March 26th, 2010 3:12pm
|If you've ever thought, "when will Easy to Master Card Miracles Volume 25 be released," you might be an Ammar fan.
If you've ever thought, "people from coal-mining towns make the best magicians," you might be an Ammar fan.
If you've ever thought, "bald southern men who play with silks are sexy," you might be an Ammar fan.
If you've ever thought, "I wonder what Ammar would look like with hair," you might want to get these DVDs . . .
These old VHS performances of Michael Ammar date back to a time when Mr. A was young and wore powder blue suits while brushing back his lustrous head of thick blond hair between performances. Back when cigarettes will still cool, soda cans had pull tabs, restaurants had salt and pepper "blister packs," and it was still ok to make slanty-eyed jokes about Chinese people. No these aren't random references. These are all actual topics/events that take place in the "Magic of Michael Ammar" video series.
It's a four part series (each sold separately) that has recently been converted to DVD. Volume I: Command Performance, Volume II: World Class Close Up, Volume III: A Touch of Magic - Coins and Volume IV: A Touch of Magic - Cards are loaded with "Classic" Ammar. These are effects that you probably think of when you think of Michael Ammar (Card on Ceiling, Coins Thru Silk, Iceman Cometh, etc) and a bunch of effects that you likely don't associate with him such as Torn and Restored Cigarette or Billy Balloon (Needle Through Balloon complete with slanty-eyed jokes and much more) and others.
These videos feature effects, for the most part, that are still just as valid today as they were then (almost 30 years ago). There are a few things that are sort of impossible to do today because the props don't exist or are nearly impossible to find. For example, the soda pull-tabs necessary for Pull Tab are no longer around. As a side note, Ammar mentions in the video that the prop is such a common item that it will be a long, long time before we live in a world where you can't readily get your hands on one. The day has arrived.
You'll also find it tough to get your hands on salt and pepper "blister packs" that can be used in the context of the routine that Ammar teaches as an opener at restaurants. Additionally, you'll find a much less refined and a much more nervous and stiff Ammar along with an awkward Gary Ouellet (host).
Putting all those quirks aside, these DVDs are still loaded with Gems. As awkward as Ammar was back then, he was still as great of a teacher then as he is now. There is some excellent work on the side-steal, the Gallo Pitch, Coin in Bottle, The Topit, and a TON more. These DVDs are worth owning for many reasons. They're great archive footage, if nothing else. You get to see Ammar in action (always a good time). You get to learn from an excellent teacher some of the greatest basics of magic and some of the greatest secrets in magic. Highly recommended GEMS!
However, for the sake of completeness (and keeping my job as a reviewer for My Lovely Assistant), let's examine the specifics of this volume, Volume III: A Touch of Magic - Coins -
Master Coin Routine (4/5)
I'm not a huge fan of the whole one-coin routine fad, and this one's no exception. However, in the explanation, you learn multiple utility moves that can be applied to your own body of coin work. You learn the Retention of Vision Vanish an aquitment, a reappearance/loading move . . . just some excellent moves. One little annoyance was that the audio track went out of sync for a period of time starting somewhere in this section. If I remember right, it eventually came back.
Coin on the Ceiling (3/5)
This is a fun gag, and could be used (as Ammar mentions) as a closing to that despised-by-Jeff one-coin routine. It's cute and easy, but not earth-shattering.
Coin in the Bottle - Close-up (4/5)
Ah . . . there's that Ammar we all know and love. Whether you do or don't do a coin in bottle, you MUST study Ammar's handling. It's simply beautiful. The only reason I gave it 4 is because the stage version is cleaner and could be done close up. If you have the stage version, there's no need for this version.
Coin in the Bottle - Stage (4.5/5)
Unbelievable handling . . . so clean. At any given point, you can clearly show your hands empty and free from any extra coins. As soon as the coin penetrates, you immediately hand out the bottle and show both hands empty - sleeves up. You also get multiple variations during the explanation. This is very much worth studying. The only reason I gave it 4.5 rather than 5 is because the ending (although clean) isn't the most elegant and Ammar even got "stuck" in one of the performances.
Coin Through Hand (3/5)
This is more an opportunity to teach you the Roth Shuttle Pass than anything else. The effect itself (coin through hand) is pretty cool, but not THAT amazing.
Pencil Through Quarter (5/5)
This is a must learn simply for the coin switch that he uses. It is absolutely imperceptible and just plain magical.
The Ultimate One Finger Spellbound (4.5/5)
This is an effect that is not on the performance menu; you only get it in the explanation section. It is a thing of beauty to behold. A coin at your finger tips changes to another with a wave of the hand. You also get some interesting psychological lessons by Mr. Ammar on what type of coins to use and what to change them to and why. Lost a half point for being slightly angly and slightly awkward.
Rick Anderson's Amazing Coin Vanish (3.5/5)
Another hidden effect not on the performance menu. This is a nice coin vanish, but beware of the angle-police on this one . . . super, super angly.
Coins Through the Table (4/5)
This is a Beautiful Handling with a kicker surprise ending. Lost a point for a few awkward moments, but all in all this is a very magical coins through table.
Coins Across (3.5/5)
You learn and excellent production (same as loading move mentioned in Master Coin Routine). The routine itself is a very basic coins across using the Gallo Pitch. This is pretty much the same exact routine, handling and teaching found in the second volume of this series.
Overall, I really like this DVD. As with the other 3 in this series, you get so much more than just the explanation of the effect. You get a ton of utility moves taught in depth; you get some excellent theory, psychology, and even some commentary about what type of effects you should perform and master.
Just the effects by themselves rank at 3.9 as an average. However, add in the joy of seeing Mr. Ammar's gloriously thick head of hair, I'd have to give this DVD 4 solid stars!
Product info for Magic of Michael Ammar #3
Author: Michael AmmarPublisher: L&L PublishingAverage Rating: (1)Retail Price: $34.95
Immediately upon its release, The Magic of Michael Ammar
became one of the fastest-selling magic books in history. Now, for the first time on DVD, you can actually see the magic that made Michael Ammar a world-champion magician performed by its creator at the very peak of his powers. Then, Michael takes you behind the scenes and demonstrates why he is widely considered to be one of the world's very best magic teachers. You'll learn not just the secrets to these powerful effects but also all of the minute details that will enable you to add these world-class tricks and techniques to your own repertoire.
Recorded by broadcast-quality cameras and performed in front of a lay audience, you'll find all of your favorite Ammar classics. Whether you use this DVD as the perfect companion for the best-selling book or as a stand-alone learning tool, you'll find material suitable for all skill levels and a variety of venues.
This is the magic that created a legend... and now it can be yours. Volume 3 - A Touch of Magic - Coins
- Michael Ammar's Master Coin Routine
- Retention of Vision Vanish
- Palming a Coin
- Wiped Clean
- Sonic Squeeze
- Black Hole Coin Production
- French Drop
- Spider Vanish (Ed Marlo)
- Coin from Elbow
- Coin Blown from Nose
- Bending the Coin
- Coin Clip (Goshman)
- Coin to Key
- Coin on the Ceiling
- Coin in the Bottle - Close-Up Version
- Coin in the Bottle - Stage Version
- Coin Through Hand
- Shuttle Pass
- Multiple Shuttle Pass
"One of the best close-up workers in the past 50 years. He's a genius."
- Pencil Through Quarter
- Flip Switch (Bob Elliott)
- Coin Switch (Ammar)
- One Finger Spellbound
- Rick Anderson's Amazing Coin Vanish
- Coins Through the Table (Mike Gallo)
- Lapping a Coin
- Coins Across - Two Versions (Mike Gallo)
- Han Ping Chien Move
- False Count with Coins
- Dai VernonRunning Time