Magic Products Review

THE LUCKY COIN by Luca Volpe & Paul McCaig

Written by John Teo

“The Lucky Coin” is based on a classic trick/gag about locating the chosen card with a coin.  Luca Volpe and Paul McCaig have improved upon it in the following ways:

  • The coin used is not an ordinary coin, but a specially minted “lucky” coin with a celtic design, so that it creates a mystery to the audience the moment the coin is introduced;
  • The image of the chosen card is embossed on the coin, instead of the old method of sticking a picture of a miniature card underneath the coin. Moreover, the embossed image is that of a full card, not merely the abbreviation of “three of heart” comprising a 3 and the symbol of the heart.  This somehow makes the revelation on the coin more powerful;
  • Another coin is included with the word “BELIEVE” embossed on the back of it, to be used in another effect.
  • A third coin is also provided. This one has nothing inscribed underneath it.  This can be used to switch for either the card or the word coin so that the revelation will seem even more magical.

A full routine looks like this.  A specially minted coin is introduced to a spectator as a “lucky” coin.  It has a special celtic design on one side and nothing on the other.  It is fully examined by a spectator. 

A card is selected by a spectator and shuffled back into the deck.  The deck is spread face downwards on the table and the spectator places the “lucky” coin anywhere on the spread.  The 3 or 4 cards covered by the coin are isolated from the spread.  The spectator further decides which of these cards to rest the coin on.  The performer says that underneath the coin will be the spectator’s selected card.  The other cards are turned over to show that none of them is the selected card.  But when the card underneath the coin is turned over, it too, is not the chosen card.  The performer turns over the coin to show that, what he meant was, the identity of the card is now found inscribed on the coin!  The spectator had examined it previously and there was nothing engraved underneath the coin.

The coin is then placed onto a spectator’s palm, and she closes her fingers over it, hiding the coin inside her fist.  She is asked to think about something that she desires to achieve in her lifetime, and to close her eyes.  As she concentrates on the coin held in her closed fist, she can feel that the coin is becoming warmer.  When she opens her eyes and takes the coin from her fist, the word “BELIEVE” is now embossed underneath the coin – the original image of her selected card is no longer there.  The coin tells her that her desire can be achieved if she believes!  What a motivational message for her.

You receive the 3 coins that come an antique finish look.  They are specially minted in lead-free pewter.  This means the coins will not tarnish, rust or corrode over time. 

You also receive a small velvet pounch to carry the coin(s) in.  You have to supply your own deck of cards.  You are provided with an online link to a well-produced instructional video.  

In the video, Luca discusses the various possibilities:

  • Perform the full 3-phase routine, or only one or two of the routines for a shorter act;
  • An easier way of using the coin is not to show that the back of the coin is empty and has no impression at the beginning;
  • Using a top change, the card beneath the coin can be magically transformed into the correct chosen card – this gives a double whammy to the card effect.

The coins look professional and mysterious, the effect has comedy as well as an emptional hook (with the revelation of “BELIEVE”), your performance can be made short or longer, and “Lucky Coin” is fairly easy to do.  This product is a good investment.  (9/10 star rating)

ANIMAL TAROT by The Other Brothers

Written by John Teo

This is a novel prediction effect that, even if back-tracked, it is difficult to comprehend the method used.

In effect, a stack of cards is shown to have names of different animals printed on each of them. 

A spectator is asked to call out any number between 1 and 10.  The cards are dealt out and counted one at a time to this number.  As the cards are dealt out, everyone can see that they are names of different animals.

The card stopped at is considered as the chosen card.  Let us assume that a spectator called out “7”, and the card stopped at, at this number, is “Rat”.  Had “6” or “8” been called instead of “7”, the cards at the sixth and eighth positions are shown to be of different animals.

The remainder of the cards are arranged to form a rectangle.  When their backs are turned over, they form a large mosaic of a picture of a “rat”!  The revelation is both unexpected and colourful.

You receive the stack of nicely printed cards and a link to an online 20 minutes video instructions.  In the video, the 2 brothers take turns to perform and explain the effect.

The spectator really has a free choice of any number between “1” and “10”.  This is an application of an old force which is seldom used.  If you consider the possibilities of the spectator freely naming any one of the 8 possible numbers between “1” and “10”, you can tell that the force is quite effective.  The use of this force usually requires some audience management.  The Other Brothers have come out with a clever adaptation such that the force requires almost no memory work and is quite consistent throughout.

There is another clever principle at play that has to do with the design of the cards.

As long as you follow the instructions on the use of the force by The Other Brothers, the effect is almost self-working and there is no performing angles to worry about.  Resetting, although it is not instantaneous, is quite fast.

As mentioned earlier, the animal cards bring novelty to a mental effect and the large revelation of the selection is both surprising and colourful.  (9/10 star rating)

SURVIVAL KIT by SansMinds Creative Lab

Written by John Teo

Survival Kit refers to the situation where you are caught without your magic props and are asked to perform magic and there are no magic shops available to you.  This does not refer to impromptu magic where no props are used.  This refers to magic that uses prepared props where you can prepare them at a moments’ notice and within a very short time using ordinary objects and items from the local dollar stores. 

You receive a well produced DVD that teaches you how to contruct and perform 5 effects.  They are:

  1. Vanishing Bottle – a bottle is placed inside an empty paper bag. Performer turns the paper bag upside down and claims that the bottle has vanished since nothing comes out of the overturned bag.  Just when the audience begins to smile, the performer crumples the paper bag into a small ball and tosses it away!  You are taught how to contruct the vanishing bottle.
  2. Morphing Fork – 2 forks are shown. One is given to a spectator.  With the other fork, the performer twists and forms it into a mangled metal art piece with his bare hands.  It is then given to the spectator as a souvenir. 
  3. Glass Bottle Into iPad – a glass bottle is wrapped with a newspaper – the top part of the bottle is still visible. The performer pushes the wrapped bottle into his ipad.  The crumpled up newspaper is thrown away and an image of the bottle is seen in the ipad.  You are taught how to make the gimmick for the vanishing glass bottle.
  4. Liquid Vanish – you are taught how to gimmick a styrofoam cup so that when water is poured into the cup and it is turned upside down, no water comes out of it. This is the alternative to using the popular powder that is available at a magic shop.  An entertaining comical routine involving a spectator is discussed in the DVD.
  5. Production Out Of Empty Paper Bag – a paper bag can be shown to be empty on the inside, yet it will pour out a good quantity of sweets. It is shown to be empty inside again and more sweets are poured out of the bag.  A deck of cards can also be produced from the empty bag.  You are taught how to make this production paper bag.

As usual, Herman from SansMinds does an excellent job in explaining how to contruct the props and how to perform each of the 5 effects.  All of the props can be constructed within 10 minutes – and maximum at 20 minutes if you are considered to have 2 left thumbs.

The effects are practical and easy to do.  It pays to learn them well, for it is not unlikely that you will be caught in a situation where you need to survive without your magic props at hand.  (8/10 star rating)

BLANK BACKFLIP REVERSE

Written by John Teo

This trick is an outgrowth of a much earlier effect conceived by Jeremy Pei and distributed by Murphy’s Magic called “Ultimate Backflip”.

In this effect, 4 cards are shown to have red bicycle backs. One of the cards is turned over face upwards – it is seen to be a blank card. Magically, all the other 3 cards turn over themselves to reveal that they are also blank cards.

One of these blank cards is turned over face downwards. Immediately, all the other blank cards turn over – the performer shows that there are now 4 face down cards.

The 4 cards are flipped over. Instead of blank faces, they now become the 4 tens: a ten of spades, ten of hearts, ten of clubs and ten of diamonds!

This is a small packet card trick that is packed with a lot of fast-moving magic.

You are supplied with all the necessary cards, ready for performance. Your set may differ in the 4-of-a-kind revelation at the end. Instead of the 4 tens, you may receive the 4 fives or 4 Jacks, or other value. You are also given a link to Jeremy Pei’s personal magic coach video tutorial.

You need to be able to do 2 card sleights – niz. the Elmsley Count and the Ascanio Spread. Both of these card moves are taught by Jeremy Pei in the video.

In the bonus part of the video, Jeremy teaches an interesting customised application of this effect for special occasions such as corporate functions and events. In this effect, the blank cards are replaced by cards bearing the company’s logo, design or message, and performed to an appropriate patter.

4 cards are displayed with red bicycle backs. One card is turned over to display a playing card, say, ten of spades. Magically, all the other 3 cards get flipped over to display the ten of spades. One ten of spades is flipped face downwards, immediately, all the other 3 cards turned over themselves to show their backs. When the packet is flipped over face upwards, all the cards now show the company’s logo or message.

The trick can reset itself instantly and is suitable for walk-around performance.

If you are looking for a packet card trick that is fast-paced and has a lot of magical happenings, “Blank Backflip Reverse” is for you!

Recommended!

MILLION BUTTERFLIES by Magic Shadow

Written by John Teo

If you are familiar with “Million Flowers”, you will know what “Million Butterflies” is.

“Million Flowers” is spring flowers. Another common version is spring bills (currency notes).

“Million Butterflies” is spring butterflies. They fold up small, and when produced, they open up large.

Like “Million Flowers”, there are several ways to use “Million Butterflies”. They are used mainly for stand-up performance, and therefore suitable for stage and parlour.

One way to use “Million Butterflies” is bare
hand production. A butterfly magically
appears in the performer’s hand. This is
placed aside. Another butterfly, of a different
colour, then appears in the performer’s other hand. This is also placed aside. This

continues until about a dozen different coloured butterflies are produced. This is visual and beautiful to watch.

Another way of using the spring butterflies is to produce them from a silk handkerchief. A large silk is placed over one hand. When it is flipped over, a butterly appears. It is placed aside. The silk is placed over the other hand. Wheb it is flipped over, another butterfly makes its appearance.

Yet another way of producing the spring butterflies is from a special wallet-type folder. When a butterfly is produced, it is placed aside and the folder closed. When it is opened again, another butterfly appears. The wallet or folder is opened and closed several times and each time a butterfly makes its appearance.

A crystal box can also be used. Because it is transparent, it is seen to be empty. With a magical gesture, the box is immediately filled up with a dozen butterflies. In this case, the butterflies appear as a group instead of individually.

You receive 10 spring butterflies, 2 of each of colour. The 5 colours supplied are red, blue, pink yellow and white. The butterflies are beautifully produced. When opened, each measures 5 inches across its broadest width. Each butterfly is 4 inches long.

Unlike the spring flowers, these butterflies are folded 2 ways so that they are small enough to palm. You are also given a link to a video instruction on how to fold and produce the butterflies.

Other than the butterflies, you are not provided with any production device. You have to obtain them separately from magic dealers.

There is a larger size version of the “Million Butterflies”. They cost the small amount but you are supplied a total of only 6 butterflies – 5 are of different colours, and the 6th is an extra red butterfly. You need to specify which size butterflies when placing an order. Please note that if you have to palm the butterflies, the larger butterflies may not be appropriate for performers who do not have large hands.

Unlike the spring flowers that unfold as they appear, the spring butterflies pop up into existence. Their appearance is quite instantaneous and visual.

Because spring butterflies are not common, you will be remembered when you include “Million Butterflies” in your act. (10/10 star rating)

CARD CLONE by Big Blind Media

Written by John Teo

The 3-card trick called “Colour Monte”, or sometimes known as “The $14 Trick”, has become a classic packet trick.

The reason for this is because it is fast-paced, the story-line involves betting with money, and has a unexpected finish. It gets a great reaction from the audience and many performers have included this trick in their performing repertoire.

“Card Clone” is an updated version of “Colour Monte” with a modern theme.

If you do not know the effect, here it is.

The performer talks about credit card scammers and the danger of your credit cards being cloned.

He shows 3 samples of a credit card. 2 of them are original ones while the third one is cloned. The cloning is so well done that people cannot diferentiate it from the real one between it looks, feels and works like the original card. To show you which card is the cloned one. the performer has deliberately printed the word “CLONED” across this false card.

The cloned card is placed at the bottom of the packet of the 3 cards. Suddently, it vanishes and all 3 cards look exactly the same as the original one. Nobody can tell which card(s) is(are) cloned.

The performer now magically brings back the “CLONED” card. Even that can be cloned and suddenly, all 3 cards become the “CLONED” cards.

Finally, he shows one card to be the original credit card, and another card to be the “CLONED” credit card. He makes one final warning to the audience: they should to be vigilant and guard against card scammers. Otherwise, when they lest expect it, they may lose their keys, mobile phones, watches, wallets, ear phones and cash! He turns over the third card to show that it conatins a picture of each of the 6 items being mentioned!

You receive the 3 specially printed cards and a link to a downloadable video instructions by Liam Montier.

Whilst not completely self-working, the trick is fairly easy to do. There are no performing angles to worry about, and the effect resets by itself. It is suitable for walk-about performance.

If you like “Colour Monte”, you will love “Card Clone” as it provides an interesting version with an updated theme. (8/10 star rating)