Magic Products Review

MEET THE JACK by Jorge Garcia

Written by John Teo

Jorge Garcia is a talented mentalist from Argentina. He performs under the stage name “The Jack”.
He is a suave and thinking performer. This is evident in the way he dresses up his presentation for his effects such as “A Think & Stop” and “Mind Track”. He is able to take a simple prop such as the Haunted Key and evoke the entire audience’s emotion, as in his effect “Haunted Key”.
Not satisfied with the usual presentations of classic effects such as “One Ahead” (his effect “One Head”) and “Pegasus Page” (his effect “To Lovecraft”), he adds in an unexpected ending that makes great sense to the audience. For the “One Head” effect, he ensures that each revelation seems more impossible than the previous one.
You receive a well-produced DVD that features 8 mental routines. Jorge performs each routine before a live audience. He then explains each effect at the Alakazam Magic studio together with Peter Nardi. As a bonus, the DVD also provides an e-book describing 7 of the 8 routines. They are taken from his published book “7 Mysteries of Mentalism”. The e-book gives additional ideas on psychometry for using the gimmick employed in his effect “Project Fear”, including a version of Larry Becker’s “Sneak Thief”.
For those of you who want an idea of how each of the 8 effects looks like before you make a buying decision, here is a concise description of each routine.
One Head
What an interesting name for the “One Ahead” prediction effect! Jorge invites a spectator on stage. He uses a writing pad and makes 3 predictions on 3 different topics. Each time he makes a prediction, he writes the name of the topic down on the writing pad and shows it to the spectator. Then he turns away, writes his prediction, tears the sheet out of the pad and crumples it, and puts it onto the spectator’s hand. In the end, he opens all the 3 screwed-up balls of paper in the spectator’s hands, and gets all the 3 predictions correct. Jorge also provides an unexpected ending in which an earlier mistake he makes, turns out to be an additional information for the last prediction!
To Lovecraft
This is Jorge’s take on the Pegasus Page effect. A member of the audience selects a page from a horror book, and a spectator selects a word from that page. The performer has predicted this word in advance. Finally, the entire page vanishes from the book. In Jorge’s version, the torn page is found in another envelope and the entire book is given as a souvenir to the spectator. Jorge uses an interesting gimmick to force the selected page.
L-Mental
This is a very good version of “Scissors, Paper, Stone”. It is taken from Robert Neale’s “My First Trick” from his book “Tricks Of The Imagination”. 3 spectators each sit on a chair and is given a large card. On each of the 3 cards are written, separately, Scissors, Paper and Stone. The performer has his back on the 3 spectators and cannot see what is going on with the three. The 3 spectators can exchange cards or move to a different chair. Yet, when given the names of any 2 spectators, the performer can tell immediately who will win. As a climax, the performer has a prediction which states, in turn, exactly who will win against which spectator.

Project Fear
Several spectators write their phobia on small cards. A spectator is invited on stage and he writes his phobia on a blank card. This is mixed with the other phobia cards and placed inside an envelope. The performer offers some money if he fails to uncover the spectator’s phobia. Needless to say, the performer gets to keep his money.
A Think & Stop
An impromptu effect that does not require any sleight-of-hand. A spectator chooses a card and loses it in the deck. He and another person name a number each, and they form a total. The performer counts to the total in the deck and finds the selected card. It is based on an old card location principle from “Greater Magic” with a lot of subtleties thrown in by Jorge.
Blindfold Act
This is a multi-phase blindfold act based on Al Koran’s Miracle Blindfold Act. There is no gimmicked blindfold used, nor any sleight-of-hand. While blindfolded, the performer can locate a selected card simply by spreading the cards face upwards. A second spectator chooses and loses his card in the deck. The performer can locate the chosen card, this time, by spreading the deck face downwards. A third spectator chooses a card and the performer can name it. Finally, a small packet of cards is used. A card is selected from this packet, and placed inside an empty cardcase. A fourth card is chosen from the remainder of the deck and mixed up with this packet of cards. The performer finds the fourth selected card, as well as names the unknown card inside the cardcase.
Mind Track
A spectator subconsciously memorises a deck of cards. He randomly takes out a card unseen, and puts it aside. He then does an automatic writing and scribbles something on a writing-pad. Subconsciously, he conveys the identity of his chosen card in his drawing. This is an exciting principle that is capable of diverse applications.
Haunted Key
With just a simple prop like the haunted key, Jorge is able to make it into a magical moment for a spectator. Her emotions than spill onto the audience and everybody then experiences the magical moment of the key turning over in the performer’s palm. The performer even gets a hug and a kiss from the spectator when she reads his prediction silently to herself.
It is often said that if you get just one good effect from your purchase, you get your money’s worth. For the working mentalist, not only do you get more than one effect you can add to your performing repertoire, you can to learn a lot from Jorge’s thinking and presentation of each effect. (9/10 star rating.)

MIRACLE BINGO by Doruk Ulgen

Written by John Teo

Magic with games of chance resonates well with magicians because magicians are supposed to be able to predict or control their outcome. Bingo is a game of chance that involves active participation from everyone in the audience. Magic with Bingo is therefore a great way to achieve excellent interaction with the audience.
Mark Wilson has designed his “Magic Bingo” which allows all the participants to win at the same time! Imagine not only the surprise, but the shock as well, when everybody stands up and shouts “Bingo!” all at the same time!
Here comes Doruk Ulgen. He has taken “Magic Bingo” several levels higher. He has painstakingly devised a system that enables the performer to control how many participants will win at Bingo all at the same time. He calls it “Miracle Bingo” and it can also end up with everybody winning at the same time, just like “Magic Bingo”.
His system also allows you to achieve other incredible outcome:
• Who will win first, then second, then third, and so on.
• The winning numbers can be different.
• Who will lose.
• What will be the number that will trigger a win.
• When (exact time) someone will win – this presentation can be quite uncanny.
The manner you perform “Miracle Bingo” is only limited by your imagination.
You receive the following items:
• 60 reusable, specially-designed, Bingo cards.
• Bingo number discs for calling out the numbers.
• A transparent change-bag.
• An alternative black bag for disc selection.
• Printable calling sheets to cross out the called out numbers.
• Cheat-card and number-set sheet.
• Regular, but a different type of Bingo cards to play an ungimmicked game of Bingo.
• Link with password to online video instructions by Doruk Ulgen.
The entire effect is not difficult to do. You need to know which Bingo cards to use and which participants should get which cards. The difficult part is in designing the system to be flexible enough, yet controllable by the performer. This has been brilliantly done by Doruk Ulgen. We now reap the results of his wonderful system.
He has also provided enough different Bingo cards to give the impression that these are ungimmicked and come from a regular set of Bingo cards.
Although the Bingo cards are reusable, additional cards are available upon request.
In the video instructions, Doruk Ulgen discusses an interesting presentation idea based on the Hoy’s “Toss-Out Deck” principle. Let us say that there are several people who are waiting for only one number to win. The performer is able to name each of the winning numbers. Doruk Ulgen also teaches you how to “pick up” the force (number) discs without using the transparent force-bag.
“Miracle Bingo” can be performed for both small and large audiences. It is ideal for events such as corporate or community functions because it involves everybody present. It is an effect that can feature important people such as the CEO of a company or a V.I.P. by making that person the only one to win at the Bingo game. (10/10 star rating.)

ILLUSORY REFLEX

Written by John Teo

When Lu Chen performed the die and mirror trick on TV, the effect called Dice Illusion became an instant hit among magicians world-wide. It was so popular that a version 2 with an improved gimmicked die was later marketed.
Now, Hong Kong’s magician Albert Tam has re-released his Illusory Reflex trick. In effect, it is the same as that performed by Lu Chen.
Albert is quick to point out that he was the creator and manufacturer of this great effect. Way back in 1986, he came across a trick with a wooden die in which its non-painted spots became colored when put into a tumbler of water. He noticed the same effect when this die was reflected in a mirror. He then developed the effect known as Illusory Reflex, and started manufacturing and marketing it. It ceased production in 1992 because of the difficulty of making the special die. Then in 2009, when Lu Chen performed the effect on TV, it was rejuvinated and marketed by others as Dice Illusion.
For those who are not familiar with the effect, here is the description. A die with blank (non-painted) spots (indentations on the die) and a small mirror are examined. The performer speaks of another dimension when things are reflected in a mirror. When he places the blank die on the mirror, its reflection shows a fully painted die with black spots with the number one dot which is in red. It is truly facinating to see a blank die physicallhy next to its painted reflection!
The performer then proceeds to turn things around. The physical die becomes fully painted while its reflection in the mirror is of a blank die! This is as weird as the first illusion!
Finally, the mirror is slid off the die and its reflection becomes a reality – the performer is now holding 2 dice, one blank die and one painted die in his hands!
You receive 3 dice: a fully painted die, a non-painted die, and a gimmicked die. You are also supplied with a small mirror, and 2 black velvet carrying bags with the manufacturer’s monogram printed on them. The final item is an instructional DVD. All these are packed in a very nice black box with a magnetic cover. This product is limited to 280 sets. You receive a card signed by Albert Tam that indicates your set number out of the 280.
The DVD is well-produced. In it, Albert related the genesis of this effect and its history. He also mentioned that he got his inspirations from Lubor Fiedler’s Shock Dice and Paul Harris’ Twilight effects. There is also a similar effect from John Kennedy called Mirror Dice.
Albert performs and explains 2 routines – one involving a spectator, and one in which the magician performs alone. He also discusses 2 variations with the props. In one presentation, a blank die has a painted die reflection. This reverses itself so that the die is now painted while its reflection is that of a blank die. Finally, the die is pushed through the mirror and it emerges on the other side as a blank die. In the second variation, a blank die is shown to have a blank die reflection (which is normal). With a wave of the hand, the reflection is now of a painted die while the physical die remains blank!
Although the illusion requires a certain line of sight from the audience, the special construction of the gimmicked die ensures that there are few angle problems to worry about. The effect is best performed one-to-one or for a small group of spectators.
Properly performed, the effect on the spectators is truly fantastic. The dice are very well made. You receive 2 small carrying velvet-pouches, and everything is nicely packaged in a handsome black box. This is a professionally-produced prop and it is a limited edition reelase. The investment may appear to be a little on the high side. But what you get is a collector’s item that you will use in your performance, and the effect will wow the audience.
Highly recommended!

GRIPS, LINES & LOOKS by Marc Oberon

Written by John Teo

Marc Oberon has won numerous prestigious international magic awards. His awards include the European Close-Up Magic Championship (2005), the International Brotherhood of Magicians (2006), the Macmillan International (2007), the SAM/IBM Magic Championships (2008), and the FISM World Championship Close-Up Magic Beijing (2009).
His consistency in winning awards indicates that there is something about his performance of magic that sets him apart from other magicians. Now, he reveals his personal system of magical choreography in this beautifully-produced hardcover book of 125 pages. It is amply illustrated with photographs and also comes with a DVD that shows you visually how he applies his system to ten magical effects.
Since magic (our form of magic) is not real, the magical element must be subtly conveyed to the audience by the magician’s choreography, among other things. Marc Oberon presents three important elements of magical choreography:
“Grips” define the manner we hold or handle our magical props, some of which are meant to be seen by the audience, while others are not meant for the audience’s eyes.
“Lines” refer to the way we move our hands and body when we perform the magic.
“Looks” concern the way we look at our audience, and they include our facial expressions.
All these three elements work in concert to bring about the illusion that what we do is pure magical, where there seems to be no logical explanation for it.
Marc goes into details on how to achieve maximum impact on each of the three elements. He also mentions about scripting, pattering and the use of music. He then answers the most important question: “If your movements, gestures and patters are all painstakingly choreographed, how can your act ever appear fresh?” His answer provides one of the objectives of the book.
In the second section of the book, Marc explains ten effects, and shows how he applies what he discusses (in the first part of the book) to each of them. This is captured in the DVD where you can actually see Marc Oberon demonstrating all ten effects.
Three of them are mentalism effects:
Another Night At The Bank – this is Marc’s take on John Archer’s Bank Night effect with envelopes. Marc uses five colour envelopes and includes an interesting twist in the climax.
Clear Thought – it is a book test using a book of symbols. Spectator No 1 transmits his chosen symbol through a crystal ball to Spectator No 2. Here you get to learn Marc’s book force and how to make a symbol or drawing appear in an, otherwise, empty and clear crystal ball.
Triangulation – a brilliant method of predicting which one of nine digits will appear in one of the three different symbols.
Three of the ten effects are complete routines involving sleight-of-hand:
Smoke, No Mirrors – performer attempts several times, but to no avail each time, to light a cigarette with a lighter. Each time he attempts it, either the cigarette or the lighter disappears, and the other item suddenly appears.
Note Afloat – Marc’s presentation of the ‘floating note’ using Jon LeClair’s method.
Free Flight – Marc’s presentation of the 3 Fly effect using the TUC gimmicked coin from Tango Magic.
Four of the ten effects are “moves” by Marc Oberon:
Okito Re-Boxed – Marc’s Okito Box reversal move.
Ring Away – how to steal a finger ring inserted in a non-gimmicked ring-box.
Spellbinding Change – Marc’s own take on the Spellbound coin move.
Just One Coin – Marc’s coin vanishes and appearances.
If you obtain only the ten effects/moves, it is already worth your investment for this product. If you obtain only Marc Oberon’s explanation of grips, lines and looks, it is also worth your investment, because this system will make you a better performer no matter what types of magic you perform. To obtain both his choreography secrets as well as the ten effects/moves makes this a ‘must-buy’. It is not meant to be placed stationary on your library shelf, but to read and re-read and to put into practice. (10/10 star rating)

HIDEOUT V2 WALLET by Alakazam Magic

Written by John Teo

Alakazam Magic has purchased the rights to the Hideout V2 Wallet from Outlaw Effects.
This is a good thing because Alakazam Magic specializes in mentalism effects and a gimmicked wallet such as this is primarily used in mentalism. Alakazam Magic has slightly redesigned the wallet.
What you receive are the Hideout V2 (version 2) Wallet and an instructional DVD.
The wallet is a bill-fold type wallet made from leather. It is very well made by Tony Curtis Magic for Alakazam Magic.
The Wallet has the following functions:
• Pockets or slots for billets. There is a generous supply of these pockets. They are also designed to be wide and deep enough for a poker-sized playing card to be placed lengthwise in them.
• Switching device. The panels that contain the items to be switched can be magnetically-locked.
• Peeking-device. There is a window panel made with a special filter that provides some cloaking function to aid you in secretly peeking the information.
The accompanying DVD is well produced to Alakazam Magic’s usual high standard. Peter Nardi takes you through the properties and usage of the wallet. He then performs and explains 3 routines using the Hideout V2 Wallet. The 3 effects are:
On The Money
The performer borrows 2 bills from the audience. They are folded with their serial numbers hidden inside, and placed in the wallet for safe keeping. Another spectator decides on one of the bills. The performer can instantly divine and write the serial number of this bill on the back of his business card.
ESP
The performer shows that he has a face-down prediction card as well as a £5 note inside his wallet. 5 different ESP cards are mixed and one random card is freely chosen by a spectator ,and placed aside on the table face downwards. The performer takes out his prediction card from the wallet as well as the £5 note. The £5 note will be his default if he fails to predict the correct card. Both the selected card and the prediction card are turned over to show that they match exactly. The performer gets to keep his £5 note.
Spectator Is The Mindreader
Spectator writes the name of a random object on the back of the performer’s business card which is then inserted face downwards in his wallet for safe keeping. A book is introduced and the performer projects a page number to the spectator. The spectator names the page number she apparently receives from the performer, and remembers the first word on that page in the book. The performer then takes out a prediction from his wallet and shows that the spectator has indeed read the exact same word in the book. The performer then proceeds to draw a picture of the object first thought-of by the spectator.
The last effect uses the Oasis Booktest gimmicked book. The 3 effects are merely examples of what can be done with the Hideout V2 Wallet. It is a versatile prop capable of numerous applications, and yet looks ordinary. (8/10 star rating.)

WINK by The Other Brothers

Written by John Teo

If you are looking for an unusual and mysterious effect with a borrowed glass of wine, Wink may be what you want.
In effect, you hold a glass of wine in front of a spectator and she suddenly sees the name of her selected card appears inside her wine glass. Just as mysteriously, the name vanishes and the wine glass can be handed out for examination.
You receive a special set of gimmicks and an instructional DVD.
The DVD is well produced and Darryl Davis and Daryl Williams (The Other Brothers) take you through everything that you need to know in order to perform Wink.
Basically, Wink allows you to reveal whatever you can force, inside a glass of wine.
The gimmicks supplied allow you to reveal a number, an ESP symbol, two simple shapes, an animal, and three different playing cards. The good thing about Wink is that whatever you can force, you can reveal with Wink. You are therefore supplied with blank gimmicks that allow you to customize and make your own force reveals.
You are taught how to prepare the gimmick, store the gimmick, load and unload the gimmick.
Although it is best performed with a glass of wine, The Other Brothers also teach you how to use the gimmick with a bottle of mineral water.
Wink is basically for performing one-to-one. You are also taught how to perform Wink for a larger group of audience. The effect here takes on a different twist. One of the spectators becomes the magician and can divine the card thought of by another spectator. The audience is mystified and has no idea at all how this spectator can reveal the thought-of-card of another spectator.
Finally, The Other Brothers teach you how to force a card, a number, two shapes and an animal. You may think that these are standard forces already used by most mentalists. Pay careful attention to their discussions on the forces – they contain valuable insights. Their method of forcing a card is one of the most deceiving.
Wink is easy to perform. You can get creative and customize Wink for your own reveal. Wink is truly an effect that packs small (so small that you can easily carry it anywhere with you and perform at a moment’s notice) and plays big (the impact is huge to the spectator). (9/10 star rating.)