Magic Products Review

CUPID by SansMind Creative Lab

Written by Bernard Sim

Cupid is a very visual and fun routine whereby a bow and arrow is drawn onto a playing card and the arrow is shot to the spectator’s signed card.

If you don’t know Sansminds, you’d definitely buy this effect based on their trailer demo.  That demo looks so visual and cool!  If you know Sansminds, you’d know that their demos are always very well done.  The people In Sansminds seems to have endless ideas and they are like a factory churning out effects to sell.  If you have invent many effects, you’d bound to have one that will really stand out and Cupid is one of them.

There is a onetime setup for this effect and it should not take you a long time.  The gimmick that comes with it is customizable to let you decide what you want to do with it.  Sansminds says you don’t have to really draw a bow and arrow, you can also draw a machine gun etc even though they didn’t show you how to draw it.  After you have decided what you want to draw, you cannot change that again.  The gimmick will eventually give in to wear and tear and included is part of that gimmick for you to replace.

                                 

The handling of the effect is not exactly difficult, you’d need to know some basic sleights which most experienced will already know.  The sleights are also taught in a different section on the DVD so that experienced magicians don’t have to waste time watching to learn what they already know.

While I liked the effect, I don’t like how the DVD was produced.  The video was filmed on a beach and it seems like the video was a spur of the moment thing as it seems that it was shot while they were holidaying somewhere.  But then again, this does not affect the learning of this effect.  Another important thing I’d like to point out is, for a guy magician, I don’t think you’d want to perform this to another guy.  Come on, shooting an arrow through a heart drawn on a playing card?  What will this imply?  This is a big NO NO, haha.

So in summary, this is a fun and visual effect, not that difficult to do but effect will subject to wear and tear.

Rating:  7.5/10.

AWESOME SELF-WORKING CARD TRICKS

Written by Bernard Sim

The titles says it all, this is an awesome compilation of very good self working card tricks.  The effects in this DVD are sleight free (hence the title) but some effects will require simple set up.  You’d be wondering if these effects are self working because you need to do a lot of counting or ask the spectators to count the number of cards then add or subtract etc, well you actually don’t as all the effects in the DVD are quality effects. 

One of the best video on self working card effects would be Michael Ammar’s Self Working Card Miracles series.  These are collections of classic self working card effects.  Big Blind Media’s Awesome Self Working Card Tricks is just as good, those who owns Ammar’s series should take a look at this.

The video was very well filmed.  They use good locations for filming, a living room, a huge empty theatre and even a kitchen!  Best of all, they use beautiful girls as their spectators J.  I was misdirected/ distracted by the spectator during the performance of Compatibility (Wayne Dobson).

Compatibility is a card routine that has an Anniversary Waltz effect.  Spectator think of a number and deals down that number of card and sign on it.  Magician thinks of a number, deals face up that number and sign on it.  Both signature ends on the same card.  The card can then be given to the spectator as a souvenir.  This is an excellent piece of magic from the clever mind of my favourite magician Wayne Dobson.  There is no setup and can be done impromptu.  It is very easy to do and once you know the method, you can start performing it.  Well done!

Automatic Ace Triumph (Kuniyasu Fujiware) haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Haha, that was my reaction when I was following the DVD’s instruction for this effect.  This is like Gibreath Principle where you know the method but you don’t know how it works.  I gurantee you will be smiling to yourself when you first learn this.  This is so easy and its even idiot proof!  The effect is 4 face up Aces are mixed up in 4 piles of random cards, they are then mixed face up and face down.  With a few cuts and turn over, all the random cards are face down and the Aces are facing up.  Now, this routine is the best in this DVD, this is worth the price of the whole DVD.

While I can’t say I like all the effects in the DVD, I like quite a bit of the effects in it.   For those who know me will know that I hate card tricks.  However, not many people know the reason why I hate card tricks.  One of the reason I don’t like card tricks is because I find it can be boring for spectators..... well not really, it’s because I can’t do sleights, hehehe.  So this DVD is very suitable for people like me, not really, it is suitable for everyone, newbie or seasoned performer. 

Let me just give you TWO reasons why you should get this DVD.  First one, Automatic Ace Triumph is the only reason you need to buy this DVD.  Second one, if the above reason is still not enough, buy this DVD because of the spectator.  Trust me, you will be misdirectedJ.

Seriously, this is a very good DVD which everyone should own.

Rating:  9/10 Highly Recommended.

DEFIANCE by Mariano Goni

Written by Bernard Sim

At the time of this writing, Defiance was release quite some time back.  I remembered when I first saw the trailer; I was so awed by it.  It look so impossible, the levitations look so magical and seems to be under control at all times.  The trailer shows footages of the outdoor performance, I had all sorts of guesses on how it worked but then, it was outdoor; I had to rule my guesses out

When I got the package, the gimmick was not something new; it was an improved design of an existing gimmick released many years ago.  At that time, that gimmick was considered state of the art.  Then came other gimmicks that were electronic rather than mechanical.  I’m sure you know what I am talking about.  Back to the Defiance gimmick, this improved version makes repairing/replacing easier.   I think this is a very good gimmick which you can use it for other floating effects.

As to the method, it was the same method I guessed while watching the demo.  The hook up is not something new and has been around since 2004.  It can be found in the book “Flying Silk” by Christopher Brent.  Having said that Mariano did add some of his touches by the use of the gimmick.  The barebones of the setup is still the same as Brent’s.

There are 4 routines taught in this DVD, all of them require a setup before the performance.  For The Incredible Spinning Card, once setup, you can still move around but there are certain restrictions in your movement and your spectators have the same restrictions as well.  Thus, this would not be ideal for a strolling gig but will work for parlours and stage shows where the spectators are more controlled and seated.

In The Air Change has a similar setup but for this you will require the use of an extra gimmick.  Each time you perform, that gimmick will be destroyed and you will need to prepare a new one if you want to perform it again.  Again, this is not possible for a strolling gig.  Same restrictions apply for this effect.

Floating Bill looks beautiful with the use of a ring to show that there is nothing attached to the bill.  The method employed here is again not new but an improvement from the late Jon Leclair.  Jon Leclair uses this method for all his floating routines and even use it for one of his mental effect, you should check out his book.

For the bonus effect, Floating Cigarette, this one looks really amazing.  I am sure most will never know the method.  Though this is a very nice effect, the setup is not as simple.  You’d be require to have special props and during performance, you’d need to have certain items on the table.  Somehow, I feel weird to have things “not used” lying on the table.  The preparation will also take some time and again, you can’t do this on strolling gig (well, maybe you can but who’d want to carry so many things in a strolling gig?)

I like Defiance; however, it is not as practical as I hope it to be.  Mariano also fails to credit the originators for the hook-ups.  When you buy this, you are also buying a prop which can be used for most floating effects.

Rating:  6.5/10. 

ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Peter Nardi

Written by Bernard Sim

Along For The Ride is a short effect, a very short one.  I guess my review for this would be very short too but nonetheless, do not let this stop you from buying this effect.

The basic effect is: 4 Jokers playing cards are shown.  Spectators hold 2 jokers and while the magician holds the other 2.  Magician puts the joker face to face and the jokers vanishes and appears in the other 2 jokers which has been held by the spectator all along.

What you get are specially printed cards in bicycle stock and a password to an online instructions video.  Peter Nardi always comes up with clever and easy to do tricks and Along For The Ride is one of them.  I have always liked Peter Nardi’s effect.  They are practical and baffling.  The effect has a 2 seconds setup and also need a simple reset after the end of the performance.  The setup and reset can be done very quickly.  Video instructions are short but precise.  Like all Peter Nardi’s effects, there are no difficult moves.  You’d have no difficulty learning this effect and you can probably start performing it after you view the video.

Being such a short effect, it would be weird if you were to perform it by itself.  I’d think it’d be great if you can link this together with other effects which are related to jokers.

There you go, a very short review, I really can’t think of what to say for this effect.  I like this and I have no problem recommending it.

Rating:  8/10. Recommended.

BUNKO BET by Rudy T. Hunter

Written by John Teo

Manufactured by:  Magic Makers, Inc (USA)

One of the most popular packet card tricks that does not use playing cards is “Colour Monte”, created by Jim Temple and produced by Emerson and West way back in 1968.

This has become such a classic in card magic that it spawned many variations such as “This ‘n’ That”, “Gypsy Monte” and “Las Vegas Monte”.  It also attracted numerous video exposures of how to do this trick in the internet.

Bunko Bet is another presentation of Colour Monte.

In effect, the performer shows 3 cards – 2 are red diamonds and one card depicts a blue diamond which is known as the money card.  Whoever can locate the blue card wins money.

The performer transfers the blue card to the bottom of the packet.  When a spectator guesses that the money card is on the bottom of the packet, the performer shows that it is actually the red diamond card.  He then proceeds to show that the top as well as the middle cards are all red diamonds!  There is no sign of the blue diamond money card!  This is a scam, explains the performer, and he is showing how such a gambling scam works.

The performer says he can change the cards at will.  He then proceeds to show all the 3 cards now become the blue diamond cards!  There is now no sign of the red diamond card!

The performer deals each card onto the table to show that he uses exactly 3 cards – no more and no less.  He turns one card over to show a red diamond.  He turns another card over to show a blue diamond.  The spectator is asked to guess the identity of the remaining card.  No matter what the spectator answers, the performer turns over this card and show that it has a green dollar sign – this is Bunko!

You receive a DVD and the necessary cards, plus a carrying case for the cards.  You receive an additional “You Owe $100” card to use in place of the green dollar sign card for a different ending.  The cards are printed with red bicycle backs.  The DVD is well produced and Rudy Hunter performs and teaches the effect.

If you have not owned the Colour Monte trick, this is a good time to purchase it.  If you already possess Colour Monte, it makes sense to have a spare – in this case, it has a slightly different ending.

Highly recommended!

FLYING COLOURS by Rajan

Written by Bernard Sim

Flying Colors is a 3 Fly routine using Poker chips instead of coins.

Coins Across routines have been around for a long time.  It was Jonathan Townsend who came out with Visual Coins Across took it to a new level by doing it at the finger tips instead of closed fists.  It was later popularized by Cris Kenner who publish a routine Menage et Trois (aka 3 Fly) in his book “Totally Out Of Control”.  Thereafter, many versions were invented by many magicians.  Many gimmicked versions were also invented.  The most notable gimmicked version would be Bob Kholer’s Ultimate 3 Fly.  Subsequently, many versions, gimmicked and non-gimmicked were invented by magicians, each trying to outdo one another.  Many magicians have also came out with International 3 Fly (using 3 different coins) and of course poker chips were also used.  Of the Poker chip versions, Lee Asher has a version called Three Stylin’ and Hiro Sakai’s Tricolor Fly.

Let’s talk a bit more about Rajan’s Flying Colors. Rajan’s version enables the colored chip to travel from hand to hand.  The chips are well made, and they are smooth to perform.  The weight of the chips is just right and the gimmick is nothing high tech but simple.  To come out with such routine will require a lot of thinking, especially when you want to get a colored chip to go across one at a time.  The routine is not difficult to do, just that you have to remember the sequence.  To perform the full routine like Rajan, there’s is some clothing restrictions.  However, I’m sure you can always modify and perform it without those restrictions.

Will watching the video, I can’t help but compare this with Hiro Sakai’s Tricolor Fly. Rajan’s version uses real clay casino chips while Sakai’s is made of metal.  See the pic for comparison.

In terms of handling, Rajan’s version is smoother due to the material used in manufacturing the chips.  However, Sakai’s routine looks better IMO.  Sakai’s version can also be used for other routine like coin through hand and Spellbound.  At US$65, you’d think Rajan’s gimmick is something complicated but it is not and you may already have a similar gimmick for your coin routines.  The video instructions for Flying color is very detailed and you’d have no problem learning it.

I kinda like this routine though I hope that there are more use for this $65 chip set rather than 1 routine only.  If Rajan would have included 3 chips per colored chip, it would have been a good deal and you can use this for other routines.  I find the price to be on the high side.

Rating: 7/10.