Tiny Plunger by Armstrong, Bich and Thomas

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Tom Frame
Posts: 1017
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Del Ray
Location: San Francisco

Tiny Plunger by Armstrong, Bich and Thomas

Postby Tom Frame » May 31st, 2013, 3:32 pm

Tiny Plunger (DVD & two plungers) by Armstrong, Bich and Thomas $40.00
Running time: 60 minutes
Available at: http://www.kozmomagic.com/artist/jon-armstrong/


I’m a book guy first and foremost. I very rarely buy individual tricks. But after repeatedly watching the performance videos and reading the relentless online buzz, I succumbed and purchased the Tiny Plunger. I’m so glad I did.

For forking over your hard earned green, you receive a DVD and two tiny plungers. One of them is normal, whatever that means, and the other one is gimmicked.

Miniature versions of common items always tickle my tummy. When it comes to diminutive devices, this petite plunger is peerless! The puny plumber’s pal evokes sportive scatological scenes of the lowest order. I love it!

The production values of the DVD are good.

Jon Armstrong and Mathieu Bich do a fine job of teaching their material.

I’m puzzled by Garrett Thomas’s involvement in this project. I guess he can be considered the host. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make a substantive contribution to the content of the DVD.


Jon Armstrong: The performer introduces a wee, whimsical plunger. He demonstrates how it can pick up one card, several cards, even the whole deck.

A participant freely names a number between one and ten, say seven. The plunger picks up exactly seven cards from the top of the deck.

Another participant freely names a number between ten and twenty, say sixteen. The plunger picks up exactly sixteen cards.

A participant freely selects a card, which is lost in the deck. The plunger lifts a block of cards off of the deck, with the selection at the face.

Another participant selects a card, which is lost in the deck. She takes the plunger and uses it to lift a block of cards off of the deck. She turns over the top card of the balance of the deck and discovers her selection.


This is a funny, memorable, terrific routine! Mr. Armstrong is a clever, witty entertainer at the top of his game. I intentionally omitted one exquisite gag from my description of his routine. It’s just too good to tip. The gag requires a special deck, but the effect is well worth it.

In Mr. Armstrong’s presentation, he gives all of the credit to the plunger and takes none for himself. This is a presentational style that I embrace. I call it the Ain’t It Cool Syndrome.

With this presentational approach, the performer takes no responsibility for the magic that occurs. He possesses no special abilities. The magic does not emanate from him. He is not cool.

Instead, he acts as a conduit and merely harnesses the ambient magic that is available to all of us. Or he attributes the magic to his props, the participants or arcane procedures. It - the effect - is cool.

I really like it.


Mathieu Bich: The performer demonstrates how the plunger can pick up one card. A participant takes the plunger and attempts to pick up the card, but the plunger won’t pick it up. The performer and the participant take turns using the plunger in their attempt to pick up increasingly larger packets of cards. The performer always succeeds and the participant always fails.


This effect employs Mr. Bich’s gimmicked plunger. The plunger purportedly allows the performer to control when the plunger sucks and when it doesn’t suck. Unfortunately, the gimmicked plunger that I received always sucks. The suction can’t be turned on and off. I suspect that this is the result of a manufacturing defect.

But I won’t ask for a replacement plunger because I would never consider performing this effect. It exemplifies what I call the Ain’t I Cool Syndrome. In this narcissistic presentational style, the performer makes it abundantly clear that he possesses magical powers. The magic emanates from him. He is special. He is cool.

Not only does Mr. Bich’s presentation epitomize the Ain’t I Cool Syndrome, it also repeatedly makes the trusting participant look and feel like a nincompoop. In a nasally, prepubescent voice, the presentation screams, “Neener neener, I can do something you can’t do!”

I don’t like it.


Mr. Bich teaches how to modify a playing card so that it cannot be picked up with the normal plunger. While his design of the special card is novel and effective, I can’t imagine why anyone would use it.

I don’t understand the magical value of demonstrating that the plunger can pick up any card except for one particular card. What’s the point? Furthermore, the card can’t be examined, so the crowd will correctly conclude that the card is specially prepared.

I don’t like it.


As a climax to the routine, Mr. Bich shares his idea of gluing the plunger to a deck that has been glued together, as in Paul Harris’s “Solid Deception.” Mr. Bich casually mentions that you have to execute a deck switch, but he doesn’t teach one.

Invisibly switching a loose deck for a solid deck with a 2 ½” tall plunger affixed to it is a daunting proposition. If you, or Roberto Giobbi, can devise a deceptive method for accomplishing this feat, let me know.

I don’t like it.


A participant freely selects a card, which is lost in the deck. The performer presses the end of a pen onto the deck and lifts it, taking the top card of the deck with it. He repeats the effect several times with increasingly larger packets of cards.

The performer unscrews the pen and hands it to the participant. She examines it and finds a rolled up piece of paper in the barrel. She removes the paper and reads it. It instructs her to turn over the top card of the pile. She does so and discovers her card.


In addition to removing the ink cartridge from the pen and inserting the rolled instruction paper, a readily available item must be added to the pen. This item is easily removed before handing the pen to the participant.

After the pen lifts the packet of cards, the performer rests the packet on the table and lowers the pen to a horizontal position before removing it from the packet. This is a suspicious, unnatural handling. The crowd must wonder why the performer doesn’t simply lift the pen straight up off of the packet.

I don’t like it.


The Session: Here Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Bich discuss the development of the Tiny Plunger. Mr. Bich states that he first used a pen to lift cards (by exploiting a fairly well known principle of physics) in 1998. Mr. Armstrong’s routine is the delicious descendant of Mr. Bich’s early work.

The lads also discuss different ways of using the plunger. Mr. Armstrong provides the most and the best ideas.


The hoopla, hype and ballyhoo surrounding the Tiny Plunger are well deserved. Mr. Armstrong’s contributions alone are worth the asking price. So take the plunge and procure this precious plunger.


Highly Recommended
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

Brad Henderson
Posts: 3789
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Tiny Plunger by Armstrong, Bich and Thomas

Postby Brad Henderson » May 31st, 2013, 4:14 pm

Are there additional thoughts provided on hartling's flick routine? I've performed that in the past to strong results. This seems very similar. Would be interested if thoughts or more developed work (additional to the use of the prop) were included which could be added to hartling's routine.

Tom Frame
Posts: 1017
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Del Ray
Location: San Francisco

Re: Tiny Plunger by Armstrong, Bich and Thomas

Postby Tom Frame » May 31st, 2013, 4:35 pm

Brad,

A nod is given to Hartling's routine, but no additional work or applications are offered.
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

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Steve Bryant
Posts: 1850
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Ballantine
Location: Bloomington IN
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Re: Tiny Plunger by Armstrong, Bich and Thomas

Postby Steve Bryant » May 31st, 2013, 11:52 pm

Check it out on The Today Show.





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