The Wiz Kids Present:
Rope Magic - Instructional DVD
Reviewed by John Long
The Wiz Kids Rope Magic is a collection of 9 individual
tricks and a rope routine that consists of 7 additional rope
effects. The effects are taught by Jim Gerrish and a couple of
Wiz Kids. Some of the effects require gimmicks, but the gimmicks
are easily created from common household items.
The individual effects include 2 rope through neck, Blok Kord
(a rope through a block of wood), 2 cut and restored rope(one
with and one w/o scissors), Grant's Spectator Rope trick, Grant's
Perfect Cut Rope trick, Houdini's Rope Escape(an escape from a
wrist tie), and a version of Abbott's Slick Tie(an in and
out escape where the hands are tied to the legs).
The rope routine consists of 7 impromptu effects: making
knots appear by flicking a rope in the air, and then making a
knot disappear by magically pulling it off the rope; sliding a
(tight)knot from one end to the other, then making that knot
disappear; eating a knot off of the middle of a rope; tying a
knot in a rope without letting go of the ends, and then
"teaching" a spectator how to do it(who actually
succeeds, with the magi's help). The routine ends by uncoiling a
rope to reveal that many knots have suddenly appeared in the
I particularly liked certain extra touches:
- The two rope through neck effects were paired in a way that
the second built upon the first.
- Grants Perfect Cut and Spectator Rope were paired to
make for a nice multi-phase effect. Also, certain modifications
to Spectator Rope improve the misdirection and handling.
- Modifications in the handling of Blok Kord allowed the rope
& block to be inspected right before the penetration occurs.
- Collins 4 in 1 Rope trick (4 ropes are
cut into 1)and his Panama Rope trick (1 rope is cut
into 4 pieces, and then restored back to 1 piece) were paired
together for a clever combination (but not taught). (Editor's note: You'll find the Panama
Rope taught HERE)
The pairing of Grant's two tricks was very insightful (or
diabolical depending on your mindset). The two effects look about
the same to the spectator, but the methods are completely
- PHASE I (Perfect Cut): The effect starts with 2 ropes; the
magi holds out the middles of the 2 ropes and lets the spectator
cut the two ropes, creating 4 pieces. The spectator is then given
2 of the newly cut ropes, and the magi the other two. Under the
guise of teaching the spectator how to restore the ropes, the
magi and the spectator tie their two ropes together, say a few
magical words, and both sets of rope are restored; well almost;
the magi's ropes are restored into one long piece, but the
spectator still has two ropes.
- PHASE II (Spectator Rope): Not to be discouraged, the magi
pulls out another long length of rope, wraps a card around the
middle of the rope; the spectator cuts the rope on both sides of
the card; the magi then ties two of the ends together. The
knotted ends are placed into a jar, the free ends are threaded
through openings in the jar, the jar is sealed and handed to the
spectator. After a few magical gestures, the spectator can pull
the rope out of the jar and find that the rope is restored. The
spectator can be given the restored rope and the card that is
still wrapped around the rope as a souvenir.
The last trick is a version of Abbott's Slick Tie, an
"in and out" escape with the rope tied around the
wrists and legs. The method of this effect is adequately taught,
but if you want to see how this trick can be a fantastic
showpiece, view a video clip of Billy Bishop performing this
Some Negatives & Miscellaneous Comments
- The video quality is low, but that does not interfere with
the learning of the tricks. There was a glitch in the DVD that I
had that caused my player to skip over the first demonstration of
the rope through neck effect.
- Gerrish's persona is very laid back; I felt like I was at a
- I think the instructions could have been more tightly
choreographed, yet he did thoroughly teach each effect; sometimes
going over parts at least twice.
- At times, some of Gerrish's handlings looked awkward.
- Some of the cutting sequences involved cutting several
pieces at once, which was difficult for him, and certainly would
be for a younger magician. Considering the audience, I think
these sections should have been revised.
- Personally, I would have liked to seen at least one ring
and rope effect.
- Given the pricing of other rope DVDs: $10 for Amazing Magic
with Rope by Magic Inc, and $25 for Daryl's Expert Rope
Magic(single volume) (prices from The Magic Warehouse), I think
this should be priced about $10.
Overall, the tricks on this DVD are not new, nor technically
difficult, but give the beginning rope magician a good
introduction to rope magic, and plenty of material with which to
entertain others. These are all decent rope tricks, and I
appreciated some of the creative pairing of effects, and some of
the creative touches that were added and improved the effect. I
hope to try some of these on my audiences in the future.
Editor's Note: We paid attention to John's
advice and reduced the price of this DVD to $10.95, which
includes first class postage anywhere within the continental USA.
We also found the "glitch" in the DVD that he mentions
and fixed it so that it is no longer an issue. Thanks, John! -
Editor's addendum 2/10/08: These DVDs were
not selling, even reduced to $10.95 and postage paid, so we are
restoring the price to $20.00. We can not sell just as many at
that price as we can not sell them at $10.95! Besides, the main
purpose of the DVD is to raise funds for the non-profit Wiz Kids, Inc.
and right now they need the money.