The All Seeing Eye (ASE) by Dan Harlan is a method to gather any piece of information written
secretly by a spectator on a piece of paper. Before I watched All Seeing Eye, I couldn't help but be
skeptical--From the trailer, it just seemed like all the other methods that enable the performer to
ascertain secret information from a folded paper. After I watched Dan Harlan's instruction, I was
pleasantly surprised with his original additions!
Difficulty: The difficulty level is
geared towards beginners both in Harlan's teaching and in technicality. ASE is very easy to perform.
It's a standard and well known method in mentalism that is used to achieve the effect, but where the
real value is is in Harlan's structure, presentation, and additions. I'll get into those later in
the bottom of this review.
A few positives:
-Like any center tear, peek, or switch
routine in mentalism, the props are regular, everyday objects. If the required props (any pieces of
paper + a writing utensil) are available, ASE can be performed impromptu. In his instructional
video, Dan is honest and claims that it takes a few seconds of preparation to perform, explaining
that it is almost impromptu. However, this preparation can be quickly done in front of the audience
without arousing any bit of suspicion.
-Everything can be examined.
-They can keep the
papers as a souvenir, which is a bonus if you choose to perform with your business cards.
is perfect for table hopping + avenues that require multiple performances because it instantly
-Harlan's teaching is fantastic--it's very clear. He is thorough without rambling. While
watching, it is obvious that ASE has been tried and tested. The video quality is very clear.
-This a great intro effect for beginners with billet work, but I can guarantee more experienced
performers will come away with a new idea or with something learned. Even if you're a working pro,
I'd recommend ASE--It has a few presentational touches that I think are essential for those who do
any work with billets/tears/switches/peeks. I think this would be a wonderful addition to many walk
around magician's repertoires.
A few negatives:
-The patter may seem a bit childish to
some, or a little cheesy. Harlan's included patter will have to be modified for many performers. The
presentation/patter fits with my personality/character, so I didn't have to do much modification.
-Some may say that the fact that two pieces of paper (the "all seeing eye" and their
information) is in play (as opposed to a single piece of paper) has potential to complicate the plot
and take away from some of the directness that other methods have. This is not an issue for me,
since the plot of the effect remains simple (and able to be described in one sentence as The
-It requires a few seconds of preparation. As I stated above, this can be
quickly done in front of the audience before the performance.
-The sound gets a little
weird/distorted mid-video, but it won't have any effect on learning the effect. It wasn't a
I promised earlier in this review that I would talk about Harlan's additions
to this classic effect in mentalism. This is ASE's greatest strength. In billet effects, there is
often no justification for the "revelation-of-secret-info-on-a-sheet-of-paper" effects; they are
often performed just like that (hence the name I just coined). I've seen countless performers ask
their audience to write down a piece of information. They will then take the sheet of paper, execute
some action with it, and usually end with placing it in the spectators hand. They will then
immediately revealing the name, date, or whatever was written down. While this may fool or even
entertain the audience, this is the worst way to perform such an effect. What is the purpose in
having someone write down information, only to tear the paper up and reveal the information? Why not
just have the audience think of something, THEN reveal it?
What Dan's version accomplishes is
that his presentation serves as a justification for every action completed by the performer. Every
hand movement, transfer of objects, every word has some psychological purpose in his routine. This
solves the main presentational problem of the center tear, peek, switch, etc. The writing of the
information is justified through presentation. Harlan shows a great psychological understanding of
the motivation behind movements, and this is very helpful in his teaching. This new presentation and
way of approaching the "write and reveal" effects is worth this download. Although I have my own
presentation that justifies the actions of such an effect, I enjoyed hearing Dan Harlan's take on
it, and came away with new ideas. Any magician/mentalist, beginner to pro will benefit from this
Disclaimer: I do not write reviews without "field testing" the product. ASE does
very well in performance, and I did not encounter any obstacles.
This was maybe the best review i have read, ever. ;)
Penguin please send this man your products in return for reviews like these, i rarely buy magic because it is all so hyped and dishonest in the ads but with reviews like this i can finally tell what i am getting. :)
thanks so much :)))
Mr. Bowles, believe it or not, I've read your work from USA Today--Your article on Richard Attenborough was the last one I read I believe. Thanks for the encouragement! Means a lot.
Thanks for all of your supportive comments. I enjoy reviewing, and it's very important to the magic community. It keeps the advertising and trailers in check, and it's helpful to the consumers.
FreakingZebraMagic, I would be more than happy if Penguin sent me products to review. :)
melech12, It's relevant for those interested in ASE's limits. Can it be performed impromptu? Since there was not a clear cut answer, I decided to explain why (or how) it could be performed on the spot. There are plenty of methods in magic to covertly execute the required preparation in front of the audience. I wasn't suggesting that one should do the action plainly in front of the audience. The point is that if a performer really needs to perform ASE impromptu, they can. However, I do agree with you that the wisest bet would be to take a couple of seconds in private whenever possible. Thanks for your thoughts!