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Tom Stone: Caught On Tape Review

Official Review

September 8th, 2006 11:30pm
Rating:
Reviewed by Gordon Meyer
There are two things need to know before reading this review. First, I'm not a fan of magic DVDs. While I acknowledge their obvious advantages in some areas I believe that books are a better way to teach, and learn, magic. Secondly, you should know that I am a fan of Tom Stone. I have several of his privately published (and lovingly produced) manuscripts and I've long appreciated his approach to magic.

If you're not familiar with Tom Stone, he's a Swedish magician whose workman-like approach to conjuring results in practical methods and clear effects. It's creative stuff, but typically not in the sense of being unusual or offbeat, his magic is more often "magic for magicians" that has been reworked until is suitable for a regular audience. This attention to detail is more evident on the DVD than his books, where the long discussions reveal that Stone has refined each down to the smallest detail, all in the service of making it play for laymen.

Most of the DVD consists of close-up card magic, although there is a routine with a Boston box and finger ring that adds variety to the mix. There are also two items suitable for stand-up; a silk and coin routine that ends with a bottle production and a straight-forward arrangement of the Himber linking finger rings. If you are a cardician you'll find interesting variations of classic plots from the likes of Vernon, Jennings, and Hammon. My favorite is the last trick, Ambivalent Travelers, where four pieces of a card that have been personalized by different spectators vanish and end up scattered amongst the magician's pockets. Its worthy of repeat viewings and study.

In fact, being well-versed in card magic is a requirement for learning the most from Caught On Tape. Stone assumes you know basic principles and common sleights when he explains the tricks. The focus here is on the choices and changes he's made, not on teaching false counts, palming, and other fundamentals. I think this is a fine approach, the slow pace of the DVD would become glacial if every sleight were explained, but beginners should take note of these requirements.

There are a few pleasant surprises, too. The "bonus effects" consist of some impromptu bottle-related magic that you'll enjoy playing with. The most intriguing thing, however, is a brief segment about cognitive science and "change blindness" that's fundamental to the trick Reality Glitch. It's not a princpal used very often in magic and Stone's demonstration, as well as the way he's exploited it, are fascinating.

The quality of the DVD is quite good, the explanations are shot in widescreen format using multiple cameras to keep things interesting and the viewing angles appropriate. The performance segments aren't quite as interesting, as much as I enjoy Stone's creations I found that the performances lagged a bit, but perhaps there is a cultural difference between Sweden and the US that's getting in the way. Apparently the performances were taped before real audiences which gives them a different, and more realistic, flavor than the hyper-enthused assembly typically seen on L&L-produced discs. It's true, real audiences don't always know when to applaud. Even in Sweden.

I'm giving this 4 stars. It could have been better with tighter (and scripted) explanations and a less card-focused selection of effects. But if it falls within your area of interest I think you'll feel that you've gotten a good value for your money.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Tom Stone: Caught On Tape

Author: Tom Stone
Average Rating:  (3)
Retail Price: $35.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

"I have respected and admired Tom Stone long before it was considered cool! For his perfectionism as well as his ability to understand what is required to create excellent magic."
- Daryl

"Tom is one of the most creative magicians here in Europe. His work is always stimulating and worthy of attention."
- Tommy Wonder

"I am a fan of Tom Stone. He is wonderfully creative - perhaps even more than he himself realizes!"
- Max Maven

"Tom Stone is a rare phenomenon: a fountain of cleverness and creativity, and a truly excellent performer. Whether he is performing or teaching, I want to be in the first row."
- Stephen Minch

Tom Stone is not only an extremely creative thinker and inventor. He is also a very entertaining and charismatic performer, who has been an underground rumor for years! Perhaps you have heard the buzz after his performances at Magic Castle, or after his lecture at FISM?

In this DVD, you will learn eight of his best routines, and if you like close-up and stand-up magic with a twist, you will not only have a good time watching, but also get a lot of inspiration for your own performances.

This DVD Features:

  • A Toast for Charon: Silk, silver and a huge surprise
  • Gold Wielder: Linking finger rings without a stooge
  • Occhamman Now: "The Signed Card" - paperclipped!
  • Time Operator: Time, space and a free selection
  • The Hoarders: Interlaced action with cards
  • Reality Glitch: Sandwich in an unexpected place
  • Monty Walks Again: Personal valuables change places
  • Ambivalent Traverllers: A journey into deep pockets
  • ...Bonus section included!

Embedded in each piece is a strong knowledge of misdirection, streamlined technique and engaging dramatic plots. With a boldness that will make your hands happy, you will be able to get signed cards to appear in four different pockets with a minimum of sleights. Borrowed finger rings are linked together without any awkward moments. An isolated, paperclipped card transforms into a signed selection in the clearest version of Bro. John Hamman's "The Signed Card". In a stylish and elegant parlor piece, coins appear and fly through the air, ending with the spectacular production of a wine bottle. And a card trick comes together like a surreal and carefully constructed short story.

Jon Racherbaumer once said: "Tom Stone concocts eye-candy for the brain". Now you can experience the meaning of that for yourself. Enjoy!

Running Time Approximately 157min


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