February 16th, 2010 7:05am
|What's better than listening to Bee Gees greatest hits and watching Bill Malone. I say unto you . . . Nothing . . . Unless the Bill Malone being watched is the Malone Meets Marlo series. Does it get any better than that. I say unto you Nay; it does not.
This is disk number one of a six disk set. Let me give a brief review of the whole set which will be found on each review for each disk. Then I'll speak specifically to this disk. First, as mentioned above, it's always a pleasure to watch Bill Malone perform. Add to that the material, and you've got a recipe that any card-loving magician would sacrifice his first-born cat for. This set's purpose, according to Malone, is to "Bring Marlo's Material Back to Life." With that comes the bitter/sweet realization that this revival may produce some hacks who won't read the books, but it will also get more people reading the books. Malone spends a bit of time talking about all of the books and original resources for the effects he chose for this series. He re-sparked my interest in Marlo's work, and has inspired me to order one of the few books that I don't own from Marlo, Marlo In Spades.
Malone does an excellent job of teaching these effects and giving proper credit. In the explanation section, as was typical of Mr. Marlo, Malone gave multiple explanations, variations and bonus handling and effects that weren't shown in the performance segments. The only criticism I have for this set is that many of the presentations are of the "Put and Take" variety, which drives me crazy. However, you still get a generous portion of Malone's crazy style which tempers the Put-and-Take-ness of the presentations. Also, in Malone's defense, he did say, at the beginning of each disk, that he only gave "basic presentations" with the intent to have us create our own. With that as the background, let's look at disk one:
With each effect, I'll give it a rating on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 is best; 1 is worst) and a little bit of commentary
Marlo's Bluff Ace Assembly (4 out of 5):
It's a standard Ace Assembly with the typical ace-of-spades-is-the-leader patter. There are no set-ups, and the very end has a nice kicker that makes this routine different from others: Once the four Aces are shown to have gathered together, The Ace of Spades is placed back in one of the non-ace piles and it, again, reappears back with the ace pile while the spectator holds the packet. This is a nice way to clean up the end of the effect. I really liked this idea.
Homing Card (3/5):
This is basically "The world famous five card trick" where you keep screwing up how many cards you are counting or holding. The difference in this case is that rather than the number of cards being in question, a black card amongst a group of red keeps appearing. It's not my favorite plot, but this is a decent version with a nice ending.
Repeater Card To Pocket (4/5):
In the card-to-pocket plot, this is one of the better ones. There's a nice subtlety at the beginning that really makes for a clean card to pocket. You also learn a couple of great moves in this routine, the Misdirection Palm which is a killer top palm, and the Crimpless Card Control. One of the things I really admire about Bill Malone is that, even as a magician, I really feel like the cards are lost in the deck when he shuffles. The Crimpless Card Control is yet another move in his arsenal that really sells that illusion of lost cards
A Simple Ace Routine (2/5):
The effect is decent and the card control (Marlo's Simple Shift) is nice, but there's really no climax. It's just the same effect four times in a row . . . name a number . . . count to it . . . add the two digits of the named number . . . count to it . . . there's an ace . . . four times in a row.
Have Another Sandwich (5/5):
I may be biased on this one. I love this effect and have been doing it for about 15 years. It's a super visual sandwich effect that looks impossible. It's a little angley, but it's a beautiful effect in the right setting. Additionally, Malone added a couple of lines and gags that justify parts of the routine making it a wee bit better. This is one of those effects where you have to take your time and do a deliberate and slow delivery. Malone was a little rushed which took away part of the effect, in my opinion. However, it's still an incredible effect.
One Hand Ace Cutting: (With Double Surprise) - Aces Over Kings (3/5)
This is an impossible looking and beautiful effect from the "Spades" book. However, it requires an extensive set up which renders the deck virtually untouchable until performing the effect. The deck actually has to be set up and sitting on the table (it can't be in the card box) in preparation for this effect. The effect itself is a 5 out of 5. However, because of the slightly impractical set-up required I docked it two points; thus the 3/5 rating.
I'm not a huge fan of the Collectors plot (sorry guys). However, if I were to perform it, this is a version I would definitely consider. It's very direct, clean and fast. The technique is very simple and deceptive. Also, as a bonus, Malone teaches another Marlo Collectors effect (Collect Double) that is guaranteed to fool your fellow magi at the next club meeting.
Startling Climax (4/5):
This is a super simple surprise card change. Included, you get some good pointers on some of Marlo's peak-control work.
Devilish Miracle (4/5):
This is another one of those take-the-spectator-by-surprise effects where what seems to be just a gag turns out to be a frickin' miracle. You also learn a nice little move (Slider Card Control) by David Solomon.
Bluff Call To Colors (3/5):
This requires some heavy-duty false (2nd) dealing. Second dealing's hard enough, but add to it the time of when you do and when you don't do the move on this effect, and you can easily screw yourself up. This is, in my opinion, one of the most technically demanding effects in the entire series. I'm not entirely sure that the effect is worth the work. It also require an entire deck stack. However, the stack is one that the audience is aware of.
So that's it. Most of the stuff on this volume can be done with a borrowed and shuffled deck. The only exceptions are One Hand Ace Cutting, One Hand Ace Cutting: (With Double Surprise) - Aces Over Kings and Bluff Call To Colors
If I were to rate this volume strictly on the presentations, I'd give it a 3.6 (the average of each effect's rating) out of 5. However, if you include the history, the stories, the bonus ideas, alternate handling along with the privilege of seeing old Marlo material come to life, I would rate it at least a 4 out of 5.
I might give it a 4.5 if it were priced a little better. I think this could have easily been a 4 disk set rather than a 6 disk set without cutting any material.
Product info for Malone Meets Marlo #1
Author: Bill MalonePublisher: L&L PublishingAverage Rating: (1)Retail Price: $34.95
Welcome to the wonderful card magic of Ed Marlo!
Ed Marlo, the genius of construction, and the incomparable Bill Malone, the brilliant performer, come together in this landmark anthology, as Bill performs and explains some of Marlo's finest contributions to card magic, compiled by Bill from Ed's writings and their personal sessions!
Join Bill as he guides you step by step through what will undoubtedly become the greatest and best collection of Marlo material...ever. "I'm very excited about this project and I'm sure Ed would have been as well!"- Muriel MarloContentsBluff Ace Assembly -
A true classic! The Aces assemble from various packets in a leader packet even when covered by a spectator's hand!The Homing Card -
No matter hard the performer tries, he just can't seem to throw away the one odd card stopping him from doing the trick!Repeater Card to Pocket -
The spectator's card travels invisibly to your pocket...three times!A Simple Ace Routine! -
Four Aces are lost in a shuffled deck and found in an impossible way! A fun effect anyone can do!Have another Sandwich / Bluff Sandwich -
A visual card transposition performed right before their eyes! Plus: An instant sandwich that will fool even magicians!One Hand Ace Cutting (with double surprise) / Aces over Kings -
Bill's combination of two wonderful Marlo ideas!Collectors / Collect Double -
Three selections INSTANTLY appear between the four Kings! Learn two methods for this astounding effect!A Startling Climax -
Using super-sensitive fingertips and a little magic, a spectator's card changes to another spectator's card without leaving your sight! You won't believe it!A Devilish Miracle -
One of Marlo's all-time favorite creations!Bluff Call to Colors -
The cards rearrange themselves every time you deal! Marlo's method of Bill Simon's Call to Colors!