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Topic: The Journey - Matt Johnson (a Magic Portal review)
Message: Posted by: canaday (Nov 22, 2016 05:41PM)
The Journey Matt Johnson

The Hype:

Imagine this.

A single deck of cards is sitting on the table. A spectator is asked to name a card; they are then asked to name a number from 1 to 52. The cards are removed at fingertips from the box and handed to the spectator.

One by one the cards are counted down to the spectators chosen number. When the card at the chosen number is turned over it is the spectators freely chosen card!


Every word that you just read is true. Nothing added or taken away. Nothing but the single deck of cards on the table!

Not only that, when the effect is over the deck is instantly reset and ready to go again for your next performance with a completely different card and number.

The Journey represents 6 years of Matt Johnson's life in one amazing instructional DVD. You will be taken step by step through multiple versions of arguably one of the most talked about effects in the world of magic.

You will receive custom gimmicks to create your very own Journey deck. You will also learn how to perform The Journey any time and anywhere with a borrowed and shuffled deck!

As an added bonus, you will find Matt's original release from 2011 "ACAAN" included on the DVD along with bonus handling tips and suggestions.

The entire DVD was shot on location in Blackpool, England at the world's largest magic convention where Matt fooled professional magicians with The Journey. Every performance and mind blowing reaction is shown in full and unedited.

If you have been searching for the ultimate version of ACAAN look no further. Join Matt Johnson in one of his most anticipated releases to date and get ready to take The Journey.

My Take:
ACAAN is the Holy Grail for a lot of card workers. A buddy of mine collects pretty much every version of this he can find. But strangely enough, I have never seen him perform it. I have seen some great versions over the years like Barry Richardson's in his "Theater of the Mind" book and Boris Wild's ACAAB (Any Card at any Birthday). Both ore outstanding versions and neither is easy to do. Matt Johnson carries on that tradition.

The Journey is an outstanding collection of five versions of ACAAN. You will not be doing this right out of the box but if you take the time to learn a version properly, you will have a worker that you will be using in your shows.

Versions 1 and 2 use the JB Card Cop published in Harry Lorayne's "Close Up Card Magic" and created by John Benzais. Of all the versions on the DVD, Version 1 is the most "pure". You can use a borrowed shuffled deck and still put the named card at the named position. This is not easy. It involves extensive use of the card cop. If you have seen Lennart Green do his Laser deal, you will have an idea what will be expected of you.

Version 2 uses the cop again but also uses a gaffed deck. Matt goes into great detail all through the DVD on how to create each deck used for each routine. This routine uses a technique used by Joshua Jay on one of his routines. Matt is very good on crediting everyone who had anything to do with each routine.

Version 3 requires a special deck. Once again with full directions for construction. After naming the card and the number, the spectator deals himself. How killer is that?

Version 4 is Matt's original handling which requires 4 decks be created. Crib cards are included for the decks used in versions 3-5. Version 5 is the two deck version of this. The construction of the decks put these routines into the hands of those of us who cannot perform the demanding sleight of hand the first two routines require. The decks will take a while to put together but once constructed should last you for a long time.

If you haven't been able to tell, I am in love with this DVD. I had never heard of Matt before but this disk has shown me that he is a magician to be reckoned with. Every step he takes on each routine is logical. His handling of the JB Card Cop is absolutely flawless. You will be fooled watching the routines. This absolutely a brilliant treatise on ACAAN and if you are a fan of the plot, this needs to be on your shelf.

Need I say "Highly recommended"?
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (Nov 22, 2016 10:11PM)
You need not. And good review. Thanks. Definitely one to put on the list.
Message: Posted by: canaday (Nov 23, 2016 06:17AM)
Thanks for the kind words, Ray. Happy Thanksgiving.
Message: Posted by: lcwright1964 (Nov 27, 2016 05:34PM)
Excellent review and I agree entirely. Canada should be proud to have this hard-working and creative Brit now among us. I am obsessed a little with ACAAN too, though not as much as the reviewer's friend. I do have a couple of other favourite versions, such as the Barrie Richardson version mentioned, as well as Asi Wind's AACAAN. I am intrigued too by Dorian Caudal's MirACAAN, but must confess between the cost and the exchange on the Euro I haven't gone for it yet.

My own opinion is that for someone who has memorized a stack and knows it cold (I have) Asi Wind's take on this is the best. The core move takes practice but once mastered just flies past undetected. The deck is ungimmicked and examinable before and after the effect, and the spectator can even deal the cards face up.

Barrie Richardson's version also requires stack memorization. The one move real is not a move at all. However, the number selection needs to be steered into certain permitted ranges depending on the card selection. The mental math is multi-step and this increases the chances of error. The performer must deal. However, the faces of the cards can be exposed and indeed doing so is part of the method. The deck is regular (albeit arranged), and can be used for subsequent effects--even memdeck effects if the stack is reset.

That all said, I say that The Journey is beautiful solution to the "true" ACAAN plot for someone who hasn't memorized a stack and has no desire to. I have to admit that the sleight that Matt executes flawlessly in Versions 1 and 2 is beyond me at the moment, and in any case I would prefer the spectator to deal as in versions 3 through 5. The stacking and gimmicking of the decks takes adequate supplies and a little time, but is not hard. The mental arithmetic required is not onerous. The handling to get the named selection in place takes a little practice but is not a knuckle buster. The spectator deals down, and the deck is easily reset according to Matt's own suggestion or however else one wishes. Unfortunately, the faces of the whole deck cannot be shown, and given the heavy gimmicking of the pack and wouldn't want it in the spectator's hands for long, especially if that spectator is a magician or knows something about the look and feel of a normal deck.

In any case, The Journey is highly recommended. Those who want a great ACAAN yet forgo deck memorization will find what they need here. Those who are into memdeck work and already know other ACAANs will find a lot to celebrate here too that just might enhance how they perform the plot, and other tricks in general. Indeed, any serious card magic buff will find it a good investment to support this project, and Matt's work in general. There is a lot of clever thinking here. Indeed, I would suggest that The Journey has elements that can enhance my performance of Asi Wind's version, and vice versa. I think one of the great benefits of knowing more than one version of a card plot is that one can derive hybrids of other versions to best match one's needs and skill level.

Message: Posted by: canaday (Nov 28, 2016 08:56AM)
Outstanding, Les.
Message: Posted by: GreenKnight33 (Dec 5, 2016 11:56PM)
Thank you lcwright for your thoughts. Greatly appreciate your perspective since you have a broader view than myself.
Message: Posted by: matthewjohnson (Dec 30, 2016 03:22AM)
Thanks so much everyone and Canada Day and Les thank you so much for taking the time to review my work at great length. So happy it is being enjoyed.


Message: Posted by: philipsw (Feb 6, 2017 07:19AM)
I too, loved this release - perhaps I'm in a minority of magic geeks here, but I like the idea of releases on a single effect exploring different methods - really gets the creative juices going. There is something for everyone here - and if you're prepared to put in the work on a useful little sleight you will have an impromptu miracle on your hands. But if you're a bit more lazy like me, there are set-up versions that should be well within reach. I've done a more detailed review on the site: http://www.bicycle-cards.co.uk/2017/02/06/matt-johnson-journey-review/
Message: Posted by: matthewjohnson (Mar 1, 2017 11:27PM)
Hey Philip.

Glad you enjoyed my work. Thanks for the reviews both here and the in depth review on the link you provide. Very kind of you to take the time.

All the best,

Message: Posted by: philipsw (Mar 2, 2017 03:09PM)
Thanks for taking the time to read Matthew! Looking forward to your next release...