What’s FAB Magic Trying to Pull?

 

Fun at the Old Monkey Bar and Lounge

Please know that it is the policy of Inside Magic to never shill or talk up a trick, performer, or commercial entity.  Our reviews of items and shows are as accurate and as possible.  If a product or show is horrible, we may forego a review. 

 

(For instance, we did not provide a review of Tony Spain?s latest mentalism effect, Key Erect in which a lithe assistant is to guess which of the five pills Viagra XL is.  Similarly, we quashed our essay on the new Branson, MO, magic/variety show, Pull My Magic Finger! The Musical.  We found both offensive and it is also a long-running policy of Inside Magic to never recommend a trick that requires a physician?s prescription or that causes loud, noxious winds to nearly blind the front row of the paying audience.)

 

With our policy understood, we recommend you head over to FAB Magic?s site quickly for three items of particular note.  They are great prices, outstanding quality, and are the types of effects you will actually use in your act. 

 

(We were just reminded by one of our readers subscribing to the ?Real-Time Inside Magic Web Cam Network? that we did recommend a product that had no redeeming value, was poor quality, and was panned by all other magic reviewers.  This reader also noted we admitted in a civil deposition our rave review for Rice From Any Pant-Leg was published so we could cash in on an estimated 42 percent of the profits from the sale of each unit.  See, State of Michigan Division of Consumer Services, et. al., vs. Tom Hardy, III Enterprises, Incorporated ? a Belize Limited Liability Company, 324 Mich. Con Reporter 11, 17 (2002). 

 

We are thinking of disbanding the Real-Time Inside Magic Web Cam Network, by the way.  While we like allowing readers to watch as we type each word on every page of all new updates to Inside Magic, we?re kind of getting creeped-out just…

 

Fun at the Old Monkey Bar and Lounge

Please know that it is the policy of Inside Magic to never shill or talk up a trick, performer, or commercial entity.  Our reviews of items and shows are as accurate and as possible.  If a product or show is horrible, we may forego a review. 

 

(For instance, we did not provide a review of Tony Spain?s latest mentalism effect, Key Erect in which a lithe assistant is to guess which of the five pills Viagra XL is.  Similarly, we quashed our essay on the new Branson, MO, magic/variety show, Pull My Magic Finger! The Musical.  We found both offensive and it is also a long-running policy of Inside Magic to never recommend a trick that requires a physician?s prescription or that causes loud, noxious winds to nearly blind the front row of the paying audience.)

 

With our policy understood, we recommend you head over to FAB Magic?s site quickly for three items of particular note.  They are great prices, outstanding quality, and are the types of effects you will actually use in your act. 

 

(We were just reminded by one of our readers subscribing to the ?Real-Time Inside Magic Web Cam Network? that we did recommend a product that had no redeeming value, was poor quality, and was panned by all other magic reviewers.  This reader also noted we admitted in a civil deposition our rave review for Rice From Any Pant-Leg was published so we could cash in on an estimated 42 percent of the profits from the sale of each unit.  See, State of Michigan Division of Consumer Services, et. al., vs. Tom Hardy, III Enterprises, Incorporated ? a Belize Limited Liability Company, 324 Mich. Con Reporter 11, 17 (2002). 

 

We are thinking of disbanding the Real-Time Inside Magic Web Cam Network, by the way.  While we like allowing readers to watch as we type each word on every page of all new updates to Inside Magic, we?re kind of getting creeped-out just thinking that someone is watching us type 24-hours a day. 

 

We no longer type while showering or at other private moments, but still it is kind of disquieting to think some perv/magician is watching us as we do anything related to the website.  We enjoy the subscription income (currently 233 Belize Dollars per month), and the grammar lessons from strangers reading our writing and re-writing.  We just don?t enjoy being corrected mid-sentence as in the case above).

 

Rick and Cheryl Fisher?s FAB Magic is to Magic what we are to local plasma centers ? a fresh, renewable source of a rare essential element.  Their discipline and dedication to the Classics of Magic and the pride in artisanship cause us to wonder how they have such low prices.  Their magic is not made on an offshore assembly line where nearly mechanized workers offer props with uneven paint jobs, poorly constructed gimmicks, and instructions written with an occasional, lucky match-up of verb, noun, and adjective. 

 

The FAB Magic Company has hired some of the artisans from Abbott?s to provide what they once made for their former employers.  Therefore, you can see how their pricing structure makes sense.  They eschew the cheaper, foreign labor, advertise in major magic magazines, hire true magic craftsmen, and charge less than anyone on the web charges.  We have no idea how they do it.  In fact, despite our allegiance to FAB Magic Company, we anonymously tipped the IRS to investigate possible money-laundering crimes.  We hope that?s not the case; but we can?t think of another way it is possible, and tipsters can collect up to ten percent of fines and back taxes. 

 

Bev Bergeron Multiplying Wands

For instance, riddle us this: for a mere $20.00 (USD) / 39.50 (BZD), you can buy Bev Bergeron’s Multiplying & Nesting Wands.  Now, we?ve seen Mr. Bergeron perform this routine on several occasions.  He brings up a child from the audience, and within seconds, the poor volunteer is holding five wands in his hands, under arms, and under his chin.  It is a great effect. 

 

We?ve watched Mr. Bergeron perform this in a routine as well as part of his emcee duties.  FAB Magic Company claims Mr. Bergeron?s permission to manufacture and sell the wands ? in fact, they claim they have the sole rights to the trick. 

 

Let?s call a spade a spade here.  If FAB really had the exclusive rights to produce a trick and routine used by one of the premiere magicians for years in front of every possible audience, don?t you think they?d be charging a heck of a lot more than $20.00 (USD)? 

 

Of course they would.  And if they were really having these manufactured by U.S. craftsmen, don?t you think they would want to charge some price to leave room for things like, say, materials and profit?  You betcha.  As we once said during an attempt to fit fifteen magicians in a VW, ?I don?t know what you?re pulling, but we think it?s our leg.? 

 

(Editor?s note: we verified that Mr. Bergeron has in fact granted FAB the rights to manufacture and sell this staple of his routine.  This just makes it more mysterious). 

 

Exhibit Number Two in our litany of doubt and incredulity: The $20.00 (USD) Monkey Bar. 

 

(Ironically, in Skathen, Indiana, just south of Crown Point, one can still see the remains of The Twenty Dollar Monkey Bar and Lounge.  Primates ran this speakeasy as an end-run around Prohibition laws forbidding ?people? from selling alcohol.  A divided Supreme Court, ruled in Jocko & DeeDee vs. The United States, 32 U.S. 829, 840 (1930), ?Monkeys do not have standing to contest the application of a Constitutional Amendment to their activities.  Should this Court permit a monkey to contest a long-standing interpretation of our laws, we would then have to expect similar challenges from giraffes or bacteria.? 

 

The Treasury Agents closed the Twenty Dollar Monkey Bar and Lounge, seized the assets, destroyed the liquor and sent many of Jocko and DeeDee?s employees to zoos or circuses.  Two years later, the 19th Amendment passed and Prohibition was repealed.  For an incredible account of the Monkey Bar case and its aftermath, see Doris Kearns Goodwin?s new book, Is That a Banana in Your Docket: Primates, Prohibition, Prejudice, and the Supreme Court, (New York: Doubleday 2005)).

 

The Monkey Bar

We know Monkey Bars.  We?ve used Monkey Bars since we were doing birthday parties for kids older than us.  A good Monkey Bar is a great sucker or audience evocation effect.  You show the assembled crowd your wooden bar, and the three even lengths of rope dangling from the right, middle, and center.  A shiny silver harness ring is knotted to the rope hanging on the right side of the bar.  You tell your audience that you will magically cause the ring to move from the right rope to the left rope.

 

You pass the bar behind your back and show the audience the magic has happened.  The audience correctly assumes you have merely turned the Monkey Bar so that the ring appears to have moved.  You toy with their tender emotions.  You feign ignorance.  You demonstrate your ability to pass the Monkey Bar behind your back and have the ring move to the original rope.  Your audience, raised on commercial television and schooled in the more abstract New Math, becomes irritated at your failure to understand their complaints.  Finally, after you have demonstrated the ring?s ability to move from far right to far left, you disprove their theory by making the ring suddenly appear knotted to the center rope. 

 

We know this to be a great effect for kids.  They love to shout at adults, and love magicians to fool them.  As long as you don?t overplay the ignorant magi routine too long, this effect is killer. 

 

Orson Welles

(We note with interest a passage from the Orson Welles? autobiography (with new introduction by Peter Bogdanovitch), This is Orson Welles, (New York: Da Capo Press 1998).  Mr. Welles discussed his performance of the Monkey Bar for a benefit at a ?forensic sanitarium for the criminally insane.?

 

?With each pass of the Monkey Bar behind my back, the crowd became more irate, more passionate.  Because I was in possession of a backside larger than most two men glued together and fitted within one fine wool suit, the pass behind my back took a good 30 seconds to complete.  They were screaming in their delirious passion at me, at the Monkey Bar and at my very large rear end.

 

?You, you, Fat Man!  You, you, must stop!  You turn the Monkey?s Bar as it goes behind you, you fat man!  I pushed the mob to the limits of their mental patience, and, I should note, the physical strength of their leather restraints.  They wanted to kill me.  I was in pure delight.  Not since my time with Universal had, I enraged so many mentally ill to such an unnecessary extent. 

 

When I climaxed the effect by showing the ring, that pretty, shiny ring, was now on the center rope, it was as if I directed a fire hose at their confused, frail beings and forced them from the delirium of magic into the reality of their confined cages. 

 

I bowed, said nothing for a count of fifteen seconds as I absorbed the muted applause one only hears when one performs for those bound by either medieval restraints or psychotropic medication. 

 

I lifted my gaze towards the crowd, the snake pit, and pronounced, ?Fat Man indeed!?  Tomorrow, as you dine on your own putrid but available soil within the confines of your pit, I will enjoy a fine wine, a great meal, and the pleasure of knowing I brought some enjoyment into your otherwise non-linear, bleak existence.??)

 

In other words, The Monkey Bar is a classic.  There is no way we can expect any dealer to sell a wooden Monkey Bar for $20.00 complete with Mr. Fisher?s comedic routine.  It cannot be done.  We feel FAB Magic has taunted us much as Mr. Welles? teased the criminally insane.  (By the way, you may find Mr. Welles? complete Monkey Bar routine at the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov).  We believe it is in the public domain but because we are not sure, we did not publish it here). 

 

The final exhibit supporting our indictment of FAB Magic is the most telling. 

 

Shenanigan Die Box

In 1974, we purchased our third Sucker Sliding Die Box ? the first two were damaged beyond repair in audience uprisings.  This Sliding Die Box was the cr?me de la cr?me of the genre.  The Bud West Shenanigan Sucker Sliding Die Box offered so much more than prior models.  With the Shenanigan box, we could actually allow our audiences a ?peek? at the die as it slid from side to side.  The audience had more than just the sound of a die shifting behind the doors to support their belief that we were hiding the die within the box.  They could actually see it within the box. 

 

The Shenanigan box cost us $50.00 (including postage from Abbot?s in Colon, Michigan).  We still have it.  We still use it.  It still works.

 

How, then, could FAB Magic sell the same effect, made by Bud West, for just a few dollars less today?  They claim the Shenanigan Sliding Die Box sells new for $79.99 (we?ll call it $80.00).  The $50.00 we spent in 1974 would be the same as $191.99 in 2004.  (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).  So sure, it makes sense that the world stood still for just one product.  There is something wrong here, very wrong.  Under this economic model, FAB could sell you a gallon of milk for $0.62 or a new three-bedroom home for $57,295. 

 

Wake up!

 

Still, until the Feds come crashing through the front door of their beautifully appointed Colon, Michigan store, we intend to take advantage of this crime.  True, it is like we are taking the wallet of a crime victim before the cops come.  But if we stood on principle, we?d be standing around while others grabbed what we wanted for a price below market value. 

 

While our mother raised a dumb and ugly child, she did not raise two of them.

 

Head to FAB Magic now before the yellow police tape blocks the entrance. 

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