Harkey on Video

by David Harkey

David Harkey is a well-known lecturer, performer, and creator, and is the author of Simply Harkey (1991). This is his first video, and is apparently the first of a proposed series of videos. For the most part, the material is drawn from Simply Harkey, and the emphasis is on non-card material, which is a refreshing change. Seven items are explained, three of which I think are absolutely terrific.

Two of the three "terrific" items are routines from the book which have been reworked and improved. "East Meets West Meets South" is the penetration, destruction, and restoration of a borrowed dollar bill. Eric Anderson's additions to this routine make it one of the best "almost impromptu" items I've seen. I predict that a lot of magicians are going to add this to their repertoires. "Pop Art II" is a routine Ernie Kovacks would have loved. You draw a cannon on a three by five file card. Along the barrel of the cannon you write the spectator's name. (A nice point here is that you need not know the spectator's name ahead of time.) The file card is rolled into a tube, and a piece of string is placed into it. The string is tugged, and an explosion of flame and confetti shoots out of the tube. The card is unrolled and the picture has changed: the front end of the cannon has been "blown off" and part of the spectator's name has been obliterated. The new handling for this is infinitely better than the one in Simply Harkey, and the routine is now practical for the stand-up performer.

My other favorite on the tape is "Spotweld," in which the sides of a plastic straw are fused together while the straw is still in its paper wrapper. This is another "almost impromptu" miracle which can be set up very quickly if you are at a restaurant with friends.

The above items are worth the price of admission, and make this tape worth owning. You'll have to make up your own mind about the other items. In "Dirty Pool" you turn a partially inflated black balloon into an eight ball. Unfortunately, in the performance segment of this trick, Mr. Harkey does not do the necessary loading move, which, during the explanation part, looks very furtive. "Body Language" uses a clever method to produce a coin by apparently slapping an invisible coin against the back of your hand. The production is good, but I question whether you can get away with repeating the move four times in a row. "Goldfinger" is an interesting optical illusion using only your fingers and a ring. On the video the illusion looks good, but with my scrawny, piano-player fingers, it does not look so good.

Finally, the last item on the video is a new Harkey creation. You show a bottle of spring water. The bottle is about one-fourth full of water. You put on the cap and you turn the bottle end for end. The water in the bottle turns to ice. Sounds neat, huh? Actually, the ice looks more like what snow looks like as it melts back into water. But the problem I see is this: where would you perform this trick? The stuff in the bottle isn't ice, which means that it isn't cold. I think that in a close-up situation the spectators would want to handle the bottle. And they can't. In a stand-up up situation I'm not sure that the audience would appreciate the effect.

Anyway, you should know that the tape is very well produced and the explanations are very clear. If you've never seen Mr. Harkey in person, here's your chance. And, the three routines mentioned above make this video worth the money.

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