I'll give a prize of some sort to the person who FIRST emails me the name of the fictional character responsible for that opening line.:)
I'm back...and I've got BIG news!!
First, BOTH my laptop AND my desktop DIED last week, so I'm still learning my way around my shiny new computer! Woo-Hoo!
Last week, I hinted at something new on the horizon and after first making sure I was able to get the items to produce this product in quantities, I'm proud to announce the new Clear-View Airborne!!
You know the effect: it's where the magician floats a glass in the air while pouring liquid into it from a bottle. This has ALWAYS been an audience pleaser and I LOVE the effect...
The problem? Most marketed versions SUCK! (A few weeks back I reviewed what I felt was the WORST one!)
This new version was developed by my wife Libby after hearing me complain for years!
First of all, I'm a kids' performer most of the time and most Airbornes use a wine bottle. THIS version is built into a regular, store-bought water bottle! Due to some changes we've made, we can actually do the effect with a CLEAR water bottle! The method to hook to the glass as it floats is improved, too.
Since this was first designed for me, I can say that this will work GREAT for professionals! Put in some practice and Voila! Float a glass with a CLEAR water bottle!
In short, this is a WINNER! Each of these is handcrafted by my wife and I'm thrilled to say the bottles are already stacking up! We're just waiting on the actual glasses to come in from our supplier. Once they come in, my wife will modify each glass and they'll be ready!
The BEST part? By ordering BEFORE mid-September, you can save $10! Check out the ad description here: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=13716
Or simply check out the HOT NEW ITEMS at www.Hocus-Pocus.com. Paul is REALLY excited by this and I'm thrilled that Paul has been so supportive over the years...after all, I'm not famous.:)
Oh, once again, feel free to sign up for the "Cause & Effects" monthly ezine with performing tips, philosophy and more. Shoot me an email: email@example.com.
On to this week's review...
This week, I tackle Spirit Table by Tim Wisseman. It's available for $549.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the info: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=13071
THE EFFECT: Objects LEAP off of a wooden table! There's no clothe on the table, no strings, and the effect can be done VERY close-up...you could have a spectator rest their NOSE on the table and they wouldn't see a thing! (But don't let them, because they might get smacked in the face by a flying object!)
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You get the gorgeous wooden table that breaks down flat for easy transport - just bring a flat-blade screwdriver. You also receive about three pages of written instructions, complete with full-color photos so you understand exactly how to install the batteries. You receive a bell, Ouija Board & planchette, and a coin. Finally, you receive the remote control, which you can either drop in your pocket or set up for use as a toe switch.
QUALITY: The table is gorgeous - other than the screws to hold the legs on, I could see this passed off as a legit table. The remote & electronics all work perfectly. Within seconds of opening the table, I was making the bell ring, the coin fly off the table and the Ouija planchette fly off the table.
Interestingly, I bought the table in great part because of the Ouija planchette, but I was nervous about the lack of movement of the planchette in the demo video online...well, the video does NOT do it justice as the planchette FLIES!
I was literally giggling like a little kid.
MARKET: If there is a drawback to this wonderful prop, it's the markets in which it will play. Why? With a kids' show, it's going to be hard to justify dragging a wooden table to a birthday party. Let's face it - this prop does not fit with a roll-on table or next to balloons.
This is intended for spooky performances, such as a seance recreation or, as I'm working on, an informational program for teens that explores historical figures such as Lizzie Borden and the Titanic.
So, consider your markets carefully before you invest. In my opinion, this prop is best served for teens or adults.
Or you can have it sitting innocently in your house as a piece of furniture and freak out your friends.:)
ROUTINES: There are no routines supplied, and that's OK. In my eyes, this is an effect that is best served with a story to really build it up with the "kicker" to the story being the object moving.
MY THOUGHTS: I love this, but it does have...I'm not going to say 'weaknesses,' but rather some characteristics to be addressed. (To me they are NOT weaknesses, but I want to cover all bases.)
First, the object that will move must be placed at the center of the table. In my eyes this would make doing multiple effects with the table in one show a tad bit suspect. Therefore, in my case, I'll only be making one object move per show...but to me, that's GREAT.
Here's why....The table is sturdy enough to serve, in the CORRECT setting, as a small performance table. Do a Tarot card effect. Do a Living/Dead test, all on this classy looking table...then at the end, with your audience in the right frame of mind, primed, as it were, make the object jump as a great 'kick' to end your performance!
Another consideration: for MAXIMUM power, the electronics inside need to 'recharge' for 10 seconds or so before the next 'trigger.' This is NOT something you need to do - hit your remote to make the bell ring or another object LEAP off the table, wait 10 seconds and hit it again and you'll get the same effect. This is good to know in the case of the bell ringing...you can in fact make the bell ring multiple times, but there's going to be a pause in between. To me, that means that answering yes or no questions is out because you really can't have two or more rings right on top of each other. (I did find that after only 5 seconds, I could still get the bell to ring or an object to move, just not as much - still VERY impressive.)
Again, I don't see any of this as a weakness. To me, the first time something moves by itself, it's surprising or shocking or magical. Each time after that, the effect is diminished, until it becomes a curiosity. To my thinking, making four or five coins fly off the table would kill this effect. As Eugene Burger said in regards to 'spirit or spooky' presentations, less is more.
Another reason why I like the idea of using the table as an innocent platform throughout the show before the ending PK movement is the table then becomes invisible. The LAST thing you want to do is call attention to it - I think if your story refers to this "old, mysterious haunted table," you're in deep trouble from a presentation standpoint.
The only reason I mention any of this is because I am so excited by this piece. At the end of December, I plan on doing a "Top Ten" list of my favorite items that I've reviewed and this is definitely on the list.
My highest recommendations and a perfect 10 out of 10.
Until next time, send all thoughts, comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.