Magic Products Review

THE BLUR by Mathieu Bich & Garrett Thomas

Written by John Teo

You will rub your eyes with disbelief after you have watched a performance of “The Blur”. So what is “The Blur”?

The effect in brief is that all the faces of the 51 cards in the deck become blur except for a freely chosen card, and then they turn back to become normal looking again.

Here is the effect in greater detail as the audience see it, so that you can decide if you like it.

The performer shows that a deck of cards consists of 52 different cards. He has a spectator touch any one of the face-up cards.

The spectator is told to focus on her chosen card. Suddenly, all the cards in the deck is shown to be blur looking, except for the chosen card, and the back design of the cards. There is even a blur Joker card. This card is taken out and put aside.

It is time for the performer to put things right. The deck of cards is held face downwards and the blur Joker is inserted into the middle of the deck in a perpendicular direction to the deck. The performer flicks his fingers onto the protruding Joker and it falls onto the table. When it lands on the table, the Joker face changes back to looking normal. The entire deck is turned face up and all the 52 cards now go back to looking normal.

You receive a specially printed deck of cards and an illustrated printed sheet of instructions.

The effect is easy to perform and does not require any sleight-of-hand. The spectator has quite a wide range of different cards to choose from. Except for the chosen card, all the other 51 cards can be shown to be blur. The 52 different cards can be shown to be normally printed at the start. The change of the faces of the cards is quite instanteous and visual.

Resetting the deck is easy. This, together with the fact that a spectator can choose different cards each time, make “The Blur” a very good trick to perform in table hopping.

The fact that people have never seen a blurry printed card makes “The Blur’ a novel effect to the audience. You are bound to get a very good reaction from your audience.

The negatives for “The Blur” is the deck itself. The deck is a one trick pony and cannot be used to perform other card tricks. The back design of this deck is proprietory to Tenyo. This means it is not possible to switch to a popular deck such as the bicycle deck used by most magicians so that they can continue performing other card effects after performing “The Blur”.

 

(Rated 4.5/5 starts)

DRAGSTER by Magic Smith

Written by John Teo

Dragster is a specially designed Hot Rod paddle effect.

The performer displays a small translucent rod that has 4 sides. There are 6 different colour spots on each of the 4 sides.

A spectator names any number from 1 to 6. The performer counts to the colour spot at that number. It is a red spot.

With a flick of the rod, all the 6 spots now turn to red in colour, on each of the 4 sides.

With another shake of the rod, they change back to the 6 different colours. Another move with the rod and the spots all change back to red colour. The rod is taken into the fist of one hand. When the hand is opened, the rod has vanished! It is reproduced from the performer’s pocket. This rod, with all the spots in red colour on 4 sides, can be given out for examination.

You receive the special 4 sided translucent rod, and another similar rod with red spots on all 4 sides to be switched out for examination at the end of the performance. You also receive a printed sheet of instructions as well as a video CD.

This “hot rod” is different from the classical hot rod in the following ways:

1. The audience can see the colour spots on all 4 sides. In the usual hot rod, the colour spots are on the front and back of the rod only.

2. There is no need for the spell force. The spectator can freely name any number from 1 to 6, including “1” and “6”, and they will get the force colour.

3. There is a switch-out rod for examination.

This specially designed rod is constructed based on Lubor Fielder’s principle used in his Shock Dice. The illusion that you can see all 4 sides is truly fantastic.

With this specially constructed rod, all the usual moves you use with a paddle, such as the paddle move, rotation change, shake change, and snap change, take on the a new level of deception. These various moves are explained in the short video CD. You use them in performing Dragster.

A most wonderful prop that enhances the paddle effect.

 

(Rated 5/5 stars).

SOCIAL NETWORKS

Written by John Teo

Manufactured by: Marchand de Trucs (France)

To purchase or reserve the product(s), read the conditions above.

“Social Networks” is a deck of cards, similar in size to poker playing cards, but containing the following sets of specially printed cards:

Emoji cards: 4 sets of 5 emojis: happiness, laughter, anger, sadness and love; 1 set of 9 emojis with no emotions; 1 double-face (love/anger) emoji;

5 Instagram communication snap shot cards, each of them corresponds to each of the 5 emotions of the emoji cards;

Message cards: comprising 9 red “thumbs down” cards, and 9 blue thumbs up cards;

1 double-back card.

There are altogether 54 cards housed inside a nice card box designed as a box to a social media card game called “Social Netwrokd The Game”.

The backs of all the cards are also cleverly and secretly marked so that you can easily tell what are on their faces.

These cards are created to take

advantage of the current popularity

of social media. They are not

designed for a new effect in magic.

They are created to correspond

with cards that magicians commonly use for their magic.

For example, the 5 emojis can be used instead of the usual 5 ESP symbols. Therefore, whatever effects a magician performs using the ESP symbols can now be performed using the emoji cards. This makes the tricks more current, relevent and attractive.

You receive a deck of nicely printed and good quality social network cards, and a link to a video tutorial. In the video, French magician Maxime Schucht takes you through 5 routines using these cards.

1. Out Of This Digital World – as the name implies, this is the “out of this world” effect performed using the 9 red “thumbs down” and 9 blue “thumbs up” message cards. This presentation shows how a person from a modern generation is able to retain control and is not easily distracted by the constant bombarded of social media. The performer plays a social media video clip by Ulysse Thevenon on his mobile phone and asks a lady spectator to watch this video while dealing out a packet of 18 cards randomly into 2 piles. In the end, she is plesantly surprised that she has subconsciously separated the cards into a pile containing all the 9 red “thmbs down” cards and another pile containing all the 9 blue “thumbs up” cards. This presentation is based on works done by Paul Harris and Pete McCabe.

2. Obsession – a spectator imagines she is obsessed by one of the 5 emotions depicted by the 5 emojis. The performer deals cards from a small packet of emoji cards, and the spectator calls “stop” at any time. The card stopped at turns out to be the emotion that the spectator is obsessed with. The other cards are turned over to show that they are emojis without any emotions. This indicates that a person can be so obsessed with an emotion that she ignores any other form of emotions.

- 17 -

3. Empathy – the spectator shows that she can empathise with the performer by herself dealing cards from a small packet of emoji cards and stopping at any card she wishes. A prediction of this card was earlier posted by the performer in the spectator’s facebook. An excellent effect to get yourself promoted to all the friends of your spectator.

4. Mirror Empathy – 2 spectators are involved in this effect, with the performer acting as a psychic channel between them. One spectator thinks of one of the 5 emojis. The other spectator deals a packet of emoji cards and instinctively stops at 2 cards. She then selects one of these 2 cards. This turns out to be the very emotion chosen by the first spectator. The card that was discarded turns out to be of another emotion.

5. Timeline – the performer and the spectator are each given a packet of the 5 emoji cards. Not only is the performer able to match each of the 5 emojis chosen by the spectator, with his packet of cards, he is also able to divine a secret friend of the spectator.

“Social Networks” enables you to make your favourite mental tricks more current by using cards printed with social media symbols. The emoji cards are great to use because mental effects usually involve human emotions.

Although “Social Networks” is a tool for magicians and mentalists to use with their favourite card effects, all the 5 effects taught in the tutorial are great mental tricks. You can also learn from Maxime Schucht’s performance. I particularly like his presentation of the “Out Of This World” trick. It is certainly one of the better versions I have seen of this effect. You are also taught a nice peek envelope from one of the routines. (5/5 stars rating)

Highly Recommended!

INVISIBLE COCKTAILS by Wayne Dobson

Written by John Teo

This is a pocket trick with a commercial theme.

The performer shows a small folded Cocktail List which depicts 26 different cocktail drinks. The name of each drink starts with a different letter of the alphabet.

A spectator mentally selects one drink.

The performer shows several cards with different letters of the alphabet printed on each of them. The spectator who selected the cocktail drink sorts out all the cards that bear the initial letter of her drink. The other cards are discarded and given to the performer.

The performer asks the spectator to imagine she is holding the drink of her choice in her hand. The performer mimes dipping one of his fingers into her drink and then puts this finger into his mouth to taste the cocktail on his finger tip. Straightaway, he is able to identify the name of the cocktail chosen by the spectator.

You are supplied with a nicely printed folded list of the cocktail drinks, the special alphabet cards, and a link to a downloadable pdf set of instructions.

The cards and the menu are small enough to be carried in the shirt pocket. Because of the theme, this makes for a nice after-dinner trick. It is also suitable for performing in a bar or café, or in any small gathering.

Although it is based on methematics, there is no formula for you to memorise. There are no numbers involved and you do not need to do any mental calculations. The effect works automatically. Different drinks can be selected each time.

There are no performing angles for you to worry about. No resetting is required, and this makes it ideal for table-hopping.

 

(Rated 3.5/5 stars).

FADEAWAY by Chris Philpott

Written by John Teo

Chris Philpott is a creative magician and has the knack of coming up with quirky magical effects or taking something standard and making it outlandish.

“Fadeaway” is a case in point of the second fact.

Chris takes R.W.Hull’s “Mental Photography Deck” and makes the cards slowly fade into blanks, instead of the original versioN where the cards instantly becomes blank on both sides.

In the “Mental Photography Deck”, the entire deck is shown to consist of cards blank on both sides. With a magical gesture, the faces and backs of the cards in the deck become printed with proper faces and back design. Just as quickly, the cards in the entire deck become blank on both sides again.

In the “Fadeaway Deck”, Chris has a card chosen from what seems to be a regular deck of cards. He then causes the cards to slowly fade away until all cards in the deck now become blank on both sides, except for the chosen card, which is the only card that has a proper face and a back. To see the entire deck of cards slowly fading away is truly a magical moment of wonderment for the audience. Both the faces as well as the backs of the cards can be seen to be slowling dissolving away.

You receive this special deck of cards plus a link to a more than an hour of tutorial featuring Chris himself as well as several of his magician friends showing various ways of performing the Fadeaway Deck.

Chris gives 2 versions: an easy and straight-forward one, and another slightly more involved version. Included in the deck is a comedy “ERROR 404 card not found” card. Here is how it is used. The performer wishes to cause the chosen card, which was lost in the middle of the deck, to rise to the top card. The magician fails in this attempt. When the top card is turned over, it is not the chosen card, but an ERROR 404 card. This means the entire deck of cards is going to “crash”. It does, and the deck is shown to slowly fade away into blank cards except for the chosen card.

In the tutorial, Steve Valentine demonstrates several ways of magically making the ERROR 404 card appear in the deck. Michael Rangel as well as Tom Frank show different methods of making the ERROR 4040 card pops up from the middle of the deck. Apollo Robbins contributes an interesting colour change of the bottom card of the deck. These are ideas for you to use with the Fadeaway Deck.

Imagine you have performed a series of card tricks using an ordinary deck of cards. You then secretly switch to the Fadeaway Deck and perform Fadeaway as your final trick. It makes a very nice and meaningful finish to your card magic.

 

(Rated 4.5/5 stars).

MAGICAL UP-DOWN ARROW

Written by John Teo

Self-working tricks are usually based on clever mathematical principles. Some of these mathematical principles, like the Gilbreath Principle, are so subtle that a performer may know how to carry out the procdures, but may not understand how or why they work.

Of all the self-working tricks, the Trapdoor Card, by Robert Neale, is the most baffling. The effect is very visual and looks completely impossible to accomplish. This is based on another branch of mathematics called topolgy, which is the study of the inside and outside of things.

The “Magical Up-Down Arrow” is another topological trick and looks impossible to explain.

In effect, a strip of yellow paper has a cut-out of an arrow in the centre, and 2 rectangular cut-outs at its top and its bottom respectively. A narrow strip of black paper is inserted through the 2 restangular cut-outs so that the yellow paper is now loosely attached to the black strip.

The cut-out arrow on the yellow paper is pointing downwards. The performer attempts to bring this arrow pointing upwards without disengaging the yellow paper from the black strip, or revolving the entire structure 180°.

To prevent the performer from turning the entire paper structure, a spectator holds the top and bottom edges of the black paper strip. The performer can now only manipulate the yellow paper that is attached to the black strip. The performer folds the yellow paper several times around the black strip. When the yellow paper is unfolded, the cut-out arrow is now seen pointing upwards. The black strip is not moved at all during this procedure. The result seems totally impossible.

You receive both the yellow and the black strips of paper. A link to a video tutorial is also provided.

Once you get the knack of the folding procedure of the yellow paper, you can perform this effect wihout any problem. You will be amazed yourself that it works. Do not bother to try to understand how it works – you are likely not able to.

Both strips of paper are made of ordinary grade of paper and they will be worn out through multiple performances. Using these 2 papers as templates, you can made new ones by using coloured papers purchased from the stationery store.

A visual and impossible-looking effect that is easy to do. You will want to have this in your performing repertoire.

 

(Rated 4/5 stars)