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Wayne Kawamoto

Review of "Boom" by Mick Valenti

By January 29, 2013

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Is it truly entertaining to scare your spectators? There's no doubt that making a fake spider appear on the hand of a spectator and other assorted pranks will get reactions. But is it the right way to entertain with magic? As you've probably guessed, I dislike tricks that border on mean-spirited pranks. While "Boom" offers a card to impossible place effect, its "impossible place" is the innards of an apparent half-stick of dynamite that is designed to frighten a spectator.

A spectator chooses a card and it's mixed back into the deck. While the spectator holds the deck in one hand, the magician gives the spectator what appears to be a half stick of dynamite to hold on to. The magician promises to find the card before the fuse burns down and the dynamite explodes. Unfortunately, the card isn't found, the fuse burns down and there's a flash and a "boom." After the spectator recovers, the card is found to be missing from the deck and inside of the hollow (and fake) stick of dynamite.

The basic effect doesn't require any difficult sleight of hand or moves. And if you like, there's a second effect that involves a signed card and takes more effort. The kit includes the gimmicks, fake dynamite sticks, a "banging" mechanism and a DVD with instructions in English, French and Spanish. You'll also need to purchase flash string from a magic dealer. The creator claims that the effect is "safe." As always, you'll have to take care when employing fire (it's only with the flash string).

The marketers of "Boom" claim that it's "guaranteed to build suspense and get laughs." And they further state: "you supply the dry underwear for your spectator." But is this truly the way that magicians should treat spectators and volunteers? And is it really funny?

The main intention of Boom is to scare the spectator who is asked to hold the burning half-stick of dynamite and make a spectacle of him or her. I prefer that magicians be clever and entertaining without relying on such exploitive techniques. And this doesn't address the fact that it's effects such as this that give magicians a bad name and reputation.

Enough said.

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