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Oddball Review

Official Review

April 22nd, 2008 6:48pm
Reviewed by David Parr
I’ve noticed a trend lately in the instructions that accompany magic effects: the directions are so terse as to be practically nonexistent. The method and handling for Marc Oberon’s “Oddball” are explained in four paragraphs, three of which consist of a single sentence. In other words, there will be more information in this review than there is in the instructions for the effect. I understand that the method for “Oddball” doesn’t involve complicated sleights, but there was more than enough room on the piece of paper that came with it to convey some subtleties of handling or suggestions for clear presentation or ” well, anything that would encourage me to think that I purchased this effect from a real human being and not an automatic magic-effect generator.

As to the effect itself, “Oddball” is among a number of recent versions of “Kurotsuke,” a marvel of minimalism from Max Maven’s VideoMind series. Max is not mentioned anywhere in the instructions for “Oddball,” which represents another trend in magic: failure to acknowledge sources of ideas and inspiration.

The effect here is identical to “Kurotsuke”: a number of colored balls are placed into a bag. One ball is a different color from the others. People in the audience are asked to reach into the bag, select one ball, and keep it hidden from the magician. The performer is able to determine who is holding the differently colored ball. Only the method is different from Max’s. So the important question is this: Is the method for “Oddball” an improvement?

I don’t think so. The method used for “Oddball” eliminates one point of procedure from “Kurotsuke,” but any advantage gained by doing so is outweighed by disadvantages:

  • In “Kurosuke,” all of the props are free of preparation and could be items gathered from around the house. Not so with “Oddball.”

  • The props included with “Oddball” are cheap and cheesy-looking.

  • The performer of “Oddball” must pay very close attention to the selection process. The selection process in “Kurotsuke” can be handled more casually.

  • There is a chance that a participant in “Oddball” could discover that one of the objects differs from the others in more than its color. There is no such risk in “Kurotsuke.”

  • The fact that the identical balls used in “Oddball” are translucent and the differently colored ball is opaque points in the direction of the method.

In my opinion, “Oddball” does not represent a step forward. I’ll be sticking with the original version of “Kurotsuke” until I see a genuine improvement over it, created by someone who is willing to credit Max for the inspiration.
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Product info for Oddball

Author: Marc Oberon
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $30.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

A selection of small white balls and one single black ball are shown to the audience They are dropped singly into an opaque bag, which is then shaken by a spectator to ensure they are well mixed.

One by one a group of spectators each take a ball from the bag, keeping it concealed at all times in their hand.

Despite the thorough mixing and random distribution of the balls, you can instantly tell who holds the black ball.

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