Regarding the Mikame Craft ROPE BLACKBOARD:
It's well made and is a very cute intro. to a rope routine.
HOWEVER, the dealer/catalog description that is being used by all the dealers selling this effect (Hocus Pocus, Joe Stevens, Hank Lee) is one of the most deceptive ads I've seen recently. (Shame ) The ad copy description of the trick reads very clean:
"Performer shows a slate on both sides. Writes the word "Rope" across the board with a piece of chalk. He then takes hold of the chalk writing and magically pulls it right off the board! The chalk word "Rope" has changed into a real piece of rope. All that's left is an outline of the letters."
This is NOT what actually happens in the routine. By the description given one would be led to believe that the performer is standing with the chalk board, writes the word "Rope" on it, and without setting down the board or doing anything else , simply yanks the word "Rope" right off the board to show that it has transformed into a real piece of rope. Nope.
The Mikame instructions say to show the blackboard on both sides, then set it down on a table which has a newspaper spread out on the table (the Mikame instructions tell you to inform the audience that the newspaper is there to prevent chalk dust from getting all over your table top.........duh....... don't draw attention to the newspaper, just have it there on the table and then use it in an effect later in the show. It's just an "innocent" piece of newspaper, why draw attention to it ? But , I digress........) Then , with the blackboard sitting flat on the table (on top of the piece of newspaper, mind you) you write the word "Rope". Then pick up the blackboard, turn it over to the other side and write something else , such as "Rope" written in Japanese or a big "?" question mark , or whatever, but the workings of the trick require you to turn the slate over to write something on the other side after you write "Rope" on the first side. Or at least, you must turn the blackboard over, whether you write anything on the other side or not, but you must turn the thing face down on the piece of newspaper before picking it up again to yank the word "Rope" off the blackboard.
After all this setting the board down and turning it over stuff you proceed as in the dealer description.
Doesn't sound quite so clean , now does it ?
I eliminate the obvious setting it down except for one brief moment . What I do is write the word "Rope" on the board (from a standing position) with the face of the blackboard facing me. I then briefly set the board on the edge of my table as I turn to take a pair of scissors from the assistant on stage with me.
In that brief , casual moment of misdirection (turning to take the scissors back from the assistant) I ditch the gimmick from the blackboard onto the top of the piece of newspaper (which, by the way, I do use in the act , so there's a reason for it to be there). Then immediately turn to hand the blackboard to the assistant to hold up facing the audience , who now see that I have written the word "Rope" on the blackboard.
Gesturing "magically" with the scissors I then seize the end of the "Rope" letters and pull them off the board , showing the chalk letters having transformed into a real piece of rope. You can guess the rest with the scissors, etc.
All this takes just half - a - minute or so. Don't dwell on it or make a huge deal about it, it's just a cute throwaway gag intro to get into the rope routine.
So, bottom line, I like the effect, but the dealer ad currently running in magic magazines and on certain web sites is not an honest description of what happens. If done correctly it is what the audience should remember after the show (if they think about it at all) but the dealer description leaves out some of the moves that must take place to finish the effect.