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Three Cheers for the Underrated
by Luke Jermay


(2 reviews, 4 customer ratings) ★★★

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Three Cheers for the Underrated by Luke Jermay

[This is priced to keep it out of the hands of the mere curious.]

Luke presents three wonderfully routined and thought through effects, all building on classic mentalism plots, improved by his ingenious thinking and knowledge of methods.

From the introduction:

In this manuscript we are going to examine three routines. The first, “Three Questions,” is something that I have made use of in casual settings for a while now. I think it really showcases some interesting thinking that creates a very pleasing outcome. I really hope you enjoy this and use it in your own casual performances and walk around settings. The second routine, “The Ultimate Add A Number,” is something with which I am very pleased. I think this routine really illustrates my drive in recent years.

I have become known within the magic community for coming up with new premises and plots that I have achieved in performance, with the employment of unusual methods. As flattering as this reputation is, it is not actually where I find myself in my more recent creative explorations. In more recent times I have found my drive to be in finding new and interesting ways to re-examine the classics of mentalism.

One of the standards of mentalism, “The Add A Number” routine (in which the performer predicts the total of seemingly random numbers) has long been a mainstay within mentalism performances. It has, however, pretty much always left me feeling cold and unimpressed.

I set out to change that and in “The Ultimate Add A Number Routine” I have found something that makes me excited about the classic routine. I hope you will share my feelings on this.

The final routine detailed within this manuscript does indeed include a touch of the unusual methods I have become known for. However for the most part these methods are mechanical in nature and are not based only in suggestion.

This final routine is my rendition of the classic “Light & Heavy Chest,” for a walk around situation. With that said, it could easily be staged for a larger performance. Nothing more than a deck of cards and a few minutes of one time construction is needed.

The effects in more detail are:

  • Three Questions: You will discover the star sign of a spectator by asking three seemingly unrelated questions. The method has nothing to do with progressive anagrams, which Luke doesn't really like much. This is fiendishly clever thinking. There is no risk or hit and miss.

  • The Ultimate Add A Number: Four spectators write four numbers. A fifth adds them and the number matches a prediction as well as every spectator's result who participated in the experiment. A combination of methods cancels each other to make this an unexplainable mystery.

  • Strength: A spectator is unable to first remove the cards from a pack, although another one can easily do so, then he can't lift the deck of cards off the performers hand, and finally he is too weak to hold a single card. (Illustrations for this effect provided by Michael Paehler.)

1st edition 2008; 37 pages.
word count: 12381 which is equivalent to 49 standard pages of text

Reviewed by Christian Fisanick (confirmed purchase)
★★★★   Date Added: Friday 10 March, 2017

Three routines for $95! I understand Jermay's thinking about price: If it's high, then it will keep curious amateurs away. I like all three routines. Are they worth $95 together? Probably not. But I didn't feel burned or buyer's remorse from my purchase.

Taking a look at the routines, the first one, Three Questions, is my favorite because it puts three insanely clever propless mentalism gambits together so that you can name somebody's Zodiac sign in three questions, without using a progressive anagram. Actually, it's better than that. The three questions are basically just phony cover. As an added bonus to this effect, Jermay gives you a cool principle to apply to a progressive anagram for phobias. (OK, so it's an unadvertised four routines for $95.)

Next up is the Ultimate Add-a-Number. I love the classic Add-a-Number effects because they play big to crowds, and you can do them either with gimmicks or with basically nothing. (In other words, you can use a leather-bound Basil Horowitz locking pad, a gimmicked calculator, Dan Harlan's small pad of PostIt Notes, or Banachek's two 3x5 cards glued together. It's up to you.) Jermay leaves it to you to choose your favorite way of doing the add-a-number method itself, but he adds a DR element and an obscure Ed Hess principle (which reminds me of, which I'd never seen before. This one is very cool. Batting average so far: two for two.

Finally, there is Strength, a light-heavy effect, using playing cards and a card box. It, too, is good and a worker, but of the three, probably the one routine that would ordinarily be a $9.95 download at Penguin magic.

If you are a pro, you will definitely add one or more of these routines to your show if you spend the money. If you are an amateur, ask Santa to put the ebook in your stocking for Christmas.

Reviewed by Grandpa Chet
★★★★★   Date Added: Saturday 23 August, 2008

It doesn't quite come together as a BOOK, per se. As a volume which collects, explains, and tutors three effects, it's quite effective. The three effects might even blend together well enough to make a full show, but you'll surely want to personalize them.

The first effect, "Three Questions," is simple to personalize. Luke's detailed presentation example proves that presentation is everything - it's extremely personal, entirely Luke, and really sneaky in gathering the information. Work hard to adapt this to yourself and you'll have an eerie show-stopping effect that creeps up on your guests and will have them thinking about it throughout the rest of the night. It doesn't just "reveal zodiac signs," it reveals something of the personality of the person - and it can become intimately spooky. Again, work on your personal presentation. It's worth the effort.

"Phobias Anagram" is another spooky effect, where you'll tell entire groups their specific phobias. It's extremely powerful in practice. More importantly, it's an example, and is used to teach you, of something Luke calls "the Invisible Selection Range." Let's just say that it's Luke's way of turning the anagram branching on its head. A key sentence in his article is "An invisible restriction would be a selection from a field that seems completely open but in fact is not." For those who have ears...

By the way, all the above is included as one of the "three cheers." In short, you are getting two effects and a theory/principle for the price of one effect. Not bad!

The next effect is "the Ultimate Add a Number." I normally dislike titling anything as "Ultimate," since that indicates there will never, ever, ever be anything to add to or improve the item. This piece may have something to its title though. The numbers involved actually MEAN something. Any good mentalist will tell you that when you bring in things which have personal meanings, the audience's emotional involvement goes way, way up. The methods (yes, methodS) are deviously clever, and the whole thing doesn't even seem to whisper a hint of "magic trick."

And then there's "Strength." For those who think that this book is overpriced, I challenge them to use "Strength" as close-up or walkaround and NOT be able to use it to get repeated bookings. Imagine Jean Robert-Houdin's "Light and Heavy Chest" - but with a deck of cards. Some clients can lift the deck; others cannot. Some can take the cards out of the box; others cannot. You should have no trouble convincing them that this has nothing to do with the box, and everything to do with your ability to influence them. In short, you can become a veritable Svengali or Rasputin.

This is not a book for the casual reader. If someone studies this and uses these effects for actual work, the book is well priced and a good value.