Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Car, Murder By Magic Countdown, and REVIEW: Five Minutes With a Pocket Handerchief


Whew, after having over 220,000 miles on my car over the last 6 years, I finally buckled and bought a new car this week. My wife & I were both nervous about the car stranding me on the road with so many miles...especially they were all MY miles!! (I bought it new in 2006).

So this week, I rolled out in my nice new 2012 Hyundai Tucson, the steroid-injected version of my old car!! The sucker is incredible...I can talk to it and tell it who to call, tell it verbally where I want to go, etc. Unreal.

Plus, it's sleek and black, but looks bad-ass, kinda like the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman movies Tumbler vehicle. (OK, I'm a nerd!!)

I wanted to also mention that time is running out to buy my Murder By Magic: The Ultimate Corporate Magic Show program. At the end of the year, I will have the team at Hocus Pocus pull the product. I don't want a zillion people doing it. I've sold a dozen or so to multiple countries around the world, which means you're not going to have a ton of competition. In fact, in years past, I booked a ton of corporate Stage Hypnosis gigs, but despite hypnosis being a "bigger deal" than magic to most HR directors, I actually book Murder By Magic more easily because it's so unique and that's what HR directors and corporate booking agents are looking for: something unique!

So, the clock is ticking!!!

On to this week's review....I decided to review an older product: 5 Minutes With a Pocket Handerchief by Quentin Reynolds. It's available for $29.95 from Hocus Pocus.

Here's the link...

AD COPY: An entire act that fits in your pocket. Featuring the hilarious Magic Mouse.

Quentin Reynolds is a professional magician whose specialty is children's shows. The routine taught on this DVD/Video is the highlight of his show -- a polished five-minute act which is accomplished with nothing more than an ordinary pocket-handkerchief.

You are treated to a live performance in front of a classroom of children where Quentin brings the kids to a frenzy using this handkerchief routine and the many gags and touches which make it a masterpiece. Following the performance you are taught everything you need to know to perform the act.

The routine is a brisk and upbeat sequence of effects that begins with a stretching handkerchief, a series of knots and culminates with the animation of the Magic Mouse. It is adaptable for most performing situations such as stage, parlor, close-up, walk-around, kids, adults, yet it still fits in your pocket and is very easy to do.

Effects and sequences taught:
The Stretching Hank: A handkerchief is stretched to twice its original size.
The Jumping Hank: A handkerchief repeatedly jumps out of your hands and into the audience.
Karrell Fox's Knifty-Knot: No matter how hard you try to tie a knot in the handkerchief it keeps disintegrating.
Karrell Fox's No Not: You finally make a knot but it magically unties when a spectator blows on it.
Stand-Up Hank: The handkerchief is made to stand on end and fall on command.
The Magic Mouse: The handkerchief is folded into a hat, an iron, an earring, a moustache, and finally into a mouse. The mouse is wound up and begins to wiggle its tail. The mouse seems to come to life as it runs up and down your arm, around your neck, and then leaps into the audience -- making them scream with fright. The mouse's tail is pulled and it turns back into a handkerchief. The handkerchief is folded and put back in your pocket. The act is now completely reset for your next show.
In addition to the above you are also taught: Frank Garcia's Iron Gag, Stewart Judah's Watchwinder Gag, tips from George Sands, Harry Blackstone, Sr., Dan Garrett, Martin Gardner, and tons of jokes, gags, by-play, tidbits, and advice which can only be learned from years of continuous performance. Includes a discussion on making the routine even stronger and much more.

Special DVD Features:
An additional 17 minutes of footage discussing presentational ideas, routine development, how to create your own act, a production finale and more.
Instant access to performances and explanations
DVD trailers
Dolby Digital sound
Encoded for worldwide viewing

WHAT YOU GET: A nicely produced video. My copy was a VHS tape because I bought it years ago. I'm considering upgrading to the DVD for the added material. You'll need to provide your own hanky and watch-winding gimmick.

QUALITY OF DVD: The DVD includes a live performance of Quentin performing the act in a school in front of around 40 children. Their reactions are amazing! The rest pf the DVD is Quentin explaining the routine in painstaking detail. The lighting is good, the explanations crystal clear.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: As I mentioned, Quentin leaves no stone unturned. He really goes into incredible detail for such a simple routine from a technical standpoint. The detail he gives without a doubt shows that he has performed this thousands upon thousands of times. He has this routine ingrained into his DNA and has mastered it.

Quick sidebar...I love the fact that he has mastered this routine in the real world. I hate it when I buy a book or DVD and the creator reveals that a particular routine or effect was developed specifically for their lecture tour! I couldn't care less what magicians think of a routine, only paying audiences.

DIFFICULTY: There are some simple folding procedures you'll have to master as well as some simple vanishing knots. You'll also need to rehearse the movement of the mouse. None of this is particularly difficult, but to master these simple demands while maintaining a performing pace will take time. It's not hard, but put some work into a killer 5 minute act and you'll be rewarded in spades!

ANGLES: No problems at all - do it surrounded!!

AGE LEVELS: Quentin says, in addition to parlor/stage kid shows that he sometimes uses this in strolling performances for families. Personally, I feel it shines best in front of kids in a parlor setting. I have used it for audiences up to 100 kids, providing they are close to me and it just kills. In terms of ages, I find it works best for younger children, ages 4-7, so for me I use it most often in child care/daycare shows where it's been the backbone of my act for 8 years.

MY THOUGHTS: This routine is absolutely priceless. If Quentin ever puts out an extensive kids' show course, I'd buy it in an instant. This man KNOWS kids. The routine is funny, with plenty of kid humor and visual gags and when the "mouse comes to life," it generates huge belly laughs and screams that it's an amazing thing to see and experience as a performer.

Quentin understands that kids like to laugh and that 'amazing' magic is really secondary for younger children. The lessons to be learned in this video are legon for the budding kids show performer.

This is an amazing value and receives my highest recommendation. I should also mention that I chose to review this particular product as a way to remind all magicians to explore older products...not just the new stuff.

I still can't believe the reactions this gets...all from a simple hanky.

I should also mention that while I LOVE the watch winding gag and gimmick Quentin uses, when I originally bought the tape I could not find such a gimmick anywhere so I changed the routine and use a squeaker gimmick (usually I just steal one from one of my dog's well-worn doggie toys) and use a squeaker sound instead of the watch winder. If you can find the watch winder gimmick, by all means, use it - the gasps of amazement from the kids is priceless.

OVERALL RATING: This is or should be considered a kids show classic and I can't praise it enough. A perfect 10 out of 10. It simply does not get any better than this.

NEXT WEEK: The latest review of the stellar Paul Romhany booklet series!


Cris Johnson

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cris. Great review of Quentins Routine. Infact he has produced a course in kids entertainment which Pratical Magic in the UK sell.