Magic Products Review

Permanent by Chris Ballinger

Written by Alvin Terence

This is a trick using a Sharpie permanent marker.

In effect, you show a permanent Sharpie marker with the brand name “Sharpie” permanently printed on both sides of the pen. A spectator tries but cannot rub off the ink of the brand name. You can: you first rub off the Sharpie name on one side of the pen, then on both sides. You then magically restore the brand name on one side of the marker and hand it out for examination.

A bonus effect is taught in which you can magically “pull” the printed “e” at the end of “Sharpie” to one end of the marker. The pen can also be handed out for examination.

You are supplied with the instructional DVD and the necessary gimmicks. Strictly speaking, these are the tools for you to make up the gimmick, not the gimmick itself. One of the gimmicks is actually a transportation device for the marker.

The instructions are clear and the video is of good quality. However, there is nothing revolutionary new with the effect. It makes use of a standard sleight with pen or pencil which most of us would probably already know. Two other variations of the sleight are also taught.

Two other bonus effects are included. One is a basic ambitious card routine and another one is a signed coin inside a ball of yarn. Strictly speaking, these tricks are not part of Permanent. The marker is simply used to sign the chosen card and the borrowed coin respectively. The instructions advocate that when you bring out the marker to mark the card or the coin, you then start to perform “Permanent”. After this, you go right back to the original effect and continue from there. I feel that the disruption caused by performing “Permanent” does not do justice to the continuation of the original routine. I prefer to perform “Permanent” as a trick by itself, leave the pen for examination by the spectator, and then go to the ambitious card or the coin routine. In this case, the spectators get to see two different effects instead of seeing one trick and another one “by-the-way” sort of trick. The spectator can use the marker to mark the card or coin.

Properly performed, this can have a good effect on the spectators.

(3.5/5 stars rating.)

Sanda-Panda Box by Devin Knight

Written by Alvin Terence

It is a 6” x 6” x 4” ungimmicked cardboard box. With it, you can perform magic such as:

• A card is randomly formed by a spectator naming a value and another one naming a suit. Inside the box is a deck of cards and a prediction stating the correct position in the deck where the named card can be found.
• A male spectator calls out a lady’s name. Inside the box is a rose with a note attached to it that contains the exact name of the lady.
• A spectator names a random page number. Inside the box is a small book. The spectator turns to the named page number and notes the first word on that page. This word is prediction on a folded piece of paper inside the box.

At least a couple more equally impressive effects are described and explained. The strong point of the Sanda Panda Mystery Box is that everything can be left for examination.

Although the cardboard box itself is ungimmicked, a standard mentalist’s tool (supplied) is employed. Properly performed, you can create incredible mental routines that leave a strong impression in the minds of the spectators. As with other Devin Knight products, you get a comprehensive set of written instructions that cover every aspect of handling and performance. This Box is an utility item. You can use it to create your own routines. Devin also describes two routines that do not utilise the supplied gimmick.

(4/5 stars rating)

Crossroads by Ben Harris

Written by Alvin Terence

In effect, a freely named card vanishes from a deck and reappears in an impossible location such as inside the performer’s right shoe.

Although it employs a ranging force, the entire routine is so well thought out, especially with the verbal subtleties used, that it is quite difficult for anyone to detect the method used. A deck is in full view right at the start of the performance. A number is called out and a suit determined – they form a card randomly named. This very card vanishes from the deck and later found at an impossible location initially mentioned by the performer.

The deck is easily made up, and can be examined without fear of discovering the secret. The trick can be immediately repeated without resetting anything. The entire routine is almost self-working. What else can you ask for?

Well, what about another incredible trick? In the “Bonus Stunner” section of the book, Steve Shufton takes Ben Harris’ crossroads force and comes up with an ingeniously well thought out “any card at any number”.

A cased deck is placed on the table at the beginning of the performance. Someone randomly names a playing card. Another person calls out a number. The deck is picked up, the cards are taken out of the case, and dealt onto the table to the selected number. The card at this location is the named card! Two incredible effects in one book!

(5/5 stars rating)

Collector’S Edition Sampler (VOL 8) by Ed Ellis

Written by John Teo

Ed Ellis has produced 7 volumes of DVDs. If you have not owned any of them, this DVD will be a good investment. As the name of this DVD implies, it is a collector’s edition sampler of all his 7 DVDs. It features at least one trick from each volume. You do not expect the most popular effects to be included in this DVD. However, there are enough materials to interest a card and close-up magician.

Card magic and sleights demonstrated and taught include:

• Fan Flourish/Billboard Display – a top card shuffle control, followed by a one-handed display of the 4 Aces.
• Illusion or Reality – a signed card multiplies 4 times and then changes into the 4 Aces.
• Axis Double – a card placed in the middle of the deck appears on top.
• Take 5 – a 5 cards lift using the continuum principle.
• Card from Shoe – a signed card lost in the deck reappears inside the performer’s shoe.
• Beginner’s Corner – teaches double-lift, Elmsley Count and tilt.
• Wrist Kill Change – using a side steal to effect a colour change.
• Cards From Mouth – a packet of cards is produced from the performer’s mouth.

There is a non-card magic:
• Rubber Band Through Thumb – a slower and more effective presentation of the popular trick.

There is a discussion on the business side:
• Business Section – tools and techniques on how to get hired in restaurants.

There is also a bonus section that features a very young Ed Ellis performing close-up magic. You can find a complete listing of the contents of each of the 7 DVDs in the DVD.

(4/5 stars rating)

Unusual Suspect by Matthew Wright

Written by John Teo

This DVD contains 6 highly commercial close-up routines performed and taught by Matthew Wright.

Matthew Wright is an excellent performer. His magic has high impact with lots of magical happenings from start to finish You can see the tremendous effects of his performances on the spectators by watching the wonderful reactions on the spectators’ faces! Matthew has a distinctive humorous presentation style that suits his unique character. His routines uses magic props such as Mullica wallet, Mind power deck, a magnetic coin set, and the Omni deck. Even if you are able to obtain all these props, it is not recommended that you perform the magic exactly the way Matthew does them because it is highly unlikely that you posses the same humorous character as Matthew Wright. Matthew’s character allows him to continuously engage his spectators – therefore, his routines have a lot of magical happenings all the time. You may want to pick only those bits of magic that suit your performing character.

In Calzaghe’s Opener, the performer divines a look-at card. It is lost in the deck and then found by another spectator. The spectator signs the card, it changes into another card and the signed card is found inside the performer’s wallet. Finally the remainder of the deck vanishes, leaving behind a transparent block of plastic, and the cards are produced from the performer’s mouth. In this routine, you get to learn the “I-sight”, a technique originally devised by Joe Riding, that enables you to learn the identity of a merely look-at card.

Final Destination is a 3-fly coin effect where the last coin visibly floats from one hand to the other. This is accomplished by a gimmicked shell coin, and you are taught how to construct it. You also need to hook it up in your hands before you begin the trick. This puts a kind of a set-back to the trick, because you cannot take out 3 coins and go straight into the routine. Matthew uses a large container to enable him to hook up the set-up quickly. However, this container remains in sight throughout the routine, and becomes an eye-sore to the spectators. In addition to this, Matthew also uses a magnetic coin set to aid him in “transferring” the coin visually from hand to hand.

In Mental Mullica, a duplicate of a chosen card from a different deck is found clipped onto a bill inside a money folder inside a wallet. A gimmicked deck is used and you are told how to construct it.

Mint may be the most effective trick in the DVD. A spectator names a card she sees in a spread deck. It vanishes from the deck and is found folded inside a mint container. Matthew has an interesting presentation in which whoever eats the mint will be able to see something that is not there. It uses John Kennedy’s Mind Power deck to accomplish the vanish of the card. An alternative version is taught where you do not need to use this deck.

Mullica’s Nightmare is essentially a signed card in wallet trick. Matthew turns it into a hilarious routine where a spectator keeps finding her signed card in the deck at least 5 or 6 times before it ends up in the wallet.

The Big Finish Card Trick is multiple revelations of different chosen cards. In the performance, Matthew reveals 8 different selected cards in different manners. The last card ends up folded inside his mouth. In this segment, Matthew teaches a variation of the Pheonix Knights’ Aces production.

The DVD is well produced. As mentioned, you may not be able to perform in the same manner that Matthew does, but there should be at least several effects or techniques that you can add to your close-up magic repertoire.

(4.5/5 stars rating)

Illusion EFX by Andrew Mayne

Written by John Teo

Andrew Mayne is a creative magician. He takes existing magical principles and tweak them so that he can find new applications for them. The result is new effects. In this DVD, he presents 7 illusions. The objectives are: they are inexpensive and easy to build.

In “Minimoto”, a mini-motorcycle makes an instant appearance on top of an empty scaffold-type structure. This same structure is used in “Banished” to make an assistant vanish instantly.

“5th Dimension” is an effective illusion where the performer walks through an audience member. A variation of this is “Transformer”, where the performer changes place with his assistant so quickly that there appears to be no explanation for it. In “The Wall”, the performer recedes into a solid wall, and when the cloth cover is taken away, his assistant makes a surprising appearance.
There is a Shadow Box that is packed flat and can be built for under US$50. It is called “Shadows”. This apparatus is also used in “Enlarger” where objects magically grow larger – finally, an assistant is produced from it.

The DVD is well produced and runs for just over one hour. Andrew Mayne explains each illusion clearly – he discusses the method, construction, set-up and performance. He then explains what makes each illusion “ticks” – this is the most valuable part of the instructions. He also talks about how to use each illusion for a different effect. For example, “The Wall” can be used to make the performer appear magically instead of causing the magician to pass through the solid wall. A viewer with an open mind can learn a lot about creating magical effects from Andrew Mayne in this DVD.

(5/5 stars rating).