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Topic: Another review of Greg Wilson In Action VOLUME 3!!!
Message: Posted by: stannmaple (Jul 7, 2005 10:06AM)
Well, I see that 475 people have viewed my review for volume 1, and 222 for volume 2, so I assume these reviews have been helpful or at least fun to read. Therefore, I am going to attempt to review the final volume- volume 3 now. If you haven't read my first two reviews, you will definately want to read at least the first paragraph or two in my first review. If you don't, you may find yourself saying "why is spending so much time telling me if this stuff is impromptu or has an instant reset? This DVD set was not made for tablehopping?" My rating system will make sense to you better if you read the first paragraph of volume 1 here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=122101&forum=111
Remember, these are only MY opinions and therefore, as we've already seen, some of these effects suit me, but will not suit you and or as in the case of the multicolored pen and blind date, I didn't care for the effects, but you will notice that one member of the Café replies to my review saying he loves those effects and loves the out to lunch principle. That's great! That's what's great about this set. I think there is something for everyone. Not everything on this set is a KILLER effect, but most is pretty good. Most of the material on #3 is brand new so I'm going to bypass the "where else can you find it" comments except where it IS repeat material. Before I get to the review though, I noticed I missed one effect in my last review so I'm going to take a quick minute to explain it. It was the "Vernon's Boat Trick." This is hilarious. Greg has a deck of cards and is standing on a dock. He has one card looked at and then proceeds to throw all the cards into the water. All of them land face down except for one. The selected card. But wait, the spectator is not sure if it's his selection so Greg jumps in and gets it in the freezing cold lake in the middle of November in 40 degree weather! He comes out almost frozen to death and has found the card. It cuts away and then shows him after he has dried off. He says "Ya know, This just hit me. after thinking back on this effect, Vernon didn't JUMP IN THE WATER to get the card!! He just sat on the edge of a yacht smoking a cigar and asked "is that you're card? Now I think of it! "Well, with that said, lets get to the review of volume 3. First off we have...

This is an effect by Garret Thomas. Greg has added a few things to it though. This can be seen in the demo at the L&L site ( http://www.llpub.com ) I must admit, it didn't fool me greatly, but I was also familiar with the general concept. A friend of mine has a whole impromptu borrowed ring routine that is amazing and it uses similar principles. With that said, however, this to me was worth the price of the DVD... well, maybe I wouldn't go QUITE that far, but this is a great effect. The effect is that a ring is borrowed. It is seen to jump from the magician's left hand to his right outstretched finger. This is very visual. He repeats the display and one time even in slow motion. The ring jumps from finger to finger and then it jumps from his left hand to his pinky on his right hand. Finally the magician takes the ring and puts it in his pocket pretending to keep it. He has the spectator hold out their hands and ring falls from midair into their hands. I've adapted this effect to come up with a slightly different routine. I'm not comfortable with the last phase where the ring comes "out of mid-air." I'm comfortable doing this with a coin, but not with someone's ring. I prefer to use Greg's "ring fright" from on the spot as an ending which is much more safe (although it doesn't seem so) where you "accidently" loose your grip on their ring and chuck it across the room only to show it is still on your finger. This is a great effect. It is 100% impromptu (although, if you had an extra ring, you could combine this with the OTHER part of ring fright) it is totally examinable (it's THEIR ring) it uses borrowed objects. This is the perfect anytime any place "show me a trick" kind of effect. Obviously it has an instant reset and is very powerful and amazing. The one and only downfall of this effect is that it is a little angle-sensitive making it only a good effect for a few people, not a whole roomful, but the angles are incredibly easy to master unlike effects such as the snap change.

The DVD case says: "A secret way to scam, sham and flim-flam a real slot machine for a real jackpot! You'll immediately book the next flight to Vegas after watching this." Ok, the description is misleading if not a lie. With that said, however, this is a GREAT effect. One of my absolute favorites. People say this is not practical. Probably true, but this can be adapted. First, let me give you the description: Greg is in a casino and has his business card. He shows everyone that he has drawn a picture on the back of a one dollar bill - not a good picture, but four 1s, a rectangle and a happyface with the initials "GW" in the corner which of course stands for George Washington (or Greg Wilson) He inserts his card into the slot machine. It accepts it and then spits it back out. Upon doing so, the dollar has disappeared. Greg explains that this is special ink and that the machine actually accepted the dollar. The lever actually pulls, the wheels actually spin and the machine actually poors out money! This is truly baffling. Greg even said at his lecture that he did this effect for the owner of the casino- the guy who knows everying about these machines. He got a scared look on his face and started to laugh a nervous laugh and kept saying (as the money was pouring out) "that's a good trick... ummmm.... that's a trick right... ha ha... good one... it IS a trick right?" Greg proceeded to cash in his money, win at blackjack, and then leave! Meanwhile, the manager, had 2 security guards open up the machine and try to figure out if there was a defect in it! It was a hilarious story! The point is, this is an amazing effect and extremely clever. It hasn't gotten great reviews which surprises me. If you put your mind to it, you could easily adapt this to a more common situation. Say you're at work or somewhere with a vending machine or a soda machine (maybe even a show you're doing somewhere) Go through the same routine, put in the business card, have the dollar accepted, then get whatever you'd like... a coke, maybe some chips. There are some good uses for this idea. Ok, on the downside, this requires setup, it's not incredibly practical. It is examinable at the end though. There is a CHANCE you might get kicked out of a casino or at least yelled at. I think you could do this though. Even if you did get kicked out, it would be worth it. There is NOT an instant reset... this effect is not ideal for a walkaround situation (really?...) The amazement factor though and the thinking that went behind this still give it a

This is one of those effects that to me was dumb, but there is a member of this Café that wrote me and said he LOVES this effect and uses it all the time and get amazing reactions! It's all a matter of opinion. To me, this effect was worth it for the moves I learned, but not for the effect itself. The basic effect is one card switching places with another over and over and over and over and... well you get the idea. I guess in a way it's like ambitious card with two cards. "The joker is on top and the 5 is in the middle, but now look, the 5 is on top and the joker is in the middle, but wait! Now the joker is on top again, but wait, it turns into the 5. It's hard to describe this effect, but I just didn't think the plot was anything to get too excited about. The moves were cool though. If I recall correctly, you learn the outjog spread pass, you learn a pass with a slip cut which can be done surrounded (and Greg does this surrounded) and you learn some cool color changes. Greg says this is one of his favorite effects to do as an opener. The guy in the performance freaks out, so maybe it's just me that doesn't like this effect. I believe the ending would be better if it changed in their hands which would be possible. He ends it by taking the 5 out of the "middle" of the joker and showing both cards. The ending it not believable and requires acting as well as SAYING what you're suposedly doing. If you don't do these things, they will never get it. It's a very weak ending in my opinion. This is however, impromptu (Greg says you need an extra card, but you don't unless you want it to happen in their hands which Greg doesn't do or teach... just an idea I read in another review which I thought was a good one) This has an instant reset, it's examinable, it's pretty amazing, though the plot is weak.

This is a cool trick. The effect is that a card is freely selected (no force) (say the 9 of clubs)and clearly pushed into the middle of the pack. Greg takes a second card (say the king of hearts) and snaps it causing it to fly through the air. He explains that if he rubs it on his shirt, it will pick up some static electricity and push one card out of the deck if he shoots it through. He dribbles the cards and shoots the card through the deck. It shoots one card out as promised and it is the 9 of clubs! This effect can also be seen on the demo ( llpub.com ) and it is AMAZING. What I love about Greg's stuff, is that it is a lot easier than you think. You watch an effect like this and you think "man! This is going to be tough. It's going to take years of practice. The method is so easy and I litterally was able to pull this off the first time I tried. I have since done this effect many time and it very fails. It really CAN'T fail. I can't say more than that without giving it away. It's a great trick. It's 100% impromptu (with a deck of cards of course) examinable, resets instantly and very amazing. Oh, and as a bonus, Greg teaches the real "stunt double" that he orginally had on "Double Take" where one card flys from one hand to the other but it is actually a double.

This is also on the demo video. Go watch it. Go watch it now ( http://www.llpub.com ) a one dollar bill changes from a 1 to 4 kinds of foreign money and then to a fully examinable hundred dollar bill. Greg explains that if you know how to work the exchange rate in other countries, you can actually end up with more money than you started with. This is a very visual effect and could be done with a 1 changing to a 5, then a 10, then a 20, 50 and 100 if you can't find the money you need. If you're familiar with the 100 dollar bill switch, this won't be incredibly amazing to you, but it will be to a layperson. This is not impromptu, the reset is not instant, but it is fast. It requires you to make one gimmick and uses another gimmick that can be bought. You are left 99% clean at the end though. Greg has a great method for showing your hands completely empty and the spectator is able to examine your hands, you sleeves and even the bill. This is a well thought of effect

I love this effect. Greg starts by explaining that a deck of cards can be used as a calendar. 4 suits for 4 seasons 365 spots for the number of years, red and black for day and night. He says "you can even tell time with cards." He has the spectators touch 3 cards. What I love about this is the the selections are freely touched, no classic force or anything like that. Greg looks at his watch and says it's 10:57. He turns over the cards and there is a 10, a 5 and a 7. He then proceeds to say "At the tone, the time will be 10:57..." he turns over the deck to reveal a 10 "and 10 seconds" This is a difficult one to put into an "impromptu or setup category." This is done at a moment's notice, but it is not impromptu. Let's leave it at that. I also can't say it has an instant reset, but the reset does not take long, nor does the setup. It's not fully examinable because you're not left 100% clean, but there are no gimmicks invloved. All these sidenotes were probably not ALL that helpful on this trick. Probably more confusing than anything. It's a great effect though and very very amazing if you think about it.

This is another great effect. For this you need a casino cut card (if you’re not familiar with what this is, watch the demo ( http://www.llpub.com ... if you didn’t already know) You can get a cut card at any casino for free. One reviewer said that this was just another ace production. Greg actually responded to that review at his lecture saying that it is NOT just another ace production, but a great way of finding the aces. It’s got a blackjack/gambling theme as well as an emotional hook. Greg explains that he can find an ace in a shuffled deck. He puts the cut card near the center and it ends up right next to an ace. This is repeated except this time it is without Greg looking at the cards at all. The last time, the spectator inserts the card and it is found to be between the last two aces. If that weren’t enough, Greg shuffles up the cards and cuts them and deals out 4 matching jacks. The reason this effect is so strong is because people think it’s real.
Watch the performace if you have this. People really believe that Greg could legitimately cheat at a game of cards and find the aces everytime. Then when THEY find the last two aces, the are absolutely dumbfounded. One girl looks like she’s going to throw up or something. Greg says if he had to do one effect on television, this would be the one. There is one move that is difficult and I don’t believe Greg does the best job teaching it. If you have any Sankey card material though, you will know this move. Greg does it a little differently, but it’s not hard to catch on. At his lecture, he taught a better way to “find” the second ace without using “the move” Great trick, needs a bit of set up, but resets quickly, almost instantly. It's examinable at the end, and it's incredibly amazing

This is a classic take on bounce no-bounce balls. This does not fit my style. The effect is that a ball is bounced and then handed to a spectator and it falls flat on the ground with no bounce. Greg puts in a "soberiety test" theme though and uses this to get free drinks. It's kind of funny. Not my style, but it's a very clean version. It seems like more of a gag than magic to me- kind of like, here hold my magic wand, but don't break it..." and it breaks to peices. It's an ok effect. It's not impromptu- you will obviously need to find the appropriate props which may be difficult. It resets almost instantly, and you're left 99% clean with a simple but ingenious move Greg thought of. This effect unfortunately is not incredibly amazing

This is a pretty cool trick. This was MUCH better to see live and this was the only one of the DVD that did NOT have a live performance. Studio only which is a bummer, because this one played very well at the lecture. The hands are shown empty with fingers spread. Greg says you can get something for nothing. He "grabs nothing, tosses nothing, and catches nothing" and it turns into a visable poker chip. The poker chip is vanished and then reappears again. Again it vanishes, but this time it reappears on the spectators left shoulder. This is repeated, only this time it appears on their right shoulder. Unfortunately this is all you get in the DVD. Don't get me wrong, it's a great trick, but at the lecture Greg had a great finish which was saying "I need something to put this chip in... do you have something... maybe a purse or a box or something?" Of course the spectator says "no" Then greg says "how about a shoulder bag?" the spectator looks only to find a coin purse on his shoulder. He put the chip away, shaps it shut, and he's done. I like that ending so much better, but the version on the DVD is ok too. This is basically a combination of "something for nothing" from "Off the cuff" a phase of "Quick Silver" from "On the Spot" and an Apollo Robbins routine. Only one poker chip is used which is different than "quick silver" from "On the Spot." This is basically the same method though and the same trick with the exeption of it going to the other shoulder. To me it's more believable with 2 coins because you're not going to catch it as quickly. You see the coin and by the time it vanishes, you're already so far ahead of the spectator, with "chip on shoulder" you're not very far ahead. There's a good chance they will catch what you're doing. This is not impromptu. Not only do you need a poker chip, but you need a little something extra if you plan on doing the first phase. There is a pretty quick reset, but this is not examinable. You are not left completely clean, though I can't think of why anyone would examine that closely. This is an ok effect, but I prefer Quick Silver.

The effect: 4 kings vanish one by one and go to 4 different pockets. I did not care for this trick, although I'm sure with a couple improvements it could be good. I feel Greg should "show" each card vanishing although, I've seen this overdone too (ie. Sankey saying "now I'm going to take 4 cards... see 1, 2, 3, 4, and now that I have four cards 1, 2, 3, 4, I'm going to make 1 of the 1, 2, 3, 4 cards vanish, watch, just 4 cards 1, 2, 3, 4. You get the idea. I think with maybe just one count, this trick could be more believable though. He takes the 4 kings and it just happens so fast. He says "There's the first one and there's the second one" and then shows he only has 2. Then he makes the last 2 vanish. As a side note, greg uses the same move to make the last card vanish as he uses in "learners permit to thrill" and it looks more believable here. I don't know if it's the angle or if it's just because it make more sense in the routine and there is so much going on. I may consider doing this effect after some modifications. There is a small setup required, it resets quickly but not instantly, it is examinable at the end and it's somewhat amazing, somewhat confusing

Last is a performance only of Greg's standup show. I personally don't like Greg's "character" in his stand up show at all. He had a couple of funny things in there, but after seeing him on the streets, I believe this is where Greg thrives and where he shines. On stage he comes across as some kind of used car salesman that can't be trusted. I know this is probably the image he's going for, but it just seemed too "unlike" Greg to me. I didn't care for it, but there were some cool effects. He did his boomarang aces, a nice bottle production, a watch steal, a magic drawing board trick, a credit card to impossible location trick as well as some others. It was entertaining and for someone who had not seen him before, I'm sure it was more than enjoyable.

So that's it. Overall, I would give this DVD a 9/10 and say it was my second favorite right after volume 1. On another side note, after I got finished watching these DVDs I took another viewing of "On the Spot." All I can say is "WOW!" how did I miss so much great material? Somehow I always thought On the Spot was good, but not usable. I don't know what I was thinking!!! On the spot is incredible. I think I just really enjoy Greg's style in all his videos. He's always so far ahead of the spectator. I don't see a lot of magician's who have this same style. Of course many magician's use the "one ahead" principle, but with Greg, it's like he's in a perfect rhythm and his misdirection is so strong, he can do something right in front of you and you'll never see it because you're so focused on the OTHER thing he's doing. He's a master at misdirection and he makes it look SOOO easy. Also, back to "On the Spot" one last time. Greg does a quick thing in the "playful pickpocketing" effect he takes someones directions to a party and hands it back to them. He then takes directions from a party out of his back pocket. I realized after watching this that this was in essence the same effect as "learner's permit to thrill" and it actually played pretty strong. Possibly I rated that effect too low in my last review. I'd have to see this done in real life though as shown on the DVD with a business card. Ok. I'm done rambling about On the Spot. So, there are the results of all three DVDs in case you're interesed.
Volume 1:
IMPROMPTU EFFECTS (assuming you have a deck of cards and can borrow change, a ring etc): 10 (I also included the effects that have a small small setup which can be done in front of the spectator)

Volume 2:
IMPROMPTU EFFECTS (or mostly impromptu): 3

Volume 3:
IMPROMPTU EFFECTS (or mostly): 3 (not including time card which can be done at a moments notice
So to do the math for you, if you get this whole set you get 16 impromptu miracles. 23 of the effects reset instantly and can be used for walkaround even if they are not impromptu, 25 of the effects need no table at all, 26 of them are examinable at the end, and 19 of them scored an 8 or higher for the amazement factor. You be the judge. Here is my advice though. If you've never heard of Greg Wilson and you're into impromptu magic meaning you can do it anytime any place with anything, get "On the Spot." If you're into cards, get card stunts or pyrotechnic pasteboards. If you're into ring and string, get "ring leader" you won't find any of that on this set. However, if you're a big Greg Wilson fan like me, and you have his other material, there is stuff on here worth getting the set for. It's definately not his best stuff. You will notice this is really the only thing Greg has EVER put out that got ANY negative reviews, but it is good and it's always a treat to see Greg Wilson... IN ACTION.
Message: Posted by: ImpromptuBoy (Jul 7, 2005 02:05PM)
Thanks for all the reviews stannmaple. It's been very helpful.
Thanks again.
All the best,

Message: Posted by: samuelchong (Jul 7, 2005 07:18PM)
Bravo...It was an impressive piece of reviews
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Jul 8, 2005 09:31AM)
Another great review. It's funny, because I had heard a lot of people complain that the Slot Machine Scam wasn't usable. But after seeing it, I thought, "You could do it at a vending machine and it would still be pretty freaking incredible." Not as high stakes. But still amazing.

I like Time Card but I for me, personally, the handling is too convoluted. I don't like the "... and ten seconds part." It doesn't really add anything to the effect for me. It seems like more of a gag than part of the magic. I mean, you could just as easily look at the bottom card and say "... and seven seconds" if the card were a seven and you'd probably get the same reaction. But then again, I'm not Greg Wilson and he has obviously put a lot more time and effort into these effects than I have. I simply prefer to reveal the time and and end clean.

Again, great review.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jul 8, 2005 11:19PM)
The weakest volume of a weak DVD set.

I loved Double Take when it came out, Ring Leader and On the Spot. But, these DVD's fell flat!
Message: Posted by: stannmaple (Jul 9, 2005 07:31AM)
I'm wondering if you have the "time lady" where you live? It's an automated system that you call on the phone to find out the current time. (we call her the time lady) and she always says "at the tone the time will be..." followed by the time. Let's say it's 10:56. She says "at the tone the time will be 10:56... exactly." followed by a tone of course. Then she says "at the tone the time will be 10:56... and 10 seconds." That's what gives this trick the humor at the end, but if you're unfamiliar with the "time lady" I can see why it would just seem dumb. I enjoyed the trick, but I saw in another review that there are other similar effects out there which are superior. This is the first I've seen so I really enjoyed it. It's not for everyone though which is fine.
I'm glad we could both think of some uses for "the slot machine scam." What a great well thought out effect. Thanks for reading the review and for your comments. It's always nice to hear other opinions.
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Jul 9, 2005 09:09AM)
Oh, I know the "Time Lady". I guess my gripe was more the handling than anything else, only because you don't end clean. But I guess you could still set up the ten seconds thing under the cards to be V.S.T.ed and end clean if you leave it on the bottom. That sounds really confusing, I'm sure. But it makes sense in my cluttered head...:)

Again, great review.
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Jul 9, 2005 09:15AM)
Oops. Wait a minute. That won't work... Looks like my cluttered head is too cluttered after all.
Message: Posted by: stannmaple (Jul 10, 2005 01:54PM)
Alright. I see what you're saying. I definately prefer effects that end clean as well. I liked the concept of this one, but again, now I hear there are better versions out there. Thanks for your input.