2008 edition of the New York Toy Fair took place on February 17-20 at the
massive Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, although there were other
showrooms scattered around New York City we will concentrate on the
Convention Center exhibits. Every year the show features more than a
thousand manufacturers of toys, games, puzzles, sports, dolls, action
figures, electronic gadgets, practical jokes and everything else a child or
adult could want. We of course will concentrate on the magic and magicians.
Although it is worth mentioning that among the more than 35,000 people who
attend the show you will see many magicians and people related to magic in
Magic is back:
Marshall Brodien who is the most influential mass marketer of magic in my
lifetime burst on the scene in the early 1970s with short infomercials
featuring his "TV Magic Cards," "TV Mystery Cards," and many other "TV
Magic" products. He is credited for introducing an entire generation of
professional magicians to magic with these products. In the past 35 years he
has reinvented his product line a number of times with different toy
manufacturers but now he is back with the original line.
Carl Zealer who now owns the original
Squirmles and has had tremendous success with it started NowStalgic Toys
which now owns all of the "TV Magic" trademarks and will be releasing this
summer all of the original Brodien products with improved packaging and DVD
instruction. They also have plans to introduce a separate line of magic
geared for young girls later this year.
--To purchase Marshall Brodien's amazing
King is becoming the king of magic marketing:
Mac King who is seemingly successful at everything he tries took the week
off from his Las Vegas show, which is continuously rated as one of the best
in Vegas, to appear at the Fundex Games booth for a couple of hours every
day. He was more than happy to demonstrate many of his "Magic in a Minute"
products to the attendees, many of whom recognized him from his show. The
products are fun, creative and come with stylized presentations that make
them a joy to perform.
--My favorite routine King performed was
the "Confounding Crazy Crate-O-Mystery" which can be purchased by clicking:
Oakes is the new face of Cadaco:
Cadaco which was the last company to produce magic under the Marshall
Brodien name has opted for a young fresh look and now features Ryan Oakes on
the cover of their magic sets. Oakes was at the booth pitching the products,
which have been continuously improving. Many of the classic props included
in the magic sets have been retooled and are better made than their
counterparts that are available at magic shops -- although these are made
smaller in order to be easily handled by children. Oakes you may remember
was the host the recent "The Real Hustle" television series.
continues to be fantastic:
Roger Dreyer's Fantasma Magic continues to produce magic products and magic
sets that are not just suitable for children but are great for adults as
well. The quality and packaging continues to improve and it is a product
line I often recommend to people who ask me about magic.
--To see some of Fantasma's products click:
In conclusion I thought that the quality of the
magic presented this year was one of the best I have seen as far as
creativity, variety, craftsmanship, presentation and design. The
unfortunate part, as always, is that the creators of many of the
redesigned concepts are rarely credited or compensated.
There were many other companies who released magic products or were
displaying previously released lines that I did not cover here and probably
never got a chance to see. I did see Chris Hurlbert at the Ceaco booth.
Hurlbert is probably the magician who has appeared at the most consecutive
New York Toy Fairs. Nicely displayed magic included Eddy International's
ever expanding magic line, the George Schindler inspired magic line and "The
Great Maestro Magic" line. I also heard that Jim Sisti was performing at the
Melissa & Doug booth which launched some new magic products. Unfortunately
their unnecessarily rude sales people kept me from getting a photo of the
magic or Sisti. It is a shame because I thought their previous releases were