Monthly archives for August, 2011

Hurricane Irene, The Media, Murder By Magic and REVIEW: The Briefcase Illusion by Paul Romhany

Hurricane Irene came and went and while hurricanes are never something to scoff at, I do want to point out that for many parts of the Northeastern US, the effects were not anywhere near as damaging as the media would have people believed would happen.

Again, hurricanes are not a good example of my point because we need caution for those storms, but so often the media actually installs fear by saying things like, “The expected catastrophe,” and other fear-inducing words. It’s one reason why, other than catching the headlines every few days, I NEVER repeat NEVER read the newspaper or watch the news on TV.

On a lighter note, I wanted to let everyone know that as of December 31, 2011, the Murder By Magic product will in fact be pulled from the marketplace. I was debating whether or not to double the investment (as many have said I should) but ultimately I just decided to pull the product completely. Those who have purchased it have been universal in their praise and I have no doubt they will benefit from it. Murder By Magic truly is a unique concept and while I released it to ensure that I received proper credit, I never intended it to become the Vanishing Bandanna of the 21st century.

Don’t delay because after this year, it will be GONE.

On to this week’s review: The Breiefcase Illusion by Paul Romhany. It’s available for $24.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here’s the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=18517

EFFECT: Basic Performance: The MC walks on stage with a briefcase, no magician, just the case. He then places it on top of a writing desk. The lid of the case open, and the magician makes his appearance out of the briefcase.

Basic Vanish: The magician places the case on top of the writing desk, and a girl is pushed inside. The magician then picks up the case and walks off stage.

Variations: Use this for other productions with or without the briefcase. In Romhany’s routine the briefcase lid opens up and an eight foot ladder appears from it, then Romhany makes his appearance out of the briefcase as though he is climbing up the ladder.

At FISM it was used to vanish TWO people. The briefcase was placed on the floor in front of the writing desk and a girl was pushed down inside. The magician then picked up the case and placed it on the table and another assistant was put inside the case. The case was then picked up and the magician walked off stage.

Produce or Vanish an assistant away from the table – use the table as a place to conceal your assistant.

Puppetry: This was also used for a puppeteer who was concealed inside the writing desk and able to operate a puppet while the performer interacted with the puppet.

WHAT YOU GET: A perfect bound soft cover book. There are drawings, photos and more galore, so you’ll have NO problem understanding this. Video links and password-protected access to video tutorials are also included.

ANGLES: Here is where this illusion really shines! For most of the uses this utility illusion can be used for, a surrounded performance is indeed possible. Un-friggin’-believable.

MARKET: Wide open! The illusion looks so good that I can see this working for any age group. Obviously you wouldn’t want to haul this out to a birthday show or private home gig, but for any stage show, this is fantastic!

DIFFICULTY: From a performance standpoint, the actual workings of this illusion are pretty easy, a 1 out of 10 for sure. Obviously, exiting (or entering, in some cases) must be rehearsed to perform in a fluid, magical manner, but the real question of difficulty comes from the construction of an illusion.

I myself have never felt comfortable building my own props. (Long-time readers of this blog will recall how often I grumble and complain whenever I must do such a thing!)

Nonetheless, after reading this book, I now know that even I can build this illusion. Obviously, a person must have the proper tools, so if you live on the fifth floor of an apartment building and you do not own any power tools, you’re oing to have a tough time….however, the plans are so easy to comprehend, you could easily farm this out to a local carpenter or a buddy who has the tools.

PRACTICALITY: Another question facing potential buyers is the idea of practicality – “Do I REALLY want to haul a full-size DESK to a show?” Here’s the really neat thing…and I hope Paul does not mind me tipping this….one thing he does VERY thoroughly throughout the book is stress how you can use pin hinges to hold the illusion together for performances, meaning you can pack it down flat and easily transport this even without a large van!

The video links also provide footage of Paul assembling the prop so you can see just how practical this is.

MY THOUGHTS: First of all, I want to thank Paul for continuing to put out stellar material. I have wanted to know the workings of this illusion for years as for a while, Paul sold the illusion complete for around $3500. I considered buying it back then, but knowing how much of a pain many illusions are, I decided to pass.

Well, this illusion was designed for the working pro who does NOT have assistants or a large moving van to haul their stuff. Paul designed this for one man shows and while he provides several ways to incorporate assistants and/or multi-performer acts, it was originally designed for a one-man show.

One thing I really like about this is the fact that the illusion itself looks like something you’d see in everyday life. To me that just adds to the innocence of the prop. Peter Loughran and I had a discussion about illusions and we both agree that illusions can look fantastical because the whole idea of magic is fantastical, but if the object looks like something in the real world, that’s a nice bonus.

After I read the book and understood the principle behind the illusion, I realized I could easily add this to my school shows for the simple reason that using an illusion that looks like a desk makes perfect sense!

I also think that using the illusion with a puppet makes total sense – audiences of all ages appreciate puppetry (this is coming from a guy who used to use Rocky Raccoon in his corporate shows) so adding the seeming impossibility of this illusion with a well-crafted puppet routine would be AWESOME.

I also feel the added value of the video links (password protected) is inspired. Romany is the second performer I myself have encountered who uses this idea in conjunction with a book release and while I’m sure there are others out there, it’s not nearly as widespread of an idea as I would like.

RATING: A perfect 10 out of 10. My only gripe, and I honestly considered taking a point or two off for this, is the fact that this is priced way too low. I do not say that as a means of hype or hyperbole, but there is such a thing as giving away too much value. I truly hope that this illusion does not turn into the Zig Zag of the modern era. (I’ve seen lay audiences groan in unison when a Zig Zag is wheeled out because it has become so common place, despite the Zig Zag being a terrific illusion).

This is an incredible bargain and I can’t wait to get started on mine. This goes on my short list of best releases of 2011.

NEXT WEEK: A VERY special announcement from me and the next review will be Fish In a Bottle by Dick Barry.

Questions? Comments? Email me at crisjohnsoninfo@verizon.net

Rain-essance Festival & REVIEW: Kings Crossing

Hey loyal readers,

Had a chance this past weekend to catch some really good performances of variety artists at the Sterling Renaissance Festival located near Syracuse, NY. By far the best act was London Broil, a 3-man juggling act that combined juggling skill and improv comedy. I’ve seen the guys before and while juggling usually bores me (no offense) these three are simply hysterical.

There were other acts I enjoyed too but what really struck me was the fact that rain or shine, the acts went on. In the middle of the day, the skies opened up and the act we were watching (two comedy singing nuns!!) kept right on performing.

WOW.

I must admit after watching these folks struggle through maintaining a crowd in the middle of a downpour that I have surely become spoiled!! It’s one reason why I love my main two venues – schools and corporate!!

On another note, be on the lookout for my upcoming reviews of my friend Paul Romhany’s new Pro Series booklets. I just received the first four, with the fifth on its way. These babies are INCREDIBLE and I’m stunned at just how much Paul gives away for such a low price. They are all wonderful but his Six Card Repeat booklet is so far my favorite as some of the comedy lines had me laughing out loud. Stay tuned…

This week’s review is Kings Crossing by Nicholas Gignac. It’s available for $58.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here’s the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=16906

EFFECT: You show a stack of 20 jumbo-sized cards, and explain how you are going to simply transfer a bit of LOVE in your show. You bring onto the stage a couple of star-crossed lovers?or in a pinch, a married couple will also do.

Very fairly, deliberately, and separately, you count out the 20 jumbo cards onto the table?there are no false counts or sleights. You spread the top 10 cards in a fan, and show everyone including the volunteers that they are all King of Spades?everyone can clearly see 10 separate King of Spades. You close up the spread and give them to the man to hold safely in his hands, against his heart?all in the name of love! You then spread the other 10 cards in a fan, and show them all to be Aces of Diamonds?again the volunteers and audience can clearly see 10 separate Aces of Diamonds. You close up this spread and give them to the woman, who also holds them in her hands, against her heart. Note that from this point on, you never touch the cards again!

After a series of by-plays and funny bits, you then declare that you have now transferred 3 cards (bits of ?love?) from the man?s pile to the woman?s. To prove this, the man himself now counts the cards one at a time onto the table. There are only 7 cards. The woman is now invited to count out her cards onto the table, and incredibly there are 13! As a stunning kicker, she herself picks up the 13 cards and spreads through them, showing them to the audience. Incredibly everyone will see that there are now 3 King of Spades mixed into her spread?they are interspersed between the 10 Aces of Diamonds! An amazing and baffling magical transposition with a fun and interactive presentation has just taken place!

MY THOUGHTS: I usually save the “my thoughts’ section for near the end of my review, but due to some things I’ll be talking about I decided to do it early this time.

Everything you read in the ad copy is true with one major exception. Jason claims you can do this effect closeup and while it may be possible, I feel it would not be advisable. The fact that the jumbo cards are so big also makes the ‘secret somethings’ stand out more, especially in the fanned out displays. I feel stage or parlor is best.

The main point I want to address is the fact that most of the marketing of this effect to folks like you and me hinge upon the idea that after the cards are counted the magician never touches them again. This IS true but the way I see it, it is the solution to a problem that does not exist.

The Cards Across plot is a classic in magic and there are many successful handlings that have succeeded in entertaining people for decades. The solutions that Gignac has found for this old plot will technically work, but the quality of the props leaves much to be desired in my eyes, but more on that later…

Too often, we magicians fall prey to new versions of old effects that aren’t needed. Rick Maue (Wonderful magic author from Pittsburgh, PA) once said in his writings that magic was like a lie and he was always chasing the perfect lie, one that could never be solved.

There are certain advances to certain effects that truly have advanced the effect. Sean Bogunia’s Dancing Hanky advanced the effect from a multi-person effect to a one man effect very elegantly…but the fact is, not all new versions of old routines truly advance the basic effect.

My only point in saying all of this is to merely caution buyers when they are considering new versions of old effects. (I myself put forth a sincere effect with my take on the classic Airborne effect and those who purchased it have sent in several kind comments).

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Jason Palter does a good job explaining how the effect plays in terms of handling as well as little touches of blocking, spec management, etc. No complaints on the instruction.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY: Realistically, this should be a 2 or 3 tops, but since my cards were of low quality, it’s hard for me to judge the difficulty objectively as the gimmicked cards would not cooperate.

QUALITY OF PROPS: Here’s where the trouble begins. The cards are gimmicked in two ways – the first way is visually and the second way is a classic of mentalism when using cards. Yes, I’m trying to tip toe around exposure. Eugene Burger spoke openly about this same kind of gimmicks on the my lovely assistant website in some of his reviews so I almost tipped the method here but hey, I definitely do not have the respect of Burger, so I’ll keep tip toeing.:)

Anyway, the way some of the cards are gimmicked visually is clever enough but the way they are gimmicked would make me very hesitant to use this effect in a close up setting.

The way the cards are gimmicked in the second manner involves adding something to the cards and this adding process was not done properly so my gimmicked cards do not function as they should. After a subsequent conversation with another magician who also owns the effect, I was told he had the same trouble. I also heard a bit about the manufacture process of the cards and I felt very relieved that the fault lied with the cards and not my own incompetence. So often in magic we are quick to blame the prop but in this instance I was assured the fault was not mine this time.

So, the cards do their job in a just “OK” fashion, which is not what I expect for a $60 card trick. Not good.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If your cards function adequately, this will work for you. The DVD explains everything very clearly, so that’s worth several points. As far as the low quality of the gimmicked cards, you may be able to salvage them.

The concept is good, but honestly, for my preference, the BEST Cards Across version I’ve ever read comes from James Biss’ first book Messing With Minds and the effect is called Alpha Across and I’ve used it for 5 years and it’s just wonderful.

I plan on sticking with that effect and putting Kings Crossing on Ebay.

I give it a 5 out of 10.

Until next week, questions, comments or other ramblings can go to: crisjohnsoninfo@version.net

Best,

Cris

Bobby Motta Show and REVIEW: Lethal by Bobby Motta

Yes, it’s true, this is the “all Bobby Motta” blog this week, LOL

Bobby performed a show open to the public last month in Toronto, ON. My wife and I went to see it, and as the show started, as the curtains opened, I pointed at specific props on the stage and said, “Oh! I own that, and that and that!” Cracked my wife up, but the REAL point is that the stuff Bobby sells is stuff he actually uses in the real world.

The show was superb and other than the props I own, Bobby fried me with everything. There was one effect in particular which was so mind-blowing I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m not going to detail it here other than mention the $100 bill…so Bobby, if you read this, if you choose to ever put that effect out, I want the first one.:)

More important than fooling me was the fact that Bobby was a pro and he treated his audience volunteers with a tremendous amount of respect. After the show, I was able to meet with Bobby and his lovely wife Alana and it’s so refreshing to meet people in the business who “get it.”

Over the years I’ve taken my wife to a few magic shows and more often than not, she comes away disappointed. Not so with Bobby’s show.

Now, onto the review…Bobby Motta’s Lethal. It’s available from Hocus Pocus for $1195.00. Here’s the ad link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=9936

EFFECT: A card is selected, signed, shuffled, and lost. The spectator can even shuffle the cards. A knife is introduced and comedy ensues. Also, a target board is brought into play and placed around the spectator’s neck, covering their torso. The deck of cards is then sprung into the air. The knife is thrown towards the target board, and in MID AIR, the knife pins ONE card to the board. Yeah, you got it; the signed selection!

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: The special high tech target board you hang around the spectator’s neck, the knife, instructional DVD and a few other goodies.

QUALITY OF PROPS: Unbelievable! I had a fair idea of the workings of this before I bought it, but I was blown away by the quality. After the show, Bobby, my wife Libby and I waited by the curb of the road while builder Gerry ran to his car to get my prop. Bobby opened up the prop for me to see and said, “Isn’t that sexy?” Sure is! With care, this will last forever. However, because the inner workings of the board are complex, I recommend getting a case for this prop.

In fact, I asked Bobby if they could build me a version of Lethal a little smaller than the typical unit, so mine was customized small enough to fit into one of those silver cases you can pick up at the Home Depot. (If you have seen Sean Bogunia’s Animation Sensation, that’s the kind of case I’m talking about). After building mine, the two are now considering making that size THE size due to other requests to have the prop fit in those silver cases.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: The DVD is terrific. It includes two different live performances. Interestingly, each of the performances is different in terms of handling. There are three different ways to perform Lethal and you get to see two of them performed live, which I REALLY like.

Bobby’s instruction is great, too. Multiple camera angles, close-ups, etc. This DVD was professionally produced and it shows.

He covers timing of key moves, different ways to handle the knife, blocking tips and much more. Honestly, whenever I invest this much in a prop, I usually have questions, but after watching the DVD, I didn’t have a single thing that was not clear.

MARKETS: This is not one for the little kids’ birthday parties!! In fact, I personally would save this for teen, college and adult shows. When we are onstage, it is easy to influence others, after all.

ANGLES: Angles are quite good on this. If you do two of the handlings, one in which the card is signed and one in which the card is not signed, you’ll need to restrict your audiences to directly in front of you and the sides. Surrounded would be tough, although you may pull it off. The third presentation could be done surrounded, but again, in a stage setting, surrounded shows SUCK so I choose not to do them.:)

MY THOUGHTS: I know that there may be some people out there who question my objectivity since I bought so many other things from Bobby and have seen his show, etc etc. Well, the reason why I keep buying Bobby’s stuff is because it rocks, plain and simple. Believe me, if after I bought the first Bobby Motta prop and I didn’t like it, there’s no way I’d keep going back. Plus, Bobby uses this stuff in his own shows, so that right there shows it was developed with real working conditions in mind.

There is so much to like about this – it’s visual, amazing, comedic, theatrically “dangerous” and so much more.

About the only ‘concern’ is the weight of the board. My wife put it on and said a thin woman might find it a tad heavy. I’d say the board is around 4lbs, if I had to guess, so I didn’t notice that at all, but it brings me to a good point – I would personally only use males for this effect. I think it’s a psychological thing that most audiences will not want to see a woman “in danger” even if everyone knows it’s “just a trick.”

RATING: I’m sure no one will be surprised by my perfect 10 out of 10 rating. This is superb!

Until next time…

Best,

Cris

Murder By Magic Pre-Sale Ending Soon, Visiting Peter Loughran and REVIEW: Phantasm Portable Pro 2 by Peter Loughran

Thank you all of you for ordering my Murder by Magic – The Ultimate Corporate Magic Show package! I’ve been getting feedback from clients who have ordered it and the response has been amazing!

That being said, I have not sold that many, less than a dozen. I’m thrilled that those who bought it love it and I only point that out because I don’t want anyone thinking the market is being flooded with this concept. I priced it high to keep it from becoming the next Vanishing bandana, LOL.

The pre-release price of $795 will jump up to $995 on August 11, so your chance to save $200 is almost over.

On another note, last week I visited Peter Loughran, magic & illusion builder from Canada. I spent the entire day visiting and chatting with Peter and his lovely wife Lyndsy. I can’t remember the last time I spent face time with someone in magic who was so refreshingly down to earth and real. I loved it and can’t wait to visit them again.

Part of the reason I visited Peter was so I could pick up some larger effects, one of which I’ll be reviewing today. It’s Phantasm Portable Pro 2. It’s available for $1699.99. Here’s the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=6719

EFFECT: With Phantasm Portable Pro you can animate borrowed objects sealed inside an examinable Plexiglas box, seemingly with only the power of your mind. You can make the objects, move, slide, levitate, float and even dance in full view while sealed inside the Plexiglas box.

All this without the aid of any special lighting or backdrops.

Use the equipment to demonstrate, telekinesis, poltergeist activity, power of levitation etc. You will receive a specially built remote control programmable receiver that allows you to personalize your own program and animation sequences. Each object you animate can have it’s very own program, or choreograph more than one object together, only limited by your own imagination. The receiver is simply placed under or behind any table, chair, prop etc, and it is all controlled with one tiny key-chain mini pocket remote. So easy to perform! Sean Bogunia of Ultimate Magic Productions is responsible for designing the high tech microchips used in the electronic animation system.

You can animate a wide range of borrowed objects such as coins, pictures, keys, jewelry, credit cards, handkerchiefs, cigarettes, playing cards, and pretty much any other small to medium sized object.

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: The clear plexiglass box that’s framed in metal for durability, the animation receiver, thread, monofilament, the remote control, written instructions and a custom ATA case to protect the investment.

QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: Loughran’s stuff is first rate. I’ve been a huge fan of his before I got to know him as a person, so I can still review things with objectivity.:) The box that the objects float/animate in is well-built, but like anything that costs any amount of money, I love the fact that it comes with a case. The animation receiver is housed in protective foam and wood and the electronics are built by Sean Bogunia so you know the electronics are rock-solid.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTIONS: Peter really goes in depth with the instructions, here, breaking down what really is a simple process into bite-size steps so there’s no questions on how any of this works. Additionally, Peter offers several different routine ideas and some of them are very good as I only had one or two ideas, and after reading the instructions, I have more ideas to ponder. Great stuff.

MY THOUGHTS: First of all, I love this. I’m super excited about the idea of being able to borrow objects from the audience and float them in the air. There’s just something amazing and magical about that. What surprised me the most is the fact that the clear box can be fully examined both before and after the effect. While the box is gimmicked, its gimmicked in very subtle ways, things that will never tip anything to an audience member. So cool.

The unit I bought is able to animate 2 objects. If you want to animate three objects, it’s a little more, $1999.99, but for me, two was fine, but the choice is there.

ANGLES: I feel this is best for stage. It could work in a parlor situation (invisible thread is provided) but it’s a pretty big prop for a living room show, so my gut tells me this will shine best on stage. With all that being said, if you’re careful with the (simple) get-ready, you can do this surrounded. Beautiful!

MARKETS: I can see this being appropriate for ANY market, adults, kids, teens, etc. Obviously, the main thing to consider is your presentation, as this could be used for a spooky effect, comedy effect, etc so it really is limitless. This is really best viewed as a toolkit, open to hundreds of applications.

RATING: This is the kind of effect that I’ve always wanted to perform and simply waited for someone to invent, as it’s one-man, critical to my own work. A perfect 10 out of 10 and while it may seem pricey to some, it’s underpriced as far as I’m concerned.

Until next week…

Best,

Cris

Murder By Magic Countdown, Nick Wenger is Awesome and REVIEW: Slingshot

Howdy, everyone!

As I write this, it’s just a few days away from the day my Murder By Magic: The ULTIMATE Corporate Magic Show package jumps from the pre-release price of $795 to $995, so in case you’ve been debating, don’t forget, the date is August 11, so order before then, save $200, and have an incredibly unique service you can offer clients for the upcoming holiday season! This month, usually a dead month for many magicians, I’m performing the show five times for a total of over $7000! (Hey, for a guy who is only part-time in the market, that ain’t bad!) To put it in a different perspective, you should be able to cover the meager investment with ONE booking.

Here’s the ad copy link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=18369

Before I get into this week’s review of Slingshot, I also want to throw a shout out to Nick Wenger, electronics God! (Nick is, along with Sean Bogunia and Tim Wisseman, the Holy Trinity of Electronics Magic!)

Anyway, after ordering Slingshot, I decided that the trick would be easier to do with a card fountain, so I had Nick build me a remote control card fountain. This sucker ROCKS! The cards shoot up 4-5 feet in the air, operation is silent, reliable as hell and sturdy, too. This is the third thing Nick’s built for me and it’s top-notch.I’ve had a hard time finding remote control card fountains online that were NOT built in China. As many magicians know, most anything built in China is mostly CRAP, so finding Nick was a blessing for me.

You can contact Nick Wenger at nickwenger@verizon.net.

Onto Slingshot! It’s available from Hocus Pocus for $695.

You can read the ad copy and watch the video here: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=18137

EFFECT: A card is chosen and shuffled back into the pack. A large aluminum slingshot is shown and a spiked ball is placed into it. Spectator throws the cards into the air and magician shoots the spiked ball into them. One card is caught on one of the spikes. It’s the chosen card.

WHAT YOU GET: You receive the slingshot itself with the leather holder and (attached) spiked ball. You also receive a DVD that explains the effect.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: This is a nicely produced DVD as Richard explains all of the nuances of the effect against a black background with white lights (stars) in the background. Its pleasing to the eye and looks good. Lighting and camera angles are good, too. Richard takes his time explaining the nuances of the effect, pro tips, troubleshooting and more. Great effort and much appreciated.

QUALITY OF PROPS: For $695, I expect a sturdy, well-built prop. The slingshot itself is terrific – it looks EVIL as hell and gets a great reaction when the audience sees it for the first time. The metal also is scratch resistent, so it should both last a long time and look great, too.

Unfortunately, the spike ball lost one of its spikes the first time I fired it. To be fair, Richard explains how to fix it in case this happens in the instructions. The repair process took me 2 minutes and cost $4, so it wound up not being a big deal, but it really bugged me coming out of the package.

Similarly, the leather harness (holder) came apart at one of the seams after rehearsing for a day. Again, this didn’t even affect the performance of the effect but it’s irritating.

ANGLES: Here’s where this effect shines as opposed to card swords and other similar effects. If you’re familiar with the card sword effect, you know that some models can have some angles issues and handling can be a chore. The angles on Slingshot are GREAT, and in many (not all) cases, you could pull this off surrounded. Distance would be a requirement for a surrounded performance, but with that ball bouncing around, you wouldn’t want to do this in a living room anyway!

MY THOUGHTS: First of all, I bought this as an alternative to the card sword as I wanted a unique way to reveal a selected card and specifically, I bought this for audiences who have already seen my Pro Viper routine. I liked the quasi-danger aspect of the routine.

As I began working with the effect, I very quickly found out that this is NOT, repeat, NOT a “no skill required” trick. Quite frankly, I despise it when creators say that in ad copy as it implies that magic is easy to do and while it may be ‘easy to do,’ magic is NOT easy to PERFORM. It’s like acting – anyone can recite lines in front of an audience or camera, but to PERFORM is exceedingly difficult.

Anyway, even if the trick WAS easy, I would hate the ad copy. However, the effect is NOT easy to do. Richard explains that you can’t just pull back the ball and fire it through the slingshot – if you do, the ball will clang against the uprights and you will have a dead effect. Fair enough so the buyer should know this will require work.

Over the course of a few days, I used two full decks of cards practicing the effect. (Each time you use a card, it is ruined, so use cheap cards while rehearsing.)

The subtlety of aiming through (or rather higher than) the top of the slingshot’s uprights proved to be quite challenging for me and it wasn’t until I was up in around the 150 mark in terms of attempts that I found I could do it consistently. Be aware I am NT complaining and I am NOT saying this is a bad thing with the effect. Actually, I’m delighted that the required practice involved will keep this from turning into the Vanishing Bandanna of the 21st Century!

After all of that practice, i’m REALLY glad I got a Card Fountain as it makes the aiming part of the effect quite consistent as opposed to trying to compensate for a volunteer’s clumsy toss of the deck.

After all of the rehearsal, I performed it for an actual audience for the first time yesterday and the response was terrific. I had developed a nice little routine designed for laughs and it went great.

MY RATING: Great effect and the main unit is well built. The instruction is quite good. I’ll take 2 points off for the two repairs I had to make 8 out of 10.

Until next week…

Best,

Cris