Product Reviews

Reviews written by Dan Watkins


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Knuckle Busters:  Volume 2

By:  Reed McClintock


If you read the review of Knuckle Busters:  Volume 1, you already have been introduced to Reed McClintock.  He has another coin magic manuscript out, lets jump right in:


Routine #1:  Three with CSB:  Two cards are selected from a deck and crossed one on top of the other on a close up pad. 


Three coins are removed from a coin purse (one is copper, one is silver, one is brass with a hole in it).  The purse is placed at the rear center of the mat.  The coins are tossed into the left hand. 


The left hand is opened to show only the copper and brass coins, the silver magically appears under the two cards on the table. 


The silver coin is picked up by one of the cards, and tossed into the left hand.  The left hand shows the coin both sides, and replaces it on the mat.  Both cards are picked up and the corners of both cards are placed onto the silver coin, concealing it. 


The spectator is given a free choice as to what coin (copper or brass) will travel under a card next.  Each coin is picked up one at a time and placed into the left hand.  The left hand is opened to show that the spectator's coin is gone.  The cards are lifted and the spectator's coin is now with the silver coin.


One card is placed back over the two coins, and one card is placed to the rear right of the close up pad.  The final coin is held at the fingertips.  The right hand takes the coin and tosses it toward the card covering the coins.  The coin vanishes.  The spectator turns over the card to witness all three coins under the card.  The card is placed to the rear left of the close up pad. 


The coins are all picked up into the left hand.  The right hand takes out the silver coin, and the left hand shows the copper and brass.  The hands close.  The left hand now has the silver coin!  The silver coin is waved over the right fist and the hand is opened to show it is empty.  The silver coin is placed back into a hand, is squeezed and it also vanishes.  The coins magically re-appear, one under one card, one under the other card, and one under the coin purse.  Everything can be examined.


This is a very nice presentation based upon Gary Kurtz' "Trio-N-Three".  Part of what made Gary Kurtz routine work is that he was using Connie Hayden's 2 copper, 1 silver gimmick which is the precursor to the CSB gaff.  One thing that you could do with the Connie Hayden gimmick was use the coin as a double face coin as well.  The CSB gaff adds complexity by introducing another metal coin, that has a hole in it.  The contrast of the three coins is much better, but the hole in the gimmick eliminates the ability to use it as a double face coin.  Reed does a nice job getting around this issue.  Of all the routines Reed as released thus far in the Knuckle Busters series, this one is my favorite. 


One of the real nice parts of the routine is a slick separation and load of the gimmick that enables the spectator to have a free choice as to what coin will go next.  The really gutsy stuff is involved in the kicker ending to make all the coins vanish and reappear under three different objects.  It uses a pretty tricky show of the gimmick in both hands that needs good timing.  Critical timing and misdirection is very necessary on one of the loads as well.  All in all, I like this routine very much.


Routine #2: Ninth Dynasty:  Four coins are shown in the left palm up hand.  All at once, one coin disappears and comes inexplicably flying out of the right hand and lands on it.  The coin is placed on a close-up pad.  This repeats a second time.  The final two coins are placed onto the back of the left hand.  Once again one coin disappears and comes inexplicably flying out of the right hand and lands on it.  The third coin is placed on the close up mat.  The coin on the back of the left hand is picked up and placed into the left hand.  The right hand puts its pinky, ring, and middle fingertips on the three coins on the close up pad.  The magician puts the final coin into his pocket, then changes his mind and pushes it into his right elbow.  The spectator looks down and sees the fourth coin under the right hand index finger on the close up pad.  The spectator looks back up at the magician, who nods for them to look back down; both hands are on the close up pad, with coins under all fingers, and one under both thumbs, nine coins are there.


The coins across phase uses a very open handling of a gaff to create convincing coin vanishes, you will need to develop a knack to do this.  Reed uses the muscle pass in a very unconventional way, by passing and catching in the same hand.  Reed uses the muscle pass as a flourishy addition to accentuate that a coin is now in the right hand, mostly to illicit a stunned response from the spectator.  If you cannot do a muscle pass, you could do this coins across quite fine without it.  Instead of muscle passing, you can simply produce the coin in the right hand.  Its not as flashy, but it would work.


The last part of the routine is a very BOLD move.  It 100% relies on the spectators looking at your hands, then up at you, then giving you enough time to fan out a bunch of coins you secretly loaded and spread onto the table under your right hand.  If you can get it all done quick enough, no doubt the spectators will be shocked when the look down again.  This routine is reserved for close up work, as spectators need to be close enough to you so that when they look at your face, they do not see your hands.


Routine #3:  Seven the hard way:  One coin appears, is tossed back and forth between the hands.  The coin is placed into the left hand, and magically travels to the right.  The coin is placed into the left hand spellbound position, the right hand reaches over and splits the coin into two.  The right hand takes one coin, both coins are shown front and back, the coins are rolled down the first knuckles of each hand and held clipped between the index and middle fingers.  The fingertips come together and a third coin appears between them.  The fingers are rotated downward then back up.  When the hand comes up two more coins are displayed clipped by the ring and pinky fingers, and another two clipped by the thumb and index fingers.  Seven coins are displayed in all, clipped in various fingers.


This routine is hard.  You have to have the ability to classic palm seven (which means you are using thinner coins like Barber halves), you also need enough classic palm control to drop one and two coins at a time at will.  You have to have a soft enough touch to keep multiple coins in your hands without clinking together.  You have to palm multiple coins without them clinking together, once you can do all that stuff and not look like you have gimpy hands, you need to be able to follow Reed's choreography in the book.  The routine was hard to visualize at first read, you need to really study it.  You lastly need to be double jointed in each finger.  (Just kidding about the last part, though it would help).


Twelve of the nineteen pages of this manuscript focus on the CSB routine, it is safe to say its the focus of volume 2.  The other routines comprise the remaining seven pages.  You want to do something different with your muscle pass, and you want to give your hands a 1st class workout?  Contact Reed at, the manuscript is $15 + $.57 shipping and handling.


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Bare Handed

By:  Kirk Kokinos


I am guessing many may not have heard of Kirk Kokinos before – I had not until he contacted me about reviewing his coin video.  Kirk lives in Spearfish, South Dakota.  It is not a place where you will find a hotbed of a magical community.  Kirk is out there by himself coming up with his own way of doing magic.  Kirk was gracious enough to film his work and make it available to the rest of the community so that we could get a little taste of his magical mind out there in South Dakota.


The film quality, sound quality, and camera work were all professionally done.


Kirk's coin magic does not come with elaborate scripts or patter, most of the material on the tape is very quick and straightforward stuff.  Most lasting less than 15 seconds.  In fact, the entire performance section of this tape is slightly over five minutes.


This video showcases two techniques that Kirk uses.  One is a concealment, and the other is a ditch.  I really can't elaborate more on this part as it would be giving away two major underlying moves of the video.  There are no credits in this tape, but both principles I can see in embryonic stages in BOBO'S MODERN COIN MAGIC.  Kirk has adapted these two principles and expanded on them to create most of the effects on this tape.  The strengths of the techniques are that they can be done wearing only a short sleeve T-shirt (I would recommend wearing pants as well).


I did notice both positive and negative things in this video.  Kirk's magic for the most part fooled me because I do not use the two aforementioned techniques.  I had a suspicion on the ditch – but could not see it, nor did I know how it was possible until he explained some enhancements he does to make it work.  The concealment – I did not know what he was doing (it fooled me), however, I could tell that "something" was going by some un-naturalness of his hands (rigid looking).  I am convinced the hand rigidity can be corrected with awareness and practice.  After I mentioned it to Kirk, he concurred.


Anyway – what does Kirk do on this tape?  Lets find out:


Angel Coins – Kirk shows a coin in his outstretched left hand which he picks up with his right fingers.  He then squeezes it at his left and right hand fingertips as he brings it toward his face – the coin is completely vanished. 

This routine is as quick and fast as it reads.  It uses one of the two techniques showcased on the video in its most basic use.  It is a very nice looking vanish, one of the highlights of the video.

Coins through the table – Kirk picks up 3 coins and lays them in his left hand.  He picks them all up with his right, as the left goes under the table.  One coin penetrates through the table.  The effect is repeated for the 2nd coin.  A spectator places their hand under the table and boxed deck of cards is placed on top of the table, above the spectator's hidden hand.  Kirk tosses the coin toward the card box as he lifts it, the coin penetrates the card case and the table and lands in the spectator's hand under the table. 

The first two coins use one of the techniques showcased on this video (much like his Coins Across below).  The really cool part of this trick is the last coin.  I could tell he was going to use a sleight of hand vanish by the way he was holding the coin before he threw it – but….. when he does throw the coin, you hear it hit the card box as he lifts the box, and a coin is through the box, through the table, and landing in a spectator's hand.  It is a really inventive setup, I have no doubt in my mind that it kills spectators.

CTP - Kirk holds a quarter in his right fingertips about two feet away from his body.  His left hand reaches up to grab the coin.  Then both hands are separated to show that the coin is gone.

This is similar to Angel Coin in method, however different in hand movement.  I prefer the look of Angel Coins over CTP personally.

Gold and Silver – A Kennedy silver half dollar is placed in Kirk's palm up left hand.  He dumps it into his empty right hand and places it onto a spectator's hand.  The coin turns to gold.  The gold coin is picked up and with his right hand and tossed into his left - the coin changes back to silver.

As far as coin transposition routines go, I would have to honestly say, this is not one of my favorites, however it does showcase the "Space Shuttle Pass" as advertised on the box, which combines one of the two techniques showcased on this tape with David Roth's Shuttle Pass.  This pass is a useful way to show one coin in one hand, no coins in the other - and switch in a different coin with a toss.  Unfortunately the "get ready" for the second "Space Shuttle Pass" in the routine was extremely telling. After the gold coin is placed in the spectator's hand, Kirk clinches his left hand and he pivots his hand down, then up, then down, then back up, which really telegraphed that something fishy was going on.  All that movement is not necessary.

FreakCoinCy - Kirk has a coin in his palm up left hand.  He picks it up with this right hand and it turns invisible.  He shows his empty left hand, and tosses the invisible coin back onto his palm up left hand – the coin magically appears again. 

Again this showcases one of the simple uses of one of his techniques.  It is very quick – a coin vanishes, and visually and quickly re-appears.

Kirk's Coin Vanish – Kirk places a coin on the table.  He places his right hand over the coin.  After a few seconds, he removes his hand.  The coin is completely vanished.

This fooled me pretty good in the performance.  It looked like Kirk had something palmed in his hand (it looked a little tense) when he placed it over the coin on the table.  When he removed his hand, nothing was there.  I had no clue at that point what happened to the coin.  After he taught how to do it, I don't know if I personally would ever get to do it live.  You have to be seated, and it does take some setup and cleanup.

Kirk's Coins Across – Three coins are placed in Kirk's palm up left hand.  He picks them all up with his right hand and turns his left hand downward.  Both hands curl into fists – one coin has gone across.  The one coin is handed to a spectator, the coins are placed once again in Kirk's palm up left hand.  The same moves are repeated twice more to create a 3 coin across effect.

This coins across uses one of the techniques showcased on the video 3 times in a row.  The routine works, but I would have to say that having to keep placing coins into the left hand, only to immediately take them into the right seems a bit unnatural.  You have to do that with Kirk's technique, but the unnaturalness of it and the repetitious nature of it, I would personally use other methods than what is taught here for a coins across routine.

Angel Coin is repeated once again (see above).


Vapor Coins – Performance Only – A Kennedy half dollar is shown in the right hand fingertips.  The coin is placed into the left hand, and then both hands are shown completely empty.  Kirk reaches into his empty left hand and pulls the coin back out.  He then places the coin back into the left hand and snaps with his right hand – the coin magically appears in his right hand fingertips.

This is pretty neat.  It is exactly as I write it and there is no goofy moves.  If you are looking for a simple, "here is a coin – now its gone, now its back, now its gone"….. type of effect, this works splendidly and appears squeaky clean.  (Though your not).  It would be hard to incorporate Vapor Coins into a larger multiple coin routine, but for what it does (simple vanish and reproductions), it does it well.  To see a quick Windows Media Stream of what it looks like, click here.

One thing I noticed after watching the tape:  Because of the specific technique focus, the routines will feel very interrelated, that they often are variations of each other. 


For example:  The Angel Coin Vanish is performed 2  times and CTP is very similar.  They all utilize one technique. 


FreakCoinCy is the simplest version of the second technique.  Coins Across was the technique repeated three times, Coins Thru the Table is the technique repeated twice, and Gold and Silver uses the technique merged with a shuttle pass.


You are then left with two items (one performance only) that does not use these techniques.


As I said in the introduction, Kirk's magic fooled me.  Whether or not you will use the material on the tape depends heavily on your opinion of the two showcased techniques.  If you are looking for major plots and patter and long fanciful routines, this video probably is not what you are looking for.  If you are looking for very quick, not terribly difficult to learn coin magic with simple plots and limited patter, that you can do in just a T-shirt, this video is for you.  If you need to know how the heck you put a coin through a boxed deck of cards, through a table and into a spectators hand... you will need this video as well!


You can buy the video (NTSC or PAL) or DVD for $25 plus shipping and handling and Vapor Coins for $40 (quarter) or $75 (half dollar) plus shipping and handling by contacting Kirk Kokinos (click to email him) or call 605-642-3205.  Check or money orders are sent to Kirk's Magic Works, 1329 5th St., Spearfish,  SD 57783.


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Knuckle Busters: Volume 1.

 By: Reed McClintock

If you recognize the name Reed McClintock, it is probably from his video The McClintock Twist, which is his handling of Vernon's "Twisting the Aces". 

Reed's favorite magic is coin magic and his style of coin magic is very unique.  It is definitely not for the beginner coin magician. 

Reed is planning on releasing between six and ten manuscripts on his coin magic; volume one is only the first installment.  It is not his intention to sell millions of copies of it. Honestly, you will probably not be interested in the work unless you are willing to put concerted amounts of time to practice them.  You are not going to find any selling points such as, "no skill required", "easy to do", or "fool your friends within minutes of buying this manuscript." 

I have heard good things about Reed's coin work and look forward to reading all of his manuscripts.  I like reading interesting coin material. 

Volume One is Reed's first manuscript out the door.  He has put his easiest routines in this first volume.  The manuscript contains three coin routines via 12 pages of written text.  The manuscript is soft staple bound 5.5" by 8.5" in size.  This manuscript is devoid of any pictures or illustrations, however Reed informs me that the subsequent manuscripts will contain them because some of the work will be too difficult to explain in words only. 

There were a few nit picky type things I could find wrong with the manuscript such as proper punctuations in credits, a few sentences that could have been explained better (that caused me to re-read a few times to follow the routine).  I did contact Reed about these issues, and he has corrected them for the next batch of volume one prints he is making.

Another thing that is worth mentioning is that Reed assumes you have knowledge beyond a beginner level.  For example Reed may instruct to "pretend to place a coin in your right hand".  The assumption is you have a favorite false transfer to use.  Another example is that you know how to load a coin under a spectator's watch.  I personally never did this before even though it is taught in other sources.  I got some clarification from Reed directly on the watch load, but it is not in print in his manuscript. 

One other bit of information that may help is to know that Reed uses a palming technique known as "soft palming" when classic palming a coin on top of another coin already in classic palm.  This is done by pressing the coin against the fleshy base of the thumb, then sliding it over top of the coin already held in classic palm.  Reed prefers to use soft Barber half dollars that do not make noise when the faces slide against each other. 

With that said… lets take a look at the work: 

Routine #1:  Scotch and Soda for Real:  A Mexican Centavo and an American half dollar is removed from a coin purse and placed on the table.  The right hand covers the half dollar, and the left covers the Centavo.  The right hand moves away to show both coins are now under it, then the hand moves back over the coins.  Both hands then move away to show the Centavo traveled back to the left.  The coins are covered again, the Centavo travels to the right again.  The Centavo is visibly flicked back under the left hand and the half dollar is covered.  The right hand moves away again to show the Centavo traveled back once again!  The half dollar and the Centavo are vanished one at a time, to be revealed inside the coin purse.  The coins are dumped out.  The Centavo is vanished to re-appear under the coin purse.  The half dollar is vanished to re-appear under the coin purse.  The Centavo is pocketed; the half dollar is vanished, to re-appear as a Jumbo 3" coin under the coin purse. 

This routine is well structured, is the least technically demanding of the three.  It does involve a well-known gaff that is slightly modified (which can be done easily) to do much of the tabled work.  The re-productions under the coin purse will need proper misdirection ( provided mainly by the hand where a coin is vanishing).  It is a solid routine, which is not too hard to learn. 

Routine #2:  4 Co-Pro:  One coin is produced, tossed into the air, splits into two, which are in turn tossed into the air and split into three.  The right hand waves over the three coins held in the palm up left hand.  When the right hand moves away only one coin is on the left hand, the right hand is shown cleanly, and the fingers of both hands can be spread apart and wiggled to show nothing concealed.  With a wave of the right hand, suddenly 4 coins are in the left palm up left hand. 

This routine is similar to Mike Ammar's "Sonic Squeeze" four coin production (which I happen to like very much).  The coins splitting is different, and the kicker at the end I never seen before.  I am sure if I saw it live before reading this manuscript, I probably would have been fooled pretty badly.  The ending part is tough to do (for me at least).  It is one of those moves you have to practice to get a knack for. 

Routine #3: Timing:  Three coins are magically produced and dropped into three different spectators' hands.  The coins are picked up, the spectators' close their hands into fists and the coins are vanished one at a time.  The magician tries to make the coins re-appear in the spectators' hands and fails.  The coins are reproduced from different parts of the magician's body.  They are vanished once again in an attempt for them to re-appear in the spectator's closed fist.  The magician fails.  The coins magically appear on a table in front of the spectators.  Once again the coins are vanished in attempt to make them re-appear inside the spectator's hands.  This time the magician feels confident he succeeded.  The spectators open their hands but no coins!  The magician surprisingly informs the spectators that he missed and that the coins are under each of their watches! 

This routine is an ambitious one to say the least.  First of all you need the ability to classic palm six coins and release them one at a time.  If you can't do that, come back and visit this routine after you can.  If that is not enough, you have to be able to load a coin under not one, but three different spectators' watches.  If you don't have the guts to try that, come back and visit this routine after you find the guts!  If you get that far in the routine, the rest is almost cake.  I think you would have to get an adrenaline rush once the spectators' watches are safely loaded.  The rest of the routine just builds on the magician trying to get coins back to the spectator's hands.  At the end when the spectators find coins under their watches, their reaction has to be intense.  I would love to be standing there when Reed does this live.

Final impression:  Reed has three solid routines.  They may be or may not be your style, or even your ability, but if the plots above interest you, I would recommend the manuscript.  I did have some questions about his routines (like how to load the a watch), which Reed was very willing to answer for me.  I am initially intrigued by Reed's work and look forward to future installments. 

The manuscript is available from Reed directly at for $15.00 plus $.57 shipping and handling.

Addendum:  Reed sent me his reprint of the manuscript.  I am very happy to report that Reed reformatted the font, paragraph structure, edited the unclear sentences and expounded upon a few of the more vague points of the manuscript.  The nit picky references I made in the paragraphs above I can confirm have been corrected.  The manuscript is much more readable in its current incarnation.  I applaud Reed's commitment to improving the material for his buyers.

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Unforgettable Coin Magic.

By:  Fisher Magic Productions

This coin magic DVD has three classic routines that have been put together by an Austin Texas professional magician named Cody Fisher.

Cody informs at the introduction to the tape that the presentations represent evolution over ten years of performance.  The routines are basically handlings of three classics.  1.  A copper/silver routine.  2.  A coins across routine.  3.  A copper/silver/brass routine.

Lets be honest; with the wealth of coin material (routines and sleights) that is available by some incredibly talented coin magicians, it is not a very easy thing to come up with entirely new plots or handlings to routines that are very commercial and usable.  Cody does not profess to have re-created the wheel on these routines, but rather to meld the strong points of a handful of great magicians' routines, add his own touches and personality, and create three very refined coin routines that have served him well in his professional performances.

With the an abundance of like routines already available on the market, how does Cody's routines stack up?  Lets find out….

Routine #1:  "Theft Proof Purse":  Cody begins by displaying a coin purse frame which he shows in both hands to show both hands empty.  He reaches in and grabs a British copper penny, then reaches in and retrieves an American half dollar.  The copper coin is then placed back into the purse frame and turns invisible again.  The purse frame is tabled.  The silver coin is picked up, closed in a fist and waved over the purse frame.  The silver coin changes places with the invisible copper coin that is inside the purse frame.  Cody opens the purse fame and pulls out the silver coin.  Both coins are picked up, the silver is given to a spectator to hold.  The copper coin is put back into the coin purse frame and turns invisible.  The spectator opens her hand to reveal the copper coin is now in her hand.  The purse frame is laid on the spectator's hand, and the silver coin is magically retrieved from it.  Cody picks up the coin purse frame, drops in the silver coin, and pockets the copper coin.  Cody shows that the copper coin jumps back into the purse frame, and he dumps it out.  The copper coin is once again put into the pocket.  As the spectator's believe the copper coin is about to return to the purse frame, Cody pulls a jumbo coin out of the purse frame.

Cody credits magicians Curtis Kam, Fred Kaps, and Doc Eason for the inspiration on this routine. 

On a very positive note, I like the structure of this routine, and I really like the coin purse frame usage.  Not many routines use a purse frame for more than a coin production and final vanish.  Cody's routine uses the unique prop throughout the routine.  Good utilization. 

On a micro level, Cody uses a coin switch to switch out a C/S coin with a copper coin while tossing the coins into the purse frame.  This switch I felt was a very novel idea, one that caught me off guard when he used it in the performance.  I never saw it happen.  This routine also ends completely clean.

There are only two possible negatives I can see to this routine.  One is that your hand has to big enough to completely cover a 3" jumbo coin lying across your fingers to use handling of the jumbo coin Cody does.  The other possible negative is that from personal experience I have found during a copper silver routine, an anxious spectator may forget where the copper coin is and where the silver coin is.  One thing that helps the spectator is the ability to see one of the coins, thereby implying the color of a concealed coin.  If I show a silver, she must hold the copper.  If silver changes to copper, hers must have changed to silver.  That type of feedback does not always occur with Cody's routine because a coin is made to turn invisible while in the coin purse frame.  At this point in the routine, you have an invisible coin inside the frame, and one coin concealed in either the magicians hand or the spectator's.  Unless the audience was paying proper attention, there is no visual input as to what coin is where.  It is so very important to the success of a copper silver routine that the audience NEVER loses mental track of what coin is supposed to be where.  Therefore, for copper silver routines, I would lien more to the side of quick visual coin changes instead of making a coin turn invisible inside a coin purse frame, which may give the spectator the time to forget what coin is where.

Routine #2:  "Turtle Coins" is a coins across routine where four coins shown in left hand.  One at a time, two coins travel from the left to the right hand.  The two right hand coins are put into a spectator's hand and covered by Cody's right hand.  Two coins are shown in the left.  The left hand is closed, a clink is heard, Cody's right hand is moved to show 3 coins in the spectator's hand, and one in his left.  Lastly, all four coins are placed into the spectator's hand under the guise of a gag, and the fourth coin is removed.  Cody grabs a lighter, and ignites the last coin, which disappears in a flash, to appear in the spectator's closed hand.

This routine is heavily inspired by David Roth's Shell Coins Across.  Cody references some other bits by Paul Gertner, and patter from David Acer's Money Flies.

I love David Roth's Shell Coins Across and use it all the time.  I really like how Cody gets the spectator's hand involved for two of the coin flies – you can't beat magic in a spectator's hand.  I also liked Cody's hand cover on the 3rd coin fly.  It touches the spectator's hand that is holding coins in a hand sandwich for lack of a better description.  His hand is so close, that it does not seem like a coin falls from his hand into the spectator's, but rather a coin "appears" inside the hand sandwich.  The left hand showing two coins – closed – opened – to show now only one coin also greatly sells the illusion.  As a side note:  Cody teaches a nice way to toss coins onto a table including a shelled coin without the shell separating.  This was a nice bit of insight.

Routine #3"  "Real World CSB":  A coin purse is dumped out to show a Chinese coin and a Mexican 20 Centavo which is handed out for inspection.  Cody establishes that the Chinese coin and the Centavo's value combined are 50 cents.  Cody removes a half dollar from his pocket to show one coin of the same value of the other two.  Cody places the three coins in one hand and removes the half dollar.  The hands are turned down than back over to reveal that the coins changed places.  All three coins are placed into a spectator's hand and her hand is turned over.  Cody reaches in, removes the silver coin.  With a fluid wipe of his hand, the silver coin changes into the Chinese coin and the Centavo.  The spectator opens her hand to reveal the silver half dollar.  The three coins are lined up in Cody's hand.  The silver dollar is removed, and then placed back into the right hand fist.  Cody invisibly extracts the Chinese coin and the Centavo and drops them invisibly back into the coin purse.  Cody's hand opens to reveal the silver coin, and the coin purse is opened to reveal the Chinese coin and the Centavo.  Everything is examinable.

Cody references Gordon Prince, Doc Eason, Jim Lewis, and Gary Kurtz for inspiration of this routine.

This routine simply rocks.  If ever there was an example of how to take some really good ideas from previous routines, combine the strong points, add your own personality, and create a really nice routine, this would be it.  The standard routine that comes with the Johnson Products CSB set pales greatly in comparison to this one.  Cody's routine gets rid of two major things I did not care for in the standard J.C Wagner/Bob Sheets handling:  It gets away from taking coins and openly putting them in your pocket (for obvious switching), and also gets rid of the part where you openly show you are using duplicate coins (why tip this if you don't need to).  It is a very well choreographed, cleaned up, workable version.  You start clean and end clean, everything examinable.

Three other things I feel I should mention.  Cody's ring-in of the gaff is great.  I never saw it coming and it fooled me.  The ending also fooled me bad, but to perform it, you need a little bit more than the standard CSB set.  Also, Jim Lewis' change of the gaff from silver to "copper and brass" is beautiful, a definite touch of class in this routine.

Cody includes a written supplemental with the DVD that gives additional handling tips for Real World CSB.  Contained are ideas using a gimmicked bag, a coin dropper, and alternate coin switches that can be used to make the handling easier.

The tape ends with a bloopers section.  I like bloopers; they are always fun to see.

For me the routines on the tape got stronger as the tape progressed.  The CSB routine could be your new standard handling.  You only get three routines on this video, but for a magic video, $20 is price lower than the average.  One may argue the CSB routine alone would be worth $20.  I will leave that for you to decide.  I personally feel the tape is priced properly and is a value at $20.  If you never saw Roth's shell coins across, don't bother thinking about it, just go buy this tape.  Cody's coins across is very well performed, and as I said before has a nice improvement.

Order the tape directly from Cody.  Information on his products and his contact information is at

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The Unexpected Visitor: 

Coin Magic for the Walk Around Performer.   By Doug Brewer.

The Unexpected Visitor is a 2001 copyright of Magic Smith.  It is written by Doug Brewer (his first published book), and illustrated by Tony Dunn.  It contains some rewritten and re-illustrated material from his previously released lecture notes that were also sold by Magic Smith called "High Impact Coin Magic" as well as some new routines.  The book is 86 pages long and is soft bound.

Doug is the 1998 SAM Close-up Champion.  The coin material presented in his book is Doug's workhorse routines that have served him for years as a professional close-up magician.  Doug explains in the introduction to his book that, "For a working magician, the venue of necessity is generally the walk around or strolling type of magic typically seen inside restaurants and bars."  Doug's routines are those that have been tested in this limiting environment, routines that must be simple, direct, quick, and have a strong impact.

Regarding the title of the book, Doug explains, "The unexpected visitor is often how I think magicians are first perceived.  People express great surprise that a real magician is at their table.  Most have never seen a magician before, and if they have, it's probably only from television."

I enjoyed reading Doug's book very much.  He writes his routines in a very easy to read and understandable manner.  It is quite apparent that he has a sense of humor; it comes through in a few of his comments, which added a nice bit of levity to the book.  If you like coin sleight of hand technique, Doug uses a plethora of it.  He draws from the prior work of many great coin magicians and puts it to great use.  Doug's use of coin sleights is very logical, clean, and well within the grasp of a practiced coin worker.  The book is not padded with useless routines.  It is good quality stuff cover to cover.

One thing that is apparent to me in reading this book, you will need to have a certain elementary degree of coin knowledge regarding specific sleights and vanishes.  There are a few basic sleights that Doug simply references a prior work (like a retention vanish), but more so, he provides enough information to understand what sleight he is doing, but not a full discourse on it.  Doug is however very good at citing where detailed information on the sleight can be read.  If you are new to coin magic you may need to familiarize yourself with some of the techniques Doug uses before learning the routines.

The routines:

Routine #1:  "Sounds Familiar".  Three English pennies and a Chinese coin are displayed.  The Chinese coin is placed in a spectator's hand.  One at a time the Pennies travel to the spectator's hand.  For the last coin, the Chinese coin is placed into the magician's pocket, and he retains the copper coin.  Suddenly the copper coin magically travels into the spectator's closed fist, and the Chinese coin re-appears in the magician's.

This routine is an interesting twist on a coins across to a spectator's hand in that a Chinese coin is used as the "magical coin" that cause the pennies to travel from the magicians hand to the spectator's.  The Chinese coin adds an element of unpredictability that a typical 4 coins across routine may have.  The ending is particularly strong with the instant double whammy of a coin traveling into a spectator's closed fist and the Chinese coin appearing in the magician's hand.  I generally like this routine.  The only uncertainty I have with this type of routine (not limited to just this one) is the move where the magician allows a coin to openly fall from classic palm into the spectator's hand.  Though it is a stunning move, it may reveal to a spectator that you can conceal, hold, and release coins from an apparently empty hand at will, which may be tipping the classic palm.

Coin Routine #2:  "The Famous Three Coin Trick".  Three coins are shown from inside a coin purse.  The coins are dumped out into your hand.  One at a time, the coins vanish and then one at a time reappear.  The trick is repeated; three coins vanish one at a time, however, this time they one at a time appear inside the coin purse.

This is a very devious little routine, with a few bits of sleight of hand that that you may not have used before.  Doug used this routine as his walk around opener for years.  If the required sleight of hand is mastered, this routine is a gem.  It uses the often underutilized one behind principle which is attributed to Mike Gallo.  Jay Sankey has also popularized some routines using this principle.  One of the sleights that have to be learned for this routine (The Himber Click Pass) is based on ideas from David Williamson and Jay Sankey.  I will never forget Jay's statement on his "Non-stop Magic Party" video regarding the Himber Click Pass, "When it works I just say to myself ‘Thankya Jesus!'"  Jay humorously over emphasizes the difficulty of the move, but it will definitely require practice.  One really great aspect of Doug's routine is that you start out and end with the proper amount of coins.  This makes the use of the one behind principle very clean and much more sellable to an audience.

Coin routine #3:  "Backhanded".  A half dollar, an English penny, and a Mexican centavo one at a time vanish from the magician's hand to reappear under a single playing card.  On the last coin, the magician mimes dropping it through the card to the other coins, and suddenly all the coins are back in the hand, with nothing under the card.

In walk around magic use of a table is generally not feasible, quite honestly, you don't really get to sit down and clear away a nice big working space at someone's dinner table.  This typically eliminates matrix or chink-a-chink type effects from a walk around magician's repertoire.  This routine is arguably different.  Yes, you need to utilize a piece of table, but only the little space of one playing card.  This routine combines ingenious use of some gaffs (nothing off the wall – these gaffs any coin magician should have) and some very simple, yet extremely contextually powerful usage of click passes to create a very strong effect.  There is one 3 coin click pass I am just dying to use now after reading this book.  If your working environment usually precludes tabled matrix routines, this is a very viable option.  I recommend learning it.

Intermission:  Doug takes a three and a half page intermission from writing coin routines and provides some insight he has developed in competing in the national close up competitions as well as working for real people.  This sheds some insight on how Doug thinks about magic.  Covered topics include:  having a mentor, our audiences, forcing a card and Doug's personal revelation on sleights, and finally discourse on "the magic moment".  I enjoyed this small section.  It provides sage advice that is beneficial to take to heart.

Coin routine #4:  "EZ Triple Wildcoin".  Two half dollars are removed from a coin purse, each half dollar one at a time changes into an English penny.  Both pennies are placed into the purse, which are subsequently dumped out to reveal they have changed into Chinese brass coins.

This is a plot popularized by David Roth.  The use of a gaff makes this routine strikingly easy to accomplish.  I don't typically like to reveal the gaffs in use, but with Doug's permission I wanted to let the readers know, if you always wanted a new routine that takes advantage of the sun and moon gaff coin that is part of a Hopping Half set, this is the routine for you.  If you have a Hopping Half set, put away the silver coin and shell, and remove the first copper shell.  What you have left is the sun and moon coin.  It is a very neat gaff and sorely underused by most.

Coin routine #5:  "Cap-tivating".  Three coins are cleanly produced one at a time from a pen cap.

The description is accurate.  The coins are produced one at a time, and very darn cleanly at that.  You need a mastery of the classic palm and you utilize a well-known gaff coin.  This is a nice coin production especially if you need to use the coins and gaff in your next routine.  You do need to know David Roth's "Palm Change" from "Coinmagic" or "Expert Coin Magic".  The move is referenced in this routine, but not taught at all.

Coin routine #6:  "The Hook Revisited".  Three coins are hung invisibly in the air on an invisible hook.  The hands are shown cleanly after each vanish and you end clean.

This is a very nice adaptation of Larry Jenning's "The Hook", also very similar to David Roth's "Hanging Coins".  Subtle use of a gaff makes this miracle extremely easy.  This version of hanging coins is as advertised.  After each vanish the hands can be shown clean, and at the end the hands are empty.  The routine involves no lapping, sleeving, topiting, hand washing, and can be done surrounded.  Doug's bold and flagrant coin ditching made me laugh.  It is done purposefully right in front of the spectators.  In the context of the routine that Doug has put together, the ditching is properly and logically covered within the routine.  One of the major reasons why Doug can get away with the flagrant coin ditching is because of the aforementioned fairness of the vanishes, you can clean up extremely well on the offbeat.  Doug literally gets away with murder on this routine.

Coin Routine #7:  "Down Spout".  This is a coin in the bottle routine.  A quarter is borrowed, is fairly placed into a funnel, the funnel is placed into the bottleneck.  A pencil is used to push the quarter down the funnel into the bottle.  The funnel is shown empty.  Finally, the quarter melts through the bottom of the bottle.

This trick has the possibility of fooling magicians.  The fairness of putting an un-gaffed quarter into a funnel and pushing it into the bottle is very baffling.  For laymen, it is equally baffling.  For this version you need to carry a funnel with you and a pencil.  There are also some additional small items and a gaff needed to perform the miracle.  I will probably stick to the standard and well known coin in the bottle routine simply because of pocket space.

Coin Routine #8:  "Three Across the Fly".  Three coins held at right hand fingertips one at a time fly invisibly to the left hand.  The coins are then dropped into the right pocket.  One at a time, the coins return to the fingertips, then disappear one at a time.  The right hand is shown empty, reaches into the right pocket and removes the three coins.

From what I read, Doug does not print any ground breaking 3 fly techniques that have not been put in print before.  Doug's big contribution is the coins to pocket ending to the routine.  Like routine #2, the Himber Pass will need to be employed.  Practice up!  One nice thing about going right into this coins to pocket routine, it gets rid of the "How do I get rid of the fourth coin" issue with most 3 fly routines.  Doug kills the extra coin issue with a magical routine which makes it all the more valuable.

Coin routine #9:  "The After Dinner Trick".  A small cup containing 4 quarters is shown.  The quarters are dumped out and replaced.  One quarter is invisibly taken from the cup, which instantly becomes visible.  This is repeated for the second quarter.  The third quarter is pushed up through the table, into the cup (and shown), then is invisibly extracted again.  The finale occurs when the four quarters are placed in a pocket, and a dollar bill is dumped out of the cup!

This routine is best suited for an informal situation where you are seated at a table.  You do need to use your lap, and you do need a specially made gaffed cup and coin.  Doug gives the reference where to purchase the cup and coin.  The gaffed props do much of the hard work for you.  Doug mixes in a bit of sleight of hand and comes up with a nice little routine.  I don't have one of these cups so I was unable to play with the routine myself to offer much more insight.  One thing I did pick up in this routine is Doug's "Pinch Production" which is a way of revealing an invisible coin has become visible again.  It is a useful production to learn.

The last routine in the book is not a coin routine.  It is called "Chopped Taters".  It is a one cup and balls routine using a chop cup and balls with potatoes as the final load.  You also need a magic wand.  If you do not have a cups and balls routine, this is a very nice somewhat simple routine to learn before you attempt to tackle a full fledged three cups and balls routine.

Bottom line:  Doug's book has good stuff.  There was not one weak routine in it.  He promised to give his workhorse routines and he delivers the goods.  Email Doug here to order it directly from him so he can have the benefit of some retail sales.  Or if you wish you can write him at 11418 Florindo Road, San Diego, CA  92127.

A tip….For those of you who just recently bought Troy Hooser's book, "DesTROYers" which I reviewed a few weeks ago, when you buy Doug's book, play with Doug's, "The Hook Revisited" as an end to Troy's "ExTROYdinary".  I think they meld very well with each other (they use the same coins).  I have had fun mixing them.

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DesTROYers:  The Superlative Magic of Troy Hooser

A detailed review of the Coin Magic section. 

DesTROYers, is a year 2001 book released by Murphy's Magic Supplies, written by Joshua Jay and Illustrated by Tony Dunn.  As the subtitle suggests, it represents the magic of an Ohio underground magician, Troy Hooser.  This book unearths Troy and brings his material aboveground.  Superlative is an adjective that sets a very high standard.  We shall see if Troy lives up to it. 

This book releases many of Troy's new routines, as well as several of his already published works.  Some of his previously published effects have been revamped and refined into drastically different routines. 

When I first received the book, the catchy, glossy cover designed by Apollo Robbins, and highly professional look immediately impressed me.  I had only heard of Troy's magic, mostly from his work with a flipper coin.  What I heard was good, but had yet a chance to read or see any of his previous material, as this book represents new, as well as a culmination of his prior work, it is indeed a treat for me.

The book is 167 pages; the first 18 pages serve to introduce Troy Hooser and a bit of the philosophies and performance style of the man.  Pages 19 through 78 present his coin magic, which will be the focus of this review.  Pages 79 through 143 deal with card magic, with the remaining pages devoted to magic with different types of props (rubber bands, thumb tips, pad locks, napkins, wine bottles, even a miniature mime mask!) 

The first paragraph in the coin section made me think right off the bat, "I am going to like this stuff".  It states, "Troy had several problems with what was considered the "industry standard" in coin magic.  Coin magic has changed dramatically over the last decade.  What was historically performed at a table, Troy prefers elevated to chest height.  What was normally done with a large amount of coins (four, five, or six) Troy has tried to reduce to three or less.  In his routines, he has replaced repetition with variation, and as a result, his work has a strikingly visual element." 

Good stuff, I agree with Troy's view on this.  I like coin magic that can be done standing, that is not over-complex as to lose the spectator, packs small, and plays big. 

Coin routine #1:  "A Charming Chinese Challenge".  Three Chinese coins are threaded onto a thin ribbon.  One by one in very different ways, they visibly melt through the ribbon, one re-links to the ribbon, and a spectator holds the remaining two.  Finally, the last coin completely vanishes from the ribbon to join the other two coins in the spectator's hand.

I liked this routine very much.  I currently don't have a good ring and string routine.  This 3-coin ribbon routine is not terribly difficult to learn, is well constructed, and utilizes the hands of a spectator.  I especially liked his usage of a spellbound change in a very untraditional way.  Two alternative handlings to re-link a coin to the ribbon are also provided.  I plan on learning this routine.

Coin routine #2:  "exTROYdinary".  Three coins are produced one by one from various parts of the body, and then vanish one by one from the fingertips, to once again return one at a time back to the fingertips.

I like coin flurries.  The simplest form of a flurry is taking one coin and making it disappear and appear over and over.  Add coins, you add complexity, so one would think.  Not so with "exTROYdinary".  Troy teaches a workable, methodical way to perform this 3-coin production-vanish-production.  He also presents two variations of the routine.  I personally consider this an invaluable education constructing this type of stand up routine.

Coin routine #3:  "Redirection Coins Across".  Three coins are held in a fan in the fingertips.  The coins are rubbed against the shirtsleeve and visually vanish, to re-appear in the fingertips of the other hand.  After they all vanish and re-appear one at a time, all the coins are rubbed against the shirt sleeve and vanish to appear all at once in the fingertips of the other hand.

This is one of Troy's handlings of Jonathan Townsend's Fingertip Coins Across.  Also popularized by Chris Kenner's Three Fly (Troy has another handling described later in this review).  This routine has become ever so popular, with many published versions by a handful of big name performers.    The premise is the same, 3 coins jump one at a time from one hand's fingertips, to the other hand's fingertips.  Traditionally the routine is performed via the one ahead principle, or more recently via some type of gaffed coin.  This version of Troy's is not gaffed.  Troy's version of 3 Fly also occurs on an untraditional viewing path.  Instead of holding his hands to the left and right, with spectator's having to focus their attention back and forth, Troy has changed the viewing path to a linear vertical line that works up and down (background and foreground).  Extend one of your arms fully, now put your other hand on that arm's bicep.  A spectator right in front of you will see both hands in the same viewing path.  This is the major difference in this handling of 3 Fly.  The mechanics of the routine may already be familiar to you if you are schooled in 3 Fly techniques.  Personally, ever since Bob Kohler's version of Ultimate 3 Fly, it is hard for me to find a superior method (many would validly argue that the comparison is ridiculous since your not spending $300 to do Troy's version), but I can still appreciate the mechanics that go into Troy's routine.  It is a worthwhile handling to study.

The next four routines all deal with Troy's work on the Flipper Coin.  As I mentioned earlier in this review, I had heard of Troy Hooser mainly from his work with the Flipper Coin gimmick.  I greatly anticipated this section as I really have underutilized this gaff.  While we are on the topic of Flipper Coins, the best Flippers on the market can be purchased from the famed expert gaff coin craftsman, Todd Lassen.  I own quite a few of Todd's gaff coins and I echo the highest praises for his work.  Troy himself uses Todd's Flipper coins.

The first few pages cover an in depth study of the Flipper Coin and its basic handlings (construction, attributes, opening, closing, and displaying.)

Coin routine #4: "Table Flipper".  3 coins, one at a time penetrate through a table very fairly.

As written in the book, "The flipper coin eliminates much of the difficult handling without sacrificing the magic."  I found this to be true.  This routine can be performed standing, with no sleeves, and without a tablecloth.  It makes use of a flipper and one other utility prop that can be acquired at any office supply store.  There is some quick setup that must take place, but the routine is very straightforward, very magical, and apparently very clean (even though you are not).  I really enjoyed this great use of the flipper coin.

Coin routine #5: "Squeezed Away".  Three coins are shown at the fingertips.  They all vanish one at a time. 

This is thus far the shortest coin routine in Troy's book.  It is a one handed triple vanish.  The method to vanish the coins can be used within another routine, like coins across or coins through the table.  The next two routines utilize this Squeezed Away technique.

Coin routine #6:  "A Touch of Brass".  Three half dollars are shown in a fan.  One at a time each coin turns into a brass Chinese coin. 

This is a very straightforward way to transform three silver coins into another type.  Good logical handling.  The final change could be iffy for audible reasons if you are in a very close, quiet, environment.  I will leave it at that as to not reveal any methods.

Coin routine #7:  "Hooked on Coins".  Three half dollars are shown in a fan.  One at a time they are hung invisibly on transparent hooks.  After all three coins have vanished, the magician reaches into the air to produce a real hook!   With the other hand, the invisible coins are scooped out of the air and are thrown toward the hook.  Immediately the coins turn visible and are threaded onto the hook! 

This is an adaptation of Larry Jenning's "The Hook".  Again, the "Squeeze Away" vanishes are used to vanish all the coins.  You will need a hook (bought at any hardware store) and some unconventionally gaffed coins (which most people could make themselves).  You also need to wear a jacket to perform this routine.  If you perform with a jacket and have the room to carry a hook and 3 extra coins, this looks like a very solid routine.

Coin routine #8:  "Coin Melange".  3 coins vanish and reproduce a few times, to completely vanishing, and then all returning. 

Somewhat similar to "exTROYdinary" above, three coins through various means are vanished and reproduced.  A cleverly prepared coin is needed (which is very easy to make).  You do need to be wearing a wristwatch.  I personally preferred "exTROYdinary" over "Coin Melange", but like "exTROYdinary", this routine provides a nice education on different places to ditch and retrieve coins, and how to make the whole thing flow.  The methodology used for this routine is not very demanding sleight of hand, but rather more remembering what goes where and when.  If you take the knowledge taught in "exTROYdinary" and "Coin Melange", you could quite feasibly come up with your own unique 3-coin-flurry-vanish-reproduction sequence if you so desired. 

For one production, Troy uses a coin production from a wristwatch (I don't think I'm tipping too much here, this has been done in many sources before).  This is just a personal bugaboo for me.  I don't like producing a coin from under a wristwatch.  To me it is akin to visibly producing a coin from your sleeve by letting it slide out in plain view.  Everyone has heard the phrase "Nothing up my sleeve".  It has almost become expected that magicians throw things up their sleeves.  I don't think it is too much of a stretch of the imagination for people to suspect a wristwatch (something that happens to be so close to the hands as a place of concealment).  Anyway if you feel the same way I do about watches, you will be changing a minor part of the handling.

Count-er Point is a false count with coins that Troy came up with.  The book has two pages of discussion about Count-er Point then proceeds with the following two routines that utilize the count.  Although not stated, the Count-er Point to me is somewhat reminiscent of the point production that originated from "Tenkai Pennies" in Bobo's pg.363.  The actual hand positioning is very different as the count occurs with a coin held outside of a fist, instead if inside the hand.  It is a unique count.  I generally don't care for coin false counts, but I have yet to play with it enough to form any final opinions about it.  I did however find it new and intriguing. 

Coin routine #9:  "Copper-Silver Transmutation".  Three silver coins are taken from a coin purse and counted as they are dropped into the left hand.  Magically, one of the 3 coins changes to a copper coin.  The two silver coins are distributed in different spectators' hands, to also change into copper coins. 

This is one of Troy's "coinfull" (to coin a word, pun intended) routines.  Meaning you have to successfully work with six coins in the hand, only showing three at any time.  Again this routine revolves around the Count-er Point count.  If you master and enjoy Count-er Point, this effect appears very good use of the count.  Two coins in two spectator's hands changing colors…. not bad at all and you do get to end clean even with all those coins.

Coin routine #10:  "Count-er Point Coins Across".  This is a coins across routine using Count-er Point. 

When dealing with different versions of familiar classic routines (Coins thru the table, Three Fly, Coins Across, etc.).  Those routines I would argue are sometimes the hardest ones to come up with something new that make it better than what has come before.  Troy's work with a flipper on his coins through the table in my opinion the best adaptation of the three above mentioned classics in this book.  I also enjoyed Troy's handlings of Three Fly.  Count-er Point Coins Across honestly is a nice application of the count, and thus its reason to be included here, but quite honestly I think pales in comparison to other coins across routines.  There are existing coins across routines that are so fair looking and easy to perform, I wouldn't mess with it by having to false count coins.  By and by, I like Troy's coin work, this routine for me falls short.

Coin routine #12:  "Coinfusion" is a specific type of gaffed three coin set.  Many references are given for the gaff, as well as some handlings for it.  I am including all of the following information not as separate routines, because Troy's teaching on this gaff for the most part is not in the context of a routine.  He simply shows how to produce, vanish, ring in, and transpose coins with the gaff. 

Poor Man's Production:  This is a three-coin one at a time production from different parts of your body. 

I could not help but chuckle on this.  I think if I saw Troy do this in person, I would have probably been fooled pretty badly.  The gaff is pretty limited in what you can do with it, but for what Troy demonstrates with it, its great.  It's one of those very simple concepts that can fool you J

Poor Man's Vanish:  This is a three-coin one at a time vanish.

This is simply the logical reversal of Poor Man's Production.  Not quite as strong in my mind as the production because of final ditching issues, but it is the logical vanishing use of the gaff.

Coinfusion Interlude:  Troy demonstrates his way of ringing in the gimmick and ditching it to add a little flavor to any three-coin routine.  You need a jacket for this.  Again, some neat usage with a limited gaff.

Triple Transformation:  Troy demonstrates a way to cause three coins to transform all at once to another type of coin using the Coinfusion gimmick.  Not really much of a routine, simply a teaching on a gimmick.

Coin routine #13:  "Three Fly Simplify".  Three coins one at a time vanish from one hand, and end up in the other.

This is Troy's second handling of Three Fly in the book.  It is a streamlined version that takes only 30 seconds to perform.  There is no back and forth fly's, it is very direct; one coin goes, than the next, and then the last.  The hands do have to touch twice utilizing a similar type of steal.  As with most un-gaffed Three Fly's in the end you are left holding out.  Not a bad handling.  If you want a really quick un-gaffed, boom, boom, boom, the end, Three fly, this routine has merit for you.

Thus ends the coin section of "DesTROYers".  There is however one ditch called "A Dexterous Ditch" that is often referenced in many of the coin routines.  This is taught in the Curiosities section of the book.  It is a useful pocket ditch that requires a jacket.  Be sure not to overlook it.

To conclude this review of the coin magic in "DesTROYers", I like Troy's thinking.  He has a great wealth of coin material to digest.  I think Troy's best coin routines in the book were presented right at the beginning with "A Charming Chinese Challenge" and "exTROYdinary".   One thing I noticed about Troy's coin magic is that it is not ridiculously hard knuckle busting stuff that will make your palms bleed.  It is for the most part accessible to magicians with a modest level of coin magic ability.  I can see Troy favors a Ramsay like style utilizing a lot of finger palms and ample use of the Ramsay subtlety.  Troy also proves himself a thinker with the flipper coin as well as the ever so popular Three Fly routine.  Just quickly browsing his brand new "Silver Surf II" lecture notes I see that Troy has published two new gaffed versions of Three Fly utilizing the Flipper Coin, combining two of his very apparent coin interests.  I am sure it will prove to be an interesting read.  Analyzing the book on its coin material alone, I would say it's a definite worthwhile investment.  The book is $35.00, Troy will pay shipping.  Email him here.  Or write him at 14253 Overton Road, West Salem, Ohio  44287.

As I indicated, the rest of the book is a lot of card work.   He has just as much card work in this book as he does coin material.  Just by looking at Troy's card work, I can tell he utilizes many flourishes that will require a good deal of sleight of hand ability with cards.  Much more than I have at this time.  I could not do a review of this section of the book that would do justice to the material.  Hopefully some card flinger out there can pick up where I leave off.  Let me know… I will link it from this review J

The last section of the book is called curiosities.  It has some interesting bits of magic such as:

"Mask in Motion" which is a routine where little coin sized mime mask (yes I said mime mask) appears, vanishes, and magically jumps from place to place of its own accord; much like a coin flurry.  It is a very interesting routine although I have no idea on earth where I am going to get a miniature mime mask, unless of course Gulliver has re-opened his prop store J.

"Nectar of the Cards" is a startling close up wine bottle production. 

"A Dexterous Ditch" (described above).

"The Locker" is a logical ending to Dan Harlan's "The Linking Rubber bands" to suddenly show that the two rubber bands are indeed locked together…..a small pad lock appears between the bands, permanently "locking" them together. 

"In the Round" is a collection of sponge ball vanishes, productions, and changes.  The hands can be shown empty before and after each application.

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Troy Hooser's "The Silver Surf II"

This manuscript is the second set of notes on Troy Hooser's coin magic written by Joshua Jay.  The original "The Silver Surf" notes were recently revamped and the material was added to Troy's recent book, "DesTROYers" (reviewed above).

The Silver Surf II includes seven new routines of Troy's cutting edge work with the Flipper Coin gimmick.  A few of the routines utilize an expanded shell to work with the flipper coin.  Keep this in mind, you will need to have or acquire yourself a flipper coin for any of the routines in this booklet and a shell for a few others.

The manuscript is soft cover, staple bound and is pretty much what you would expect in a typical set of lecture notes.  The illustrations are not as good as Tony Dunn's work in "DesTROYers" but they suffice to illustrate what is being explained.  I did notice two illustrations that need to be corrected, I'll touch on them as they appear in the routines.

The first part of the notes cover an elementary description of a flipper coin as well as "The Flip Display" which Troy uses in the majority of his flipper coin routines.  Both of these sections can also be found word for word in Troy's book "DesTROYers".

The routines:

Routine #1:  "Flipping Out".  Three coins are removed from a coin purse and the purse is tabled.  One at a time the coins are vanished to reappear under, inside, and on top of the coin purse.

Troy teaches a variation of his "Squeezed Away" vanishes from his book, in that coins are placed on a table and one is caused to vanish.  The methodology for this routine is very straightforward.  The gimmick does most of the work for you to effectuate the vanishes, and the purse loads are not difficult to perform.  The final coin appearing on TOP of the purse is reminiscent to me of some of the recent David Stone material in his videos.  I like it, stuff like that is bold, and the surprise to the audience is priceless.  This is the first routine that had a slightly incorrect illustration.  Figure 4 is supposed to show a coin being placed into a coin purse, but it is simply a copy of Figure 3 from the routine "Flippurse" below.  It immediately caught my attention because the illustration shows a purse frame instead of a coin purse.

Routine #2:  "Touched Twice".  Three half dollars are shown in a fan.  One at a time each coin turns into a brass Chinese coin.

This routine is a revamped and updated handling of Troy's "A Touch of Brass" from his "DesTROYers" book.  This version is very quick and direct.  The ending of the routine is the same as in his book with the same issue that could be iffy for audible reasons if you are in a very close, quiet, environment.  It is advised that a patter line will cover any excess sounds and I agree.  With proper attention, it will not be a problem at all.  I prefer this version compared to "A Touch of Brass", this routine has a very nice "In the fingertips" approach.

Routine #3:  "Flippurse".    A coin purse frame is shown.  Two coins are produced from inside the frame, and one coin from a spectator's sleeve.  All the coins are vanished one at a time, to reappear inside a coin purse from inside the purse frame!

Use of gaffed coins allow for a very convincing purse frame production of 3 coins.  The vanishes utilize techniques Troy has taught previously, the real novel idea is to produce a coin purse with three coins inside from the purse frame at the end.  This leaves you with 3 fully examinable coins at the end.  You will need to wear a jacket for this routine to ring in the coin purse.

Routine #4:  "Three Fly Experimentation, First Method".  Three coins, one at a time, vanish from the fingertips of one hand, and end up in the fingertips of the other.

Troy has two new Three Fly routines utilizing the flipper coin.  The first version of the two routines is most like Chris Kenner's Three Fly in that it is mostly sleight of hand to create the effect.  The addition of a flipper coin in this routine allows for the initial coin going across as well as allowing the hands not to have to touch at all for the first two coins across.

Routine #5:  "Three Fly Experimentation, Second Method".  Three coins, one at a time, vanish from the fingertips of one hand, and end up in the fingertips of the other.

The workings of this version of Three Fly are very similar to the first method, but when compared to the one above, it allows for more convincing hand "shows."  Because of more extensive coin gaff usage, it can be shown that only three coins are in use at the beginning of the routine, once in the middle of the routine, and also at the end of the routine.  The text says that this second method allows for one less transfer compared to the first, but to my observation, this was not so.  I liked the 2nd version better in that it has all the strengths of the first version plus the added benefits of showing only three coins in play.

Routine #6:  "Underhanded Coins Across".  Three coins, one at a time, travel from the right hand to the left.  This is not done at the fingertips like Three Fly, but rather in the palms of the hands, with spectator's looking down on them.

This routine utilizes the flipper in a very unique way combined with traditional back clipping techniques to create a very different and interesting coins across.  One phase of the routine is especially stunning in that a coin is visibly thrown from one hand to the other, and when the coin lands, the hands are shown to reveal the coin NEVER left!  I thought this was pretty ironic.  Coins Across routines typically have coins going across invisibly.  This segment had a coin going across visibly, that never goes!  A pretty neat twist.  The one gripe I have on the write up of this routine is that Figure #4 is supposed to show one coin back clipped, and one coin laying palm up in the left hand.  The figure shows one coin back clipped, TWO coins laying palm up in the RIGHT hand.  This confused me and caused me to read the section over and over until I concluded the illustration was just simply wrong.  Once getting through that part, everything made sense.  This routine for me was the most intriguing one of the manuscript.

Routine #7:  "Coins to Glass".  One by one, 3 coins jump from one hand into a clear glass in the other hand.

This routine again uses the one coin appearing/vanishing attributes of a flipper coin.  The routine is very straightforward and logically designed to have only real coins hit the glass to maintain audible integrity of the routine.  A table is needed to perform this routine.

At the end of the manuscript are two bits of "Flipper Coin Experimentation" that Troy has fiddled with.  They are not routines, but rather moves that can be used within routines.  It is hard to talk about them without giving away what they are, so I will leave the contents for you to read if you purchase the manuscript. 

Troy provides very good and insightful material on the use of a flipper coin.  For anyone wishing to add flipper coin work to your repertoire this set of notes will definitely get you thinking about the possibilities of the gaff.  I recommend the notes.  My only complaint at this time would be the incongruities of the two pointed out illustrations, which could be easily corrected in subsequent printings.  You can contact Troy to purchase a copy of the notes.  Email him here.  Or write him at 14253 Overton Road, West Salem, Ohio  44287.

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