Review Details

George McBride's McMiracles With Cards - DVD

George McBride's McMiracles With Cards - DVD

Product Review (submitted on 29 March 2019):
OVERVIEW

Perhaps I'm not the only one who hasn't come across George McBride's work before. But this newly released video from Big Blind Media, McMiracles With Cards, has certainly cured me of my former ignorance! I now have a new-found admiration for this skilled and respected card handler from Scotland, who in this video is sharing 17 fine card tricks that he's honed through years of experience.

The material on the DVD consists of four "Sets", each of which is made up of 3, 4 or 5 tricks. All tricks are presented in two parts: first the performance and then an explanation. Here's an overview of each of the four sets of routines:
- Routines I: Vanishing Lie Detector, Polly's Graph, Royal Marriage, Universal Joker, Nippy Knaves
- Routines II: Blow Palm Change, Blend & Split, Tom, Dick & Harry, Two Tonne Triumph, Double Swap Mystery
- Routines III: Campbell's Caprice, Remember & Forget, Jack's Gem, Triola Mystery
- Routines IV: Cards To Pocket, Card To Card Case, Woodfield Torn Transpo

IMPRESSIONS

Format: It's easy to navigate the DVD; you simply select which of the four sets of routines you want to watch, then pick the trick of your choice, and can select either the performance or explanation. The performance clips show George performing to a single spectator (e.g. a BBM staff member like Liam Montier), and the same is the case with the teaching sections.

Tricks: There's a ton of solid material here, with more than two hours of footage. You get 17 tricks, and these are considered a definitive collection of the routines George has developed over a lifetime of work. Some of the routines are completely baffling, and will certainly astound laymen and magicians alike. You're guaranteed to find something here that you'll like, because it's strong magic. There's also a very good variety of effects, ranging from packet tricks, tricks you can perform impromptu with a borrowed deck, to tricks involving a set-up or a gimmick. Some of it reworks material you may have seen before, by combining solid material from masters past and present, and refined by George with his own style.

Style: I really enjoyed Mr McBride's presentational style, and he gave me some good ideas I could incorporate into my own magic. Because good presentation is one of the most important parts of good magic, this makes these tricks worth learning or even watching. Just take a look at the demo performance of Vanishing Lie Detector and you'll see what I mean. Others tricks I especially enjoyed were Tom, Dick and Harry (three selections impossibly vanish and then reappear elsewhere), and Bend and Split (a selected card splits into two cards that add up to its value). Quite a few of his tricks have the spectator sign a card, to add to a sense of impossibility, since there's no chance that the magician can ring in a duplicate.

Teaching: It's not hard to see why McBride is the subject of so much respect for his skill with cards. It's a real joy to watch him perform and teach, although his strong and charming Scottish accent can take some getting used to. But even as a spectator to his instruction, there's much that can be learned. The teaching is clear, and Mr McBride is definitely very gifted at what he does, and it's a pleasure to see him go through his moves and learn from him. When there are more difficult sleights required (e.g. Vernon's Multiple Shift, Hammond Switch, Hofzinser Top Change, or Ascanio Spread), these are all taught.

Difficulty: This isn't geared to the beginner, unlike many of the other Big Blind Media videos. Some self-working material is included, but for the majority of the routines you will need practice, and familiarity with fundamental skills and card sleights. There are even some more challenging routines for the advanced card man, and tricks like Card to Pocket and Card to Card Case will require some good skills with cards to be performed well. The moves George does in tricks like the Double Swap Mystery and the Triola Mystery are super smooth, and are well worth the effort to master, because they make transposition effects seem thoroughly impossible. Overall there is quite a variety in terms of the level of difficulty, with a range of tricks from quite easy to more difficult, but most of the material is around intermediate level.

Crediting: I particularly appreciated the good work with crediting, which deserves special mention. During the explanation part of the video, scrolling text appears at the bottom of the screen that indicates the origin of the various moves and the source of the tricks being demonstrated. Acknowledging sources is an important tradition in magic, and this is a wonderful way to do it.

Production: Well, this is Big Blind Media we're talking about here! These guys are arguably the very best at what they do, so that means that this video comes with the highest production values you could want. The sound quality is clear, lighting and camera angles are fantastic, and that makes everything a real pleasure to watch.

RECOMMENDATION

I love card magic, and I enjoy learning new material, and also discovering new magicians, and watching skilled performers in action. With McMiracles With Cards, I've found myself another great practitioner of card magic to enjoy and learn from.

This collection of tricks from George McBride does ramp up the degree of difficulty somewhat from your average video from Big Blind Media. But it's a very large collection that includes 17 different routines, including some easier material. So it's very good value, because it's packed with material, and it will take you a good while to work through it all. And with the usual high quality production values we've come to expect from Big Blind Media, we're not quickly going to be disappointed!

It's a real pleasure to learn from a man so skilled as George McBride, and I'm happy to give this newly released DVD a very positive recommendation! - BGG reviewer EndersGame