Magic Products Review

LIQUID KILLER by Morgan Strebler

Written by John Teo

After the release of his “Liquid Metal” DVD, Morgan Strebler has become well known in association with metal bending.

Now, after more than 10 years later, he has come up with another fork bending routine in Liquid Killer.  This new effect has new bends and ends with a nice artistic piece in which the spectator can take away as a souvenir.  Here is the effect:

The performer displays 2 forks, one in each hand.  A spectator chooses one of them.  The performer places the non-selected fork in his back pocket as he turns his attention to the chosen fork.  He puts a lot of mental concentration on the fork, and has the spectator touch the fork with her finger.  Mysteriously, a cockscrew twist is found at the neck of the utensil.  More concentration and more personal touching by the spectator – the tines part of the fork now bends at the neck and finally breaks off and falls onto the floor.

The performer brings out the other fork from his pocket.  He causes 2 cockscrew twists to occur at one end tine.  This tine is then bent at right angle to the rest of the tines.  Another tine now bends at right angle but in the opposite direction to the first tine.  The 2 middle tines now bend away from each other, and the entire tine structure looks like an X or a 4-pointed start.  After the audience recovers from their shock, they find that there are now 2 bends at the neck of the fork.  The entire fork now looks like a beautiful piece of art.  It is given away as a souvenir to the spectator who helped the performer.

You receive a well-produced DVD with Morgan Strebler performing and explaining the entire routine.

This routine requires you to prepare the forks in advance.  Morgan also teaches an impromptu version where you can use a borrowed fork.  This impromptu version does not include the cockscrew twists.  The final twisted fork looks like the one in the first routine and you can give this away to a spectator as a souvenir.

The strong point of Liquid Killer is the multi-phase routine that helps build up the suspense, culmulating to the final artistic piece that can be given away to a spectator.  The delighted spectator can use this souvenir as an advertisement for you.

You need to put in some work in order to perform Liquid Killer.  Bending the fork and the tines requires some strength and a lot of practice to get them right.  Once you have mastered the techniques and the misdirections, Liquid Killer can be the most talked about piece of magic in your repertoire.  (10/10 star rating)

SVENLOPES YIN & YANG by Sven Lee

Written by Joshua

The use of the Svengali principle with playing cards has been extended to writing pads, and now, to envelopes.

Sven Lee’s Svenlopes have added another dimension of deception to the Svengali force.  You are also given more flexibility to force different objects, so long as they can be inserted into the envelopes.

Sven Lee has also provided actual props for use with his Svenlopes in his superheroes and Hollywood movies effects.  Svenlopes Yin & Yang is another routine in which the props are supplied.

This is an effect that involves mysticism and mystic symbols.  Two packets of small envelopes are displayed.  One packet consists of black colour envelopes while the other packet comprises lighter colour envelopes.  Inside each of the envelopes are different mystic symbols.  Two spectators help out.  One chooses one of the black envelopes and the other selects a light coloured envelope.  Mysteriously, one person has chosen one half of the Yin & Yang symbol, while the other person selects the other half of the Yin & Yang symbol.  When placed together, the two selections form the complete Yin & Yang symbol.  The two spectators must be in sync with one another!  The Yin & Yang symbol also matches the prediction placed inside an envelope earlier.

In the second phase, the prediction card is turned over to show several different numbers. The numbers are printed in different colours.  Each of them is also associated with a different shape.  A spectator chooses either a shape or a colour and adds all the numbers found in the selected shape or colour.  The total coincides with a prediction placed by the performer before the start of this phase.

In the third phase, another spectator is given a mystic card that contains 15 words.  She is told to read all the words to the audience.  She turns the card over and it is seen that the 15 words are used to form a sentence.  She then reads only the alternative words in that sentence.  They form a phrase.  Everyone in the audience googles that phrase with their mobile phones.  The result is a number.  Mysteriously, this number coincides with the total arrived at in phase two!

This is a multi-phase prediction effect.

You receive a packet of 20 black Svenlopes and another packet of 20 Svenlopes of a lighter colour, and 40 small mystic symbols, 20 of which are the force symbols.  You also receive a separate prediction envelope and 2 prediction cards.

The Svenlopes are precision laser cut and they are beautifully manufactured.  To protect them, especially to prevent their corners from being crushed, you are supplied with a tempered-proof transparent box to contain and transport the 2 packets of Svenlopes.

You are given with a password to download 3 pdfs:

  • A 28-page pdf describing the Svenlopes product, the advantages of using Svenlopes, and various methods of handling the envelopes during a performance.
  • A 16-page pdf providing the full instructions for performing the Yin & Yang prediction effect.
  • A 91-page pdf describing the Svengali principle and 22 routines using the Svenlopes.

If you like the multi-phase prediction effect as described, you will want to invest in this product.  You get the quality Svenlopes which can be used in other tricks.  (8/10 star rating)

A MASTERCLASS IN THE CUPS AND BALLS by Jamy Ian Swiss

Written by John Teo

The cups and balls is a classic of magic, but not one that can be performed well.  This is because of the effect contains many different occurrences of magic.  Little balls appear and disappear under the cups, they penetrate the cups and also get transported from one cup to another cup.  Finally, they transform into other objects.  The entire effect can be quite confusing and difficult to follow by the audience.

The great Dai Vernon has solved this problem by breaking the entire routine into phases – each phase has a different theme, and there is a transition from one phase into another.  This makes the entire act easy for the audience to follow, and for them to better appreciate the climax ending.

The cups and balls routine by Jamy Ian Swiss is a variation of the Dai Vernon routine, but it also includes some ideas and moves by other magic greats.  The routine has evolved to become the Jamy’s personalised routine of cups and balls because it incorporates a lot of Jamy’s own ideas and presentations.

Jamy starts the performance by telling a little about the history of cups and balls.  He then introduces each item of his props.  This includes a 2-piece wand which he screws together in front of the audience to form the complete wand.  3 cups are then introduced and only 1 ball.  The wand penetrates the cups, and the cups themselves penetrate each other.  Magically, 2 more balls make their appearance.  From here, the basic routine of cups and balls is performed. 

A spectator is invited to participate in the middle of the act.  She uses the magician’s wand and causes magic to happen by herself.  The introduction of the spectator brings variety and interaction to the routine.  Finally, a ball and 3 fruits make their appearance under the cups.  When the audience think the effect is over, the performer produces a shot glass with a drink from underneath one of the cups as a befitting climax to the entire act.

You receive a well produced DVD with Jamy Ian Swiss performing and then explaining his full cups and balls routine.  The DVD runs for a little over 1 hour and contains a menu that makes it easy to navigate around the contents.

Jamy explains the various false transfers of the balls, his method of loading objects under the cups, and his special apparent wand spin vanish of not 1, but 3 balls.  He also shares his own design of a holder for liquid load.

The best take-aways from the DVD are the valuable insights you gain on how to construct an effective magic routiine as Jamy explains the why and how he puts together the various phases of his cups and balls act. 

At the price of $15, this is a must-have DVD whether you are a beginner in cups and balls or you already have your own routine.  (9/10 star rating)

SWITCHBOX (RED OR BLUE) by Mickael Chatelain

Written by John Teo

This is another one of Mickael Chatelain’s creations that is highly visual and uses an ingeniously conceived gimmick.

The name “SwitchBox” can be a misnomer.  It does not refer to a special box in which an object placed inside it is switched into another object.

The SwitchBox is a poker-sized Bicycle playing card case.  A folded playing card sits on top of the box.  When the folded card is picked up, it switches undetectably into another folded playing card.

Here is the basic routine for using SwitchBox. 

A folded playing card is held onto the outside of a card box with an elastic band.  The flap of the card box is opened and the deck of playing cards is taken out of the box.  The elastic band is removed and the folded card is left sitting on top of the box.  A card is freely chosen from the deck, and signed.  It is then lost back into the deck.

The performer asks the audience how long they think he will take to find the signed card.  A time period is named.  What if he does it even without looking at the deck of cards at all, that is, if he brings the deck behind his back or under the table?  A longer time period is named.  The performer brings the deck behind his back (or under the table).  In less than a minute, he brings the deck out again.  He has already done it.  He points to the folded card on top of the card box that was there all along even before the trick begins.  By now, the audience is thinking “No way!”  The performer picks up the folded card from the box, unfolds it, and shows that it is indeed the signed card!  The signed card travels back in time!

There is hardly any difficult sleight-of-hand being used.  Mickael also teaches an alternative version where you do not have to bring your hands behind your back or under the table.  You need to be able to perform a classic card move and the entire effect can be performed without having to go undercover.

You receive the very well-made gimmicked Bicycle card box and a couple of accessories.  Each box is hand-made and works very smoothly.  When ordering, you need to specify whether you want a red or blue colour Bicycle card box.  You are also given a link to download a set of video instructions.

You need to supply your own folded playing card and also put the finishing touches to the box.  Do not worry about this – there is no contruction work needed, only how to finish setting up the box.

English is not Michael’s first language.  But you will have no difficulty in understanding what he wants you to do in the video.

Resetting the box is quite instantaneous.  If part of the gimmick breaks, spares are supplied.

Obviously the SwitchBox is capable of other applications, such as a folded piece of paper changes into a folded bill, or a red back folded card changes into a blue back folded card.  However, to utilise the SwitchBox in this manner implies that a switch has taken place.  The original routine is the best use of the SwitchBox.

The effect has a great impact, the switch is undetectable, and the SwitchBox works like a dream!  This is a worthwhile investment.  (8/10 star rating)

THE PRESENT

Written by John Teo

Manufactured by:  Duo Magic (South Korea)

 

This is a card trick with a difference – a huge difference!  “The Present” is a novelty card trick that is sure to bring bewilderment as well as a smile from the spectators.  Here is the effect:

The performer displays a deck of Bicycle cards.  He explains why they are called that because the backs of the cards have the drawing of an angel riding on a bicycle, and the Joker itself has the Joker riding on a bicycle.

The Joker is placed to one side on the table.  A card is chosen and signed by a spectator.  This ensures the performer cannot get a duplicate card and claim it as the chosen card.  It is then lost in the deck.

The Joker card is inserted perpendicular into the deck.

The deck is ribbon-spread face-downwards on the table.  It is seen that the Joker on his bicycle magically leaves the card and leaving it blank.  He travels along the spread and stops on one card. 

As the performer clears away the rest of the cards, the spectators can see that the card stopped at with the Joker and his bicycle on it are part of the same card.  When this card is turned over, it is the spectator’s sign selection!

There is a sense of bewilderment to see the printed Joker on his bicycle leaves the card and travels along the spread to attach itself to one card, the signed selection.  The audience was certain that the chosen card was previously a single card without any attachment. 

The signed card with the Joker attached to it can be given to the spectator as a souvenir and as a reminder of having experienced a wonderful piece of magic!

You receive an instructional DVD taught by Zeki (Yoo Hyun Min) in the Korean language, but there are English subtitles.  You will have no problems at all following the instructions.  What is interesting about the DVD is how Zeki came out with “The Present” after he learnt about a card control called the “Tamariz Perpendicular Control”.  This shows the creative mind of Zeki.

You also receive the necessary gaff cards, including 3 duplicates to be signed and given away.  Refills are available separately from Redefine Magic Outlet.  Instead of signing the card, you get the spectator to sign a sticker or label, and then stick this onto the chosen card.  After each performance, you can carefully peel off the sticker and you can use the gaff card again.  In this case, you do not give the gaff card away as a souvenir.

The effect is simple to do, but you must get used to the handling.

Zeki gives another presentation where you do not have to spread the cards.  Therefore you do not require a table.  When the Joker card is inserted perpendicular into the deck, the Joker and his bicycle magically jumps out of the card and attaches itself onto a card.  The cards are then spread from hand to hand to reveal the chosen card with the Joker on it.

“The Present” is easy to perform, mytifies the spectators, and brings a smile to everyone!

 

Highly recommended!

IMPOSSIBLE LOCATION CARD TRICKS by John Carey

Written by John Teo

“Impossible Location” card tricks refer to card effects where a card is chosen and then lost in the deck or in a packet of cards, and yet the performer is able to find it in a variety of ways.

This is a DVD that features 10 of such effects.  They are practically all self-working.  They are cleverly constructured such that their mathematical based methods are well hidden.  It will be quite difficult for the aduience to back track and find out what has happened.

Self-working effects tend to involve heavy counting and spelling of cards.  While this provides a lot of participations with the audience, they can become draggy and boring.

This is where a well thought-out presentation is important.  John Carey is known to be an expert in this.  His straight-forward approach to card tricks makes them easy for the audience to follow, and yet they defy explanations on how the tricks are accomplished.

False shuffles and cuts help to hide the self-working nature of the effects.  Several methods are taught by John Carey in the DVD.

The DVD is well produced.  Each of the 10 effects is first performed with a spectator or with several people, and then explained.  It is easy to maneuver about the menu to get to any performance or explanation.

The 10 effects are:

  • Entrapped (John Carey) – a chosen card is lost in a packet of 5 cards. 2 red Queens are added into the packet.  Not only is the performer able to divine the chosen card, it is eventually trapped inbetween the 2 red Queens.
  • The 7 Card 21 Card Trick (Mike Powers) – this is a truth/lie spelling effect using 21 cards. There are a lot of dealing of cards involved, and you need to keep it moving along to prevent the effect being draggy.  However, it is a nice interactive piece of magic.  
  • Bake Off (Jack Tighe) – a very deceptive effect in which the performer is not only able to divine the chosen card, but also able to take it out of a shuffled deck placed inside his pocket.
  • Impossible (Larry Jennings) – a chosen card is lost in the deck. The cards are mixed up and yet the spectator is able to find her own card by simply spelling to the word IMPOSSIBLE.
  • Bloody Amazing! (Steve Bryant) – a chosen card lost in a packet of cards is found by spelling BLOODY AMAZING.
  • Lost & Found (Nick Trost) – a cunning priciple is used to find a chosen card that is lost in a deck, and in which the deck can be riffle-shuffled by the spectator.
  • Counting On You (John Carey) – a spectator secretly count to a small packet of cards and notes the card there. The entire packet of cards is lost in the deck, yet the performer is able to cut to a packet of cards that contains the same number of cards as originally counted off by the spectator, and finds her selected card at the same time.
  • Princess In My Pocket (John Carey) – chosen card is lost in a packet of 5 cards. The packet is mixed up and performer puts it inside his pocket.  Performer is able to take out the selected card without looking at the packet of cards.
  • Waikiki Location (Bull Morata) – a interesting principle used in divining a chosen card lost in a deck.
  • Emotional Reaction Plus (Dai Vernon) – a very fair and straight-forward discovery of a freely chosen card lost in a deck of cards that defies any explanation.

My favourites are all the 3 John Carey effects: niz Entrapped, Counting On You and Princess In My Pocket as well as Dai Vernon’s Emotional Reaction Plus.  Based on your own performing styles, your choice effects may differ from mine.

Here are 10 gems for you to use anytime and anywhere and most of them can be performed with a borrowed deck of cards.  (8/10 star rating)