Our Reviews of Other Peoples' Stuff

Since we want to cram as much magic into each issue as possible, we will also be publishing additional reviews on our website as they become available.
The products reviewed below are available from your favorite dealer. Dealers should contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies, Inc., www.murphysmagicsupplies.com unless otherwise noted.

Issue 9

Constant Fooling by David Regal
James Lewis Tips Dr. Sacks’ Amazing Dice Trick
Spectators Don’t Exist by Jon Allen

Issue 10

Side-Swiped By Simon Aronson
Healed and Sealed By Anders Moden
Shinkansen By Phil Goldstein
Psi-Con Ruse By Phil Goldstein
Magishing My Way and Profiles in Coinage By Scott Guinn

Issue 11

Cranial Contortions by Vincenzo Ravina
Shocking by Vincenzo Ravina
Coin Matrix 2003 by Alexander Kolle

Melt! by Eric James

Touching Sky by Andrew Mayne
Cassandra Deck by Docc Hillford
Fem Fatal by Docc Hillford
Hit the Road by Paul Wilson and Lee Asher
The Chick Trick by L. Ron Bauer

Issue 13

Advanced Card Control Series by Allan Ackerman

Other Peoples' Reviews of Our Stuff

Channel One



Issue 9 Reviews

Constant Fooling by David Regal
(Hardcover with dust jacket, two volumes, $39.95 each)

ANOTHER book by David Regal? Not that this is a bad thing…but please, I am still working on the three video set! I have to admit, this Regal guy has a lot of good stuff. All right, a LOT of good stuff. Volume one of this set is mainly cards and impromptu items. And some damned good ones at that. His guest contributors read like a modern Who’s Who: R. Paul Wilson and Bill Goodwin for example. The technical level of the material ranges from “back of the cereal box” to “Damn, I am going to have to work on that this weekend!”. But almost without exception, the material rewards your work. Anybody who does Ring Flight with a barrel of monkeys is ok in my book!
Volume two is mainly prepared effects that will require some set up or additional props. Don’t let this dissuade you in any way from trying out the material. I don’t like to recommend specific effects in books, because it keeps people from exploring on their own. So I am not going to tell you to try this or that effect. Think of these books as a magic buffet, all you can eat and you will go at it with the right attitude. You will see some familiar ideas, but with special seasoning and you will also see things you never make at home, but try them. Some of them are delicious!

James Lewis Tips Dr. Sacks’ Amazing Dice Trick
(Video approx. 30 mins., $19.95)

I’ve enjoyed this trick for over twenty years. It’s been a constant with me. I’ve seen versions with big dice, little dice, gambling themes and many others. But recently this trick seems to be going through a rebirth. First published in the Phoenix in the 40’s, it has always been an effect that deserved more publicity. On this video, James Lewis does a competent job of explaining the basic Sacks’ dice routine. The tape will seem short because it only deals with one effect, but I rather like this. I would rather see one effect explained in detail than several muddled about. One of the only weak points on this tape is the lack of detail when it comes to explaining the various turnovers used in the routine. Also he tends to rush through the actual performance steps of the routine. And if you have never done the routine before, it is easy to get lost in, both for you and the audience. So the tape will bear careful watching, but if you do, you’ll come out of it with a very useful routine that will serve you the rest of your life.

Spectators Don’t Exist by Jon Allen
(Video approx 90 mins., $29.95)

I am sure in Mr. Allen’s world they don’t exist. At the beginning of the tape, he explains that a spectator is essentially a passive onlooker. He says why this is a bad thing. Then on the rest of the tape, he proceeds to show us a series of live performances with just that. Spectators. He seems to get damned little reaction from his audience on the tape. Now anyone can have a bad day, but one presumes that if you were using videotape reactions for your tape, then you would use the best ones. This leads me to conclude that Mr. Allen is either a) dull , b) performing for dead people or c) honestly just doesn’t give a damn about what his audience DOES think. Call me wacky! The actual magic on the tape is ok, nothing you haven’t seen before. Unless you’re a dead person, in which case, some of this might actually be exciting. The quality of the actual tape is quite nice. It’s rectangular. It has no pointy edges. And it’s too large for children under the age of 3 to swallow. Some magicians may swallow some of this though, so it should probably have a warning label. Oh yeah, I forgot, it comes wrapped in shiny plastic. That’s it folks.


Issue 10 Reviews

Side-Swiped By Simon Aronson
(Effect, Price $15.00)

Simon Aronson produces nice magic. This effect is no exception. The problem is that if I tell you the effect, about a half dozen methods will leap to mind. And in all probability, the correct one will be in the mix. This is not to say that Mr. Aronson has not produced a good effect. He has. It is just that as with the effect Anniversary Waltz , this is a trick that will produce a LOT of home grown variations. Basically a signed card ends up in a rather odd location that it should not be in. Been done before? Yes. But once again Mr. Aronson makes it a rather easy effect to perform and his handling leads to a strong climax. Is it worth the money? Yes. Are there drawbacks? Yes. The trick as it stands, depends on refills which are available for $5.00 from the manufacturer or your local dealer. If you like effects that leave something in the hands of your audience, then this will probably fit well with you.

Healed and Sealed By Anders Moden
(Effect, Price $12.00)

The cover says “A miracle by Anders Moden”. Ok, I am a bit prejudiced on this one. But I love this effect. I have since we published here in Channel One last year. Heheheheh. But it is one hell of a trick. The effect, for those of you who have lived in a cave for the last two years is very simple. A can of pop/soda/beer is shown crushed or can be visibly crushed on stage in front of the audience. Then with no gimmicks added or taken away, the can re-inflates and is opened and the contents poured into a glass and drunk. That simple. It is a winner. Oh yes… Did I mention that David Blaine did it on tv? Oh… You heard already. Well, anyway, this is probably the best looking set of instructions published in the last year. It is a beautifully produced item and well worth the buckage.

Shinkansen By Phil Goldstein
(Effect, Price $15.00)

This is a throwback. It is a trick from another time. It is a packet trick that is just fun to do. I can see a smart dealer, demoing the crap out of this and selling a buttload. There is nothing hard about it. The effect is very simple. 4 red backed cards are counted by the spectator. TWICE. Then the spectator holds the previously counted cards in his hot lil hands. A second spectator then remembers a card from a packet of 4 blue backed cards. Which she then holds. A magic gesture… (You know the one I mean) and the spectator counts the blue backed cards out and Holy Bajeebuz! It is gone! The selected card that is. The red backed packet of cards is spread and Tah Dah!!! There it is. The only blue backed card amongst the 4 red backed cards. Is it examinable? Hell No! Does that matter? Not in the least! The handling is arranged so that the spectators feel that they have examined and handled EVERYTHING. It is blast to perform! About the only complaint I have about this effect is that with just a small paragraph or two addition to the instructions the effect could be turned into something repeatable…But even without this (very slight) change, the effect plays very well. I do recommend it.

Psi-Con Ruse By Phil Goldstein
(Effect, Price $15.00)

This is simply not something I can recommend. It is based, with appropriate credits given, on the Dr. Jaks’ effect Supersonic. The original used a large stand and was intended for platform use. This gave some small reason for the use of the stand (which is vital to the success of the effect). In Mr. Goldstein’s version of the effect, a book replaces the stand, for no truly logical reason. As for the effect itself, a freely selected card from among several is the predicted one. End of story. And it cannot be repeated. Of course the original could not be repeated either, but as this version is essentially a close up effect, there is a good chance that this could be considered a detriment.
All in all… I can’t tell you it’s a good buy.


Magishing My Way and Profiles in Coinage By Scott Guinn
(Books, Price $ 25.00 each)

You can spot a Scott Guinn book from a mile away. Look for a comb bound book with potentially the ugliest cover you will ever see (Except on another Scott Guinn book ) and you will have found your prey. The problem comes when we open the book. As Scott himself says, there is nothing very new in his books. But the work he does on his routines shows. As does the work on the layout of the book itself. He is a competent writer who can get across the effects he is trying to describe.
The effects themselves are good. It is his methodology in performing I take issue with. It seems if there is a simple way or a not so simple way to do something, Scott will always choose the path with the most turns. His methods work. I will not deny that. And in following his methods I will admit that I found nice touches all along the way. But there are times when you just want to grab him by the shoulders and say “There are easier ways to get there!”. But I digress…
Magishing My Way is full of good general purpose close up and platform magic. Not just Cards. But finger rings, Ellis rings and kid show material. Non-gimmicked card material is available as is stuff requiring things you probably already have around the house. Wild card sets, Double backer etc. Then he gets into things you might not have around but should. If only to broaden your horizons a little such as lippencott boxes and topsy turvy bottles.
Profiles in Coinage as you may have gathered from the title, concerns coin effects. As in his other title, the effects are nothing new, but are very well chosen for audience appeal. He has both close up and stand up material, ranging from the relatively simple to the very involved. All in all, both books are worth your attention.
If any of this sounds like it may be of use to you please enjoy the works of Scott Guinn.


Issue 11 reviews

There is good magic and bad, and boy! Do I get both! Let’s start with the really bad and go on.

Cranial Contortions
by Vincenzo Ravina
(8.5 x 11, 7 pages, single sided, stapled in one corner, Price: $10.00)

The copy on the cover said: “Put knives through your head! Twist your head 360 degrees and pull it off! Vanish while you head is in full view!” Someone should attempt all these things with Mr. Ravine. With no gimmicks!! The stuff in this booklet (8.5 x 11, 7 pages single sided) reads as if it were done for a scout troop full of learning disabled (very learning disabled) eight year olds. The only thing that was all new was the paper it was printed on. This is all Victorian-era Boy’s Book of Tricks material. Basically, it is what your grandfather might have done if he wasn’t hip to the 21 card trick. I just cannot recommend this.

by Vincenzo Ravina
(8.5 x 11, 18 pages, single sided, stapled in one corner, attempts at illustrations Price: $19.95)

I cannot honestly say that everything in this booklet is bad. Some of them are just downright stupid. No, that is not fair. For example, imagine being able to stick a fork in your eye. It uses a coffee creamer and a fork…and oh..this is Mac King’s isn’t it? Did I mention NOTHING is credited here. This is mainly a booklet of stunts. Most are badly written and horribly illustrated. . But have no fear, you will be able to spot Mr. Revina’s items from those that are the property of others…they are very bad! All I can say is that for all that is holy, hunt this guy down before any more trees die a senseless death!

Coin Matrix 2003
by Alexander Kolle
(Video tape, Price: $15.00)

Good intentions..well, we know what highway is paved with those. Imagine if you will, a black room with overhead spots shining down. The magician (undoubtedly wearing black as well) proceeds to place a coin on the black rug. (Are you beginning to notice a theme?)
A playing card is cleaning placed over a coin. A second card is cleanly placed on the empty BLACK carpet beside the first card. A magical gesture..and the card under the first card is GONE! Nothing concealed in the hands or behind the card. Yep! The coin is now under the second card. Yup..it looks that clean…on video at least. What can I say, if you work in the conditions needed for this effect to work for you, then God bless you. The rest of us (99.9%) are going to have to suffer along without using the brilliant new idea. Is it impractical? No more than a glass hammer. Is it useful? Well, I have gotten a lot of use from the case the video came in. I now keep jelly beans in it…The only problem is it is hard to find the black jelly beans in the box is because it is so dark…say..maybe there is an idea in a trick there…

By Eric James
(Video tape, Price: $15.00)

I cannot really say anything bad about this video. Meir Yedid might…it is essentially Now UC It Now U Don’t. There is nothing really new that is not covered in detail on Meir’s product. It does coin vanishes and reproductions, rings, etc. But it is not his idea. This is simply a waste of time..and money if you buy it.

Touching Sky
by Andrew Mayne
(Booklet, 17 pages, color cover saddle stapled, Price: $12.00)

A small booklet with 17 pages of mostly photo illustrated levitation ideas. In the beginning, Mr. Mayne credits himself with the first three methods. The other three are “other peoples”. Whose? Who knows? It is obviously not important. Although I wonder how Mr. Mayne would feel if the situations were reversed.
As to the levitations themselves, most of them are more or less stunts as presented in the booklet, with the exception of #3 in the booklet, “Floating on Edge”. This one actually has some small amount of potential. And even it needed a considerable amount of rethinking before it became something I would use. As for the rest of the main section of the booklet…mostly unusable I’m afraid. Ok… TOTALLY unusable… The last item in the book is the Balducci Levitation. Uncredited. He passes it off as an “old clown stunt”. All in all, if you are a collector of levitation material, then this is certainly a cheap purchase. Otherwise, let this one float away.

Cassandra Deck
by Docc Hillford
(Effect: Instructions and gimmicked deck, Price: $25.00)

Docc Hilford’s effects are a pain in the ass to review. No, they really are. This one is no exception. What you receive is what is known in the mentalism trade as a banked deck. Hmm…ok, it is based on old ideas used by Al Koran and Richard Himber among (many) others. Oh hell..it’s a trick deck. Is it an old idea? Yes. Are the effects good? Very. It is a beautifully made trick deck that can shown front and back without fear. It can be used for tossed out deck effects and has many other uses. It comes with a small booklet of instructions and basic routines. Nicely made in Bicycle stock.

Fem Fatal
by Docc Hillford
(64 page booklet, Price: $35.00)

This small book is the source book for the Cassandra Deck. If you are into the Cassandra Deck then you will probably find this quite useful. Admittedly, most of the routines in the book are repetitive and very sketchy in their descriptions, but as stated, if you are at all interested in the Cassandra Deck then this book will be a needed option. In my opinion, it should have been included with the Cassandra Deck. Recommended with reservations.

Hit the Road
by Paul Wilson and Lee Asher
(DVD, Price: $29.95)

I will admit, before I even start, that I am biased when it comes to this dvd. It’s one entertaining magic dvd, and I’ve watched it three times now…and this coming from a jaded magic wife!
Paul Wilson and Lee Asher are, (as so aptly put by the Rod Serling impersonator at the beginning of the dvd) “…not your common rabbit pullers or re-assemblers of women”. These two gents are among the best close up workers in the world right now. That talent has given them a passkey into the underground of magic, and they take you along for the ride.
Why do I love this video so much you ask…It’s not just an instructional video, but a romp with some of the best performers in the field. It has the feel of some of the better conventions we have attended over the years, a mix of great magic and the personalities that create it. It was entertaining to watch as well as informative, well produced and has a great sense of fun.
The effects shown were outstanding. Especially impressing were Dean Dill’s matrix and Alain Nu’s silk and thumbtip routine. Also, Dave and Dan Buck are some talented up and coming card punks, showing off their fine moves for the camera.
Anything bad about this dvd? Well, there were a few nit-picky things. Some of the transitions were a little rough. A couple places the audio was a little soft, but overall nothing distracting.
If you are expecting a sit down, let me explain the trick video, you have come to the wrong place, but if you want a whirlwind behind the scenes tour…then get out your wallet…and hop on you flying carpet to your local magic vendor…
To sum it all up, this is a great dvd. It is well worth its purchase price and a fine addition to your magic collection.

The Chick Trick
by L. Ron Bauer
(Effect: Instructions plus chick, Price: $24.00)

Well, I don’t know how many people I have heard complain about the Ron Bauer Private Study Series...”Ten dollars for a book with ONE TRICK!” I can hear the howls now! “$25 for one trick!! But Blaine never done THAT on TV!” or “I can get 20 tricks from Bang O’golly’s latest DVD!”
Come on, people! Get with the program! The purpose of the series is to make a better “performer” out of you. Which you can learn to do, if you allow this series to help you.
Now, The Chick Trick...Those of you who are familiar with Don Alan’s Ranch Bird should appreciate this. It is a gag filled treatise on having a wind up bird find a couple of selected cards. EVERY detail of the effect’s performance is recorded in the booklet, which is clearly illustrated by Sandra Kort. Plus, Ron even gives you the bird! How cool is that? Very recommend.
(Rosie Note- I saw this effect performed for an audience of hardcore close-up magicians at a convention, and they were cheering on the wind-up toy as she found the card...if you can get that reaction out of that jaded bunch...just think of what you can do with a lay audience!)



Allan Ackerman is generally considered to be one of the best all around card workers in the world. He has a depth and breadth of knowledge that must be seen to be believed. Here is a typical meeting with Allan…

You are sitting in Boomers, (a bar in Las Vegas, home to the Wednesday Gary Darwin meeting.) you are having a good time drinking cheap beer and playing video blackjack at the bar. Suddenly, some idiot says, “Hey, Tony, how are you?” You can’t just kill whoever it is because it might be a friend of the bartender’s, and the service at Boomers is slow at best. You turn around and it is …. Allan Ackerman! And he has a deck of cards! OK! Everything is all right. And for the next half hour he proceeds to totally smoke you with a series of great ass card effects. Then, like Alan Ladd in Shane, he rides off in the sunset.

That is Allan. He is a great guy. But none of this has anything to do with this DVD series. In point of fact, this series was first released on video tape. That was how
I bought them. One at a time. They were excellent then and still are. The material is by no means dated. And all of it is beautifully described. I will pick just one of eight DVD’s to give you some detail of the series. Volume-3 Controls. 42 different sleights and moves. Common but quite often poorly done moves such as The Little Finger Break, The Crimp and The Bluff Pass are clearly explained. But many more advanced controls such as Steve Draun’s Midnight Shift and the Convincing control are taught. Below is a list of the DVD’s and a partial list of their contents. My final word is, buy these! They are a great deal.

The price..oh yeah…only $34.95 each. That’s a lot of cash, but well worth the investment. On the other hand, it’s only 10% of a really expensive hold out. You be the judge…

( Note-Check out the list of effects on the Murphy's Magic Supply site.)

Available from your favorite magic dealer. Dealers should contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies, Inc. on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com or by phone at (800) 853-7403.


Our Stuff

Channel One Reviews

We would like to thank Mike Close for reviewing our magazine in the January 2000 issue of Magic Magazine!


Channel One, is a quarterly whose first issue appeared in September 1999. This issue features tricks from Allan Ackerman, Dean Dill, Joshua Jay, David Acer, Tom Frame, Mike Powers, Gaston Quieto, and Jay Sankey. The focus seems to be card magic, although editor Anthony Miller writes, "We are not just looking for close-up.., but parlor, mentalism, psychic entertainment.., whatever strikes a note with our readers. Also we are looking for fresh perspectives on the actual art of performing." The Tom Frame trick "The 15 Second Memorized Deck" is a highlight of this issue. Tom did this trick for me in Sacramento, and he smoked me with it. If Channel One can maintain this quality of material, close-up magicians will welcome it with open arms.

We were fortunate enough to receive a mention in the December 1999 issue of the Linking Ring Magazine.
Thank you very kindly for the excellent review!

Channel One

Anthony Miller, publ. by Radio Free Atlantis Productions, avail. from Channel One/RFA Productions, PO Box 477, Powell, OH 43065 rfa@rfaproduction.com Quarterly, per issue $12.50, annually $40.00 US, international $15.00/issue, $55.00/annually air only. US dollars, payment must accompany subscriptions. Visa/MasterCard,checks or money orders US funds on US bank. Allow 4-6 weeks for processing.

Yes, another new magic journal, one with a sense of humor, a clean, up-to-date look, covering the range of magic and especially trying to focus on fresh perspectives on the art of performing. Miller is Editor in Chief, with Editorial Assistants Sebastian Clergue; Tim Green, Jr.; Tom Frame; Jim Fish; and Gail Tanner. Rose Rings is Art Director. Initial Contributors are: David Acer, Allan Ackerman, Paul Alberstat, Dean Dill, Josh Jay, Ford Kross, Jim Fish, Tom Frame, Maxime Montier, Mike Powers, Gaston Quieto, Chas. Roberts, Jay Sankey and Michael Van De Carr.

There are articles on performing, excellent tricks, put-ons, real and bogus biographic sketches, photos of contributors and clear instructive art work. The contents vary from easy-to-do to not so easy, strong clean effects to magician-only bafflers. Of special note are: Dean Dill's "The Money Cards, Too!," Josh Jay's "Blackjack!," Maxime Montier's "La Torn and Restored Carte," and, yes, it's different and not as difficult as many. Others include a different Matrix-type effect, a Signed Card to Wallet, a "Wrong Card to Wallet," a bizarre magic effect, a sleightless poker deal, an interesting variation of the "matrix" Princess Card trick, and a couple of thoughtful articles. It's adult, flippant, and if you do close-up, I think you'll like it as much as I do.

Recommended. PRW