This is a very versatile utility prop. The basic idea is that a spectator describes an out-of-sight object by touch, but you control the object ultimately revealed. It’s misdirection in a box! Opportunities abound for comedy, or to introduce a mentalism routine, a backstory, or a show theme. It comes with several props, but view these as samples. The true value of this effect lies in adapting it to your show.
This is one versatile effect – kids’ shows, science shows, stage, emcee, seance – you name it. I always have it on hand – either scheduled in the act, or ready in case I need one more routine. Packs small, plays big, and always entertains. What more can you ask of a $50 prop?
I previously reviewed this prop based on pictures and a general knowledge of the routine. Subsequently, I had the good fortune to purchase this very piece on Quality Magic, and I like it even more in person. Doug Gorman’s craftsmanship is outstanding – Mel Babcock quality. This is a beautiful close-up prop, but it’s too small for stage. Doug? Mel? Jay? Won’t one of you build a stage-size version? The apparatus comes with two routines. The "Selbit’s Magic Blocks" routine is a winner – quick, easy, and baffling, with no shells, no difficult "moves," and sparingly little to memorize. And believe me, NO ONE will know how it’s done. The "Instant Insanity" routine, on the other hand, includes a statistical narrative sure to cure insomnia. This beautiful walnut prop is a one-off, but you can buy a plastic version for under $20.
This may not qualify as a "review," as I’ve never owned the pictured effect – but I sure will if Doug ever makes more! Apparently this beautiful set is a "one-off." That’s a shame, because Instant Insanity is an excellent effect; but most available versions are made like plastic toys. Thanks for posting this, Andy – even though I can’t buy one, it’s good to know it’s out there. And Doug . . . BUILD MORE!
This well made apparatus really fills the bill, now that guillotines and other "threatening" apparatus are banned from some venues. It can be played as a "chopper," but the blade doesn’t even pretend to be sharp. This gives the performer the option of playing this piece in a completely non-threatening manner.
You have to change your patter and give up the tried and true guillotine jokes, but you can adapt this easily any audience. And it really sells – , it’s more of a fooler than most choppers and guillotines.
At my venues, I’ve had to give up some beloved routines, including my Dante sword-thru-ncek, sawings, and anything that even looks like a gun. So it’s nice to have a "chopper’ that I can still use, and that really entertains.
Thanks for cluing me into this one, Andy. This is a great utility table that can be used throughout the show, all the while concealing a show-stopping effect. It’s so functional, and so attractive, that it is simply above suspicion.
There are many ways to play the fall-apart feature – comedy, misdirection, mentalism, seance – this is no one-trick pony. It’s the type of prop that everybody should have, but almost nobody does.
One last comment – Jos at Mephisto Magic builds shipping crates that look like furniture, and shipping from Belgium was surprisingly inexpensive and took only 4 days. Can I give this six stars?
This is a very versatile effect that plays well in any venue – from living rooms to stage, and from kids’ shows to bizarre magic.
Astro Ball dates at least to Milson-Worth, which made a version much like the picture, above. Inside the cabinet are a ball and a glass, both sitting on the floor of the cabinet. The cabinet is closed, and when it is opened again, the ball is in the glass. After performing, the cabinet, ball, and glass all may be inspected – your audience will not figure it out.
Astro Ball cabinets are available from a variety of makers, at a wide range of prices. The method generally is the same, with the price reflecting the quality of the cabinetry.
The ball-into-glass is one of the 5 effects included in Stewart James’ famous 1939 Sefalaljia routine. If you want to expand upon the Astro Ball routine, a Sefalaljia cabinet is more expensive, but allows you to add additional effects.
This is basically a Monte Cristo deck, sometimes called The Perfect Force Deck. You can ribbon spread it to appear perfectly normal, yet produce the force card from anywhere in the deck.
After Neil Lester died (Cards by Martin), I searched long and hard to find anther source for these decks, Then along came Mastermind – selling at a great price, and with Bicycle backs to boot. If you ever want to perform a quick, easy, clean ACAAN routine, you can’t beat these decks. Mastermind is available with either of two different force cards – and if you like the routine, you’ll want to own both.
I chased the Contento Jumbo Card Rise for a couple of years as a "must have" effect in my card rise collection. But when I finally found one, it quickly became a performing favorite as well. It’s reliable, the cards are very visible, and the effect is simply magical. It is a beautiful piece and looks great in my collection, but it plays too strong to just sit on the self. Even at the current "collectors’ prices," the Contento Jumbo Card Rise is a bargain!
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