Blaine joins Angel, Alonzo as magic kit-selling sellouts? Not quite

October 10th, 2010 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Criss Angel, David Blaine, General


We’re going to pre-emptively snuff a spark before an issue becomes a fire — now that David Blaine is involved, this issue is likely to get debates going on magic forums worldwide.

Blaine joins Angel, Alonzo as magic kit selling sellouts? Not quiteSurely, you’ve seen the Mindfreak magic kits. Available from the ads on TV and from nationwide retailers, the kits feature a slew of street magic effects for beginners, intermediates and the “most advanced mystifier,” including several we are all familiar with. You can get “platinum” and “ultimate” kits — some include one of Angel’s levitations, and the kits also come with instructional DVDs.

Blaine joins Angel, Alonzo as magic kit selling sellouts? Not quiteAlso causing some controversy is this kit featuring Ed Alonzo. Some, including About.com’s respected resident magician Wayne Kawamoto, have argued that the kit’s head twister is so poorly made that it is tantamount to exposure. Roland Henning, the chief of Weekly Magic Failure, goes a step further and calls Alonzo a sell out. (Yeah, Roland gets angry when we don’t send him free cards, but we still like him and his site.)

Blaine joins Angel, Alonzo as magic kit selling sellouts? Not quiteNow David Blaine is getting involved. MagicTimes.com in September spread the news that the street magic legend is releasing three new gaff decks. The decks are Blaine’s take on a stripper, Svengali and marked deck, but the key words in the story: “They are U.S. Playing Card Co. products that are being released to the general public.” Blaine has a publicity tour planned to talk about the decks, and they should be available sometime after Oct. 31 wherever Bicycle cards are sold.

So is the world falling apart for magicians? Does the appearance of magic’s biggest current stars on products meant for the masses mean we will have no secrets left? Are Blaine, Angel and Alonzo SELL-OUTS?

Chill. Take a deep breath, practice your pass. Take these two bullet points, and call us in the morning:

  • All these kits appear to be filled with gimmicked magic tricks that have been in mass markets for ages. Take that Mindfreak kit: From the sales page, it looks like he’s put his presentational feel on effects that my stepkid already has. The serious secrets of sleight of hand appear to remain intact.
  • But even if one of those 500 Mindfreaks happens to be a solid technique for a pass, remember: People like to watch US, not magic tricks. Even though these gimmicked decks have been available in mass markets, we know pros who still kill with them because they put the work, effort and practice into a truly convincing performance. The same goes for sleight of hand.

This won’t be the last time a magician makes it big enough to use his image to market magic products. Magic has been just fine ever since. So get out there and perform already. That’s what people want to see.

16 comments

  1. Magic Hits: Big-time magicians sell secrets to general public? Not worth the … http://bit.ly/b1UUyG

  2. These may be the same old stuff in magic kits… But i think having someone like David Blaine or Criss Angel releasing these is not good, as to laymen they are the “best magicians in the world.” That means the same old stuff is now the stuff that is the ultimate and best in the world. More people will know about it, unlike the dollar store kits or the kits with a random magician (to laymen) on the cover. People will buy these.

  3. Exposure is always bad for magic in general. This type of petty exposure does not hurt the true magic artists that are out there on the street performing. Talk to anyone you interact with in your daily lives and I guarantee none of them (possibly one) will have any type of trick deck or magic kit that is recently purchased. Unless they are magicians or have the initial idea to want to learn and be serious with magic. At that point we can only hope that they honor the code.
    I hate to say it, but in a way when things are exposed it does push the art forward somewhat because it forces us to think more creatively and come up with new ideas.
    Think about this—- At the same time, are the countless magic websites, and countless people releasing new magic and competing all the time not hurting magic in just the same way, if not more?
    Much love to everyone. just here to discuss.

  4. NO Chris don,t do that, sell the trick , like toy rus

    please think twice

  5. I wonder if the Cris Angel kit comes with tips on how to edit videos.

  6. think about way back when…when you saw your first magic special on tv or when your strange drunken uncle demonstrated a card effect for you or when he gave you your first stripper deck…the point?? it was probably inspirational & revealing for you…and you had to start somewhere & somehow…these guys might be “SELLING OUT”…but whats the point of being a famous entertainer??? to make a boat load of cash thats what!!! but at least they are inspiring kids everywhere to pick up magic…its no more “exposure” then a guitar player teaching some kid how to play Stairway to Heaven…it doesnt destroy the song or the craft of guitar playing in anyway or make anyone like jimmy pages other songs any less…these kits or their marketing doesnt really hurt the craft of magic immediately or even in the long run…it sparks kids interest, gives them something to do with their hands & minds besides play video games & puts money in the bank for the artist…no skin of my magic back…

  7. I think that its great! It will bring more attention to the magic community and (as mentioned above) might inspire some more to take up magic as a hobby or career. I like that David Blaine isn’t releasing kits but just gimmicked decks. I think that Angel’s Kit was a bit over the top because it was marketed as things from his personal repertoire, but we all know how that was. I think any attention to magic is good.

  8. All the tricks in that kit can be found on YouTube it takes more then a book, some DVDs and a sell out to preform magic.

  9. I must say I am VERY disappointed with Chris Angle. Out of $30.00 I was able to find one trick I may be able to pull off in a bar. I must give him credit for the quality of the crap I bought just because of his name. He should be ashamed of himself for this. It ruins his name. He should offer a refund, full or partial to anyone that can send in the disk.

  10. You kno I think it’s funny how everyone keeps callin them a sellout, but you don’t hear anyone complaining about the people who put tricks on DVDs

  11. I was able to get a full refund at the store I bought it. Thank you Walgreens..

    I have no problem with him putting out a box set, but when it gives you the idea that the tricks are new and I bought a magic kit 34 years ago that matched this almost trick for trick, something is wrong.

  12. I guess everyone here doesn’t do much research or is too young to remember Mark Wilson the magician. He sold several magic kits in the 70s which I have each and everyone. He also sold several magic books which some are still in print. Each and every magic kit rehashes the same things over and over again because the effects in the kits are mostly public domain effects. The colors and the designs change but the effects are the same. The quality goes down each and every time something is released. Right now at Target, Wal-mart,. Toys-r-us, Micheal’s and even Walgreen you can find generic magic kits. They are all bad, poor quality and mostly discourages all and any from pursuing magic, which is a shame. Magic can always use new blood to keep it alive.

  13. Old argument guys – this is GOOD for magic! on:

    I got my start with the Mark Wilson course (ok, I had a couple of effects before that). Marshall Brodien & Tenyo have been in toy stores for decades. This is how people get started in magic — by taking the next step & buying a product from performers they know.

    Yes, it reveals some secrets. But seriously, are you as a sesoned pro doing a Svengalli routine that one of these newbies would recognize? Shame on you if you are.

  14. The more people trying to practice magic the better it will be for everyone.. They will buy more DVDs and more cards and attend more shows.. GREAT

  15. Money is the new god isn’t it ?
    They all want to make money out of their art.
    It happens with musicians to… put it on the radio and wait a few albums… and the artist may become a money pony.

    Who has a Heart stronger than the Corporate Socialism ?

    Try your luck, become famous and see if you gonna fight for ethics against money machine or you gonna find your own reasons for feeling totally good about simply making money out of your art ?

    These guys chose the big buck. Leave’em to their own plans…

    On my part, i’m gonna keep doing what i think is always gonna be an Art before it is a profession.