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Exit 51 Review

Official Review

January 24th, 2004 8:19pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
The genesis of Exit 51 (as stated in the manuscript) is Paul Harris' The Vanishing Deck. I performed Paul's original version for a year or so as an opener in my restaurant work. I've also worked with various deck vanishes that don’t rely on a feke*.

There is one common thread among all of the deck vanishes I've used: they rely on being able to keep the heat off of the "moment" and/or the feke, when one is used. This version tries to do exactly the opposite: put all focus on the feke until the moment of the vanish.

This is a wonderful goal, but I'm not convinced this feke does the trick (no pun intended).

I must be honest in saying that I haven't had the guts to perform this. This, in itself, should be a message to all who read this review. We at MyLovelyAssistant are trying to keep you from spending money on products that you won't use. Think of it this way: if I have the balls to do a vanishing deck that requires exact timing, blocking and direction but can't muster the courage to bring this thing out in front of an audience… that should tell you something.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and this could be the best thing since the Guinea Pig Box, so I will make some additional comments about the actual routine. With the routine provided, the entire deck is removed from the case and after a couple of flourishes, the case is stuffed away somewhere safe. The real reason for these moves is to switch the complete deck for the feke. There is no motivation for these moves other than to "prove" the deck is normal.

There is also an overhand shuffle of two cards that is supposed to look like you're shuffling a full deck. I'm sure there are some expert cardworkers out there that could pull this off, but I'm not convinced most people (myself included) could make this look genuine.

For that matter, most of the moves leading up to the vanish seem pretty risky to me. The performer spends a lot of time treating two cards as a single deck while the audience is burning their hands.

There's one more thing you should know about this effect: you'll need to create a new feke for every time you plan to perform this routine (assuming you have the card signed). They're not terribly hard to make, but keep this in mind if you're a working professional who might do this a hundred times a night or more.

If you want to do a vanishing deck, I'd suggest learning one that requires you to beef up your audience direction skills. David Williamson and John Carney both have excellent versions of this effect, as do others. Or if you'd rather use a feke, stick with Paul Harris' original version (republished in Book One of his Art of Astonishment series).

* Thanks to my dear friend Eugene Burger for pointing out the difference between a feke and a gimmick. Put simply, a gimmick is a secret piece of apparatus that is never seen. A feke, on the other hand, is seen -- it's simply not seen for what it actually is. A thumb tip is a feke. A holdout is a gimmick.

Product info for Exit 51

Author: Harris, Ben
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supply
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $19.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Have a spectator select and sign a card. Next, put the card back into the deck. Shuffle the deck, and finally, with the wave of a hand... The deck disappears, and what is left is the one chosen and signed card!

Effect includes large 8 1/2" x 11" booklet with complete and illustrated instructions plus specillay printed gimmicks to use for Exit51 and instructions on how to make more!

Available from your favorite magic dealer.

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