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At a time when dinosaurs still roamed the third planet from the Sun, when evolution reached a point where Marcus Leveridgaeus, having stumbled across fire, was found to be experimenting with the possibilities offered by flap envelopes, I happened upon an effect put out by Harry Stanley called ‘Dubious Dominoes’, subsequently purloined by Ken Brooke as ‘Dotty Spots’ (or was it ‘Spotty Dots?’ Nurse!) It was a routine I still adore, and this routine makes more than a casual nod towards it in its framing.
In adapting that concept to stick gum, the easy path for Kyle Littleton would have been to use a simplified gimmick, a variation on the knife paddle move, and Robert Is Your Avuncular Relative. But, no, he flew in the face of such derivative thinking and came up with this.
I kind of like this, in the right place at the right time. It’s a pack of stick gum, which changes not once but twice – whereupon you hand it out for them to take a gum and, in the process, examine the prop. Couldn’t do that with the Stanley/Brooke/Swadling variations. (Erm, actually you could if, like Littleton, you use a switch. Awks.)
It is a combination of undemanding handling and a gimmick. It’s a serviceable gimmick, not particularly ground-breaking, but not quite convincing to these critical eyes. After all, he does emphasise the need to watch your angles with this if the gimmickry is to remain completely hidden.
As a basic close up routine it works fine. It is simply explained in the first 8 minutes of the film.
As a freebie he offers to explain his 400 LUX routine with bills, previously marketed separately, whereupon I had to check my medication to ensure I had not overdosed.
He gets into a bizarre extended routine built around this prop; I am yet to be convinced it is not a spoof. If not it is truly atrocious, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that it’s a gag, Kyle, right?
Thoughtfully you are provided with a pdf for you to print off, laminate and construct your own gimmick. This is useful if it needs replacing, or if you want to adapt it to your local make of gum.
Review by Bob Gill. Originally published in Magicseen Magazine, issue 91