Magic Products Review

PERSONAL FX by Wayne Dobson

Written by John Teo

This is a mental effect that is straight-forward, yet is very puzzling to the spectators.

Performer shows a small wallet from which he takes out 3 business cards.  The business cards are laid out in a row on the table.  A spectator is invited to place their mobile phone on any one of the business cards.  Next, the spectator takes out a bunch of keys and places them onto one of the 2 remaining business cards.  Finally the last business card is replaced back into the wallet.

The performer now shows that the business card with the mobile phone placed on top of it has PHONE written on the other side.  Similarly, the business card with the bunch of keys on it has KEYS written on the bottom, and the business card in the wallet has WALLET written on the other side.

At the end of the performance, you are in a prefect situation to leave one, or all 3 of the business cards with the spectator.  What a magical way of handing out your business card to a potential client!

The effect is easy to do, and the spectator does have a free choice.  Everything, including some additional ideas, is explained in a well produced DVD.  You also receive a nicely made leather wallet that is perfect for this effect.  You need to supply your own business cards, obviously.  (4.5/5 stars rating)

 

A LITTLE R&B by Dan Harlan

Written by John Teo

This is all about how to use a red/blue double backed gimmicked card to create effective card magic.

There is nobody better in accomplishing this than the creative and prolific Dan Harlan.  In the L&L Publishing DVD series alone, he has 20 DVDs to his credit. 

Dan has come out with all sorts of effects: predictions, transformations, transpositions, and locations.

Turning Blue is a straight-forward trick where a chosen card becomes the only blue-backed card in the red deck, and then magically, its back changes back to red.  Dan comes out with different variations of this effect – Special Glasses, Getting Warmer and Fingerprints.  They are all individually effective because Dan has provided each of them with the appropriate patter and presentation. 

“Prediction 1” and “Prediction 2” are variations of a prediction trick where the performer’s blue backed card matches a freely chosen card from a red deck.  “Making A Bet” is a comical/sucker version of this trick.  “Trading Places” is another variation using both a blue and a red backed deck of cards.

“Star Trek” is an amusing trick based on the popular TV series of the same title.  A card freely chosen from a red deck is trapped among 4 freely chosen cards from a blue deck.  Magically, it gets transported back to the red deck and is found face upwards.  The handling is clean.

“R & B Special” is a 3-phase sandwich trick.  A signed chosen card from a red deck is found sandwiched between 2 blue cards also freely taken from a blue deck.  This is repeated, but this time the spectator gets to handle all the cards.  In the third and final phase, the 2 blue cards are placed clearly far apart from one another in the red deck – yet they come together magically and sandwich the signed chosen red card.

As a bonus, Dan teaches how to do a tarot-type reading using the cut-deeper force.  Performing magicians will want to add this to their repertoire because audience loves to have their future foretold.

You receive an instructional DVD and 3 gimmicked cards.  Dan Harlan does a good job in explaining all the effects.  All of the tricks are easy to do, requiring only basic card handlings.  There is a segment which shows Dan performing the effects live.  It will be surprising indeed if you cannot find at least a couple of tricks that you can add to your performing repertoire.  (5/5 stars rating)

THE ORIGAMI EFFECT by Andrew Mayne

Written by John Teo

Folding a sheet of paper into an animal or an object is the beautiful art of Origami.  If you conceal the physical part of folding the paper, it becomes magical because you now transform a lifeless piece of paper into a representation of an animal or an object.  This was what Andrew Mayne attempted to do in The Origami Effect DVD.

To make it “more” magical, Andrew has the audience think of an animal, and then transforms a sheet of paper into an origami form of the “thought-of” animal.

The Origami Effect has 2 parts.  The first part is how to determine the thought-of animal.  The second part is how to “magically” transform a piece of paper into the thought-of animal.  Andrew discusses various methods for each part and comes out with the following effects: 

The Origami Effect:  A spectator thinks of an animal from a list of 49 animals.  The performer transforms a piece of Post-It-Note into the thought-of animal.

The Recycled Rabbit:  This is the Origami Effect for stage performance.  A piece of newspaper is torn into pieces and is restored into a large origami rabbit.  This paper rabbit can be manipulated ala Williamson’s raccoon and becomes animated.  Suitable for kids shows.

Psychic Origami:  Andrew’s attempt to make the effect impromptu.  A dollar bill is borrowed and transformed into a thought-of animal.

Wineglass Origami:  A visual variation of the “Psychic Origami”.  A borrowed dollar bill is dropped into a wine glass and visually changes into an origami butterfly.

Everything is explained in the 65 minutes DVD, including how to fold the various animals used in all the effects.  Andrew’s explanations are clear and he gives many valuable insights.  The DVD also comes with a printed list of the 49 animals.

If you are fascinated by origami and want to use it in magic, this DVD is a very good place to start – it will motivate you to come out with your own presentations.  (4/5 stars rating)

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.)