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Wednesday February 27, 2008
Magic Times Spotlight News
The 2008 edition of the New York Toy FairThe 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 attendance.

Marshall BrodienTV 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 biography click: HERE.

Mac KingMac 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: HERE.

Ryan OakesRyan 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.

Roger DryerFantasma 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: HERE.

Chris HurlbertAnd much more:
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 excellent.

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.

---Meir Yedid

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