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Topic: Floating Ball- Okito's steps???
Message: Posted by: Bryan Gilles (Nov 24, 2007 09:20PM)
Hey everyone,

I'm interested in any materials concerning Okito and the floating ball. I'm researching his steps and have come up five-shy... Any help would be beneficial!

Thank you!

-Bryan
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Nov 24, 2007 09:27PM)
Hmm, it might explain it in his book.

I know when he was working on the book,
he actually had to ask my dad how he
did the kuma tubes.

I'm guessing here...
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Nov 24, 2007 09:52PM)
Bryan: Theo Bamberg's book, "Okito On Magic", 1952, contains a History of the Floating Ball, from when he acquired the ball from David Abbott to a brief description of his stage routine. More importantly, it contains his philosophy about the ball, comparing it to a violin which he had to first master in order to play it in a concert. He emphasizes the importance of personal control, lighting, thread color, staging tips, but I'm not sure what steps you have and what parts you may think you are missing.

To me, the most important aspect is hinted at in Okito's words, but not stated directly. You must appear to endow the ball with a life and personality of its own, which you, as magician, cannot really completely control. It floats in spite of you, not because of you. If it could, it would escape from you and live free, like any wild creature of nature.

Because of my own philosophy about the ball, I have always felt that Okito made a mistake in putting the ball back into the cabinet at the end. In my own former stage routine, the ball went up high in the air at the finish, vanishing just before it reached the flies. Since the audience always has empathy with the ball, you become a hero when you finally set it free.
Message: Posted by: Bryan Gilles (Nov 24, 2007 10:00PM)
Excellent post Spellbinder!

I believe my father has that book within his collection. I'll have to do some sweet talking to see if I can borrow it!

I currently have a Don Wayne ball in my posession. Would this be an ideal delegate for/ with Okito's works?

-Bryan
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Nov 25, 2007 09:36AM)
Abbott's original ball was six inches in diameter. Okito didn't like that size and increased it to nine inches in diameter. His ball was made of aluminum and was heavier than today's plastic models. The weight is good for reducing vibration and slowing down movement, but the light weight of the plastic ball allows for a thinner and therefore more invisible floating medium.

The main problem with the floating ball is that the audience immediately knows that it floats and most magicians, including Okito, then go on to do a ten minute routine with it, usually silent and performed to music. With an uninteresting routine, the audience is sitting there straining their eyes for ten minutes and trying to see what makes it float. Your job is to make the routine so interesting that they forget about the floating aspect and change the mental focus from "it floats!" to "it's alive!" I think Okito would have enjoyed working with the plastic ball and thinner floating medium, which would allow him to go right out into the audience with it, switching between a stage floating ball and an Astrosphere, and maybe even throwing in a Zombie double. But perhaps that's just me and what I used to do, hoping that Okito would approve.
Message: Posted by: Laszlo Csizmadi (Nov 25, 2007 01:42PM)
The best routines I ever saw from Galina

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H-nVn2OKGc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnmORbVSR6U&feature=related

Best,

Las
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Nov 25, 2007 09:45PM)
I liked the second version best, where she "takes a ride" on top of the ball.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Nov 26, 2007 11:26AM)
Hi Bryan,
The actual steps are not listed in Okito On Magic.

I believe they are in the very rare and expensive Dr. Albo book, but not certain.
There are a few other out-of-print resources as well.

This has been an interest and passion of mine for a very long time, maybe thirty-years now.

From what I can reconstruct, the Oktio ball was very unlike the Don Wayne,
both in method and more importantly, appearance to the audience.

Okito used balls as small as five inches to a maximum of eight or nine inches,
made of various materials including celluloid, over the years.

He used two variations of music and had sheet music for each piece.

I’ve been working on a simplified variation of his hook-up with some success.

PM me if you’d like to get into a more involved discussion.
Magically,
Walt
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 27, 2007 07:22AM)
Walt is correct. the exact handling, as written by Fu Manchu, is in the Albo books. There are also various other sources including the Abbott book and Billy Russell's routine. Mike Ching's book gives a good account and sources.

David Ben did a very good version of the original Okito routine.
Richard
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Nov 27, 2007 10:04AM)
The David Ben version is good looking and interesting,
but while he used many of the traditional Okito steps,
he did not use the Okito choreography,
so it was very different than watching Okito would have been.
Magically,
Walt
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 27, 2007 01:40PM)
True enough.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (May 26, 2008 11:59PM)
Walt, Richard & Spellbinder know of what they speak.

The Albo book (Dr. ALbo is still with us and living round SF I believe) is probably the best single resource.

Lance Burton's current birdcage routine is based largely on the Okito idea (itself based on an idea by David Abbott). Though Okito and his son, FU MANCHU did more of a dance with the ball, someone once described it as "A dance in a spiders' web". Cool analogy.

The Albo book is a collector's item, very expensive though if you know of an oldtimer with it you just MIGHT be able to borrow it, for say, some yardwork?

The original instructions for the Don Wayne ball contain a very streamlined version of the Okito routine.

David Copperfields version by Don Wayne Circa 1980 was very cool, though Operator-Driven. You can find it on YouTube.

I strongly suggest NOT going over 9 inches as the chances of your bumping into the ball increase greatly after 8 inches. One bump that produces a recognizeable "dangling" motion will DESTROY the Illusion. A 6" or 7" ball shows up well, and is fine in my opinion.

After The DANCING HANDKERCHIEF book, I have been working on a Floating Ball/Object book for nearly 17 years. Right now it is in manuscript form and available. Write me if you'd like a copy.

PS: I have a floating lecture with several unique Ideas in case anyone wants to fly me out from Hawaii!

PSS: Also strongly suggest you limit your TOTAL routine to LESS than 2.5 minutes. No Great Floating/Animation routine overstays it's welcome. If you look at most truly GREAT floating routines, the Animation/levitation time is no more than that. The trick isn't very long, it just makes such an impression that people REMEMBER it vividly and they seem to recall that it went on for awhile. No, they just locked into it because levitation is so patently impossible.

It's like the 8 minute zombie routines by novices who have no repetiore of moves for it. Don't go long, and Don't ever fake it.

Magical Aloha

Mike Ching

Pres. Hawaii IBM / "Intl. Website Award of excellence, 2006" (HawaiiMagicClub.Com)
Alumni: McBride/Berger "Masterclass" 2008
Author "NEW ANIMATIONS, THE DANCING HANDKERCHIEF BOOK" C.1991 & 2007
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (May 27, 2008 01:52PM)
Mike knows what he’s talking about here!

I think the “dance in the spider web” is probably lost to us forever in the form Okito and his son did it, and what a shame! There are versions and explanations as noted above.

Mike is also on the money saying to stick with a ball between 4 inches and 8 inches and not much smaller or larger. This is a very visible size range for cabaret or large stage.
Okito fluctuated in this range all his career with obviously great success.

Again, his point of keeping the routine brief cannot be overstated. Depending upon the interest you can bring to the presentation a minute-and-a-half to about a maximum of two-minutes make for solid entertainment. After that it is a case of diminishing returns.

Lighting and gimmick color and material are crucial, even more than your backdrop, and if you're serious about mounting this, maybe look into the new and amazing Peter Loughran/Steven & Michael Pignataro's “Voyager” set-up.

I’d love to get my hands on Mike Ching’s new Floating Ball book when it comes out. He’s done a ton of research over a long period of time.

Magically,
Walt
Message: Posted by: The Mirror Images (May 27, 2008 07:06PM)
Walt,

Thank you for mentioning our floating ball rig. Not only can you mount this at a current stage, you can also travel with the rig from theater to theater.

For more information please visit:

http://www.masterofillusions.ca/voyager.html
or
http://store.themirrorimages.com/stage-illusions/voyager/detailed-product-flyer.php

A great bonus is we include a Authentic Don Wayne Floating Ball with the rig and everything you need to make the ball come to life.

Mike,

You have pointed out some really awesome points for everyone to absorb while putting together their floating/animation routine.

PS. Please let us know when you come out with your new book. This will be an excellent book to add to a bookshelf for references.

Cheers,
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jun 5, 2008 12:48PM)
Wow, nice to hear from you all. Hope to have the book done within the year. Have a good Summer season.

Walt, thanks for the email. Michael & Steven, enjoyed the video (thought the girl was going to balance the ball on point of the upstretched leg).

Hope 2 keep up with Floating endeavors here.

-MikeC
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jan 29, 2009 02:54PM)
Hope it's cool to mention that NEW ANIMATIONS is reprinted and is going out to wholesalers this week. You can also contact me to have a copy sent out by priority mail for $50.

Aloha,
MikeC
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Jan 29, 2009 03:02PM)
I have an Okito ball and I think the hookup (different from the Wayne ball) removes one "aspect" of movement from the motion of the ball, and the added weight further dampens the movement, making it look more like I believe a levitating object should look.

Somewhere I have Okito's floating ball manuscript. I am out of town right now, but as soon as I get home I will see if I can track it down.
Message: Posted by: Illucifer (Jan 29, 2009 03:15PM)
The beautiful thing about David P. Abbott's (and, therefore Okito's) floating ball is that it requires no assistants.

Hands down, the absolute best routine for Abbott's effect is the one currently being performed by Teller; The Red Ball.
Message: Posted by: Levity (Jan 29, 2009 03:32PM)
Only last night I was viewing the relevant DVD from Dr. Albo's The Ultimate Okito (excellent resource, btw), where Dr. Albo actually demonstrates part of the act with Okito's original ball. This ball, Albo tells us, was actually a celluloid Earth globe, the type of which was readily available in those days. Okito covered this with gold leaf to create his very, very light ball.

The Ultimate Okito is a brilliant work and well worth the price.

Geoffrey
Message: Posted by: The Mirror Images (Jan 29, 2009 04:16PM)
Mike,

Awesome awesome news. Might have to grab a copy when I get a chance. Thanks for the update!!!

Best,
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jan 29, 2009 08:18PM)
One of the balls made by Edmund Speer (Fu Manchu's mechanic) was recently for sale on ebay.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 29, 2009 09:50PM)
Funny nobody mentions Finn Jon's great floating ball routine. He can do it in full light and also combines mime work sans the you know what.
Message: Posted by: Mike Ching (Jan 30, 2009 12:59AM)
Well that got ME interested for sure...

I know you are one of the most knowledgeable guys out there, Pete, but which Finn Jonn ball is this? He is so prolific and has so many A-1 ideas, many of which are full lt.

Sorry if Finn Jonn's name hasn't come up, but to anyone into floating, it's kind of a given, he is THE guy!

Always interested in your thoughts.

-Mike
Message: Posted by: Senor Rai (Feb 4, 2009 04:04PM)
Hello, I do have a copy of the Albo book, The Oriental Magic of the Bambergs for sale it"s in great shape, but quite pricey. Please let me know if anyone is inetersted. Richard is right, the Billy Russell routain is great. But of course Okito's was the very best. I had one with the chest, and it was made of light metal, I bought it from a collector, and it came with a Zombie gimmack.
Message: Posted by: Grampa Wizard (Apr 22, 2010 11:23PM)
Spellbinder is such a wise & knowledgeable guy! And such a good writer. Thanks, PS for your comments on this illusion.

Folks have been saying a lot here about the need for a lot of rehearsal for this and similar illusions. And there is proof that such work pays off. I stumbled onto the Ukrainian magician Galina as I was researching the floating ball. And the way she combines the floating silks with the ball and then the ball with the self-levitation is fabulous. And then at the end, Spellbinder's dream finish as she lets the ball free to rise into the flies. This is the most sensual and beautiful magic I have seen in a long time. It is a beautifully choreographed and realized performance. Okito and Don Wayne should be thrilled to see what has become of this illusion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnmORbVSR6U&feature=fvw

At the end click on the two other Galina videos. Talk about some sexy linking ring moves! And the rings segue neatly into another routine with the floating ball. Well, here, I'll give you those links too, just to be sure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGdTpHJLNXo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H-nVn2OKGc
Message: Posted by: donrodrigo (Apr 23, 2010 01:04AM)
Floatations have always been on the forefront,as with many other suave routines.
In many cases just the music leaves the audience floating. But in all this seems that the real workers never get noticed,who are they,who are those masked marvels (well hidden), without them we maghi could not perform.
Message: Posted by: DJ Trix (Apr 23, 2010 02:37AM)
Bryan, PM me with your email, ill send you some stuff, I did some research some years back.

Illucifer, is teller currently performing 'the red ball' in their show? I might have to go just to check it out.

Good day.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Sep 7, 2010 03:14PM)
Yeah! Okay!
I've FINALLY assembled the correct props to work on my
Portable, Non-Stage "Okito Floating Ball" routine!!!

--I've had constructed the correct (non-tinsel) portable backdrop.
--I've got the perfect size and weight Sphere.
--The best choice of music I've ever encountered.
--And I've found an angle free flawless hook-up.

And most of all, I can implement the ultimate secret to
Okito's success with his presentation,
which since I discovered it, have not shared with a living soul.

Now, once I've hired qualified people to help me stage this,
I should be able to perform this Levitation in almost any circumstances,
and with subtleties that I've never seen before, live or video.

Now I've got everything together, I've got too work by rear off,
to master and perfect this classic of Magic.

I have to add that all my years working with the Zombie Ball,
have helped greatly to master this method.

I'll certainly post a video when it's all performance ready.

Don't give up on this spectacular Illusion guys,
just keep buying all you can find on the topic and you'll get there.

Walt
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Sep 7, 2010 03:20PM)
Walt,
I hope it goes well. Let me know if I can help if you hit a stumbling block.

Richard
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Sep 7, 2010 03:30PM)
[Duplicate post in another thread.]

Sorry...
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Sep 7, 2010 05:26PM)
Teller of Penn and Teller is suppose to have a fabulous David Abbott floating red ball routine.
Message: Posted by: mobi (Jul 24, 2015 04:29AM)
Teller did his routine on Fool Us USA - you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xp-a2aTZAI
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 24, 2015 05:35AM)
You can see it without leaving the Café as well. Thanks for that link, I wanted to mention it as well.

This version was very different then any I have ever seen. Don't know if I like the playing with the ball that much. Instead of the Floating Ball, it is more like the obedient, not obedient ball. I expected the routine to be a little longer, but with today's audiences, it may have been just right. I am very thrilled to be able to witness this finally, as Teller worked on this for a year or so before performing it on stage, from what I read.


[youtube]2Xp-a2aTZAI[/youtube]


This version was taken from the David Abbott Floating Ball, not from Okito.

Here is an article that appeared after Teller's performance.

http://lasvegasweekly.com/news/2008/nov/20/man-ball-hoop-bench-and-alleged-thread-teller/
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jul 24, 2015 08:35AM)
A year ago at our Collector's meeting in Cincinnati, Teller came in and told the whole story on the routine development. It was very, very enlightening. His thinking is extremely brilliant and it shows how much work goes into a routine. If you ever get the chance to hear it, you should. At Teller's request, there were no audio or video records made of the lecture since it is something he is still very much using. I feel honored that I was able to hear this lecture.
Richard
Message: Posted by: Bairefoot (Jul 24, 2015 03:45PM)
Looks Great!

Bairefoot
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jul 25, 2015 10:27PM)
Very original, I sure don't know how he did it. I am sure Penn is not telling the truth when he says, "The next trick is done with just a piece of thread." It has to more then that to do all those antics of the ball.
Message: Posted by: Ihop (Jul 28, 2015 10:40PM)
[quote]On Nov 25, 2007, Laszlo Csizmadi wrote:
The best routines I ever saw from Galina

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H-nVn2OKGc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnmORbVSR6U&feature=related

Best,

Las [/quote]This is an 8 year old post in this thread but I just watched this for the first time..
I was hypnotized with her body movements. She must have been trained in ballet.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (May 14, 2016 01:18PM)
I know it's not fair to tantalize then not deliver ...but I'm dong it anyway since this effect is constantly talked about in so many forums so many times.

By all accounts Okito made this (now ubiquitous) piece into a career-making vehicle. That much we know.

But it was not just the "steps" and moves ...they've been duplicated and many are on numerous videos now.

I found one tiny little secret (not even in Albo’s books) ...and in one short sentence, in one very obscure text that enlightened and convinced me, that there is one small element that's not been replicated since he performed.

It's not much of a jump from good Magic to a reputation making Miracle, but Okito took Abbott’s concept/method and did just that. Maybe before I die I'll tip my hand and give it out, but not before I've successfully mastered this nuanced technique myself.

Okay hate me if you must <grin>
Magically, Walt
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (May 15, 2016 09:44PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2016, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
I know it's not fair to tantalize then not deliver ...but I'm dong it anyway since this effect is constantly talked about in so many forums so many times.

By all accounts Okito made this (now ubiquitous) piece into a career-making vehicle. That much we know.

But it was not just the "steps" and moves ...they've been duplicated and many are on numerous videos now.

I found one tiny little secret (not even in Albo’s books) ...and in one short sentence, in one very obscure text that enlightened and convinced me, that there is one small element that's not been replicated since he performed.

It's not much of a jump from good Magic to a reputation making Miracle, but Okito took Abbott’s concept/method and did just that. Maybe before I die I'll tip my hand and give it out, but not before I've successfully mastered this nuanced technique myself.

Okay hate me if you must <grin>
Magically, Walt [/quote]

You mean the way he put ****** on the ***** to make it *********?

I thought everybody knew that!
Message: Posted by: Magic Researcher (May 16, 2016 12:21AM)
[quote]On May 15, 2016, cheesewrestler wrote:
[quote]On May 14, 2016, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
I know it's not fair to tantalize then not deliver ...but I'm dong it anyway since this effect is constantly talked about in so many forums so many times.

By all accounts Okito made this (now ubiquitous) piece into a career-making vehicle. That much we know.

But it was not just the "steps" and moves ...they've been duplicated and many are on numerous videos now.

I found one tiny little secret (not even in Albo’s books) ...and in one short sentence, in one very obscure text that enlightened and convinced me, that there is one small element that's not been replicated since he performed.

It's not much of a jump from good Magic to a reputation making Miracle, but Okito took Abbott’s concept/method and did just that. Maybe before I die I'll tip my hand and give it out, but not before I've successfully mastered this nuanced technique myself.

Okay hate me if you must <grin>
Magically, Walt [/quote]

You mean the way he put ****** on the ***** to make it *********?

I thought everybody knew that! [/quote]

Yes, well known but will not work the same on the new ***********. So, no big deal.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (May 16, 2016 02:39PM)
Sorry it's not about ************* or **************** it's about a specific performance technique he mastered that changed his motivation and the audience's perception of what was occurring on stage, can't say more until I'm getting my last rites...
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (May 16, 2016 08:32PM)
After having done Floating ball for several decades around the world, I just believe it's an effect of puppeteering with passion and conviction. Then again I started out as a puppeteer and the ability to breathe life into a marionette via threads is everything. I've studied every method and detail that comes out including the wonderful Luis de Matos method which is very clever. For me, it just doesn't match the elegance and simplicity of the current classic method I use. It works on the largest stages (I performed it at the 7000 seat Sun Dome in Phoenix) down to small venues like the Palace at the Magic Castle. In most typical proscenium houses it rigs in about 1 Minute and strikes in the same. I'll also say that the first 5 years of working with it were the hardest and I think it will take about 10 years for anyone to make it really great. It's just about a LOT of practice and good feedback.
Message: Posted by: Bryan Gilles (May 25, 2016 06:50PM)
Its great to see this post coming back around! Lots of great feedback guys!
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Aug 22, 2016 11:48AM)
Magic Live 2016:
Jinger Leigh-Kalin performs her very special Floating Ball.
It's 90% or more there, it's still a work in progress.
Brought tears to my eyes. Real beauty.
Jinger is on the right track and it's truly magical.
I am eager to see what it develops into.
She's a consummate magician and I love her for it.
One of my great moments at Magic Live's 25th anniversary.
Message: Posted by: AnthonyHolt (Apr 10, 2017 12:52PM)
Anyone that could tell me what the best thread would be for this effect?
Okito used a brown one, Don Wayne a Black one.

Anyone that does have tips for this.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 10, 2017 04:34PM)
The thread depends on the ball you are using and it's weight. Luis De Matos - DVD - includes a very thick on and kind of brown - black color.

Use what came with your ball, it all depends on your lighting set-up and backdrop you use anyway.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 28, 2017 12:33AM)
I would agree that the Luis De Matos DVD (with an insanely clever routine, although I still use my own) has the best current information on Thread selection.