(Close Window)
Topic: Gregory Wilson vs. Dan Harlan
Message: Posted by: therntier (Mar 12, 2003 02:09PM)
Both have videos out with great impromptu magic. Which one is better and, especially for Harlan, what are the best tricks on them?
Message: Posted by: Harv (Mar 23, 2003 07:43AM)
Hands down....Gregory Wilson. IMHO Wilson's tapes are excellent, Harlan's only mediocre.

Message: Posted by: Bobcape (Mar 23, 2003 10:35AM)
I'll second that Harv. Get the Wilson videos.

Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Mar 24, 2003 09:50AM)
Here is another idea: Get my favorite in the impromptu arena, the 3 Tom Mullica videos on Impromptu! These are really superb. First, you get one of the finest performing magicians showing you his take on many of the classic magic effects. Stuff that has stood the test of time and still at the head of the class. That said:

I'll put my vote in for Gregory Wilson's tapes also. Not to disparage Mr. Harlan's offerings. They are good, but Greg's material simply stands out and beyond what most guys are offering. Really a must have.

Brad Burt
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Mar 25, 2003 04:53PM)
NO contest. You must get Gregory Wilson's tapes!
Message: Posted by: dlcarr50 (Mar 26, 2003 01:14PM)
Definitely agree with the Wilson tapes. I think it is more practial magic.
Message: Posted by: Great Domino (Mar 26, 2003 04:56PM)
The Gregory Wilson tapes will rock your spectators' world!
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Mar 27, 2003 11:42AM)
Boy, am I disappointed!

When I read "Gregory Wilson vs. Dan Harlan" I thought this was an MTV Celebrity Death match.

Message: Posted by: Gary (Apr 9, 2003 04:29AM)
I have two of Gregory Wilson's videos, but my impression is that they do him little justice. The camera work is poor (frequently static with few close ups) and the whole production lacks quality.

He has a unique personality, but this not taken full advantage of. Perhaps the later tapes were better.
Message: Posted by: Marc Levine (Apr 9, 2003 02:01PM)
Wilson videos...I have em all
Message: Posted by: Andrew E. Miller (Apr 10, 2003 12:28AM)
The On the Spot and Off the Cuff are incredible, great, powerful material with ordinary objects. This isn't the type of stuff you find in the boy scout magic book with everyday objects, This is hardcore magic that you will use!!! Get them!!! Not to say Harlan's videos are bad though!

Message: Posted by: mjb16 (Apr 10, 2003 07:33AM)
Anytime Greg Wilson puts something out I run and get my hands on it. All his stuff is incredible and if you want impromptu stuff, get his Off the Cuff and On the Spot videos. Great Stuff in there!! Also, watching him perfrom you will learn a lot as well. He is awesome!! Can't say enough about Greg Wilson!

Message: Posted by: DoctorAmazo (Apr 10, 2003 12:12PM)
Agreed! I found Harlan's series to be pretty basic. (Not that that's a bad thing.)

They duplicate about half the stuff on Larry Anderson's JawDroppers tapes, to give you an idea.
Message: Posted by: rowdymagi5 (Apr 11, 2003 02:38PM)
Gregory Wilsons tapes are not only great teachers, but also great entertainment!
Message: Posted by: therntier (Apr 11, 2003 03:49PM)
I am glad to see that this topic has raised a lot of discussion. I already have the Wilson tapes. I wanted to know the next direction for this kind of magic. "On the Spot" is the best magic video I own. I really was looking for the next step in this kind of magic. It sounds like Harlan may be a step back. Maybe the Mullica is the way to go.
Message: Posted by: Socrates (May 16, 2003 06:32AM)
Greg Wilson has one of the best tapes on Close-up Impromptu Magic in 'On the Spot' I understand that 'Off the Cuff' is very good too.

Brad Burt mentioned Tom Mullicas 'Impromptu Magic' video set, however whilst this series is good, I'd have to say go with Greg Wilson.

As for Dan Harlan, haven't seen his video on so I can't say anything about him.

Stick with Mr Wilson and also get hold of a copy of 'The Magic Book' by Harry Lorayne and you'll be flying in no time.

Take it easy


'We are born unarmed, our mind is our only weapon' - Ayn Rand :die:
Message: Posted by: ChrisMagic52 (May 18, 2003 07:05PM)
I'm gonna go with Gregory Wilson videos.
Message: Posted by: markkwan (Jun 17, 2003 05:02PM)
Wilson hands down, thumbtips up!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Dec 13, 2003 08:59AM)
I don't know about anyone else, but for the most part IMO Dan Harlan's recent tapes/DVD's have really lacked good content.

It seems that they have a lot of "fluff" just to sell a tape. I know he is a heck of a magician, but can't understand why he's put out some of the stuff that he has.

Anyone agree or disagree?

Message: Posted by: shanester (Dec 13, 2003 07:54PM)
Do I need "Off the Cuff"?
"On the Spot" explains the all around vanish, the Sylvester pitch, recap and to some degree a coin under the watch trick. What else is there in Off the Cuff that would make me want that as well?
Message: Posted by: kihei kid (Dec 14, 2003 06:01AM)
"On the Spot" is excellent and funny to watch but it hardly explains the Sylvester pitch. For that you need to get your hands on Sylvester-Pitch 98.
Message: Posted by: Dr.Fate (Dec 16, 2003 11:27AM)
Greg Wilson,what a great personality and performer.
Message: Posted by: redstreak (Dec 18, 2003 06:11PM)
I have both. Dan Harlan has more tricks, but Greg Wilson's are WAY better. Without a doubt, go with Greg Wilson.
Message: Posted by: KeirRoyale (Dec 18, 2003 10:33PM)
I didn't know that Greg Wilson had so many different usernames!
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Dec 23, 2003 11:07PM)
Over and over on these forums I keep hearing fab reviews for the Wilson tapes. I was thinking about buying but now I am way past convinced. And to boot, he is the son of my boyhood hero Mark Wilson, the man who first sparked my interest in magic when I was only five years old!
Message: Posted by: marc_us (Dec 24, 2003 12:29AM)
Erm... you're joking right? That's another Greg Wilson - AFIAK, Mark Wilson's son hasn't released any magic videos
Message: Posted by: Dallen (Jan 11, 2004 10:18PM)
I haven't see the Harlan tapes, but I think that everyone who has a great interest in magic should own the Gregory Wilson tapes. His on the Spot video is probably my favorite video I own...great magic that is impromptu, great and funny perfomances, and great teaching. In fact, all of his videos are top notch. I recommend them all!
Message: Posted by: Shadowzen (Jan 19, 2004 12:09PM)
I just got the Greg Wilson DVD and it is the best magic purchase that I've ever made. I am going to learn every routine on it.

I don't know if the other stores are doing this or not but it came with perfect PENetration and traffic light cards gimmick effects as free extras from Penguin Magic.
Message: Posted by: Will_Tingle (Feb 1, 2004 05:20PM)
Three words:
Wilson, Wilson, Wilson. :wow:
Message: Posted by: ABlair36 (Feb 7, 2004 08:09PM)
I am going to have to disagree with the majority of you. I like Dan Harlan. I have met Dan Harlan and he is a very nice guy.

Cardtoon is an excellent trick that most of us have and love to do.

Dan Harlan also has the best performing skills I have ever seen. The way he interacts with the audience, his jokes, the way he acts, and the skill he has performing the tricks are all inspiring. He is also very interesting and intelligent. He is always willing to discuss magic and help you with something.

I am surprised that I am the only one that said Harlen. I lost count of how many Wilson supporters after 15. The only ones who didn't like Wilson didn't say anything about Harlan.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Feb 19, 2004 03:19AM)
Harlan has great performing skills, but his recent published material has been a bit weak. That's what everyone I think was referring to when they voiced their opinion for Wilson.

His material I think is better by far than Harlan's. This doesn't mean that Wilson is better.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 21, 2004 03:40AM)
I realize this has been about DVDs, but there is a resource out there that is hard not to refer to. That is Martin Garner's [i]Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic[/i]. It's a huge book with lots of good stuff in it, far more than you will find on several DVDs. And when you get it, you will not come away looking like a clone of some other performer.
Message: Posted by: tommy ng (Feb 23, 2004 02:26AM)
I like both. I meet Dan and Gregory before, they are both real nice guys.

Sometimes when you see Gregory will WOW you, but Dan also has a lot the good stuff. Dan's magic will let you go back to think about basic magic. You always can get some idea from the old magic.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Feb 24, 2004 01:38AM)
Well said tommy ng,

That's why everyone should have a copy of the tarbel series. There are many a gem buried in those pages.

Message: Posted by: James Harrison (Feb 24, 2004 09:01AM)
I've only met Dan in person, but I would have to say that Greg Wilson's impromtu magic is much more suited for what I want to do.
Message: Posted by: skc417 (Feb 27, 2004 07:19AM)
I have only seen Dan's rubberband videos and not his impromtu videos so I can't really comment, on the spot was really good. It's just something you have to see, I had gotten a set of his lecture notes before but the video is much more better in its teaching.
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Feb 27, 2004 05:30PM)
I have no idea about Greg Wilson, but I have one of Dan Harlans tapes and I like it. I got a lot of great stuff from the Pack Small series.

But each to his own...
Message: Posted by: okito25 (Feb 27, 2004 07:35PM)
Wilson ,Harlen .. I like em both For various reasons .. my thoughts you can never have enough resources , and different performing styles .. though the context of this discussion is indeed I have to agree .. Harlen has a myriad of tapes DVD etc , and Wilsons are Indeed a little more insightful .. I like both because of the various venues I perform in ..I also believe that if I spent 35 or 40 bucks on a tape and get at least three things off any one of them I have Done extreamly well for myself
get em all and Learn all you can
Message: Posted by: DanHarlan (Mar 4, 2004 07:18PM)
Absolutely, I would choose Gregory Wilson's videos if you're looking for energetic, offbeat visual magic. Greg has a great in-your-face style. However, I was working under a completely different definition of what impromptu means. You can take any of the effects from my series and "energize" them if you want. Any of them can be knockouts "on the street" as JawDroppers demonstrated. Those videos, incidentally, were published after mine.
My series was always intended to provide you with material suited for a casual situation. Not something that you plan for in advance. Just impromptu. Not guerilla style, "Hey, let's hit the streets and freak people out." You won't find any knuckle-busting sleight-of-hand on my impromptu series. There's barely a palm on it. I think maybe just once, when I do the coin under the watch. You won't find intricately scripted routines (it's impromptu), although you will find presentations. And you will find solid magic. And you will find a foundation in classic methodology. All I know is that the effects are solid and within the ability of most people.
I'm curious about something. For those of you who prefer Greg's videos, what material do you perform from them? And where? Just so there is no misunderstanding, I think Greg is a phenomenal performer and his videos are great. His style is different from mine and perhaps I've lost touch with my crazier side.
--Dan Harlan
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Mar 5, 2004 03:59AM)
On 2004-02-27 20:35, okito25 wrote:
Wilson ,Harlen .. I like em both For various reasons .. my thoughts you can never have enough resources , and different performing styles .. though the context of this discussion is indeed I have to agree .. Harlen has a myriad of tapes DVD etc , and Wilsons are Indeed a little more insightful .. I like both because of the various venues I perform in ..I also believe that if I spent 35 or 40 bucks on a tape and get at least three things off any one of them I have Done extreamly well for myself
get em all and Learn all you can


I agree, and sometimes you only get one effect that you'll preform or like. The funny thing about magic is that we all go through "growing periods".

What you don't really like today, usually you'll look at differently further down the road as you progress. Many times have I bought something just to 'file' it away, finding a gem years later.

Message: Posted by: James Harrison (Mar 5, 2004 08:37AM)
Hey Dan,

looking forward to seeing you again at the summer camp.

The stuff from Greg's videos are like the 3/4 across, over the top (Over the head napkins), watch steal, pickpocket lite, recap.

Mostly stuff you can do away from home and the props one might forget to bring with them.

But my opinion might be a bit biased, as I've seen you perform your stage material at the camp, but not seen your up close material, and the Browsers Den is out of your earlier tapes.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Ed (Mar 6, 2004 11:14AM)
On 2004-03-04 20:18, DanHarlan wrote:

I'm curious about something. For those of you who prefer Greg's videos, what material do you perform from them? And where? --Dan Harlan

Dan I perform, from Gregories tape, the 3/4 across, the 99 cent trick, and recap. Where? only as an "on the spot" performance. Mostly at work for contractors as a slight diversion for them.

That said, I own your birthday packs small video and have used it to set up the structure of my show. Not the same tricks but the structure.

Of course, that said I would watch the "On the Spot" video one hundred times for every one time I watch yours, if my wife would let me. (Have you seen the model he uses, vavavoom)
Message: Posted by: walkman (Mar 15, 2004 08:08PM)
Greg Wilsons tapes are some of the best but if you have the chance you have to see he's lecture and meet the man he has a fantastic personality.
I've also seen Dan Harlan and he is also terrific if I could ever be half as good as either one of these fellows I would be the happiest guy on earth!
Message: Posted by: Shadowzen (Mar 17, 2004 01:37PM)
I think just about anyone that owns on the spot performs recap revisited to some degree or another. It is top notch magic that you can actually use anywhere.

In addition, I perform paper balls over the head, playful pickpocketing, typically at bars and restaurants.

I haven't seen your videos yet Dan, although I intend to eventually, but you might still be interested to know what I think makes Greg Wilson's stuff better than anything else I've ever seen.

Greg Wilson shows you how to make magic (particularly his tricks) disarming, friendly, and even flirtatious. Even if your spectators don't like magic and aren't amazed they typically will still enjoy his routines. Most other videos just show you how to perform the trick without getting caught.

I think the issue above has gotten very important to magicians because magic in general seems more pretentious than ever before. I never ask anyone if they'd like to see a trick anymore....I say how would you like to have a little fun!! And with a Greg Wilson routine, it's always fun. Sometimes I can get into the routine without even having to ask for the spectators' attention.

I'd much rather perform a second rate trick that made me seem friendly than a first rate trick that made me appear pretentious or professional. But Wilson's stuff is first rate and friendly, so there's no question that its just as good as magic gets.

While your videos haven't received as favorable reviews Dan, I've never seen anyone say that they weren't good, and I look forward to seeing them even more now that I have seen Wilson's videos.
Message: Posted by: kihei kid (Mar 18, 2004 03:06AM)
On 2004-03-04 20:18, DanHarlan wrote:
All I know is that the effects are solid and within the ability of most people.

I'm curious about something. For those of you who prefer Greg's videos, what material do you perform from them? And where?
--Dan Harlan
Youíve never seen me practice!

Recap; everywhere. I also do ashes to palms in place of glossy finish (been doing it forever) at the bar I work at, and were you make a ring jump from one finger to the next (been doing this forever as well), everywhere.

Dan, I donít own your videos but they are now going on my ďAĒ list.
Message: Posted by: paulsmagic (Nov 13, 2004 06:54PM)
Hands down wilson has the edge. that's not to slight harlan overall but his teaching technique is lacking.
Message: Posted by: dlcmagic (Nov 16, 2004 08:12AM)
They are both great in their own way!
Each has their own style. I have learned from both
of them.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 16, 2004 02:22PM)
I have not seen the Harlan material. Only the Gregory Wilson material.

On The Spot is beyond words good!

For several reasons.

1. Good material that is Entertaining and Easy to learn.
2. Video footage of actual performance. No BS.
3. Good explainations later with my ex-girlfriend.
(I told her to stop modeling but she won't listen)
4. The material works.

Learning material is one thing via studio or a canned audience but actually seeing someone playing with the spectators and enjoying the moments with each, noticing that they are all different in their own way, going with the flow... and using attainable material was a fantastic addition.

Without the live interaction, it would have still been good but the live part makes it perfect.

A must have.
Message: Posted by: King Of Pop (Nov 18, 2004 12:07PM)
I strongly recommend Gregory Wilson :) Truly great DVDs :)
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Dec 3, 2004 01:16AM)
I really enjoyed "on the spot".
It really is...in your face magic.

How many Wilson clones do we have here?
Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (Dec 3, 2004 03:56AM)
I own two of Dan's videos and have found them to be great. I would not hesitate to recommend them. I have not seen Greg's material, but judging from the comments here, I will order them immediately. If they are patiry to Dan's, I know that ny money will be well invested.

Message: Posted by: icentertainment (Dec 8, 2004 08:28AM)
I would go with the Wilson Videos as well
BUT if you like Rubber Band magic

Then you'll want to track don Harlans Rubber band magic from iether L&L or A1 ( I think) they will provide you with all the rubber band magic you can use in this life and the next.
I own Off the cuff Vid
I own the Impromptu Harlan one with the Cig magic on it and the money ring.
To be honest the Blowing the Cig across the table got me thinking where did my money go and then I saw the house thing which really sucked sorry Dan.
Message: Posted by: zur (Dec 28, 2004 11:39PM)
According to many message boards, the word is that Wilsons material is good and from what I've bought its really good.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Dec 29, 2004 09:16PM)
Greg sparkles in those performances. He connects with his audience in an amazing way that is something to model.

And yes, Dan is superb too. He has a different style than Greg, but is nothing less than proffesional. I would really like to see Dan on the streets with people doing it Guerilla style. I bet he could do it. In fact I know he can.
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (Dec 29, 2004 10:40PM)
I suggest both. Honestly they both have great material. I am waiting so I can get band sharks but I already hav eon the spot andit a great DVD.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Dec 30, 2004 06:32PM)
No doubt, it was one of the best purchases for my money that I ever bought, hands down.
Message: Posted by: Jailhouse Jonny (Dec 31, 2004 04:48PM)
I would add that Wilson's is more advanced. With Harlan's you can keep these tricks in the back of your mind and pull them out whenever needed. Wilson's is a bit more weighted to coin work. If you've already got the basic sleights, then it may be the one for you.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Dec 31, 2004 04:51PM)
I'll say it boils down to personal prefrence. their both good.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Dec 31, 2004 09:01PM)
You just have to use wisdom to know when to use either one.
Message: Posted by: teejay (Jan 9, 2005 05:35AM)
Greg Wilson is a hard act to beat
Message: Posted by: silapmata (Jan 9, 2005 07:07AM)
Greg ROCKS! Nothing can beat him..even tsunami..YE!
Message: Posted by: Cheif_Magi (Jan 9, 2005 06:47PM)
Tally one up for Wilson!
Message: Posted by: Charles Adams (Jan 11, 2005 11:00AM)
I second Brad Burt's mention of the Mullica impromptu series. Not that they are *better simply another source of solid material when you need to pull off a minor miracle, dare I say, on the spot. Steven's Greater magic library also has two collections of impromptu effects by a variety of magi. Get 'em.
Message: Posted by: lane99 (Jan 19, 2005 02:38PM)
From what I've seem I prefer Dan Harlan's style over Greg Wilson's style. And I have a feeling, on average, audiences would ultimately be left more happy and satisfied seeing Dan Harlan's style. Harlan's magic seems to say to me "let's look together at something wonderous", while Wilson's seems to say "I'm too fast and smart for you, and I'm able to fool you". Even though it's done with a good natured attitude, I still have the feeling Wilson's style is liable to be annoying to many people (for example, see the "On the Spot" video where he steals the lady's glasses...she's irritated by it, and I probably would be too).

I haven't seen Harlan's Impromptu videos, but his rubberband video Volume One (the one I have) has some beautiful impromptu effects. And they're explained in meticulous detail from multiple camera angles. A very helpful video.

Overall, Greg Wilson's On the Spot video is good, too. "A Questionable Trick" I think is great. But I find Harlan to be a better teacher than Wilson. For example, in the explanation for "Florida Keys"- one of the cooler tricks on Wilson's video- it seems to me that he forgot to properly emphasis the illusion that is being created by a certain move. Thus, I was left thinking "which part of the routine is this now??" True, if you rewind the video back to where he's performing the trick (prior to giving his explanation for it), you will be able to sort it all out. But, still, you shouldn't have to do that.
Message: Posted by: Eight Spades (Jan 25, 2005 12:43PM)
While I learned much from Greg Wilson years ago, I've come to realize that Mr. Harlan's style is much more suiting to my taste. I think his masterful skills with equivoque are greatly overlooked. Many young magicians seem to like Greg's style because it's easier to adapt to, but I challenge you to look deeper and see what Dan has to offer. I mean this with no offense to Greg, he is VERY skilled.

Message: Posted by: anime_file (Jan 26, 2005 12:21AM)
I like Wilson better since I've never seen Dan Harlan's stuff
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jan 26, 2005 06:44PM)
Awww, heck. They"re BOTH good!
Message: Posted by: LordPH (May 30, 2006 04:34PM)
Vote for Gregory Wilson!
Message: Posted by: david alan (Jun 6, 2006 08:45AM)
Dan.... I hear he's a heck of a nice guy... Never met him... don't know. But, Dan Harlen's style is "His" style. He can have it. His DVD seems like a bunch of stuff from decades ago that he uses to get dates. He also needs to stop offering those same two girls "sips" of this and "bites" of that before he does his "stuff". The tricks on volume three are stuff that every basic book on magic has... even from the sixties. Eating a piece of popcorn off of your shoulder "like a lizard" is just stupid. And to go into an explaination of how the saliva from your tongue is the "SECRET" that makes it work is even more stupid. OOPS... did I give away a secret here? I think I did.... That's O.K., go to E-Bay.... I'm also giving away his DVD. (Who are the same three people he keeps doing tricks for, anyway?? They sure love him.... Sisters? Fan Club? Father & sisters? Two girl fan club w/ bonus father?) But seriously folks... I'm gonna start eating popcorn off my shoulder and see if I can get women like that. Licking my eyebrows is getting kinda old...
Message: Posted by: Angelo the Magician (Jun 6, 2006 12:04PM)
I only know the Dan Harlan Videos (but after reading the above posts, I will soon buy the Greg Wilson). We can see that Dan Harlan is a very sympathetic performer, but most of the material on these tapes are puzzles and not magic!