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Topic: Cups and Balls DVD for beginner?
Message: Posted by: maxnew40 (Jun 13, 2011 09:54AM)
I am working up a renaissance themed show and the cups and balls were performed in the period. I don't much experience with the cups and balls. I see some info in one of the my Tarbell books, but I would ike to get a DVD. There are so many DVDs on this subject that my head is spinning.

Can anyone recommend a place to begin?

-Max
Message: Posted by: Donnie Buckley (Jun 13, 2011 10:06AM)
Cheap & good with basic moves and the fundamentals:
http://www.rnt2.com/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=30466
Message: Posted by: Mark Ross (Jun 13, 2011 10:07AM)
For its thoroughness of material covered, as well as demonstated routines- starting with simple up to complex- I recommend the 2 DVD set by Michael Ammar. To see a variety of complete, professional routines, I also recommend the 3 cups & balls volumes in L&L's World's Greatest Magic series.

If you can find the Ammar book on C&B, get that also.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Sir Richard (Jun 13, 2011 10:08AM)
Volumes 1 & 2 "Cups & Balls" y Michael Ammar. He starts with beginner & takes it all the way. Easy to understand as well He's selling them for 59% off! http://store.ammarmagic.com/dvds1.html

Sir Richard.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Jun 13, 2011 10:28AM)
I think, for the money, you wont' get a more detailed explanation from anyone than you will from Bob White's DVD. I just watched it, this weekend. I think he explains everything you could want to know about this great trick. It's available from your favorite dealer.

Here's what one dealer had on his website:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

There are countless wonderful routines with cups and balls. Max Malini, Al Baker, Sam Horowitz, Charlie Miller, Paul Rosini, Dai Vernon and many other capable performers featured the trick in their close-up performances.

It is a close-up trick! And, it can be performed with paper cups completely surrounded by spectators or with sterling silver cups in a more formal setting.

The difference between a good performer and an expert performer is the manner in which the expert handles the props, makes fake transfers of the balls and deceptively executes the final large loads.

This DVD will help you learn how to correctly do these critical techniques. It also includes a complete routine that can be done with any cups. Or, portions may be incorporated into your present routine. If you are a beginner, this DVD will be invaluable.

Performances and Detailed Explanations of...

The "Practical Routine"
Bob White on Vernon's Ball Vanish
Three Opening Sequences
The Inertia Tip-Off Move
Galloping Post Sequences
Sequences with Charlie Miller's Move
...and much more
Additional Feature
Dai Vernon's Single Cup and Ball Routine
from his 1968 Lecture
Performed and Explained by Bob White

Running Time Approximately 1hr 33min
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 13, 2011 11:17AM)
Are you sure he said:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Message: Posted by: Sir Richard (Jun 13, 2011 11:48AM)
[quote]
On 2011-06-13 11:08, Sir Richard wrote:
Volumes 1 & 2 "Cups & Balls" y Michael Ammar. He starts with beginner & takes it all the way. Easy to understand as well He's selling them for 59% off! http://store.ammarmagic.com/dvds1.html

Sir Richard.
[/quote]
That should read: 50% instead of 59%...my bad!

Sir Richard.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Jun 13, 2011 12:13PM)
Pete,

That's not exactly what he said, but is the X-rated version.
Message: Posted by: professorwhut (Jun 13, 2011 01:50PM)
I really like the Bob White DVD, I like his no nonsense style.
This DVD combined with John Mendoza got me jazzed up a few years ago.
Message: Posted by: Mobius303 (Jun 13, 2011 05:15PM)
I like some of the material on the Bob White DVD but Like the Ammar ones much better, as far as a learning tool.
Bob sorta has some information wrong that really bugs me on those DVD's.
His technique is very good though.
Mike
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 13, 2011 05:34PM)
I've seen nearly every C&B teaching DVD on the market. From the standpoint of taking a student from zero to proficient, the Ammar DVD's are the best. He starts simply and gives you a workable routine within a very short span of time. The Bob White DVD is good, but I think it is better for someone who already knows something about C&B.

This said, if you don't already have the excerpt from Hocus Pocus, Junior that is on the Cups and Balls Museum web site, then you are planning to work at Renaissance Festivals without the primary source for information on the Cups and Balls as performed during the period in question.

It's a free download. If you aren't willing to at least go that far, then maybe you should consider nor performing the cups and balls.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jun 13, 2011 10:24PM)
Maxnew40-

There are several DVDs on cups and balls. There are also some good books or sections of books. For your purposes, I'm going to suggest you start by looking at two books. First is Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. Work through the cups and balls chapter until you can do the routine. I don't mean you can do it well, just that you can follow the steps and see the logic. Then print out the PDF that Bill Palmer makes very generously available on his wonderful site. Many of the moves you learn from Mark Wilson are similar enough to function for the Hocus Pocus routine, but the real reason I send you to Wilson first is because his book explains it better.

After you can do both routines reasonably well, look to different performances for inspiration. I like the L&L set for this. Craft your presentation to fit you. If you find an in-print or on-video routine that suits you perfectly, use it! If not, modify to suit.

When you have a routine you like, video it and critique yourself.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 14, 2011 12:54AM)
I would tend to agree with the clarity of the explanations in the Mark Wilson book. The language of Hocus Pocus, Junior is a bit arcane for most modern readers. Master Payne can navigate it with no trouble at all. So can I. But unless you have a smattering of familiarity with Elizabethan English, it may be a bit difficult to understand. However, some of the explanations in Hocus Pocus, Junior are stated much more efficiently than the modern ones. His explanation of how to hold your hand and how timing works is done in far less text than it is done in any modern material.
Message: Posted by: JordanB (Jun 14, 2011 09:53AM)
I think the first point is to determine what "type" of routine you want to perform. Youtube is a great aid in seeing many different types of cup and ball routines. Once you have determined I would go to the best available source. Bill Palmer should have the best information available on routines suitable for Ren Faire work.

I will be a lone voice of dissent, but I think the Ammar DVD's are a poor choice for a beginner. There is simply too much information and can lead to a "jack of all trades, master of none" trap. The Mark Wilson book is a good place to start, and so is the Vernon Book of Magic if you like the Vernon routine. If you are really interested in the Vernon routine, the Bob's DVD will work for a beginner, but it is a DVD for the serious student.

The Vernon routine is a funny thing. There seem to be two routines...the one the Professor actually did and the one(s) that are taught in print. The routine as he actually performed it can be gleaned from a variety of sources. To learn the routine well then I would recommend studying the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, Stars of Magic, and the Bob White DVD..that should give you enough to put it together. The Bob White DVD will really put the polish on your routine and frankly, there are some fine details on his DVD that aren't in other places. In my opinion the most beautiful part of the Vernon routine is the loading sequence. There are tips on loading from Bob's DVD that you can't find anywhere else. Bob is one of my best friends and I am lucky that I have had a lot of personal instruction from him, especially regarding the cups and balls. I can tell you that the information he has can take your routine from good to excellent. One final tip regarding the Vernon routine. When it is performed well it is a thing of beauty. If you invest the time to learn it then learn it well. There are plenty of examples of it being done poorly on Youtube.
Message: Posted by: maxnew40 (Jun 14, 2011 11:06AM)
I have read the Hocus Pocus, Junior on the cups and balls and I agree it is a tough read due to the style of language.

I find that with both a book and a video I can get up to speed more quickly. Often something might not make sense to me when I read it, so then I can watch and it will usually become clear.

I am leaning toward the Ammar videos right now.

-Max
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 14, 2011 12:53PM)
@Jordan:

When going through the Ammar DVD's, the student is not supposed to learn all of it at once. It's like learning how to play the piano or the guitar. You have a progressive learning system.
Message: Posted by: JordanB (Jun 14, 2011 01:22PM)
Bill, I agree. I don't think it's a bad teaching tool. But I think if you pick them up too early it can possibly lead to some pitfalls. Purely speculating I would guess that over 75% of the people doing a variation of Vernon's or Ammar's routine on Youtube have learned it from the Ammar DVD's. On the flipside, I have seen video of people who learned it from the Vernon book who also butchered the trick....so it may not mean anything.

I've come to the conclusion that opinions on the cups and balls are as wide and varied as the day is long and I'm not convinced there is any absolute in the art of magic.

In my opinion, the key ingredients for cups and balls routine should be a deceptive vanish and a deceptive loading sequence. If that can be accomplished you're 95% of the way there.
Message: Posted by: atinczor (Jun 14, 2011 03:32PM)
Michael Ammar DVD set is the best place to start, IMHO. Once you have the moves down and get the logic, Bob White's DVD should take care of you as far as practicality goes.. I have both sets and cannot recommend one over the other.. You should get them both; but get the Ammar set first.

My 2 cents..

Atinc
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jun 14, 2011 04:57PM)
Bill-

I tried to learn the Hocus Pocus routine and just didn't "get it." I walked through the Mark Wilson routine and the clear pictures helped me to get the concepts. After digesting what was in Wilson, it was a lot easier to understand what is in Hocus Pocus. There are still some moves that are a challenge to me (I'm no C&B expert, by any means).

One of the best things about Hocus Pocus is that we can study a complete 17th century presentation, including patter. What a gift to those who wish to perform in a period style! Are you aware of anyone making a video of the Hocus Pocus routine verbatim? I'd pay money to see it.

The advice about vanishes in Hocus Pocus is indeed vital. But you really have to think about what "due time" means before that makes sense. I had to see it demonstrated before I got it.

Truth is, any basic video that covers a simple routine on cups and balls will be helpful. Seeing the movements, seeing the basic sleights, it all makes it simpler to understand. Want to be a cup and ball expert? Get the Ammar videos and spend a lot of time learning them solidly. Want a basic routine that will entertain a group of friends? You might be happier with a beginner's video like 25 Amazing Tricks or even this one: http://themagicwarehouse.com/cgi-bin/findit.pl?x_item=DA2148&keyword=CUP just to learn your basics.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Jul 9, 2011 09:22AM)
I know that Magic Maker's has a DVD (several actually) about Cups and Balls. Some are DVD only, and others come with a set of Cups and Balls.

I am an authorized dealer. If you need any info, please feel free to PM me.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 27, 2011 04:25AM)
The only Magic Makers DVD I am familiar with is the one that Eddy Ray did. It has been packaged with and without cups. They wouldn't allow him to correct obvious errors, which made for what I consider to be a poor presentation. Also, he was not allowed to do any crediting at all, according to a friend of mine who knows him.

Regarding the Hocus Pocus, Junior material -- if you try to get it from one of the replica books, you will have a really great amount of trouble. It is very difficult to tell which part of the text is patter and which part of the text is instructional. When I did the transcription of the text, which is available as a free download from the cups and balls museum web site, I set the patter off in italics for ease of reading.

Like any other routine, you should not try to learn it all at once. Learn one phase. Then learn another. In fact, if you have tried to learn this routine from the printed page and you have been unsuccessful, then you probably haven't tried the ideas in this thread --

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=377965&forum=37

If you have trouble understanding the language in Hocus Pocus, Junior, there's a good reason. You don't speak like that. Here's a hint -- your audience probably doesn't either. If you have seen Ricky Jay's history lesson with the cups and balls, you will recall that he gets out of the older idiom rather quickly. He has to. He will lose his audience if he doesn't. So the older language is interspersed with the more modern language, providing variety, but stopping short of boredom.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Jul 27, 2011 09:56AM)
If anyone has not seen The History Lesson from Ricky Jay, you are missing out! It is an example of pure mastery, great entertainment, great routining and is very informational, from both points of view of the magician and the audience, though I suspect it makes a lot more sense to magicians as far as the references he makes. The lesson (read: story) is very captive - it gets your attention and as Bill said, he holds it to the very end without boring you.

For those that wish to see it, here is a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgm4wZCACYg
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 27, 2011 06:30PM)
@maxnew --

Do not be tempted to waste your time with the leather cups that one seller has proclaimed to be "authentic for Renaissance Festivals." There is no evidence whatsoever that any performers during that period of time EVER used leather cups. The cups that are being sold as specially made leather cups, suitable for RF performing are nothing more than cheap dice cups which can be found in any train station in Europe for a scant fraction of the cost. They are actually completely unsuitable since there is no recess in the bottom of the cups to keep the balls from falling off them.

The earliest written reference to cup construction states that the cups should be made of brass or crooked lane plate, with the bottom set in a bit so that the balls will stay on top of them.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 27, 2011 06:38PM)
[quote]
On 2011-06-14 17:57, Mr. Woolery wrote:
Bill-

I tried to learn the Hocus Pocus routine and just didn't "get it." I walked through the Mark Wilson routine and the clear pictures helped me to get the concepts. After digesting what was in Wilson, it was a lot easier to understand what is in Hocus Pocus. There are still some moves that are a challenge to me (I'm no C&B expert, by any means).

One of the best things about Hocus Pocus is that we can study a complete 17th century presentation, including patter. What a gift to those who wish to perform in a period style! Are you aware of anyone making a video of the Hocus Pocus routine verbatim? I'd pay money to see it.

The advice about vanishes in Hocus Pocus is indeed vital. But you really have to think about what "due time" means before that makes sense. I had to see it demonstrated before I got it.

Truth is, any basic video that covers a simple routine on cups and balls will be helpful. Seeing the movements, seeing the basic sleights, it all makes it simpler to understand. Want to be a cup and ball expert? Get the Ammar videos and spend a lot of time learning them solidly. Want a basic routine that will entertain a group of friends? You might be happier with a beginner's video like 25 Amazing Tricks or even this one: http://themagicwarehouse.com/cgi-bin/findit.pl?x_item=DA2148&keyword=CUP just to learn your basics.

-Patrick
[/quote]

Did you see this thread? :

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=393308&forum=37

I have added another clarification comment to it.
Message: Posted by: darylrogers (Jul 27, 2011 06:58PM)
I agree with Patrick about starting with the Mark Wilson routine. It is a solid routine that goes over well and is a good introduction to the basic moves. I also enjoyed the 25 Amazing Magic Tricks DVD Donnie recommended, there is a lot of information on it for the price.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jul 28, 2011 12:28AM)
Bill-

I had not seen that thread until about 10 minutes ago. I told me wife "I know why he resurrected this thread!" And now I see that I was right! Thank you! It deserved to be brought back into view.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 29, 2011 12:25AM)
You are welcome. I think it's time for me to translate the Hocus Pocus Junior routine into a more modern English.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jul 29, 2011 01:24PM)
Bill, I would love to see a video of the Hocus Pocus routine being performed as written. That would go a long way for me. Just seeing the whole thing as a piece of magic (especially with decent costume and period-appropriate props, while I'm asking). As far as translating it, why not go all the way and use photos of the moves so there's a side-by-side comparison available between the original and a modern interpretation?

I know, ask for the moon.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jul 29, 2011 01:30PM)
As I think about it more, I would love to buy a good DVD of a skillful performer doing a lot of the repertoire from Hocus Pocus Jr. Since the book is available, the moves don't really have to be explained, though it might be nice. What I'd love is to see a good interpretation of the material from the book actually being performed for a live audience. I'd pay money for that. I don't know who else would, though.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Doc Svengali (Oct 9, 2017 07:16PM)
I would like to offer a word of caution or dissenting vote regarding the recommendations that cups and balls beginners start with the Bob White DVD. Bob is an extremely gifted and highly respected magician, but this particular DVD is lacking conceptual organization and coherency of presentation, and at times is inappropriately dogmatic regarding acceptable methods. For example, he demonstrated several visual retention vanishes which he then proceeds to describe as "asinine" and "foolish". The ROV vanishes that he is critical of are performed and recommended by some of the most respected magicians in our field. In another section of the DVD, Bob described variations in implementing the Bosco tilt load sequence such as those used by Michael Ammar and Ross Bertram as unacceptable.

The Michael Ammar two-DVD set gets my vote for a firm foundation in the cups and balls. I would follow up with the three volume World's Greatest Magic series, and pick one of the presented routines to master as your starting point.