Magic Products Review

THE GREAT ESCAPE by Alan Chitty

Written by John Teo

The Great Escape – no, this is not the name of the classical 1963 war epic movie that starred Steve McQueen. It is, in fact, a children’s trick that involves one of 4 animals that escaped from the zoo.

Animals are not supposed to leave the zoo’s ground. If an animal manages to escape from the zoo, this makes for a sensational story. It will straight away captivate the children’s attention.

In effect, 4 children are invited onto the stage. Each child represents one of the 4 animals in the zoo: the elephant, zebra, mondky and tiger. Each child is given a large card depicting a colourful picture of the animal he or she represents. Much fun can be had as the other children in the audience make noises and actions associated with each of these animals.

These 4 animals intend to escape from the zoo over the course of 3 days. Which animals escaped and which got recaptured and put back to the zoo are choices to be made entirely by the children in the audience. They are in total control over what took place at the end of each of the 3 days. The ending of what happened to one of the 4 animals can therefore develop in many different ways.

Yet the outcome of the story coincides exactly with the official script contained in a large envelope that was conspicuously on display throughout the performance!

You receive the 4 large colourful animal boards, each measuring 12 X 8.5 inches. Each board shows the picture of the front of the animal on one side and its back on the other side. You also receive the prediction story and the special large prediction envelope. Instructions are in written form on 4 sheets of paper.

The instructions are concise and easily understood. The pictures are large and can be easily seen on stage, including the prediction envelope.

The trick is attractive to children as it involves animals escaping from a zoo. It also has much children’s participation as they are asked to make animal noises and actions. The entire effect can last 5 to 7 minutes. The props are large and colourful. Because it involves a prediction, this effect is also suitable for audiences of all ages.

The ending can be easily changed by making and printing your own prediction.

(8/10 stars rating)

 

NUMBER 4 ENVELOPE by Blake Vogt

Written by John Teo

The “Number 4 Envelope” is a small 4-way out envelope. There are many multiple-outs wallets and envelopes available. So what makes the Number 4 Envelope different from the others?

Most multiple-outs devices appear too thick, when they contain the predictions for more than 3 outs.

Blake Vogt’s Number 4 Envelope does not appear bulky at all when filled with up to 4 playing cards.

I can see 2 possible reasons for this. Firstly, the envelope is black in colour – black colour tends to make things appear smaller or thinner than they are.

Secondly, the envelope is made of Tyvek. This special material does not make the envelope appear fluffy or bulky, even when it is filled up with contents inside. Tyvek also makes the envelope waterproof as well as tear-proof. Therefore you have 2 very important benefits for the Number 4 Envelope as well.

The design and construction of the Number 4 Envelope is very clever. You can show the envelope on both sides and it does not look suspicious. When you wish to reveal an out, you simply draw out the flap of the envelope. You can then hand over the envelope to a spectator for her to take out the content. She can see into the interior of the envelope and satisfy herself that there is nothing else there. There are no openings in the other 3 edges of the envelope to arouse suspicion. The Number 4 Envelope can be handled by a spectator freely, and she will be none the wiser.

You receive the special Tyvek envelope in black colour. It measures 3 inches X 4 inches, and can take 4 poker-sized playing cards comfortably. You are provided with a link to a set of video tutorials by Blake Vogt himself.

Blake teaches you how to “repair” the envelope if an edge or a side becomes undone. He explains how to handle the envelope, what types of items can be put inside the envelope, and provides 3 complete routines.

The first routine is a transposition. 4 aces are shown. A spectator freely names any one of the aces. This ace vanishes only to be found inside the envelope held by the spectator.

The second routine is a “Princess Card” effect. 4 different cards are shown. A spectator merely thinks of one, and this very card vanishes and reappears in the envelope held by the spectator.

The third effect does not involve playing cards. You show your wallet. Inside it is a black envelope. You say that you keep one of the following items inside this envelope: cash, receipt, business card or a “to Do list. No matter which item is named by a spectator, you take that named item out from the envelope.

Blake discusses other applications for his Number 4 Envelope. The Envelope can be used as a switching device. Blake also explains how the Envelope can also be used to provide more than 4 “outs”.

If you are looking for a small 4-way out envelope, the Number 4 Envelope is a worthwhile investment. (9/10 stars rating)

VOODOO by Liam Montier

Written by John Teo

This effect by Liam Montier was inspired by Albert Spackman’s Voodoo described in The Art Of Close-Up Magic, Volume 1.

This is how Liam performs it. After talking about voodoo and its ritual to a spectator, he brings out his name card which has a stick drawing of a man. This card is placed face downwards conspicuously on the table.

He then shows a small packet of what seems to
be Polaroid photographs. Each photograph shows
a voodoo doll with a pin stuck onto a certain part
of its body. For example, one photograph will show a pin stuck into the voodoo doll’s head, another one shows the pin stuck in its right arm, one with the pin stuck in its chest and so on. This packet of photographs is place face downwards on the table.

The spectator is told to think of the first name of a person she would like to cast a spell on. She writes this name on a piece of paper. Liam screws it into a small ball. The name of this person is then spelt by dealing the photographs, one at a time, one photograph for each letter spelt, onto the table. The photograph at the last letter spelt is turned face upwards to reveal that the chosen photograph depicts the voodoo doll with a pin thrusted into its right hand.

Liam picks up the paper ball from the table, and holds it above the flame from a cigarette lighter. The ball of paper vanishes with a flash. This can be quite startling to the audience. When his business card on the table is turned over, it now shows an “X” being etched onto the right arm of the stickman.

You receive a set of 14 “Polaroid photographs of the voodoo doll and an instructional DVD.

In the DVD, Liam performs and then teaches his routine. This set of voodoo photographs can be used for other routines. They are written up by Liam in a printable pdf document also provided in the DVD.

In this pdf document, Liam mentions several routines as well as describes numerous method of revealing where the pin has struck onto the voodoo doll. Once you understand the working principle, you can come out with your own routines too.

Effects involving voodoo dolls create a mysterious and sometimes eerie atmosphere, and are bound to captivate an audience’s attention. This effect involves awesome looking voodoo photographs and allows you to perform either in a serious or light- hearted manner. It is easy to do, involves much participation from the audience, and the props can be reset easily and quickly. (8 out of 10 stars rating)

MENTAL PHOTOGRAPHY DECK

Written by John Teo

There are a lot of gimmicked deck of cards available to magicians.

They are specially constructed to enable the performer to achieve a particular effect otherwise not possible with sleight-of-hand.

The Mental Photography deck enables the performer to achieve the following effect.

The deck of cards is taken out of its case and spread widely to show that all the cards are blanks on both sides. The printer has forgotten to print faces and backs on these cards.

With a magical gesture, a card appears in the middle of the spread. This card is cut to the face of the deck. When the entire deck is turned over, a back shows.

The cards are then riffled from one hand onto the other hand. The entire deck now can be seen to comprise cards with faces and backs, just like in a normal deck of
cards.


But this is all an illusion. With a magical gesture, the face card becomes blank.


The entire deck is spread between the hands and, like before, every card is shown to be blanks on both their faces as well as on their backs.

You are supplied with this special deck in poker sized cards.


The instructions are in the form of a small printed note card. You are also provided with a link to a short video performance and tutorial.

With some practise, you will soon get the knack of handling this deck. It is easy to perform and has no performing angle problems.

The effect is fast and surprising. For a well-made deck of cards, $15 is a small investment. But a special discount off this price is available at the meeting.


Recommended!

SON AND DAUGHTER by Higar

Written by John Teo

This is an unusual name for a magic trick. It is also an usual magic effect. Martin Lewis, the creator of Cardiographic, said of this trick: “I think this is a very commercial effect with wide appeal and easy to do. Also I like the presentation. I think it is great for a family audience.”

Let us take a look at the actual effect. The performer tells his audience that when he was a young magician, he used to work during weekends and holidays. His young daughter used to ask him to stay at home and play with her.


When she found that it was not possible for her daddy to stay at home and spend time with her because he has to perform for his clients, the little girl asked that she goes with him to the performances. Her daddy replied that he would bring her along when she was a little older.


The performer has a member of the audience select a playing card. Continuing with his story, the performer says that his daughter reluctantly stayed at home. The performer brings out a box and opens it to show that it contains a set of 16 children’s wooden building blocks. He would ask her daughter to play with these blocks and build a proper picture.

The performer shows that the 16 blocks are presently all jumbled up. He picks up the 16 pieces and holds them as a block between his hands. Without placing them on the table, the 16 wooden blocks magically rearrange themselves in his 2 hands to form a complete picture of a child’s drawing of the Queen of Hearts.
The spectator turns over her selected card – it is indeed the Queen of Hearts! The  performer concludes the story by saying that his daughter is now ready to follow
him to his performances!

The performer shows that the 16 blocks are presently all jumbled up. He picks up the 16 pieces and holds them as a block between his hands. Without placing them on the table, the 16 wooden blocks magically rearrange themselves in his 2 hands to form a complete picture of a child’s drawing of the Queen of Hearts.

The spectator turns over her selected card – it is indeed the Queen of Hearts! The performer concludes the story by saying that his daughter is now ready to follow him to his performances!

Martin Lewis is right – this presentation has an emotional hook in the magic. You receive the special set of wooden blocks. Each block is about 3 cm cube and the entire set can form a picture measuring 12 X 12 cm. This is large enough for parlour presentation. The blocks are not loose by themselves, but are specially interconnected such that they can be held as a block between the 2 hands. They can also be transformed from a jumbled drawing into the revelation of a proper playing card without the need of a
table. There is an English language instruction in the form of a sheet of printed paper. However, you do not need much detailed instructions as it is very easy to transform the jumbled up blocks to form the playing card revelation block. All the effort should be spent in putting up an emotional presentation.

The presentation can be enhanced by playing the correct music score which will help to build up the dramatic atmosphere leading to the final revelation of the selected card with the blocks of wood.


There is a choice of the revelation of the selected card. The blocks can be assembled to reveal the Queen of Hearts or the Jack of Clubs. Please mention which revelation you want when you place your order. The Jack of Clubs blocks can be used to refer to your story about your son, and the Queen of Hearts blocks, to your daughter.

The transformation of the jumbled up blocks is very easy to do, but it has a mostmagical effect on the audience as they see all the 16 blocks re-arranging themselves in mid-air inbetween your 2 hands.

A most unusual but very easy to do effect that never fails to enthrall an audience.
(9/10 stars rating).

PUSH CARD by Mickael Chatelain

Written by John Teo

“Push Card” is Mickael Chatelain’s version of rising card from deck where the selected card rises out of the deck of cards at a lightning speed.

In effect, a card is freely selected and signed. It is then lost in the deck. The deck is put inside its card box.

A special card with a picture of a red button and a white writing surface is shown. The spectator writes the name of her selected card on this writing surface. The card is then inserted into the outside transparent wrapper of the card box.


The performer uses the tip of his pen to press onto the picture of the red button on this card. Immediately, a card shoots up from the deck. It gets trapped in the deck when about two-thirds of its length has extended from the end of the deck. It is taken out and shown to be the signed selected card. The deck of cards, the selected card
and the Push Card can be freely examined.

You receive the special gimmicked Push Card, a white- board writing pen, and some small accessories to repair the Push Card if this gimmick is worn through repeated use. You will have to supply your own bicycle deck of cards complete with the card box. There is no problem if your card box no longer has the outside transparent wrapper. The
Push Card can be simply held onto the box with your hand.


You also get a link to a video tutorial by Mickael Chatelain. Mickael teaches you how to prepare your card box and set up your gimmicked Push Card. Both are very easy to do and hardly take up any time. The writing on the Push Card can be easily wiped off.


The effect is easy to do and has no performing angle problem. Reset is also very fast.

The differences between Push Card and the usual rising
card trick are:

 The selected card shoots up instead of rising up slowly from the deck.
 The card rise is activated only when the red button is pushed.
 After the performance, the Push Card as well as the deck of cards can be freely
examined.


If these are what you are looking for in a rising card effect, Mickael Chatelain’s Push
Card is a good investment for you. (8/10 stars rating)