"What's the difference?" We get asked that a lot. So I've decided to start a series of blogs explaining the differences between tricks with similar effects. Today's topic is Torn and Restored Newspaper routines.
The effect usually goes something like this: Magician has a newspaper, for some reason the innocent little paper gets torn to bits and then POOF! it's all back to normal. So let's go one by one and figure out "What's the difference?"
But first, a little history... the most well known torn and restored newspaper today is probably somehow related to the work of Gene Anderson. His method of folding is still used in some of the newer methods of today. But several new advances have been made in paper tearing technology making the set-up easier and the waste minimal.
Torn and Restored Newspaper by Joel Bower
This version has been polished by a trade show performer so you can expect two things, quick reset and flexibility. That's exactly what you get with Bower's rendition of the trick.
Strengths: You can use a client's brochure, magazine or newspaper. It's a one-time set up and fairly quick re-set.
Weaknesses: The video quality is somewhat lacking. I believe this is a transfer from VHS to DVD and it shows. Also Joel Bower is a tradeshow worker so he's used to yelling at people, I just wish he wouldn't yell at me when I watch this DVD.
Tear Down by Andrew Mayne
Andrew Mayne has come out with several gimmicks and instructional DVDs in the past few years, this one is one of my favorites. Mayne takes you through an impromptu Torn and Restored that is well thought out and very convincing in the right hands.
Strengths: The method is impromptu and will work with most magazines and newspapers. The newspaper is signed by a spectator before the tearing begins and given as a gift at the end of the routine.
Weaknesses: This one is not self-working. It's going to take practice and I usually only recommend it to magicians with experience in misdirection.
No Tear by Tony Stephens and JB Magic
This is the one I always recommend for beginners, but it has its place in professional routines as well.
Strengths: Super easy to do. The gimmick is included. There is no waste, that means no buying duplicate papers, no stack of ripped papers to deal with at the end of the day, and no building a new gimmick every time you do the trick. You just keep re-using the original.
Weaknesses: You have to use the paper provided. (You can rebuild the gimmick with a paper of your choice, but it might not be worth your time.) Also, you start off with the papers in their ripped state which takes away from some of the dramatic buildup.
As you can see, each method has their different strengths and weaknesses. But so does every performer and it's important to find the right routines to fit the performer's needs. Hopefully this breakdown will help you make the choice that's right for you.