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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Another review of Greg Wilson in Action (Volume 2) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

stannmaple
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Thank you to everyone who have read my review on Volume 1 and thanks for the comments. I hope it was helpful to you. If you did not read my review of volume 1, you may want to read at least the first paragraph to understand the areas I will cover and how I plan to rate the effects. It can be found here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=111 With that said, let's begin.

Before I get into the effects, I wanted to point out that about half this DVD was shot with Greg alone or with his assistant in the studio. This was a little disappointing especially because I did not feel some of the effects were very strong and in some cases not even believable. I would have really liked to see Greg perform these effects for real people so I can know if they would actually work in some situations or if I'll just end up looking like an idiot performing these. 2 effects in particular seem like major filler to me, but I will get to that. With that said, let's begin with the first effect:

KISSING UP:
This effect was shot in the studio without a real audience, but I believe this would play well for real people. If you're at a restaurant or a cocktail party, you tear off a piece of a napkin and light it on fire (with a lighter) you toss it up as it bursts into flames and when it lands it is seen to have changed into a hersey's kiss. Like I said, I really enjoyed this effect. It hasn't gotten great reviews, but as magicians, we are familiar with the method right when we watch it probably, but to a layperson, they've probably never seen f---- p---- and it will be visually startling that their napkin bursts into flames and then when it lands, it turns to candy. I think it's a very nice opener. Unfortunately, it is not impromptu, it does not have an instant reset. In fact, if you wanted to do this several times, you're going to sacrifice pocket space. It may not be incredibly practical. It is however, fully examinable since you are left clean. I'd say the amazement factor is what makes this effect great. I believe this is the first place this effect has appeared (no pun intended)
Because of the points against it though, I will give it a 7/10

HEAD TRIP:
Also shot in the studio. This is actually a cool effect. If you own "On the Spot" then you know the basic effect, however in this version Greg makes tomatoes disappear from a salad, a glass full of water, salt and pepper shakers and even his jacket. I believe Greg said he even uses this on stage sometimes, having a table setup like a restaurant and explains that before he was a magician, he used to be a waiter, but he got in trouble because he used to play with the food. He has a volunteer come up and goes into the routine. The routine is very funny for the rest of the audience and very amazing for the person involved. Greg even tells a hilarious story about doing this in a bar one time and people went nuts! I won't ruin the story for you. Check out the DVD. Oh, he does actually have a performance segment after the studio performance doing it on the street of all places for 3 little girls. He just makes flowers or something disappear. I was glad he put that in there to give an idea of different uses for this effect. Also found on "On the Spot" as I've already mentioned
10/10

OFF BASE:
Again, a studio only performance. This is one that I'd love to see for real people. I think it is actually pretty convincing. Not the most incredible thing you've ever seen, but a great opener at a restaurant and is a very startling effect. Greg starts by hitting a knife on the top of the wine glass saying that that is how you get someone's attention. Then he says "just make sure you don't hit the bottom" and as he says that he hits the bottom and it falls off! He get's a startled look on his face and appologizes and screws it back on. He uses a lighter to "weld" it together again. He sets it down and it tips over because the base it not quite on straight. He screws it on a little tighter and it's perfect. I might try this effect out. It's perfect for restaurant work. It's not impromptu, but it does have an instant reset for the next table. It's examinable at the end and is pretty amazing as an opener. I believe this is the first place you can find this effect.
9/10


COIN FROM HEAD:
What can be said about this effect? The method is obvious from the description. I think Shane really summed this one up in his review by saying don't pass it up. The responses to this are amazing. Again, I felt that quick siver was kind of disected and torn apart into 3 seperate effects for this DVD set, but I admit this has actually given me the confidence to perform quick silver as it's been broken down and Greg has gone over all the aspects of coin under watch, coin from head and coin on shoulder (chip on shoulder) This is a great intro to a single coin routine. You clearly show both hands empty and have the spectator cup their hands together and coin lands in their hand from mid-air. (or something like that) People have no idea where it came from. Also, this one had a lot of real life performances. It is impromptu, examinable, resets instantly, and is very amazing. Can also be found on "On the Spot."
10/10

CREDIT CARD/COIN THROUGH TABLE:
This is where this DVD is really lacking in my opinion. This has to be the second worst effect on the DVD (we'll get to the worst here soon) This effect does not seem believable. The moves are so obvious and there are better methods to accomplish this same effect. Before I rant more about this effect, let me tell you about it: A credit card is taken in the hand and covered on the table with both hands. Greg explains that it goes through the table and shows it gone, but it "takes a minute to get all the way through." He reaches under the table and a moment later, it drops into his hand. I just don't know about this effect. Greg says he used to perform it at restaurants when he was a waiter, but I would like to see some real life performances which I don't have the luxury of seeing in this effect. I shouldn't write it off completely though since Greg says he used it for real people and it's very difficult for me to not see the "moves." I could just be because I'm a magician, but I honestly think that anyone with half a brain would figure this out. Sorry to be so harsh on this one, but I honestly don't think this belongs on "Greg's greatest." In addition, it is not impromptu, it actually requires exensive setup depending on the situation where you intend to perform, it is not fully examinable, reseting it is up to debate. If you've prepared in advance, it resets intstantly, it is not all that amazing and is not entirely practical. This is the only place this effect can be found I believe.
2/10

VANISH 5000:
Ok, now that we've gotten one of the worst effects out of the way, let's go into something a little better. This is a good effect, but I prefer the standard method. This doesn't offer many advantages over the standard method. The effect is that sugar from a packet is dumped into your fist and upon opening your fist, the sugar is gone. This may end cleaner than the original method, but in the orignal, you can show the sugar clearly gone and reproduce it if you'd like. In this method, it is not possible. It's a good magician fooler as many of us are familiar with the original, but overall, this has more strikes against it than the original in my opinion. If, however, you do this for the average spectator, they will not know the difference, because they have not seen the original. This effect requires some setup (more than the standard version) and therefore is not impromptu, does not reset and would not be incredibly practical for walk around as the standard version would, it is however, pretty darn amazing and you end completely clean. If I remember correctly, it is fully examinable at the end. This can also be found in "Magic for Dummies"
6/10

MULTI-COLORED PEN:
This is an effect using the stockholder wallet. If you have the wallet, you already know the effect because it is included with the instructions. The magician uses a sharpie (or can be done with a borrowed pen) and explains that it is actually a multicolored pen and will write in any color named. People name colors and the magician pretends not to hear them and pretends to hear the colors red, blue, and green claiming he is "color deaf" (which people never laugh at in the performance, but Greg seems to think it's pretty funny) He tells them, "See? The pen writes red, it writes blue and it writes green and on the card are written the words (in black ink) red, blue and green. The audience is not impressed. He has them sign the bottom of the card and when he places it on the table and turns it over, it is seen to have the words written in the colors that they represent. Ok, so it's a little complicated trying to describe the effect, but I think you get the idea. When I first saw it, I thought it was kind of stupid and the method was obvious to me even though I did not know the out to lunch principle. The more I watched the effect though, I realized this probably really does fool people and I can see this being one of those effects where the spectators later tell their friends, "yeah, his pen wrote in any color we asked for, but when he turned it over, it was just black ink naming the colors, but we watched it turn to the colors that we named!!" These effects seem to be the best kind when people swear they saw something that they really didn't because of the psychology behind it. With that being said, I think this is a worthwhile effect. It could be done in a variety of different ways with or without the wallet. You could do it with a bunch of rubberbanded business cards (which is the original out to lunch idea) or just a stack of business cards and not have it signed. There are many ways to accomplish this. No matter how you do it though, it is not impromptu, it requires set up each time you do it (or a lot of set up in advance for a few times) it does not reset instantly, it is not totally examinable, but everything they will want to examine is, and it is somewhat amazing. This can also be found with Gregory Wilson's "Stockholder Wallet."
6/10

BLIND DATE:
Another effect using the stockholder wallet, but again, you could find ways of accomplishing this without the use of the wallet. Greg says he likes the wallet for professional shows because it does not look as classy to take out a stack of rubberbanded business cards which I can understand. The magician writes a prediction and borrows a quarter from the spectator. He shows his prediction and has it signed. He goes on to explain how it is so amazing since his prediction (say 1965) matches the date on the quarter. Of course when the spectator grabs the quarter and looks at it, it is seen to have a different date (say 1990) Greg hands them the card and the prediction is seen to have changed to 1990. What I like about this effect is that the quarter is borrowed so even if the spectator tried to back track and figure it out in their mind, they would realize "he wrote the prediction before I gave him the quarter and he didn't write anything else for the rest of the effect. How would he know the date on the quarter even if he could change it on his prediction?" it's a pretty clever trick. Not earth shattering and I've never cared for effect with date predictions, but that's just my preference. Again, this is not 100% examinable, you're not left completely clean, it does not have an instant reset (although could be used for walkaround with a lot of set up beforehand) and is pretty amazing, but not incredible. I'm not sure if this one can be found other places.
6.5/10

LEARNERS PERMIT TO THRILL:
Ok. This is the worst effect on the entire set in my opinion. It is absolutely terrible, and unconvincing. It's a shame. Since this is "Greg's Greatest" I really wish he would have put "License to Thrill" on here. Although I don't own the Art of Astonishment, I've heard it's an incredible effect and it sounds much more amazing and logical. The effect here is that someone hands you their business card and you state that you have a business card that looks just like that. You put their's in your hand and make it vanish. Then you search for it and finally find it in your back pocket. Shane was right on when he said the move is "painfully obvious." I would even further argue that the TWO moves that make up this trick are "painfully obvious." Greg uses this move other times, but it looks more natural when not done with a business card. Again, this is a studio performance only effect (the last three had real like footage which I think I forgot to mention) Even when my wife watched this trick (and she's been fooled by Gregory Wilson over and over again) she said "that's the dumbest thing I've ever seen. He obviously just -----------------
She didn't even think it was a trick at first, she just thought it was a gag. The only things I have good to say about this is that it is impromptu, examinable, with a borrowed object, has an instant reset, but not amazing in the least. If you're looking for a good way to hand out your business card, the original license to thrill sounds much better to me. After all, with that effect you can actually hand out YOUR card rather than just doing something with THIER card. This was in my opinion a filler trick and nothing more
1/10

FLAT OUT MONTE:
Finally we get to something good. Something you can use in the real world. This is probably as good as it gets for an almost impromptu monte effect using non-gaffed cards. When I see this, I think of "The Ultimate 3 card Monte" This effect even steps it up a notch and does not use gaffs. It is done with 2 jokers and an ace. The object of the game is to find the ace. The spectators are always wrong of course even when Greg obviously puts the ace in one place- it always ends up in another. For the final phase, Greg puts the ace under the spectator's hand and he has the 2 jokers. The 2 jokers turn to the one ace and when they lift up their hand, they find the 2 jokers. It's an incredible effect without gaffs, or gimmicks and it only uses 3 cards. It's 100% examinable, resets instantly, can be done with regular cards. You just need two matching jokers. It's very amazing and and a very fun trick. I believe this is the first place this has been released.
10/10

RECAP:
I'm not going to go into the description of this effect. It is what Greg is known for. Just type "recap" or "On the Spot" into the search engine of this Café and you'll find plenty of descriptions. This one was "performance only" but I believe it was a mistake. First, it is the only "peformance only" effect on the DVD that doesn't SAY performance only on the box or on the DVD menu. Second, it's the only one he performs for real people followed by a studio performance, but then no studio explaination. All the other performance only effects are performance only for somewhat obvious reasons. I believe this was a mistake in the editing room. I for one, enjoyed watching him perform this again for real people. It's a great effect. If you want to learn it, get "On the Spot."

Sticks and Stones:
This is another performance only. When I first saw that there were "performance only" effects on this set, I was upset. However, once you see them, you'll understand it's really not necessary to see the explaination and that was not why the effect was included. This effect uses a stick and rock. Greg explains that this is the oldest effect ever invented. It's clever and has kind of a recap feel to it. First the rock disappears twice and then the stick by hitting it on the rock, then the rock again and then both, then the stick re-appears, and then the rock is blown out of the end of the stick and finally they are rubbed together and produce fire which burns Greg's eyebrows. It's somewhat humorous (studio only)

DISHONEST ABE:
This is one of Gregory's marketed effects. The effect is that a penny grows to 10 times it's size as Greg says (really about 4 times it's size) and then visually grows into a jumbo coin in the spectator's hand. I love this trick. To me, it seems like Greg put a lot of this material on here to sell other material. I could be wrong, but he markets this effect and you're not likely to find all the coins you need at a decent price without just buying this set (I've looked) and he also markets the stockholder wallet. I believe that is the reason these effects were put in here. I could be wrong however, and Dishonest Abe is a great trick. Unfortuanately, this is a studio only performance again. I was really looking forward to Greg doing this for real people. I've done this for people and gotten anything from a "that's cute" kind of reaction to a "oh my gosh! That thing just grew in my hand! That's amazing" kind of reaction. It's a great effect and highly recommended, but just be warned, it will be one effect on this set that you won't be able to use if you buy this DVD and don't have the necessary coins. This one obviously cannot be done impromptu, but is mostly examinable at the end (after one move it is fully examinable) it is very amazing, very practical for walk around or a closeup show, and has an almost instant reset.

So that's it. My overall impression- the worst DVD in the set. Not to say it doesn't have good tricks on it, but definately a LOT of filler and the fact that there was so much that was NOT filmed in front of real people tells me that maybe they are not real life effects. Now, I'm not trying to start an argument. I realize Jay Sankey almost NEVER films his stuff for an audience and he's got some great stuff that I actually use. Greg Wilson, however is a people person and you rarely see him do an effect without an audience of some kind on ANY of his tapes. The fact that he did studio only on about half of these effects tells me something especially when I think he does the effects for real audiences for every (or almost every) effect in the other two DVDs. To sum it up, if you want to learn multicolored pen, blind date, or dishonest abe, buy the marketed item because you're going to need it (or want it) anyway to perform the effect. If you want to learn head trip, or coin from head, get on the spot and you'll also learn 10 other amazing impromptu miracles. Don't get this DVD for learner's permit to thrill, buy the art of astonishment and learn the real deal. I'd say if you're into 3 card monte effects and the first couple of effects sound good, you may want to look more into this one. I would honestly say though, since I bought this as a set and got a discount, it was worth the money, but I would be disappointed if I had paid 30 bucks or more for just this DVD. Lots of filler. Luckily, my review of Volume 3 is soon to come and that is where Greg really shines! I'd say volume 1 was my favorite off all of them, but I am very excited to review volume 3 for a couple of reasons. I should have it done early next week. Overall, I'd give volume 2 a 6.5/10
Cameron Francis
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Nice review. I agree with a lot of what you wrote. It is the weakest disc of the set. But Flat Out Monte alone is worth the price of the disc. And I'm a sucker for the Out To Lunch Principle so I liked the Color Changing Pen and Blind Date (I use a broccoli band). I also liked Vanish 5000 because it is so clean.

One thing that bothers me is that he doesn't explain the very last phase of Flat Out Monte (where the spec places their hand over the card). However, it's not too hard to figure out what he's doing when you know the rest of the routine. Just wish he would have gone into detail.
oagwood
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Excellent review, thank you.

oliver
stannmaple
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Cfrancis,
you are right! I didn't even notice that because I did not watch the explaination for the effect. Greg explained this effect at his lecture, so I skipped over the explaination on the DVD. If you ask me, it is just poor editing. If you watch, it looks like he is about to say something else at the end and then it cuts away to a little segment of Greg concluding the explaination that was obviously filmed at a different time. Oh well, it's a good effect anyhow. My favorite part was in the first performance where he puts the money card under the lady's hand and the other lady says "now wait a minute, you..." and Greg just talks over her and says "hey lady! Don't misdirect yourself" She continues and says "but you..." and he just yells over her "shut up and watch!!!" It's SOOOOO hilarious! And of course she is amazed at the end. Of course only Greg could get away with says "just shut up and watch." I'm not sure this would fit my style, but he is SOOO good with tough audiences. He never ceases to amaze them... and me.
Dann
Cameron Francis
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I would love to see him lecture. I live in Florida. Anyone know if he'll be coming down here? Or maybe he already has...
stannmaple
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Cfrancis,
I don't believe Greg made it to florida in June, but I don't know if he has lecture plans for july. You'd want to contact Danny Archer. He is a member of this Café. Good luck.
Dann
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