Whew, back again for my final review of the day and then it's back to the couch as I continue to recover from the flu!
This is one of those gems that has been out for a while, but I wanted to touch upon some close-up stuff in my intial reviews here at Hocus Pocus and I also wanted to review something I have personally used, so Branded was a no-brainer.:)
THE EFFECT: A card is selected and after burning his thumb and forefinger, the performer shows that two blisters have morphed into the value and suit of the selected card!
This is available at Hocus Pocus and the full ad copy can be found here: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=10067.
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive very clear, detailed DVD instructions by Greg Wilson. Purchasers of Greg's other DVDs (such as Hundy 500) know that Greg always does a superb job teaching a routine. You also receive two extremely durable props that enable you to do the "dirty work." You'll need to purchase one disposable Bic lighter. The two included gimmicks allow you to choose which size lighter you can use.
VALUE: For $39.95, the fee is FAIR - The gimmicks are TOUGH. You could probably throw these off the roof of your house and they wouldn't break. Don't try it, though.:) The DVD instructio is great and it's always a plus to see live performances of an effect.
What's neat about one of the gimmicks is the fact that with one gimmick, you can have a regular, round blister appear on your thumb and finger and you can also force (yes, the card selection is forced!) up to three different cards without changing gimmicks.
Greg points out that he feels the smaller lighter gimmick, that only allows you to force one card, is the one "workers" will use as they simply (typically) go from table to table. From personal experience, I find I get more use out of the three-force card-gimmick, as at a corp event, I'll do the effect, someone will flip out, and then 'herd' me over to a co-worker. Obviously, doing the effect with a different card is advisable in these cases! For me, this is where Branded truly shines.
There are among performers about the "believablity" of the idea of a blisters forming into cards or existing blisters THEN forming into cards (hence the inclusions of the regular round blister gimmicks) but the fact is, the choice is yours and Tim Trono was wise enough to design his gimmicks to enable performers to make their own choice.
DIFFICULTY: You'll need to be able to force a card. Greg covers a good card force here, which in some cases may seem odd, but in the framework of the routine (dealing with blisters on your hands) it makes sense. The force does play, but I've elected to use a different handling. The actual work of getting the blisters on your fingers is not difficult - more one of timing and audience management.
Oh, and there's no pain.:)
OVERALL REVIEW: I've received great responses from this effect, but this is not one of my "Top 3" effects when I do strolling because it is unsettling to some corporae audiences and totally inappropriate for children's gigs.
I'll give this a 9.9 out of 10. The only reason I take off a .1 of the score is the use of fire and the somewhat unsavory nature of the effect. It can be quite unsettling to some people. With the recent craze of street magic (or as Eugene Burger calls it, "ambush magic," I fear there will be a ton of people running around performing this for inappropriate audiences.
It's a GREAT effect, a great value, but care must be used when deciding when to perform it.
Next week, I'll be back with a comparison of the Magellan Master leviation vs. Fearson's Fantastic Flotation and John Archer's Blindfold Tips.
As always, if you send me review requests, I'll get on it. Email me at email@example.com.