Magic Products Review

Unleaded by Txema Gico and Devin Knight - Trick

Written by John Teo

Essentially, this is pencil writing without resorting to a leaded secret device such as swami, boon or nail writer.  There is a “gimmick” involved, and although the principle is quite unique, other similar methods have been used previously, but they are now no longer readily available.

There are a couple of ways to use “Unleaded”.  You can use it for secret writing but without resorting to a writing device such as nail writer.  This will result in a mental effect, eg a prediction.  You can use a borrowed item such as a hair pin or toothpick and use it to visibly write in lead as though you are using a pencil.  This will result in a magical effect, eg using a non-leaded object to write a message in lead.

Devin Knight combines both effects and comes out with an interesting spirit-writing trick which he calls “Led By The Spirit”.  A playing card is selected.  A sheet of paper is torn off from a small writing pad.  A spectator uses a pencil and writes her signature on a corner of the paper.  Spectator chooses a toothpick and the performer uses this toothpick to visibly write the name of the selected card.  The writing appears in the same pencil lead as the signature of the spectator.  When the selected card is turned over, it matches the written prediction.  Devin dresses up the presentation by calling upon the spirit of Elvis to help him divine the name of the selected card.  This provides some hilarious moments in the routine, which leads to an equally humorous revelation of the selected card.  Devin also designs a subtlety where the spectator takes the same toothpick and uses it to write on the piece of paper, but no visible writing results.

Txema Gico discovers the principles of “Unleaded”.  He provides 2 routines that he uses in his own performances.  You are provided with the pad of paper, a couple of sample toothpicks, and comprehensive printed instructions.  (4.5/5 stars rating)


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Metamorphosis (With Gimmicks) by Wayne Dobson and Mark Mason - DVD

Written by John Teo

This is a quick and visual close-up effect.  Performer shows a spectator 2 different coins: they are a half dollar and a Chinese hole coin.  Spectator can examine both coins.  She places both coins inside her closed hands.  Performer takes the half dollar from the closed hands and places it on top of the back of her hand.  In almost an instant, the 2 coins change places!  Once again, the spectator can examine the 2 coins to her heart’s content.

You receive a professional quality instructional DVD, a half dollar, a red colour hole Chinese coin, pocket wallet, business cards, and a couple of gimmicks, one of which is precision-made.

The trick is performed and explained by Mark Mason.  Mark is an excellent performer and has a nice presentation for this effect.  There is a bonus section where Mark explains another simpler version.  The trade-off is that the 2 coins cannot be thoroughly examined at the beginning, although that can be done at the end of the trick.

If you like quick visual magic for walk-around, this is for you.  (4.5/5 stars rating).

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Jonathan Goodwin Talks To Jay Fortune #3 (2 CD set) - Tricks

Written by John Teo

This is a set of 2 audio discs.  Jay Fortune interviews a young escapologist and magician, Jonathan Goodwin. 

In a media such as this that appeals only to your ears and not your eyes, you should not expect the explanations of tricks.  In fact, when you get to know more about Jonathan Goodwin, you will realize that he does not consider himself as a magician, but an escapologist.  He does not like magic and the magic fraternity at large.  This is what makes it interesting to hear from this controversial man.  What, according to Jonathan, is wrong with our magic art and the magic world?  When I hear what he has to say, I can concur with some of the things he observed, but not all.

For example, I do go along with him when he argued against the popular saying that “a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician”.  There is indeed a significant difference between acting and performing.  Jonathan hates the rigid structure of a magic trick.  If magic were real, one should be able to do magic anywhere and with any thing.  From here, Jonathan talks about using creativity.

He certainly practices what he peaches.  Jonathan created and starred in the TV special “The 7 Most Stupid Things To Escape From”.  What can be more creative and unique than to escape from a confinement with thousands of bees, strapped to the outside of a car going through a car wash, buried inside a coffin beneath tons of concrete, constrained on a crane swung into TVs, and other “stupid things”.  Thankfully, his escape from the inside of a dead cow (read that again!) did not get to be aired on TV.  Jonathan shares his ideas on not escaping from death but from harm, and his toleration of pain.  You cannot help but agree with him when he explains the negative impact of Russian Roulette.  This led him to design his escape from the gallows in “Death Wish Live”, and he almost killed himself in the show in front of live audience.  To prove that he is the master escapologist, he challenged his interviewer to retrain him with Gaffa-tape in the radio studio.  You can hear his triumphant escape within the 20 seconds time period that was given to him.

If you do not wish to be just one of the “run-of-the-mills” magicians, you need to seriously think about your magic performance.  After hearing this interview with Jonathan Goodwin, you will want to carefully think about all aspects of your magical performance so that you can become that extraordinary magician.  (4.5/5 stars rating)

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Identity (With Gimmicks) by Richard Sanders

Written by John Teo

This is an unusual but powerful trick.  In effect, a card is chosen and marked, and is shuffled back into the deck.  Performer draws a series of random short lines and curves with a marker on the back of an indifferent card.  These marks visually jump from one card to another.  Finally, they vanish and reappear on the back of the chosen card.  As a final kicker, you cause these marks to magically morph into the name of the spectator who chose the card!  She can then keep this card as a souvenir.

You do not need to know the name of the spectator in advance.  Richard teaches you how you can approach a total stranger and yet perform this effect where the random marks transform into his or her name.

The instructions are in a DVD and you are supplied with a gimmick card.  You need to have some basic to intermediate card handling skills.  However, everything is taught, and taught well, in the DVD.  Richard gives several variations to the sleights used so that you can choose the handling that is most suitable for you.  The DVD runs for almost two hours and includes valuable tips, subtleties and the psychology behind each move.

Four versions are taught in the DVD:
1) Identity Extended: where the random marks jump from card to card before landing on the chosen card;
2) Identity Condensed: where the random marks jump straight to the chosen card;
3) Identity Maxed Out: Richards shows you how to further gimmick the gimmick card so as to cut down on some sleights;
4) Identity Impromptu: how to do the same effect without using any gimmick card.

With proper practice, this will be one of the most talk-about tricks in your performing repertoire.  (5/5 stars rating).

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Glass Box Revisited Book by Devin Knight - Book

Written by John Teo

To revisit an effect suggests that that “effect” is worthy of a second look, improvements and refinements.  Indeed, it is!  The Glass Box Prediction has earned Devin the world record for being the magician with the most publicity with a headline prediction.

“The Glass Box Headline Prediction” was first released by Devin Knight in 2005.  It came with the glass box and with instructions printed in red blood colour paper.  This was to prevent the instructions from being photocopied.  However, to read the instructions themselves, and all of 26 red pages, can make your eyes go red!

Now Devin has added in advanced techniques and refined his original instructions in this new publication.  It is comforting to know that the printing are done on the usual white colour paper. 

In effect, you give a VIP a clear transparent box containing 3 predictions weeks in advance.  The box is sealed with tapes all around it.  You never touch the box again until the day of your show when the VIP brings along the sealed box.  In front of everybody, the VIP takes out the 3 predictions – again, you never touch the predictions – all 3 predictions are found to be correct, including one headline found in the day’s newspapers.

The new publication contains the original text, but with much refinements, and a Bonus Section entitled “Lies, Damn Lies and Psychic Lies!”.  As with Devin Knight’s writing, everything is clearly explained.

It contains the history of headline predictions and Al Mann’s original glass box secret.  Devin discusses the various methods of carrying out the secret work, including the use of a secret confederate, and most importantly, the psychology that goes behind each method.  He explores the kinds of container to use, how many items to predict, and what types of paper to write the predictions.  It is important to know what headlines to predict and what should not be predicted, and why – should you predict a disaster, a burglary, a death, or a rape?  What about a winning lottery?  New technology can also be taken advantage of – eg. the internet and Blackberry devices.  Devin reveals some very powerful after show techniques to get a really big news story.

The Bonus Section is meant for experienced and serious mentalist or psychic.  Devin delves into methods that can be termed as controversial, but these methods can enhance your reputation as a real psychic.
The price is high for a spiral bound book of a little over 50 pages, but getting yourself a headline publicity in the newspapers and other media is priceless!  (5/5 stars rating)

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Animal Bands by Liam Montier and Big Blind Media - Trick

Written by John Teo

Rubber bands in the form of animals are relatively new.  Because of this, they can be used as a climax to rubber bands magic.

Trust the creative Liam Montier to come up with tricks and ideas using these cute animal rubber bands.  The instructions are in the form of an 8-pages center-stapled booklet.  You also receive 12 beautiful animal rubber bands of different colours.

In “Animal Farm”, Liam has various animals and different colours written on the backs of his business cards.  A spectator chooses 2 cards, say, elephant and blue.  The rubber band that encircles the business cards is taken off and found to be in the shape of the chosen animal, and it is also of the selected colour.

An obvious use is in conjunction with “Grey Elephant In Denmark” trick.  If your elephant rubber band is not grey, then do not include the colour in the trick.  The rubber band that wraps around the prediction (Denmark) is taken off and found to be in the shape of the predicted animal (elephant).  Liam has a variation that does not resort to using mathematics to arrive at the country and animal.

Because of the animal shapes, the animal rubber bands can be used with balloon modeling theme.  Liam provides 2 creative ideas for modeling rubber bands!  Finally, Liam discusses how you can incorporate these rubber bands in your own rubber band magic.

The tricks and ideas presented here are not meant to be exhaustive.  They are meant to encourage you to come out with your own effects with these novel animal rubber bands.  (4/5 stars rating)

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