Title: Infamous (Deluxe Edition)
Artist: Daniel Meadows & James Anthony
Producers: Magic World UK
Link: You can buy this product from any of your favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealers
Retail Price: $79.95 ($29.95 for the normal one)
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: 50 minutes
Notes: Some construction of the gimmick will be required. You will need to use an hobby knife. Kids have your parents help so you don’t cut yourself.
- Play All
- 2 Isolation Cards
- Deck of Stroop Test Color Text Words
- Extra Pages with more Gimmick Word Isolation Options
Plant a word into your spectators mind, and then show them exactly how you did it. Infamous is a book test like no other! It is more than a book test, it’s a close up experience in mind control!
So I’ve been fascinated with book tests for a long time. It’s one of those tricks that packs small, but can play for a large audience. Before I picked up Infamous I had been a large fan of the Luna series by Outlaw Magic, and while the Luna series is bloody devastating its creep value isn’t always appropriate for every setting. That’s where I saw potential for Infamous. Infamous is more than just a book test though. It’s set up like a psychological experiment in mind control, with a faux explanation at the end which you get to share with your spectator revealing the “method” on how you did it. I’ve always liked effects that offer the spectator a pseudo explanation as to how it works because it gives them something to take away from the presentation, and it doesn’t insult their intelligence.
The premise for your performance of Infamous will work around a Stroop test. A Stroop test is an actual psychological test created by John Ridley Stroop and published back in 1935. A Stroop test for those unfamiliar with the concept is a test in task interference. Names of colors are printed on flash cards in ink that is of a different color than the text on the card. For example the word may read RED but it would be printed in blue ink. The subject would then have to look at the card and correctly name the color they see, not the word. All in all this is pretty interesting stuff. I digress. In your performance you’re going to perform a Stroop test with your spectator, and then you’re going to have them stop on any page in any book, look at a random word, remember it, and not only will you show them a prediction of a word you wrote down before you started the Stroop test, but you’ll show them that the first letter of each of the colors printed on the flash cards spell out the word they thought of. The reset is instant, and you can perform the same trick for two different people with two different results. Pretty slick stuff.
You could actually use the mechanics behind Infamous to reveal more than just a forced word. You could also use it to reveal playing cards, Zener (ESP) symbols, simple drawings, etc. Anything that you can spell out with the Stroop cards, you can reveal at the end of your performance. So this makes Infamous flexible in how you use it. It could be something you can do in a parlor setting, use the book, and make it a full act, or just put the Stroop cards in your jacket pocket alongside a deck of cards and perform Infamous as a strolling effect.
So in the standard version of Infamous you get the DVD, the Stroop cards, and a pair of the Isolation cards that you use to force the word you need in a book. The Stroop cards are nice and come in a small non-descript tuck box about the size and thickness of a card box that you’d find manipulation cards in. The two Isolation cards that you need to force the word is found inside the tuck box with the rest of your Stroop cards. Both the Stroop cards and the Isolation cards are the same size as a standard Bicycle card and about the same thickness. While I don’t have any problem with the Stroop cards thickness or durability I really wish they didn’t make the Isolation cards out of the same card stock. The Isolation card is going to be the one thing that is going to have the most wear and tear from use and I just feel it would have benefitted from being made from a sturdier material. The Isolation card does not come set up for you. You will need to prep it by cutting the two holes in it so words in the book will show through. Kids have your parents help since you’ll need to use a hobby blade for this. You get twenty four Stroop cards in the deck. They are gimmicked so you know what the word is from the back of the card.
The deluxe version of Infamous comes with a book too. The book is gimmicked as well. The book is a Flash Back book. If you are not familiar with Larry Beck’s Flash Back principle the book allows you to have the spectator look at the first word on any page and using a built in peek you’ll know what the word is. The spectator can, if they wish, handle or read the book they won’t find the gimmick. Infamous can be done with any book mind you, but the inclusion of a Flash Back book with this routine just makes for more possibilities for fun you can have with your spectators mind. The book I got is, and they all are, a soft back book. This makes it easier to handle with one hand. Construction wise it’s been well produced. It looks, feels, and functions like a standard paperback book. Apparently there are three different versions of this Flash Back book. While the contents of the book are the same the covers are different so you can offer your spectator a choice between different “editions” and still do the same things with it. I did not get additional books with my set, but I’m sure they can be purchased directly from Magic World UK’s website. If you use your own book, and you want to make sure the font, type, page color, etc all match up with your gimmick Isolation card then you’ll need to get two copies of the book, since you’ll be destroying one to make the Isolation card.
Since book tests have always been something of a stage or parlor routine it was nice to see something that could be done as a close up piece. Since the Isolation cards that come with Infamous has two slots in them that means I can have up to two different force words set up and the only thing I’d need to do is change the Stroop cards to match up with the force. This probably is the weakest part of this effect. If you are going to repeat the effect for the same group using your second force word you are will have to set up your Stroop deck in front of your spectator. You could always get around this by having a second deck ready to go in your pocket and switch out for it, but since the provided Stroop deck only has one card per each letter in the alphabet (minus X, and Z) you’d have to purchase more decks to do that. Personally I would have liked them to include multiple cards with commonly used letters like R, S, T, L, N, E in the box but new products always have a few flaws. Maybe this will be something they’ll do for future releases? Who knows?
Overall I did love this effect. I find it quite practical for close up presentations but it is an effect that requires a lot of table space to perform in. Table hoppers and street style performers may find this a bit cumbersome unless they have ready access to a large flat surface. I love the pseudo psychological approach it takes to mentalism and I love that it’s versatile enough to be used in a close up environment, or on the stage with some minor alterations to presentation and handling. Infamous is a great effect because it’s less about the magician fooling the audience and more about exploring the intricate subtleties of how the mind operates. Not a lot of effects work off that premise which makes Infamous a refreshing take on a standard routine.
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.
Product Quality: 6
The Deluxe version is a bit pricy at $70+ but well worth it. The addition of the Flash Back book makes it a nice bundle. I would have liked the Isolation cards to be made of a sturdier material, and the Stroop cards would have benefitted from having multiples of more popular letters.
Teaching Quality: 8
The DVD is easy to follow along with and I feel is taught well. There is even some bonus material for different handlings and such.
Video & Sound Quality: 9
Sound and video both were clear and crisp for me.
Overall Quality: 7
I loved Infamous. If you are looking for a unique book test that is more plausible science and less supernatural powers then this is the effect for you!
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