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Card Stunts (VHS) Review

March 5th, 2013 4:44am
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
I first bought this video when it came out on VHS and yes, I still have the VHS. I recently bought the DVD because frankly, I loved the material in this video. Gregory Wilson and his Card Stunts video are responsible for both inspiring and getting me started in card work when I was younger. When I got my start in magic at 7 years old, I started with books (and I still prefer books), but this was the first video on card magic of any sort that I ever purchased.

I will start my review by answering an underlying question from Mr. Stone in his review - there is no difference in the content between the VHS and the DVD. On a personal note: I think the VHS box graphics were way cooler than those on the DVD case...but that is just me!

The work and material on this video is excellent, and it opens with a full performance at the Magic Castle. If you simply popped this video on for your family/friends to watch and stopped it before the explanations start, they would be entertained.

Heavyweight Boxing requires some prop construction and if you use it, it does not take up a lot of space. It is a very cool effect that looks just as described and is not that difficult to do. You can eliminiate the first phase or two and still have a very powerful opener to begin with.

Not on the list of effects but after Heavyweight Boxing, Greg performs the classic Paul Harris effect, Double Decker. He does not explain it at all but does tell you exactly where to learn it. Normally I do not like it (in fact, it is a major pet peeve of mine) when an effect is performed as part of a larger collection and not explained (except where permission from a rights-holder was not obtained/obtainable). However, in this case because he gives references on where to find/learn it, and because all of the other material on the video is excellent, I was more than okay with overlooking that.

Phoenix Split is a novel way to produce four cards out of nowhere. It will take some time to get used to it for some people, especially in managing sight lines, etc., but is well worth the effort.

Reset with a Hook is one of my favorite routines on this video and it is the one that I use the most. It is based on another Paul Harris classic, Reset. In the eyes of both magicians and laymen, this effect is very magical and I love it!

Boomerang Card of Death. [Long, deep sigh]. Okay, THIS is THE effect that made me purchase the video to begin with all those years ago. THIS is the coolest effect on this video, bar none (Greg thinks so too). It is the ONE effect that I could not do. Fast forward to now - I can do all sorts of card spins from various positions in the deck with varying levels of success, but the method used with this effect is one I cannot do with a bare thumb - that may just be me. The whole effect - spinning technique and all - is very well explained and is not technically difficult, but rather for some it may be mechanically difficult.*

Boxspring is a very cool and magical way of extracting four cards out of the box. Greg uses the four Aces because they fit the context of the rest of the routines, but you can use any four cards and they could be signed if you are doing that type of effect. In fact, you can do any of this to cause just one, two or even three cards. I will note that because of the intended effect of two of the penetrations, you will have to use decks whose box has the back design of the card printed on it, like the old Bicycle Rider decks did. Other decks that have this feature these days include the Stud decks (from Walgreens), Mandolin backs, Phoenix decks, and many others. It is not difficult to do and it is one of my favorites because you can use it in different ways.

I also like Joke In the Box. If you have ever wanted to do Card Under Glass without the moisture, this is for you. The handling Greg offers here can be very easily combined with the handling and presentations for the Card Under Glass offered by both Jamy Ian Swiss and the late, great J.C. Wagner - both are awesome to watch. On top of the clean and direct handling, Joke In the Box has the added bonus of the kicker ending.

G-Force is a fun little interlude with an intended 'easy vs. difficult audience member' plot. It can be played in various ways if you think about it. Because of what the nature of the effect/routine hints at, Greg even tells you about situations where you might consider not using this. Again, this is not a technically difficult effect but as with all things of this nature (classic forces, etc.), it is a timing thing.

Revelation In Spades is just plain fun to watch. As Greg puts it, this is the "finger-popping, knuckle buster with industrial paper cuts" type of routine. Okay, maybe it is not that bad, but in my own opinion (and remember, I am a coin guy, not a cardician) it is the sequence of moves that may be difficult to remember for some, more than anything else. He teaches the all of the revelations clearly and a few of them will take plenty of practice for sure, even if you end up using them in a different context or different effect/routine.

Still today this is one of my favorite card videos (I have long since explored other card videos) because the material is strong, it plays well and I think most of it is pretty much angleproof. I use some of these effects in my trade shows and hospitality suites and people always seem to love them. This is not necessarily a video for complete beginners but intermediate and advanced magicians will have fun with this one.

*About a month after I got this video I discovered a few special somethings that allowed me to do this particular spin very effectively and reliably, but they all hinder the ability to do the rest of the effect because of their physical nature. On a side note: Jeff McBride has a product called Zoom, Bounce and Fly that will allow you to do this type of spinning as well.

Product info for Card Stunts (VHS)

Author: Wilson, Greg
Publisher: MagicSmith
Average Rating:  (3)
Retail Price: $29.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Card Stunts is Gregory Wilson's complete Close-up card act performed live from the Magic Castle. This is extremely visual card magic that hits 'em right between the eyes with speed, impact and mid-air acrobatics. HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING The card box magically and mysteriously jumps out of your pocket and back around the deck - TWICE. PHOENIX SPLIT Four aces magically appear at your fingertips one at a time -- with your sleeves rolled up. RESET WITH A HOOK A jacked-up, nitro-burning demonstration of derring-do that masterfully motivates why the four aces change place with the jacks. BOOMERANG CARD OF DEATH A playing card shoots from the middle of the deck, high into the air, reverses direction mid-flight and plunges back into the deck -- between two selected cards -- with only one hand. BOXSPRING One at a time, the four aces sneak our of a completely closed and ungimmicked card case. JOKE IN THE BOX Finally, 'Card Under Glass' without getting your cards wet. The bone dry (signed if you like) oker jumps from the deck and under the card box -- twice. Then, for the surprise finish, instead of under, it goes. . . inside the box. Gentlemen, start your Sharpies. G FORCE An unsuspecting spectator selects the same card three times in a row. You top things off with a transposition that leaves them in vertigo. REVELATION IN SPADES Find thirteen cards in a row - in perfect order.

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