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Joker Joker Review

Official Review

January 31st, 2003 10:47am
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
Gordon Bean is a tremendous magical thinker. His handling for the final switch in Hamman's The Signed Card routine will assure his place in card worker's hearts forever. His joint venture with William Goodwin, The Penumbra, may possibly go down as one of the more important independent magic magazines of the new Millennia. As librarian for the Magic Castle, he's a super, giving guy whose always willing to help with a move or a reference. All of which makes it all the more difficult for me to say, I didn't really like this trick at all.

Production, first class. Instructions, clear as a bell. Props, they go the extra mile and include necessary materials for the Bonus Effect (Los Angeles Open). A class 'A' package.

But the trick....well, it's kind of blah.

The magi spreads part way through the deck and removes one of the two jokers. The spectator touches a card and it turns out to be the second Joker.

The handling is concise, but the key move, even when done perfectly, will not fool all of the people all of the time. Without tipping it, there is a topological factor and there are some people out there, a former roommate of mine included, who just see through those kind of things. Further, the move comes at the moment of revelation, so its not really something you can cover with a lot of shade.

But what about the nature of the effect itself. I think Jokers are always suspect. Lay people just aren't comfortable with them. Every time I teach a magic class and hand out a new deck I hear, "Do we take out the Jokers?" Now, some may think this may be an asset for the premise, and it would be if you were opening a brand new deck. But you're not. And if you did, the trick wouldn't make sense because you'd have to open, shuffle, and then remove the jokers. Why not remove them when you opened them. Further, if you were going to remove the Jokers, why even have them there to start with.

Also, there are two jokers in every deck (albeit we know there is a big one and a little one). But if the deck can have two jokers, why not 4, or 12. Sure, you show them that's not the case, but I think the Joker-like nature of the Jokers always lurks in the deep "I know how he did it" recesses of the spectator's mind.

Wouldn't it be so much better to name a SINGLE card and have the spectator unerringly find it?

Well, that's the bonus effect and it is MUCH BETTER.

The Los Angeles Open is Bean's handling of the Curry Open Prediction plot. It is good. I would like to have seen a little more description on how to handle (verbally) the spectator's choice as to "stop or keep going." What Gordon teaches works, but it can be clearer.

Try this, "Ok, you've touched that one, are you sure. Perfect. (turn over cards) Look, no 4 of hearts. None here, none here. (dropping face up cards to table).

(Push over face down card) Now this is the one you picked, but if you like we can pick another one that we haven't seen."

I know it's not much, but it clears up the "she can stop now or keep going" concept. In fact, I wouldn't refer ever to "stopping when the joker is on top" (as the instructions have you do in Joker, Joker). That just doesn't make sense to me and it is confusing to lay people.

Ok, back to LA Open. It's good. Its a fooler. But is it better than the original Stewart James handling (the first half of method 16. Interestingly the same handling is attributed to Robert Parrish as Wide Open Prediction, printed in St. Louis Lecture Notes 1, Jon Racherbaumer.)

Bean Pros: You spread the cards face down on table, only one card face up. No sleight of hand.

Bean Cons: Two gimmicked cards.

James/Parrish Pros: One gimmicked card.

James/Parrish Cons: One move, though its easy.

Now, Bean offers an advanced "in the spectator's hands" handling that comes closer to the James/Parrish, but personally I prefer James/Parrish's to Bean.

If you don't know the James/Parrish routine then LA Open will fool you badly. That's easily worth 9 bucks. I wasn't impressed with Joker, Joker.

So, 1 1/2 stars for Joker, Joker. 4 1/4 for LA Open. (James/Parrish handling gets 5 stars). Toss in a bit for overall production value and I give it a safe, happy, middle of the road 3 stars.

Brad Henderson

Product info for Joker Joker

Author: Bean, Gordon
Publisher: Magiclab
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $9.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

You start by saying you must first remove the Jokers from the deck. After taking out the first one, you decide to let a spectator find the other, with the cards face down.

Despite having multiple chances to stop or move on, and without a single false move on your part, the spectator stops on a card. It's turned over, and it's the second Joker! No other Jokers are in the deck and the pack may be examined!

Also Includes...The Los Angeles Open-perhaps the most baffling version of the Open Prediction ever released. After a card has been announced as a prediction, and with the deck in her own hands, a spectator deals cards face up until she wishes to stop. At this point, she deals a card face down, then deals the rest of the cards face up. The openly predicted card doesn't show up, and the spectator herself spreads the deck to see the only card she left face down was the performer's prediction!

Comes complete with 8-page, fully photo-illustrated instructions and the necessary cards specially printed by the U.S. Playing Card Co.

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