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Topic: Who invented ThreeFly (3Fly)?
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Jan 30, 2005 08:05AM)
I’ve attempted to address this issue in other threads, but it’s been suggested that it was “off topic”, so I thought if I started a thread specifically about this issue then a few more readers might have the chance to read it, and to join in the discussion.

Repeatedly Jonathan Townsend had implied and/or outright claimed that he is the original inventor of 3Fly. I dispute that claim.

For those who come into this discussion late (or have been hibernating for the last 3 years), Chris Kenner published “ThreeFly” - often abbreviated as “3Fly” -, in his MagicMan Examiner magazine. In writing that routine, Chris failed to credit Jonathan Townsend for inspiration, though in a later write-up (in Richard Kaufman’s "Totally Out of Control") he DOES credit Townsend for inspiration [only].

After a long absence from the magic scene (during which many thought him [b]dead[/b]) Jonathan Townsend surfaced and now seems to steadfastly maintain that virtually any version of “Visual Coins Across” belongs to him. That is, any routine which involves the visual transposition of one or more coins is HIS [Townsend’s] property and has been performed, explained and sold without his permission, and therefore unethically. In his mind, that makes him the “inventor” of 3Fly and his version the only “real” version.

I’ve had the opportunity to review Jonathan’s [very recent] privately published historical notes and detailed explanation of the coin effect that he claims as the “real” original 3Fly. In spite of the good deal of unsubstantiated – possibly revisionist – history offered in that manuscript, in the end it seems clear that - even by Townsend’s own account - Kenner built on something he was willingly shown, and he created a very different routine around it. In studying his posts on the subject I perceive that Townsend seems to view this as wrong.

Interestingly, just a few years ago Townsend admitted that he had done something similar with an unpublished Ken Krenzel move to create his own routine!

It is my belief that this is how magic – indeed, how ANY art form – evolves. You can take virtually ANY effect, idea or routine that is publicly connected to any famous magician and trace its roots back to somebody else. If the individual sleights or presentation concepts could be so easily held captive by one person there would be no magic today. We could very possibly have no Lance Burton, David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, etc, because they ALL have built on the works of others.

In summation:
[b]Jonathan Townsend did NOT invent 3Fly. [/b] He invented a close-up routine that involved the visual transposition of one of a group of coins from one hand to the other. He showed it to a number of other magicians and some of them built on what he showed them. Many years later, Chris Kenner – who very possibly believed Townsend to be DEAD at that time – published his routine. Inspired by Townsend – how much we don’t know – but decidedly different from what he originally created. By my read, the original Townsend routine can be shown to a few people, up close and personal. Kenner’s version can be seen by a small theater full of people, and he called his “ThreeFly’. That’s where the name came from, that’s where the hands-up-in-front-of-the-face version came from, and that’s who “invented” ThreeFly (3fly).

The floor is open…

Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Adam Keisner (Jan 30, 2005 08:25AM)
Is it really neccesary to resurrect this topic Thomas? Quiet time of year in Alaska, I imagine?

Message: Posted by: Jonathan P. (Jan 30, 2005 08:32AM)
I don't get your point. You say that every "original invention" can be related to a previous existing thing (which I kind of agree with) but you ask, "who is the real inventor of it?"
So, I think if we agree on the first point, the question is "ipso facto" obsolete.

I'd like to add that, in the recent posts (and this is, maybe, due to some reactions like yours) Jonathan Townsend's reactions about the "3-fly" discussions became a lot more smooth and stopped to be revendicative and angry. On the contrary, I felt that the discussions evolved toward the idea that, as you say, "effects always have an outside inspiration and are always taken away by other people."

Well, I don't know if I am crystal-clear, but I don't feel at my ease with the "emotional color/mood" (sorry, I don't know the English way to express what I have in mind) of your post.

Message: Posted by: Mike Wild (Jan 30, 2005 08:39AM)
Who asked you to "clarify" the topic in the first place? What makes you the definitive authority? Don't you have pool cues to make and magazines to deliver?

You've made this a personal mission, and I for one am sick of it. Did you invent coins across or three fly? No?? Hmmmm. I guess there's some other reason that you feel that you're an expert on this subject?

These forums are for contribution, not a place for you to wage your tiresome personal wars against people.

You can shoot back if you like, I said what I wanted to say, and I've read your dronings on more than enough in the past... I'm done with this thread and this subject.

Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Jan 30, 2005 08:47AM)

You've made this a personal mission, and I for one am sick of it. Did you invent coins across or three fly? No?? Hmmmm. I guess there's some other reason that you feel that you're an expert on this subject?

I would assume no concidering he's the one who's ASKING who invented it. I'm sure he's just making observations on what he's researched and heard (not that it's all true). Either way these forums are here for him to ask questions, what's the use of them if everyone would rather tell him to shut his mouth? I may not agree with all of his points, but he still has the right to ask the question if he wants. It too don't agree with the mood/emotion of the post, so if you don't want the topic to come up again then don't reply, let the thread die.
Message: Posted by: Stuart Hooper (Jan 30, 2005 09:58AM)
He's made up his mind, quite some time ago.

Jonathan Townsend invented the thing. Chris Kenner published a very minor variation of it without asking permission, and while the original was under wraps. Those that claim Chris Kenner made the leap to chest level, etc, are also somewhat off base...the original works of Jonathan Townsend contain enough variations of the concept to do it close-up, on stage, chest level, standing, seated, gaffed, ungaffed...pretty much anything you could think of. No one person, out of all the countless variations that have been published, however, thought to ask Jonathan first...just ask...run it by him, nothing.

Many have said, well, no big deal, right, it's just a coin trick. I think the fact that so many have published so much on the matter, and were too afraid to do their research proves that it meant very much to them, indeed.

Thomas Wayne is not *asking*..he's telling. Not entirely sure why he's made it his mission, but there are plently out there that continue spouting off ideas without having much factual base.

I believe people that were there, "names", if we must drop them, can verify that Jonathan's work on the history of the time is hardly revisonist.

A few minutes research could have easily proven Jonathan was not dead either, that argument continues to be ridiculous.

Mr. Wayne is obviously something of a sub-standard mentalist...I caution anyone to believe to heartily his readings.

Chris Kenner and Bob Koehler's transgressions are not limited to work by Jonathan, the former seeing fit to published un-published moves by Geoff Latta, and the latter, making free with gaffs invented by Steve Dusheck.

Jonathan Townsend's work in our field continues to be of the absoltuely highest caliber. I think evidence of this for those who have not seen, is that a trivial assembly of a few tools he invented for coin magic, a demonstration piece for a concept, if you will, what the world knows as "3fly", has sparked so many variations, publications, etc....I for one hope that his good stuff remains private for a long time to come, because the community continues to prove that it is not ready. Grow up, children!

For the record, in hostile e-mails, Thomas Wayne has labeled me Towsend's "syncophantic lapdog". I believe this term is meant to discredit my views on the subject, etc. I would only like to say that I know Jonathan Townsend only through long distance correspondence, and I met him, because upon deciding that I wished to learn "3fly", maybe buy Koehler's version, I did about five minutes of research, sent out a few PM's, and about a day later decided to talk to Jonathan about the matter. He could not have been kinder, presenting options and telling the story of what occured, which of course, I verified with several people in this community whom I take to be above reproach. Our relationship continued based mostly on a mutual appreciation for other matters.

"One man's brain plus one other will produce one half as many ideas as one man would have produced alone. These two plus two more will produce half again as many ideas. These four plus four more begin to represent a creative meeting, and the ratio changes to one quarter as many ..."
Message: Posted by: bigchuck (Jan 30, 2005 10:35AM)
OK, so Todd Lassen's work sucks and Mr Towshend DIDN'T invent Visual Coins Across (which essentially IS what has become 3Fly in magic vernacular) because of course, Jonathan Townshend WAS dead but was resurrected for the sole purpose of bugging Chris Kenner (and all the other knock offs) with the idea of magic ethics.

This sounds like a bad magi-political soap opera story-line set in neverland.

now the obligatory disclaimer -- that's just IMHO. :)
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Jan 30, 2005 10:46AM)
Not exactly sure why TW chases Ol' JT like this, from thread to thread, but boy what an adversary...:) JT can be bit off-color, snappy and all-knowing at times but I don't picture him much as a liar. Wayne don't seem like much of a liar either to be honest but his recurring actions on this seem to have a biting spirit to it and that's not cool. He just might be prosecuting the real victim in this case, and why is anyone prosecuting anyone on this forum??? Anyway, I guess in Wayne, Ol' JT is met on the mat with someone ready to take him on historically blow for blow, and do it with a smile, not in the least bit amazed by his knowledge, wit or vocabulary.:) Who's right???...Like I say, JT might be a lot of things, some good, some not so good in ways at times, but he comes across as mostly a good guy and not a liar, and seemingly in a clear-enough mind about all this from the beginning. One thing is for sure, he seems to be somewhere at the very close inception of the effect, if not the absolute epicenter of the matter. It is also quite possible, albeit probable, that someone might've picked his pocket on the way to the store on this one. And without JT it seems that Kenner had little if anything much in his pocket to be picked in this regard at all. Hmmmmmmm....Just my view.
Message: Posted by: Dan Watkins (Jan 30, 2005 11:45AM)
One matter of correction, Kenner does name Jonathan Townsend for inspiration in Magic Man Examiner as well.

I have tossed my opinions on the matter into the ring before, but have decided to stay out of it because I am resigned to the fact that I was not there. So I won't get involved in the he said she said game.

However, looking at the situation from the outside looking in, I believe the assertions are as follows:

Jon showed Chris some form of the plot that Chris even acknowledges in his writeup.

Chris put together a version that caught the fancy of many magicians and his version became very poplular.

Chris' version is very different than the version Jon showed him.

However Jon's unpublished written history of the effect includes accounts of him experimenting with all versions (including the methods used in Ultimate 3 Fly) which asserts that Jon's work is comprehensive of more than what was shown to Chris Kenner.

I believe Jon Townsend invented the open concept of coins traveling visibly from one hand to another. So Jon invented the "VCA" plot with coins. It was never published.

Chris Kenner's version is coined the name Threefly, therefore in the strictest definition of attributing the name "Threefly" with Chris' particular routine, Chris invented "Threefly". This routine became very popular and has spurred many variations.

I think that is the historical assertions on it, devoid of any opinion. I am sure those who where there can correct me if I am wrong.
Message: Posted by: Werner G. Seitz (Jan 30, 2005 11:57AM)
I don't know any of the background re what's here talking about.
Nevertheless I have some opinion re what's discussed here.

First of all, to *invent* a new name (f.ex. 3 Fly) for a certain routine that is almost equal to an existing one, still owes credit to the mentioned existing one, which sounds to be given in this case.

Next, I think Mr. Townsedn simply [b]*NOW*[/b] should make his original version publically available via a booklet and the *trade*, and here also give his variations and thoughts re that matter.

No doubt, he'll mention Chris Kenners involvement as well as the ones of others that FOLLOWED his original premise.

This, no doubt, will again give renewed discussions, but then at least we have the honest and printed (black on white) views from JT, as well as his thoughts on progres and what's happend since he started to have it shown to some of the ppl involved the very first time..

My suggestion to Mr. Townsend would be, to also include as many as possible fotos or 'good' drawings done by a competent illustrator.

That's the way Mr. Townsends original concept can be safed for the future generations of fellow coinworker, who -no doubt- will appreciate it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 30, 2005 12:22PM)
I can go so far as to state that Chris Kenner is the author of a booklet titled "three fly" and also that he published a routine by that name is his magazine "magic man examainer", which along with a coins aross routine using a visual backclip recovery, was also published by Kaufman in a book titled [i]Totally Out of Control[/i].

I can enjoy the art and humor style of Kenner's works in small doses. That sort of satire/flippant humor and art style is a contribution to magic literature.

The moral principle involved in taking unpublished material into print by folks who are not the inventor...is perhaps a novel invention of dubious value. The fact that our community offers acclaim to those involved is puzzling to me. Is this the thing we wish to discuss and credit to those involved?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan_Miller (Jan 30, 2005 12:22PM)
Now I am not sure who here actually knows what the Townsend routine consists of. Apparently Thomas Wayne does, through his own admission, but I am not quite sure as to some of the others who have posted. I saw Jonathan perform the routine when he first returned to the magic scene and at one time, when I was more actively involved in magic, was attempting to help him write and publish this material. This eventually fell by the wayside but I feel all this gives me some background to make the following statements.

The only similarity between Kenner's routine and Townsend's is that the coins travel "visibly." If this is enough reason to claim theft is a debateable issue, though I tend to believe it is not. Townsend's routine is nowhere near as versatile as Kenner's.

Though Jonathan and myself have had some heated moments I consider him a friend in magic and I do like his routine very much. I dislike the Kenner routine and many of its variants. While I have never met Kenner my one interaction with him was unpleasant. Therefore I can hope that people see I am not playing favorites as I do prefer Townsend's work on the subject. I do disagree though that Kenner stole the routine from Jonathan though he obviously was inspired, which he mentioned.
Message: Posted by: Werner G. Seitz (Jan 30, 2005 12:33PM)
One has to learn from the unfortunately 'dead' ones..
PUBLISH..like Marlo did...that's the only way to preserve ones material...apart from it is the best way to protect it..nobody does read it :P
Message: Posted by: mystre71 (Jan 30, 2005 12:44PM)
IMO If Kenner and Kohler were shown Jon's routine (By Jon or anyone else) and not given permission(by Jon) to work on, then they should have respected and appreciated the routine, and waited for Jon to publish his work on it. To take what they saw go home work out a routine, and then to publish it was wrong. How could they know that Jon hadn't already thought of their handling before? They couldn't.

Message: Posted by: Stuart Hooper (Jan 30, 2005 12:51PM)
Well said Joe, and it is naive of people like "Jonathan Miller" (whom I would like to see use his real name) to assume that Townsend had/has but one routine for his concept.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan_Miller (Jan 30, 2005 12:59PM)
I assume nothing. In fact, I know many of the other routines Jonathan had worked out, including at least one that was done with the hands in a similar position to the one used by Kenner. However, not only the technique but the effect looks very different.
Message: Posted by: Dan Watkins (Jan 30, 2005 01:03PM)

I asked Kohler about his routine when I had a chance to see him in Las Vegas.

He said that although he was one of the few to have seen Jon's routine, he never went anywhere with it. It was not until Chris Kenner's publication that Bob became interested in the routine and began to work on it. His version is one of the myriad versions that have come out of Kenner's publication.

Again... I am not getting into the whole ethics of everything, just passing along what I have been told. Kenner's inspiration was Townsend directly. Bob's inspiration was Kenner.

Message: Posted by: RS1963 (Jan 30, 2005 01:05PM)
Simple, Townsend did.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 30, 2005 01:12PM)
I was informed that Chris Kenner MAY HAVE invented a setup for the last coin vanish in the routine that while unpublished, still kind of belongs with the name "three fly" as he used to perform the thing in context of the trick.

What was published, instead of the vanish folks seem to be impressed by, was a sleight of Geoff Latta's. I don't recall seeing any crediting to Mr. Latta in the Kenner writings, nor any mention of permisions sought for the sleight.

By way of contrast, you can see this kind of situation handled in a more positive way in Kainoa's book [i]Coins on Edge[/i], where the Edge Grip to Edge Grip coin switch idea is discussed, credited and applied to some routines.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Jan 30, 2005 04:47PM)
On 2005-01-30 10:58, Stuart Hooper wrote:
[b]Grow up, children!

For the record, in hostile e-mails, Thomas Wayne has labeled me Towsend's "syncophantic lapdog". [...] [/b]

Children? Correct me if I'm wrong Stuart, but aren't you a 17 year-old boy?

As for "syncophantic lapdog", I said no such thing; I've never used the word "syncophantic" a sentence in my life.

I called you a [b]"yipping little lapdog"[/b], a description that is at once more accurate AND easier to spell :)

Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Paul Sherman (Jan 30, 2005 04:52PM)

Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Jan 30, 2005 05:16PM)
I, for one, greatly value everyone's opinions, and I find it compelling when people appear to disagree so disctinctly. Ceratinly, many helpful conversations include disagreement.

I'm against name-calling and personal attacks, though, and I've seen both in this thread. Please note that Jonathan has managed to refrain from using these tactics in this thread, and HE's the one who's involved! (Thank you for your gentelmanly conduct, Jonathan, even when involved in such a coversation.)

All of us here crave conversation, and I suspect most of us are okay with disagreement, but I doubt many of us wish to read name-calling and personal attacks. I, for one, choose not to tolerate it, and I will appreciate and end to these tactics.
Message: Posted by: Daegs (Jan 30, 2005 05:37PM)
My favorite part of this thread is that if you know who Thomas Wayne is, and know who Jonathan Townsend is, then you don't even need to bother reading any of the post....

Anyone who's been in contact with Mr. Wayne for even a short while knows what type of person he is, and should know accourdingly to disregard just about anything he says, especially in matters like this.

Good luck argueing guys, it's pointless as you can never alter Wayne's views on anything no matter how much logic there is in the right viewpoint....
Message: Posted by: Micheal Leath (Jan 30, 2005 07:28PM)
I'm no expert on the subject, but I do know that everytime the subject of 3fly is brought up, then Jonathan starts complaining about not being given enough credit or pretty much says that his effect was stolen from him. I mean no disrespect, but get over it. Magic grows by improving on the work of others and that is exactly what magicians like Kenner have done. Kenner does give credit to Jonathan, so how has any wrong been done? According to Jonathan, everyone who now performs a version of 3fly is stealing from him. It's time to move on and keep improving on what has come before us.
Message: Posted by: mystre71 (Jan 30, 2005 09:02PM)
On 2005-01-30 20:28, Micheal Leath wrote:
I'm no expert on the subject, but I do know that everytime the subject of 3fly is brought up, then Jonathan starts complaining about not being given enough credit or pretty much says that his effect was stolen from him. I mean no disrespect, but get over it. Magic grows by improving on the work of others and that is exactly what magicians like Kenner have done. Kenner does give credit to Jonathan, so how has any wrong been done? According to Jonathan, everyone who now performs a version of 3fly is stealing from him. It's time to move on and keep improving on what has come before us.

Micheal, Let's say you come up with an routine, you haven't finished exploring all of your own ideas of this routine, but you show me your work in progress.
I like what I saw, so without asking, I go home work on it and publish my take on it, before you've had a chance to finish your own work on it or even publish it.Do you think that would be right? No it wouldn't. It also wouldn't be very respectful.

Now had I ask and was granted permission that would have been a different story.

Message: Posted by: Danny Boy (Jan 30, 2005 09:08PM)
I met Mr. Wayne only breifly at this past WMS. I talked with him for a few moments and I doubt he even remembers me, there were so many of us teens there that I'm sure most of us blended into one. Both Mr. Wayne and the young man who I had the pleasure of competing against are two of the nicest alaskans I have ever met..haha...two of the nicest people I've met. It seems to me that we should not yelp at him for expressing what he did, he is obviously passionate about it and deserves to be heard. The magic community is a brotherhood and we have to remember that, brothers have disputes but they are still brothers. Whether you agree with him or disagree with him, remember that we have the ability to have opinions and voice them. If we were all the same then nobody would stand out and we wouldnt have lance Burton's or Pete Biro's because we'd all have the same views and performing styles. Embrace it, you don't have to like it, but appreciate where its coming from.

Stepping off the soapbox now and walking to the armchair to play quarterback before I drive from the backseat.

Message: Posted by: Micheal Leath (Jan 30, 2005 10:47PM)
Jonathan, I do believe you deserve credit. I'm sure you have created some great stuff. Right or wrong, what has been done has been done and credit has been given.

I would have no problem with someone improving on something I showed them. Like I said, that is how magic grows. If they do take something I showed them and make improvements, all I would ask is that I get credit for showing them. That is exactly what Kenner did. It is not like Kenner took exactly what he was showed and published it as his own. I do not believe it was his intention to steal from Jonathan. Again, I'm not claiming to be an expert at the subject. All I know is what has been posted on the Café.

To those who insist on bashing those who disagree with you, do you think you are setting a good example to the younger ones who visit this forum? I see it all the time here and it is immature. Sorry, but that is how I feel. You may not agree with what Thomas Wayne says, but he is entitled to say what thinks just as well as anyone else. He does bring up some good points, but some choose to completely ignore them and bash him. For once can some of you just agree to disagree?
Message: Posted by: Craig Ousterling (Jan 30, 2005 11:31PM)
I worked with two other gentlemen on a public access television show in the California bay area. The W.A.V.E awards were approaching. It's something like the western third of the US' public access television stations competing against each other producing a 2 minute 'commercial' for your own show.

I had the equipment and a solid knowledge of editing and shooting. I put the most of whole thing together: from making a soundtrack and adding sound fx to shooting material and editing the whole thing. "One" of the other two guys was sort of helping me.

Awards night, and the piece "we" submitted (my piece) received first place. I was there to see it presented. However my name was not called to go up to the podium and accept the awards with the other two gentlemen. My name was not on the award plaque or on the bigscreen display behind the podium. The only thing I got was a mention in the "I would like to thank the following people" list. Bitter? yeah- A little.

To the point: everytime the subject of video/tv/filming work is brought up, I'm reminded of not being properly credited for doing MOST of the work involved in that situation. Did I mention EVERYTIME the subject is brought up this happens?

I think I understand some of the emotions Jon might go through when being reminded of the situation he was in. If I were Mr. Townsend I'd retort by telling Thomas Wayne just because YOU'RE losing a battle with alcoholism and feel the need to SPOUT OFF about something that didn't DIRECTLY involve YOU to shut yer pie hole Mister. And use your time more wisely in the Betty Ford clinic.

But I'm not Mr. Townsend.

@Thomas Wayne- I don't "know" Mr. Townsend personally. We have exchanged some emails. He seems to me a talented and nice person. I'm in Jon's corner on this one. After reading posts and information on this subject I believe the MEAT AND POTATOES is Jon's idea. I think 'others' took that idea and changed some things and then published "their stuff". I now believe other very talented workers are going to "hold back" from the community and each other. (I certainly would). And THAT saddens me. It seems to be because crediting ettiquette has no rules. Some people are polite about it and some aren't. Sometimes by mistake and sometimes on purpose.

~Craig Ousterling
Message: Posted by: Paul Sherman (Jan 30, 2005 11:51PM)
Deletion in 5...4...3...2...
Message: Posted by: Dan Watkins (Jan 30, 2005 11:52PM)
On 2005-01-31 00:31, GreyGhost wrote:
I now believe other very talented workers are going to "hold back" from the community and each other. [/quote]

Not to ignore the body of your post or to change the subject, I just thought I'd say that I think every magicain that invents magic does this. I know I have pet stuff that I'll never publish. I think this is the case and always will be the case, regardless of what happened to Jon Townsend 15 years ago.

Some stuff people will share, some stuff people won't.

Paul, you see the train wreck coming too I see :) Is it time to get off the tracks?
Message: Posted by: CardiniMan (Jan 31, 2005 12:05AM)
Paul Sherman is my new hero!
Message: Posted by: tpdmagic (Jan 31, 2005 12:09AM)
Lets change the thread to why are magicians such jerks? Everyone that spends there time attacking others must have the confidense of a rock. In fact they must not spend that much time on the art of magic as it takes a lot of time and energy to come up with this kind of rubish!

Message: Posted by: Craig Ousterling (Jan 31, 2005 12:20AM)
@Dan- I hear you. I would still think someone such as yourself would be upset if someone sees you perform a pet effect, then reverse engineers it, changes a little bit but not enough for you not to recognize it as 'your working idea'. Then publish "their" material.

I realize my post might have had a harsh tone... but I think Wayne is going for reactions like that. Maybe he's trying to get a job at the national enquirer or maybe even FOX news. I however don't think he's trying to post a relevant topic for discussion here, I think he's taking a jabbing at Townsend. So does most everyone else here.

Some people are staying out of this. Some people are tired of hearing Mr. Townsend post "that's mine"... I've been there but in a different field. It's frustrating and if it continues to be brought up it can get downright annoying. People like Mr. Wayne should let it go.... not Mr. Townsend.