White Star by Jim Critchlow

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White Star by Jim Critchlow

Postby magikmax » Jul 29th, '08, 11:31



White Star by Jim Critchlow

The Effect
The performer is seated at a table opposite two volunteers. The performer places a small article in front of each person, such as an old coin and an old fountain pen (these are to act as ‘markers').

The performer now takes out from his wallet a small packet of old photographs which he quickly thumbs through. The packet is squared and turning to the first volunteer, the performer says that he is going to show him/her the photographs one at a time and if they feel somehow drawn to some, they should tell him and they will be placed in front of them and their 'marker'.

The performer shows the photographs, one by one to the volunteers, who either decides to take one and place it on the pile forming in front of them or reject it. The rejected photographs forming a discard pile in the centre of the table.

When all the photographs have been chosen to be kept or rejected, the performer brings attention to the discard pile. Thumbing through the photographs the performer starts talking about specific photos (the person's name etc) stressing how absolutely any of the photos could have been retained by the volunteers.

The performer explains that what they have both just done was part of an experiment. He also explains that he has found that the best results only occur when nothing is explained beforehand and that the results are always different (quite true to a point).

The performer then states that the old coin was taken from one of the bodies found in the wreckage of the Titanic and the fountain pen was used by a clerk to write out the list of all the survivors. The person with the coin is asked to turn their photographs over and in doing so they see each photograph has printed on its back, the name of the person, a few details about them and that they DIED! The spectator holding the fountain pen turns their photographs over and sees the similar details but all their photographs have SURVIVED printed on them! The discarded pile is turned over and shown that there is a complete mix, in no sequence of both the DIED and SURVIVED photographs!

If you only want to perform one effect in an evening, this is it. If you want to finish an evening on a high note, this is it.

Cost
£29.99 from Merchant of Magic
http://www.magicshop.co.uk/p2944/White_ ... _info.html

Difficulty
(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

1 or 2 depending on your abilities, and method used

Review
White Star interested me for some time, I use Paul Harris' Deep Astonishment II on a regular basis, and get good reactions from it, so I fancied another trick where the audience's reaction is made on an emotional level, and is strong as a result. One for cold dark evenings, dinner parties with friends, or close-up shows. With White Star, I wasn't disappointed. Firstly, the trick's description isn't misleading, but given the description, I assumed that you would receive a coin and a pen, you don't, you have to source your own. This isn't made explicitly clear, but I gathered it was the case after reading the thread in the reviews wanted section.

Sourcing coins on eBay is easy, and fairly cheap, but you have to be careful with what you order. I don't know anything about old coins, so I ordered a three pence (thrupence) coin, only to find that it was the size of a new 5p, and about half as thick. If you're ordering a coin, an old Florin, Crown or Half Crown, or old English Penny would be your best bet size wise.

While you're sourcing coins or props as your markers (which is good fun in itself), you will also need to do a little research on the Titanic, and work out how you're going to introduce the photos, and what you're going to say. I think the best presentation is to keep the Titanic bit until after the cards have been put into their respective piles by the spectators, so I build up with events that happened during the first few months of 1912, and so on, only revealing the name of the White Star ocean liner once the photos have been put in their piles.

What I'm trying to get at here is that this is an effect that should be treated with respect, researched, markers bought, and time spent crafting a story. It's a bit of a labour of love, and because the story is so fascinating, you won't mind a bit of it. On it's most basic level, you could perform this a few minutes after opening the package, but to do so would be a great injustice. You really need to be able to craft a story, set the scene, and put a lot of effort into the presentation, but the result is worthwhile.

The instructions are very clear, and several different methods are provided, along with different methods using cards instead of the photographs, which fans of card magic will appriciate. Also, once you know the secret, there is nothing stopping you from making up your own topical version of this, whether it be for corporate clients using photos of their staff, or celeb couples or whatever. I could also see it being useful for someone giving a lecture on the dangers of drug use, knife crime or whatever for teachers, or even biblical pictures for gospel magicians. Once you know the secret, it's very adaptable, and you can quite easily make your own cards up.

The cards you receive are very nicely made, they would have been even better if they were aged, but as they are, they are high quality laminates (like good quality business cards rather than the 'plastic wallet' types you get at work). Again, you'll have to source your own markers, and time should be spent doing so, and attention should be made to the dates etc.

The method is simple, the cards are ungimmicked, all you need to concentrate on here really is your presentation. The cards can be quickly reset, or instantly, depending on your ending. It's also worthwhile learning a bit about the Titanic, so that you can answer any questions afterwards. Dom has set up a forum at Merchant of Magic for owners of the trick, there's not a great deal on there at the moment, but some useful bits and bobs, and worth a visit. The bonus handlings in the instructions are all useful, and card magicians will especially like the extra card material, although for the main effect, Jim goes to great pains to insist that you are handling photographs, not a packet of cards.

The Claims
- No Sleight of Hand Required! - true
- The cards are completely ungimmicked, and fully examinable! - true, but obviously, given the presentation, you don't want to hand them out before hand.
- Instantly resets to perform again! - true, also, several different methods are given, so you could perform it again if you wish, using a different method (but not recommended)
- The cards REALLY are completely mixed up and shuffled by the spectators. The performer does not change the order of the cards AT ALL once the spectator has mixed them, or after the spectators have chosen the cards they want to keep! - this is one method given, but not the standard, straight forward one shown above.
- No switched or swapped cards or packets. The spectators decide if they want to keep the cards or discard them and that's FINAL. The performer does not need to do any sneaky switches or adjustments to the cards the spectators have chosen! - true, everything is fair and above board.


Overall
9/10. Loses a mark only because the markers are not included, and the photos are not aged. This is good, powerful stuff, you won't be performing this instantly, and you'll want to wait for the right atmosphere. It's a little expensive just for a one-off performance for friends, but if you're going to use it professionally, it'll pay for itself in no time. Either way, it's worth the money. You're paying for a set of quality props, a very simple method that you can apply to many other similar things if you wish, and one very powerful effect.

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Postby Replicant » Jul 29th, '08, 11:42

Great review, thanks very much. A few of my cards were not cut properly and I'm waiting for replacements to arrive from Merchant of Magic. I love this; the booklet it comes with is superb and really goes into detail with alternative handlings, including the use of playing cards. For markers, I use an old English Penny (1911) and an old ring.

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Postby MagicShop » Aug 3rd, '08, 11:53

Thanks for the review magikmax!

It's a funny thing about the 'aged' cards issue. We had to choose how we wanted to present them, either as old props, or as modern 'research/reference cards'. In the end we came to the conclusion that they should be modern cards for three reasons

1) the cards give too much information about each passanger to be anything other than modern reference material. They include the death dates of the passangers that survived, so would look very odd if they were made to look old. To not look silly, the cards could not be older than the late 1980's.

2) In my experience most props made to look old, tend to look a bit fake and naff. Its very very hard to not make them look 'repro'. So we thought better of trying this, but instead, suggest you use the two marker objects as the 'old' items to hook that emotion into the effect.

3) Although the product is great for hobbyists to enjoy, we needed to make it practical for the pro's to be using every night, so the cards had to be made to be durable. The only way to do this was to professionally laminate each card.( we didn't want the hobbycraft look of lamination wallets) Lamination just does not go well with the 'aged' look.


I do really like your idea though, so you should be able to scan the image and hand make your own personal set, without the mordern information and have a go at aging the cards authentically. I'm told cold tea, works very well. But do make sure you don't use modern paper/photopaper as that would and feel wrong.


Hope this helps

Dominic

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Postby Jobasha » Jul 16th, '10, 18:56

Could anyone give me exact measurements of the cards please?

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Postby Mandrake » Jul 16th, '10, 20:48

68mm wide x 95mm tall or approx 2.11/16" x 3.3/4" in old money.

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Postby Jobasha » Jul 17th, '10, 08:19

Thank you for the info Mandrake. I think that would fit nicely into what I want.

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Postby bradderz123 » Jul 26th, '10, 00:23

I have this but just can't see what all the hype is about.

It doesn't 'amaze' me and therefore I don't have the commitment when I'm delivering it - my issue I know. Just seems an overly expensive version of 'Out Of This World' to me - obviously need a different patter but just as powerful with a pack of bicycles in my opinion.

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Postby Mandrake » Jul 26th, '10, 10:58

Quite right bradderz. The beauty, and curse, of things like White Star is that it offers, and needs, plenty of scope for personalising with your own storylines. I probably have a very overactive imagination but as I'm deeply interested in matters pertaining to Titanic (except, of course, Celine Dion's warbling of that song), Whte Star is, to me, a thing of beauty. Horses for courses :D !

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Postby bradderz123 » Jul 26th, '10, 23:08

Always willing to be influenced - if you are ever in the London/Kent areas working with this I'd love to see it in action. Too many people like it for it not to be a 'worker' but have never seen it 'live' with the audience response. Should say that I haven't sold mine on as I'm hoping to be inspired!

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Postby Mandrake » Sep 1st, '10, 11:45

From MSN News:

The 25th anniversary of Titanic's discovery
Just before midnight on 14 April 1912 the 'unsinkable' Titanic hit an iceberg and in the early hours of 15 April it sank, with the loss of 1,517 lives.

For more than 70 years the search for Titanic's wreck went on with many scientists believing it may never be found.

Then in the summer of 1985 several American and French scientists set out hopeful of finally locating the wreckage.

Dr Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel led the team, which searched a 150-square mile area with deep sonar. On 1 September 1985 the wreck was found 13 miles from the last recorded position of the Titanic.

Shortly after the discovery Dr Ballard talked about the wreck, he said: "The Titanic lies in 13,000 feet of water on a gently sloping alpine-like countryside overlooking a small canyon below. Its bow faces north and the ship sits upright on the bottom. There is no light at this great depth and little life can be found. It is a quiet and peaceful and fitting place for the remains of this greatest of sea tragedies to rest. May it forever remain that way and may God bless these found souls."


So if anyone needs an excuse to do White Star....... :wink:

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Nice

Postby mentalmagic » Oct 1st, '10, 15:22

I think this is a nice little effect.
Would never perform this in my professional work but its fun in the bar after or as a little thing to show friends.

Had some fun with this though.

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Postby magikmax » Oct 22nd, '10, 13:55

It's a nice little trick. I've performed it 'live' three times since I got it, it's really one of these tricks that you need the 'right' audience for. The times I performed it, it got a similar reaction to Deep Astonishment II, so not bad at all. It's all in the presentation, mind.

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Re: White Star by Jim Critchlow

Postby artychris » Dec 7th, '11, 02:54

I don't often use this, but when I do... :)

I have it living in an old wooden box, with some very aged, rusty coins and a lovely blood red antique pen... and it sits on a shelf invitingly for guests to comment on, so it comes in to play quite naturally (eventually), and it seems to have a rather nice affect on the participants :)

I'd happily use it at a close up/parlour gig (selectively) but I do tend to open with OOTW

(And Bradderz123, you're right of course, but this is about the tragic story, the drama of life and death, and allowing your participants a connection to other worlds!)

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Re:

Postby TheStoner » Dec 7th, '11, 15:02

bradderz123 wrote:I have this but just can't see what all the hype is about.

It doesn't 'amaze' me and therefore I don't have the commitment when I'm delivering it - my issue I know. Just seems an overly expensive version of 'Out Of This World' to me - obviously need a different patter but just as powerful with a pack of bicycles in my opinion.


I have to agree. If this was put out by one of the oft-derired US magic producers then it would get ripped apart. I can see it fitting in brilliantly with the atmospheric mood of certain performers, but don't bother with it for your mates down the pub!

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