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Martin Lewis Lecture Notes Inventions Review

Official Review

October 28th, 2015 8:47am
Reviewed by Doc Johnson

I must start by saying that these lecture notes are now available on a CD. The CD contains not only the "Inventions" lecture notes, but also his standard lecture notes which contain a different set of effects. The cost of the CD is the same as the original spiralbound book with just the "Inventions" lecture notes. They are PDFs in various languages and contain dozens of original effects for stage, close-up, and parlor. The single CD contains the notes in English, French, Italian, and German. Here is the list of effects as listed on the back of the CD case: Undivided, Technicolor Prediction, Crystal Gazing, Cardiographic, Whispering Joker, Point of Arrival, Sidewalk Shuffle, Magicians Poker, Prismatic Pencil, Spelling Collins Aces, Queenie, The Cheap Cup, The Come Back Card, Lucifers Card, Two Color Torn Paper, Halve-It, Sharper Sharped, The Natural Count, Harbins Card in Bottle, Dice Finale, Ghostwriter, Re-Covered, IM Card Rise, Improved “Zens” Switch, and more.

The CD contains two PDFs, one for his standard lecture notes and another on his “Inventions” lecture. The “invention” lecture contains effects and routines that include “build-it-yourself” props. As he says in the lecture notes, most of the props are made using simple tools such as a sharp hobby knife, metal ruler, etc. Many of them also use household items, such as a bean or pea can for a chop cup routine.

I think in all of these, you will likely find some practical and useful, and others not so much. I am going to review some of the effects, both those that I liked, and a few I found some limitations with. In spite of this, those I found limitations with you may want to use the principles in a different way or may not be bothered by the limitations.

TWO COLOR TORN PAPER is a clever torn and restored tissue effect that incorporates some good humor. The effect came from Martin’s father, Eric Lewis, performing a very similar trick that was not original to him, and one day he didn’t have enough tissue of the same color. He decided to use two different color tissues and the result was a torn and restored routine that incorporated a great deal of humor and had a much greater effect.

CRYSTAL GAZING is a great routine with a crystal ball and a deck of cards. A participant can select any card and a second participant is able to gaze into the crystal ball and “see” the selected card. I have seen Martin perform this live and he really does a great job getting a lot of mileage out of this. This is an effect that provides you with the opportunity to easily milk the situation and create somewhat of an instant stooge. When performing, Martin would say to the participant: “You are gazing into the crystal ball. At first, you may think you see something, but it is not clear yet. You begin to see a color rising from a haze of clouds in the crystal. What color do you see?” He gets the spectator to reveal the freely selected card one piece at a time. I am convinced that much of the audience really believes that the participant is seeing things appear as the performer is describing them. The effect uses a very clever gimmick.

SHARPER SHARPED is a six card repeat effect. What is nice about this effect is it is a humorous story about a time when a magician encountered a card cheat and they decided to play poker. In the routine, the card cheat is dealt six cards by accident and he puts a card up his sleeve. He recounts and still has six. The effect has a twist in that he then counts only four and starts adding the cards from his sleeve back to his hand. Very humorous.

IMPROVED ZEN’S ENVELOPE SWITCH alone is worth the price of the lecture notes. This is a great utility that Martin’s father, Eric’s improvement of an existing method. I see the original method still used today, where the improved method is light years better.

THE CHEAP CUP is a fun chop cup routine that includes a description for how to make the “green peas” can chop cup. I really think this is worth looking into as there is so much potential for humor with this sort of home-made style magic.

CARDIOGRAPHIC. This awesome effect is actually taught on this CD! This is one of Martin’s signature effects. You can buy the already made device, or you can read his lecture notes and build one yourself. The effect is a card is selected. He draws a card on a large pad of paper and reveals… the wrong card. He then says he is not done and draws a deck of cards. Their selected card then rises from the deck. He tears off the page with the drawn deck and rising card and hands it to the participant as a souvenir.

THE WHISPERING JOKER. When I saw Martin perform live, I was sitting at the same table he was, having dinner. I had never met him, and he seemed like a very reserved, very quiet individual. I did not see him as someone very entertaining. His wife, on the other hand, was quite the ham! However, when he later got up on stage as the featured entertainer, his show was very entertaining and had the crowd in stitches. In the description of this effect, you can see how he looks for entertaining premises. In this effect, he creates a scenario with a “gossipy” Queen. Just that premise alone is quite humorous. He took an existing routine and improved it to the one presented in his lecture notes.

QUEENIE is described as the “gem” of the lecture notes. I can’t say, as there are many gems in these notes. It is a routine of six effects with two Jokers and a Queen blended into a sequence with one basic theme “ one never knows where the Queen is going to turn up.


One general issue is the effects described did not start with a clear explanation of exactly what the effect is. In many cases, you may have to read through much of the effect to understand what it is about.

JUMBO HALVE IT. This seemed like a very funny routine. However, I really had a hard time following the explanation. For me anyway, this is one that required several readings. It includes the full patter used by Martin’s father, Eric. The patter is hilarious!

HARBIN’S CARD IN BOTTLE. This is a great effect in which a selected card appears in a small closed liquor bottle. The limitation with this one is it uses quite a bit of rather bulky equipment to make it happen, including two cigar boxes, one that will fit inside another.

MAGICIAN’S POKER. The nice thing about this routine is it is a humorous poker production that is easy to do and resets automatically. The downside is it uses gimmicked cards and you must dedicate a deck of cards to just this effect.

GHOSTWRITER. I’m not sure why this was included in the lecture. It uses a gimmick that is a combination pen and rubber stamp. I would think that at some point, if not already, it might just be impossible to get such a device. On the upside, I think one could improvise the method to not require the impossible device.

IMPOSSIBLE MINIATURE CARD RISE. In the explanation, he starts by saying it is not very “practical” for the busy professional. It is a routine that involves and ashtray, a clear glass, a miniature deck of cards, and a few other things to make a miniature card rise.

I can’t really comment on how the CD compares to the ad copy as I couldn’t find any ad copy anywhere. Let’s just say that most of these effects are very doable. I have seen Martin perform many of these at a live show and he is thoroughly entertaining. For me, the value of this was in seeing how a relatively simple magic effect can be spiced up to make a very humorous, engaging, and entertaining magic routine. If you do purchase this, I suggest you really think about the entertainment value of each effect. In many of the effects, Martin has included word for word patter of his own, or his father Eric. While you won’t want to use the patter as written, it should give you an idea of how a magic effect can be so much more when well scripted into an entertaining routine.


Wow! For the money, this is a great value! There are a lot of gems on these two e-book lecture notes. Not only do you get some of the best effects and routines, some performed on stage by the likes of David Copperfield, but you also get an insight into how Martin looks for and incorporates humor and entertainment into his routines.
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Product info for Martin Lewis Lecture Notes Inventions

Author: Lewis, Martin
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $10.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

This is a magic book titled Martin Lewis Lecture Notes Inventions by Lewis, Martin
Format: Spiralbound
Publication Summary: 2000, 36 pp

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