Here are reviews for seven new products, namely: Aaron DeLong's Twisted Blizzard; Dan Harlan's Switchblade; Todd Karr's Undead; Bob Solari and Bill Wisch's Royal Opener; Mathieu Bich's Disappeared Thought in Tricks, and Ollie Mealing's Card Constructions; and Shoot Ogawa's Shootforce in DVDs.
J. Aaron DeLong. Mark Mason and JB Magic. Available from Your Favorite Dealer. Wholesale from Murphy’s Magic Supplies. www.murphysmagic.com. $25.
Aaron Delong offers two visually compelling and strong routines with a Hummer Deck on his included 35 minute DVD. The first, “Twisted Blizzard,” is a synthesis of John Bannon’s “Twisted Sister” and Dean Dill’s “Blizzard,” hence the name. For those of you not familiar with these routines, Mr. DeLong asks one spectator to think of any card value (i.e., ace through king). For example, the spectator chooses, “Two.” Mr. DeLong holds up a deck of cards, takes out the four twos, and places them on the table facedown while calling out the name of each card (i.e., the Two of Spades, the Two of Hearts, etc.). He then asks the second spectator to choose a suit. The spectator might call out spades. Mr. DeLong then turns over the four cards, revealing that the Two of Spades has appeared among three blank cards. Even more powerful is when he turns over the deck of cards to reveal that they are all blank.
The second effect, “White Trash,” is a nice take on Paul Curry’s “Out of this World,” where two spectators divine whether facedown cards from an entire deck are either red or black – but with a surprise finish. Mr. DeLong credits John Kennedy’s “Red and Black” and Roberto Giobbi’s “Intuition” for having given him additional inspiration.
The presentations are followed up with explanations that are straightforward and clear. He also gives a bit of the Hummer Deck’s history and routines that were created sometime in the early 1900s. Overall, the DVD is nicely done and a good value.
Highly recommended. Danny Selnick
Todd Karr. The Miracle Factory. Available from YFD or miraclefactory.net. $24.95
From Todd Karr and The Miracle Factory comes a book test mindreading routine using the Twilight series of books by Stephanie Meyer. As the ad says, “Undead is an ungimmicked book test with a very natural, simple method. A spectator chooses one of the books (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn), opens it to any page, and begins reading silently. With no further questions, you give the spectator a vivid reading of a major word he's reading.”
While the method itself is not new and has been used in numerous other book tests, the salient features that sets this apart from many others are the facts that it uses currently popular and familiar books and can be performed with any edition (either hardcover or paperback of any or all of the four novels in the series). Not only does it use the real ungimmicked book(s), but any page in the book can also be used. The revelation is not limited to the first word on a page but rather a word in the first line on the page. There is no force involved and participating spectators have a totally free and random choice of the book and page. The gimmick(s) even tell the performer if a blank page or the first page of a chapter has been chosen. It can be performed whenever and wherever any of the “Twilight” books is available. The performer never has to handle the book(s), no memorization or counting is required, and nothing is written down. The effect can be immediately repeated with the same or a different book, a different page, and a different result. As they are the real books, they can be freely handled without fear that any “secrets” will be revealed.
Both the instructions and the gimmicks provided reflect the high production quality for which The Miracle Factory is noted. At only $24.95, the cost is far below that normally seen even for book tests of inferior quality. If there is any fault to be found with Undead, it is that even those with little or no experience can do it.
Recommended. Dick Christian
Card Constructions - DVD
Ollie Mealing. Big Blind Media. Available from Your Favorite Dealer. Wholesale from Murphy’s Magic Supplies. www.murphysmagic.com. 94 minutes. $30.
Ollie Mealing’s DVD continues the tradition of British card magicians who are producing excellent magic! Filmed at the Illusions Magic Bar in Bristol, he begins the DVD with five original sleights and controls that will definitely interest the card world. He then offers eight excellent routines that are audience tested and as varied as the spectrum. All eight routines are very commercial and bear Mr. Mealing’s own special brand of manipulations. I kept rewinding to try and “catch” him doing something; no such luck. Each is a winner. I was particularly taken aback when Ollie performed an impromptu version of Triple Coincidence; this effect will make you sit up and take notice!
I was very impressed with his five original sleights. When you see these controls you’re going to say to yourself, “Why didn't I think of that?” He teaches the sleights in detail and provides the viewer with multiple uses. I am sure that they will spawn some nice ideas from card magicians. One of the sleights, the “Pit Control,” had me completely baffled. It is easy to do and utilizes an inherent psychological subtlety that really impressed me. His other four sleights are also very nice. Mr. Mealing has obviously done his homework.
The videography is excellent and the explanations are thorough. This is a great deal for the price.
Highly recommended. Paul A. Lelekis
Disappeared Thought – TRICK
Mathieu Bich. YFD. Dealers contact www.murphysmagic.com. $19.95.
FISM winner Mathieu Bich is one of France’s most innovative young magicians. Disappeared Thought is his variation of the classic Princess Card Trick, or more precisely it is a variation of Gordon Bean’s and Larry Jenning’s The Limited Edition, which was a variation on the original Henry Hardin effect with the introduction of having the thought-of card become blank. Instead of the spectator’s thought-of card merely disappearing from a fan of cards, in Mr. Bich’s version of the effect the thought-of card not only changes to a blank card, but the blank and remaining cards may all be examined at the conclusion of the effect.
The special cards are printed by the U.S. Playing Card Company. The eight pages of instructions are done well with photo illustrations. A one-minute video of Mr. Bich performing the effect may be seen on the Murphy’s Magic Web site or those of most dealers selling the effect. The handling, while not difficult, is not as casual or “natural” as the showing of the fan in the original version or the Bean/Jennings handling. One will have to decide if the ability to make a mental choice into a bit of magic by turning the choice blank and having six examinable cards plus the blank at the end of the effect are important enough to purchase this version. Some may consider this card effect to be a bit pricey. I suggest you watch the demonstration video and decide for yourself if this is for you.
Recommended. Bill Wells
Royal Opener - TRICK
Bob Solari and Bill Wisch. Bob Solari. Available from www.BobSolariMagic.com. $9.95 + postage.
Royal Opener is a great trick for table-hopping or strolling magicians. It actually is a very nice opener! It is quick, easy to do, you end up clean as a whistle, and it appears quite impossible!
In the effect, the magician displays a Royal Flush (ten through ace of one suit). One card is removed from the five card fan and placed in the performer's pocket. The magician asks, “What is the best hand you can have with only four cards?” In response, you usually hear, “Four of a kind” or “The four aces!” The cards in the performer's hand are then revealed to be the four aces! The card in the pocket is shown to be the Joker! Everything may be examined. The effect comes with the gaff and instructions. At $9.95, this is a good deal.
Recommended. Paul A. Lelekis
ShootForce - DVD
Shoot Ogawa and Masahiro Yanagida. Wizards’ Inn. 90 minutes. $30.
ShootForce teaches card forces intended mostly for beginners, such as the cut force and slip force, to others that are a bit more advanced such as the classic force, spread force, and estimating classic force. The DVD is presented by Japanese magician Shoot Ogawa and is broken up into several segments including teaching the forces, presenting card tricks using the forces, and force explanations, tricks, and interviews with another Japanese magician, Masahiro Yanagida.
Learning these forces is a must for card magic enthusiasts, and Mr. Ogawa does a fairly good presentation of them. However his command of English, while good, is not good enough to make this DVD compelling. Worse yet, later on in the DVD Mr. Yanagida performs and explains forces and tricks in Japanese, while Mr. Ogawa translates into English almost simultaneously. The effort makes this section uninteresting and sometimes even confusing.
The DVD itself is basic; the magicians sit at a table explaining and performing tricks in front of a video camera. The 26 chapters on the DVD menu are not listed in an easy order, and the viewer has to keep pointing and clicking to various sections of the menu to find their way around. With so many quality DVDs and books on card forces on the market, I’m not sure why this one was made.
Not recommended. Danny Selnick
Switchblade - TRICK
Dan Harlan. YFD. Dealers contact www.murphysmagic.com. $25.
Dan Harlan is a creative genius when it comes to beautiful and practical magic that is easy to do. Switchblade is another success! The clever gimmicked card will open new doors in card magic for the initiated and is beyond suspicion! Mr. Harlan demonstrates the gimmick by performing for amazed studio, street, and bar audiences.
Mr. Harlan first performs his excellent “Ghost Card,” in which a selected card vanishes from its packet and appears faceup in the middle of the deck. In “Switch Card,” the card changes in a double whammy! He then performs his incredible Three Card Monte and gives his beautifully constructed routine a double kicker. At the end, the money card not only changes to a Joker, it also changes its back color! The clever gimmick does all the work, is very easy to use, and instantly resets.
If you want to entertain with magic, this is an easy way to do it, and the price is right.
Highly recommended. Paul A. Lelekis