Cris Johnson here back with more magic & fun...the first post for 2011.
Before I get to that, a few quick things....First, on a personal note, I just returnmed from a week-long vacation in Austin, TX, visiting with my friend Rodney and his family. It was a great visit and one I definitely needed.
Yesterday was my first show of the year, an AWESOME middle-school show. Many magicians cringe at the thought of working in front of teens, but personally, I love it!!
The next issue of me free ezine, "Cause & Effects," will go out on February 1st, or something close.:) Sign up for free at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I want to touch upon some 2010 honorable mentions in terms of what I liked best out of the new magic I bought last year...
1 - TASTE - Awesome effect, very reliable. The only reason it did not crack my Top 5 is because I've only performed it 6 times (including yesterday) and as much as possible I try to use something extensively before it cracks my Top List. Regardless, it's awesomely built and I LOVE it. I used it yesterday to stun the kids. Great investment.
2 - Celebrity Smart-Ass - Another winner from Bill Abbott, this is based on the original SmartAss effect but ramped up with a very commercial premise and a smart, tight script with plenty of laugh lines. I haven't performed it yet, but I performed the original Smart Ass around 150 times in the last two years, so I know this one will rock.
3 - Gremlins In A Box - By Peter Loughran, this charming effect has it all: portability, originality and is open to custom routining. It's been out awhile, but I think it's often overlooked by kids' magicians because whenever I do it, the kids go crazy when that box starts shaking.
On to this week's review. It's T-3 by Christopher Taylor. It's available for $349.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=11144
EFFECT: There are so many! Here's a few ideas...
PK-Taste: Imagine four flavors of breath candies, four cups of different beverages, or shakers of salt, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa. You can instantly tell which taste the participant is experiencing.
Remote Viewing: While the performer’s back is turned, the participant places three ordinary objects, such as a pack of candies, a lighter and a key fob, in a line of any order. The performer can instantly reveal the order with no fishing. The effect can be repeated as often as you like.
"Which Pocket?" A participant picks up three ordinary items off the table and places each one into a different pocket (or three participants pick up one object each). The performer instantly reveals where each item is. The performer can then show he predicted where each item would go.
"Which hand is the object in?" From across the room!
"Truth Teller/Liar" No questions need be asked!
WHAT YOU GET: You receive the receiver itself, three transmitters, a plug-in unit to make the receive vibrate as opposed to LED color lights for the coding, a handsome case to carry everything in and a CD-ROM with video instructions, care & feeding, troubleshooting and several routine ideas.
MORE ON THE EQUIPMENT: The three tiny transmitters are each coded to give you a different light LED signal, letting you know which one has been moved. (Yes, this effect and the electronics are based on motion technology). The receiver is set to give you one of three different lighting color 'cues' when a transmitter has been moved. A plug-in vibrator unit is included in case you prefer that method of detection. (As an owner of Taste, that's the route I use.)
The receiver is small, smaller than a deck of cards, so you can hide this in many places. My friend Paul Romhany says he drops his in his breast pocket and simply looks down - easy! I drop mine (with the vibrator control) in my pants pocket and I'm all set.
QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: So far, so good. I've used this in 3 shows and it works perfectly. As long time readers of my blog may remember, I was less than thrilled with Mr. Taylor's Real Ghost, but T-3 is a winner. Very reliable and easy to use.
The only quibble (which Christopher addresses in the instructions) is the issue of sensitivity. There are adjustments of sorts that can be made to adjust the sensitivity, either more or less sensitive, but it's not a wide range of "adjustability," so to speak.
It's not a major headache, but it does mean you'll need good spectator management to keep yourself from getting multiple signals from over-eager and/or playful spectators.
Most impressively, though, is the sheer reliability of the unit. I love this.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: An easy 10 out of 10. Mr. Taylor is a good teacher. The lighting and camera work is just fine. I would have liked to see the equipment used in a live show setting, but that's OK. Mr. Taylor covers all facets of the equipment, including batteries, when you should replace them, troubleshooting, routines and much more. Very thorough and top-notch.
DIFFICULTY: There is ZERO sleight of hand. As a mentalism effect, the electronics give you the information you need, just as a peek wallet or a stooge would. What this gives you that the others do not are freedom from any kind of angle issues (unless you use the LED method) and perfect one-man operation.
The difficulty is not with the operation of the equipment - an easy 1 out of 10 on the technical side, but it does require spectator management, both in terms of selecting the correct spectator (cooperative!) and clarity of instructions on your part.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is an investment that can give you so many effect possibilities that it's staggering. Originally, I wanted to order "Dead Zone Pro," by Andy Nyman, but this offers more possibilties. It's a little on the sensitive side as far as the movement, but that's a necessity in order to make sure you get a signal every time, on time, when you need it. Terrific stuff. 8 out of 10.
Next week, I'll review the new DVD Dresscode, which I'm very impressed with. Also, February will be a special Paul Romhany Month as each week I will review a different Romhany product. Paul's a friend, but I'll try to be objective.:)