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3-D Cash Review

Official Review

August 19th, 2003 2:19pm
Reviewed by David Parr
This is a brief DVD devoted to a single effect: Mark Allen's "3-D Cash," an evolution of the popular Pat Page routine "Easy Money" (which was itself based on a routine by Fred Kaps), in which a number of bill-sized pieces of newspaper magically transform into genuine currency. Mark Allen's handling expands this concept into a routine in which several dollar bills appear to appreciate in value: ones become twos; twos become fives. Or, if the performer prefers, the bills can depreciate in value: fives to twos; twos to ones. (I've cited the bills Mr. Allen uses on the video; other denominations or types of paper currency could be used.)

"Improvements" to classic magic effects often turn out to be complications rather than advances. In this case, performers will be pleased to know that while Mark Allen's alterations to the gaff allow for an extended routine, they are not accompanied by an increase in complexity of handling or a decrease in directness of effect. Mr. Allen has additionally streamlined the process by using fewer bills and eliminating awkward or rapid motions. The routine appears to be sleight-free, and that's the way it should look. Mr. Allen's attention to smoothing out the kinks in handling is impressive, and he takes the time to run through the entire routine twice to make sure the viewer can follow along. (Regrettably, he also takes the opportunity to make several sour comments about magicians who have ripped off his work and presented it as their own. I can certainly understand his feelings, but is an instructional DVD really the forum for unloading these grievances?)

Production values for the DVD are minimal. The video was evidently shot in someone's home, in front of a white sheet, with a single camera. The camera remains static for the most part, with some close-ups of hands. Mr. Allen calls attention to the fact that he is left-handed and that many viewers will have to reverse the handling demonstrated on the video. Actually, this circumstance makes it easier for the right-handed viewer to follow the moves, since he or she can simply match Allen's onscreen actions as if looking in a mirror.

For some reason, the instructions for constructing the gaff used in the routine are reserved until near the end of the video. In my opinion this important section of the DVD is not only misplaced, it is marred by two instances of what can only be described as negligence. During construction of the gaff, Mr. Allen tells us to fold a portion of the gaff one way, and at the same time we see him folding it the opposite way. Minutes later, Allen realizes his mistake and refolds the bill properly. This should not happen on an instructional video. What effort would it have taken to stop the camera and retake that sequence from the top? Isn't that the magic of video? There's just no excuse for the authors of this DVD to have let this bungled sequence stand. The same holds true for a moment later on, when Allen admits that after one of the transformations in the routine there is a slight visual discrepancy in the orientation of the bills. He explains that he was "too lazy" to figure out the proper way to construct the gaff to eliminate this discrepancy. Might I suggest that the time to have worked this out would have been before making an instructional video?

Despite the low production quality and instances of unmindful planning and presentation on this DVD, Allen has succeeded in taking a persuasive step forward in the evolution of this effect. Anyone who has performed an earlier version -- and enjoyed the gratifying looks of surprise it generates -- should check out what Marc Allen has done with it. Evolution can be fun!

Three stars
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Product info for 3-D Cash

Author: Allen, Mark
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $19.97
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Manufacturer's Description:

Do you like to make your spectators' eyes pop out and their jaws drop? If so, Mark Allen's 3-D Cash is for you! There have been many bill tricks in the past and a few new ones lately, but none match the power of 3-D Cash.

The work is so clean you might get imprisoned for money laundering! Every movement is motivated and all the sneaky work is completely disguised.

More than twenty years of careful consideration to every minute detail and the incorporation of several psychological principles are what make this wonderfully visual and deceptive money mystery so strong. The possible variations for presentations and performance styles are far greater with 3-D Cash than with most other bill effects. You can easily adapt this trick to be as entertaining and mysterious as you can be.

Picture this...You show the fronts and backs of four one dollar bills (really). Then, in the fairest possible manner all four of the one's change to fives, and you then show the fronts and backs of all the bills again (no kidding)! When you're asked if you can turn them into hundreds, you do! Once again, you show the fronts and backs of all the bills!

Powerful, anytime, anywhere magic, with more bang for the buck in every sense of the word! Your spectators simply won't know what hit them.

The 3-D Cash DVD is packed with lots of ideas and subtle variations.

Available from your favorite magic dealer.

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