Dancing Handkerchief routine. The effect sold in 1949 for $150 (which would be the equivalent of about $1400 by today’s inflationary standards) and was a masterpiece of ingenuity. The cabinet was beautifully made of mahogany and this modern day photo shows one of the cabinets, still in perfect condition. The other photo shows magician, Frank Clinton (a full time professional magician and a personal friend of Karson), performing “Voodoo.” The cabinet shown here was the one owned by Clinton.

Joe Karson - Beyond Zombie

In effect, a handkerchief would be borrowed and a knot tied in one corner (see photo). The handkerchief would be stood on the stage, and when the magician let go, it would remain standing. Then, at the magician’s command, the handkerchief would dance around, jump into the cabinet, dance about inside the cabinet, and jump back out. The magician could even leave the stage while the handkerchief continued to dance on its own. A classic effect, but never before had it been one that could be performed by the magician alone.

Joe Karson - Magician

Here is a great candid photo. This photo was taken circa 1945 possibly at a magic convention. The man on the far right is magician Bill Neff. Next to Neff is Anne Karson. Next to Anne is famed lady magician, Dell O’Dell and next to her is Joe. I don’t know who the four people on the left side of the photo are, but if anyone out there in cyberspace knows, please e-mail me and solve this mystery. This is a great photo! Notice how everyone is smiling at the camera except for Karson and Neff. Karson is probably making a witty comment to Neff catching him off guard as the photo was snapped. Karson seems apparently unconcerned about the photographer trying to get his picture.

Copyright Michael E. Rose  (Used with Permission from Mike Rose)

Brian Watson Magic Creates The Blackpool Magicians Club – Murray Award Thu, 30 Mar 2017 18:45:08 +0000

Brian Watson Magic

Kudos to our good friend Brian Watson! The Blackpool Magicians Club presents the Murray Award at their annual Convention to honour the recipient for outstanding services to the Blackpool Magicians Club, and for distinguished dedication to the art of magic.

The final figurines of the previously commissioned Murray awards, that were created some 30 years ago, were presented in 2015 and 2016.

Brian Watson Magic Award

Now it was time for a new, modern, and current award to be designed.
The Murray Award - Brian Watson

There was one name in magic that stood out for creating beautiful, contemporary pieces of magical art with an unsurpassed quality – Brian Watson.

Brian was commissioned by the Blackpool Magicians Club in 2016 to design and create a Murray award that featured a likeness of Murray, had a more contemporary look, yet still had a timeless and classic feel. A brief which we honestly believe Brian has not only met, but exceeded.

We present to you, The Murray Award by Brian Watson.

Brian can be contacted at

Brian Watson

Guy Bavli – A Look Back! Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:31:11 +0000

Guy Bavlli

Guy Bavli is unquestionably a worker with thousands and thousands of miles logged traveling the world performing the art of Mentalism.  Here is a look back at an article originally published for GeMiNi: The Greater Magic Network in 2001!  You can see what Guy is up to by     Thanks Guy for your contributions to the art and GeMiNi! 

Magic from Israel! As you know, I am from Israel – a far away land, small but always on the main issue regarding news and world publicity. Being so far make things very hard for the professional magicians as we are a land surrounded with countries that are not really in good relationship with us. The market here is very small, we can not get into the car and drive to other countries to work – like you can in Europe, as I would not think it will be a good idea to drive and work in Lebanon (either if I want to vanish completely from the world … which is a one way trick …)

Although Israel is a small land almost isolated from the outside world (geographically), it is a very advance and modern country if speaking about high technology, business, companies, art etc… That bring us to the magic activities and magicians in Israel.
From my point of view I divide the magic art in Israel in two: before and after the ’80s. Before the ’80s, the magic art in Israel was very unknown, most of the magicians performed the old fashion way. There was no respect to this art – not from the public and also not so much from the magicians themselves.

There were also few good magicians. One of the magic stars these days was under the name of “Amos Kadabra” which was the stage name for Amos Levkovitch, one of today’s famous and best dove workers I know! Amos was born in Israel and worked a lot those days doing parties all over the country with his sister Tamar Lanzer, and stage shows as well. Amos did a production show with one of Israel’s famous stars for kids Zipi Shavit, the name of the show was “Zipi Kuntz.” This was a great show and Amos was one of the characters in the show, performing magic, illusions and also doves. This was one of the successful musical shows for kids in Israel in the late ’70s. Most of the magicians came to see this show, and took ideas and after a while you could see that most of the magicians in Israel were trying to do the same effects as Amos did. To them he was a source for information and due to the fact they didn’t have lots of sources they copied him. Amos left Israel in 1979 and settled down in California, he is still living there today and achieved great success all over the world from the general public as well as magicians! Amos became my best pal over the years; we are in contact all the time and he helped me a lot in the U.S. Thanks Amos.

Guy Bavli

Most of other magicians in Israel these days were performing with casual clothing (jeans, shorts or an old style suits). Also the magic effects and performances were undeveloped. Most of the magicians did the same tricks, as they all bought from the same magic shop in Tel-Aviv (which was the only one available in the country) and copied from each other. This was not because they didn’t want to be professional and original. They didn’t know what professional was. It is not that they were bad magicians. People didn’t know what good was. But in comparison to the outside world, most of them did very low quality magic.

Those days we had only one Israeli black-and-white TV channel, which didn’t provide us with many TV magic specials from the out side world. Hardly any. So how we can expect magicians to know what good magic is? Those days I was a young magic fan (about 10 years old) and I didn’t know much either. In fact I was exactly like them. I looked on every magician in the country as a master. I dreamed to be like them. I think I was so lucky, because my father was a pilot in El-Al Israeli airlines. He took me to the U.S. when I was very young. When I flew with him, I looked for a magic shop in N.Y. (through the yellow pages my father helped me with the English) and found Louis Tannen’s Magic shop (then it was on Broadway). For me it was the first knock out as a boy! I remember going into the shop, looking all over and not being able to concentrate on anything … my eyes went all over looking at the colors of the flowers, boxes, posters etc… Then every time my father went to NY, I asked him to buy me a trick from Tannen’s. This is how I was starting to be familiar with the outside world. Later on I even joined the Tannen’s Magic Camp (as a young boy) in 1984-85 and even once I won the competition there.

But yet, this is not what had changed my professional magic life, as well as other magicians in Israel. In 1980, The “Israeli Society for Promoting the Art of Magic,” was founded by magician Roni Shachnaey whose stage name “Ronaldo.” Roni was born in Israel in 1944, and was interested in art since small age and became a musician (playing Bass Guitar writing songs and having a band). In the late ’60s Roni decided it was time for bigger and better things and left Israel for England. While there he married an English wife. After a while in England, Roni met the late Jimy Rogers, a retired master magician from whom he got the love for the magic art. Roni stayed in England for 10 years and became a professional magician.
In the late ’70s Roni came back to Israel with his wife and kids and brought with him a different kind of magic style which the magicians in Israel didn’t know.

Guy Bavli

When Roni came to Israel and saw the Magic level – he felt that he must do something about it. His goal was to raise the magic level in Israel to an art and gain recognition from both the public and magicians to create a new generation of magicians.
He gathered few magicians and started to meet with them every month teaching them and working with them along with other magicians in the country. Later on in the ’80s, he founded the important magic club known as: The Israeli Society for Promoting the Art of Magic.

Roni was (and still) a very charismatic person and a fine stage magician. He did beautiful stage manipulations, doves, and a marvelous Linking Ring routine in a classical way we didn’t know before. He also did wonderful mentalism work. In 1985, a magician friend of mine invited me to the magic convention in Tel-Aviv that was arranged by the Israeli Society for Promoting the Art of Magic. This was the first time I meet Roni and the magic club. Roni did private lessons for magicians and agreed to take me under his wing. So I started to be his magic student. After a while I became very close with him and the feeling was like father and son. I studied with Roni for two years, and he changed my complete life and thoughts in magic. Most of my success in magic is because of him.

Guy Bavli Magic

His house was like a magician’s station, from morning to night magicians were coming in and going out. I stayed almost all day, every day. Most of the famous and successful magicians in Israel were his students: Twik Brothers (a well-known illusion workers in Israel), Lior Manor (a well-known magician/mentalist in Israel), Chris Vio (a fine French magician who lives and works in Israel). Roni didn’t teach us as many tricks, as he taught us how to think and create magic routines and develop personality. Roni left Israel again in 1987, he went back with his wife to England where he is still living today. In those years – as I call them “Roni’s years,” all magicians became like him, we all performed manipulation acts, linking rings and doves. He was our sample model. After few years, every one of us understood and developed his own style and created his own personality. Today all of us who came under Roni’s influence are working professionally, each one in his own way and style. Today I can appreciate his words and attitude for the magic art and I understand how much he changed all of us.

Roni was the first one to show me a bending spoon move (in 1985). As we all know Geller came from Israel and due to that fact mentalism as well as spoon bending became very popular here. Before Geller left Israel for England, he had his big success here – doing shows, TV and working for companies. The fact that Geller did claim to have powers made people believe in supernatural powers. It was new and people didn’t know what to think of it. Chan Canasta was another out standing mentalist who worked here. He did his amazing book tests, his famous mind reading with cards and amazing memory bits. All those gave mentalism a different aspect in Israel and made it very popular.

I think that Geller and Canasta were the inspiration for many of us later on to get into the mentalism field, but the push and the basic studies and ideas that created the new and professional generation of magicians as well as mentalists in Israel came from Roni.

Today, many television stations provide work and acknowledgment to the magic art in Israel. Magic became more and more popular in Israel. Today you can see many important magic specials (like “Best of Magic,” TV Magic specials from Vegas etc…). Israeli magicians do spots on TV every week. We also had a magic serial with Lior Manor as well as lots of Israeli magicians in prime-time talk shows doing their bits. All of those helped to create a positive image for the magic art in Israel. We hope it will go better and better from here.

Till next time, I wish you all best in magic and life and hope to see you in one of my trips somewhere around the world. Who knows maybe I’ll see you in Israel. –  Shalom!

Stevens Magic Go Fund Me Campaign for Glacyellen Pollyanne Rodriguez Sun, 19 Feb 2017 04:19:22 +0000

Mark e Cilene Alves Stevens

Thanks for Reading! Mark e Cilene

Stevens Magic wants to send our customers/friends who made a $25 minimum donation towards our Go Fund It Cause as a THANK YOU Gift!  Thus for a limited time, we have put aside a specific amount of limited edition Expositor Books (of which only 50 copies remain) which we would like anyone that makes a donation of $25 or more, to have including FREE SHIPPING! Please make sure when you make your donation that you list your name.  Do not make it anonymously (as we all usually do), because we need to confirm the donation prior to shipping the book.  We have set aside a limited number of 5 different books, for this campaign, but we are starting with the cream of the crop – FIRST!

Thus, access the go fund me page, CLICK HERE, make your minimum donation of $25, and then make sure  you access the correct product page CLICK HERE, and complete your order for the book.  Remember, we also offer this book on our site for sale for $35, so make sure you choose the correct link that is FREE!  See below for more details on ordering.

Go Fund Me Stevens Magic


More Information about our Go Fund It Campaign! We Need Your Help!  Cilene and I have launched a “go-fund me” campaign for our dear friend – Glacyellen Pollyane Rodriguez, or as we refer to he just Glacy,  Glacy was the “maid of honor” in our wedding.  She lives in the interior of Brazil, with limited medical facilities. Glacy lost her ability to walk shortly after our wedding. We have a photo from the wedding where she is in the background standing and smiling for our happiness. That photo is so bitter/sweet because at this time she was fully aware of her deteriorating condition. Did she do a personal inventory of her life at that moment?  How could anyone not? Did she deal with the reality that she may never have the opportunity to get married, let alone walk on her own – again, I’m sure?  Did she in anyway allow her brutal reality to affect her behavior at our wedding – absolutely not.  How brave and loving a soul she is, to have put that heavy burden of reality on hold while she smiled and was genuinely happy for us.  If you want to know the definition of class, and what a humble heart looks like? I assure you its Glacy.

Stevens Magic Go Fund Me


Despite several surgeries since (I hope you will read her go fund me story) she recently returned from a follow up consultation from the final surgery (that was hoped to give her back the ability to walk).  We called anxious to hear what we hoped would be good news, yet she informed us that the surgery was unsuccessful.  For a woman that is so strong, we heard in her quivering voice (for the first time), her heart breaking tone as she struggled to tell us the difficulties of having to come to terms with the doctor confirming the last hope surgery:

  1. Wasn’t successful.
  2. That she will now spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair (one that she’s had for years is worn out and worse is way too small for her).

Our campaign is simple; to raise funds towards the hopeful purchase of a motorized chair/scooter, and possibly a new standard wheel chair that fits her, thus giving her some degree of independence.

This is a woman who has experienced severe sets backs with incredible consistent cruelty, yet manages to remain a source of inspiration.  For these reasons we are reaching out to you…

The Expositor - Gift for Go Fund Me Campaign

How you can help?

  1. Make a Donation – any donation is appreciated. If make a donation of $25+ we would love to send you this a free book  (right now the limited edition Expositor Book).
  2. Make a donation and help us spread the world of this campaign.
  3. If you can’t support this cause financially we understand, but would be grateful if you could help spread the word.

How do I complete this process?  Simple, first go to the go fund me campaign (CLICK HERE) and make your minimum donation of $25.  Then complete your order here on this page.  Make sure you choose this product page, that has the $0.00 product cost, because we also have this book listed on our site for purchase at $35.00.  Yes – SHIPPING is FREE TOO!  (Unless of course, you have other items in your cart).  But if you only select this book, and you made the minimum donation, you should choose the “CHECK” Option for payment. Of course, don’t send us a check, but this is the only trick we can use to complete the order without your paying for shipping.

If on the other hands you have “other” items in your cart in addition to this “gift” product (which we love of course), and you again made the minimum donation which we can verify, there will be a minimum ship charge, so you can check out as you would normally do.

Here is her “go fund me” campaign and story.

In closing, we are in your debt for any help.  Mark and Cilene Stevens

Quero agradecer sinceramente a todos vocês por terem tomado tempo para ler e apoiar esta campanha. Se por doação de espalhar a palavra de até mesmo a sua empatia …

I want to sincerely thank all of you, for taking the time to read and support this campaign. Whether by donation of spreading the word of even your empathy… Cilene Alves Stevens

Bob Cassidy – Recipeint 2017 Annemann Award Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:31:21 +0000

We are very excited and proud to announce Bob Cassidy as the 2017 Annemann winner, in our annual award presentations at Stevens Magic Emporium. Joe Stevens started these awards in attempt to show recognition to those in the industry of both magic an mentalism, that continue to represent the art with dignity and respect. These luminaries continue to shape and mold the art to the benefit of both layman and fellow artist such as us.

Bob Cassidy is an enigma, a man of mystery who is himself a mystery. He’s a self-styled irreverent who claims to be more comfortable in motorcycle bars than hoity-toity venues. He’s one of those rare people who are often simply referred to by last name only – Cassidy. He is an entertainer, author, and lecturer and is one of the more influential creators of modern mentalism.

Cassidy is known and acclaimed throughout the world for his support of the mentalism community. In 1978 he was one of five who founded the renowned Psychic Entertainers Association (P.E.A), an exclusive small circle of psychic entertainers from around the world, and which consists of mentalists, bizarrists, hypnotists, readers, and allied artists, including full-time, part-time, and retired entertainers.

Cassidy is colorful and widely known and accomplished in psychic entertainment; he has strong opinions about the art and he generates strong opinions from those who have known him. He has been a long-time prolific contributor to the art, following in the footsteps of Ted Annemann and “The Jinx” on this art. He has performed internationally, has been widely published in the industry, is well known at the Magic Castle and MindVention.

Since publishing The Art of Mentalism in 1982 (Collectors Workshop, Washington, D.C.), the book and its updated sequels (including Art of Mentalism 2 and The Art of Mentalism 3) have become hornbooks to the mentalism world, required reading for anyone who wants to move beyond mental magic and remain entertaining while presenting mentalism with minimum props. The 1982 book, in hard cover, followed his paperback Pseudomentally Yours, published in 1977 (Invocation Supplement #2, Bob Lynn, Waldwick, New Jersey). Cassidy’ original book, generated updated versions 2 and 3, and it engendered subsequent Cassidy contributions to the craft, including The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy (H&R Magic Books, Humble, Texas, 2002); Bob Cassidy’s Mentalism, a DVD he produced in 2002; and The Black Box Cinema, a DVD produced by Meir Yedid, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in 2007.

In addition to the seminal work of The Art of Mentalism, Cassidy has published 53 eBooks and one MP3 audio, available from Chris Wasshuber’s The subject matter of these eBooks has ranged from concentrating on using specific tools, such as billet handling and nail writers, to complete routines, often with a focus on a person of historic interest, such as Erik Jan Hanussen. Many times Cassidy has employed a writer’s gimmick by using a fictional character, Dr. Crow, enabling Bob to poke fun at himself and others, while still driving home a teaching point. This listing of current offerings fails to be all inclusive, and does not, for example, include such noteworthy pieces as The Principia Mentalia in 1993, later contained in The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy.

Bob was born June 23, 1949 in Kearny, New Jersey. By 12 years old he had appeared on television’s Original Amateur Hour as a magician. Later, when he was in the United States Navy as a communications specialist, he developed an act of photographic memory and intuition. Some have reported this marked the time of a real shift toward mentalism and away from general magic.

Bob graduated from Montclair State College in Montclair, New Jersey in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts and proceeded to Seton Hall University School of Law in Neward, New Jersey, where he obtained his Juris Doctorate in 1978. Although a lawyer by education, Bob had the “itch” for entertaining and did so on the cruise ships MS Rotterdam and MS Statendam (both part of the Holland America cruise ship group) between 1972 and 1976. According to Bob, he first began performing semi-professionally as a stage mind reader and hypnotist in 1972, and it was on those cruise ships where he was able to hone is entertainment skills. Nevertheless, after earning the law degree, he practiced from 1978 through 1988 as a partner of Shapiro and Cassidy, where he became experienced in criminal defense trials and personal injury litigation.

With this background and legal expertise, Cassidy was a natural among the founders to use for developing the P.E.A. as an entity to come up with the right “legal language” for birthing the organization. Also Cassidy was the first editor of what has become Vibrations. Under his leadership he entitled the newsletter Psychic Entertainers News and Information Service.

Referring to his 10-year tenure as a lawyer in The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy, Bob wrote, “…everything in my life was slowly becoming respectful and mainstream. Given my nature, this was a frightening course. What many would view as growth and developing maturity, I saw as stagnation and decay.” Making the decision in 1988 to become a full-time performer, Cassidy left New Jersey and moved to Washington State, which he says he chose “…because it was the farthest distant from the life I sought to leave behind.” It also allowed Bob to learn other skills, such as waiting tables, cooking, and bartending. “The latter quickly became my forte as it offered me a constant audience upon which to practice my art,” he later wrote.

Although Cassidy is known for being a maverick in many ways, he was strongly joined and dependent on his wife Peggy. Unfortunately, she passed in late November 2005 As an independent, he also learned tough lessons over the years of the fast growing internet about piracy of material, and the importance of close working relationships, with comradeship from Michael Weber, Jheff Poncher, Chris Wasshuber, and others.

In addition to serving as Vibrations’ editor for four years, Bob also served as P.E.A. president from 1982 to 83. He was elected to honorary life-membership in 1988 and was the first mentalist to be awarded its “Award for Creativity in Psychic Entertainment” in 1996.

Nick Lewin 2017 Robert-Houdin Award Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:22:59 +0000

Congratulations to Nick Lewin, winner of the Robert-Houdin 2017 award. We can think of no higher designation of respect than Robert-Houdin, and as such candidates for consideration must have contributed greatly to the art of magic we hold so dear. At the same times, such performers must have tremendous respect for those who have come before us, and thus have absolute respect for magic history. No one car dispute Nick has all the above and more.

The Los Angeles Times Says, “Anyone who thinks you can’t do two things well, should see Lewin seamlessly blend reality and fantasy, magic and comedy. Reality suddenly becomes one helluva concept!” Hailing from London, England – Lewin now makes his home in Austin, Texas. Nick has been featured on numerous television shows and also entertained British Royalty, American Presidents, Saudi Princes, Business Legends and Hollywood Icons. Lewin’s award-winning show is very funny non-stop entertainment, with Nick’s dry English sense of humor perfectly honed for American audiences. Lewin was recently awarded the prestigious “2016 Robert-Houdin Award” for his performing skills.

A unique and fresh performer who delights every kind of audience with his personalized comedy and magic show. Clients and audiences alike are delighted with Lewin’s highly individual blend of stand-up comedy sleight of hand and mind magic. Nick has opened concerts for Tony Bennett, Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels, Paul Anka and a host of other stars. His corporate client list is a who’s who of Fortune 500 companies and he has performed at private functions for David Bowie, Steve Forbes, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Iacocca, Tony Curtis, Orson Welles, Steve Wozniak and many others. For five years Lewin starred in “Comedy Magic” his own award-winning one-man show in Las Vegas, where he also hosted his own nationally broadcast radio and television series, “The Entertainment Files.” Now he is available to work his magic for you and help make your event the success you are working towards.

Nick is a sure fire-hit and perfect solution to any corporate or private entertainment situation. As a corporate performer Nick has functioned as an after dinner speaker, host, spokesman and keynote speaker; his ability to personalize and customize his show has made him a favorite in this highly specialized field. Working with each individual client Lewin skillfully constructs the perfect show for their specific needs. From a packed showroom to a small business gathering Nick blends his comedy and magic into a unique entertainment that will make your event a smash hit. His fast, funny and clever performance gets huge reaction from his audiences, receiving standing ovations on a consistent basis. Audiences gasp at his astounding magic, while laughing at comedy that is often as fresh as the morning’s newspaper.

Randall Schostag – 2017 SME Business Consultancy Award Thu, 12 Jan 2017 23:17:07 +0000

Randall Schostag Magic

A Young Randall Schostag

This year we included a special recognition award. Compared to artistic recognition, its paying homage from us at Stevens Magic to a very special person. We decided to make it public because we wanted to illustrate that contributions to the industry are not always entertainment oriented. There are many of us, who are in magic but also have incredible skill sets in other area’s such as business and marketing. They contribute to the art of magic in their own unique and  essential manner. This Business Consultancy Award shows that example by paying homage to Randall Schostag for his business consultancy to us in 2016.  It’s not often you can find reliable, credible and honest council… With over 40 years in the magic business – we have witnesses and adapted to a lot of change. But the past 10 years have been exponential in regards to the shifts in the marketplace, not just for our little industry but for all business, regardless of product and even services.  Just one of Randall’s key suggestions made a considerable difference to us, but his constant accessibility has been a tremendous asset.

Randall provided us with an insight into trends within the magic industry, as well as looking outside to find the challenges and “solutions” from similar specialty businesses or our size and genre.

While no doubt the economy has improved, Randall helped us steer through the previous storm and in doing so we have managed to have (both 2015 and 2016)  healthy consecutive increases in total aggregate sales. And for the past three years we have seen the number of first time,customers (ages 22-45), quadruple, with very high percentages of retention and repeat orders over a 24 month period.

Randall has been in business all of his professional life, and while he specialized in business valuation, his has passion for the global market place and maintaining customer satisfaction with an emphasis on obtaining new customers.

Like a good mentalist, his predictions were right on, and we want to take this opportunity to thank him for his guidance and continued advocacy.

Randall Schostag Magic

Looking Good Randall!

Randall Schostag - Business Consultancy Award

2017 SME Business Consultancy Award

Why he was such a good fit is easy, his business acumen along with this love for the art of magic. Anyone knows that finding people that are passionate about what they do is a winning recipe; in Randall we were able to find someone passionate about both business and magic!

Randall has magic in his blood, in fact long before going into the professional world of business.

Born 1945.
Started magic and ventriloquism 1952 at 7 years old
started active performing in 1953
First with ventriloquism with Jerry Mahoney dummy doll

From there Randall started doing a lot of shows so his parents took him to Chicago where he met Jay Marshall and Frances Ireland Marshall.  They purchased a small vent figure Jay had used one time with Queen of England.  I mean, you know, nothing special right?  Anyway they named him Richard (Ricky) Sherwood (as in Sure Wood).

During high school Randall was able to consistency average more than one show (most were paying by end of junior high school) per week for most of the year. In many cases, he managed to book several shows per week.  Needless to say Randall became comfortable, in a place more people would abhor – the stage!

After high school, like any conservative mid-western family ethic,  Randall started college but left to join Army (as many did during this tumultuous time), where he worked in Army Intelligence after joining in 1965 in 1968 after tour of Vietnam in the middle of Tet Offensive.

Upon his return Randall became a newspaper reporter for Mankato Free Press, daily newspaper. It had the largest circulation in southern Minnesota.  He morphed into both a Political and financial writer.  Eventually he became the Legislative reporter for the Minnesota State Capital.

Randall eventually left Mankato and moved to Minneapolis (the big city).  There he began the difficult job of selling insurance and mastered the art of cold calling and his second job was working in the backroom of an investment bank.  From there Randall became licensed as registered rep (stock broker) and moved to sales.  Next he studied and became Licensed for NASD, NYSE, Boston, and  Midwest exchanges.  Randall specialized (as many people starting out in this field) by focusing on small companies which traded (OTC), “over-the-counter.” As time marched with ardent consistency and discipline eventually Randall was in a position where he could Consult with local public companies. This was his “passion.”  As such he ended up leaving investment banking when he was hired by local commercial bank.  Following the same tenacity as before, he was promoted to vice president, and then opened up the second detached facility in Minnesota.  Randall’s focus and inspiration in the banking office was to work with small businesses. He prefers smaller businesses compared to working in the public market for one reason – “relationships!”

Randall Schostag

Randall’s Publicity For His Mentalism Act


But as one often does in a lifetime, other opportunities often entice us like the Greek sirens and Randall left the bank to start a children’s clothing company. He raised $1 million start up capital. Within his first season he achieved orders of $3.5 million.  One of the major lines he was importing was manufactured in Mexico. Randall learned about volatility in external markets, as his business was crushed by the Mafia (literally).  Devastated but not beat, he went back into the financial services industry joining John Hawthorn Company where he specialized in business appraisal and client consulting. Not content to just being an employee, Randall purchased John Hawhtnorn Company with two others. They changed the name to Hawthorn Financial and broadened it to include litigation support for contested valuations.  After 3 years Randall started his next business, titled Minnesota Business Valuation Group.  Then, like clockwork, 3 years later – sold that business to Olsen Thielen CPA firm, a regional certified public accounting firm.  Randall was retained (a smart move by the new owners) as president of the firm for 7 years when he stepped down to join an investment bank as director of corporate finance – where he remained for two years.

Randall is now retired from securities work – but by no means did he (nor will he) – retire.  He moved on to work with SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) for two years; helping small businesses.  Randall now spends his professional time with Minnesota Corporate Finance, where he does small projects for small businesses, including buying and selling small businesses, appraisals, and consulting (as he has done so well for us at Stevens Magic in 2016).   Randall is also working for the Marriott with I’m sure additional hopes to incorporate his Mentalism show… But that is covert – he didn’t even tell me this – I just know what he’s up too!  Thanks Randall for all your advice, guidance, support and solid friendship from all of us at Stevens Magic Emporium.

Rick Gerber – Man of Influence – By Deana Murray Thu, 15 Dec 2016 22:07:12 +0000

Rick Gerber - Deana Murray

By definition, influence is that unseen energy created by a memory that affects your future choices. It’s situational – leading to an alternate approach providing unexpected and surprising outcomes.

So, if you’ve ever had a Budweiser, been to a Magic Live Convention or worked on a non-magic project… then RICK GERBER’s influence might be one of the invisible threads that connect us all. I first met Rick at a Hispanic Scholarship Fundraiser – THE ALLIANCE Golf Tournament in Angel Fire, New Mexico. It wasn’t the first time he’d traveled far from his home in Laguna Niguel, California to an Anhauser-Busch sponsored event. He is, after all, their “Corporate Magician”. ‘The Bud Man’ of choice. He is also Stan Allen’s man of choice to initially direct the Stage Shows, and now, the General Sessions at Magic Live. Likewise, RICK is a man of influence and inspiration for his wife, Raleigh and their three sons, Greg, Chad and Jason.

Initially, when Rick began creating and performing large illusions for Budweiser events, his magic was overtly and overly branded with an obvious “pitch” factor. Vanishing beer bottles, production of assistants from a large, suspended 6-pack. “That style of magic has changed… and the corporate environment has changed, too.” He says, “On the one hand, audiences are now turned off by the blatant advertising pitch. {Rick sparingly uses much smaller gestures, now with bottle caps and labels.} On the other hand, when decisions are made, the cost of entertainment is more often driven by sales objectives.” Although ‘Added Value’ is hard to define, it’s not so hard to defend when Rick arrives.

Because event experiences build relationships and Rick’s magic is so personable and interactive, he does impact sales directly. His audiences of customers, retailers, and business executives are even more bonded to the brand they buy.

RICK’S ADVICE for magicians at adult events or sponsored by a product made for adults…

Rick Gerber

Play to the adults. Children are welcome to watch, but he never has a kid “pick a card.”

Entertainment is the objective. Let the crowd have their fun. If they mess with you, it’s generally not harmful in nature. He responds in kind, by playing along or into the ‘sidetracking’. Action, guided by interaction.

There are many sub-groups or divisions within a company. Each will have their own goals and BUDGETS. If you’ve proven yourself, you’re part of the family. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the different departments with a variety of uses for your skills. Rick’s list includes “In-Store Promotions, Trade Shows, Sales Meetings, Hospitality Suites, Golf Tournaments, Dinners and Banquets, and Experimental Marketing.”

STAN ALLEN, Publisher of MAGIC MAGAZINE reached out to RICK to influence the first MAGIC LIVE {un-conventional} Convention in Las Vegas. It was partially because of his production background in both live events and TV. But mostly it was because of his untainted knowledge of how magic conventions usually work, having never been to one. Rick accepted Stan’s reasoning and they set about creating “a corporate event for an audience of professionals.” Rick has worked on every version of Magic Live, save one. It was the year he just wanted to attend. Later he told Stan that he “should attend one of his own conventions someday, because they are absolutely wonderful.” One of Rick’s ideas was to produce a short video at the end of each day; 20- minute capsules of ‘behind the scenes’ clips of shows, break-out sessions and hallway interactions called “Late Night LIVE.”

Stan and Rick have been life-long friends developed from previous (AD)ventures. One of their many projects together was called “Treasure Quest.” With the help of Rory Johnston, they produced “team building and entertainment experiences” in the form of themed ‘Treasure Hunts’ at various resort locations for corporate clients. Rick laughs as he tells the stories… They went as far as hiding clues in helium balloons, under seats in a tennis stadium and submerged in water with a scuba diver. And further by over-dubbing a cartoon’s dialogue played on a bar television.

Rick’s family life has been pretty normal. At home, magic was never the mainstay of attention over other events in the day. When the kids were growing up, Rick chose to practice while they were asleep or at school. It did filter in, however, in a combination of ways. As children of a magician, Rick’s oldest sons tried their hands at one School Show and one Bar Mitzvah – but declined a future in magic because it was “too stressful.” The third son has learned to make balloon animals. It’s not exactly magic, but it’s a fun icebreaker.

The subliminal message over the years of watching Rick’s projects grow from an idea drawn on a napkin to a fully produced show has strengthened their problem solving skills. It’s funny how our belief systems get changed because of magic. Magic goes beyond and outside. According to Rick, “Anything’s possible. Ideas BEGIN without limitations, boundaries or obstacles. Look forward, towards the effect you want to present – then work backwards, to figure out how to achieve it.”

P.S. Rick’s son created a ‘real world gaming’ iphone app. The premise was that the device you play your game on should interact with the environment around you. Years ahead of its time, the first version of that idea was the invention of a game named “I SPY” with business partner Ian McDougald. Now, how’s that for influence?

Inexhaustible Nomenclature by Jim Kleefeld Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:01:30 +0000

Jim Kleefeld

“What a treat it is for us at Stevens Magic to have one of the brightest minds in the art of magic – Jim Kleefeld contribute to our content.”  Joe Stevens

Intro: The Jap Box ( or Japanese Box or Silk Production Box ) is a magic prop of Japanese origin, which showed up in the west in the 1870s. It is a square container with no top or bottom that fits on a small tray (with a finger hole to hold the box in place) in which items, usually silks, are produced or vanished. The term “Jap Box” can be seen in an ad in the very first issue of the Sphinx (March 1902, page 8) although no description of the box was provided. Donald Bevan, a retired editor of Abracadabra magazine and Eddie Dawes, a magical historian, research concluded that the box was originally made in metal and came from Germany. The models that were produced in those early days were finished in ‘Japanned Lacquer’, an artificial imitation of Oriental Lacquer. Glenn Gravatt, in his book “Jap Box Tricks” was of the opinion that the box was designed to simulate traditional Japanese rice boxes. Ton Onosaka said that it based upon stackable boxes for steaming rice. Hence the reason for the interchangeable top or bottom. Originally the lid was ‘lipped’ on both sides so that several boxes could be stacked. Professor Hoffmann describes a “Japanese Inexhaustible Box” in his book Modern Magic, but that box was tip-over type, which was not what is generally call the “Jap Box” today. – Credit: Genii Magic Magazine – MagicPedia

Jap Box

Inexhaustible Nomenclature by Jim Kleefeld:
Japan is more than the name of a country. It is also a noun which describes a hard black varnish used to coat wood and metal, and a verb which pertains to the process of applying that varnish to a surface. The core properties of japan include being durable and having strong adhesion to a variety of surfaces. It has been used for centuries for both protection and decoration. The name is likely derived from its Asian origin, although both the product and the process were originally used in China and India as well as Japan.

Japanning was often a highly decorative process where gloss lacquers with an asphalt base were combined with other colors, notably gold, to produce an oil-painting-like effect. Tin and papier mache were common bases for japanning, though it was also applied to wood surfaces. The process was so durable that teapots made of japanned papier mache were used to hold hot water.

Although no date of origin has been established, product descriptions of japanned items are mentioned in Great Britain in 1718. Japanning made its way across the ocean and was a standard process in the making of household goods in early America. In The History of Wallingford, Connecticut written by Charles Henry Stanley Davis in 1870, he cites a dozen established businesses in the 1780s that sold japanned tin ware. In 1881, the Yachting Gazette magazine advertised lamps and lanterns that were made of japanned tin. Japanning was common in the 18th century, but continued even into the early 20th century. By then, it had been relegated to common utilitarian products such as tin cash boxes. The introduction of electroplating hastened it’s extinction, which was fortified by the introduction of plastics in the industrial revolution.

In regards to magic, as early as 1900, items were advertised in Stanyon’s Magic as being “japanned.” In Hoffman’s Later Magic, he describes a box with a folding bottom that is “metal, japanned.” When explaining a handkerchief vanish he describes two gimmicks, a thimble which is “enamelled, flesh colour” and a tin box which is “japanned black.” Both are meant to be unseen by the audience. The thimble gets hidden in the hand and the tin box hides under the jacket, or as he puts it “the performer may hook the vanisher to some part of his clothing.” Hence the flat black color.


The key factor in almost all of the available japanned magic products was something easily shaped from tin and then turned flat black in color. A japanned pull vanisher would not be seen tucked away next to your belt underneath a black jacket. For most materials, getting a durable flat black finish was difficult or impossible with paint. In 1900, paint simply did not stick to metal, particularly if that metal needed to be handled often. Tin was frequently used to shape many of magic’s odd gaffs and gizmos because it was readily available, cheap, and easily cut, folded and soldered. However, it was a difficult surface on which to apply a finish. The interior of a Flash Pan could be left untreated as it was never seen.

But a vest-pocket cigarette pull that shot under the coat could not be left a shiny silver color. Items such as these were japanned. Which brings us to the Handkerchief Vanishing Box. The wooden box with no top and either no bottom or a removable bottom is meant to be seen as a simple four-sided tube. The magical appearance and disappearance of the silks happens because the box appears to be a solid wood box with no place to contain items internally. The two ends of the rectangular box are actually solid wood, while the two sides of the box are actually containers which appear to be a single thick piece of wood. In fact, they are hollow, made by using very thin wood over an empty core. The outside of the box is wood, but the inside is a tin flap which can be opened and closed. When closed, it appears to be simply the other side of the piece of wood, painted black. This hollow side of the box can be made larger if the “door” section which has to open and close is made of tin rather than wood.

Jap Box - Thayer

Tin could not be painted when these boxes were first being sold, and deception dictates that leaving it shiny so that it appears to be metal was out of the question. So the tin was japanned. Thus, the Handkerchief Vanishing Box had a rich wood exterior and was black inside.
These were often marketed with the name Japanned Box. Japanning, in every product, was a fairly expensive and time-consuming process, but left a good final result. The reason that the word was used in the name of the product was that sellers wanted buyers to know that the box was made well and would be deceptive. Buyers would recognize that a “japanned” product had a durable and flat black finish.

The long title of “Japanned Box” soon became shortened to Japan Box and later to Jap Box. It was so widely recognized as a proper product name that in 1937 Glenn Gravatt wrote a book about the prop and titled it simply Jap Box Tricks. In the introduction he refers to it as The Japanese Handkerchief Box, but he seems comfortable referring to it by its shorter name throughout the text.

Today, the name Jap Box sound vaguely racist and derogatory, and many magicians avoid referring to it. In fact, perhaps it is the politically incorrect nomenclature that has led to its decline in usage in modern times. My personal copy of Gravatt’s Jap Box Tricks was bought used through a magic auction and the previous owner had used a permanent marker to carefully blacken out the word Jap on the cover of the book so that the title appeared to read simply “Box Tricks.”

The Jap Box seems to show up first in March 1910 in Stanyon’s Magic as The New Inexhaustible Box. It is clearly described as a rectangular open-ended tube with one hollow side and a secret hinged flap. Although it is clearly described, it appears that the intention of Stanyon here is to entice the reader to purchase the prop through his business.

In Will Goldston’s Tricks You Should Know, published in 1930, The New Inexhaustible Box is advertised, but not described. By 1962 the box was so common that Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic had an entire chapter devoted to its use.

It should be noted that the term “Jap” was not always a negative or derogatory term. In the United States, people of Japanese ancestry were referred to as Japs from the 1900s on. It was an innocuous nickname, much the same as Brits for people from Great Britain or Ozzies referring to Australians. The term became offensive after the beginning of World War II when Japan became an enemy to the US, and anyone from Japan was seen by some as a threat to the nation. The word began to show up in newspapers and bulletins coupled with condescending and incendiary language. It soon became widely accepted as offensive and remains so to this day.

So modern day magicians may prefer to call it The Inexhaustible Box, but you would not truly be a bigot if you historically referred to it by it’s original common name, The Jap Box.

Jim Kleefeld is a performer, historian, mentalist, and fabricator and creator of some amazing effects many of which are available here at Stevens Magic Emporium.

Annemann Award Winners for 2016 Fri, 12 Aug 2016 19:26:33 +0000

We are very excited to announce this years Annemann Award goes to Christian and Katalina!  Our senior partner, Joe is issuing the request to seek them out and congratulate them! Their commitment to the art is 100% and all of us at Stevens Magic Emporium are big fans of their work – though Joe is adamant abut making sure he tells us he is their number one fan!

Annemann Awards 2016

Annemann Award for Mentalism 2016