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Review of Minotaur The Final Issue

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Review of Minotaur The Final Issue
There have been lots of magicians who seemingly want to be film makers as they frame their magic routines within short movies. In the past, I’ve enjoyed short films by Charlie Justice (“Covert Coins, Part 1"), Craig Petty, the magicians of Bluff, and, of course, Lee Asher in his classic “Five Card Stud.”

Great Effects

The latest to frame a series of performances and routines around a movie, and it’s a zany one, is Dan Harlan and Marv Leventhal in their “Minotaur The Final Issue.” Of course, Harlan and Leventhal were co-publishers of the “Minotaur” magic magazine back in the 90's. This “last issue” offers lots of great effects- some new and some from back issues, along with that funny framing movie. The props are varied and include: cards, coins, orange juice, popcorn, toothpicks, mardi-gras beads, brown bags and more. For purposes of this review, and since there are so many effects on this DVD, I’m going to emphasize the effects that I liked best.

“Adjoctive,” a killer Phil Goldstein effect, creates a statement from a bunch of words and seemingly random processes. This one is great and you’re free to employ your own statements (within certain requirements), which has application in trade shows and promotions. I’m definitely noting this one as an effect to keep in mind.

One of the best effects on this DVD set is “Glass Backwards,” a Tom Craven routine. A spectator freely mixes cards and then divides the deck into three piles. The spectator selects a pile and the two top cards match two predictions from the magician. This one is based on a force known to all magicians, but here, it’s performed in conjunction with a cool gimmick that you can easily make yourself. The result is an openness in the handling that is not possible with the original method. Also, the use of the glasses makes this one great for not only a formal close-up performance, but for stand-up.

Link Up

“Big Easy Linking” is essentially linking rings but using Mardi-Gras (beaded) necklaces. Here, necklaces seemingly link and unlink. It’s quite baffling and I’ve seen the technique before used with Asian prayer beads.

Here’s a great idea. I’m familiar with how to deal winning poker hands through a variety of methods, but with “Royal Plushy,” anyone - the magician or a spectator - can deal a winning hand to the last person who is dealt to in a game. The clincher is that the winning hand is independent of the number of players that a dealer chooses to include in the game. And to top it off, Harlan offers a humorous gag that keeps the setup and dealing entertaining and fun.

“Folderol & Dagger Move” offers something along lines of a card stab, but a Sharpie marker suddenly has a chosen card that appears under its clip. It’s a simple setup with a Sharpie and a move that can play well. This move is employed in a later routine, “Prism Pen,” a color-changing pen routine where a Sharpie’s cap changes color, and then the pen is uncapped to reveal a different color, and then the pen writes in still a different color. It’s a great bit to do before a spectator signs a playing card.

I really liked “Counting On You,” a routine where cards are added to your hands and you always end up with four cards - something of a “six-card repeat” but in reverse. And this one has a fun kicker at the end. I definitely want to work this one up and try it out. All you need is a normal deck.

Pseudo Psychometry

“Holding the Bag” is Harlan’s take on pseudo psychometry. Spectators secretly place objects into bags and the magician somehow identifies which object belongs to whom. When the magician is down to the last bag, he identifies the object without opening the bag. I knew what the method would be for the “association” phase of the trick, but the secret sounded rather open and obvious to me from a lay-spectator’s standpoint. The identification of the object in the final bag fooled me.

“On Your Mark” offers a simple card revelation. I like revelations like this where the magician appears to bring out three wrong cards, however, these cards indicate that the magician knew all along.

“Sign Wave” employs a well known gimmicked deck. Here, a spectator’s selected card is returned to the deck and then the deck goes crazy with face-up and face-down cards, and even changes back colors. At the end, the deck is righted in a single color and the spectator’s selected card is the only one that is face up. If you like the idea of a mentalism effect where spectators freely name numbers and these turn out to provide the correct combination for a lock that you’re holding in your hands, you’ll like “Lock Master.” This is not only a routine, but a means to gimmick a regular lock.


A fantastic bit for stand-up or MCs, and it’s funny, “Bright & Early” shows off the contents found in a cheap carton of orange juice with some hilarious productions. There’s some construction and crafting involved to build this one, but it’s a winner. Another great stand-up bit is “The Popcorn Trick.” Here, a clearly empty bag produces popped popcorn.

Harlan tackles the classic “Bank Night” routine with “Vegas Baby.” Here, Harlan employs a pair of jumbo, dashboard dice to randomly distribute goodies that are hidden in bags. Everyone else receives low-cost prizes while the magician is left with a large amount of cash.

“Aqui (A Key)” is a Spanish pun and a magic effect. (Get it?) Here, a spectator's key vanishes from a handkerchief and then returns. In “Cupside Down,” you put a filled cup into a paper bag and then rotate the bag upside down without spilling the liquid. It’s a good, quickie effect and at the end, you’re clean. This one is great for stand-up.

With D-Lites being sold in theme parks these days, the prop may be over-exposed to the lay public, but if you’re inclined to perform with it, “Sprites” offers a great routine and handling with the D-Lite, a prop that just about every magician has sitting in a drawer. I loved the routine that makes it look as if you are catching “sprites” and eating them, and also allows spectators to closely examine your hands at points in the routine.

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