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Spectrum Review

Official Review

July 31st, 2022 1:01am
Reviewed by James Sanden
“Spectrum” by R. Paul Wilson is an unusual routine that combines the color changing deck plot with triumph. In it a card is freely thought of, then the cards are shuffled face up and face down. The spectator names their card, the magician spreads through the deck, finds the selection, turns it face down, then cuts it into the middle of the deck. The cards are then spread to show an odd backed card has appeared amongst the face up and face down cards. The odd backed card is removed and then the deck is shown to have magically righted itself, with all the cards being face down. The odd backed card is shown to be the selection, then the deck immediately changes color to match it.

Mr. Wilson’s clever handling combines two methods to create a very deceptive and effective routine with four rapid fire climaxes, requiring little sleight of hand. While resetting does necessitate sorting through the deck, he teaches an additional simple, but strong, effect, using the same deck, that allows you to reset the cards for Spectrum as you perform the routine, making it a bit more practical for repeat performances. (For those who have Pit Hartling’s In Order to Amaze, Mr. Hartling’s presentation for “Sherlock” is perfect for the bonus effect.) Mr. Wilson then shares a great idea for performing additional routines with the deck that also allows for a reset on the fly. (Users of a memorized deck will find this bonus idea useful in their mem deck work also.)

While the method itself is clever, I do wonder about having a card thought of, then after shuffling the cards asking for the identity of the card and cutting it to the face. Why have the card thought of if you are just going to look for it? (Mr. Wilson does have a presentational justification for this, but I think it falls short.) With a little bit of thought the procedure could be rearranged to get the performer to the same situation more logically and efficiently.

The instructions are thorough and complete, though they could have used some editing, particularly for consistency, as there are moments Mr. Wilson uses “blue” when he should have used “red” and vice versa. Also, in the bonus routine he says that the cards can be shuffled “any way you like,” which is incorrect. While it’s true they can be mixed, there are some limitations to how this may be done. That being said, the explanations are certainly understandable, and the bonus effect mentioned above, as well as the additional ideas and alternative handlings he provides, make for a very detailed and complete set of instructions.

My bigger concern is one you may not share, which is that the plot is a bit unclear. What exactly is the effect? Vernon’s advice that the effect should be able to be described in one sentence would be difficult to apply here. Additionally, the plots of Triumph and the Color Changing Deck do not seem to dovetail very seamlessly. Mr. Wilson acknowledges this himself, suggesting the purchaser could just leave off the color changing deck finale if he or she wishes, and that he himself presents the final change as a surprise, acting as if the routine was supposed to end with the revelation of the selection, with the final change of all the cards happening seemingly unexpectedly.

“Spectrum” offers a lot of magical bang for your buck, isn’t terribly difficult sleight wise, and is more flexible than most other “trick decks,” allowing you to perform other effects with it, which also allow you to reset the routine on the fly. It uses a clever method to accomplish a lot of magic, so if you don’t share my concern about the plot, “Spectrum” is well worth your time, attention and investment.

Suggestions from the Reviewer

Here's an alternative selection procedure that avoids the issues I mentioned in my review:

Begin by shuffling the cards face up and face down. Spread the deck and have a face up card selected by having the spectator touch it. As you close the spread, secretly cull the selection, then reverse it on the bottom as you square the pack. If you cut the deck now you'll be ready to reveal an odd backed card reversed in the deck and can continue the routine from here per the instructions.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Spectrum

Author: R. Paul Wilson
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $29.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

The Ultimate Color-Changing Deck!

Spectrum is an improved handling of Paul Wilson's effect, Technicolor Cheek, which was marketed by Aldo Colombini for several years.

Last year, Aldo kindly returned the rights to Paul so he could release this handling. Technicolor Cheek was based on UF Grant's trick Cheek to Cheek.

A card is thought of (no force) and the deck is mixed, some cards face up and some cards face down. The spectator now reveals their card for the first time.

An odd colored back appears in the deck. It is removed and handed to the spectator to hold. The deck is clearly still mixed face up and face down. With a snap of the fingers the entire deck suddenly turns face down.

The odd backed card is turned over - it is the card the spectator simply thought of at the beginning of the effect!

To correct everything, the entire deck now changes color to match the thought of card and is shown FRONT and BACK as the cards are dribbled from hand to hand.

Spectrum is a super-powerful effect in its own right but is also an excellent way to open a card routine. Includes a simple effect that allows you to openly reset the deck in front of the audience.

Comes complete with gimmicked Bicycle deck* and a 28 page, step-by-step, full color photo instruction booklet.

*Product contains either a red or blue deck. Choice not option.

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