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Palms of Steel 4: Cashablanca Review

Official Review

March 27th, 2009 12:06pm
Reviewed by David Acer
Having now released four volumes in his "Palms of Steel" DVD series, Curtis Kam has done a laudable job trying to improve the ratio of coin tricks to card tricks in the world. Most of the six routines on here feature advanced sleights, switches and grips that would cripple a concert pianist, but some phases employ techniques that are within the range of the intermediate student. Highlights (for me, anyway) include:

* ILSA'S APPEARANCE: Based on a Rune Klan production, the magician plucks three invisible silver dollars from the air, one after the other, then instantly (and simultaneously) makes them visible.

* THE GREATEST THREE-DOLLAR SHOW ON EARTH: A complete coin act designed to recreate the thrill of seeing the circus. A coin purse (playing the part of the clown car) "drives" to the center of the table, whereupon three "acrobats" (in this case, coins) are poured out. The "acrobats" travel from hand to hand, pocket to hand, then hand to purse, mimicking a high-wire act, tumbling routine, and human cannonball sequence respectively.

* TRIPLE ALLIANCE 2.0: An upgraded version of Curtis's copper/silver/brass routine from "Palms of Steel 3," featuring a brand new ending wherein the copper and "brass" coins are dropped into a coin purse and the silver coin is held on the magician's open palm, when suddenly the silver coin splits apart into the copper and "brass" coins. The purse is opened revealing the silver coin inside. This last sequence employs Masao Atsukawa's M.A. Propulsion move and is every bit as striking as it sounds.

There are also two routines on here that I would put in the category of "for magicians only" -- an approach to "Flight of the Eagles" that I actually found confusing (this might say more about me than the routine), and Reed McClintock's INTERNATIONAL SOLID THREE FLY, in which three distinct coins travel from the magician's left fingertips to his right fingertips, whereupon he hands the spread of coins to a spectator, revealing that it's permanently stuck together.

Viewers will also learn state-of-the-art techniques like the Ogawa/Harbottle Edge-Grip-to-Edge-Grip transfer (a.k.a. The Plural Push-Through), a 360-degree coin roll, the Himber Click Pass, a beautiful Geoffrey Latta coin vanish from a spread of coins, the Harbottle Steeplechase Discrepancy, Mike Skinner's handling for the Spider Vanish, and more.

As a sidenote, I think, more than any other branch of close-up, coin magic has a disproportionately high percentage of sleights that achieve a desired end (e.g., transferring a stack of palmed coins from one hand to the other) but aren't particularly deceptive (i.e., the audience may not know what happened, but they know something happened). I have to admit I felt that way about a few of the techniques on this DVD. But the vast majority of the work here is deceptive, commercial, and well worth the attention of any serious student.

David Acer

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Palms of Steel 4: Cashablanca

Author: Curtis Kam
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $35.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

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From all over the world, coin tricks come to Cashablanca fleeing the Gaffed Coin Gestapo and the tyranny of the EZ to Master race. Here, they struggle to become pure sleight-of-hand Magic; earning their passage to audiences in the free world. Hidden away from the distractions of a phony studio audience, Curtis Kam performs and explains the tricks that have earned their letters of transit:

Ilsa's Appearance

The audience is teased into watching you pull invisible coins from the air, and spread them into a fan. Just when they're convinced that your hands are empty and you're pulling their legs, BAM--three silver dollars pop into view.

Just when they're sure it'll never happen, the money appears, like the girl you left behind. This could be the beginning of a beautiful coin trick.

Cashablanca Coins Across

Follow Ilsa with the perfect working man's coins across--three ordinary coins, no risky moves. Do it standing, sleeveless, table-less, topless, for brooding loners or the whole German army. Features the latest in American edge grip technology, (but the angles are 100% practical) the revolutionary "In Closing" steal, and a new breed of retention pass that fools the mind, not the eye.

Three Coins Across, sweet and simple. Americans love simple things with money. Paris Hilton, for example. We'll always have Paris.

The Greatest ($3) Show on Earth

Three coins take the stage like clowns from a tiny car. The youngest tumbles and rolls; his brothers do a fingertip trapeze act. Put away in your pockets, they jump back to the stage then fly like human cannonballs, appearing under, on top of, and inside a coin purse. A full routine with all the action of a three-ring circus, daring new techniques, and a built-in storyline that can be either circus or Cirque, as you wish.

Play It Again, Kam (Another Hard Way) / Excellent Birds

Seven coins ooze out of your empty hands, into a nifty display position, no less. From there, you perform the classic "Flying Eagles" with an upgrade to the 21st century. A new take on a classic, with killer convincers and a Harbottle finish.

I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little coins don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But seven coins, now that gets my attention.

Triple Alliance 2.0

This advanced, enhanced handling of Triple Alliance (from Palms of Steel 3: Silverado) is the only Copper/Silver/Brass where the audience hears the first transpo, sees the second, feels the third, and then experiences the rare and elusive triple transposition. Brought to you through virtuoso routining and the simplest of gaffs, it's a visual, audible, tactile feast for the senses that stops short of total sensory immersion only because the coins all taste about the same.

BONUS: International Solid ThreeFly (Reed McClintock)

Three different coins fly from the fingertips of one hand to the other. That simply. No moves, no feints, no pauses, no dumb gags, no trips to the pockets, all visible, and when the last coin goes, you're clean. Reed figures that the only reason to use a gaff is if it produces an illusion this good. Why pay more for gaffed coins that do less?

If you don't get this video, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. Here's looking at you, kid.


I just finished watching "Palms of Steel 4", I must say Curtis Kam has outdone himself. Coin magic for everyone...from the beginner to the advanced, geared for the table worker!

The production of this DVD has to be one of the finest I have ever seen...Spielberg would be proud! The graphics are quite entertaining as well...right down to the rolling credits.

BTW, Reed McClintock makes a guest appearance with a very nice coin effect (I won't say what it is as I don't want to spoil the surprise) I highly recommend this (as well as anything put out by the Magic Bakery) for anyone looking to advance their coin work! -Mike Gallo

"The Palms of Steel 4- Cashablanca DVD is very well done and has new and refreshing ideas for todays coin man. Great job Steve, Curtis and Reed!" - Dean Dill

"Palms of Steel 4 is great - Curtis is just awesome! Loved the out-takes as well" - Paul Green

Running Time Approximately 1hr 20min

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