Penn & Teller are everywhere these days: Wrapping up the 7th season of their Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bulls#*t!, appearing recently on Top Chef: Las Vegas, and now making a foray onto your iPhone with Penn & Teller Chat Magic Trick.
This is how the ploy works: Upon launching, the app displays a fake home screen, where each icon corresponds to a card value or suit. Tell your victim that Penn & Teller are your friends and want to do a card trick. Ask your friend to pick a card - any card. Covertly tap the intended card and suit (holding down the icon also provides suiting options) and a screen automatically opens that appears to be your text messaging home screen. Here you’ll see fake text messages to contacts from your address book along with text conversations with Penn and/or Teller.
Have your friend text either Penn or Teller to ask what card they chose and the selected magician will answer with a variety of replies depending on the time of day and magician’s “mood.”
I like that you can enter in a “host” name along with your target’s name to further freak out your friends—Penn & Teller will use the names in the messages. Just be sure to change the name before you try the trick on anyone else. There is also an option to create custom lines and jokes for the magicians to say when you tap the Joker, Custom or BS icons.
Unfortunately, there are reports that this app crashes for iPhone 3Gs users across the board, so you may want to hold off for an update. I had no crashing issues on my 3G. The text messaging function also doesn’t support predictive text, a dead giveaway to other iPhone users that something isn’t kosher.
Penn & Teller laid the groundwork for a good ruse with Penn & Teller Chat Magic Trick, but users will need to practice their slight of hand in picking the selected card if they really want to pull off this trick.