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Steve Brooks
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I just love discovering new magical wonders, and one good look at my current library will verify my passion for books. Smile
So when Scott sent me his latest contribution to the magical fraternity, I was very eager to check out what mysteries might be found inside. Smile

This is not Scott's first book, and he is no stranger to the written page. When not helping out at the Café, Scott can be found contributing valuable insights in his regular column at the Visions website.

Mr. Guinn is also a full time professional, meaning he makes his living performing in the real world, and is not just a hobbyist. This is a blessing for you, the reader, for he has learned over time what makes magic work for his audience's, and what does not. Through years of trial and error, hard work and persistance, Scott has refined not only his magical skills and presentations, but discovered new and better ways to showcase them as well.

From the introduction;
"First and foremost, I am a performer. I perform magic for a living in front of real people who pay me to entertain them. I structure my routines to that end. They are not designed to fool the guys at the next magic club meeting (although some may well do that), and I don't spend time trying to figure out every possible way to accomplish a sleight or effect. Rather, I try to find the best way to perform the effect for the venue in which I intend to use it."

This philosophy and thinking is apparent throughout the entire book, and I think this has produced some noteworthy results. The following is a look at what you will find inside, and my thoughts on the material itself.

Magishing My Way by Scott F. Guinn
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Description: First, this is not a large book, but does contain plenty to keep you busy. Comb bound with 128 (8.5"x11") pages, each effect and routine is presented with quality photographs that will help guide you to quickly understand and learn the information presented. Smile

The book is divided into two distinct sections, having a total of six chapters. The first section is all cards, and contains the following:

Part One: Pasteboard Prestidigitation
Chapter One - Plain Pack-ages

The beginning has five (5) routines which require nothing more than a standard deck of cards.

Hi-Ways & Bi-Ways
Scott has taken the J. K. Hartman effect Bi-Way, changed the handling somewhat and added a couple kickers. The moves are not at all difficult, but the key here (like all magic) is in the presentation. Nice.

Direct Decision
Based on John Bannon's Directed Verdict, this Spectator Cuts to the Aces routine has done away with the bottom deal, and uses a sleightly different method. The effect is good, but will take some work to present well. I like this one.

A-Jacks Transposition
This is Scott's answer to a card problem that Karl Fulves proposed in the book Transpo Trix. The original idea was called Snark Hunt, and the challenge was to obtain the results while using no gaffs. I found Scott's solution interesting, and while his handling is not difficult, good knowlege of both a Jordon and Elmsley Count is required. For those who do not know these counts, Mr. Guinn provides full instructions. Smile

What the Devil?
A very clever card transposition effect involving two spectators. This is not self working, but not that difficult either.

Lumberjack Stew
Cards signed by three spectators vanish and appear back inside the cardbox itself. A nice effect that reads very well.
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Chapter Two - A Little Something Extra

This chapter contains six (6)routines that require a regular deck, plus one or more extra cards or easily attainable gaffed cards.

Coeur d'Alene Assembly
Scott is obviously a John Bannon fan, but that's okay because so am I! Smile Here he has taken the Bannon effect Menage a Quatre, and made it possible for the spectators to count and handle all the cards at the start and finish both. I thought the end result was great! Very cool, but will take a little work. Smile

Ransomed Back

A multi-phase routine which involves a spectators chosen card vanishing into the deck. The magician removes three cards from the pack, and suddenly all of them become the selection. Then just as quickly they all have a back printed on both sides, leaving no faces at all! If that were not enough, they all change into an indifferent card, and the spectators chosen card finally appears face up in the center of an otherwise face down deck! Smile

This very cool effect is based on a Karl Fulves trick called All Backs which originally appeared in issue #12 (July 1971) of Epilogue, and was itself based on a Johnny Thompson routine. Scott and a friend tweeked it a little, and came up with this version. The handling is super easy, and the only sleight required is a double lift. I like this one a lot! Smile

Universal Appeal

Based on Karl Fulves' Universal Card plot, Scott has added the Guinn touch, making a very clean and easy to do version. Not my cup of tea, but then I was never keen on the original idea anyway.

Face-off

Harry Lorayne's book, Best of Friends, Vol. 2 contained a Louis Falanga effect called Jo-King, in which four jokers change into four kings. Scott has worked out a handling that among other things, eliminates any gaffs, and invites examination of the cards. Clever.

The 'X' on Val Dees

Red and black cards are repeatedly mixed, and seperate in a very mysterious manner. Scott has taken Ed Marlo's Oil & Water plot, and mixed in a little Aldo Colombini, Dan Fleshman, and Ray Kosby to boot.
This recipe makes for an interesting variation that may be to your liking. Worth your consideration.

Dearly Departed

As stated earlier, I am a big John Bannon fan. I have always loved Bannon's Timely Departure, which is of course a variation on Alex Elmsley's Point of Departure. Mr. Guinn apparently enjoyed the effect so much, he has added his own unique twist to the mix.
His solution is an interesting one, but I feel the Bannon routine works better for me as is, you may feel different.
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Chapter Three - Worth the Trouble

This chapter containes three routines that will take a little planning and/or preparation on your part.

Mr. Collins' Opus

Scott has taken a very old Stanley Collins effect called Mystification Follows Explanation, and really streamlined the handling, making it virtually a no brainer to perform. Purist may not be excited, but I found this version to actually be superior in both structure and effect. Very good. Smile

McCall of the Wild

This is Scott's version of the standard Wild Card effect. You end clean, the actual wild card is the spectators selection, and you can even let the spectator keep the packet! Very, Very cool. Smile

The Legend of Scott Star, Trader Vic & Slick JackSpade

This has the usual card location plot, but involves a very cool story line and characters protrayed in an old west setting. Though there is a little prep work involved, this looks to be a worthwhile endeaver, and reads very well.
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Chapter Four - Double Time

This chapter presents two powerful effects that employ the use of two decks.

Tri-Optical Illusion

A triple prediction effect in which cards the performer removes from a red pack, ultimately match those a spectator selects from a blue. I believe this has promise in the right situation. Smile

Brundle-Fly Transposition

I have very mixed feelings about this particular effect. The trick itself is a real killer, and I love the storyline that Scott makes use of in this routine. My only gripe is it exposes a couple of gaffed cards. Much like Doc Eason's Anniversary Waltz, the effect is awsome, but I just don't like the spectator leaving with a gimmicked card, and in this case, two cards. If you don't have such reservations, then you must consider doing this. Very strong, and easy to do. Smile
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Section Two: Cunning Chicancry
Chapter Five - A Familiar Ring

Chapter Five contains three routines using borrowed finger rings, and one routine with the classic Jardine Ellis.

Stick Around

This is essentially Scott's take for the classic Ring on Stick effect. Using a wand or chopstick, this is an easy to do trick that is sure to please any audience.

Wedded Bliss

Scott has worked out a stand-up routine with the marketed trick Wedding Rings, and it reads well. It will require you to own the gimmicked lock, and if not, Scott does offer those for sale. Good stuff here.

You Bet Your Ring!

This is basically a borrowed ring in nest of boxes routine done like a game show. The idea is pretty clever I think. You will need to own a Nested box set (four boxes), and if you do not, this routine may encourage you to head to your favorite dealer. Yes, it is good.

Jellis

I was very excited to see this effect, mainly because the Jardine Ellis Ring is so seldom used. The trick itself is pretty cool, but you will need to put together a small group of props, and of course, a Jardine Ellis Ring. I also should point out that this is pretty much a small act in itself, and will require a little effort on your part. Way cool. Smile
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Chapter Six - Just Kid-ding

This chapter includes two of Scott's favorite routines for audiences comprised of children and/or families.

Plumber's Bottle

Combining the old Topsy Turvey Bottles aka Tricky Bottles and the infamous Plunger Hat, Mr. Guinn has worked out a routine that not only makes the magician the butt of all the jokes, but leaves the spectator looking like the hero as it were. This is great, as I feel there are far too many effects that brutalize the audience. Awsome thinking.

Million Dollar Chocolate

This is a Miser's Dream effect using chocolates instead of real coins. There are no gimmicks involved, and any kid show performer should take a moment to give this a try. It's not that difficult, and your audience will love you for it. Smile
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BONUS ROUTINE! Bernard Sims' Really Linked!

An amazing and convincing linking rubber band routine, in which two rubber bands are held at the fingertips of each hand. The hands magically link the bands together, and then hand the bands out for inspection! This routine was put together by the Café's own Bernard Sims, and is included in Scott's book with permission. Way cool!
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I would like to end this with just a few thoughts. For the most part, the magic presented here is nothing new or ground breaking. In fact, the routines are mostly Scott's ideas and concepts for tricks that have been floating around for quite awhile now. But is that a bad thing?

Anyone in magic for any length of time soon realizes there are few so-called new ideas, only variations on old concepts. That said, Scott has taken the time to streamline many of those effects, molding them into more then they were, and in the process, often creating smoother paths along the way.

This is the first work that I have read from Scott, and I felt he did a decent job. His writing style is easy to follow, and the photographs were a big help. I also liked the way Scott wrote the explanations, assigning actual names to spectators in the context of the effect. This was very unusual, and kept any possible confusion to a minimum.

When sleights were required, Scott went out of his way to give explanations for the benefit of anyone who was not in the know. Very cool. I remember when I started in magic, and would get so frustrated whenever a text would mention a certain sleight that I knew nothing about.

Most of the material between the covers is cards, and as a card lover, I was happy. The rest are little odds and ends that really show what close-up magic can be. I do wish there would have been a little more, but then I'm sure Mr. Guinn is working on another book already. Smile

If you love magic, buy this book. Even if you never actually perform any of the material, the ideas themselves may open your mind to a better understanding of how problems may be overcome when constructing routines. If you're looking for the next great knuckle buster, you'll probably want to pass. Just my two cents. Smile

My rating:
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Available from your favorite dealer. Dealers should contact Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc., http://www.murphysmagicsupplies.com

Suggested retail: $25
Scott has a special deal for Café members only:
$20 postpaid (in the US) via media mail.
Cash or money orders should be sent to:
Scott F. Guinn 7458 HWY44 Star, Id.83669

Checks, Credit cards or Instant Transfers are accepted through Paypal only.

You can contact Scott directly at: greatscottmagic@msn.com

To visit Scott F.Guinn's site: Click here!
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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