Spy Before You Buy Vols. 1-4
by Howard Baltus & Bob Solari
Written by Andy Martin, Martins Magic
Spy Before You Buy was a series of videos released by Howard Baltus of The Trickery and Bob Solari of Bob Solari Magic. Each volume featured full demonstrations of around 100 effects. Their inspiration was Dick Stoner who also had a series of magic demo videos in the 1990s.
Howie and Bob released four video catalogs between 1998-2004 and demonstrated close to 450 effects and with the release of Spy 4 I believe the total trick count for The Trickery even exceeded Dick’s volumes.
Howie + Bob’s demonstrations were not always outstanding magically or painstakingly rehearsed and they often only took one take per effect, but they made up for it with enthusiasm and were great fun and a perfect way to see lots of magic in a time before youtube and downloads.
I was actually present in the basement at Howie’s home in New Jersey during a shoot in 2001 and remember being surprised that Howie and Bob would often take the next effect from the counter, open it for the first time and go straight into a performance on camera. A far cry from the 20-50 takes I often put in for my Speed Demos 🙂
The cartoon characters for Howie and Bob featured on the later videos became quite evolved and Howie was good enough to post them on youtube a few years ago to bring back the memories of those simpler times so please enjoy them.