The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Latest and Greatest? » » Ben Harris :: A Collection of Reviews (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
Ben Harris’ :: Wow-Bound Back Story :: The Reviews

Mr Harris has decided to back up all of his material since 1979 and I say what a fabulous idea. I believe that with the current climate and with the available technology, this will become a valuable asset to the digital magical archives. At the same time, don’t believe that by backing up his previous effects to digital format that he has substituted the quality of his effect because at first glance, you will be able to tell that the quality is some of the best that I have seen from digital downloads. I will be reviewing as many of Mr Harris’ EBooks as possible and will give you honest and respectable views of each work. I have not been exposed too much of Ben’s magic and will be looking forward to venturing further into his works. So, let’s get stuck in!
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
Elastic Thread Routines :: First Published 1989 :: 24 Pages

This is the first of the books sent to me. I’m not a fantastic fan of thread work. Only dabbling in the world of “Loops” and other thread pulls. To this day, I perform very little thread work. So venturing into a book full of thread effect and tips was very underwhelming for me. Firstly, you are greeted with a finely put together eBook. I have many digital books and this is way up with the best in terms of the way it is put together. They have clearly had a lot of time put into them. Unfortunately you have to go through 6 pages of copyright agreements and blank pages to get to the introduction but I suppose it is easy to skip over it and we shall forgive Ben for this.

He has a lengthy introduction which I believe has been re-written from its original publication. Introductions are usually one thing I also skip over but in this case I’m very pleasantly surprised that it really roped me in. Ben’s research into elastic thread magic is brilliant and he brought new facts to the reader as to where some of today’s most commonly performed thread effect really came from. Much to my surprise, it was far from who and where I had thought it had appeared from. It really sets the mood and really makes you appreciate how everything we currently know was rooted in very different circumstances then first thought.

So, to the effects in the book. We are taken firstly to the very beginning. A little bit of thread management. He gives some very helpful tips on how to camouflage your thread and help you feel more confident in using the thread. Although these small details are, well, small; they are essential to thread work as Ben mentions. These small details may be common knowledge to the common thread worker, but these are very helpful to those of us who may be experimenting in the thread world for the first time. Ben again, fully credits the origins of everything he mentions and all the idea’s he has listed. He even takes you through how to create a certain type of invisible elastic loop.

Slider :: This is a cute little effect. I can’t help but think it is a little pointless and would have to be used within a routine. However, Ben does suggest this be used as a “gag” effect within the “Strange Travellers” plot. Again, many versions of this exist in current thread DVD’s and books but usually in different ways. One thing I’m beginning to love about Ben’s books is the hand drawn illustrations. To the modern day magician, photos may be more appropriate but I can’t help but feel the organic and genuine approach to these books. The hand drawn illustrations really do make you feel like you are reading a classic. Plus, let’s face it, there just cool!

The Enchanted Butterfly :: Now were getting to it. This is a brilliant little effect using only two playing cards and a cigarette paper (and of course, you’re little something else). Instantly I can think of effect born from this idea. The effect being, creating a butterfly from a cigarette paper, and allowing it to float in between the two cards. I can imagine this perfectly and think it could be presented as a really beautiful piece of magic. The handling is incredibly clever and I have not come across this style of handling with thread work before. His thinking behind how the thread is being anchored is very clever and incredibly detailed. The effect is simple in method and beautiful in execution. The set up is minimal and allows everything to lay dormant in your deck until you need it. Possibly one of my favourite effects in the book.

Floating Smoke Ring :: This is another very cool effect that I hadn’t seen before. The handling is very simple but again, incredibly well put together. Allowing a ring made from a cigarette paper to float from under a glass, up between your hands and land on the upside-down glass base. Not much to say about this one. There are many images to help you along and a very clever handling of a cool effect.

The Flexing Pip :: This being another of my firm favourites in the book. Again, many version of the “moving pips” have been and gone. Usually the effect is created with a complex gimmick that has been made in a factory or hours by hand and cost a fortune. Ben teaches you how to make a very simple version of this effect. Just by shaking a two of diamonds, you can visually cause it to change to a three of diamonds. I will defiantly making one of these gimmicks up. I can make as many of these as I wish, inexpensively and still get the same effect as some of the expensive versions of the market. This is defiantly worth checking out and one that should be worked into a close up act. This takes those of us who are scared to use thread as a floatation device and allows us to utilise the thread in a solid, no hassle, no worry, fully camouflaged effect.

The Floating Card :: The effect is in the name. Again, many versions of this on the market and it appears in many other literatures. Ben’s handling is simple, effective and clever. Again, another effect that is slightly pointless and is a throwaway effect but I have no doubt that in the right routine, it can work wonders.

Coins on the move :: A coin effect with thread in which the coins visually assemble in the centre of the table. Again, very pointless and I’m not sure if it would work in a routine but it’s one of those effects that you could watch in the mirror time and time again, just for the fun of it. However, the simple handling allows you to slot in there with your favourite assembly trick.

Everything in these books is brilliantly put together. The images make it feel like a classic. The effects are real trend setters. What I love about this book is the effects really bring together many different types of magicians and allow everyone to get in on the act. For close up magicians you have traditional thread plots and floatation’s. For card magicians, a way to make pips visually spear on cards and make cards move. Stage and parlour magicians can make paper butterflies come to life. Every effect has an introduction into its creation and everything in the book is very well credited. I’m not sure if the book will convert me back into thread magic but I will defiantly be trying one or two of these effects in future.

Rating :: **** 4/5 Stars

“A brilliant insight to thread magic with something for even the most sceptical ‘threadaphobes’.”

http://www.wowbound.com/backstoryright.html

Reviewed by Jamie Daws
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
Review King
View Profile
Eternal Order
14447 Posts

Profile of Review King
Oh, man! Ben let me look at this and I've been trying to write soemthing up and....Jamie came along and did better than I could.

What strikes me about Ben's material as I learn more and more about him, is that he was a pioneer in much of the work that's out there. Nothing like learning it from the source!

I'm a huge fan of IT and IET and am learning some very cool routines and ideas from this release.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
Ben Harris
View Profile
V.I.P.
wowbound.com
2099 Posts

Profile of Ben Harris
Hi Jamie,

It is really interesting to see the material reviewed by one of today's younger magicians. One one hand, it makes me feel old, but on the other, it feels "reel" good.

I look forward to reading your further thoughts, Jamie.

Cheers

Ben
+ "Top 10" Best-Selling author at Lybrary.com
+ Proud sponsor "Genii Magazine's 75th Anniversary Convention"
+ Inventor of the world famous Floating Match
+ WOWBOUND.COM
JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
Cosmosis :: First Published 1986 :: 26 Pages

Cosmosis is one of the effects that I have previously owned before the Digital version was released. This is an effect that I believe we can all relate to. This is one of the best selling effects around the world with companies everywhere ripping it of. It’s literally everywhere. Even one of the best selling commercial magic companies Marvin’s Magic reproduces this classic effect. But, learning the effect from the original source is bar none, the best way to learn an effect and now that this eBook is more available to magicians, I really hope people pick it up and get the original inventors insight in to this wonderful creation. Admittedly, the first version of this that I owned was in some kind of children’s magic set and it was not until I purchased Ben’s Cosmosis about 3 years ago that I realised how historic this creation really is.

To those who do not know this classic, all you have to do is go into YouTube and type in Floating match to see just how popular this effect is, Boasting thousands of videos from children and adults alike. From the professionals to the hobbyists, it seems to cover such a vast market of people from all over the world. The effect in its simplest form: Two cards are selected from the deck. A wooden match is introduced and is set on the back of one of the playing cards. The match then hovers over the card and the second card is passed beneath it to prove nothing is holding it up. The match hovers back down and it is handed out for inspection.

So firstly, we sift through the 5 or so pages of copyright agreements. However, this time we have a couple of images to keep up amused on our way to the introduction. Again, the introduction has been rewritten for the release of the digital book. The quality of this eBook is fantastic. Sleek, simple and easy to navigate through. The introduction really brings home just how much this effect has gone through and how much Ben has been forgotten through the various pirated copies that have been made through the years. Ben goes over the various thoughts behind the trick and also informs us of a authorised version of the effect that uses a small broomstick. Very fun indeed.

What I find most interesting about this effect compared to the marketed card versions is that we can pay up to £15 for two premade cards. In Ben’s original Cosmosis, not only does he teach you in depth how to make the cards at home, but also how to acquire the right props and things to use. Meaning you can make hundreds of the gimmicks for about £2.50. This really shows how much these rip of versions really do rip us of. Ben’s thoughts throughout the book are worth every penny and almost make me feel guilty at ever looking at another version of the floating match. The whole book is fantastically well written with many clear, artistic photos which help greatly when making the gimmicks. Everything is taught in depth and so carful is Ben to make the book last throughout time, he seems to have re written some of and re edited some of this book exclusively for the digital download.

I feel as if I must thank Ben personally for this effect. An effect that I believe we have all played with at some point and one that most of us will never forget. I’m glad I have had the chance to learn it from the original creator of the effect. This really does rival any of the premade versions on the market. What would you honestly prefer? To learn how to make the gimmicks for a lifetime and for next to nothing as well as gaining priceless information on the effects origins and learn from the creator, the inn’s and out’s of the effect from start to end or to buy pre made cards for triple the price and without the original critical workings that make the effect so strong. I know which I would prefer.

Rating :: ***** 5/5 Stars

“This is a priceless piece of magic literature and something every magician should have in their collection. Possibly one of Ben Harris’s greatest achievements.”

http://www.wowbound.com

Reviewed by Jamie Daws
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
APC
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles
1132 Posts

Profile of APC
Thanks for the reviews Jamie, Ben's deal is incredible and you are really tempting me to subscribe.
Review King
View Profile
Eternal Order
14447 Posts

Profile of Review King
I saw a magician today perform Cosmosis. He did it quite well and it brought gasps from the group he did it for. It's an incredible illusion.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
Hoodwink:: First Published 1983 :: 16 Pages

Hoodwink, yet another Torn and Restored handling. With the amount of Torn and Restored effects on the market, it would have to bring something very new or different to the community. Being a card magician, I was looking forward to checking out Ben’s approach to the classic plot. But, after exploring every Torn and Restored plot that I have come across, admittedly, it would be hard to impress me.

Again, as will all of my reviews of Ben’s eBooks, the first thing that really does stand out is the quality of the books. There just brilliantly put together. The time put into the project is apparent from the second you open the book. With his “Authentication” mark on top of the book so you know you’re getting a quality product.

We slide past the 4-5 pages of copyright declarations once again and finally get to the introduction. The history behind this is yet again very interesting. This is a revisited version of another of Ben’s earlier works “Prime Hole Card”. The development of an effect is, in my opinion very important to get everything just right. Ben has hit the nail right on the head. We move on to the effect.
Now unlike the conventional Torn and Resorted plot, the card is not torn into quarters and restored quarter by quarter. This version see’s the magician tear the card completely in half, display both pieces and in the blink of an eye restore the card. This is the first time we are introduced to the “Flash” restoration which I believe brings a very slick finally to the ending, almost as if the pieces jump together. After viewing a video of this effect online, I must admit to you that I was fooled. Unlike most torn and restored effects, this had such a simple handling and looked so clean. I saw the card being genuinely torn, displayed separately to each other and then in less than a second, it was restored all without anything else being in his hands. Now, that to me seems like a cool handling of Torn and Restored.

The book is well laid out and is incredibly simple. There are Circular photos with lines and nuggets of text to help you along. The handling is incredibly simple and brilliantly clever. I enjoyed how the long drawn out process of 1) tear up the card into quarters 2) display them 3) take 15 minutes just to restore it quarter by quarter. This is replace by a tear up and one second visual restore. If I were to perform a torn and restored card effect, it would have to be something drastically different or a quick simple presentation much like this. I genuinely enjoyed Ben’s handling of torn and restored and will defiantly use it once or twice. The added value that it is completely impromptu, can use a signed card and has an incredibly deceptive and simplistic handling really helps sell the effect.

Although this is not the most groundbreaking of torn and restored cards, I think it is a brilliant approach to a quick “in and out” handling of the effect that can be performed anytime, anywhere and with any deck of cards with no prior set up. That to me sounds like a winner.

Rating **** 4/5 Stars

“A valuable approach to the classic torn and restored plot. A no nonsense, in and out handling that is defiantly to be considered by all serious card magicians.”

http://www.wowbound.com

Reviewed by Jamie Daws
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
This and That :: First Published 1986 :: 12 Pages

This and That is another card effect by Ben Harris. However, were given a sneaky little revelation before we even get to the trick. Ben’s up and coming release “Crossroads Deck” is one that like most, I’m really looking forward to. Those of you, who are interested in Crossroads, may be interested to know that Ben makes a comparison to This and That and Crossroads.

“It would also end up being related, in part, to “crossroads” but no one knew that until late 2009, if at all...”

We begin with the effect itself. Stemming from the buzz of tricks like “Phil” and “Oscar”, the effect is simple and effective. A brainwave style effect in which the spectator names a four of a kind, let’s say thin Kings. These are out jogged and then the spectator is asked to pick their favourite from these four cards. Let’s say the King of Diamonds. The three other kings are turned over to show the word THAT written on the backs. The rest of the deck’s backs are also displayed to show THAT on their backs. However, the king of diamonds is turned over to show that it is not only the only card to have a different coloured back but also that it is the only card in the deck with THIS written on its back.

The PDF is again brilliantly put together. No real introduction in this one, a couple of brief notes including the “Crossroads” revelation. For those of you who are thinking this is some lengthy piece of magic literature may be a little disappointed. You get the bare bones of the effect, with only 4 pages of text including the introduction notes. However, I suppose this (or that) really shouldn’t be much of an issue. The effect is well covered. It’s very easily made and takes a small amount of time for such a hard hitting effect. The effect is simple to perform and everything is well explained. A small performance script is also included which I think was a really cute little touch.

It’s a very cool solution to having an “Out” should you need it. Or as a standalone, prediction/ mentalism style effect.

Rating **** 4/5 stars

“A simple ‘DIY’ brainwave style effect that is easy to make and very hard hitting. It’s a definite must have for any card magicians.”

http://www.wowbound.com

Reviewed by Jamie Daws
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
Hole in the Head :: 22 Pages

I remember when this was first introduced to the magic community. Thinking it sounded incredibly cool. I did not venture into purchasing the effect at the time but am glad to have finally checked it out.

The book begins with an introduction by Ben in which he explains how the effect is not as practical as perhaps magicians would like it to be. The effect, in essence sounds fantastic. I, like most magicians am intrigued by Mirrors and Shadows. They’re magical in their own right so as soon as a magic trick comes out utilising one of these, I jump for joy. The effect essentially is being able to create a hole in your shadows head. Wave your hand behind your actual head and on the shadow, your hand is seen through the hole. It does sound like an absolute gem.

The PDF is like all of Ben’s Back Story PDF’s a gorgeous book, giving real luxury to the downloadable book. Everything in this is very well explained with stick figure drawings helping to enthuses what’s going on in the effect. Ben also explains various different “special things” to help the effect work and goes into depth on the angles needed for the effect and the conditions.

When Ben said it was situational, he really did mean it. It was first designed for David Blaine, should he have the right conditions to perform in. This is a very difficult effect to get perfect. I have tried it a couple of times with only one time success. I think that this is a shame but it’s no one’s fault, so places in the world will enjoy this more than others. If you do manage to get this in the right place, at the right time and with the right spectators, then you have a real miracle on your hands. Whether or not your audience will work out the method is another story.

I don’t think we should hinge Ben’s reputation as an inventor on this effect. Not one of his greater creations unfortunately. If you manage to get everything just right, then this really is an awesome trick. The chances of that happening is sleight, so slight in fact, this goes from a “Situational” effect to a “once in a lifetime” effect.

Rating ** 2/5

“A VERY situational effect which if presented with all the right conditions can possibly be a once in a lifetime miracle. Not an overly practical method but the manuscript is incredibly well explained and show hopefully help you along your way to getting this effect working well for you.”

http://www.wowbound.com

Reviewed by Jamie Daws.
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
Just a bit of information. In the next day or so, for all of you who have or wish to venture further into Ben's "Back Story", A completely FREE Pdf will be available to everyone who want's to invest some time in learning about how the back story came about and check out some rather funky photoes and sketches from the man himself. It's a definate must read for anyone who has or is going to own a Ben Harris effect!

http://www.wowbound.com

Jamie Daws
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
MagicOfT
View Profile
Regular user
NYC
141 Posts

Profile of MagicOfT
I recently read "Off The Wall" at tannens. It is a truly great collection of ideas and effects. The card vanish which has a great off beat feel to it is amazing. It reminds me sort of Paul Harris' Super Swindle.
Yet by far the best effect in the book, in my opinion is Invertz. What a great use of an old concept to fool magicians and laymen alike.
Off the wall is an awesome book.
MagicOfT
View Profile
Regular user
NYC
141 Posts

Profile of MagicOfT
Oh and the many sandwich routines in Off The Wall are great as well.
JamieD
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1656 Posts

Profile of JamieD
Oil and Water Deluxe :: First Published in “Singapore Lecture Notes” in 1985 :: 18 Pages

So we see the return of another updated Ben Harris Miracle. I must say, I was genuinely excited about receiving this one. The classic plots of magic ‘such as oil and water’ have always intrigued me. Finding ways to update the originals of each effect, bring it up to date and make it the best possible handling for both spectator and magician. Oil and water is no exception. Over the years readying hundreds of books, lectures notes and watching just as many DVD’s and old video’s to find Thee BEST handling of the classic plot. Settling on Cameron Francis and Derren Brown’s versions as the one I used now.

So how does Ben Harris’ Deluxe Oil and Water compare?

It’s an absolute knock out! Before I continue with this review, I have to say, that this one is without a doubt my favourite “single trick” pdf from Ben so far. It really does everything an Oil and Water routine needs. For me, one of the most important things in an Oil and Water is that it looks simple and easy for the spectator to follow. This it does perfectly! What if I were to say that the spectator will begin by mixing the cards should you so wish... Then, by picking the stack up, displaying (with no funny moves) that they are STILL mixed and then still with no funny moves, show that they were separated, you’d think me mad? Well I’m not! This version of the classic really does live up to all the expectations I had hoped from an Oil and Water routine. What I also love about this routine is that the spectator can begin the trick by mixing them and then at the end, she can turn the mixed pile over to discover it’s unmixed state. There is only really one complex ‘Sleight’ in the routine. That being said, nearly any magician with basic knowledge of card magic can do this easily. Ben has also placed a conditioning open routine. Which is your basic ambitious card BUT, really settles your audience into what’s going to happen. Sometimes the smallest details are the most important.
You do have to drag yourself though the opening pages of tittles and agreements but it is well worth it to get onto the actual trick. The effect is brilliantly well described and is deafly simple to perform. Everything about the routine screams ‘clean’. Most other routines use weird false count or card displacements. Sometime they even use extra cards or complicated set ups. This can be done from a shuffled deck. No set up. Spectator mixes them. No iffy or complicated counts or displacements.

The opening stage of the trick really caught me of guard. Do you remember when you were younger; getting a trick that was self working, like the Dynamic coins. When you slapped that brass cap on the table and that stack of coins appeared, it was not only magical but it was bloody confusing. Although you were following the instructions, you still couldn’t believe it worked. The same with this effect. I was following Ben’s instructions to a point which told me that the cards were separated and not mixed. I turned over the cards and sure enough, they were actually separated. Although, I was completely and utterly confused as to how that had happened.

In my honest opinion, This could be the ultimate in oil and water handlings. No complicated sleights or moves. Nothing looks suspicious. Simple and easy for the spectator to watch. Not long and drawn out. The spectator can begin the trick by mixing them AND can turn over the final pile to show they are separated. Clean, Clean, Clean.

Rating:: ***** 5/5 stars!

“A truly brilliant handling of one of magic’s most classic plots. Simple and easy to perform and possibly one of the cleanest versions you’re every likely to find! From a shuffled deck and a definite must for any card magician.”

Available soon from http://www.wowbound.com Price:: $8.95

Reviewed by Jamie Daws
THE DARK SERIES - DECEASED - SCREAM - HE'S NOT HERE - www.JAMIEDAWS.CO.UK
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Latest and Greatest? » » Ben Harris :: A Collection of Reviews (0 Likes)
X
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.36 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL