The news on the pages of The New York Times has been less than uplifting and encouraging lately. Because we believe the best reality is the one you make for yourself and that delusion begins at home, we cast our journalistic net back a few month to find a counterbalance to the death, dissention and dismay.
It is not hyperbole to say Tannen’s Magic is to magic what P.B. Terrazzo and Sons is to Terrazzo floor installations (cement or epoxy). Every young magicians dreams of visiting Tannen’s to simply hang-out, listen, learn and shop. Similarly, who among the teeming youth that makes up the Terrazzo apprentice corps can say they have not wistfully visualize their first visit to the Fredericksburg, Texas abode of all things Terrazzo, The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association.
New York Times writer Dean Robinson investigated one of the most intriguing products sold at Tannen’s over the years: The Mystery Box.
Filmmaker J.J. Abrams told a conference audience that movies and stories are essentially “mystery boxes.” The mystery box was not a concept or rhetorical device but an actual box sold by Tannen’s Magic. The filmmaker never opened his – “it represents infinite possibility. It represents hope. It represents potential.”
Abrams has carried the question-mark covered box for more than 35 years without a clue as to its contents. Although Abrams did not make the comparison, one cannot help but think about a young George Washington waiting patiently for decades as his terrazzo flooring cured, revealing the luster and brilliance he believed would be seen one day.
The writer visited Tannen’s on his lunch-hour and purchased his very own mystery box for $25.00. According to Tannen’s advertisement, it is a sure-fire investment in this time of financial uncertainty.
Here is your chance to get at least $50.00 worth of magic at half price. That’s right, $50.00 of good solid magic for only $25.00 All of these are NEW effects, complete with instructions. Some are overstocked items, other are never released samples.
We do not want to spoil the surprise by revealing the contents of the box purchased by The Times‘ writer. You can read of his discovery here. We were floored, however, to read that the mystery box did not contain chips of
Mother of Pearl, polished glass, marble or even coral.
Although the mystery box purchased by Abrams or others could contain any of these fine aggregates because they would certainly fit within. According to the National Terrazzo Specifications Standards (2010) the largest aggregate chip is the No. 7 size – far smaller than most magic tricks or books.
Just as portland cement and aggregate chips bind together to make a decorative flooring suitable for centuries of use, magic is the admixture to convert mystery to fun for the casual magic buyer.
Read more about the history of terrazzo at the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association here.
Read the original article about the Mystery Box as published by The New York Times here. We should note, however, the article does not refer to terrazzo, stone masonry, flooring or cement curing times.
Tannen’s can be found on the virtual realm here.
For more information from the World Wide Web internets system about Terrazzo and Magic Tricks, click here for a Google Search utilizing the words “Terrazzo” and “Magic Tricks.”
Tannen’s Blog also has an article on J.J. Abrams Mystery Box here.