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Burn Notice (Gimmick and Online Instructions) Review

Official Review

June 15th, 2022 9:24am
Reviewed by James Sanden
“Card to Impossible Location” is a plot near and dear to magicians. In recent years an increasing number of organic options have been released, including “Burn Notice” by Takel, in which the folded card appears in a matchbox.

A matchbox is an excellent destination as it is the correct size for a folded playing card, can be organically introduced (avoiding telegraphing that it will be the location of the climax,) all while remaining an interesting object. For $25 you receive a gimmicked matchbox, along with materials to repair the gimmick, or with which you can alter it so that instead of a card appearing, a billet or bill appears instead. Included is a link to a 12 minute tutorial video that covers the basic workings, as well as a few additional ideas, including the idea of scoring the card to ensure the folds you make are neat. (If you don’t already do this, start immediately. It makes a tremendous difference.) Unusually, everything is taught in mime with no speaking of any kind. There is minimal use of text to clarify and more detail would have made the instruction clearer, especially when teaching something like a sleight of hand card fold. That being said, the construction, mechanics and use of the box can be essentially understood from the tutorial.

There is one glaring flaw in the teaching, which is that instead of using a shuttle pass type action to apparently remove the card from the box, the performer displays the folded card in the box, covers it with their hand (to hide the movement of the gimmick and to introduce the palmed card into the box.) The hand is then moved away to display the card (again,) before taking the card out of the box. This sequence of moves is unmotivated and unnatural. In working with the box I found a basic shuttle pass type action works just fine, so I really have no idea why Takel uses the approach he does, other than my suspicions that this was not an idea refined over countless performances, but invented for the purpose of selling to magicians. There is nothing inherently wrong with creating for the purpose of selling, except that it leaves more work for the purchaser than necessary. There’s already enough effort required to make a routine fit your approach, work in your hands and accomplish your performance goals. Having to solve problems that should have been solved by the creator is a frustrating addition to that process.

I should also say the gimmick in my box broke almost immediately. To be honest, I don’t think it’s because of a faulty design, but because (I’m guessing) the elastic needed to be gently stretched before use (which the instructions don’t mention.) Based on the tutorial, repair seems to be easy, so I don’t think it’s actually a problem. But it is good to know the method uses elastic, which does always have the potential to break.

In purchasing a gimmick like this, an important question to ask is: do you care if you can show the box empty after dumping out the card? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. For the transparent boxes on the market, there needs to be a way to show the box empty or the method won’t be deceptive. But for opaque containers, arguments can be made for both sides. Further, the manner in which the routine is performed affects the amount of heat on the container after the card has been dumped out. The point is, not all methods are created equal and some are better suited to a given approach than others, depending on the way in which they are used and presented.

Most gimmicked methods that allow the performer to show the container empty after dumping out the card are far more expensive than “Burn Notice,” so in that respect you are getting a deal, though its reliance on elastic is something to keep in mind. And of course, if you like the idea of having the card appear in a matchbox, then this is right up your alley. But before purchasing, I would do some research and look into some of the many other organic destinations on the market, including Alibi by Mark Mason and Kaan Akdogan, Fob by David Penn, The Jar by Garrett Thomas, Mint Box by Daniel Garcia, and my favorite (and the one I use) Toibox Card to Box System by Jonathan Kamm. Spending a little extra (or being willing to do a little additional sleight of hand) in order to make a method more reliable or flexible may be worth it.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Burn Notice (Gimmick and Online Instructions)

Author: Takel
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $24.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

"This is the most organic and most believable Mystery Box version I have ever seen..."
- Titanas

The Mystery Box has always been one of magic's most baffling plots and one of the most unexplainable crescendos to a routine. A signed card that appears inside an object that has been in full view the whole time has delighted audiences for decades. Many times these objects are props that you don't see every day, and can look suspicious.

In his debut release with Murphy's Magic, Takel has brought us Burn Notice. Burn Notice takes the strongest elements of the mystery box and blends them with an organic every day object that everyone is familiar with: a simple match box. Place the matchbox in their hand and watch their eyes light up in disbelief as their card vanishes from the deck, only to be seen again when you slowly open the matchbox to reveal their signed card inside.

The simple operation of the gimmick makes the retention of vision unmistakable, with the matchbox ending super clean and it easily resets in two seconds. Now, you can perform your favorite mystery box plot with a small, powerful gimmick that rides in your pocket wherever you go.

What you'll get:

- Burn Notice gimmick
- Online video instructions covering performance, handling, maintenance and tips
- Gimmick repair materials

What you'll learn:

- The basic signed card to impossible location routine
- Plus additional ideas and handlings that are not only limited to playing cards but money, predictions, business cards etc.
- Learn how to customize and/or repair your Burn Notice gimmick
- Simple, effective and easy version of the Mercury Card Fold
- Handlings without the need for the card fold

This could be the end of you quest for the best Mystery Box ever, so get Burn Notice today!

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