Improving on Al Koran; not easy, but not impossible! Thank you Mr Breese.

I have always been a big fan of the great mentalist Al Koran. I have studied his books and every other source of material I can get my hands on. Sadly though, I never had the good fortune to see him live. However his influence has been pervasive throughout my career.

I was always rather intrigued that one of his three favorite closing tricks was his ‘Headline Countdown,’ from the book Al Koran’s Legacy.  I played with it, worked it and it never quite got the reaction that I knew it must have done to be in such a favored position in Koran’s act, which just went from strong to stronger. I would return to it occasionally but could never make it click the way I thought it should. The routine is first credited to Edmund Rowland and published in the Pentagram in 1952. Yikes, that was the year I was born!

During a visit to Magic Inc. I discovered a booklet that purported to give the ‘real work’ on the routine and involved a ‘cheat card’ to eliminate the memory work involved in the original. I played around with this version but felt very uncomfortable with the additional gimmick. Back to square one. A bunch more years passed by and then it all came together. Yippee!

Martin Breese just released a new version entitled ‘Market Update,’ and it has kept the strength of the effect, added some great touches and taken away not only the extra gimmick but also the memory work. I fell in love with it, and while it may not ever become a closing effect for me, due to the nature and structure of my act, I suspect it will be a regular and strong addition to my show. Nothing improves a comedy magic show more than a strong piece of mentalism. Magic you can really get your teeth in!

I very seldom wholeheartedly endorse a commercial routine but this one is too good to miss. I have no hidden motives in recommending this routine to any magician who can sell a routine to the public. Well maybe I do have a slight motive, I never ever need to see the Mental Epic performed again and I’m getting pretty sick of seeing that same damn book turn up in the ‘Mother of all Booktests’!

I have become quite a fan of Martin’s skill as a magic dealer. He seems to have a pitch perfect eye for commercial material and quality of production that reminds me of my early mentor’s Ken Brooke. His knowledge of magic is that of a scholar but his understanding of the commercial potential of a trick is that of a performer. A great combination.

If you want to, do yourself a favor, check out ‘Market Update’ on Martin Breese’s website.

~ by Nick Lewin on May 31, 2010.

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