Friday, September 28, 2012

The Angry Man of Magic - Kids magic sets

Most magic is a rip-off. Either it's a one trick DVD that covers a routine from Tarbell that 'the kids' are too lazy to read, or a gimmick from some five and dime store they still want to charge $25 for, even as replacement when they've muttered some trite about 'charging for the secret'. But surely the biggest rip-off has to be kids magic sets. (Chad Valley - I'm looking at you!) Although the box proudly claims "100 tricks included" the reality is that only 55 tricks are included.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot

I can't even believe I went through every trick in the instruction book taking notes - 9 require invisible thread (not supplied), 13 need a silk (not supplied), 5 need rope (supplied in too small a quantity) and so on. Whereas they thought it worthwhile making a set of half-and-half cards to do a single transformation effect, whereas the money could have been spent on a nicely printed hanky.

And then there's tricks like the vanishing coin. What you need are a hanky (not supplied), some soap (not supplied) and a coin (not supplied.) Now granted these are usually available around the house, but there are better things that could have been included - especially since the makers thought it sensible to include multiplying billiard balls!

That's not to mentioned the 'vanishing wand trick'. The introduction to the trick reads "first make a wand." Seriously. Most kids are bought this stuff so the parents can avoid their care responsibilities for a few hours. Instead they're having to help build a simple prop that should have been included as standard.

Also included are the instructions for 'the fakir' where you cover your thumb with a hanky (not included), put a needle (not included) through it and your thumb is unharmed. Naturally, there's a piece of potato required (also not included). But if they're too scared of health and safety rules to include the needle in the package, why do they feel happy about including instructions telling you to use a needle in the first place? Or telling you to hide rope in your mouth in another trick?

Have I mentioned 'professors nightmare'? I'll leave you in peace to discuss the relative merits of using the 'professional' names in junior material, but the fact remains you need three pieces of rope to perform this. If you cut the included rope into three you have incredible short pieces of rope, which are unusable for the routine. If not, you have to buy more rope. (I say 'buy' since only magicians are the only people who might have white rope as one of the 'common materials just lying around the house.'

I'm going to stop, without mentioned the 3 tricks requiring a secret assistant, the 6 that use no props, the 7 thimble moves masquerading as individual tricks, the effects requiring absent dice, keys, rule, purse, cards, and envelopes. Or the pull they supply (without elastic or safety pin),

But maybe when I see a promotion claiming '100 tricks included' on the box, I expect them to be included in the box.


Magnus Asbjorn said...

I've often wondered where the rest of the effects were while counting the ones pictured on the box.

Marplots said...

I think what you missed was that each trick can be performed in a right or left handed version.

Roland said...

Good call. When I was a kid I got a magic kit containing 150 effects. Well 140 of them where in the book. And I needed matches and all of that shit. The description was more than brief and a 9 year old couldn't make anything of it. It felt like such a rip off.