The “Happy Birthday Waistcoat” was reviewed in the March issue of
M-U-M (Magic, Unity, Might) magazine (the magazine of The Society of American Magicians) by Jim Kleefeld.
Happy Birthday Waistcoat
By Lee Alex
Dealers contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies
Price $435.00 (Lee’s note: This is the RRP, but many dealers have this on their site for a lot less)
Review by Jim Kleefeld
Lee Alex puts out very high quality products, and the Happy Birthday
Waistcoat is no exception. It is a variation on his earlier release, the
Colour Changing Waistcoat. The performer wears a good–looking white satin vest, and with a quick turn, a sweep of his arm, or a misdirective flash of light, the vest front changes to show a black line drawing of a birthday cake. Another sweep and it changes again to show the same cake, now brightly colored. Another gesture and the candles on the cake light up.
While you could play this at any occasion that suggests cake—adult
anniversaries, for example—it’s a perfect piece to use as a transition at children’s birthday parties. You can make a lot out of closing your show with the vest. Do the quick change, light the candles, have the kids “blow out” the candles, and then and scoot them off to the cake table, leaving you alone to pack up your gear.
The effect is simple, the change is easy, and the design is superb.
Everything about the vest is of exceptional quality. Alex has interfaced
each panel so the material is heavy but not stiff. Each color change is
one-handed, as is the lighting mechanism. The thorough instructions are not only printed with full color photographs, on heavy glossy paper, but a DVD is included as well. Having the candles light up is a terrific idea, and the gimmick that permits it is well constructed. Two light panels and the battery compartment/circuit board/switch box are all small, and perfectly placed. Each of these pieces is plug-in and held in place with sturdy fasteners which means any or all can be removed to have the vest dry-cleaned, or for repairs, or replacement. The holes in the material where the lights show through are laser-cut and finished to prevent fraying and wear.
The vest is available in M, L and XL and there is an adjustment strap in the back so most people can fit it to their shape. To my thinking the unit runs a tad on the small size, so if you are wavering on what size to order, get the next larger one than you might normally wear. And please, not everyone can wear a vest, so consider your own height, weight and general appearance.
This is an exceptional prop: durable, very usable, and well designed. Your only consideration is whether you want to pony up for the hefty cost. Happy Birthday Waistcoat is not cheap. It is $110 more than the high-end Colour Changing Vest. But it is a long–term investment. Do you want to stand out above the rest of the birthday party performers? Some may think it’s too expensive for a quick visual trick, but it could really set you apart from the competition, especially if you use it as a highlight and a transition, close out your show with a novel finish, and teasing it in your marketing.
The word of mouth advertising alone could get you plenty of extra birthday party gigs.
Other reviews of the same item:
“If you like magic painting, cake baking effect and quick change costume, the Happy Birthday Vest is for you, for this one effect meets all these criteria. The vest comes in medium, large and extra-large sizes. A most professional prop. 5/5 stars rating ” John Teo, Magic Boutique (Singapore) 11/29/2009
“The vest is a high quality item that allows you to quickly and easily perform the changes and should be durable under constant use. I was amazed with the slick change mechanism that is fast and convincing.” Wayne Kawamoto Full review