Magic Tricks and Performance Questions

Common questions about magic tricks manufactured by Nielsen Magic and the art of performing magic

First of all, latex is an interesting material. The advantage is that, when it is fresh, it springs immediately back into shape and it is very supple. The disadvantage of latex is that it decomposes with time. The decomposition is due to its contact with air and light. The are some special chemicals that can be sprayed to the item during manufacturing to further protect it, unfortunately these give the item a certain “shine” that we do not want our doves to have. You can notice this on masks, rubber chickens, etc. But regardless of this, the end result is the same: Latex does not last forever. If not used, a Nielsen Latex Dove might have a shelf life of a few years before it becomes brittle. I have had a dove out that was made in a batch from three years ago, and it is still fine. If you use your Dove often, the best way to store it is by putting it in a zip lock bag to seal it from the air. Once in a while you might want to wash it and put some talcum powder on it, but the main thing is to put it in the zip lock bag. This slows down the oxidation process and it will last for a longer time. That is the main reason why we use vinyl for the Vanishing Bottles – although vinyl is not as supple, it does last a lifetime.
As you know, the bottles are made of vinyl. The best way to clean the bottle is by using a mild solvent like Ronsonol lighter fluid. Lighter fluid will clean all the sticky residue without damaging the bottle. You can then stick the labels on the bottle and after the new labels are on, you clean the bottle with any vinyl cleaner like Armor All. Due to the “sticky problem” with the adhesive on the labels, we have decided to make new labels for several bottles. The new labels are now printed on static cling material. In other words, it just sticks to the bottle without adhesive! If after you finish the trick the label gets wrinkled, all you have to do is peel it and stick it back. We have tried these in a few conventions, and so far, the same set of labels has lasted on our demo bottle for three of them. These seem to last longer and be much cleaner. They are still at $2 per set. The bottles that are offered with static cling labels are: Ketchup, Budweiser and Miller Lite. As far as the rest of the bottles are concerned, as we run out of stock on the old labels, we will reprint them in this material. Also, when using the static cling labels, the important thing is to keep the bottle clean. Armor All will do that.
Fanning powder is simply zinc stearate. The best way to apply it to your cards is by taking a large plastic bag and putting your cards in it, along with 1 teaspoon of the powder. Blow the bag up with air so that it becomes like a bubble with the cards and powder inside it. Then, shake it for a minute or so. Remove the cards from the bag, and they are ready to be used.
The Jeff McBride videos are a remarkable card manipulation resource, simply because he has gathered the best moves from all the literature. Except for the Ganson books, and a few articles and pamphlets, there is not much on card manipulation. The secret is practice, practice, PRACTICE. Pick a move or two that have a magical value and that you can use within a magical routine. Master those moves by practicing them several hours per day. Once you learn them, learn two more, and so on. Try to practice intelligently. Determine what your goal is, and practice the moves that would take you closer to that goal. Do not waste your time practicing flourishes that you will never use or you are just learning to show off (unless of course you have all the time in the world and don’t mind learning them). For instance, I always work standing up without a table. When I read a magic book, I skip all the tricks that involve me working in front of a table and concentrate on those that I can do in a stand up situation. It is the same with manipulation. If you do stage magic, skip all the close-up flourishes. If you do close-up magic, then skip all the items that you can not use in that venue, etc. If at first you practice what you need, you will have all the elements necessary to complete an act or routine.

Magic Posters

Common questions about magic posters sold by Nielsen Magic

This is the nomenclature used to describe vintage magic posters here in the United States. A ½ sheet poster measures approximately 20” x 30”. A one-sheet poster measures approximately 30″ x 40″. A three-sheet poster measures approximately 40” x 80” An eight-sheet poster measures approximately 7 ft. x 9 ft. Please keep in mind that these sizes are approximate. These sizes can vary by a few inches more or less on the width or length. These were also the sizes of most American posters. European posters can be slightly larger. The one-sheet size (30” x 40”) was the standard size of the limestone that they used when printing these images. When talking about 2-sheets, 3-sheets or 8-sheets, one would assume that they consist of 2, 3, or 8 sheets put together. There are some cases where this is not the rule. Some 8-sheets are composed of 5 large segments, for instance. However, the entire image has the approximate final dimensions of 7 ft x 9 ft. A 16-sheet poster measures approximately 12 – 16 ft x 9 ft.
The standard way magic posters are mounted in the United States is by dry or wet mounting. If you ever mount posters, please DO NOT use any dry or heat mounting with them. This process uses and adhesive and a heat press that permanently glues the poster to a foam board, cardboard or masonite. This method is NOT the recommended method when mounting vintage posters. Stone-lithographs were mostly printed (there are exceptions, of course) prior to 1930. These were printed for advertising purposes and these posters were glued to walls on the streets of every town and city a performer worked. Because they were not meant to last, they were printed in very cheap, acidic paper. Because of the acid on the paper, the poster will decompose with time. In order to prevent (or delay this) posters should be mounted on Japanese rice paper. This non-acidic paper helps stabilize the poster.This is the most common method of mounting – particularly in England. However, in the US and France poster mounters go one step further: the mount the entire poster and rice paper on linen or canvas. By mounting it on these materials the poster can now be rolled and handled easily, without fear of tearing it. This type of mounting is called “wet-mounting” and the glues use to adhere the poster to the various layers of material are non-acidic and water soluble. This method also allows for restoration of a poster. If there missing parts on a poster, these can be “filled in” by expert artists. As mentioned earlier, the rice paper helps stabilize the acid in the poster. However, the linen or canvas gives it a backing so that the poster can be easily handled without tearing it. The French and the Americans use this method. The British, for instance, only mount on rice paper without the canvas.
There are several mounters out there. Through our experience we know that a mounter will charge anywhere between $400 to $600 to mount an 8-sheet. Some mounters charge by the square inch, others charge by the “sheet”. Please also keep in mind that every large format poster (even if it is in mint condition) requires a certain degree of restoration work due to the folds on the paper. This is normal. In the case of an 8-sheet, it takes probably 2 – 3 hours of restoration time. The above quote is an approximation. You will have to talk to the mounter to get an accurate figure.
It is always good to mount a vintage magic poster. The mounters use Japanese paper under the poster to help stabilize the acid on the poster paper, and then the poster is mounted on canvas for easy handling. There are mounters that can mount the poster, but they do not have the capability of doing it in a continuous roll of canvas. Instead they split the poster in two, and then join the two parts at the splice. Although a little bit cheaper, we do not like this because it devalues the poster and it is more difficult to sell in the future. As another alternative, because the Carter magician posters are $450.-, we have known of magicians that have bought them as cheap wall paper. They just stick the poster to the wall with wall paper paste, permanently. I suppose they didn’t mind to spend that money for the decoration. We of course wouldn’t do this to the poster!
The best method of display depends on how much you want to spend and your decor. And yes, due to their large size this can be very tricky and require further understanding. See below. These posters can be framed. However it is rather difficult because of two reasons: — Moulding for framing does not regularly come in large sizes (8 ft. is the standard) — Plexiglas has to be special ordered in very large sizes and it is very expensive ($200 – $300 / sheet) To solve the moulding problem, your framer would have to splice it in order to add a foot or two to it. Plexiglas can be ordered in your local industrial plastic store. Before the poster is framed, make sure you measure the door to the room you want to display it. Sometimes they don’t fit, and the poster has to be framed inside. Another very nice way to display these types of posters is without a frame. All you have to do is purchase 2 long dowels or 2 long slats of wood. After the poster is mounted, the mounter will give you enough “margin” around the poster for you to attach a dowel across the top and bottom of the poster. Just attach the top dowel to the wall and let the lower dowel serve as a “weight” tostretch the poster down. This is similar to the way some calendars are displayed. Mounting the magic poster protects it, and of course framing it would be good, however, many times it is not practical. Hanging it in the above mentioned fashion will allow you to display it nicely and give you the enjoyment it was intended for.Finally, the only thing you have to avoid on posters (or anything else) is direct sunlight. As youknow, ultra-violet light fades everything.
The unmounted 8-sheet magic poster comes folded in a flat package. When opening it, be very careful, as the paper is very brittle. A mounted poster is shipped in a large tube.
Deciding who the right mounter is for your magic posters depends on the type and the condition of the piece. The first thing you have to determine is: a) The value of the poster and b) Its condition – does it need restoration? See our recommendations below. If the poster is in fairly good condition and does not need restoration, but only straight mounting, then almost any company will do an adequate job. However, you have to make sure that they do not dry mount. You want wet mounting instead. The latter method employs water soluble substances to mount the poster. It is acid free and reversible. Dry or heat mounting is not recommended as they used chemicals and the poster is glued permanently to a board. We find that the most reasonably priced company is Sei Petersen from Baltimore or Phil Temple from CA. If your poster needs restoration then you have to decide what kind of restoration work you want and what you are willing to pay for it. Every mounter has their own particular techniques of mounting and restoring posters. Some techniques involve painting in the missing part of the poster with water soluble paints. Other restorers use an airbrush to do this process. However the most advanced technique is replacing the paper of the poster. In other words, they will cover the holes or missing parts with either paper or a substitute material and paint over it in such a way that you wouldn’t see that the poster was restored. Of course, the more sophisticated the restoration, the more expensive it will be. Mounting and restoring a poster with paper restoration can cost anywhere between $300 to over $1000. So, who do you send a poster to? As mentioned earlier, you have to determine its value. If it is a poster that is only worth $200, for instance, then it is not worth sending it to a restorer that is going to charge you $500 to mount it. If on the other hand your poster is worth $5000, then, you probably want to send it to the best company. It is just common sense. For mounting that requires some restoration (painting and/or airbrushing): Funny Face Productions 147 Main Street Box 282 Haydenville, MA 01039-0282 Email: postersandrestoration@gmail.com http://www.funnyfaceproductions.com Tel: 413-268-9215 Poster Mountain 8749 Shirley Avenue Unit B Northridge, CA 91234 http://www.postermountain.com Tel.: 818-882-1214 Fax: 818-882-1215 Sei Petersen – The Poster Repair Company 1810 Maryland Avenue Baltimore, MD 21201 Tel.: 410-625-4917 Email: seipete@verizon.net http://www.posterrepaircompany.com Sei Petersen replaced Garo, which we used quite often. And several customers of ours have been very satisfied with his work. For more complex projects that involve a lot of paper replacement and restoration: Studio C 1040 Los Vallecitos Blvd. Suite 109 San Marcos, CA 92069 http://www.atstudioc.com Tel.: 800-583-8379 Customers of ours also recommend: Poster Conservation, Inc. 200 Henry Street Stamford, CT 06902 Tel.: 203-324-9750 We have not used them yet, but have received good feedback from a couple of their customers. For obvious reasons, we will not quote prices. Call a few of these mounters and send them each a poster or two and you can decide for yourself who will ultimately fulfill your mounting needs. Finally, please tell them that you heard about them through Nielsen Magic! Those “brownie points” help!
When framing the poster, please tell you framer not to glue the poster to a backing, but to secure the poster to the backing with an acid free tape. The worst thing that can damage paper (or anything for that matter) is ultra violet light. If you are going to display posters in a sunny area of your home, please tell your framer to use UV Plexiglas. Plexiglas is lighter than glass and does not break easily. This material will protect the posters from ultra-violet light for 10 – 15 years. Ultra-violet rays of light are what fade things. If you can, it is good to have the posters matted. The mat separates the poster from the glass by 1/8 inch. Sometimes, matting is not possible – when you are dealing with large format posters. But if the poster is small enough, it is recommended.
Thank you very much for your inquiry. Unfortunately, we have not seen the poster from the other company and are unable to tell you anything about that particular print. We can tell you about the quality of our reproductions, though: All our poster reproductions are made DIRECTLY from the original poster, and all the original posters are in our private collection. These reproductions are not made out of a photograph that has been blown up and reprinted, but are carefully scanned on a 1:1 proportional basis using a large format Contex scanner. If you are familiar with these scanners (a $24K piece of equipment), you will know that by scanning the poster in its full size you keep every single detail of the piece. The poster is then printed on high quality canvas using UV inks to protect it from fading. Our regular reproduction series (those measuring 17.5″ x proportional height) are signed and numbered and will be limited in their production. Finally, we are able to reproduce a poster up to its full size if you would like to. The full size of an Alexander Green Stripe is approx. 40″ wide x 80″ high. When reproduced in this size and framed, it is difficult to tell the difference between the real and the reproduced one. Recently, there was an incident where we had sold a full size reproduction of a Kellar poster to a customer. Unfortunately, two years later this person passed away, and his poster collection went on auction. Because 99% of his collection was composed of real posters, no one had any reason to suspect that one of the Kellars he had framed was a reproduction. A poster expert purchased the poster at auction for over $4000. Luckily, we found out about it, and called him on time warn him. I hope my spiel on our posters help you to make an educated decision on your next magic reproduction or vintage magic poster purchase.