Magic Products Review

The Little Book of Quotes by James Munton

Written by John Teo

The Little Book Of Quotes is a well printed and laminated pocket-sized booklet containing 100 different motivational quotations.

In performance, 2 members of the audience are asked to announce 2 different digits. Say that a 6 and a 3 are selected. They are given a choice of how to arrange the 2 digits to form a number between 1 to 100. For example, 6 and 3 can give 36 or 63 – the choice is up to the audience. Say, 63 is the number chosen. A spectator is asked to refer to quotation no 63 in the booklet. The performer is able to reveal what the quotation is all about. Finally, the spectator reads the entire quotation to the audience. The audience not only gets to witness a marvelous performance, but is also motivated by the selected quotation!

The instructions also include a comprehensive and interesting history of book tests that use similar methodology.

The pocket-sized booklet means you can use this for walk-around magic as well as for stage because the effect is suitable for large audience.

A most direct book test that is also easy to do without resorting to stooges or complicated memory, and the booklet itself is totally examinable and easy to carry around. (5/5 stars rating)

Reflection by Bill Goodwin and Dan & Dave Buck - DVD

Written by John Teo

Everything about this product spells “elegance”.  The DVD comes in an elegantly designed package and includes a companion booklet.  The video is well shot in high definition and with multiple camera angles.  The menu offers easy navigation around the DVD. 

What is most important is the content in the DVD.  You get to see a master card technician at work.  Bill Goodwin is truly one of the finest sleight-of-hand card magicians of this era.  Watch him perform 9 card miracles almost effortlessly – the magic seems to happen in his hands!  His presentation as well as his handling of the cards can be summed up in one word – elegant!

Bill Goodwin explains well, too – covering each effect phase by phase and providing the history wherever possible.  A useful feature is the “Point Of View” where Bill summarises the entire working without any verbal explanation.  He gives a quick overview of how to do the trick.

The effects performed and explained in the DVD are:

Oxnard Split – Bill’s handling of Paul Harris’ “Las Vegas Slit”.  A Four splits into 2 Twos, followed by each of the Twos further splitting into 2 Aces.  A variation of this is “One Off” where the performer finds a wrong card (off by one spot), and proceeds to take one spot off the wrong card to arrive at the correct selected card.

Off Balance Transposition – a selected card lost in the middle of the deck and 4 Aces placed on top of the deck switch places.  This can be repeated 2 more times.

Paint Brush Change – Bill’s performance of Roy Walton’s visual full face card change.  Bill uses this technique to do a “Double Lift Unload”

Twisting The Kings – a direct handling of Dai Vernon’s “Twisting The Aces” with a climax in which all the 4 cards turn over face-upwards again simultaneously.

The Mirage Trick – an interesting effect where a selected card appears between 2 cards, only to vanish as quickly, like a mirage.  Included is an explanation of the Bluff Pass.

Spectator Cuts To The Aces – spectator cuts a deck into 4 piles, the performer gathers the top card of each pile and they prove to be the 4 Aces.  An interesting card unloading technique is taught here.
 
Mistaken Sandwich – a clean and examinable sandwich effect where a wrong card found between 2 cards magically changes into the correct chosen card.

Reciprocity – a direct and clean effect where 4 Kings change places with 4 Aces.

Hold The Mayo – the 4 Aces are produced, one at a time, between 2 Jokers.

The tricks are all performed using an ordinary deck of cards.  You need intermediate card skills to be able to pull off the card works, but nothing so difficult that you cannot accomplish with practice.  (5/5 stars rating)

Dissolving Aces by Devin Knight - Book

Written by John Teo

This is a beautiful vanish of the 4 aces, one ace at a time.  No gaffed cards are used, only pure sleight-of-hand.  No cards or other gimmicks are supplied.  You receive only a 16-page booklet explaining the effect and illustrated with 26 black-and-white photographs.

This should be a beautiful effect to watch.  In fact, a DVD showing the performance and then the explanation may be more practical than a booklet of instructions.  However, all Devin Knight’s products come with written rather than video instructions.  Devin explains well and thoroughly.  You will have no problems at all understanding how to perform the effect from the written instructions.

Each vanish of the ace is accomplished by a different method, making it difficult for anyone to find out the secret.  The last ace vanish is quite sensational.  It can be done with the cards in the middle of the performing table.  This technique can be used to vanish a credit card, which is also taught by Devin in the manuscript.  The 4 aces can make a re-appearance back in the middle of the deck, reversed.

Undoubtedly, there are angles issues to take care of.  When properly performed, the effect looks like real magic – each ace dissolving into nothingness when your hands squeeze on the cards.  (4.5/5 stars rating)

STRIKE6 by Matthew J.

Written by JOHN TEO

This is a re-release of 6 of the 14 effects previously put up by the same company in a 2-DVD set.  The 6 tricks are now all contained in one 55 minutes DVD.

They are all practically self-working card tricks, but are claimed to be suitable for both beginners and the professional magicians.  To show how laymen react to these tricks, the performance sections take us down to the various streets of London where Matthew Dowden performs before real people.

Although the tricks do not require difficult sleight-of-hand, they do get tremendous reactions from laymen.  Much of the credit must go to the performer himself.  Matthew Dowden is a rather charming performer: he is good looking, has a bubbly character, and is quite entertaining.  This shows that entertainment is a very important factor in a magical performance – the “end” is often more important than the “means”. 

If you are a beginner in magic, you may want to know how the tricks work.  If you are a seasoned performer you will recognized all the tricks.  However, it is interesting to see how Matthew structures and presents each of them to lay people.  He performs all the tricks in the street, with spectators cupping their 2 hands to act as tables for the cards.

The 6 tricks featured in the DVD are:

Compatibility Test – this is a “do-as-I-do” trick with 2 decks presented as a compatibility test between 2 people.

Listen Ear – a simple but effective card discovery.

Poker Puzzle – a chosen card leads to a winning poker hand.

Match.Com – a simple pairing trick is presented as a matchmaking device.

Sole Survivor – a card to impossible location with the chosen card vanishing from the deck to reappear inside the performer’s shoe.

Ultimate Phone Prediction – similar trick to “Listen Ear”, but with an “unknown” person at the other end of a mobile revealing the location of the chosen card.

These are simple tricks that when presented properly, get tremendous results.  (4/5 stars rating)  

LAWS OF ATTRACTION by Shoot Ogawa

Written by John Teo

Impromptu magic is often considered the best type of magic to perform for laymen.  It can be performed anytime, anywhere, and with borrowed objects – exactly what a real magician can do.

“Laws Of Attraction” is a technique that allows you to “magnetise” various objects.  Shoot Ogawa teaches you how to magnetise items found in a restaurant table setting, such as silverware, salt shakers, metal objects and even plastic and paper.

Everything is taught in this one hour DVD.

Shoot Ogawa first wows you with his performance.  He magnetises two coins, then silverware such as spoons, forks and knives, and even the salt shaker.  You will swear he uses some kind of magnets hidden in his hands.  His actions are truly realistic.  You get to see how one object is pulled by the magnetic force of the other object, and how some effort is needed to pull them apart afterwards. 

The thinking behind each trick is important in impromptu magic.  Here, Shoot goes into the psychology of magnetizing objects.  He talks about the weight of the objects (light versus heavier objects) and the sound that the objects should make.  He explains why psychologically it is better to magnetise silverware and metal objects rather than non-metallic items.  However, he also shows how to magnetise paper (bills), plastic forks, deck of playing cards, wallets and credit cards.  He discusses the importance of acting and imagination. 

Shoot teaches three basic techniques, and with these and some variations of them, you can magnetise almost any type of objects.  Yet, you should heed his advice and not be too eager to go around magnetizing all sorts of non-magnetic objects.

The linking rubber bands effect entitled “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” has already become a classic in impromptu magic.  Shoot Ogawa’s “Laws Of Attraction” is sure to become one in the very near future.  You should start performing it before it is accepted worldwide as the latest classic in impromptu magic!  (5/5 stars rating)

Freefall by Andrew Mayne - DVD

Written by John Teo

This is such a brilliant idea.  You pick up a large paper shopping bag, casually holding it with both hands grabbing onto the sides of the paper bag, not on its bottom – you turn it upside down and only a feather falls out from inside it.  it is quite clear by the way you handle the paper bag that there is nothing inside it.  You can twirl it easily around, 360º between your two hands, yet, whenever you want it, a full-sized bowling ball will fall out of it with a loud thud onto the floor!  This is such an unexpected and impossible production that it makes for a great show opener or closer.  The best part of it is that it is easy to prepare and to perform; and it costs you next to nothing (except for the cost of the bowling ball, which can be obtained second-hand) to put together.

The creative mind of Andrew Mayne goes further, and he shows you how you can produce a fish-bowl (instead of the bowling ball), complete with real fish.

For more intimate performance, Andrew explains how you can produce a heavy piece of brick from an empty paper lunch bag.  Instead of the brick, how about producing a full cup of hot coffee so freshly brewed that you can smell its aroma!

Everything is taught in the instructional DVD.  “Freefall” is such a wonderful idea that allows you to do big scale illusions using ordinary objects for next-to-nothing cost!  You may even come up with some new illusions yourself!  (5/5 stars rating)