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Promises Kept Review

Official Review

July 7th, 2007 2:27pm
Reviewed by Gordon Meyer
I have mixed feelings about "A Promise Kept." On one hand, I'm definitely in favor of bringing more meaning to magic by playing off emotional themes other than the usual "isn't this cool" or "look how awesome I am." I think this trick is a step in that direction. On the other hand, what this product really boils down to is a single prop—the box in which the coin reappears at the climax, and I'm not convinced of its suitability for two reasons.

First, you'll notice in the dealer's description that the trick is described using the word "gothic." In the instructions that come with the trick, the script attempts to pass off the box as a civil war relic that was recovered from a grave. Not only do these two descriptions not agree with each other, the provided prop fits neither of them. It's simply too modern in appearance and design. In addition to being shiny and new. (Yes, you could make it look old yourself, but for $45, you shouldn't have to.)

Not only does the box not quite fit the story, the story itself contains several incongruous elements that, in my opinion, diminish its believability. For example, we're asked to believe that the box was found when a construction worker, who was digging in a graveyard, heard the "strange sound of metal against wood." (Produced by a box the size of a large radish?) He then "sifted through some bones" and found the box. Which he opened and then put back in the grave. Yet, somehow, it is now in the magician's possession. Go figure. Unlikely moments like that, especially in a presentation that could be labeled as "bizarre magic," prevent your audience from suspending disbelief and reduces the trick to, well, a trick. Again, this is something you can fix yourself by adjusting the script, but this should have been worked out before publication.

My second hesitation about this trick is its deceptiveness. The box is essentially a large version of the old "coin well" prop. But a coin well is deceptive because of its small size—its not much larger than the coin itself. The box provided with "A Promise Kept" is much larger than the fifty-cent piece sized coin with which you must use it. It can clearly hold more than one coin, and if that thought occurs to your audience then the magic is gone and all you're left with is the "haunting tale."

Now don't get me wrong, the box is quite nice, and if the overall effect appeals to you, you'll have a nice prop upon which to build your own, hopefully more cohesive, presentation. On the other hand, if you're simply looking for a trick that uses an import-store box for bizarre-themed magic, you'll be better off with The Tibetan Wishing Box. Although the effects are different, that product has everything that this one lacks, and at a lower price. If "A Promise Kept" were as well thought-out, and about $15 less expensive, it would garner a higher rating.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Promises Kept

Author: David Mitchell
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $44.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Everyone Likes a Mystery! In this gothic coin magic effect you will find murder, Love, theft, magic, and the unexplained.


The performer begins to weave a haunting tale of true love and introduces a beautiful handcrafted exotic wood box. The box with intricate inlay is small enough to be held in the hand of the lady volunteer. The story continues and a half dollar is found inside the box . The tale of the two young lovers' tragic deaths holds the spectators on the edge of there seats and the coin is stolen from its beautiful box. The parcel was resting in a grave when its contents are stolen. The coin is followed, along with the thief, by the owner's ghost. The story becomes even more complex when at the stroke of midnight it is removed from its secure hiding place by the phantom and returned to the grave back inside the box. The box had remained inside the volunteer's hand throughout the story.

The entire story has been known to bring chills, shrieks, and even a tear to those who have been privileged to hear it. The props are beautiful and the story takes close up into a whole new dimension. Add un forgettable drama to your close up performances with "A Promise Kept".

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