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Profile of TrickyRicky
Any reviews on Dave Allen (Ketchup side down) Hocus Pocus)
Fraser Gould
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Profile of Fraser Gould
I'd be interested in a review of this too (we have Pringles in Japan!). Does it work on the same principle as Topsy Turvy Bottles?
Fraser Gould
Paul Gross
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Profile of Paul Gross
Hello Richard & Fraser,

The principal used in Ketchupside Down is completely different than the standard Topsy Turvy Bottles. When we got them in we were very impressed with the workings. The spectator has a free choice of which tube and which bottle they want to use. You can even switch with them during the routine if you wish. Everything can be handed out for inspection at the end of the routine. This would be great for any family or kid show performer. We have them in stock http://www.hocus-pocus.com for immediate delivery.

Best Regards
Paul Gross
Hocus Pocus
Best Regards,

Paul Gross


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Profile of mghia
KetchUP Side Down
By David Allen
Overall Grade- B- B+

Introduction: I only post reviews when I feel a product is worth looking into (or if it is garbage). I have been buying magic for over 15 years so have seen some good stuff and some real duds. I create and sell my own creations as well so can understand some of the inside dilemma when it comes to how much work one can put into a product and still make profit. I will try to give you my insight, without revealing the workings, so that a consumer will have a better idea of what he/she is getting. I will try to score this effect with familiar letter grades.
While this will appear long, isn't the detal we all crave for?

In the case of KetchUP Side Down, I was looking for a replacement of my worn set of Confusing Crayons. While I enjoy that version of the topsy-turvy effect, I had some issue with the gimmick thickness. When I read that KetchUP Side Down used a new principle, I was curious what this new method would be.

The Ad: Grade: B+
Go to any big magic company and search for the effect name to see the copy. I am not going to promote them so not to sure favoritism.

The ad copy is accurate. Everything stated is possible under normal working conditions. I found identical copy on two big dealers sites as well as the manufacturer’s.

I can not give an A rating since you need to know what the topsy-turvy effect is. One of the first lessons I learned in essay writing was to assume your target knows less than you do. In this case, to be SOLD on this just based on the ad, you need to know what the Topsy-Turvy effect is. As a matter of space saving I will not explain the effect since that should be the job of the seller. Most know what we are talking about but there are new people to magic all the time and based on just the ad copy, they would not understand what they are buying.

Instructions: Grade: -A
Two, single sided 8.5x11” pages of instructions are included but in reality, the first half of one page is a graphic and the same ad copy that was found on the web. I am unclear why they did not make the pages double sided to save on paper.

The instructions are easy to follow. Actual handling is kept to a minimum due to the bonus, which I will discuss later.
For those who need a kick start in patter (or those who are lazy), the bulk of the instructions are in the format of patter with explanations of the actions required. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you come up with your OWN MAGIC WORDS. If everyone says “I LIKE PICNICS”, the effect will not seem original.

I liked the extra patter provided by Barry Mitchell. One is a lesson-in-life theme and the other, Gospel. While I might not use them, it gives one some ideas of how the presentation does not have to be about summer and picnics.

BONUS VCD: complex grade- see summary

I was very happy to receive a video presentation with this effect. I applaud them for including this. They are on the right track but the concept needs to be taken further.
You are provided with a VCD. (Video CD) While they point this is not a DVD they do print on the label that it will run in most DVD players. Sadly, my name brand DVD player is few years old so it would not read this sort of file. It did run on my computer.
The general content is acceptable. On my computer screen, it was a bit blurry. I assume this is due to the VCD format and the quality they choose. The VCD has less than a 1/4 used for this video. I wonder why they did not choose to scale up the resolution since there was plenty of space left on this disk.

The video starts with an introduction by Tim Sonefelt of Wonder Imagery and then a performance from David Allen for a day care audience. It continues with the basic handling by David and Tim returns in a segment showing an alternate handling as well as a bottle vanish he likes to use.

I was disappointed in the quality of the performances I saw on this VCD. While children might not catch on, the performance had some eak sleights and what I assume was a poor and obvious way to do some dirty work. I could be wrong but as on the video, a bottle was knocked over so David could do something needed. The kids laugh at this but if one saw this at a repeat show, they might catch onto that move. Maybe video is not the best for magic. Not knowing how this effect would look from just the instructions, I was curious to see how well he handled the props. His handwork telegraphed on the video. He might claim it does not in real life. You would have to be the judge if these are the best moves. It was just not the best it could have been. When putting out a video, one needs to remember this is a one shot deal. It is better to reshoot than just slap something on disk that will be seen by many.
As I stated, knocking the bottle down so you can go behind your table to get something is just not the best way.
I did like Tim’s idea that require less hand work.

In addition, I was a bit confused why the video of the bottle vanish was shown as is. Tim shows us in real time ...and in real time, the vanish flashes. We know where it goes. Again, I say that if it was me and I could do it better, I would have shot the segment again.

Therefore, I give them an averaged grade of C+ for the content and quality. I give them a standing O for adding a video into their instructions.

The Props: B+

You get two Pringle cans, two bottles, gimmicks, extra squirt string, VCD, instructions, all nicely packed in a white box. All of the visible props can be handled by the volunteer, which is the edge over other tospy products. I have had a few clever kids who would ask to use MY tube while performing other versions. In this version, they can pick either can and bottle. I will go more into the handling later.
I some issues with the props. First, was that the string gag did not work as it should. One bottle leaked at the cap and on both the prepared strings would get stuck. The squirting gag IS needed if one wants to make full use of misdirection.

I would have given a lower grade but I did email Tim and he offered to send a new bottle and explained a possible way to get the string to work. (He did ask for the other bottle back. While I understand his need to see it, the cost to me would have been more than trying to fix the bottle myself.) The grade went up a little due to his prompt response.

The gimmicks are well made and will hold up over time. One minor issue is that practice is needed to prevent some “talking.” In a home party setting, this is more of a concern than in the room size you see on the VCD.

My other issue was that the metal bottoms of the Pringle Cans were cut off. In one photo ad, I can see the metal ring. So one might think they are receiving cans as they see in the stores. I think the cans would last much longer if they leave the ring. In addition, it helps with stability and gives a little weight. At first, I thought they removed the metal as they do because the cardboard would be damaged but in one try, on a new can, I had a clean opening while retaining the metal edge.

Then it dawned on me why they might be removing the bottom in full. The can I prepared would NOT fit in the white box. As with Confusing Crayons, I like to use the shipping weight box to transport the products. It is my guess that they found a box SO CLOSE to the can size, they had to cut the can for it to fit. I am aware of how hard it can be to find the perfect box but I would rather have a box with a little extra space over loosing the metal rim.

You also do not get the plastic caps that are found on Pringles. Now I am not sure how they get their chips. Maybe they eat many chips. If so, I would say to give the lids to the customers. It will help with transport stability and could add some comedy. Yes, you add the lids next time you buy chips but if you have the caps, just toss them in the box.

Handling and Method: Grade B:
Some will be turned off by this “new method.” Unlike the traditional method, the magician will have to be more careful, do some bold work and watch some angles. The traditional method can be performed 360. This new method CAN be but it would depend were you place everything needed. Part of this awkwardness comes from the free choice you give them. In the VCD, the performer uses a box style table and has pockets. That is all I can say about it. You do not need both but you need to use one or the other. Tim does explain different approach which as some merit for at least the first set.

Just know you will have to THINK and PRACTICE and will NOT do this out of the box.
The larger your hands the more comfortable you will feel. Once set, the effect is easy to perform and it is far easier to END the effect. There will be a tension for new performers when they have to trade bottles and do the work again.

So while the moves are well thought out and explained, there is more involvement than with traditional methods. There is a chance in the home party setting that you could expose if not keeping a watch of your positions.

I will end on a positive note: the effect allows you to COMPLETELY lift the cover off EACH TIME to show our bottle is fully upright.

Summary: Over all KetchUP Side Down has many strong pros over the traditional version of this effect. The bottle style lends itself to mystery and fun while being highly visible. It fits all family audiences (not a beer bottle not a crayon). If you are prepared to put some work in, you will want to try this out.
The freedom to switch both bottles AND TUBES is a big plus. You will have to do some extra practice and put some thought into the way you feel comfortable doing “the work”. So while it is not out-of-the-box easy, it is has potential.

If you have this item, email for info of how I made some simple improvements and fixes to make this effect even better.
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Profile of mghia
I just wanted to update that Tim Sonefelt notified me that he sent me a new set of bottles. He stated the these bottles are the ones made for the squirting gag so he the strings work great. Now that is great CS and shows the character of the company.
I will post when I get the new bottles.

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Profile of timsonefelt
Hi Guys,
I don't post often because I don't have time to read the forums often. It's my loss, I know. I wanted to add a few notes about KetchUP side down.

First the video. It's a BONUS. We just felt that it would help some folks. The knocked over bottle in the performance on the video mentioned above was truly an accident. I realize (after reading the post) that it might be construed as misdirection. It was not intentionally used as such. This footage was shot early on when David was developing his routine and handling. We used the VCD format to save on the cost of the product. It did work on 3 of 5 DVD players in my house, not including computers. The cost of the product would have increased by $5-$7 retail if we had used the DVD format due to the costs involved.

Now a note on the trick. I was demonstrating this at the booth at the S.C.A.M. convention back in January. There was a booth adjacent to mine wher there was a very knowledgable dealer. He was watching me do the demo. We switched bottles (which you can do with the standard topsy turvy bottles), then we switched TUBES! which you can't do normally. He was blown away because he knew the standard method. He came over after everyone had left and told me how badly the effect had fooled him when we switched tubes. So, this can be a magician fooler . . .

Note to MG - thanks for the indepth review. Your new set of bottles, I'm picking up from David - who actually makes the effect - today (3/21) and should get them in the mail today or tomorrow.

best regards,
Tim Sonefelt
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Profile of tbaer
Thanks for the lengthy review, very informative.
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Profile of mghia
Thanks again for the bottle replacement. I still want to know if you guys like chips or donate them.... If you are selling many of these, you must have Tupperware containers full of Pringles Smile!

One comment about your comment on the VCD: I know it was a BONUS but is can be a strong bonus that people want. You have to spend the same amount of time to create a VCD from a good video or bad video. Many magicians feel duped in when they get some effects. Based on the instructions they have no confidence the effect plays as good as the claims. Many times when we see things on video we then know if it lives up to its claims (unless David Copperfield/Blaine TV editing is used)

I applaud your efforts for including the VCD. I mean no disrespect when I say that the response that it is a bonus, is still a weak excuse for not providing the best version of the act so they do not learn the incorrect way. This does not always mean the quality of the video would have to be upgraded, just the CONTENT. Many newer magicians might think that what they saw is the exact way it should be done. I really can not give examples without giving too much away in the public forum. So while it was a NEW ACT for him, then I question if that was the video that should have been used. If it was not ready, I might not have included it yet.

I am not sure how going to DVD would have raised your cost that much. I just bought a pack of DVD-R from Staples a month ago and they were about .25 each.

Nevertheless, even if just making a VCD I noted your disk was only a quarter full. Could you have made the resolution of the VCD a little better? It seems like you had enough space on the CD to have a large file.

However, I understand that this comes down to quality of the software you have and its limits. Again, I say the quality was less important to me. It was the content and the seeing some less than perfect hand positions and ditches that concerned me a little. It concerned me that some of the adults might catch on but just not tell you they figured it. I am sure you will agree that magicians performing badly (or learning an effect poorly), can ruin an effect for neighboring magicians who might have learned it the correct way.

Therefore, this is why I believe if you are demonstrating the effect than you have the responsibility to show them the right way to do it.
Maybe I am wrong but that is what I feel.

Well I must go practice this effect so I can test it in my show soon.

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My new bottles arrived. One is always torn when someone does something so nice as Tim did by sending me two new bottles. To recap: he did this since one bottleleaked air from the cap and the string would not fly out of the bottle.
It is my opinion this "gag" is important to the effect since it can raise energy level and provides some good misdirection.

Tim was very generous sending out new bottles. He explained these bottles were the ones used specifically for the squirt gag.
If you are sensing a BUT...you would be correct. It pains me to say I had some issues with the bottles sent.
First the good: The bottles are a smaller diameter and some will like this.
The strings were made of a braided cord and not fuzzy yarn. The ketchup bottle was very soft and pushes a greater amount of air. For some reason my mustard bottle did not have the same soft characteristic. However, it matters little.

Cons: I have a few issues but they are VERY MINOR AND FIXABLE.

First, the strings DID NOT come out of the bottles. They would get stuck every time, as with the first set. This is fixed by widening the opening just enough. Now even the leaking bottle will work! The strings provided were half the length of the original. This might be to ensure there is enough air to push the string all the way out. An inch or two longer would have still worked. This again is an easy fix. Buy similar cord and replace it to suit.
I was a little confused by the gimmicks. They are a little different than the first set. All I can really say is that the match was not exact as with the first set. I doubt the audience would notice but some might like the exact match.
One of the gimmicks was very weak. I compared it to the other and saw the problem. I heated the gimmick in the micro and reset it so it was stronger.
This also raises a caution. If you are in the hot weather, do not leave this trick in a hot car. It could disrupt everything due to the type of glue used.
There was on other issue I have that I can not express here but it will not really affect performance if you do not have the two side by side to compare.
I think the problem is that the manufacturer is trying to improve the product and putting out some variations as they find new sources and materials.

I think I like the first set of bottles better now that I have the strings working.

However, don’t worry, if you get a set of the new bottles you will not notice the things I did since you do not have the two side by side by side.

I am still working out the handling and will post when I actually use it.
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Profile of MagicRabbit
I have to stand up and applaud "mghia" on a beautiful review. You have been fair, reasonable and yet honest. And you have a knack for discussing the things that ACTUALLY matter to the working magi. Thank you again & again for taking up your time to help others here.

Please continue these reviews!
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Profile of RandyM
Yes I too thank you for a very nice review!
For once I didn't have to scroll thru 2 pages of people guessing, fishing, or complaining about an effect they neither had in hand or seen before.
It was refreshing to see a title of an effect for review and getting one as detailed as this one was. Thanks Mghia!!! It's much appreciated.

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Profile of crashbang1969
Can anyone guide me to a demo of this? I am usually hesitant of a product that has no demos anywhere on the internet. Not even anything on Youtube. I am interested in this effect but I am wondering what makes this different from the standard bottles effect.
Dan Ford
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Profile of Dan Ford
It is a great effect and a new principle applied to this trick. Get it and I know you will like it. 90 percent of my shows are for children and it fools the ones that are in the know.
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Profile of calvan
I am looking for this trick can only find it avalable in Australia and Canada. All the magic stores in the US that advertise this trick no longer have it avalable. If anyone knows where you can get it I would like the information would like to use this for my picnic season show
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