This wonderful item was first released by John Snyder c. 1936 and it was a big success. This is set 471 and John sold more than 500 sets of these and at almost $100 a pop in today’s money that is not bad for a mentalism effect.
The Improved version was an add on to the original effect with a custom made stand and was released c. 1938. These stands are much harder to find and this one is in like new condition. The effect is the same method but with a stand to lay out the envelopes so you can do everything hands free – the performer never needs to touch the keys or the envelopes once they have been handed to the spectators.
The stand is really nice but is otherwise ungimmicked and could be used for other things too. The stand allows you to find the key without even touching the envelopes or stand. What is interesting in the ads that appeared announcing the “Improvement”, they don’t have a picture of it in the ad and don’t say what it is. But they do say “Item supplied for Improvement can be used in other effects.” – well yes it is a card stand.
There were no instructions included in The Improvement box – just the stand itself, but I’m not sure if there ever were any instructions. Both boxes are original and were opened for the first time when they were shipped to me. Anyway, you can see in my video how I use the stand. You don’t have to touch the stand or the envelopes but you do need to wave your hands in front to get a psychic reading. I found this effect easier to do with the stand for sure. Of course you don’t need the stand and can just perform the original method if you prefer.
This is what Annemann (who popularized the effect and named it as the Seven Keys to Baldpate in his book The Book Without a Name) said about Psy-Key Lock when it was first released:
On the desk is a nice ad sheet about Psy-Key-Lock by John Snyder, Jr. His letter to me says that he first read of the effect in my book ‘The Book Without a Name.’ He didn’t quite care for the method so started to develop something different. He finishes, “and I really believe I have it.” All well and good. Away back in old September of 1935 I printed the new presentation of this trick in the Jinx (page 58) and_described the buttonhole angle which was mine. Now Mr. Snyder has said that he has a NEW METHOD – and he has. It has developed from the new presentation but it is an admirable method which supercedes by far my original subtlety. If you want to spend the money, here is the chance for a complete and muchly different effect. You’ll get it complete,and ready to work. I know. I’ve worked it a lot–all different ways too. This is an excellent way.
Theo. Annemann, The Jinx, March 1936.
(Notice: use your own watch or valuable.)
Effect: Something different. Will absolutely create a sensation wherever shown. The greatest publicity getter of modern times. For parlor, club or stage. You have been waiting for something new. Here it is. Read every word of the following effect. If you can prove a single misstatement, we will make you a present of $100.00.
A Lock and Seven Keys are handed to the spectators, one key has a ribbon attached, and this is the only key that will open the lock. All keys are alike in appearance. Spectators are informed that six of the keys will go in the lock, but will not open it, and the key with the ribbon attached is the only key that will open the lock. The lock is opened and then locked in the button-hole of a spectator’s coat.
The performer now explains that he will leave the room, and in his absence they are to remove the ribbon from the key, place all seven keys in a hat, shake them up, and then place each key in an envelope and seal, each spectator to hold an envelope in his hand. Performer now returns and immediately locates the only key that will open the lock.
- No trick lock used.
- Only seven keys used.
- No switch of keys or lock.
- No sleight of hand moves.
- No assistants.
- No fake envelopes.
- Positively only the one key will open the lock.
- Can be performed immediately after reading instructions.
- Lock and keys are beautifully plated.
(Notice: Includes: Printed Instructions.)( Post Source: martinsmagic.com - click for details )