Review: Paragon 3D + Perfect Score by Jon Allen

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Madame Curator”][vc_column_text]I first got in touch with professional UK magician, Jon Allen, when he came out with Silent Treatment back in 2005. Original and humorous, quirky cute in an oddly charming way; although Silent Treatment wasn’t exactly something my stage character (Magic Babe Ning) would personally perform, I really liked Allen’s solid routine and so did most of the international magic fraternity 🙂

Fast forward to ten years and other creations later, Allen has done it again with this brilliant package of Perfect Score + Paragon 3D! I was eagerly anticipating his Paragon 3D because it looked like the cleanest card to box close-up routine… and it is.

I personally hate it when magic products are overhyped so thankfully, this isn’t one such case. Paragon 3D really does what its ad blurb says it does… there’s no “creative marketing” dishonesty in its demo video as well. What you see is really what you get!

 

My non-plussed (non-magician) spouse actually saw me running in gleefully with the package in my hands, doing my happy geek dance with the envelope over my head. I pretty much forgot about going to bed as I ripped open the package to get to Allen’s Paragon 3D set that evening.

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The provided crystal clear box and its lid are very well-made and most importantly, completely examinable since it’s 100% ungimmicked. The entire routine and set-up is extremely clever too and Allen’s one hour plus instructional DVD for Paragon 3D does a decent job in taking you through everything from scratch.

Allen patiently shows you how to set things up, walking you through the classic mercury fold, presenting options with his Perfect Score (after using it, trust me, you’ll never want to go back to traditional methods), the workings of Paragon 3D, performing and routining it, as well as, an invaluable last chapter involving credits and expert tips.

Though simply shot without any fancy edits, the production quality of the instructional material is very decent and I’m always very grateful for professionally done DVDs with menus that break down the different chapters, since that allows you to quickly skip to a certain segment for review after watching its entire length.

It took me less than 5 minutes (mind you, this is me taking my own sweet time) to personally set up my Paragon 3D. Current owners of its predecessor would take even less time in “updating” the original box. 5 seconds max, I kid you not. Allen clearly shows you how in his DVD.

Here’s a little nugget of information if you’re interested in knowing the backstory behind Paragon 3D. Before creating the original 1D version, Allen was playing around with award-winning veteran magician Wayne Dobson’s 3Sixty when he realized a move he’d recently learnt from Alexander de Cova went perfectly with it. It then hit Allen that he was unto something when he was able to fool Dobson with it.

When it was released earlier this year, the original Paragon was a huge hit but to up the ante, Garrett Thomas (I have his Stand Up Monte and Ring Thing… and absolutely LOVE it) and Mathieu Bich (his brilliant Spreadwave 2.0 fooled Penn & Teller, and received the FISM 2006 Gold Medal for “Best Invention”) issued Allen a friendly challenge to make it even more deceptive. The result of that, is Paragon 3D… Yay hey!

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I’m really loving it… look at it, it’s so gorgeous! (Not my nails but Jon Allen’s stuff!) Personally, I feel very motivated in perfecting my Paragon 3D “move” because the payoff is so huge. I can’t wait to perform this once I’m ready!

I got my combo pack direct from Allen, and using Perfect Score on a brand new deck of Bicycle cards for the first time, I clocked in at exactly 13 minutes 56 seconds… not too shabby for a rookie, methinks. Allen shared that he typically takes 10 minutes to score a full deck, so that’s pro speed for you!

Using Perfect Score on an entire deck of cards obviously allows you to give your spectator a complete free choice of card, so why not. Also, no matter how good your mercury fold is (hands up those of you who practice your mercury folds while on the toilet at home… yes I’ve dated some of you), this extra prep allows you to aim for perfection that matches… if you understand what I mean, without exposing anything. Heh.

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Perfect Score is SO easy to use. Just make sure you keep the scoring tool lined up at all times and don’t press down too hard. I’d advise you to practice first on a crap card (you know, one of those rubbish advertisement cards in your new deck) before doing the scoring for real. It’s a practical time saving utility that smart cardicians ought to invest in and it should last you forever… at least, far longer than most celebrity marriages. 

Besides the scoring tool, template and 3 spacers of different sizes, Allen’s Perfect Score package also comes with a booklet that teaches you how to do the mercury fold in real time under performance pressure. One routine, Allen’s Add-a-Number, is also shared but there are many effects out there (mentalism too not just card tricks) that utilise the mercury fold, so a new world of possibilities have just unfolded, so to speak 😉

In all, I’ll say get this combo as this is one solid investment you won’t have any regrets with. If you don’t have a card in box effect, this is a no-brainer. Get it. If you already have a card in box effect, this is a no-brainer. Get it as well. Paragon 3D will be your favourite close-up card to clear box effect yet.

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I also want to give two thumbs up for the packaging of Paragon 3D. It comes in a well-designed sturdy box, just the right amount of practical and fancy. Everything fits snugly inside so it’s very well thought of and I had no problems watching the instructional DVD on my Mac.

Despite his hectic work/ travel schedule, which means he’s constantly on the go, Allen provides topnotch customer service too… checking with me to see if the DVD played okay and if the goods arrived on time. He’s also been extremely helpful in every question I shot him on Facebook messenger, so I’m a very happy girl.

Obviously, as the creator of Paragon 3D, Allen also uses his own products and performs Paragon 3D at corporate roving gigs. He also performs his own Destination Box when working tables. So these items are professionally tried and tested over time, unlike money minded magic creators who churn out constant crap without pride, just to make money from other magicians.

If I could give Allen beyond 10 stars I would; this truly deserves a perfect score.

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Magic is our passion but we are not a magic shop ? You can purchase this here![/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Michael Siegel” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left”][vc_column_text]Paragon 3D

Paragon 3D is a brand new  card to clear box effect. In fact, it is so brand new at the time of this review it has not been reelased by Murphy’s Magic yet. I paid for and received the new Paragon 3D directly from its creator, Jon Allen from Merry Old England. You might know Jon Allen from some of his other effects such as The Pain Game, Silent Treatment, Rule of Three, and Destination Box which is a terrific card, signed coin, or ring to inside a locked box effect for stage or parlour use. Paragon 3D is one of the best, if not the best, close-up card/billet to clear box available to date.

Jon Allen previously released Paragon. Paragon 3D is an updated version that greatly enhances the illusion of a folded card or billet in the ungimmicked clear box. Yes, I did say ungimmicked clear box. More about that later.

As the name suggests, the card or billet in the clear box is three dimensional, not flat and two dimensional as in the other clear boxes currently available such as David Regal’s Clarity Box, which is meant for for stage or cabaret use, and David Penn’s Mystery Solved, which can be used in parlour settings or close-up. With both Carlity Box and Mystery Solved, the card or billet in the box is flat and two dimensional. Therefore there are some angle restrictions to be considered and some discrepencies betweeen the card or billet seen in the clear box and the one that is seen in the performer’s hand after it is dumped out.

Whereas, the card or billet used in Jon Allen’s Paragon 3D is a three dimensional card or billet. There are no angle problems. No matter where the audience is located, they will see a real folded card or billet.  Now comes the nifty part. After you amaze and dazzle your audience by revealing that the card that was all along in the clear box held by the spectator is actually the person’s previously signed selection or revealing that the billet in the box correctly contains your prediciton of a name, place or location selected by the specatator, you can leave the box and lid with the spectator to hold and he or she can completely examine the clear box.

There is nothing to find because the box and lid are totally ungimmicked.  The card or billet inside the clear box is cleverly gimmicked. However, after you open the folded card or billet to show the spectator’s no one will be the wiser. You will look totally clean even though you are not.

If you want to give the card or billet to someone to hoild, there is an easy way to clean up. All of the heat will be on the box so you have all of the misdirection to do what you have to do to clean up. If you only want to show the card or billet then you do not need to do any clean up. The entire effect is very deceptive and this will even fool other magicians.

The gimmick will take about 3 minutes to make. You get enough supplies to make two gimmciks. It is easy enough to get extra supplies if you need to. You can make up two gimmciks, one for a playing card and one for a billet for a prdicition, if you so desire. It take 2 seconds to change gimmciks in the clear box.

The Paragon 3D, unlike Clarity Box or Mystery Solved, is very small, just large enough to hold a folded card or billet. Therefore, it is very easy to carry around. It is made of high quality plastic and should last a lifetime.

A quick tip: if you use this box, or any other clear or opaque card to box such as the Eco-Box that I recently reviewed, for a signed card to box routine, you need to do a perfect or near perfect mercury card fold. If you want to you can practice doing mercury folds from old playing cards while watching re-runs of the Kardashians, or you can use Jon Allen’s Perfect Score to score the cards so the mercury card fold makes perfectly folded cards each and every time.

You can either score one card and force taht card or you can easily score an entire deck and the spectator can freely select any card. Do yourself a favour and get Perfect Score by Jon Allen, available at Murphy’s Magic.  The main differences between Mystery Solved and Paragon 3D are that Mystery Solved’s gimmick is two dimensional, the box is slightly big to carry around in your pocket for strolling use, and the box cannot be examined. However, after you dump out the signed card or prediction billet, your hands are perfectly clean.

With Paragon 3D the playing card or prediction billet is a folded 3 dimensional card or billet. the box is small enough to easily carry around in your pocket for close-up and strolling, and the box and lid are completely examinable after the reveal. However, your hands are left slightly dirty but it is super easy to clean up and no one will notice anyway.  It will take a little practice to get the dumping motion smooth when initially using Paragon 3D, but it really is simple to use and no knuckle busting moves whatsoever. Even a novice can use it.

If you are looking for a clear card to box or clear prdiction box, there is nothing better right now than Paragaon 3D, and I doubt anything will beat this in the near or distant future. My highest recommendation.

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Perfect Score

Folded card to mouth has been a classic since created by Max Malini (1873-1941). Recently, there has been a resurgence of folded card to box routines. My personal favorite folded card (or billet) to box is Jon Allen’s Paragon 3D, which has been reviewed in a separate review.

In order to effectively perform a folded card to box routine, the performer must be proficient in doing a Mercury Card Fold. The Mercury Card Fold was originally published in “Expert Card Technique” in 1940. The Mercury Card Fold is a card manipulation technique where during the natural handling of the deck of cards, the signed spectator’s selection is secretly folded into quarters.

In a folded card to box routine the folded card that was originally seen in the box at the begining of the routine is then switched for the secretly folded signed specator’s card while dumping out the card from the box into your hand.

The folded card that was seen inside the box at teh beginning of the routine is actually the signed spectator’s card.  A real miracle.  The problem is that in order to perform this classic miracle, the performer must be able to perfectly fold the specator’s signed card into quarters while doing the Mercury Card Fold.

If the card is not foded in perfect quarters and does not match the folded card seen in the box, the illusion is ruined. A performer may have to do Mercury Card Folds on several decks of cards before becoming good at it. Even then, duirng a performance, the performer may not do a perfect Mercury Card Fold.

This has scared away many hobbyist and even proofessional magicians from doing this classic effect. Jon Allen, who created the superb Paragon 3D box, has also created the perfect compliment for the folded card to box- The Perfect Score.

In essence, The Perfect Score gives you the means and tools to perfectly and easily pre-score a playing card so that you can do a perfect Mercury Card fold each and every time without any fears or worries.

With Perfect Score, you get a scoring tool, a template, and different spacers to allow you to quickly and easily score a playing card either into fourths or sixths. Most card to boxes including Paragon 3D uses quarter folds, but for those who need to fold the playing card into sixths, you can easily and quickly do that as well with Perfect Score.

Not only does Perfect Score make the folds perfectly each and every time, but it makes doing the Mercury Card Fold technique much easier to perform during performance. SInce the card is already pre-scored perfectly vertically and horizontally, only a small amount of pressure is need to fold the signed, selected card into quarters (or sixths) when doing the Mercury Card Fold.

Perfect Score comes with a six glossy page booklet filled with color photos. Jon clearly explains how to uses the supplied scoring template and scoring tool.  It is very easy to do.If you do not know how to do a Mercury Card Fold, no problem. Jon also describes in detail how to fo the Mercury Card Fold complete with color photos.

In fact, he describes how to fold the card into quarters or sixths during a performance.Jon even describes his Add-A-Number routine as an added bonus.  The pre-scored card is totaly undectable. A pre-scored card can be freely handled by the specator without any fear that the spectator will notice any scored lines on the playing card.

Once you have a pre-scored playing card, you will need to force that card onto the specator for it to be signed. However, I would recommend that you take the time to score an entire deck at one time. This way you do not have to even force a card and the spectator can freely seleect any card form the deck.

In adidtion, you are already to perform the same folded card to box at the next table or person without pre-scoring another card. It takes about 5 seconds to score a card. The first time I tried to score an entire deck ti took me an hour. Now I can score an entire deck in about 20 minutes. It took me that long because I was intentionallyl slow. Magic Babe Ning only took 14 minutes to pre-score an entire deck the first time. Your time will improve as you get used to the template and scoring tools.

If you want to do a folded card to mouth or folded card to box, you must get  Perfect Score by Jon Allen. IT is the perfect compliemnt to any folded card to box, especiailly the highly recommended Paragon 3D by Jon Allen  Perfect Score is an essential tool taht should be owned by all magicians. I highly and strongly recommend Perfect Score.

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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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