Magic Products Review

MENTAL BOARD

Written by John Teo

The Mental Board effect has become a classic in magic.

Known by various names, different models are available in the market.  This particular model is one of the more economical versions.

For those who are not in the know, here is the effect.

The performer displays a large clear plastic board that has 2 columns of elastic bands divided into 5 sections each to hold 5 poker sized cards.  One column has large numerals 1 to 5 running down it with each numeral occupying one section.

2 sets of ESP cards are shown.  One set has the 5 ESP symbols printed in black colour whereas the other set has the same 5 ESP symbols in green colour.

The performer takes the green ESP cards, mixes them up, and inserts each card into each section in the column without the numerals.  The cards are inserted with the backs facing the audience so that nobody (except the performer) knows the position of each of the 5 ESP symbols.

The performer then has the black set of ESP cards thoroughly mixed by a spectator.  Taking each card with the back facing the audience, the performer asks a member of the audience which of the 5 sections on the other column they want this card to be inserted into.  Assume the reply is number “2”.  The performer complies and slips this card face unseen into the section with the numeral 2.  

This process is repeated with the other 4 cards until all the 5 numerals have a card each slide behind it.

The time has come for the revelation.  The entire board is turned around to show that the audience has managed to match exactly all the 5 green ESP symbols placed by the performer on the other column of the board.

You receive the nicely made transparent acrylic board, and the 2 separate sets of the 5 ESP symbols, one set is printed in black, and the other set in green colour.  You are given a link to a video tutorial by Jeremy Pei at his personal magic coach web-site. 

The acrylic board measures 8 inches by 14.5 inches.  It is large and visual and suitable for stage presentation.

Although this is an economical model, both the board and the 10 cards are well made, and they work smoothly. 

The 10 cards are also cleverly marked on their backs.  You can use these 2 sets of 5 ESP cards, without the board, to perform other ESP effects.  Jeremy Pei teaches you 2 different matching routines in the tutorial.

Highly Recommended!

JACK 4 YOU by Hideki Tani

Written by John Teo

Here is the best version of the classic 4 Queens (or 4 Jacks) packet brainwave effect.  It seems to have eliminated the weak points of the trick, and at the same time, make it even more effective.

A packet of cards is displayed on a small stand.  A spectator names any one of the 4 Jacks, say, Jack of Diamonds.  Performer spreads the cards on the stand and only the Jack of Diamonds is facing the audience.  This card is taken off the stand to show that it also has a different colour back.

Finally, the remaining 3 cards on the stand are turned around to show that they are the three 4’s of the non-selected suits, niz 4 of Spades, 4 of Clubs and 4 of Hearts.

You are supplied with a special stand, 4 specially printed playing cards, and printed instructions.

When Max Maven came up with his “B’Wave”, his brilliant use of the blank cards not only eliminated a major weak point of the 4 Queens brainwave trick, it gave a separate climax as well.  Hideki Tani’s ingenious use of the small card stand plus the special printed cards brings the B’Wave to an even higher level.  Now, any one of the 4 Jacks can be shown reversed, plus the other 3 non-selected cards can be shown to be the 4’s of the non-selected suit.  Two of them can almost be shown full face-on to the audience.  The handling of the cards is casual and above-board.

It will be hard, if not impossible, to find another version of the 4 Queens (or 4 Jacks) brainwave trick that can top “Jack 4 You”.  (9/10 stars rating.)

ANOMALY by Michael Scanzello

Written by John Teo

Anomaly means a deviation from the norm.  And in this case, it is the transposition of an Ace not into just another card, but into 4 different Kings!

This is the basic effect and it goes like this:  4 Kings and an Ace of Hearts are shown.  The performer takes the Ace of Hearts and places it inbetween the 2 palms of a spectator’s hands.  Nothing can get into or out of her hands.  The performer shows and asks which King the spectator wants to change place with the Ace of Hearts in her hands.  Regardless of the spectator’s reply, the 4 Kings in the performer’s hand become the single Ace of Hearts, and the 4 Kings are shown to be in-between her palms!  The transposition is most visual!  In the end, all the 5 cards can be examined.

You receive 2 sets of Bicycle cards, one set with red backs and one with blue backs.  In each set is a special gimmicked card.  You need to supply your own Bicycle deck of cards. 

You are also provided with a Rapid Training Sheet, and a link to 3 sets of video instructions that feature Michael Scanzello himself.

Michael is a meticulous person, and his attention to details show through in all the 3 sets of video instructions.

Video No 1 features Micheal discussing the history of the effect, care of the gaff, how to make a practice card, how to revitalise the gaff after some time of use, and a comedy Twisting effect.  It runs for 27 minutes. 

The comedy Twisting effect is another good one to do with the Anomaly gaff.  It is similar to Dai Vernon’s Twisting The Aces, but it is more visual, and has an unexpected climax at the end.  4 Kings are facing downwards.  Each one turns over face upwards, except for the King of Hearts.  This card then transforms into the Ace of Hearts, and all the other 3 Kings now become the 3 other Aces.

Video No 2 runs for 24 minutes.  It shows Michael performing and explaining the basic effect called “One For Four”.  Michael also gives a variation where the transposition occurs inside an empty card box instead of in-between the spectator’s palms.

Video No 3 runs for 42 minutes.  In this video, Michael explains a variation called “No King Left’.  In this effect, 4 Aces are shown and they are placed inside an empty card box.  4 Kings are next shown.  They change into the 4 Aces, and the 4 Aces placed inside the card box earlier now become 4 blank face cards!

There is a rountine called “Chosen” in which a card is selected and lost in the deck.  The performer shows the 4 Kings.  3 of the Kings transform into the 3 Aces except for the King of the same suit as the spectator’s chosen card.  This King then changes into the spectator’s selected card.  A variation of this effect called “Signed” is also taught where the chosen card is signed.

The Anomaly gaff is actually a tool for transforming the 4 Kings into the 4 Aces.  Once you understand the application, you can create your own routines.  Of all the different effects and variations shown by Michael in the videos, the “One For Four” routine has the greatest impact because the transformation, which is quite visual, takes place in-between a spectator’s palms.  (9/10 stars rating)

COLLAPSIBLE WINE GLASS

Written by John Teo

If you perform card tricks in a parlour setting, you may need a stand to display the cards for better visibility.  A wine glass can serve as a kind of stand to hold a packet of cards or a deck of cards.

If you perform “Sympathetic Cards” you will definitely need a wine glass, in fact, you need two of them.

As the name implies, the Collapsible Wine Glass is a wine glass that can be taken apart into 2 pieces.  One piece is the glass stem and stand, and the other piece is the bowl. 

It is specially designed such that the stem fits snugly onto the base of the bowl and they are also attached together by magnets.  When taken apart, the stem also fits nicely inside the bowl for easy transportation.

A carrying case is also provided.  It is made of hard plastic and opens on hinges and closes with interlocking tabs.

The collapsible wine glass itself is made of PCTG and is unbreakable.  The material is clear and looks exactly like glass.  When fully assembled, the wine glass is about 7.5 inches high.  When collapsed, the 2 pieces fit together and stands at only 4.25 inches tall.

This is a wine glass that is most suitable for displaying playing cards or a deck of cards.  It can also be used to display other magician’s paraphernalia such as silks and coins.  It is unbreakable, it collapses for easy transportation, and comes with a protective carrying case.  This is most wonderful apparatus.  You ought to purchase more than one.  (10/10 stars rating)

THE RIGHT CARD

Written by John Teo

“The Right Card” is Jeremy Pei’s presentation for Nick Trost’s “8 Card Brain Wave”.

A packet of cards is spread to show that it contains 8 different cards.  The performer says that one of these cards is the right or correct card.

A spectator chooses any one of the 8 cards.

This card is taken out of the packet and turned over to show that it has a “tick” mark on its back.  A “tick” means “correct” or “right”.

The performer continues and says that he knows in advance this card will be chosen by the spectator.  That is why he places a “tick” on its back.    

As he says this, he turns over the packet which contains the 7 cards that were not selected by the spectator.

He shows that there are “crosses” on the backs of these cards.  A “cross” denotes “wrong” or “incorrect”.

It is also seen that the cards with the crosses all have blue backs while the back of the selected card is red.

The performer truly knows in advance that this will be the selected card.  He took this card from a red deck of cards while the rest of the cards were taken from a blue deck.

You receive the packet of the 8 special cards.  You also get a link to a video instruction from Jeremy Pei’s personal magic coach section in his web site.  

In the video, Jeremy also shows a possible second phase to this effect.  The performer asks a question: “What happens if you had chosen one of these blue back cards instead of the red back card?”

Jeremy proceeds “I can make your card the “correct” card because it has an “X” – an “X” is famously used to mark the place where a treasure is buried.  Your card is the “treasure” card!

As he says this, he takes the original selected card and places it back in the packet of cards, together with the other cards.  When he turns over the packet, the “X” marks and the blue backs have vanished.  Each card is now seen to have a red back and a “tick” mark on its back!   

There is a card move that is required to perform the effect.  It is taught by Jeremy Pei.  Jeremy also teaches the Chalier Shuffle, a “false shuffle” that appears to hopelessly mix up the cards, but what it does is simply a straight cut of the packet.

Many performer may not want to do the second phase.  Although it has both a symbol and colour change of the backs, it appears to be “overkilled”.  The single phase effect has more credibility and mystery.

Whichever way you want, “The Right Card” is a pack-small and play-big effect that you can carry in your pocket!

Recommended!

CLOWN’S COLOUR COINCIDENCE

Written by John Teo

This is a poor-man’s version of mental effect called Colour Marker Prediction.

In effect, the performer displays an outline picture of a clown’s face.  From a paper bag, he takes out and shows 3 different colour markers, a red one, a green one and a blue marker.  The 3 markers are replaced inside the paper bag and a spectator shakes the bag and randomly picks up one colour marker without looking inside the bag.  She uses it to colour the clown’s hat.  Say, this is the blue marker.  The spectator then picks one of the remaining 2 markers to colour the clown’s nose – say, this is the green marker.  Finally, she uses the last red marker to colour the clown’s tie.

The performer shows a prediction which has been on display conspicuously on the table throughout the performance.  He turns this around – it is a coloured version of the clown – this picture shows the clown with blue hat, a red tie and a green nose – exactly matching that of the picture randomly coloured by the spectator!

You receive everything necessary for your performance – the colour markers, the paper bags, and 2 clown’s picture – one is a black and white picture and the other is a coloured picture which serves as the prediction.  You also receive a link to a video instructions with English subtitles.

There are 3 main differences between the more expensive version and this effect:

This version does not use any electronic device.

The more expensive version uses 5 to 6 pens while this version uses only 3 different coloured pens.  The effect is still effective to the audience.

The more expensive version uses loose sheets of paper for the spectator to colour in.  A new sheet has to be used each time for a performance.  In this effect, you are supplied with a laminated light board outline picture of the clown’s face.  After a performance, the colours can be wiped off the laminated board.  The 2 boards are in A4 size, and are suitable for parlour or stage performance.

If you do not want to spend too much money for the colour marker prediction type of effect, this is the perfect product for you.  It is easy to perform and the methods for selecting the colour markers as well as the revelation of the final picture are quite clever.  A pack-flat effect with a great impact.  (9/10 star rating)