Magic Products Review

TOTALLY CRAZY BANDS by Ramus

Written by John Teo

If you are a magician, people expect you to be able to perform magic with everyday objects such as rubber bands.

Totally Crazy Bands is a DVD of classic rubber band magic by Rasmus of Switzerland. Note that the DVD may not play on most standard DVD players, but only with a computer. The DVD comes with a packet of his recommended rubber bands.

The DVD features 9 effects with rubber bands. Each effect begins with a live performance and followed by the explanation. The 9 effects are:

  1. Perfect Linked Rubber Bands – a bunch of rubber bands is placed onto a spectator’s hand. She selects one rubber band for the performer. He touches this band on the bunch of rubber bands and immediately another band is linked onto it. In another version, the spectator takes 2 single rubber bands from a bunch of bands and the performer links them together.

  2. Crazy Man’s Handcuffs – 2 rubber bands, each stretched and held in each hand, are interlaced so that they cannot escape. Yet the performer is able to cause one band to melt through the other.

  3. Rasmus’ Rubber Band Through Wrist – a rubber band which is doubled up and wrapped onto the performer’s wrist magically frees itself and jumps onto the spectator’s wrist.

  4. Rising Ring On Rubber Band – a rubber band is stretched at an inclined. A finger ring, placed through the lower end, travels against gravity upwards to the upper end.

  5. Jumping Rubber Band – a rubber band, looped through the first and second fingers, mysteriously jumps onto the third and fourth fingers. This still happens despite another rubber placed across all the 4 fingers to prevent it from doing so.

  6. Torn And Restored Rubber Band – the performer visually breaks a rubber band and immediately restores it.

  1. Rubber Band Through Ring – a rubber band penetrates a finger ring.

  2. Dan Harlan’s Crazy Twist Vanish – it starts off like the Crazy Man’s Handcuffs,

    and one rubber band simply vanishes in full view.

  3. Rasmus’ Visual Link – this is a bonus effect. It starts off like the Crazy Man’s

    Handcuffs. Instead of one band penetrating the other band, the 2 bands become linked together.

The rubber bands that are suplied with the DVD breaks quite easily. I suspect that they have past their expiry period having been in storage for a long time.

With the exception of 3 or 4 effects, the rest can be found in standard books or videos on rubber band magic. Nevertheless, this is a good resource to learn them all in one DVD. (6/10 star rating)

L.O.V.E.

Written by John Teo

As the name of this effect implies, this trick has something to do with the word LOVE.

In effect, 4 cards are selected.  The 4 cards happen to be the 7 of hearts, the Queen of clubs, the Ace of diamonds and the 3 of spades.

The performer spreads the 4 cards so that their indices only show.  When arranged properly, as shown in the picture below, the index of the 7 looks like a “L” when viewed upside-down, the Queen looks like an “O”, the Ace looks like a “V”, and the 3 like an “E”.  The 4 cards actually spell LOVE!  What a coincidence! 

This allows the performer to elaborate further on “love”, and to relate this to the occasion on hand, such as Valentine Day or performing at a wedding, wedding anniversary, or an engagement celebration.  Or simply for a couple in love.

Just as the audience begins to appreciate the wonderful coincidence of the selection of these 4 cards, they visually change to 4 cards of the same suit: hearts.  They now become the 7, Queen, Ace and the 3 of hearts.  Their indices have also changed: the Q lost the tongue to become the letter “O”, the Ace lost its horizontal line to become a “V”, and the 3 rearranged to look like  an “E”.  These specially printed cards can be immediately handed out for examination.

You receive 3 specially printed cards in red Bicycle backs.  You need to supply your deck of red back Bicycle playing cards which will include the 7 of hearts.  The package also comes with a well produced DVD with Chris performing and explaining the effect.

This is a quick trick with 4 cards of mixed suits transforming into one hearts suit, and with their indices specially transformed to truly spell the word LOVE!

This is not a self-working trick.  You need to be able to do some basic card handling moves such as a force, making and holding breaks, and the Ed Marlo’s KM move. 

In the DVD, Chris also teaches an alternate handling where the change of the 4 cards happens in the spectator’s hand.  However, this is not as effective as the original handling where the change is more visual.

If you like thematic and visual effect, and can handle some basic card moves, L.O.V.E. comes highly recommended.

 

Highly Recommended!

BLOCK BUSTER by Tony D’Amico and Mark Mason

Written by John Teo

Block Buster is a card revelation effect using a coin.  It is conceived by Tony D’Amico and manufactured by Mark Mason.

Here is how Mark Mason presents it.  You can view it in his video promo.

He brings out a deck of cards and asks a spectator if she prefers to see a coin or a card trick.  Whatever her reply, he says he will perform both.

He has a card selected and borrows a coin.  To ensure that he will not accused of using a duplicate coin and card later on, he has both the coin and the card signed by the spectator. 

The chosen card is shuffled back into the deck.  The signed coin is placed on top of the deck.  Mark takes the coin off the deck and visually vanishes it.  There is now no trace of the coin.  The deck is cut in half and the cut completed.  The coin has vanished and the selected card is lost in the deck.

Mark asks whether the spectator prefers to find the coin or the card.  Whatever is her reply, Mark turns the deck face upwards.  The spectator herself cuts the deck and, lo and behold, she finds both the signed coin and chosen card staring at her in the middle of the deck!  Both the signed card and coin can be examined.

You receive a hand-made block of gimmicked cards.  This is supplied either in red or blue Bicycle backs.  So you have to specify which when you place your order.  As with all Mark Mason products, this is very well made.  The gimmick looks invisible to the non-suspecting eyes and it works very smoothly.

You are also supplied with a DVD featuring Mark Mason performing and then explaining Block Buster.

You have to supply your own deck and coin (the coin can be borrowed).  The gimmick is good for use with a US Quarter, UK 10P or a Singapore 50₵ or 20₵ coin.

The effect is very easy to perform, requiring only the very basic in card handling.  It is straight-forward and easy for any audience to understand at what is going on at any one time.  The vanish of the coin is quite visual, and does not require any sleight-of-hand.  The final revelation of both the coin and card is carried out by the spectator herself.  This will get a gasp of amazement from her!

There is a element of comedy in Mark’s presentation as he asks whether a spectator prefer to see a coin or a card trick.  At the end of the effect, the trick resets itself and is excellent for walk-about performances.

 If you use a sticky label to sign on both the coin and the chosen card, both of them (assuming you provide your own coin) can be reused after the performance.

You will want to include this in your close-up repertoire.  (10/10 star rating)

THE MAN WHO KNOWS by Liam Montier

Written by John Teo

“The Man Who Knows” is a prediction effect using a deck of cards and some miniature posters of past magicians.

Here is how the effect looks.  A prediction envelope is set aside.  5 colourful miniature posters of past magicians are shown.  They feature magicians such as Thurston, Kellar, Alexander, von Arv and Houdini.

Each of these posters is placed inside a small envelope.  The envelopes are mixed around and one randomly chosen by a spectator. 

A deck of cards is shuffled and then dealt one card at a time onto the table.  At an point she likes, the spectator inserts her chosen envelope into the deck.  The envelope is therefore trapped somewhere in the middle of the deck.  The card next to the envelope is taken out as the card chosen randomly by the envelope.

The spectator takes out the postcard from her own small envelope.  Her chosen mini poster is of Alexander, “the man who knows”.  The audience’s attention is draw to the prediction envelope placed earlier at the start of the trick.  The performer takes out the content of the prediction envelope.  It is a folded poster.  When unfolded, it shows a large poster of Alexander.  This poster differs slightly from the small one.  This one features a large crystal ball.  In the crystal ball is an image of 4 of clubs.  When the  slected card is turned over, it is also the 4 of clubs!  It is a double prediction!  Alexandar is indeed “The Man Who Knows” everything!

You are supplied with everything you need to perform this effect, except the deck of playing cards, which can be borrowed.

You are provided with the 5 mini magician posters, each measuring 3.00 X 4.25 inches, and a large Alexander poster measuring approximately 8.5 X 12.0 inches.  All the 6 posters are nicely printed in full colour.  You are also supplied 5 small envelopes for the mini posters and a larger envelope for the folder large poster.  Also included is a nicely printed booklet of instructions and a link to an instruction video of Liam Montier performing and explaining the effect.

This trick scores high because of its unique props, which will attract immediate attention from the audience, and the double prediction which will baffle them.  The selections of both the mini poster and the playing card are quite deceptive, especially to the lay audience. 

The trick is almost self-working which means you can concentrate fully on your presentation.  The effect makes use of a couple of old principles and has nothing new for the seasoned magicians.  However, it plays well and is highly entertaining to the audience.  Is this not what a good magic effect should be?  (9/10 star rating)

PRAEMOVO by Alan Rorrison

Written by John Teo

n this age of social media and advanced technology, magic using a smartphone is considered as a modern and up-to-date thing.  However, with today’s powerful and sophisticated mobile apps, people will suspect that the performer uses such an app to make the magic happens on the cell phone.

Praemovo is an effect that uses a smartphone yet nobody will attribute it to the secret use of an app.  This is because the mobile phone does not need to be switched on at all.  The magic is performed using the back of the phone.

In effect, a mobile phone is borrowed.  Using a non-permanent market, the performer draws on the back of the phone, a stick figure holding onto his kite.  He adds in 2 curved lines to indicate the direction of the wind.  Mysteriously, the entire drawing becomes animated and the kite rises upwards on its own accord, as though “blown” by the wind.  Before it reaches the top edge of the phone, the performer erases the drawing of the kite off with his hand.  He then passes the phone to the spectator for her to erase the stickman and the rest of the sketch off her phone with her own hand.

The animation of the kite is such a fun and enjoyable thing to see.  It will definitely bring a smile and a gasp from the audience.

You receive the necessary materials for you to construct your own gimmick, and a well-produced instructional DVD.  You are taught everything in the DVD: how to construct your gimmick, the get-ready, and full handling.

The mobile phone can be borrowed, but it must meet 2 requirements.  The back of the phone must be of a light colour, to allow the drawing done with black ink to be easily visible.  Its back must also be glossy, to allow the erasable ink to be wiped off later.  For example, the mobile has a transparent back protector or put into a casing that has a smoooth and glossy back.  However, you must be ready with such a phone yourself in case you cannot borrow one.  Using your own mobile phone is just as effective because it will be handed over to the spectator for examination at the end of the performance.

The sketch does not need to be limited to a stickman with a kite.  Once you understand how the effect works, you can conceive your own drawing.  Watch the trailer – it gives you 2 ideas: an ufo lifting off from the ground to the sky, and a lady who gets disected at her waist.

Although there is some get-ready, the effect is easy to do, and the reset is quite instantaneous.  Unlike other products where the construction of the gimmick can be quite involved, this one is super easy.  No precision work is needed.

Animation magic, such as moving ink and drawing coming to life, never fails to enthral any audience.  (8/10 star rating)

PIGGY MONTE

Written by John Teo

Piggy Monte is a monte-type effect using 3 little piggy toys, as depicted in the photograph here.

In effect, 3 cute little piggy toys are intoduced: only one of them is shown to squeak when it is  squeezed with the fingers, the other two do not.

The performer tells the audience that since all the pigs look alike, it is not easy to identify the only one pig that squeaks. 

He proceeds to play a guessing game with them.  He places the 3 pigs in a row and shows that the middle one squeaks.  He switches the positions of the 2 extreme end pigs, and challenges the audience to guess which pig squeeks.  It is of course no problem at all for anyone to point to the middle pig as the one that squeaks.  This person’s choice is proved to be correct.

The performer now switches the positions of 2 random pigs around, not once, but several times.  It is not easy for any one to follow the movements of the pig that squeaks.  However, to an astute person, it is still possible to trace to the correct pig.  The spectator is asked to point to the pig that squeaks, and it is shown that she is correct. 

Once again, the guessing game continues.  The performer switches the positions of 2 random pigs around several times.  Once again, the spectator identifies the correct pig, but this time, the performer shows that it does not squeak.  Another pig is picked up and shown to have the squeaking sound!  Was the spectator wrong in choice?

The guessing game is played one more time.  The audience is now more determined to watch the switching closely.  Again, the apparently correct pig does not squeak, but another one does!  The audience is mystified.

At this stage, the performer concedes that he can magically tranfer the sound from one pig to another.  He demonstrates this by transferring the sound from the pig that squeaks to another one that does not.

The performer says that it is two times easier to pick a pig that does not squeak.  Once again, the three pigs are moved around and a spectator is invited to pick the non squeaking pig.  Her first choice proves to be wrong.  Her second choice was also shown to be incorrect.  The performer shows that now all three pigs can squeak!

You receive 3 cute piggy toys and a nice velvet draw-string carrying pouch.  Video instructions are available from Jeremy’s personal magic coach web site.

In the video, Jeremy provides a bonus effect using one of the pigs.  A card is selected and shuffled back into the deck.  The deck is spread face upwards on the table, and the pig is moved along the spread.  At some location, the pig squeaks.  A bunch of 6 to 8 cards at that area is picked up.  The rest of the cards are put aside.  This packet is now spread more widely.  The pig is moved along this spread and squeaks at the region of 3 cards.  These 3 cards are now isolated and placed in a row on the table.  The pig is moved across each of these 3 cards – it squeaks at a particular card – this proves to be the chosen card.

The secret is actually hidden in plain sight with each of the 3 piggy toys.  In this case, the effect is almost self-working.  You do not have to fumble around to depress some hidden device worn in your body in order to create the sound, as with most audio monte tricks.

In Asia, this year is the year of the Pig, according to the Chinese Zodiac calendar.  Therefore, the Piggy Monte is a good thematic effect to perform in 2019.

The monte effect has several phases, so it is more than just a quick trick.  Even in the bonus effect, the pig is able to short-list the deck of cards down in stages to eventually locate the single selected card.

 

Highly Recommended!