Monthly archives for August, 2012

REVIEW: Vanishing Bandanna Plus

Hi loyal readers!

First of all, I apologize for not posting anything last week. I was first on vacation and then I attended the annual NGH convention – National Guild of Hypnotists – where hypnotists from around the world gather to learn techniques, business strategies and more. I attended last year and felt I got MORE value this year. It was great fun and I look forward to atending next year.

On to this week’s review: Vanishing Bandanna Plus. It’s available for $44.95 from Hocus Pocus.

Here’s the routine description:

Finally a CLIMAX to an already hilarious classic magic trick! Now you can reproduce the banana with this specially constructed box for a new climax!

Explain part-time magicians receive magic lessons by mail on a CD, and you happen to have the just released trick.

You don’t really know this trick, but they sent you all you need for the trick packed in the shipping box. You will have to include the audience in on the secret as it is scheduled to be performed in your show and the trick arrived later than normal this month.

Inside the shipping box is all the props needed for the effect. As you start the effect you notice that they packed the box incorrectly, they shipped a banana in place of the bandanna.

  • The routine is very easy to perform!
  • The professionally produced CD guides you through the entire trick!
  • Complete with a special gimmicked “Shipping Box” for reproducing the bandanna!
  • Professionally produced three minute CD
  • Devil’s napkin and written instructions with all the “Bits” of business included in the instructions!

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive a gimmicked cardboard box, an audio CD, written instructions, the devil’s hank and a couple of stickers.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTIONS: The written instructions walk you through the entire script (as played by the CD) along with some suggested scripting for how you would verbally interact with the CD. Personally, I always like to play my reactions both silently and underplayed, whereas this script would have you constantly making retorts throughout. It’s a little much. None the less, having the written script in front of you can aid learning along with instructions for the actions you must perform during the routine.

QUALITY OF MATERIALS: The audio quality of the CD is good as the woman performing the routine has more personality than some of the dry, monotone versions of the effect I’ve heard. That being said, I feel that some of the gags used overplay the entire point of the routine. The best versions of this classic routine play it straight, as though the poor directions are the most natural thing in the world. This version has some gags in it that seem to reveal that the voice on the CD is in on the gag – which kills much of the subtext.

Then there’s the “plus” part of the routine, in which the banana magically appears in the previously empty box at the conclusion of the routine. The idea is based on an old U.F. Grant idea (my first ever trick was this old idea, straight out of the Victory Carton Illusions booklet!) and it’s interesting in that this gives us a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in that I feel the ‘magic’ in the routine isn’t very strong but that the routine’s power is in the humor.

After testing the routine out at a birthday party, I felt the ending fell flat. That being said, one show is not enough to judge a routine, but I feel that this ending will probably be dropped.

MY THOUGHTS: This routine is a classic and probably wayyyy overused. That being said, I bought it because it was the only trick that would satisfy a specific need in one of my educational school assembly shows. This version was the only one I could find – I would have preferred the original.

RATING: Between the CD voice’s occasional over-the-top gag that kills the subtext of the routine, along with the over-acting and finally the unneeded climax, I have to give this a low rating of 5 out of 10. It ain’t bad, and the CD and other materials are well produced from a quality standpoint, but I really can’t recommend it.

COMING SOON: I’ve recently purchased John Kennedy’s Black Box, two Wack-O-Magic tricks, and Peter Loughran’s Electronic Flash Box. Stay tuned!

SALE!!!! and REVIEW: Splattered by Peter Loughran

Hi All,

Before I start this week’s review, I want to take those of you who continue to make my three volumes of “Cause & Effects” books such great sellers. I never claim to be the most original guy in the world in terms of methodology but the fact that the books continue to sell like hotcakes tells me that folks like you appreciate well-tested real-world routines. Thank you!!

Also, I’m clearing out a few things. Good stuff, just stuff I’m not using. All items are in mint, unused condition and I’m selling them for 50% off the retail price plus shipping. Shoot an email to me if you’re interested in any of these items:

The Moment by Christopher Taylor
Get Nyman set of mentalism DVDs by Andy Nyman
Slo-Motion by Joe Litvinchuk
Redonkulous by Anthony Lindan

On to this week’s review: Splattered by Peter Loughran

EFFECT:

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive written instructions, the raised base, the exterior square to the apparatus, the inner decorative tube and of course the secret gimmick that makes it all work.

QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: This is just about the BEST squared circle I’ve ever seen! Besides the uber-cool modernistic design Peter has given, I really love how he’s added corner protection metal to the corners. This means that not only will the unit hold up well in day-to-day use, but it looks sleek and modern.

The raised platform, for me, really makes this an incredible value for two reasons: One, as noted in the ad copy, having the unit raised allows the audience to easily see underneath it, meaning spectators know instantly that the stuff produced out of the unit is not coming from a hole in the table. While I plan on using my unit on a thin table top, it’s nice to know I can just set the piece on top of my regular working table and it will still mystify an audience.

The other reason I love the base is real-world practicality: when I am done performing the piece, I can easily get the whole thing out of the way without fumbling with the various pieces (both visual and hidden!). So, for real-world performers, huge thumbs up.

MY THOUGHTS: Honestly, I think some magicians are so jaded when it comes to the classics. So many of us – and I’ve been guilty of it many times! – are always looking for the next ‘new thing,’ but there’s a reason why classics are CLASSICS.

The principle behind the Squared Circle is solid and can be done surrounded, meaning there are zero angle problems.

With that being said, I’ve never bothered to buy a squared circle because I never liked the cheesy designs on most, but I always liked the principle and when I saw Peter’s design, just jumped on it.

MY RATING: Peter does it again! This gets a perfect 10 out of 10 from me. If you’re familiar with the principle behind the effect, you know exactly what you’re getting but it’s so much more modern in terms of design and (this is big for me) durability. You won’t be disappointed!