Sunday, December 30, 2012

LAST DAY for Murder By Magic and 2012 Year In Review

Howdy dear readers!

I'm publishing this blog on the evening of December 30th, 2012, which means you now have ONE DAY left to invest in Murder By Magic: The Ultimate Corporate Magic Show. After that, it disappears FOREVER!

As I've done in years past, this column will focus on my "top ten" list from reviewed products in 2012. To restrict myself, I've stayed with new items, either released in 2012 or at least new to ME. I've also rated them on the basis of the quality of each item, the impact on my own performing biz and other, random, completely non-scientific methods. Additionally, all props listed here are available from Hocus Pocus - Here we go...

1. Electronic Flashbox by Peter Loughran

This was my personal top pick for the year. I dropped this into my Self-Esteem magic show for schools - as my CLOSER, no less- and the results have been incredible. People love it, the prop is 100% reliable, looks great on stage, gets a helluva reaction...what more can I ask? A stellar piece by a guy who constantly puts out great stuff. I've used it around 40 times or so in front of audiences of kids from 200-500 and it always slays them.

2. The Big Opener by Andy Nyman

This came REALLY close to being my fav pick of the year simply because it takes a LOT for a new trick/routine/prop to crack the starting line-up of my strolling/close-up magic set list. This effect, a re-invention of a classic, by Andy Nyman has earned my respect. It's now my go-to effect in my strolling set list. The old cliche of "If I only have time to do ONE effect for a group..." holds true here. While my own Perfect Corporate Opener (available in my Cause & Effects book series) is my favorite overall effect in my strolling set, I actually really enjoy using this if I only have time to do one trick for a group simply because this WILL get cheers and applause every time.

3. Briefcase Table by JL

While not a "trick" or "routine," this is nevertheless a terrific all-purpose performing case/table base for a small parlor type act or full length mentalism show. This looks great on stage, is sturdy, spacious and very professional. While I rarely can fit an entire act into this case (hey, I like big props!!) for the times and situations I could, this baby ROCKS. In particular, I had a Stress Reduction talk for a corporate group in Milwaukee earlier this month and I walked in with JUST this case and did a one hour program easily out of this sucker. Highly recommended.

4. SPOTS by Michael Ross & Bill Abbott

This rates so high on my list purely because of the awesome handling Michael provides. I always enjoy studying another pro's improvements on a classic and the handling alone warrants a good look at this release. The handling completely fools me and while the script is nothing to get excited about, the 'fool 'em factor' on this is very high.

5. Gypsy Balloon by Tony Clark

Again, this is a re-invention of a classic and brilliantly rendered for stage shows of large audiences. Beautiful, visual, elegant and an easy technical handling makes this an instant classic.

6. Multiplying Rum Bottles by Reg Donnelly & Paul Romhany

After my Harries Magic bottles got too dented and banged up from years of abuse, I got these mostly because the white bottles really 'pop' from stage in terms of visibility. After 50 or so uses this year, not only have they held up extremely well but the smooth handling ensures ease of operation. A GREAT buy, and the option of producing two Coke cups at the end can offer the buyer a cool kicker at the end.

7.Astor Epic

The Mental Epic seems to be one of the props every would-be mentalist owns and often after a person thinks they are getting 'serious' that they drop it. This release is marvelous because there is NO force of any kind and the 'dirty work' is unbelievable simple and the solution for the third revelation is a reliable mechanical marvel. The only reason it does not rate higher is because this prop hardly appears natural in any sense and thus I myself feel comfortable using - as I mix magic & mentalism effects constantly - but pure mentalists will shy away from the look of the prop.

8. The Real Deal by Paul Romhany

If you're a professional or if you WANT to be a professional, you NEED this book. Period.

9. Professional Backdrop System

When this is set up, this looks REALLY nice! The 'break down' is mere seconds, so this is really nice for the guy who has to pack up quick for another show. I certainly made fun of the instructons for this, as they are truly awful abnd laughable, but the product itself is well built and looks great. I'd rate it higher, but its very bulky and a pain to find room for in your vehicle. Still, I've used it 40 or so times since I bought it and it really does look great.

10. Jitters by Peter Loughran & Sean Bogunia

A clear labor of love on the part of both guys. This looks great, is reliable, and has the potential to be very scary! This 'speaks' to me (pun intended) because of my love of spooky and Bizarre magic. While I haven't had the opportunity to use it in a live show yet, I can rest easy knowing when the opportunity rises, I'll have an incredible toolbox of goodies to enhance a spooky performance.

Until next week, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Year-End Review, Murder By Magic and REVIEW: Spots DVD & Script by Michael Ross, Produced & Directed by Bill Abbott

Howdy Everyone!

Cris Johnson here and I have to say I'm excited...tomorrow is my LAST show til after the New Year, so I finally get some tough off to finish setting up my wonderful new hypnosis office!

A couple of notes on upcoming week I'll be doing my annual 'top ten' of 2012. as with years past, since I do not review ALL the new stuff out there, this list is hardly scientific or all-inclusive, but simply a list of the goodies I liked best for the year.

Then, I'll be reviewing the following: Black Box by John Kennedy, Blank Night by John Archer and Rubik's Nightmare DVD. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you may remember that several months ago I mentioned reviewing the Black Box. I'll admit that I've been dragging my feet on reviewing that one because I glanced at the instruction sheet and found the type size too damn small. the instructions also seemed confusing to me at first glance. So this may not bode well for the review but I'm FINALLY going to get to it!!

Also, today is December 19th, and Murder By Magic will be GONE at the end of the month so if you've been thinking about getting this, order ASAP!!!!

OK, now on to this week's review: Spots by Michael Ross and directed by Bill Abbott. It's available for $49.95 from Hocus Pocus.

AD COPY: "When I was 14 years old I saw Michael Ross perform at the anniversary party of a local magic shop here in Toronto. One of the pieces he performed was his original presentation and handling for the spot card that baffled me completely. Even though I had a version of the same prop at home, Michael seemed to make the spots appear like magic and more incredibly with audience members on all sides of him! I am so proud to offer this complete package with Norm Nielsen's beautiful handmade Dynamo spot card and Michaels unparalleled routine. I have added this routine to my show and now you can too." - Bill Abbott

The Effect
The performer explains that he will place the audience under a mild hypnotic spell and demonstrate an optical illusion in the form of a card with four(?) sides. True to form the magician proceeds to show a large black domino-like card with white spots. One spot on one side, four on the other, then three on the third(?) side and six (?) on the other! This is shown two more times and then the performer explains the psychological and manual manipulation that creates the illusion of a four sided card. Due to the way the card is held the spots are either displayed or covered by the fingers and the minds of the audience create the illusion of a four sided card. Then things get strange when the performer shows that the illusions have become a reality and spots start magically appearing at every turn of the card. Finally in one final turn of the card, it is suddenly filled with white dots bringing the routine (and hypnotic spell!) to a mind blowing conclusion!

An Introduction
The spot card has been an unsung standard in the repertoire of many professional performers, including magic superstar David Copperfield. Michael Ross, under the stage name of Merlin, has developed the perfect fusion of elegant technique and engaging performance unlike any other spot card routine. With Michael's handling you can perform this up close and completely surrounded as Michael often has in the over 30 years of performing this routine. On the street, at a house party or for 2500 on a theatre stage, Spots is truly a pack small play anywhere routine.

SPOTS Pro Package Includes:
- Printed scripts for both the adult routine and the family routine.

A 60 minute DVD featuring:

A Live Performance
Michael performs the routine for an adult audience at an intimate private party. You will experience how Spots plays for a modern audience of professionals in a house party environment.

A Personal History
Michael shares his initial inspiration for the optical illusion presentation from a Pavel effect and his discontent with the traditional spot card handling that led to SPOTS Michael's original spot card technique.

Routines, Audiences & Venues
Michael has performed this routine for every kind of audience and in every kind of environment. Children audiences, family audiences, corporate audiences, comedy clubs and even silently to music. Michael explains how he has used SPOTS as a great segue piece, a lead in into the Invisible Deck or to the Torn & Restored Newspaper effect. The idea, the premise and the patter sets everything up for the tricks he performs during his show. Michael dissects the guaranteed laugh points during the routine, how to play the optical illusion sequence to get a laugh and then how to get two steps ahead of the audience into the multiple spots.

An Audience Proven Routine
This is a not a trick that Michael has performed on dozens of show, or hundreds of shows but a staple in his repertoire he has performed for thousands of shows over the course of 30 years. Michael explains how SPOTS became an audience tested and audience proven effect over years of experience.

Why The Dynamo Card?
Initially using the Tenyo's What's Next spot card Michael explains why he switched to the Nielsen Dynamo spot card due to visibility under various stage lighting, better audience sight lines and the deceptive nature of the method at close quarters. Michael has used the Dynamo card in 5,000 seat venues and up close in house party venues, and it works these environments and everything in between.

The SPOTS Method & Handling
Michael shows how the standard handling and method for the spot card had to be re-worked to achieve the impact that he wanted the trick to have on his audiences. He explains how to hold the card so it doesn't block the audience's view of your face and how to be sure everyone can view the changes and transformations from any angle, even from behind! The surrounded handling is explained and demonstrated so that all the secret movements become invisible no matter where your audience is situated. Even if you don't ever perform this surrounded Michael explains why learning the 'surrounded technique' makes for a better rehearsal experience and overall theatrical competence. Vertical and horizontal positioning of the card for psychological reasons is clarified and explained to get maximum impact from the audiences viewpoint. Getting precise spot movement and how to adjust on the fly if needed is demonstrated in detail.

Walk-Through from The Performers View
A complete routine sequence from the performer's point of view to nail the necessary hand positions perfectly for rehearsal. Every nuance of how to perform the routine and the important "why's" of every aspect are also explained.

Practice Sequence from the Front & from Behind
The routine sequence performed silently from the front (audience view) and then from behind (performer's view), to practice along with. This will help you get the hand positions into your physical memory and get you up and running that much faster.

Adding Glue or Wax to Perfect Your Technique
Michael explains how he used drops of glue or wax when he first performed the routine to help line up the spots by feel under fire. This may be of great help when adapting the routine into your repertoire for the first few performances.

Adult Routine Studio Performance
The entire routine utilizing the adult script (included) is performed for the camera in the studio.

Family Routine Studio Performance
The complete family routine with family script (included) is performed for the camera in the studio.

Set-Up & Prop Placement
Pre-show spot set-up for both sides of the cards and how to get the card in and out of the bag without upsetting the set-up. How and where to place the card before your performance to ensure a safe, secure and exposure-free placement of the prop.

Care & Cleaning
Using the card's felt carrying case Michael shows how to get rid of unwanted fingerprints on the card before performance that sometimes show up under stage lighting.

Conversation with Bill Abbott
Bill Abbott and Michael Ross discuss their professional relationship over the years and how Michael's performance of SPOTS made a strong impact on Bill early on in his performance career. A wide variety of topics are touched on and commented on including; performance commitment vs. strong material, how audiences sometimes resent applause cues, producing laughs by expressing an audience's inner thoughts, letting an audience enjoy the moment, SPOTS as a 'tester' routine for audiences, and much, much more.

NOTE: The SPOTS package is supplied with scrript and DVD only and DOES NOT include dynamo spot card!

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: a 60 minute DVD and printed scripts.

QUALITY OF DVD: Like most of Bill Abbott's DVDs, this is a high quality release. The lighting, camera angles, etc are all fantastic. Just great stuff.

MY THOUGHTS: Since this is a DVD release without any physical props, I'm going to skip all of the separate categories on angles, etc. In short, this DVD is about performing the old "What's Next,' "Spot" card, whatever version is out there, this performance will work just fine.

Full Disclosure: I originally bought Spots from Bill Abbott directly months ago and at that time, he included The Nielsen Magic spot card and I feel it's the best out there. Royal Magic has a cheesy version out there which will not last long - trust me. A friend of mine, decades ago, fooled me badly with the Whats Next card, but the Nielsen one is superb.

I had performed this here and there as a young magician but like most classic stuff, I set it aside without a tremendous amount of thought...with so many of us, we're so quick to ditch the classics when we're younger!

Anyway, the reason I bought Spots is because I have always had a fondness for the effect but never cared for the "supplied" handlings. Michael Ross' handling is AMAZING and he fooled me badly with the effect even though I owned a version of the prop. That, dear readers, is a GREAT feeling!

The DVD covers 'care & feeding' of your prop, angles, prop management, performance theory and a lot of somewhat esoteric stuff, some of which I agree with and some I definitely don't but it's good food for the brain.

As with most of Abbott's releases, at the end of the instruction part of the DVD he includes a "conversation with" whomever is the subject of the DVD. Often, this is where the best stuff is hidden. I found Michael Ross to be an engaging, intelligent guy who obviously takes this stuff very seriously.

Back to his handling for a moment - if you have ever received the so-so reactions to this effect (as I have) I can assure you that Ross' handling will work in any situation. I've used his handling at a few birthday parties, in front of 500 kids at a school and all points in between. I've had people  three quarters of the way around me (I avoid surrounded performances) and I've always had complete confidence that I would NOT get busted.

I really love and appreciate the amount of thought that went into a classic that many of us would toss aside.

Okay, that's the good stuff, but now I want to discuss the negative - for me personally, I felt Michael's scripting was lacking. There was not anything wrong with it per se, but it did not jump out at me, either. There's a couple of somewhat amusing lines and in truth the family and adult scripts are nearly identical - by omitting a reference to drinking, you've almost got his family script.

There's a few set up lines outlining the effect to follow and then it's mostly exposition - "Four spots on this side, three on this side," etc. Just very basic stuff.

I don't mean to pick on Michael and it's obvious that he put a lot of time into this effect, having performed it thousands of times, and I know in a given show that not every effect I do will necessarily have Pultitzer prize scripting, but in my humble opinion, this release is absolutely worth buying for the handling alone - Ross has really made some great innovations. His scripting is just OK. Nothing wrong with it but not earth-shattering, clever or even memorable.

The 'extras' such as the care and feeding, prop management, and especially the conversation with Abbott are all worthy things to search out on the DVD.

RATING: 8 out 10 - great handling, great value.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Murder By Magic is Almost Gone and REVIEW: Amazing Twenty Dollar Bill Trick by Hal Spear and Paul Romhany

Hi all!

Sorry for the delay in my last post. A few updates...

My hypnosis office is FINALLY FINISHED! This is something that's been in the works for several months now. We took over the building from the former tenant in October and since then , my wife and I have been in there in our spare time which has been quite rare since her hair salon is crazy-busy and the 4th quarter of every year is always my most insane time of the year in terms of performing...but now it's done - the city came through and gave us the official 'stamp of approval' so I can legally open my doors. So, if you're in the Niagara Falls area and need to quit smoking, lose weight, etc., visit our site -

Today is December 11th and that means there's only a few weeks left to invest in my Murder By magic - The Ultimate Corporate Magic Show package. After December 31st, it gets pulled forever.

On to this week's review: The Amazing $20 Bill Trick by Hal Spear and Paul Romhany. It's available for $39.95 and is available from Hocus Pocus.

Here's the ad copy:

"When Hal showed me a tape of this hilarious new confusion routine, I said this is the substitute for banana/bandana I've been looking for."-- Paul Romhany

Explaining that he is trying out a new trick, the performer follows along to an instructional CD only to have the volunteer's borrowed and signed twenty dollar bill totally destroyed. The instructional CD is no help as it ends abruptly, telling the performer if he wants to learn the secret to magic Lesson number two - he has to buy magic lesson number three!

Left with no recourse, the Magician says he's going to let the volunteer keep the Amazing Twenty Dollar Bill Trick as pay back.

Now get this - the volunteer, who has been holding the box the Amazing Twenty Dollar Bill Trick came in the entire time, is asked by the Magician as a last ditch effort to check inside for the trouble-shooting DVD. The spectator opens the package, takes out the DVD case, opens it where inside is a sealed windowed envelope that says TROUBLE SHOOTING. But wait - seen inside the window of the sealed envelope is a signed twenty dollar bill. And yes - lo and behold - it is the spectator's signed twenty dollar bill!

After our performer screams that he's returning the trick in the morning - the Voice Over pops back on for one last word - very funny, unexpected closer.

This is just the basic effect. The Amazing Twenty Dollar Bill Trick is filled with comedic twists and turns and is soo easy to do!

Comprehensive DVD with Paul's handling and bonus ideas. Quality made CD with professional voice over including two shorter versions of the routine and the full seven minute version. Quality made props.

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive the instructional DVD and an audio CD with three different versions of the routine recorded. You also receive a "Cheap Tricks" DVD case for use in the routine, some envelopes and other things.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTIONS: Like Paul's other DVD releases, the instructions are top-notch in terms of clarity, understanding the effect, etc. The lighting is good and you can see & hear everything. This is not L&L studio-quality stuff, but for my liking, it doesn't need to be. Paul is one of the busiest and most respected professionals working world wide so I don't need some over-reacting L&L audience.:)

DIFFICULTY: I am very pleased to report that the 'difficulty' level of this routine is insanely easy from a technical standpoint. Additionally, Paul offers up a few even EASIER options (with NO reduction in the amazement level of the routine) for guys like me who really just want the easiest thing imaginable. In a recent email conversation Paul & I had recently, we both agreed we generally wanted the easiest methods possible for new effects as we both constantly try to anticipate and thus plan for anything that could go wrong. When you're a working pro and you count on successful shows to pay your mortgage, you can't afford to take chances. People pay for success!

QUALITY OF CD TRACKS: The original routine is quite long, around 7 minutes on the first CD track. It has some really good jokes and in particular has a moment or two where the audio recording apparently 'hears and reacts' to the live performer, which I thought was really cool. Additionally, the voice actor recording the track is quite good in terms of acting and cadence. Ultimately, I do agree with Paul's own assessment on the instructional DVD that the track is really too long. I myself have recently began taking notes about what I can chop out using my free Audacity audio recording program because I really like the voice actor, but if you're not into playing around with that stuff like I am, Paul has also provided on the CD two much shorter tracks - one in a female's voice and another in Paul's own voice. Both tracks are also quite good.

MY THOUGHTS: I feel this is a fine addition to the "Magician plays an instructional magic CD for the audience" plot most popularized by the Vanishing Bandanna. This may not be a show stopper, but it's a fine middle effect and the use of the CD recording always livens up any show as it's something different to add texture to a show.

Also, and on a personal note, I want to add that when this effect first came out, some folks attacked Paul's acting on the DVD, claiming his mugging and reactions to the CD was childish. Two things on that - first, after watching the DVD, I did not get that feeling and two, Paul often performs for 2000 people at a time so a certain degree of 'projection' is necessary.

Personally, I thought he was just fine.

Again, I REALLY liuke this. Not a showstopper, but a worthy addition to my family shows. 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

REVIEW: Mona Lisa 2

Hi Everyone!

This week's blog is actually a little early! My late-week gets pretty crazy, so I decided to do the blog early. Let's get right to it - this week's review is Mona Lisa 2 by Alpha Magic, it's available for a special 30% off - $315.00.

Here's the ad copy:

Long unavailable. Through an exclusive arrangement with the mfg. we have purchased all remaining inventory of this incredible effect and are offering you this last chance to obtain one at an incredible 30% OFF! Supply is limited so don't delay...Order yours today!

This brand new version of this classic effect is available again. The Mona Lisa 2 now offers two performance options!

The Effect:

A volunteer from the audience examines the pieces of the puzzle and independently selects one out of 100 completely differently shaped pieces. Once this has been done the magician exposes the puzzle, which is missing one piece. To the audience's amazement, the piece that the volunteer chooses, is precisely the missing piece!!!

This simple and direct effect is what will make this an instant classic in the world of magic! You receive the beautiful fully golden framed puzzle of the Mona Lisa, the extra puzzle pieces,the special something that allows the trick to work,velvet puzzle cover, protective transport case,full performance music on CD and a full "Mona Lisa Routine."

This elegant magical mentalism piece will be the hit in your next performance. Imported from overseas just for you, order Mona Lisa 2 today!

The Kit Includes:
A 100-piece picture puzzle of the "Mona Lisa"
A unique gimmick with unique puzzle pieces
A black velvet fabric cover
A custom case
A classical music CD

QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: I bought the first version of this about 10 years ago, right before I went full time as a performer. 10 years later, it still looks like new. Everything is so well made and besides, the protective travel case keeps everything looking great. This is made to last, for true traveling pros.

ANGLES: Although you could do this surrounded in terms of The Secret, the fact is that the revelation is really best for audiences seated right in front of you. It is a visual revelation, after all.

DIFFICULTY: In terms of technical skill, this is indeed one of those "do it right out of the box" type of tricks. Obviously there's a certain level of performance that's needed. You can rest assured that your efforts can be directed toward connecting with your audience.

MARKETS: Here's the cool thing about this bit o' mental my experience of performing this for 10 years, I've found that adult audiences, teens, and even elementary kids can appreciate the effect. I've performed this for corporate groups, daytime school assemblies and night time family shows. It plays well for all of them.

MY THOUGHTS: From what I've said thus far, you should be able to tell that I really like this effect. The props look great and the puzzle pieces themselves are large enough for big audiences. Once you find out how it works, you'll definitely have one of those "oh, I could have thought of this" moments. That being said, everything is so well made and the high visibility of the props really adds a visual element to the effect. Additionally, unlike the version I bought 10 years ago, this version gives you TWO options so you could do this for repeat audiences.

10 out of 10.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holidays and REVIEW: Briefcase Table by JL

The holidays are upon us!!

Welcome back, dear readers. Sorry about the delay with the blog the last couple of weeks. Between my performing schedule and getting the new hypnosis office open, it's been pretty hectic around here. Add in a bout of serious flu this past week, and I have been amazed at how fast time flies!

It's the end of October and that means the year is just about over...and that means there's only one month left to make the investment for my incredible "Murder By Magic: The ULTIMATE Corporate Magic Show." At the end of this year, it will be pulled...forever!

On to this week's's The Briefcase Table by JL. It's available for $229.95 from Hocus Pocus.

Here's the description:

This Heavy Duty Professional briefcase table is beautifully made with top quality materials to insure a lifetime of use. If you are a working professional you will appreciate all of the upgrades that lesser quality tables do not offer.

Take a look at these great features.
Double braced chrome plated tripod Stand.
Black Velvet like storage bag
Thick rubber feet
Extra large heavy duty flange (attached to case)
Heavy duty flange (attached to top of stand)
Full height adjustability
Lined case to protect against scratches
Storage pockets
No wobbling
Built to last a lifetime

Briefcase Dimensions Approximately: 3.5" x 12.5" x 18"

Table Height when assembled Approximately: 24" to 36" (Adjustable)

WHAT YOU GET: You get the briefcase itself, with the mount on the bottom for the stand. The case itself has inner pockets to store props, too. You also receive the adjustable stand with a velvet bag.

MY THOUGHTS: Since this is not a 'trick' I will get right to my thoughts. This case and stand combo is REALLY well made. It has the silver corner protectors in the 'musical equipment roadcase' style that is popular these days.

The stand itself is super stable and the overall look of this combo means your show will really look stylish - so much more so than a traditional briefcase, which is what many magicians use.

I myself typically travel with a lot more equipment than will typically fit into a briefcase, but lately I've been re-visiting Dan Harlan's Pack Flat, Play Big series of DVDs and I know that some day I will be downsizing my show into something a bit more manageable and this case will completely fit the bill.

RATING: This is an incredible value as a great way to both transport your show - either all or part of it, depending on your style - and as a way to perform in a way that is stylish and modern. 10 out of 10.

Sorry about the short review this week, but the way my schedule is, it's hard keepin up.:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

REVIEW: Creature Shock by Peter Loughran

Hello all!

Well, election day has come and gone....I'm just glad that I won't have all of those damn political messages clogging up my answering machine.:)

Just a quick reminder that Murder By Magic is available again here at Hocus Pocus but ONLY until the end of the year and then it is GONE forever. It really is the ULTIMATE corporate magic show and can easily play for 400, 200 or 20 people! Pros around the world who have made the investment continue to praise it. The clock is ticking.:)

On to this week's review: Creature Shock by Peter Loughran. It's available from Hocus Pocus for $699.

AD COPY: The performer introduces a small magical chest and explains to the audience that this chest is actually a portal or a gateway to another dimension, and this is how magicians have been making animals and objects appear in their magic acts for centuries. He will now reveal to the audience how the magical gateway works and will now demonstrate the illusion.

The performer introduces several playing cards that have different names of animals on them that a magician might produce or make appear in their magic acts, for example a Dove, Rabbit, Canary etc. He has someone in the audience select a playing card, and show everyone what they have picked. The card is shown to have the word "Rabbit" written on it.

The performer now opens the chest and shows it to be completely EMPTY. The chest is closed and then the door is opened and a rabbit is pulled out of the box just like magic! The audience is thrilled but wants to see more, so the magician offers to do it again, and this time they can select a different card.

The next card is turned over, but to the magician's horror, the card says "Gorilla". The performer seems confused and starts to utter..."What does that card say?...A Gorilla? the heck could a Gorilla fit inside this small...." Then before the magician has a chance to finish his sentence, the small chest starts shaking violently out of control, the front door busts open and a giant Gorilla arm comes lunging out towards the audience, and reaches for them and the magician. The magician, frantically struggles, but manages to somehow contain the beast and close the door. The chest still shaking wildly, the performer decides to ditch the prop, and move on to a much easier and less dangerous card trick.

A hilarious and action packed routine great for all ages, full of laughs and surprises, a guaranteed hit at your next show.

You can use any small animal or object that will fit inside the load area instead of a rabbit. The inside boasts a clear coat armor finish that makes it virtually stain proof and animal droppings will easily be cleaned up after each show.

You can show the box empty before the first production, and then show it again empty after the first production and before the gorilla makes its appearance. It is also possible to once again show the box empty after the gorilla has been contained.

Creature Shock is fully self contained, and requires no special clothing, just pick it up and perform it, simple as that. Sets up and Resets in about 1 minute and is very easy to do. Built like a professional illusion and tricked out in polished aluminum.

Creature Shock is very deceptive from just a couple of feet away, and great to perform up close or on stage. Just as people begin to think the gorilla arm might be, being animated by simple puppetry, you turn so that the audience can see both hands are still on the outside of and still holding the chest. The Gorilla arm itself also appears much longer than any of your own arms which only add to the impossible appearance of the illusion.

Packs small and plays big!
No animals were harmed in the making of Creature Shock; however some of the humans didn't make it.

Creature Shock comes with professionally built illusion chest, playing cards, and instructions.

This illusion is built on order, please allow 2-4 weeks turnaround time

Custom ATA Case - Please add USD $199.99

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive the specially designed box itself and written instructions along with routining ideas.

QUALITY: I love the fact that not only is Peter's stuff modern-looking (no damn dragons spraypainted!) but by adding the silver metal corner protectors, the box is well-protected. The written instructions are very detailed - the workings are so simple that Peter could have done the 'one sheet treatment' with this release but he goes into much more detail.

DIFFICULTY: This is one of those effects that from a technical standpoint is really easy, maybe a 1 on a 10-scale of difficulty, but the true secret of this effect is selling the idea that a gorilla is trying to get out of the box. You'll need to do some acting and work on your blocking, which leads me to...

ANGLES: The angles are quite good on this for the first production of the animal or whatever you produce the first time, but for the gorilla, you want your audience in front of you. If you have audience members sitting on the sides or in back, you'll be busted. In my opinion, while the trick is deceptive from up close, the angles on this will keep me doing this strictly on stage where audiences are more easily controlled (as opposed to birthday shows!)

AGES: I feel this effect may be too scary for daycare-age kids, but thus far in my performances, kids of a wide range react really well to it! So far I've used it for audiences from K to 5th grade and the responses have been incredible.

MY THOUGHTS: The first time I did this, the audience lost their minds! The screams and laughter blew me away! I did it early on in the show and when I was building to my big climax trick, several kids in the audience called out, "Bring back the gorilla!" That was REALLY cool, as I had held off on ordering this effect until I  had a place for it in one of my school assembly shows. Once I found the right place for it however, it fit like a glove.

One thing I should mention - if you do this as a way to produce a live animal, make sure your animal is not a 'chewer,' as the first time I performed this, I used a rat and the little beast chewed a hole in the gorilla hand! The secret compartment where the animal is hidden is the same place where the gorilla arm is.

In my case, I simply switched to producing a non-live animal for the first production. After making that switch, the quality & reaction to the effect did NOT drop at all as the nature of the production (based as it is on a fantastic classic principle) is so deceptive that pulling anything out of the 'empty' box is mindblowing.

RATING: Peter Loughran continues to deliver big-time with his releases and this is no different. 10 out of 10.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Updates on Several Effects and REVIEW: Hathaway Card Rise by Martin Lewis


Before I get into this week's review, I want to 'flashback' to a few effects I've reviewed previously and let everyone know how my opinions of the these effects have held up (or not) as I continue to use them in my professional work...

Peter Loughran's Electronic Flashbox: When I initially reviewed this item, I had only performed it twice but the reactions were incredible. This week I've been performing it all week, two schools a day, two shows per school, so this thing has really got an intense workout at my schools this week. After all of these performances, I am even more convinced this is one of the best things I've purchased in a long time!

Triangle of Terror by Keith Fields: Like the flashbox above, this beauty has really got a workout this week and the reactions are astonishing - screams, and then spontaneous applause by kids and adults. Great concept for a routine!

Freefall by Andrew Mayne: I gave this a favorable review when I wrote it up but at that time I had not performed it yet. As longtime readers of my blog know, I am not impressed with most of the things I've seen from Mayne. However, after performing Freefall 15 times this week for audiences of around 300 kids at a time, I can say that Freefall, in my opinion, is one of the best things Mayne has put out. This series of schools had already seen my other opening effects in previous shows (Bowl-A-Rama and my Parasol Act) so I needed a new opener for these schools. Freefall is amazing and can definitely move into my "A" material.

On to this week's review - it's Martin Lewis' Hathaway Card Rise. It's available for $195 from Hocus Pocus.

Here's the ad copy:

Hathaway's remarkable contribution to the rising cards trick has become a classic of its genre. This astonishing effect is not only deceptive and practical but highly visible too, making it most effective for stage or parlor presentation.

Three cards rise up from an examined jumbo deck which is inside a clear houlette suspended on ribbons held by you and a spectator - under seemingly impossible conditions - yet totally under your control. The self-contained apparatus is both sturdy and attractive and built to Martin Lewis' exacting standards. This is the quality you have come to expect from Martin's Magikraft Studios.

Included is an instructional DVD by Martin Lewis, showing a live performance for an audience of 700. Martin explains in his clear and informative manner the working details and variations which "sell" the effect to the audience. And he should know, the trick having been in his act for over 30 years.

WHAT YOU GET: You get the card holder itself (with gimmicks), plus a jumbo deck of playing cards and an instructional DVD.

QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: I've been using mine off and on for around 5 years and everything has held up great. My stuff looks brand new.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Martin Lewis really is one of magic's great creators and teachers. While the Card Rise concept is not original with Lewis, he's really modernized it for today's performers. He teaches many subtle aspects of the effect including routining, pacing, handling and more. He also covers the hows and whys of altering the revelations as by the time the third card rises, the audience knows what to expect and are no longer amazed. Some of Lewis' suggestions in that regard are truly inspired. Truly a joy. Also, the DVD includes a live performance of Martin doing the routine on a cruise ship in front of several hundred spectators - always a convincer to guys like me!

ANGLES: This routine is terrific and if you alter the final card (three cards rise), then you could do this surrounded. If you do the third card rise as Martin does, you cannot have anyone directly behind you. The point is, you have options.

AGES: I have performed this in both family shows where the audience ranges 2 - 90 in age and as I currently do it now, I primarily perform it for grades 3 - 5. It slays audiences each time.

MY THOUGHTS: The reason I'm reviewing this (it's hardly a new release) is for two reasons: one, I've been performing it all week for a specific themed show so it's fresh on my mind and two, I really feel that many magicians out there are always chasing after the latest new thing. So often we forget all of the great magic that's been out for a while.

Besides the fact that the work during performance is drop dead easy, I really appreciate the fact that this effect includes multiple revelations - in other words, because three cards rise, there are multiple points of astonishment.

This is highly visual magic at its very best,. We should all thank our lucky stars that folks like Martin Lewis have decided to share their work with us. An unbelievable value and well worth the investment.

10 out of 10.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

MURDER Reminder and REVIEW: Dan Harlan's The Manipulation Show DVD

Hello loyal readers!

I'm back...but boy am I hurting!! Several school shows this week which is great, but most of the schools had zero ramps so I spent most of this week thus far hauling my stuff up and down stairs. A number of years ago, I made the conscious decision to NOT have a 'Pack Flat, Play Big" style of show for schools. It was mostly because the effects I was 'drawn' to the most were effects that were slightly larger. i know a few friends who DO pack flat, play big for school shows and while I LOVE performing, today's a day where I have to question my sanity!!

Just another quick reminder - my Murder By Magic: The ULTIMATE Corporate Magic Show is currently available on Hocus Pocus but ONLY til the end of this year then it will be GONE FOREVER and I will never offer it again. This is your LAST chance to get your hands on the most original magic show available for the corporate market.

OK, on to this week's review while my back holds out...(sitting is torture for me right now!!)

Dan Harlan's The Manipulation Show DVD from the L&L Pack Flat, Play Big series. It's available for $34.95 from Hocus Pocus.

As with my previous review of Dan's Bizarre Show DVD, I will list each routine and rate that routine, and then offer my overall thoughts on the whole DVD.

DANCING CANE: The show starts with a simple dancing cane routine. Dan's handling is fine and the routine is solid and short - most amateurs' dancing cane routines are far too long, like many levitation type effects, shorter is better. The real twist here, though, is after the dancing routine, the cane changes colors...and then the cane transforms into a couple of colored silks. I feel this is a marvelous way to transition out of the Dancing Cane. Dan teaches you how to make a simple gimmick to transform any Fantasio Vanishing Cane into a Dancing Cane. The color changes and all else is terrific, too. 10 out of 10.

VANISHING CANDLES: In this routine, three candles vanish in various ways. The demo video online shows this routine in its entirety, so you can preview it. Other than some somewhat obvious times during the routine when I felt it was clear Dan was ditching gimmicks, I thought this routine was superb. A few moments of thought will give buyers alternate ways of ditching the gimmicks, so don't let that deter you from a great routine. This routine is what prompted me to buy the DVD. 10 out of 10.

BILLIARD BALLS: Again, Dan turns to the classics. While Jeff McBride gave buyers of his manipulation DVDs a lot more routines and fancy moves to choose from, Dan's routine is solid and a great way to get your feet wet to see if you like performing Billiard Balls. Not groundbreaking, but good, solid stuff. 9 out of 10.

TIGHTROPE: This is a rope routine that like most of the DVD is played silently by Dan. I REALLY like this routine as there were some visual, silent gags that really made me laugh out loud. You'll learn the classic 'sliding knot' technique for a rope routine and some other quality stuff. The fact that Dan gets two volunteers up to hold the rope as he pantomines a tight rope act is really inspired as the volunteers fill the stage and again, some of the gags I thought were just tremendous. 10 out of 10.

SILKEN DREAM: This is a rather short routine - it's the production of several silks. It's a classic, once again, and well-presented and well-taught by Dan. Not mind blowing but like everything on this DVD, it's rock-solid and looks great. I've been presenting a version of this that I learned on a McBride DVD for years and it does not knock audience's socks off, but it's a good it sets Dan up for the last routine, which is nice. 8 out of 10.

OUCH: The only routine on this DVD where Dan speaks, this is a thimble routine with bandaids instead, on the fingers, The bandaids jump from finger to finger, vanishing, multiplying, etc. It's a solid routine with the exception of one move that is so obviously transparent that even the usually giddy L&L audience just sits there. The concept of using bandaids is novel and with the exception of that one dumb move, a really cool routine. 9 out of 10.

LINKING RING ROUTINE: Unlike the annoying routine with rings that Dan offered on his All-Purpose show (which was a routine designed for "comedy" that showed a volunteer unable to complete the tasks assigned during the routine - a plot I always despise) this routine is a silent piece that shows several pretty links and unlinks. Again, McBride's DVDs may give you more options, but for someone who just wants to learn a solid ring routine without a lot of extras. this is good stuff. 10 out of 10.

ZOMBIE: As you might surmise, this is a nice Zombie routine. This routine has a good flow to it and offers a lot of good visual sight gags and classic moves. What more can I say? The Zombie is a classic for a reason. I myself have told many amateur magicians looking to routine shows that a good Zombie routine is a suitable ending for a stage show. 10 out of 10.

BLENDO: This blew me away! I'd seen a noted childrens' entertain David Ginn do something like this and it really floored me, so when I saw this on the DVD, I was really excited to finally learn it. The secret is very simple and looks so fair and impossible. There are no boxes or tubes...just bundle of clearly individual silks that are shook out into a beautiful blendo. Stunning!! 10 out of 10.

MY THOUGHTS: As you can tell from my individual scores, this DVD really impressed me. There are literally no 'dog' routines and I feel it's the best of Dan's "Pack Flat, play big" series. This DVD could have just as well been titled "Dan Harlan Does The Classics," because every routine is either a straight classic or is a classic re-tooled. A wonderful value. I give this DVD a 9.5 out of 10. Not every routine was perfect in my view, but there is so much outstanding value that I have to give this DVD a great score.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Murder is going....going....and REVIEW: Peter Loughran's Electronic Flash Box

Hi all,

Sorry for the delay in getting a blog posting up. This time of year is crazy busy for me. Check out my schedule thus far just for October...

October 1 – Pocopson, PA – 9:15am & 10:15am
October 2 – Budd Lake, NJ – 10:00am & 2:00pm
October 3 – Wanamassa, NJ – 9:15am & 10:45am
October 4 – New Egypt, NJ – 9:00am
October 4 – Newfane, NY – 7:00pm
October 9 – Norfolk, VA – 1:00pm
October 10 - Willingboro, NJ – 9:15am
October 11 - Upper Saint Clair, PA – 9:00am & 1:00pm
October 12 – Dubois, PA – 1:00pm & 2:00pm
October 15 – Williamsville, NY – 8:30am & 9:30am
October 15 – Buffalo, NY – 7:00pm
October 16 – Milburn, NJ – ALL DAY
October 17 – Short Hills, NJ – ALLDAY
October 18 – Short Hills, NJ – ALL DAY
October 19 – Cranberry, NJ – 1:15pm & 2:15pm
October 22 – Tabernacle, NJ – 9:00am & 10:00am
October 23 – Freeport, NY – ALL DAY
October 24 – Rochester, NY – ALL DAY
October 25  – Freeport, NY – ALL DAY
October 26 – Freeport, NY – 1:30pm & 2:30pm
October 27 – Rush, NY – 8:00pm
October 29 – Cape May Courthouse, NJ – 10:00am & 2:00pm
October 30 - Penn Yan, NY – 1:15pm & 2:15pm

Pretty nuts!!!

Before I get to this week's review, just a reminder: as of December 31st Murder By Magic will NOT be available ANYWHERE. I buckled to the pressure and requests from performers and agreed to make the product available again but only until the end of the year. After December 31st it will not be sold again EVER by me or any other authorized source so if you've been thinking about it, this time period from now til the end of the year will be your LAST chance...EVER.

OK, now on to this week's review: It's Peter Loughran's Electronic Flash Box! It's available for $599 from Hocus Pocus.

EFFECT: Show a handsome, modern box to be completely empty. Suddenly, without any apparent effort on your part, there is a flash of fire and a LIVE animal appears in a flash! No cloth, nothing tricky, just an instantaneous appearance!

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: The Flash Box itself, written instructions and 2 AA batteries. Supply your own table stand, flash products and live animals.

QUALITY: I Love this!! Peter has made this look ultra modern and sleek with the metal trim and the three chains in the front of the box. Having the unit trimmed out in metal not only gives it a modern look but it also protects the prop from bumps and scratches.

DIFFICULTY: I hate saying how easy a trick is because a proclaimation of "easy" is almost a free pass not to practice for some magicians but honestly, you'll be able to perform this right after reading the instructions. This really takes the pressure off and allows you to PERFORM.

MY THOUGHTS: I've actually owned this for a couple of months now but held off on reviewing it until after I actually put it in front of a live group of spectators. I bought this trick for a specific place in a specific themed show (one of my school assemblies).

I knew it would play well because I have a ton of Peter's other stuff. That being said, I wanted to write this review from the standpoint of actually having USED it...I almost always give Peter's stuff a 10 out of 10 so I know some cynical folks out there in "Cyberspace" would believe I was just handing out 10's to Peter without much thought.

Today the trick made it's premier and it brought the house down. I closed with it and was scheduled to do two shows. After the first show, the client said to me, "Oh my GOD that was amazing with the rat! You HAVE to come back! This year!"

All of this before I even finished the job because I still had a second show to do!

Granted, today was only two performances, but I feel confident saying that in my experience, after having bought 5 or 6 of Peter's other effects (that I continue to use to this day) that THIS is the BEST thing I have thus far bought from him.

MY SCORE: 10 out of 10 - of course! I also have Creature Shock on order and look forward to working with that soon.:)

NEXT WEEK: I review Dan Harlan's Manipulation DVD from the Pack Flat series from L&L. After that, other reviews include John Kennedy's Black Box, a killer mentalism effect from Nathan Kranzo and others. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

MURDER is Back, The Joy of High School Performing and REVIEW: Dan Harlan's Bizarre Show DVD - Pack Flat Series

Hello all,

Well, the school season is in full swing. One market that many magicians always seem to overlook is the high school assembly market. With the right message and the right content in terms of effects, you can not only make a ton of money in this market but also have a really great time performing. High school audiences really enjoy mentalism and some of the more 'weird' kinds of effects out.

Two days ago, I did my first high school gig of the new school year. Not only did the PTO parents who booked the program have all kinds of great things to say about the program but several teens told me after the show how much they loved it.

Many magicians shy away from these shows because teens can be viewed as being a "difficult" audience, but with the right show, it can be the most rewarding experience you may ever have!

I've put my 15 years of high school performing experience into my latest product, "How to Make A Ton Of Money Performing in High Schools." You get my messages, my marketing, my complete lineups, emails, complete scripting and a total 'hot to' manual of high school performing! Check it out at Hocus Pocus!

Also, for a VERY LIMITED TIME ONLY, I have re-released Murder By Magic! It's up and available again at Hocus Pocus but it's ONLY going to be available until the end of this year, so take advantage of this RIGHT AWAY as this will be the very last time I ever offer...EVER. I debated with myself for months and finally gave in to the pressure from several magicians, but after this year ends, it will be gone FOREVER. Act now.:)

On to this week's review: It's Dan Harlan's Bizarre Show from the Pack Flat, Play Big DVD series. It's available from Hocus Pocus for $34.95.

MY THOUGHTS: Unlike many magicians, I got into Bizarre magic and mentalism before I got into closeup and kids' magic. As a result, when I see a good bizarre themed release, I really get excited. Over the years, Harlan has released a lot of good material. In fact, this DVD was apparently produced at the same time as the previous entries in the "Pack Flat" series. The setting is the same, with the most annoying L&L audience ever - the same group that was present for Dan's other DVDs. They even wear the same clothes, so I can only assume that was a LONG day for those people.:)

Interestingly, with Dan's newest Pack Flat releases (again, held back from nearly a decade ago when they were first filmed), the L&L group's reactions are more muted. For some of the gorier effects, many attendees turn away and actual applause is minimal...and all of this is to be expected at a Bizarre magic me, I know.:)

I'm going to go through each routine in turn and offer quick thoughts on each.

BOOK OF BLOOD: As the pages of this dusty old journal are flipped through, they gradually get bloodier and bloodier. As one might surmise from the video preview clip, this effect is based on a classic kids' effect. The way this principle is used here looks terrific. Interestingly, a Bizarre magician by the name of Joe Givan created a similar effect in Tony Andruzzi's New Invocation magazine from the late 80's/early 90's. Dan's construction is much easier than Joe's and the storyline is good, too. Big thumbs up from me. 10 out of 10.

NEEDLE THRU ARM: This is indeed the methodology for the Classic Needle Thru Arm made most famous by Harry Anderson. Dan's presentation is good and most importantly, he has a great script line that gives justification for the one key move in the routine. Dan even reveals how to make your own Needle, though I'm lazy and prefer to buy the prop.:) One caveat - Dan recommends a "certain something" that he feels makes the 'work' easier. I've got years of experience performing this effect and Dan's secret 'aide' actually makes the trick fail, and quickly, as it 'fails' in the explanation section. Over the years I too have used this secret something and it can foul up the trick. Therefore, I respectfully suggest you ignore this secondary secret 'aide' Dan recommends. For that reason, I can only give his teaching an 8 out of 10. It's great 'cept that faulty bit of advice. That being said, it's a classic effect.

PSYCHOTIC SURGERY: This is essentially a torn-n-restored card effect to give the audience a rest from the blood. While I agree with Dan's reasoning that you can't have gore in every routine, I felt that this torn and restored card effect was a yawner. 5 out of 10.

DEVILED EGG: This combines Dan's classic Starcle with an egg that emits blood when cracked well as a kicker ending involving a spectator and a knife. I felt the routine was OK until the end with the knife. I really think the routine sputtered to a close. I think the first two phases of the routine are quick good as Starcle is a classic and the visual of the 'blood egg' is great. 7 out of 10.

SHARP TASTE: This is Dan's solution to the razor blade mystery - eating blades, then eating thread, then causing the blades to be threaded when you pull them out. I've used a few different version of the razor blade effect over the years before finally settling on Steve Spill's needle routine, which is cleaner and safer than this effect. Dan's routine, while visually impressive (though not without flaws) is unbelievably dangerous. Dan warns viewers over and over how stupid one would be to do this routine and he's right. Dan's method is sooooooooooooooooooo dangerous that I cannot believe that he even put it on DVD. Much like the Russian Roulette routine put out by Larry Becker using guns, I cannot in any way shape or form recommend his method. ZERO out of 10 - only because it's soooooo dangerous and possibly deadly. Dumb method. There are so many safer ones out there, the best version that I've seen is Scott Alexander's The Blades - looks great and is safe. I prefer Steve Spill's needle routine. The point is, there are safer ways out there.

BABY BALLOON: The method for this "popped and restored" balloon effect is so easy that Dan devotes maybe one minute to it in the explanation. I thought the effect was just OK. The L&L audience didn't react much either. 3 out of 10.

PSYCHIC SURGERY: I'm amazed Dan put this in a show simply because it involves getting fake blood all over the stomach of a volunteer! Interestingly, I myself have performed this years ago a few times for teen audiences. Long story short, on the FOX TV network, they once ran a special and it was called "Psychic Secrets Revealed" or something to that effect - this was at least 12 years ago, maybe more. In the special, secrets of fraud mediums were revealed as well as Psychic Surgery complete with authentic footage of 'healers' doing this to take advantage of grief stricken people trying to heal a very sick loved one.

The history of this fraud is amazing and the script, if you choose to perform this, writes itself. In essence, it appears that you perform a real 'surgery' on a volunteer! This is very freaky when done properly. Dan's version simultaneously adds a classic magic prop and handling to make the routine easier to manage but the 'innards' that Dan pulls out is pretty innocuous. That being said, Dan adds a lot to the handling that I wish I had thought of back when I was performing this. 10 out of 10, with the huge caution of staining a person's clothes - if ever there was a good time for a shill, THIS is it. While no one has to be 'in on it' and it will work with a cold spectator who is unprepared, the likelihood of staining clothes means it's best to rehearse with someone before the show!

THE SPIDER AND THE FLY: A delightful poen frames this ring and rope routine. Similar to the ring and rope penetration routine on Jeff McBride's Commando Act, this looked good and was a more suitable 'break from the gore' than the torn card routine earlier. The rope representing the web of the spider in the poem actually works well.

OVERALL RATING: While there were a few items I did not care for and one that I REALLY recommend you do NOT do because of the danger, the 'thumbs up' routines nudges me to a good rating of 8 out of 10. I enjoyed this DVD and for the RIGHT AUDIENCE, many of the routines can be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

REVIEW: Stati-Kid by Tom Burgoon

Hi all,

Cris Johnson here, back with another  review! Before I get into this week’s review, I want to do a quick “Flashback” to an earlier review! One of the things I had wanted to do was re-visit certain effects that I review and see if they hold up after repeated use.

The effect I want to re-visit is Andy Nyman’s “Big Reaction.” When I reviewed this effect, I gave it a stellar review. I thought the storyline of the effect as well as the bulletproof and easy methodology made it a winner for me.

Well, it’s months later and I’ve had the opportunity to run the trick through a few corporate close-up gigs. There are nights where I’m doing the effect 20-30 times in one evening. During my ‘field testing,’ I’m happy to say that the effect consistently gets the biggest laughs of any close-up effect I’ve tried in the last 5 years. I haven’t added much to my close-up sets over the years as close-up is not a main focus of my professional work: maybe 6-8 close-up gigs a year, but when I DO close-up, it’s gotta be great.

Right now, the Big Reaction is my favorite close-up effect…period! It gets me applause at every table/group and really fries people. Love it!

I also want to thank Paul Romhany for his kind words about my “Murder By Magic” program. Paul’s really taken this idea and run with it! If you’re interested in me bringing this back, send me an email to: I may be persuaded to let Paul put it back up on Hocus Pocus.:)

Okay, back to this week’s review: It’s Stati-Kid by Tom Burgoon. It’s available for $65.00 from Hocus Pocus.

EFFECT: Essentially, you ‘magnetize’ several spoons and cause them to adhere to a kid!

WHAT YOU GET: You receive a written routine detailing the handling, set-up, scripting, added bits of business, pro tips, alternate ideas, and more. The instructions are well-written and there are points where Tom’s sense of humor comes through. Great stuff! You also receive the spoons, royalty-free performing music, secret stuff, etc.

QUALITY OF STUFF: As I already mentioned, Tom’s writing is spot on. His explanations are clear and some of his scripting is inspired. The spoons themselves are simple lightweight spoons. Nothing too advanced in terms of equipment but they do the job just fine. The music is a great added bonus and fits the routine perfectly.

DIFFICULTY: In terms of physical handling, the routine is extremely easy. That being said, much of the work comes in the prep to make things flow smoothly come show time and it’s in this area Tom’s experience comes through. When I read the secret, it was exactly what I suspected (really, watch the video and think what the simplest method is!) and almost made the mistake of brushing past the rest of the instructions. I’m really glad I did not as many of Tom’s set-up tips and performing tips really make this flow smoothly. The work is simple, but go through Tom’s material carefully.

MARKETS: This works best as a kids’ effect, as Tom readily admits. He claims he’s done it with some success with adult shows, but this is a kids’ effect through and through. Know that this routine works best as a prelude to a more ‘amazing’ trick, as this is intended as a comedy bit and not as a stand-alone effect.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The second I saw the video I knew this would fit wonderfully in my family shows. It’s such a funny visual. What you see is what you get: if you like what you see on the video, support the effect’s creator as Tom is very generous in letting the routine play out in a free video, just as he did with his Timmy Toilet Paper release.

My only point of contention is that Tom has once again reserved TV rights for himself but he has NOT mentioned this in the ad copy so you don’t know this til after you buy. I find this irritating and unfair. Also, I wonder about things like this…I myself don’t do a lot to get on TV, but in schools, occasionally a local TV crew will come by and film a chunk of my show and tag it on the end of a news broadcast as a human interest thing…so if a local TV crew films my show and Tom’s routine happens to wind up on the air, am I going to get nailed by Tom’s lawyers? Add to this the fact that I normally do not know until AFTER the show that I was even being filmed and you can see my concerns.

RATING: This gets a solid 8.5 from me. I think the routine is inspired and the value is great for what you pay, but Tom’s withholding of the “exclusive TV rights” thing until after you buy it really irks me. That being said, this is a terrific value.

Monday, September 10, 2012

REVIEW: Tricky Trashcan

Welcome back, dear readers!

I'm currently on the road, as School Season has 'kicked in,' so this week's blog will be a little brief. This week's review is one that I'm very excited to start using...

It's the Tricky Trashcan by Wack-O Magic. It retails for $229.00 from Hocus Pocus.

AD COPY: It's another Hocus Pocus exclusive.

Environmentally friendly magic!

This new concept and routine are about recycling or magic transportation!One for the older kids, one for the younger ones.

It comes with all the major props for TWO great routines!

It looks like a trashcan, but it's not just a trashcan! It's also the perfect utility prop!

The size isn't too big, (and it's not really TINY, that's just it's name,) it's JUST RIGHT at 10" x 10" x 14" high.

It's the ultimate family show Utility Device! It's not JUST a Duck's something that EVERYONE has seen before!!

It comes with TWO routines by Storyteller/Consultant Walt Anthony.

WHAT YOU GET: You receive detailed written instructions outlining two different routines - one for younger kids and one for recycling shows, preferably for older kids. You also receive two props - one for each routine. I'll kind of tip-toe around what each prop is, but suffice to say these props are NOT usual magic fare. You also receive the Tricky Trashcan itself, housed in a sturdy orange bucket to transport the prop. This is a nice feature, as it keeps the prop safe and protected!

ANGLES: As this prop is based on the same methodology as the Duck Bucket, you can rest assured that this prop can be used surrounded.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTIONS: I'm often cautious about using the written instructions that come with a kid's prop in that they are often childish and include horribly outdated jokes and bits of business.

However, the two routines included in this prop are quite good. The younger audience routine is cute and charming and while the routine does NOT include any messages of recycling, the fact that the prop is a trashcan fits into the routine itself. The routine is charming and cute.

The second routine is strictly a recycling/conservation routine that gives a lot of good food for thought for grade school children. There isn't much humor in this routine, but that doesn't mean it's a bad routine...rather, it's thought-provoking. The routine may just be a bit on the advanced side for younger kids and my opinion is that this routine would best play, as written, for grades 3 and up.

However, a bit of adjustment can easily be made to use the routine for younger kids.

Interestingly, despite the fact that this prop is based on the classic Duck Bucket, neither routine talks about using live animals, so you'll have even more performance options.

QUALITY OF PROPS: The two props for the routine are good quality routines. The Tricky Trashcan itself is very nicely built and a good value for the investment. That being said, my prop did have a of the pop rivets on the hinges came out. It's going to be a quick enough fix, but it did irritate me a tad.

The trashcan itself is good solid and extremely well built otherwise.

OVERALL SCORE: I'll give this a rock-solid 9 out of 10. The prop and included routines are of high quality. I only take a point off because of the damaged pop rivet. Highly recommended!

Friday, August 31, 2012

REVIEW: Imperial Botania

Hi everyone,

It's back-to-school time!! I'm gearing up to get my school shows back on the road. With that in mind, this week's blog is going to  be a quick one...

This week's review is the Imperial Botania. It retails for $649.95 from Hocus Pocus.


WHAT YOU RECEIVE: The Imperial Botania comes in two parts - the inner tube and outer tube. It also comes with a spare blossom to create the idea that a single blossom is transformed into this beautiful bouquet of flowers. A single sheet on 'care and feeding' is also included.

EASE OF EFFECT: The technical demands of the effect don't get much easier than this. Just one quick motion and voila! Instant bouquet of flowers. A 1 out of 10 on the 'difficulty scale' to be sure.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTIONS: The single sheet is very sparse and does not even cover the actual performance of the trick. That being said, it does cover some techniques for keeping the blossoms looking their best and lasting longer. As far as actually performing it, you're on your own...but a simple pull of the outer tube, and you're in business.

QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: This is where this release really shines and justifies the high cost. First, the blossoms and flowers have absolutely gorgeous coloring and really 'pop' from the stage. The blossoms are also well made, too, ensuring longer life. Finally, the colors selected really make this piece look nice because every color in the spectrum is NOT included. There was restraint in the amount of colors selected.

This is something that I wish other 'flower magic' providers thought about. When I was a kid first getting into magic, I always immediately rejected any form of 'spring flower' magic because, as Jeff McBride once said, "it looked like a clown exploded," in that there were just too many colors.

Additionally, as mentioned in the ad copy, the metal tube has a textured covering, which prevents fingerprints and scratches and also looks great from stage - the textured surface really is enhanced from stage - since it will not gleam brightly, the tube will not 'upstage' the flowers themselves.

WHY I BOUGHT IT: While most of my stage shows are set, I picked this up as a replacement for a change bag routine I had been was a white silk with a black outline of a tree on it and after the trip through the change bag, the tree silk was suddenly full of color.

For the right age group, it always plays extremely well. I'm assuming that a more 3-dimensional routine where one tiny blossom changes into a brilliant bouquet will play...well, brilliantly.

RATING: This gets a solid 9 out of 10 from me. It's getting harder to find spring flower-type magic of this high quality. I love mine and if you're into this kind of effect, I recommend getting it as the quality is outstanding.

Friday, August 17, 2012

REVIEW: Vanishing Bandanna Plus

Hi loyal readers!

First of all, I apologize for not posting anything last week. I was first on vacation and then I attended the annual NGH convention - National Guild of Hypnotists - where hypnotists from around the world gather to learn techniques, business strategies and more. I attended last year and felt I got MORE value this year. It was great fun and I look forward to atending next year.

On to this week's review: Vanishing Bandanna Plus. It's available for $44.95 from Hocus Pocus.

Here's the routine description:

Finally a CLIMAX to an already hilarious classic magic trick! Now you can reproduce the banana with this specially constructed box for a new climax!

Explain part-time magicians receive magic lessons by mail on a CD, and you happen to have the just released trick.

You don't really know this trick, but they sent you all you need for the trick packed in the shipping box. You will have to include the audience in on the secret as it is scheduled to be performed in your show and the trick arrived later than normal this month.

Inside the shipping box is all the props needed for the effect. As you start the effect you notice that they packed the box incorrectly, they shipped a banana in place of the bandanna.

  • The routine is very easy to perform!
  • The professionally produced CD guides you through the entire trick!
  • Complete with a special gimmicked "Shipping Box" for reproducing the bandanna!
  • Professionally produced three minute CD
  • Devil's napkin and written instructions with all the "Bits" of business included in the instructions!

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive a gimmicked cardboard box, an audio CD, written instructions, the devil's hank and a couple of stickers.

QUALITY OF INSTRUCTIONS: The written instructions walk you through the entire script (as played by the CD) along with some suggested scripting for how you would verbally interact with the CD. Personally, I always like to play my reactions both silently and underplayed, whereas this script would have you constantly making retorts throughout. It's a little much. None the less, having the written script in front of you can aid learning along with instructions for the actions you must perform during the routine.

QUALITY OF MATERIALS: The audio quality of the CD is good as the woman performing the routine has more personality than some of the dry, monotone versions of the effect I've heard. That being said, I feel that some of the gags used overplay the entire point of the routine. The best versions of this classic routine play it straight, as though the poor directions are the most natural thing in the world. This version has some gags in it that seem to reveal that the voice on the CD is in on the gag - which kills much of the subtext.

Then there's the "plus" part of the routine, in which the banana magically appears in the previously empty box at the conclusion of the routine. The idea is based on an old U.F. Grant idea (my first ever trick was this old idea, straight out of the Victory Carton Illusions booklet!) and it's interesting in that this gives us a solution to a problem that doesn't exist in that I feel the 'magic' in the routine isn't very strong but that the routine's power is in the humor.

After testing the routine out at a birthday party, I felt the ending fell flat. That being said, one show is not enough to judge a routine, but I feel that this ending will probably be dropped.

MY THOUGHTS: This routine is a classic and probably wayyyy overused. That being said, I bought it because it was the only trick that would satisfy a specific need in one of my educational school assembly shows. This version was the only one I could find - I would have preferred the original.

RATING: Between the CD voice's occasional over-the-top gag that kills the subtext of the routine, along with the over-acting and finally the unneeded climax, I have to give this a low rating of 5 out of 10. It ain't bad, and the CD and other materials are well produced from a quality standpoint, but I really can't recommend it.

COMING SOON: I've recently purchased John Kennedy's Black Box, two Wack-O-Magic tricks, and Peter Loughran's Electronic Flash Box. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 3, 2012

SALE!!!! and REVIEW: Splattered by Peter Loughran

Hi All,

Before I start this week's review, I want to take those of you who continue to make my three volumes of "Cause & Effects" books such great sellers. I never claim to be the most original guy in the world in terms of methodology but the fact that the books continue to sell like hotcakes tells me that folks like you appreciate well-tested real-world routines. Thank you!!

Also, I'm clearing out a few things. Good stuff, just stuff I'm not using. All items are in mint, unused condition and I'm selling them for 50% off the retail price plus shipping. Shoot an email to me if you're interested in any of these items:

The Moment by Christopher Taylor
Get Nyman set of mentalism DVDs by Andy Nyman
Slo-Motion by Joe Litvinchuk
Redonkulous by Anthony Lindan

On to this week's review: Splattered by Peter Loughran


WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive written instructions, the raised base, the exterior square to the apparatus, the inner decorative tube and of course the secret gimmick that makes it all work.

QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: This is just about the BEST squared circle I've ever seen! Besides the uber-cool modernistic design Peter has given, I really love how he's added corner protection metal to the corners. This means that not only will the unit hold up well in day-to-day use, but it looks sleek and modern.

The raised platform, for me, really makes this an incredible value for two reasons: One, as noted in the ad copy, having the unit raised allows the audience to easily see underneath it, meaning spectators know instantly that the stuff produced out of the unit is not coming from a hole in the table. While I plan on using my unit on a thin table top, it's nice to know I can just set the piece on top of my regular working table and it will still mystify an audience.

The other reason I love the base is real-world practicality: when I am done performing the piece, I can easily get the whole thing out of the way without fumbling with the various pieces (both visual and hidden!). So, for real-world performers, huge thumbs up.

MY THOUGHTS: Honestly, I think some magicians are so jaded when it comes to the classics. So many of us - and I've been guilty of it many times! - are always looking for the next 'new thing,' but there's a reason why classics are CLASSICS.

The principle behind the Squared Circle is solid and can be done surrounded, meaning there are zero angle problems.

With that being said, I've never bothered to buy a squared circle because I never liked the cheesy designs on most, but I always liked the principle and when I saw Peter's design, just jumped on it.

MY RATING: Peter does it again! This gets a perfect 10 out of 10 from me. If you're familiar with the principle behind the effect, you know exactly what you're getting but it's so much more modern in terms of design and (this is big for me) durability. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, July 27, 2012

High School Course Ending Soon and TWO REVIEWS: The Real Deal & Professional Backdrop System

Howdy All!

I'm excited to say that once again, I have BEATEN my pre-release deadline for my latest product, "How To Make A Ton Of Money Performing In High Schools!" I have shipped all pre-orders to Hocus Pocus via Priority Mail, so I expect Hocus Pocus to receive them tomorrow or Monday and then they'll get shipped out to the pre-order customers. THANK YOU for ordering! I know in this day & age, pre-ordering sometimes gets a bad rap due to certain bumps in the road, so I always try to beat my own deadlines.

With that being said, even though the product is available NOW, I am going to extend the $50 savings deadline til NEXT FRIDAY, one week from today's (July 27, 2012) post, so if you want to save $50, place your order ASAP. High schools are a REALLY rewarding market from an artistic and financial standpoint IF you have the right programs, and I give you two COMPLETE programs with the course covering two red hot topics high school clients need and want for their events.

On to this week's reviews. I'm doing two reviews this week because both are going to be short as there are no magic secrets or techniques to dance around, so I can be pretty open & honest with both.

The first is..THE REAL DEAL by Paul Romhany. It retails for $49.95 (but you can save if you are an online member!)

MY THOUGHTS: I'm going to right to it because there are no angles, no physical techniques, etc to go over. In short, this book gives you a ton of practical, real-world advice for becoming and remaining      a working pro.

Here's just some of what is covered in this massive book:

- passports and visas
- contact lenses
- microphones
- sound systems
- packing for the cruise gig
- Apps you must have (and I agree!!)
- using mobile devices overseas
- general performing tips for beginners
- avoiding jet lag
- seat assignments
- air sickness
- air points
- avoiding air headaches
- fear of flying
- carry-on essentials
- how to become a better performer
- making more money from magic
- good posture
- travel mistakes to avoid
- voice tips for performing
- health on the road
- tips for touring your own show
- better business cards
- self-promotion
- using your website to get work
- social media tips for performers
- tips for radio interviews

And that's just a small section out of the table of contents...and that's just a speck of what Paul writes about...and there's a loooooong list of contributers who have all contributed their own road stories, pro tips, performing tips, money tips, marketing / advertising tips, and oh-so-much-more.

To read the ad copy suggests the book will include a bunch of amusing road stories and while there are really cool pro working stories, the fact is this book is so much more.

This book belongs in any working pro's library. It's what I consider to be foundational - if you aspire to be a pro, you NEED this book. I've been a full time pro for 9 years and I was horrified at all of the things I discovered I WASN'T doing after reading this book!

It's going to be real tough to top this book as far as "best releases of 2012" goes. I may have to create a new list, "best trick or prop or routine" list as this book is unreal.

10 out of 10. Buy this book!!

On to the second review - it's the Professional Backdrop System available from Hocus Pocus for $899 (unless you're an online member in which case you can save a ton!!) Three colors are available - red, blue and black. I chose the blue.

I've used backdrops in the past - usually a photographer's frame with the backdrop cloth threaded on it. It always looks good, but takes time to set up - often 5-10 minutes. That doesn't sound like a lot but on those stressful multi-school days, time is important! So, I bought this with time-saving in mind.

QUALITY: The quality of the cloth material is out of this world - nice, neat stitching, good quality material, and the metal expanding frame is built very well, too. The engineering is very impressive. The provided carrying bag is nicely built too and - this is big - the bag is big enough that you can easily get the cloth and expanding frame back into the bag without a specific, hard-to-remember folding pattern for the cloth - just stuff in to the bag. This is good as with a camping tent, for example, the damn bag is so small you must fold the tent JUST SO to get it back into the bag. It's REALLY annoying! So, the builders of the backdrop really got that right.

SET-UP TIME: After some struggling (which I'll detail in a later paragraph) I can say that after some rehearsal, I can get the backdrop up in about 3-4 minutes and broken down and packed into the provided bag (also great quality) in about one minute. I expect my time getting the thing up & ready will go down, too, as I become more familiar with it.

INSTRUCTIONS: I'm glad this was a backdrop and not a trick, as the directions are horrendous. Check out Step 9's instructions:

"CAUTION" When does not fold or spread: Don't fold or spread. Stop folding or spread. PLEASE UNFOLD. And spread again or fold again, please."

And I thought Step 7 was pretty out there, too:

"FOLD: Hold the frame evenly with both hands. And down slant by same power."

Are you freakin' kidding me?? I read that to my wife and she said, "Hey, it's like that Star Trek episode where those aliens spoke in stories!"

It did take me a bit to figure out how to secure the cloth to the frame so it stays in place during the expansion of the frame (mind you, the sucker gets tall REALLY quick and I don't plan on carrying a ladder with me to gigs).

All in all, a really nice, professional addition to the visual appeal of your act...just don't expect a lot from the directions!

I'll give this a 9 out of 10 - REALLY high quality product but I am taking away a point for the horrendous instructions!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

High School Course, Murder By Magic and REVIEW: Read-A-Libre By Lay Leslie

Hi all,

This week's blog will be a little rushed as I'm heading out the door to perform and have been swamped all week with hypnotherapy clients and putting the finishing touches on "How to Make a Ton of Money Performing in High Schools!"

I'm REALLY happy with how this is turning out, although it's a little frustrating as I'll be writing along and think, "Oh, I never to cover topic X, Y and Z, " so it keeps getting longer and longer! I sat down when I started working on the project with a long list of toics I wanted to cover, and the darn list keeps getting longer!

The good news is I should be finished with the course by the end of the weekend or sometime next week at the very latest. Those of you who have placed pre-release orders, THANK YOU!! I'm sure you'll LOVE the course and getting two completely scripted programs ain't bad either!

I also want to thank my friend Paul Romhany for his kind words about the new high school course. He's seen big chunks of the as-yet-not-quite finished project and his support is so appreciated.

Paul also mentioned in his blog last week my Murder By Magic. Right now, it's not available on the Hocus Pocus website, but if the interest is still there (and apparently it is because people are asking Paul his opinion), I may re-release it. If you're interested, email me at If interest is high enough, I may allow Hocus Pocus to put it back up.

On to this week's review: it's Read-A-Libre by Jay Leslie. It's available from Hocus Pocus for $375.

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You get the two stacks of READ letter blocks, gimmicks, the tube, a DVD of the performance script and written instructions.

QUALITY OF PROPS: I own Jay's standard version of Cube-A-Libre with numbers 1-6. This version is exactly the same in terms of quality. The props look great and the matte yellow against black background color scheme is great for big audiences.

However, Jay himself readily admits that the material he uses to make the props is susceptible to scratches so he recommends caution.

With my original version of Cube-A-Libre, Jay provided a cardboard box to carry the prop. I eventually  bought a custom, lined wooden box from Jay for the prop and as a result, years later, my Cube-A_libre still looks great.

No box is provided with Read-A-Libre, not even a cardboard box. I found this to be quite irritating. I would have GLADLY paid the extra money to have a custom carrying case included with the prop rather than have to place a separate order. Again, it's not the money but the irritation.

Props like this need to be looked at as an investment and I know most prop builders do not provide cases in order to keep costs down, but I really feel an option should have been made for working guys like me who already know the prop's going to travel.

HANDLING: The props handling is smooth and reliable just like the numbered 1-6 version.

ROUTINE: Here's where things get...interesting. One of my pet peeves of the 'classic' way of performing Cube-A-Libre has been the fact that many performers have wayyyy too many phases so the impact is lessoned. In my classic numbered Cube-A-Libre handling, I have 4 changes, which is just about right for a tight 5 minute routine.

In other handlings, I've seen 7 or 8 changes and it just gets old. I saw a DVD performance of such a presentation and the first few changes blew everyone away but by the end, you couldn't hear a peep.

Jay's routine for Read-A-Libre is like that. Parts of the the routine are very good, but other parts are just too esoteric, in the effort of trying to connect an educational lesson to the prop. I've performed in thousands of schools and I've used Cube-A-Libre hundreds and hundreds of times so I can say without a shadow of doubt that a routine of 7 or 8 changes is too much for most school or library audiences.

That said, I learned the routine, promptly cut it half, took the parts I liked and at the first performance, got a very strong reaction.

MY RATING: I like half of Jay's routine and I LOVE a customed Read-A-Libre for reading theme shows, but I gotta take a couple points off for the 'no box' thing and the fact that half of the routine just meanders in a way that will confuse kids and bore them. Half the routine is very good and the props look and work great. 8 out of 10.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's HERE! A Virtually ignored market in magic!

Hello loyal reader!

It's been a CRAZY couple of weeks as I'm racing to the finish putting the final touches on my latest release, "How to Make a Ton of Money Performing in High Schools!" This baby is something I'm really proud of and comes on the heels of my best-selling Elementary School course. Take advantage of my pre-release offer and save $50 on a market most magicians are not even interested in getting into! I make between $800 and $2000 for a 45-60 minute gig and I know guys making a LOT more than me! Check out the details...

What if I told you about a magic market that would enable you to perform some of your favorite ‘street style’ effects but for BIG audiences?

What if I told you this market paid REALLY well?

What if I told you this market, compared to others, was virtually untapped, with less competition from other magicians than virtually any other market?

That market is…HIGH SCHOOLS!

That’s right, high schools are a wonderful source of income for magicians…IF you go into them with the right kind of programs.

I’m Cris Johnson, writer of the Hocus Pocus review blog and full time performer. I’ve been performing in high schools for nearly 15 years all across North America and I can tell you it’s one of the most rewarding markets in terms of both pay scale and personal performing satisfaction that I’ve ever gone into.

First, the pay: performing in high schools can be very, very profitable. I myself typically get between $800 and $2000 per gig, depending on many factors. I don’t know about you, but performing in a local high school for one show is a lot easier than busting my butt performing for 4 or 5 birthday shows to make the same money! Add to this that the market is not as competitive as other markets (I’ll cover that in a moment) and you have almost unlimited earning potential…IF you have the right kind of show.

Second, the personal performing satisfaction. For years and years, magicians have been told that corporate gigs are where it’s at in terms of pay scale with trade shows (a sub-set of the corporate world) being perhaps the most profitable. I’ve performed at a few trade shows (Four, I think) and while the pay IS good, I personally do not enjoy performing for people who have no desire to watch me. In schools, your audience is thankful to be out of classes so they’re in the right mindset to watch a great show!

As far as the reason why this market is less competitive as compared to other markets, it’s because teenagers can sometimes be a challenging audience. They want to be treated as adults, NOT kids and performing a show with magic based on the “magician doesn’t see it” principle will get you DOA fast! Most pros recognize this – in fact, one producer of extremely popular effects once told me on the phone that he wanted no part of teen shows…and this guy was a superstar in the corporate world and now sells magic to many of the world’s top working pros!

So, because of the challenging nature of some teens, we have several magic tricks we can’t even consider using in most cases.

Obviously this means no ‘blooming flowers,’ no 21st Century Silks and so on. But since teenagers’ cognitive abilities are not fully formed yet (most people’s cognitive abilities are not full formed til their mid-20’s) this means many classic mentalism routines don’t appeal to teens, either. What we have is an uncomfortable middle ground of material to choose from: the teens want their magic to be edgy but we can’t go TOO edgy because of the adults – this means no ‘needle thru the arm,’ among others!

Adding to our potential difficulty in performing in high schools is the fact that in most cases throughout much of the school year, schools do not have the time to bring in a performer for a ‘fun show.’ There are exceptions of course, but the vast majority of the time, to be considered for a high school gig, a performer must have some kind of educational message with their show.

The good news is this: I’ve taken my 15 years of experience and packed it all into a comprehensive course called “How to Make A Ton Of Money Performing in High Schools!”

Like my previous best-selling course on elementary schools (which continues to sell to magicians all over the world to this very day), I have left no stone unturned. Here’s a sample of what you’ll learn when you crack open the main manual:

·         Mistakes I made and how to avoid them!
·         What school officials want from a performer
·         What to expect at the gig
·         What kind of audiences you can expect
·         The mindset of your audiences (this differs depending on the situation)
·         Sound system tips (both using the school’s or your own)
·         Booking tips
·         Sales letters to make the phone ring
·         Phone scripts to captivate prospects
·         Length of shows
·         Multiple show options for more earning potential
·         Keynotes, breakout sessions and workshops and the differences for each
·         What kind of tricks to use
·         What to avoid
·         How to put your program into a structured format and just plug certain effects into that format
·         Humor: avoiding the potholes and landmines!
·         Email responses made E-Z
·         Dress for success: options
·         What kind of messages schools want for a presentation
·         “Hot topics” schools want addressed NOW
·         How & why to make it personal
·         Trouble-shooting at the gig
·         And MUCH more!

The second main element of this course is the fact that I hand to you on a silver platter (made of paper, of course) TWO complete scripts for high school shows with educational/motivational content!  

Both of these programs are considered ‘hot topics’ in the high school market and will continue to be red-hot for years and years to come.

You’ll receive the word-for-word scripts, details on the tricks that I use and why, and most importantly, once you understand the structure of my show and why I chose certain effects over others, you’ll be able to ‘plug in’ tricks you may already have. I readily admit some of the effects I use are a bit on the ‘pricey’ side, but that’s due to my personal taste. Once you understand my structure, you can readily substitute other stuff in quite easily. (The really cool thing is the BEST tricks are CHEAP!)

The fact that I’m handing you TWO complete scripts for the high school market for one fee in this course must mean I’ve lost my mind because it’s taken me YEARS to fine tune these suckers. In addition to the word-for-word scripts, here’s what I include with the scripts in the ‘post show analysis’ of each:

·         WHY these particular topics are so relevant to high schools
·         The different situations and booking scenarios you may encounter for each
·         How the mindset of the teen audience drastically changes for each
·         How to integrate some of your own personal history into the scripts…and why this is so critical to your success!
·         Metaphor: the why’s and how’s
·         Effects you can substitute (yeah, I know I said this already!)
·         And MUCH more!

In addition to all of this, I also provide any purchaser of this program with unlimited email support. You can send me questions til the end of time and I’ll always be there for you.

Before I close, I have to chime in with a really cool feature of being a magician and performing in teen markets. A few years ago when the economy tanked, a fellow performer friend of mine, who has strong ties in the corporate speaking world, confided in me that the world of corporate speaking largely took a nose dive – not for everyone of course, but for many. As a result, many of these people began looking for other sources of income and began peddling their services to high schools.

What happened was interesting. When I was booked for many of my high school gigs after the corporate guys came into the market, I heard several interesting experiences from my clients. Many of these presenters were:

·         Very demanding of their clients
·         Baffled in terms of connecting to teen audiences
·         Stunned to discover that the messages they delivered to great effect in the corporate market bombed in the teen market

This means the potential is there for performers like YOU to seize the opportunity that high school performing brings! As a magician and/or mentalist, YOU have a ton to offer to schools! Right away, YOUR services have the potential to be:

·         Visual and FUN
·         Interactive
·         Amazing
·         Personal
·         Captivating

In short, you already have many of the skills necessary to rock in the high school market and shoot your earnings through the roof…all is possible with the right kind of program. I’ve done all the work for you with my 15 years of trial-and-error. You can take my experience and shave years and YEARS off of your learning curve!

In conclusion, my new “How to Make a Ton of Money Performing in High Schools” course includes:

·         The massive Main Manual with performance, booking and show structure advice
·         TWO red-hot motivational/educational word-for-word scripts that you can use
·         Unlimited email support from me

·         15 years of experience that can and will take years off of your learning curve!

Regular retail price is $299.95, but take advantage of my pre-release special and save $50, making your investment just $249.99.