Archive for February, 2008

Bunko! Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 14th, 2008

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BUNKO

Quality props, relative ease of performance and excellent patter make this a thoroughly great product that stands a good chance of being used.

My only concern with the effect is that this was designed to be performed with the included play money bills. It is true that buyers could make up their own set of bills out of real currency (doing so is discussed in the instructions). The effect benefits greatly from the use of the fake bills in that the color contrast between the bills helps show the changes better than normal American currency that is traditionally green on both sides. Furthermore, there are subtle clues printed on the fake bills that help the performer remember the sequence of the routine. Finally, the bills slide over one another nicely so they don’t get stuck to one another as the bills are counted.

Overall though, I stand by what I said before, this is a great product.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

UFB Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 13th, 2008

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icon for podpress  UFB - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

UFB

As far as clear forcing bags go, UFB is the most natural looking one – that I have seen.

The bag has a fairly rigid construction. I have it quite a few good strong tugs to test the durability. I think this one will last the workers a good deal of time.

That said, I think the quality of the ‘seams’ could have been better (more straight) – but because the bag should only be in play for a short amount of time, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Also included is a sheet with a good list of ideas to get your creativity going.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Card in Cake Reviewed by Bizzaro

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 12th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Card in Cake Reviewed by Bizzaro [1:11m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

CardInCake

I have heard some unfriendly things about Magic Maker’s and have not really been impressed with their production values on their DVD’s. That has nothing to do with the material on this video however. Now if you are looking for the next knuckle busting sleight or innovative gimmick then you best keep moving. If you are instead looking for simple handlings of workable material that plays in real world settings then pull up a chair and have a gander. This DVD is called Card in Cake. The effect is you have a card selected and rip it in half. The spectator keeps one half. You fold up the other half and it then vanishes from your bare hands. When you open the individually packaged cream filled cake that has been in their sight the whole time, you find half a card and it matches the one they are holding.

Now I personally love tricks with food and any excuse to shove something in a twinkie is never a bad one. The best part is that this is not a one trick pony video. You will also find some of Matt Hampel’s working material and routines. There are also quick tutorials on some basic sleights such as Tilt and some easy card forces. This video is geared towards the beginner I feel but has a some things for the pro who pays attention. This would make a good gift for an aspiring magi that you might very well know and love. So get to it. Start shoving pasteboards in after school snacks!!

If you are interested in picking up this product, head on over here.

Eliminator V2.0 Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 11th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Eliminator V2.0 Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Eliminator2.0

Yes, this effect has been released before, this is just a rerelease with an instructional DVD.

The effect is simple enough to perform and all the highlighted sellers points on the ad copy are true.*

The DVD covers all the details of performing this routine and gives owners of this effect the keys to taking this deck and alternative effects outside of the basic selected-cards-produced-from-pocket-routine.

*One of the points made on this effect is that you can fairly show the front and back of the deck. The word ‘fairly’ is subjective. Some may say “fairly” means clearly spreading through the deck and showing without a doubt that every card is different and normal, others may say that just gleaning through the faces is good enough. If you’re stuck and this is some sort of deciding point for you, I’ll say there are “ways” of showing the deck to be legitimate – particularly since you shouldn’t need to draw attention to this aspect in the first place.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Houdini Book Test Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 10th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Houdini Book Test - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

HoudiniBookTest

Top to bottom, this is one is quite easy. It is a book test that utilizes the included paperback Houdini book and another book of your choice.

I found it funny how the instructions say to bring out a stack of books and one of the ones you use is a book written by Harry Houdini. This reminds me of the classic magic coloring book designed with a magic theme to it and has made little attempt to look like a legitimate (‘normal’) coloring book. Still, I suppose you could use multiple books on the history of magic so this one blends in.

I would feel safe letting a spectator flip through this book but I probably wouldn’t let them keep it for longer than a few seconds. It took me a while before I noticed anything funny. This is a real book so you can read it front to back, hence the reason it looks so natural. The first words or lines on each page don’t repeat at all.

One of the other nice features of this book test is that it gives you a lot of freedom as to what sorts of things you can instruct your spectator to think of. You can predict the first word of a page, the first line, the contents of a paragraph, or even the summary of an entire page.

Black’s Magic did a nice job on this one.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Incredible Dancing Napkin Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 9th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Incredible Dancing Napkin - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [2:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

IncredibleDancingNapkin

I was not looking forward to watching this DVD. From watching the performance alone, it seemed like the magician performing the Dancing Napkin was just wiggling his finger under the napkin.

I was wrong. Way off there.

Now, it still looks like the effect is performed this way, even after seeing the method, but this is because the napkin just didn’t dance high enough above the fingers to satisfy me. That said, (while it is not addressed on the DVD) it is possible to make two sizes of this gimmick. On the DVD, they only use the smaller size, but I think the larger size is going to make a big difference for people wanting to perform this.

You’re going to need to make a new gimmick almost every time you perform this, depending on how you decide to ditch the gimmick. It’s possible to reuse each gimmick, but the clean up is as easy as wrinkling up the napkin and throwing it all away. Each gimmick takes less than 15 seconds to make and probably costs you 5 cents at most per gimmick.

Disappointment set in again. It felt like the DVD was over. It seemed like a lot of stuff had been gleened over, but…

There’s more!

The DVD went on to cover more information and important points to really make this effect workable in the real world – I was truly surprised. Furthermore, the guys behind this DVD made somewhat of an attempt to make this portion of the DVD entertaining. I don’t want to get into it, it’s pretty cheesy, but what do you expect from a DVD that is filmed like a home video. Overall though, I was pleased with the quality of the DVD bearing in mind the production budget.

Now if all this is sounding good so far, if you’ve had your hand raised the entire time, then there is just one final test: This method is designed to work with paper napkins – you’ll rarely be able to do this with cloth napkins, they’re usually too heavy.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Lee Grabel Archive Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 8th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Lee Grabel Archive - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

LeeGrabelArchive

The collected works across these 4 DVDs effectively make this the go to source for the life of Lee Grabel. Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of insight upon the secrets and methods of some of Lee’s original works (I’m not talking about his BIG things like the floating piano, but some of his lesser effects).

It’s pretty amazing how much video footage has been compiled together. Most of it is very old and some of it is hard to watch, compared to HD. (Particularly on a larger screen)

I didn’t particularly care for some of the DVD’s menu operation, but once you get into the video, such things are of little importance.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Slight of Hand with Coins Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 7th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Slight of Hand with Coins - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

THOUGHTOFCARDSACROSSPROJECT

I think Jay Sankey’s Slight of Hand with Coins DVD would be a great successor for magicians who picked up Penguin Magic’s “In the Beginning, There Were Coins.” I really felt like In the Beginning is a solid starting point where slights are really covered in depth and Sankey’s new DVD compliments it nicely by using many of these slights and teaching some more robust effects and routines. Slights are covered on this DVD, but again, I felt ITBTWC did a better job of teaching them in depth with all the right close up shots.

This DVD is of the typical Sankey quality, great video, good sound, and a questionably insane instructor.

Bonus sections included cover coin flourishes, which may find favor with poker players interested in chip shuffles, and a segment dedicated to the ‘Secret Art of Lapping’ – one of my personal favorite moves in magic.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Declassified V1 and 2 Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 6th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Declassified V1 and 2 - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Declassified

The Declassified Series was designed for beginners looking to take their magic to the next level – and I have to agree, if I was a novice magician, I would be satisfied by the effects presented over the course of these two DVDs.

Explanation of the effects goes at a nice pace. I didn’t feel like I was being dragged along behind a boat and slowly sinking under; which is great considering this DVD was designed for beginners.

The effects here are fairly easy to pick up but I personally question teaching metal bending to beginners. It’s not that I don’t think we can’t trust them with the secrets, but metal bending requires a certain level of performing experience to really sell the effect. Still, the work on this subject is adequately explained.

This DVD isn’t super flashy like a lot of beginner magic DVDs, but the overall quality is pretty good. Again, if I was a beginner magician, I would have even a greater appreciation for these DVDs and be eagerly anticipating future installments.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Acting Naturally V.2 and 3 Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 5th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Acting Naturally V.2 and 3 - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:52m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

ActingNaturally

Here we’ve got two more disks in the Acting Naturally Series. For those unfamiliar with the series, this trilogy is all about making your magic seem more natural. Volume 2 deals with modifying your card moves and volume 3 covers Allen Zingg’s Tibetan Wishing Box and a variety of other effects.

The DVD isn’t exactly the most engaging or entertaining to watch (particularly after seeing Theory11′s stuff), but there are always educational books and videos that contain valuable information that magicians should know. (Yeah, you remember what going to school is/was like).

I think card magicians are going to find some good value from the card magic DVD, particularly those who frequently use the Elmsley count. Allen shows how this frequently used counting sequence evolved from the fingertips to the ‘pinch’ count and into his latest iteration in which the cards are counted from hand to hand – as if you were actually counting cards from hand to hand, normally.

The other DVD covers Allen’s ideas on his famed Tibetan Wishing Box, the Egyptian Ball Mystery, and, alas, more card magic?!? (Shouldn’t that be on another DVD?) The discussion of the Tibetan Wishing Box seems pretty basic and is just a video explanation of an effect performed with the box. Allen points out all the key elements of the presented TWB routine but it felt like these things would (or should) already be adequately described on the instructions that come with the TWB.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Accidental Discovery Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 4th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Accidental Discovery - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

AccidentalDiscovery

The primary method for this effect seems like it would be the obvious solution for this kind of trick. It seems like this effect works most of the time, but in the event of a screw up, I think switching over to the secondary method is going to make the effect more realistic and less obvious.

I think $25 is a tad high for the price of this DVD, especially considering this effect has seen publication already. Nevertheless, Accidental Discovery is an effect that can take advantage of the environment in which you perform the effect – performing this in someone’s house or on a mid-sized theme-decorated stage is going to be much stronger (an more fun) than performing this in a traditional close up theater or on a big stage.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Thought of Cards Across Project Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 3rd, 2008

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THOUGHTOFCARDSACROSSPROJECT

This short booklet teaches three Thought of Cards Across routines that are all impromptu meaning you can perform this with anyone’s shuffled deck without anything extra.

The three routines are of a moderate difficulty level and have a nice streamlined feel.

At times the instructions were a little confusing and took a little rereading, but it was nothing compared to the horrible instructions that typically plague most cheap packet tricks.

Honestly, not too much to say here, the effects are simple, straight forward, impromptu in nature, and yet they are perfect for real worker magicians.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

The Essential Stewart James Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 2nd, 2008

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icon for podpress  The Essential Stewart James - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:40m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

ESSENTIALSTEWARTJAMES

Stewart James is known as one of the most prolific creators in the world of magic. His legacy has already been recorded in a behemoth two volume set totaling over 2,700 pages – that’s a TON of magic. The Essential Stewart James is a compilation of the very best of Mr. James’ 50 best creations.

As far as magic books go, this one seemed like a fairly light read. Most of the effects are described in just two or three pages – this includes the historical anecdotes of each effect published in the book and illustrates why each particular effect was included.

The majority of the material in this book is card magic, but this is typical of a compilation mainly consisting of close up material. That said, I found more than a few card effects and routines that I truly enjoyed. Likewise, I found quite a few non-card effects I enjoyed as well. I actually liked the balance between the two in the book, I didn’t feel myself rolling my eyes and wanting to deem this a book for card magicians.

Best-of compilation books have a tendency to be great and have plenty of gems within their pages; The Essential Stewart James is such a book.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Riser Deck Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 1st, 2008

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icon for podpress  Riser Deck - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:55m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

RISERDECK

Here’s (yet another) powerful ending you can tack on to your ambitious card routine – if you’re willing and or have the pocket space to carry around a second deck (in walk around situations) for just one effect. The Riser Deck climax is a second, well constructed gimmicked deck that, when switched for the original deck, can be used to perform a truly impossible ACR finale.

The included deck is very well made and will last you a very long time. The deck is housed in a specially prepared case which should help protect the bizarre looking deck inside and hopefully is the only part you may need to replace.

A finer point regarding the handling of this deck when it is in play: when the card is inserted into the case by the spectator (they can put it in nearly anywhere) and it rises to the top whilst remaining in the case, the deck can not be removed from the case after the card has risen to the top; at best, you can let it slide out a quarter of an inch as you remove the top card.

The DVD is very basic in its explanations. You aren’t bored with someone else’s ACR, instead, all the attention is focused on the basic workings of the gimmicked deck, how to handle it, and how to perform the necessary switch. Overall, it’s pretty easy and if you’re looking for a strong ACR climax, are able to carry the second deck in a pocket, and have the $90 to pick one up, this may be something to consider.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.