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 - www.NiagaraFallsHypnosisCenter.com
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.