Review: Timeless Magic by Tim Ellis

TIMELESS MAGIC is a compilation of the magic of Tim Ellis over the past 35 years.  

I was fortunate to have met Tim Ellis personally during one of the magic conventions organised by Asian Magic Association where Tim both performed and lectured.  I have found Tim Ellis to be both creative and adept at all categories of magic: from close-up, sleight-of-hand, mentalism, and parlour to stage magic.  I love his magic – they are fast paced, direct and highly entertaining.  It is no wonder that he is such a highly sought-after magician in Australia, and has won many awards.

TIMELESS MAGIC describes 25 of his magical creations.  They include magic using cards, coins, bills, rubber bands, razor blades, soda can, cell phone and other objects.

Tim strives for simplicity in method.  His add-a-number pad (“Simplicity”) is simple to construct and is easy and effective in performance.  “Cellular Thinking” is his revelation of a chosen card by a friend over the cell phone without using any coding – it is super easy to perform!  His “Broken & Restored Rubber Band” is direct, powerful and can be considered impromptu.  “7 Keys To Paradise” is his version of 7 Keys To Baldpate without using a gimmicked padlock.  Tim provides a simple yet effective “Bare Coin Vanish” and a 3-phase direct “Coins Across” routine.  

Tim’s magic is highly entertaining because they contain novelty in them.  For example, “Krueger Kard Trick” has Tim using Freddy Krueger’s Glove to find a chosen card.  In “Credit Card Fax”, Tim’s photograph on his credit card gets transferred to a spectator’s credit card and finds the chosen playing card in the process.  “Death Slates” is a card trick using a pair of spirit slates that creates a spooky effect.  “Hi Tek Deck” has a miniaturised computer (the same size as a playing card) finding the chosen card, duplicating all the cards in the deck to the chosen card, and then resetting them back to their original identities, and permanently changing the colour of the back of the chosen card – a lot of things are happening with the small computer!  Tim converts an old close-up mathematical counter moving effect into a highly interactive stage trick involving a gentleman and 7 ladies entitled “Wife Swapping” – against all odds, the man is finally re-united with his wife!

Tim Ellis is a thinking magician and his great attention to details is evident in the following effects: “Perplexity” is a fresh and hard look at ACAAN that involves a prediction.  “Ultimate Blades” is Tim’s take on razor blades in mouth that eliminates switching the cutting blades.

Tim gives 2 valuable tips on the use of Fantasio candles (“Candle Tips”) and 3 methods of using and ditching your thumb-tips (“Thumbtip Tips”).

In addition to magical effects, Tim Ellis also discusses some opening gambits for use in strolling magic, questions that are likely to be asked when you are interviewed by media people, and how to get an agent for your show.  There is an entire chapter (“Floorshow Tips”) on what to do when you are performing stage magic.  Here, Tim discusses venue, lighting, music, sound system, angles and magician’s requirement (a rider or a kind of contract).

The book also contains articles written by Tim Ellis for Stan Allen’s “Magic” magazine.  Tim wrote on exposure of magic, theatre magic versus magic reality TV shows, and comparison of magic to professional wrestling.  They are all interesting to read.

Tim Ellis also gives his original patter for “Fresh Fish Sold Here Today”, jumbo mechanical 3-card monte, McDonald’s Aces, and his own “Tim Card Poker Deal.”

For magicians who wish to take part in magic competitions, Tim Ellis shows you what to do to prepare your competition act, based on his experience being one of the judges of FISM and the FISM competition criteria.

Finally, Tim has a section entitled “Glossary” where he lists some 56 “frequently misunderstood magical terms”.  This has become my favourite section of the book.  Here is a sampling of the terms:

Head Chopper – the person in charge of the sword.

Layman – a good lover.

Double Face – all your friends in the magic fraternity.

Double Back – what you need to hold the knives if you have a lot of friends.

The book is well written by Tim Ellis.  It is easy to read and understand.  The illustrations, although not of the standards of Richard Kaufman and Ton Onosaka, are well done and help tremendously in the explanations of the effects.

Tim’s magic encompasses a variety of effects and methods.  They range from easy to the difficult and from close-up to stage magic.  If you cannot find at least more than one effect that you can use, you are a hard customer to please.  I have 3 effects that will immediately go into my performing repertoire, plus at least 6 more that I will modify to suit my performance before I can use them.

I enjoyed TIMELESS MAGIC thoroughly.  I am glad I purchased the hardcover version.  It is a book that I will treasure.  It now sits prominently in my magic book shelf.  Highly recommended.

Tim Ellis as Katzkin… Meowwwwwrrrrrrrr

I’ve been a huge fan of multi-award winning Australian magician, Tim Ellis, for many many many years. The man is a mad magic genius and his brilliant book Timeless Magic is proof of that. The 148 page book is available in hardback (like John’s) and softcover from, as well as, an online PDF download (mine) from all reputable Murphy’s Magic dealers.

Tim laughed when I sent him a quick video of all the scribbles and highlights I made on his book, which I had printed out. There’s so many goodies in there, I can’t believe the ebook is priced at just US$35. To be honest, he could have very easily doubled the price for his books and it would still be worth it.

There’s a lot of material in there that I’d appreciated when I was first starting out in the business. I wouldn’t have made the mistakes I made and it would have been an easier journey. I’m not talking about the tricks, but Tim’s sharing as a veteran about the magic industry and work philosophy, like his essay about the opening gambit when you’re doing strolling magic for instance.

Tim also shared about floorshow tips, useful for performers who work the stage at DNDs in ballrooms or at other corporate functions and weddings. A useful chapter about technical riders are also included in the book, true gems for those starting in the profession.

Competition magicians will also stand to gain much insight as well from Timeless Magic, as Tim shares much about what to expect and anticipate in international magic competitions like FISM. Great essays aside, the photoshop images will tickle you. It’s so typical of Tim Ellis’ brand of humour.

The very first effect shared in Tim’s book, Ultimate Blades, had in fact inspired my fire eating-razor blade swallowing act back in 2008 when I was performing my nightly gig at The Arena in Clarke Quay. While Tim uses strong carpet thread, I had dental floss/ white thread for my performance to help the string of razor blades stand out (sorry I’ve no performance videos to show, my previous management has removed most of my stuff on their YouTube channel).

In both instances, real razor blades are used and their sharpness demonstrated but Tim’s style is uniquely his, while I took a more mysterious approach with Magic Babe swallowing fire before pulling the string of blades out from between her red lips sensuously. This act really is a show stopper and is with of being the very first effect featured in Tim’s gem of a book.

Besides stage magic, Timeless Magic also has lecture notes and effects that will satisfy lovers of card tricks, mentalism, bizarre magic, close-up and parlour. The book is really a solid collection of magic from Tim over the last four decades!

Some of my favourite tricks are Deckstress (Tim also sells it as a separate ebook on his website), which is a great card trick for table hopping or strolling magic at cocktail events; Divide & Conquer (a really smart two person code act); Two Person Card Code (another code act with a not-so-secret assistant); Broken & Restored Rubber Band (an act rubber band maestro Joe Rindfleisch would approve of); Perplexity (a fresh take on the well loved ACAAN effect) and more!

The “glossary” at the back of the book had me laughing as well. Tim’s mad creative mind can also be glimpsed at his stellar performance of Shakespeare’s Monte, which I’ll leave you with. It is truly the 3 Card Monte act, which the Bard himself would have performed. Classy stuff, no doubt 😉

Timeless Magic by Tim Ellis definitely is a read you want in your magic library. This book has my highest recommendations. Two thumbs up!

Two thumbs up!

Two thumbs up!

Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available from all reputable Murphy’s Magic dealers.


Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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