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Just Passin' Thru Review

Official Review

August 21st, 2003 11:36am
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
I had heard some of the Internet hype about this routine and decided to invest. In short, it is a pencil through bill effect. Good concept, visual magic, easy to do. Is it however the best investment for your money? After all, Just Passin' Through was developed, according to the creator, after seeing Copperfield perform Wenk's Misled. Which is better?

Well, Just Passin' Through employs a gimmicked pencil. Misled, a removable gimmick. Both are visually interesting, but I think more can be done with the Misled gimmick. Undoubtedly, more HAS been done with the Misled gimmick.

As to the examinability issues. The author claims that after performing the effect, heat will be on the bill, not the pencil. I disagree.

Think about it. Magi borrows YOUR bill. Magic passes HIS pencil through the bill. Magi hands your bill back. Sure I'm going to want to make sure the bill isn't ripped, but I'm not going to INSPECT the bill. It was my bill after all. I want to see the pencil.

And what a pencil it is. Imagine the type of pencil that preschoolers use to write with. Now stop imagining and realize that's the pencil you will be using. I like the idea of doing magic with regular objects, of which a pencil normally qualifies. However, the pencil is unsharpened (which though I think you could sharpen it, the lead would eventually break and you'd be forced to buy a replacement) and of the kind used by an illiterate child for scrawling. 1) Nobody carries around an unsharpened pencil and 2) I don't want people to think I'm an illiterate child who scrawls.

Misled, on the other hand, has a gimmick which one can, with a touch of skill, conceal and dispose of. As neither are truly impromptu effects, my vote for the most seemingly impromptu handling goes to Misled.

Now, that's not to say Just Passin' Through is not without merit. The use of the paddle move to show both sides is clever. Its one of those, why didn't I think of that things.

I have heard there was some grumbling online about graphite residue left on the bill after performance. This is true, but a perfect example of 1) how many people have no idea what's important when it comes to performing magic in the real world and 2) how many people who tout themselves as grumble worthy do not in fact perform in the real world.

Yes, if you perform the trick several times with the same bill, it will become dirty. BUT in the real world, you are probably best served by borrowing a bill. Believe me, unless you're doing a show at your locale FBI lab, no one is noticing the graphite. Even if they did, so what? The pencil went through the bill. why shouldn't there be graphite.

Of course some people might suggest that using one's own bill helps hide the fact that the pencil is not borrowed. True, but creating extra suspicion without allaying suspicion is suspicious.

As to production value, some people mentioned that the instructions were hard to follow. I had no problem. I think its a nice touch including the DVD but someone serious about learning the effect will have no problem from print. That being said, I don't do the paddle move at chest level, but bring it down closer to traditional color changing knife position. It works better for me there.

The nice thing about the DVD though is not the performance and explanation of Just Passin' Through but a visually stunning quickie shared by Lonnie Chevrie. This is VERY cool. A totally impromptu finger through bill with restoration.

I saw it, thought WOW. I practiced it and it looked ok. I tried it out. Busted. Practiced some more and then yowza. A totally unexpected reaction. It gets an amazing response. Yes, it can be repeated, but it really is the surprise factor that makes this work. I did it at several bars along my summer tour and everyone was totally taken aback. This is a keeper. Not self working, but not difficult by any stretch. I leave out the moment where one opens the bill to show more of the finger. It looks great when Lonnie does it, but I prefer moving on to the restoration.

So, where do we stand. As far as pencil through bill tricks go this looks good, but I think Misled looks as good if not better and appears to be more genuinely impromptu. But the real winner is the Lonnie Chevrie finger through bill.

Bits like this are a goldmine to the working pro. No, its not a new feature routine to add to your set. But in the right place, at the right time, this will prove its worth time and again.

Just Passin' Through would probably get 2 stars from me, but I loved the Finger through Bill. Will give the package a 3 total and hopefully people will feel strongly about the effect will weigh in with their reviews.

Product info for Just Passin' Thru

Author: Niedzwiecki, Russ
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $20.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Imagine a piece of magic so incredible, so visually stunning, that it looks like trick photography...but it's happening live, inches from your face

A borrowed bill of any denomination is clearly and openly folded around a pencil. The bill is shown front and back to completely enwrap the pencil. With no moves, nothing added or taken away, almost instantly the pencil visually penetrates through the bill! The bill is once again wrapped around the pencil, but this time the pencil slowly... very slowly... melts... through... the bill

You will enjoy performing this effect as much as your audience will be delighted watching it. With how incredibly easy "Just Passin' Thru" is to do coupled with the fact that all you need to carry is a pencil, this effect just might soon become one of your perennial favorites.

In addition, we have included Lonnie Chevrie's "Finger Thru Bill"... an amazingly visual, impromptu feat of magic that you will put to use immediately as the perfect follow-up to "Just Passin' Thru" or for those times when you don't have a pencil.

Comes complete with detailed, step-by-step and thoroughly illustrated instruction booklet which guides you through every nuance in an almost frame-by-frame manner. Also included is a bonus DVD which contains performances of "Just Passin' Thru" and "Finger Thru Bill" by their creators as well as a detailed explanation for "Just Passin' Thru" for those of you who learn better visually.

Available from your favorite magic dealer.

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