Magic Products Review

TNT RELOADED by Wayne Dobson

Written by John Teo

The “Free Will” idea is one of the best mentalism principles to come out in recent years.  This effect makes use of the “Free Will” principle, and there is a nice subtlety employed at the end that convinces the audience that they indeed have a free choice.

The entire trick is contained in a plastic pocket wallet.  A plastic prediction card is placed to one side of the table.  Three other cards, each one containing the words THIS, THAT and NOTHING respectively are displayed.  The three cards are turned face down and a spectator is invited to mix the cards so that nobody knows which card contains what word.

The spectator then decides which card to give to the performer, which card she should keep, and which card to leave on the table.  Just before the prediction is revealed, the spectator is asked if she wants to swap cards with the performer.  Despite this free choice, the prediction is shown to be correct.

This one really plays very big and packs very small – small enough to be carried in your pocket.  The four cards are nicely produced in black colour credit card type cards with the various words silk-screened on them.  A plastic wallet is supplied together with written instructions.  A great effect with classy apparatus.  (5/5 stars rating)

ODDBALLS by Scott Strange

Written by John Teo

In this DVD, Scott Strange teaches a couple of sponge ball moves and gives you several routines.

The “Strange Change” is a sponge ball switch done with one hand, much like the Bobo coin switch.  Strange then shows you a short routine he calls “OC Transpo” where 2 different colour sponge balls change places between your hand and a spectator’s hand.  Finally, both balls magically vanish altogether.

Strange teaches another sleight which he calls “Thunderball”.  It is splitting a sponge ball into 2 balls.  This is simply a variation of the classic splitting move.  Strange then goes into his favourite routine called “Eye, Ball”.  This is fast-pace interactive comedy routine done with a spectator.  A small sponge ball magically grows into a larger ball and finally into a much larger ball when the magician or the spectator puts on a pair of magic glasses.  In-between, there are funny transpositions of the balls between the magician’s and the spectator’s hands.

Strange also shows another routine called “Odd Balls” which he claims he performs only for magicians.  Three balls change colour, change places between his hand and the table, and finally they vanish.  It is too confusing to follow, even for magicians.

The explanations of the sleights and routines are clear and carried out with multi-view shots and with wordings on the screen.  The sleights are not really advanced as stated on the DVD write-up.  The routines are not really ground-breaking but variations of standard sponge ball tricks.

In the bonus section, Strange provides several tips on using sponge balls and holds an interview with Jeff Pinsky, the owner of Browser’s Den Of Magic in Canada.  If you do sponge ball magic, you may want to try out the “Strange Change” and “Eye, ball” routine.  (3.5/5 stars rating)

TRANSFORMER CARD by Dan Burgess

Written by John Teo

It is difficult to categorise this effect.  Is it a puzzle or magic?  At best it can be termed a novelty.

This specially constructed card, when folded (or unfolded!), will turn itself inside-out, front to back (or vice-versa) and transform into another card.  The card itself is a puzzle – people are trying to figure out how it is possible to construct such a card.

Three different presentations are provided that attempt to put a magical element to this prop.
In “Transformer Card” (the title trick), a card is chosen from a deck, say, the King of Hearts (KH).  A prediction is shown to be the wrong card, say, Ten of Clubs (10C).  Magically, this card is folded (unfolded) and the 10C turns inside-out, and the back of the card is now showing.  Finally, it morphs into the correct card, KH.  Just as quickly, this KH becomes mismade, with its indices in the center inside of at its perimeter.  It then turns into a mismade 10C, finally, several folding of the card brings it back to the proper KH.
“It’s Always The ?” is a comedy presentation of the “Transformer Card”.  There is a slight difference in the presentation, and the climax is where the entire deck consists of the other card (10C in this case) which the spectator did not pick.
In “Inside-Out”, the chosen card is KH.  The prediction is shown as a wrong card, 10C.  It is then transformed into a proper KH.  However, when the spectator turns over his KH selection, she finds that it has now transformed into a mismade KH with its indices in the middle of the card!
You will be able to come out with different presentations, too!
The special card is well made and it flexes very smoothly.  The instruction DVD is also well produced.  In the DVD, Mark Mason performs and explains, and provides additional tips for the Transformer Card.
It is difficult to put a rating to this effect, too.  After considering its magical content and entertainment value, I give it a “4”.  If you like this type of effect, it will worth much more than the “4”.  If not, it will be much less than the rating of “4”.  (4/5 stars rating.)

TOOSH by Steve Haynes

Written by John Teo

Steve Haynes has come up with a wonderful gimmick that enables an easy, clean and visual transposition of 2 business cards.

“Toosh” is a card to impossible location routine using this gimmick.  You draw 2 different doodles on the blank backs of 2 business cards, say, a smiley and a heart.  A spectator then signs on both cards.  You show the 2 cards separately once again.  The spectator keeps the smiley card secured between both her palms while you put the heart card into your pocket.  When the spectator turns over her card in her hand, she gets the heart card instead.  She thinks her smiley card is in your pocket.  She gets a great shock when she finds that she is actually sitting on her signed smiley card all along!  Both cards can be safely left with the spectator as souvenirs!  Clean, convincing and easy to do.  You do not need any double lifts or false signatures.  Steve teaches a variation where the spectator can sign on both sides of the business cards.

“Tic-Tac-Dough” is a multi-phase routine.  It involves a “x” drawn on a business card and a “O” drawn on another business card.  Both cards can be signed.  A dollar note is placed to one side of the table.  One card (say, “O”) penetrates through the other card (“x”).  One card changes into a totally new card, with $$$ drawn on it.  The transformed card is then found beneath the dollar note placed earlier on the table.

You need to put together the gimmick yourself.  It is easy to do and takes just a few minutes of work.  The materials needed are provided with the instruction DVD. 

Also provided is a pocket vinyl wallet.  This wallet enables you to streamline some tricks.  One of the effects possible with the wallet is “Red/Black Ace Transpo”.  Just as the title implies, it is a clean transposition of the black Ace of Spades to the red Ace of Hearts.  Only 2 playing cards are used, and both cards can be signed to prevent any duplicate cards being used.

Another effect with the wallet is “Royal Prediction”.  You can predict in advance which one of the possible 20 royal flush cards will be named.

The “Toosh” gimmick is indeed capable of many other uses and presentations.  (4.5/5 stars rating.)

Paul Harris Presents Justin Miller's Freedom Pack

Written by John Teo

 

The Freedom Pack enables you to case a pack of playing cards instantly and visually. One moment you see a pack of loose playing cards, and almost in an instant, the entire pack gets inside a card case! The cards can then be taken out of this card case and be used in the continuation of the magic! This is a great benefit of the Freedom Pack. The change is really shocking to watch.

 

The downside? If the pack of cards were to be freely handled by both the spectators and yourself, you need to find an appropriate moment to secretly put the gimmick onto the pack of loose cards. Once the gimmick is put on, the pack still looks like it contains loose cards. However, limited actions can now be carried out with this deck combination.

 

Justin Miller, the originator of Freedom Pack, comes out with an ambitious card routine that addresses all the downside. A pack of cards is freely shuffled by a spectator. A card is freely selected and signed. During this momentary distraction, Justin loads the gimmick onto the pack. The signed card is inserted into the middle of the pack and it rises to the top. Once again, the signed card is inserted into the middle of the pack and it again rises to the top. At this stage, the magician says that this cannot be possible because the pack is actually inside the case. Almost instantly, the pack of loose cards gets inside the card case!

 

Another use of the Freedom Pack is to force a card without the need of holding any break in the pack. You run your thumb along the side of the pack while a spectator calls “stop”. The card stopped at is the force card.

 

Justin makes use of this force in a brilliant routine found as a bonus effect in the DVD. It is a brainwave type effect with a colour changing pack climax. A card is chosen from a red backed pack of cards. It is inserted in the middle of the face down red pack. Instantly, the pack is cased inside a blue card case. When the cards are removed from the case, all the cards have blue backs except the chosen card which is found face up in the middle of the pack. When this card is turned over, it is the only card with a red back!

 

You are supplied with the special pack and the instruction DVD. The DVD also teaches you how to construct the Freedom Pack from scratch in case your special pack has worn itself out. (4.5/5 stars rating)

FREAK! by Will Houston

Written by John Teo

 

This is a 4-phase bending and manipulation of your little finger that will freak people out because it is simply not humanly possible!

 

The little finger is pushed into the hand so that only its tip is visible. It is then pull out to its normal length again. The little finger is next bent inwards in a humanly impossible manner. It is straightened out and then bent outwards. Finally, all is well, and the little finger is snapped back into place.

 

Will Houston takes you step by step and teaches you how to perform each phase of this strange phenomenon. The moves appear to be frighteningly genuine as much of the finger being bent is not covered by the fingers of the other hand. The tips he gives for each phase are also quite relevant and valuable.

 

The entire effect is easy to do and can be done impromptu. You will not hurt yourself if you follow the instructions carefully. When performed properly, you are guaranteed to freak people out! Be careful when you perform for people who are squeamish!

 

Everything is revealed in this well produced DVD. This is highly recommended for people who like this type of effect. (5/5 stars rating)