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Topic: Vernon's Cups and Balls Routine
Message: Posted by: cardguy (Sep 29, 2003 04:00PM)
I have just started to get serious about learning the Cups and Balls, and decided a great place to start is Vernon's Routine as taught in Ammar's C&B book. I think it's a beautiful routine, and can easily perform it for the rest of my life. However, as Ammar points out, Vernon developed this routine in his younger years, and it is full of extraneous moves and motions. Even though it is a very effective routine, it is not as efficient as other Vernon works. In his older years Vernon stressed efficiency, and this routine is clearly not efficient.

Has anyone tried to modify this routine to make it more "Vernonesque"? I haven't even thought of modifying it yet because I haven't mastered it yet. Therefore I don't fully understand how and why it was structured the way it was.

What are your thoughts on this? :cups:
Message: Posted by: WandSpin (Sep 29, 2003 04:59PM)
It's a classic, but it's old and outdated. There are more modern versions. Tommy Wonder's 2 cup routine is beautiful and full of mystery. David Williamson's is also a 2 cup routine that is classic Williamson.

Charlie Fry (as well as the late Johnny Paul) has a 3 cup version with one of them being a chop cup.

It's fun to watch a video of the professor performing, but I wouldn't learn his only to have to discard some of the moves.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Sep 29, 2003 05:18PM)
I love Tommy Wonder's magic but his cup and ball routine was not among my favorites. Aldo Colombini does a rapid fire routine which is incredible but more confusing than magical. Lance Burton did a nice version of Vernon's routine and I thought it was very good. Ammars' cup and ball routine is very smooth and his patter quite entertaining. :cups:
Message: Posted by: WandSpin (Sep 29, 2003 06:36PM)
I think Tommy's works for him, for sure. Aldo's I think loses the magic of it. Ammar's is breathtaking. So well orchestrated.

David Williamson's is priceless and, it plays for anyone, not just for Dave.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Sep 29, 2003 07:46PM)
I think the key to making the routine "Vernonesque" is to be relaxed and natural.

Eliminate any extraneous "moves" so it looks the same whether you are putting a ball under a cup or only pretending to do so.

Both Vernon and Fred Kaps (two of my idols) stressed that the real secret is to be natural. What was natural for Vernon, however, would not necessarily be natural for you.

The only way to make your routine more "Vernonesque" then, is to make it more "Frank G."
Message: Posted by: DwightPA (Sep 29, 2003 08:56PM)
Cardguy,

I think you would benefit by acquiring both of the Ammar cups and balls tapes. By studying the various sequences he teaches you can develop a routine that is your own and one that would flow for you. I personally feel that the tapes help tremendously.

Other tapes on the cups and balls will give you other ideas that you may decide to work in, and in time you'll develop a routine that is uniquely yours. To me, besides watching the flow of Vernon's routine, is to appreciate that one of the prime elements is the rhythm that he displays. Also the timing is such that it doesn't give the observer time enough to "get ahead" of him, but delivers timely satisfaction in the discovery.

Dwight Powell
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Sep 29, 2003 09:57PM)
This also begs discussion of an issue that was also raised in the Ammar dvd on the cups and balls. Namely, whether to do the "false" french drop explanation. Personally, I don't use it and my routine and final loading works fine, I believe, without it. I use another piece of business to help misdirect the final loading, but even before I did, it worked fine. I am not comfortable, as Ammar pointed out, revealing the french drop, even though it's a "fake" french drop. I have seen explanations that aren't so fake by the way! I'm very interested in what people think about this.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 30, 2003 02:24AM)
Learn the basic Vernon routine until you can do it without thinking... then study other versions. One of the best (because it is simple) is the Stevens Magic tape on the cups and balls.

Then get the Gazzo material to see another approach to the basic vernon routine.

Then IT IS ALL YOU... once you have the basics.

You might also want to check Indian Cups and the Johnny Paul cups and routine. Also the Fred Kaps routine and Clark Crandall's, which is in an old Tarbell.

There is much to learn.

It takes time.

Get it down so you can do the feints and moves without effort or thought.

:band:
Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Sep 30, 2003 08:03AM)
Greetings and Salutations All,

I'm with Pete and James, for the same reasons.

Cardguy, learn Vernon's routine, then another (Gazzo's is a good choice), then blend what you like into a routine that's you. (I've seen and heard that a great many routines are indeed based on Vernon's routine.)

James, I also don't use a "fake" explanation. Both Vernon and Cellini do a similar feint with the "fake" explanation, but it's just not for me. I don't set up the routine saying that I'm going to show how it's done, but say I'm going to show the world's oldest magic trick, with cups that were handed down from an old master, "Gazzo" (true, I usually use his cups), and a trick told to me by another master, "Cellini" (also true as my routine is based on his routine from the London lecture tape).

Regardless, have fun with the cups, and a routine will come to you.

Joe in KC

Live a great adventure, make magic happen!
Message: Posted by: cardguy (Sep 30, 2003 08:51AM)
Hey guys thanks for your remarks!

I will eventually acquire a couple of tapes to help me out, but for now all I want to do is learn Vernon's routine, and then maybe Ammar's. I like the way Ammar starts with 3 cups and then eliminates them one at a time to make the effect clearer. And I definitely want to check out the "master" Gazzo's routine. Over the months and years I will probably acquire as much C&B material as I can.

Also, Jim Snack, you are very right.

It's funny how the cups lend themselves to so much variety, almost (but not quite) like a deck of cards. They have recently become sort of like an obsession for me. Why just last night I spent 2 hours practicing just one phase of the Vernon routine. This is all new to me. Unlike a pack of cards or even coins, the cups require so much more attention to misdirection (or direction) and timing. It is both challenging and fun to master.
Message: Posted by: what (Sep 30, 2003 09:59AM)
If you have a chop cup combo set, you might want to check out "The Mendoza Cups & Balls" by John Mendoza. It explained in a small booklet, but I believe there is a video of it somewhere as well. It is different in that you never go to your pockets, and you never execute a false transfer. He also uses the concept of eliminating one cup at a time to make the routine more clear.

Best of Luck,

Mike
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 30, 2003 11:26AM)
I don't do the "false" explanation... I just don't like it... but I do like my Hindu routine as I do not speak any language that ANYONE understands, I do it all in DOUBLE TALK, as an impression of a Hindu Fakir...

I am the Fakir.... You are the Fakee (c) :genielamp:

OOOPS... I originally forgot to put (c) Pete Biro on the Fakir Fakee line. It is not for use by others, thank you. :dancing:
Message: Posted by: cardguy (Sep 30, 2003 11:52AM)
As far as the french drop explanation is concerned, I don't like it either. Instead, I've been playing with the idea of explaining a sleight that doesn't really exist. Something that seems very difficult to pull off. That way it would make my talents as a "sleight of hand master" seem even more impressive. I'm still wondering if I should say this in a "tongue-in-cheek" manner or be serious about it.
Message: Posted by: Andrew (Sep 30, 2003 12:30PM)
I believe Lance Burton does a fake sleight in his cups and balls routine as he 'explains' how the trick is done. I use a similar fake sleight in my routine. I would not, as others have stated, explain the french drop to an audience. (Especially since I use a french drop in the routine!)

Andrew
Message: Posted by: WandSpin (Sep 30, 2003 12:39PM)
[quote]
On 2003-09-30 12:52, cardguy wrote:
As far as the french drop explanation is concerned, I don't like it either. Instead, I've been playing with the idea of explaining a sleight that doesn't really exist. Something that seems very difficult to pull off. That way it would make my talents as a "sleight of hand master" seem even more impressive. I'm still wondering if I should say this in a "tongue-in-cheek" manner or be serious about it.
[/quote]

I like that idea. I do that with cards and add math and false cuts as if I'm moving there card around.

Nice work, cardboy!!!
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Oct 1, 2003 01:33AM)
Well, I'm glad I brought up the "false" explaination part of the Vernon routine. I actually thought it was going to be more controversial to raise the issue. Glad I didn't have my head handed to me.
Pete's routine sounds like a riot.
Take care,
Jim
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 1, 2003 01:46AM)
James... Riot? Well, almost... you will see it when we can hook up... When does the Gazmeister hit town?
Message: Posted by: shanla (Oct 1, 2003 12:20PM)
Also I don't like the french drop explanation.
Usually I perform a multi-phase comeback of the ball, like "The Free and Unlimited Coinage of Silver." The balls rapidly come back three or four times, even after one of the final loads has accomplished. (Of course I use my pinky finger to hold the lemon in place when I show the ball came back.)

Another point I think about the cups and balls routine is the introduction of the balls. In classic Vernon routine, the magician just takes three balls from his pocket. But I like an idea in which the balls are produced by magic. The production sequence of balls makes the entire routine rather long, but I like this approach. As some examples of such approach, the routines of Michael Ammar, Fred Kaps, Ross Bertram and John Carney came to my mind.

Also let's not forget Larry Jennings' Single Cup and Balls routine. The performer begins with no props. He shows a large scarf and produces a cup from it, then performs a beautiful cup and balls routine. At the conclusion of the routine, he vanishes the big fruit, then also vanishes the cup. He can end the routine with no props in his hand, as with the opening of the routine. Although it is not for everyone, I think it is a very magical routine.

Tomoo
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 1, 2003 04:04PM)
I think producing the balls might make the spekie think you maybe produced another one secretly. Bringing out one ball per cup makes more sense TO ME. :wavey:
Message: Posted by: Kaliix (Oct 2, 2003 07:16AM)
If you have the Ammar tapes on the cups and balls, there is a video clip at the end of the second tape that shows Vernon performing the cups and balls on Mark Wilson's TV show.

This footage is of Vernon when he was in his late 60's or perhaps early 70's (don't know I'm guessing). I wonder if this version of his cups and balls, being that it was performed much later in Vernon's life, was a more streamlined version of his routine that elimated some of the extraneous movements.

This is only a theory, as I don't know if this is true. Has anyone, who is familiar with Vernon's routine, seen that particular segment and if so, can you comment on how streamlined that particular performance is?
Message: Posted by: Bob Gerdes (Oct 2, 2003 09:14AM)
[quote]
On 2003-10-01 17:04, Pete Biro wrote:
I think producing the balls might make the spekie think you maybe produced another one secretly. Bringing out one ball per cup makes more sense TO ME. :wavey:
[/quote]

I feel EXACTLY the same way. After all, if the magician can simply produce as many balls as he likes, what's the big deal that they apparently disappear and reappear elsewhere?

I think if you really want to convince them that you only are using 3 balls, its better to just bring them out...... do the utility pass as Vernon suggests..... then you've clearly shown them 3 balls and 2 otherwise empty (?) hands. What could be simpler?

Does anyone know if Vernon ever magically produced the balls at the beginning? I'm sure he must have considered it!

Then again, I guess there are people who consider everything BEFORE the final loads to be just prelude. That fruit, or whatever, is all the people will remember!

(And I must confess.... the first time I saw Ammar's production of the third ball, I nearly fell out of my seat. So, what the hell do I know?) :lol:
Message: Posted by: cardguy (Oct 2, 2003 12:50PM)
To produce or not produce? We now have a new question. Very interesting...
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 2, 2003 01:03PM)
The answer.........

Do what works for you!

:smoke:

Y'know, it's not like you just do a routine once. Try it different ways and do it do it do it ... it really takes a looooooooooooooong time to really figure out what is best.

:banana: :kermit: :banana:
Message: Posted by: DwightPA (Oct 2, 2003 02:49PM)
It's been a while since I looked at the Ammar tapes, but it seems to me that he did mention that the Vernon routine he shows was the one that Vernon had developed and refined over the years.

I, too, have not cared for the french drop explanation, but I wonder if it doesn't fall in the category of (I think it was) Teller's theory that even if you explain it, the spectator will most likely not believe you.

Dwight Powell
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Oct 6, 2003 04:39PM)
I only do John Bannon's cups and balls because I like the patter.

In his chop cup routine, however, Bannon uses the false explanation but in a wonderful way.

His false explanation is so obviously impossible that either the spectators "REALLY" believe it and in that case, who cares what you tell them, OR they don't believe it, and in that case, it's just funny.

He says that The reason the ball ends up under the cup is this...

Instead of saying "I don't actually take the ball" (exposing a french drop)

he says "I take the ball (which you don't) and it shoots up my sleeve, around around my shoulders, back down the other sleeve, and .... under the cup.

This is funny, (or absolutely pure magic to those who truly believe), and complete nonsense so I think it's great.


Anyone have an opinon on that one?
Message: Posted by: Kaliix (Oct 6, 2003 05:09PM)
Frank,
I have an opinion on that one. It would be even funnier in short sleeves! ;)

Seriously though, that is the kind of fake explanation I like. The "fake" French drop just seemed to make me a bit uncomfortable.
Message: Posted by: Alessandro Scotti (Oct 6, 2003 05:22PM)
Like Pete said, it takes a long time to decide what's best and even then personal preferences may change at any time.
At present I like NOT to produce. Rather, I openly show three cups and three balls and start the routine with those. A fourth ball is then secretly loaded a little later into the performance.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 6, 2003 08:05PM)
Allan Hayden has a routine I like. He starts with one ball and three cups and the routine is much like the three shell game... then at a point in the routine the spekie guesses right... but then he lifts the other two cups and there is a ball under each.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Oct 9, 2003 03:23AM)
That's a nice way to produce the other two balls magically. Then it's like the magic has to do with the cups, not the magician so much. It makes me feel that there could be one ball for each cup, thus taking care of the xth ball possibility.
BTW, I believe Vernon was "82 years of age" as he put it, "Not a spring chicken" in the Ammar dvd footage from Mark Wilson.
Jim
Pete, I'm gonna call you this week.
Message: Posted by: David Le (Oct 9, 2003 05:32AM)
I don't wanna be boisterous here, but I think it's practically genius.
You can "emulate" his act by using coffee cups and I suppose tinfoil balls.

Watch how he handles moves like KAPS SUBTLETY and some false transfers.....

And watch as he is LIFTING the first cup as he teaches something to aid the old woman ;)

Amazing!

By the way, emulate don't imitate. :)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Oct 9, 2003 11:44AM)
Imitate.
Message: Posted by: cfrye (Oct 9, 2003 01:35PM)
[quote]
On 2003-10-09 12:44, whithaydn wrote:
Imitate.

[/quote]
From Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, page 34:

"According to Master Ittei, even a poor penman will become substantial in the art of calligraphy if he studies by imitating a good model and puts forth effort."
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 9, 2003 02:50PM)
OK Whit... does that mean I can start using your act?
Message: Posted by: David Le (Oct 9, 2003 06:29PM)
All right then, imitate!

:) :) :)
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 10, 2003 12:23AM)
Someone said, "IF you can do an impression of Rich Little, that would cover EVERYBODY." :pepper: :kermit: :pepper:
Message: Posted by: David Le (Oct 10, 2003 03:10AM)
I can't wait 'til Mr. David Copperfield or whoever's in charge for it sells LASER to the magic community :)

I can't wait to rip off his AMAZING performance style. ;)

One time in my life, I used to do Lance Burton's cups and balls EXACTLY as he did it, but with slightly modified patter and the avoidance of the Moses joke. So was I imitating or emulating? :)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Oct 10, 2003 06:39PM)
[quote]
On 2003-10-09 15:50, Pete Biro wrote:
OK Whit... does that mean I can start using your act?
[/quote]

Sure, Pete. Join the crowd. But why sink so low? Pick some act that actually makes money... ;)
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 10, 2003 07:49PM)
Yah, you're right... too many Whits out there already... tsk tsk... :kermit:
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Oct 11, 2003 06:19PM)
I remember the first time I witnessed the cups and balls as a layman. Paul Gertner provides the "fake transfer" explanation, and in my opinion, it added to the effect.

I currently do that bit. Ricky Jay manages to keep it in his pedantic history lesson as well, for some reason. Perhaps out of homage to Vernon.

I think he attributes the historical explanation to Hofzinser, if I am not mistaken.

So, where could one locate Bannon's cups and balls routine?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 11, 2003 07:46PM)
I don't understand why folks do any explaining or history lessons in performance.

Folks don't care about the history, and really don't care about the methods.

Real sore issue about Hofzinser who was quite bitter about copyists.

Anyone doing the bit as shown in "Time Bandits"?
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Oct 12, 2003 12:08AM)
[quote]
On 2003-10-11 20:46, JonTown wrote:
I don't understand why folks do any explaining or history lessons in performance.

[/quote]

This is better than a tepid narration of the effect, where the obvious is explained ("I am putting a ball under this cup") I think explaining that which is already explaining itself is far inferior.

Ricky Jay's routine is for me, more compelling because of the historical merit with which he injects it.

I could be wrong. . .
Message: Posted by: Mitch Schneiter (Oct 18, 2003 02:01AM)
[quote]
On 2003-10-11 19:19, Ron Giesecke wrote:
So, where could one locate Bannon's cups and balls routine?
[/quote]
You can find it in John's book "Impossibilia". The routine "Of Cups And Fuzzballs" is on page 82.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Oct 21, 2003 10:20AM)
Here's my two cents.

IMHO you should never display or even hint at real methods of work. Ie. don't say trick cards, "real" or "ordinary" or show any sleight, real or otherwise, that closely approximates something in use by the magic community. I, for one, use the French Drop, both in it's orginal position, for Spellbound and Spider Vanishes and in the LePaul position for actual amazing vanishes. As such, I don't want to remind anyone of its existance or even hint that I may not actually be putting something where I say I am when I do it. This applies both to the hand and the pocket.

I strongly encourage the Vernon routine, but perform it slowly. Work on making the moves smooth and natural to you, even if you have to work at making your "normal" moves more natural. One of the huge benefits living close to the Magic Castle, other than actually meeting Mr. Vernon and having him critque my cups and balls, is the ability to see taped performances from our libray as often as I like to see the various ways he and others handle the props and routine.

Many of the fast routines leave the specators in the dust and they just know something wonderful happened, but didn't quite see it. Confusion is not magic. Let them KNOW where the ball is, so when it vanishes it is real magic. Then once you have handled the cups through this complete routine in an open manner, suddenly they are filled to overflowing with the final loads!

Many performers try to add additional loads, but they struggle to do so and that dilutes the surprise and magical effect. Strive for smoothness.

Kirk Grodske
Message: Posted by: Ignore me... (Oct 21, 2003 10:52PM)
For a while, I was doing the EG Brown routine, which simulates the four ball routine while using just three balls. If memory serves, this is somewhere in Pallbearer's.

I'm also extremely fond of the Bannon Chop2 routine, and performed it often on the street in Georgetown in short sleeves.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Nov 1, 2003 01:21PM)
Just have the oppportunity to see Jason Latimer's clear cups and balls. What a cool thing to watch! Lots of surprises and great effects. I won't describe it so that when you see it for the first time, it will be totally new for you. I can see why it won Fism!

I can hardly wait for the next incarnation. It is a very stylized performance piece for a cute kid. How will he do it when he is forty?

I would make the same suggestion I have all along and that is to slow down. I hope to be able to find the time to see it again, before his week at the Castle is over.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Peo Olsson (Nov 1, 2003 02:54PM)
So what to use as final load for the Cups & Balls?

I lean heavily towards fruit loads.

Doesn't look good if you start with small knitted balls for the routine, and finish with big knitted balls at the end.
Fruits are more suprising and unexpected.

But that's me.
:hotcoffee:
Message: Posted by: DamienKeen (Nov 1, 2003 05:20PM)
Wow there's so many in-depth discussions going on in one thread. I think I'll leave the Vernon exposure thing out of my reply, I've talked about that loads before :goof:

In my Loomis micro chop cup routine, I have added in a false explanation. But no, a serious one. One which is the same to what I think Frank said. About the ball shooting up the sleeves, around my body, down the other sleeve, and into my hand. Although it happens from my pocket :lol:

Personally, I strongly disagree that Vernon's routine is as someone said "old and dated". That is a shock to me, that someone has said that. It is such a fluent and smooth routine. When you study the cups and balls properly, you will begin to understand the natural flow between phases, and the natural preparation for the final load sequence. Vernon's routine is one of the best and classic examples of this.

I now use a variation of a routine that is basically Williamson's. I think I moved onto 2 cups because of the symmetry and easy to follow routining. I know 3 cups isn't hard to follow, but 2 cups just seemed to fit me better. Loads = Fruits :cups:

I strongly reccomend the Ammar vids on the cups and balls. I have the book too. He goes into a good deal of depth about misdirection, timing and everything that makes a good routine.

The only frustrating thing about the cups and balls is that you will always need table space. Hence why I got the Micro Chop cups, which I strongly advise :P

On the point of reproducing the balls at the start of the routine, well I'm definitely with all those who feel this may lead the specs to believe you could produce x amount of balls to accomplish what you do. I make sure I show the cups first, without even mentioning balls. Along with my flustration count, showing the cups without the balls is a big convincer that I have no extra balls in the cups or in my hands. Then when I bring the 2 balls out I make sure I emphasize the fact that there are JUST 2 balls.

Damien.
Message: Posted by: bunkyhenry (Nov 1, 2003 09:19PM)
KirkG,
IMHO you should never display or even hint at real methods of work. Ie. don't say trick cards, "real" or "ordinary" or show any sleight, real or otherwise, that closely approximates something in use by the magic community. As such, I don't want to remind anyone of its existance or even hint that I may not actually be putting something where I say I am when I do it. This applies both to the hand and the pocket.

[quote]I strongly encourage the Vernon routine.[/quote]

How can you encourage the Vernon routine? Doesn't the Vernon routine tip the french drop?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 1, 2003 09:49PM)
The opening with the cup through cup and the first sequence with the wand flourish is really strong.

There are other options regarding explanations. One might involve the three shell game, where you explain with larger shells and 'tip' how it's really done using three 'peas'.

Tipping false transfers and 'pretend to put ball in pocket' is just going to backfire later... sooner for younger audiences, and a bit later for adults watching another trick like two in the hand- one in the pocket.

It might help to remember that Dai Vernon was not much of an entertainer for real people. If you want entertainment... have a look at what Fred Kaps did or Ken Brooke or Don Alan or Al Baker...

IMHO if you drop out the false transfer explanation the routine just needs a presentation.

Asking an unsuspecting audience to suffer through an unwanted history lesson on how a trick has remained unmotivated for thousands of years is not the best premise for a good presentation. Again, IMHO. Feel free to pretend you are on the history channel if that works for you.
Message: Posted by: snilsson (Nov 3, 2003 04:50PM)
Jon, have you seen the Johnny Thompson tapes? His performance of the cups and balls is a history lesson and it's very entertaining. There is no external plot and he does use a fake explanation. Part of the routine is actually done as an impersonation of Dai Vernon. If Vernon was just half as good as Johnny Thompson's impersonation he certainly must have been a great performer. As an added bonus you get to see how Max Malini and Pop Krieger performed the cups and balls. Once again, no "presentation", just great magic and entertainment. When expertly performed, the cups and balls don't need an external motivation. In fact, adding an extra story line may well dilute and confuse the basic plot.
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Nov 3, 2003 05:28PM)
I LOVE Michael Ammar's C&B routine! Producing the balls one by one; performing awesome moves and finally, eliminating the cups one by one is the ultimate!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Nov 15, 2003 04:07AM)
All the posts above have good references for the serious cups and balls worker. However I would take a step further suggesting routines from Aldo, Elmsley, and Tim Ellis to name a few. These routines will take you away from the traditional Vernon thinking in different ways and give your brain other avenues of thought.

IMO the problem with the cups and balls of today is that most routines are all the same--or too much the same.

When learning, I suggest you get all the info you can on the topic, and then compare all the routines you can find, combining ideas and building your own.

Isn't that our main goal? :question:

MM
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Nov 15, 2003 09:14AM)
[quote]
On 2003-11-01 22:49, JonTown wrote:

Asking an unsuspecting audience to suffer through an unwanted history lesson on how a trick has remained unmotivated for thousands of years is not the best premise for a good presentation. Again, IMHO. Feel free to pretend you are on the history channel if that works for you.
[/quote]

Again, I think suffering through a history lesson depends on whether or not the teacher is capable of giving a compelling lecture. Granted, by starting out with "this trick was performed by the ancient Egyptians," and then never again referencing the history of the effect, but merely narrating the obvious--it is something to suffer through.

But you are on the mark with the "History Channel" reference, as they [i]are[/i] compelling in their presentational packaging with regard to history.

All of this, of course, is just my personal opinion.

I love this topic.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 15, 2003 09:55PM)
My comment about UNMOTIVATED routines stands.

A really good performer could recite the phone book in some way and get a good response from the audience...Citing folks like Johhny Thompson who are great performers does little to answer the question posed. That is still: just why are you fussing with those really odd cup-things and those strange little sweater-balls?

I will stay with my earlier opinion about the Vernon routine...that is is quite good and were I to perform it I would omit the discussion of a false explanation. Not suggesting a change in the routine per-se, just a minor presentation point on the "let you in on a secret." And this only because I don't want to get burned on a false transfer or concealment later.

So, would you drink from your cups? Where did you get those funky "balls" from? And most important to the audience...why should they care?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Nov 16, 2003 09:41AM)
[quote]
I will stay with my earlier opinion about the Vernon routine...that is is quite good and were I to perform it I would omit the discussion of a false explanation. Not suggesting a change in the routine per-se, just a minor presentation point on the "let you in on a secret." And this only because I don't want to get burned on a false transfer or concealment later.
[/quote]


The problem IMO with the Vernon routine is that it is too one-sided, meaning that all of his transfers went to one side, over and over again, showing to me a flagging repetition. Granted, to the lay audience with everything going on it may not--or does it?

I have worked on my routine to make each transfer vary back and forth, in essence being more ambidextrous--to me that makes it more natural and improves the Vernon method.(if it can be).

[quote]
So, would you drink from your cups? Where did you get those funky "balls" from? And most important to the audience...why should they care?
[/quote]


It is just a "prover" showing that they are cups, and only cups, even if you don't see them in most people's kitchens.

I usually leave mine out to the side so if someone is walking by, they can look at them, handle them, and see for themselves that they are not "gimmicked." When having a close-up table set up, this usually is another way to gather or stop people. In this case just don't use it as a closer.

Although you can't apply this with all things in magic, I try to offer as much "fairness" as I can to a spectator so when they are remembering the effect afterward, they themselves disprove any possibilities of how it was done.

I love this topic!

MM
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Nov 16, 2003 12:02PM)
Bunkyhenry,

You are correct. The Vernon routine does use the fake explanation, I should have been more clear. Ah hem...

"Do the Vernon routine slowly but modify the fake exposure section or omit it entirely."

What I did was make the example of the fake transfer and palming so ridiculous, that no one could believe it. I actually "palm" the ball between my fingers, ala the "billiard ball display postion." (In other words, in plain sight.) I will not go into all the patter and routining by play, as that is unique to my performance, but I think you get the idea.

It is the rest of the routine that is so well constructed and such a great lesson in canceling out and offering suprises along the way with great magic happening throughout, that I want magicians to get from this routine.

The Mendoza approach of reducing the number of cups or the Wilson methods of changing the cup loads are all better than exposing the french drop.

Sorry to be so long in responding, I didn't realize there was a question directed at me. Is there a way to subscribe to these threads? If not, feel free to email me directly if you have a question.

Kirk Grodske
Message: Posted by: bigchuck (Nov 16, 2003 02:27PM)
I am finally putting in the work to learn this routine. I am already familiar with a couple of its phases, but I am just curious, how long did you study & practice this before you were "performance ready" with this routine, or your own personal variation of it?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 16, 2003 03:09PM)
Staying with the Vernon routine here and its variants.

Anyone doing the Scotty York routine? Nice to start all set for the finish. :)

Anyone doing a Three Shell game sequence where one ball is mixed among the cups?

How about the Kaps bit with the mouth up cups?

Let's discuss the two cup routines elsewhere. The John Ramsay and Tommy Wonder routines deserve their own seperate threads.

* Since someone asked earlier...it took quite a while to get comfortable with that fancy wand spin vanish. The rest of the routine is more forgiving IMHO.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Nov 16, 2003 03:35PM)
I was performing the routine in a few months. I was performing it well after a few years. I have now done it for almost 25 years--wait, strike that, I am older than I thought--OVER 25 years and I feel I have it down pretty good.

The wand spin takes only a few days to learn, IF you are shown the right way to do it and put in about an hour of practice every day. Most mistakes I see are grabbing with the right and opening the left or turning it palm down.

The cool thing about the routine is it is forever growing and developing itself in your life. After I got the mechanics down, then the presentation, I began to develop the "theater" of it. This greatly increased the audience response.


Kirk
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Nov 16, 2003 10:01PM)
I guess I take no umbrage with an psuedo exposure of a palsied french drop, beause it falls in line with a lot of other exposure moves we do in other contexts.

Many card under the glass routines expose the theory of misdirection--in fact some routines in magic go so far as to teach a short narrative about the [i]definition[/i] of misdirection--as a setup to midirect in another way entirely.

"Ring Leader" has a false explantion of how a ring is taken off the rope. It happens to be a legitimate sleight.

"Open Travellers" alerts the otherwise addled that it is possible to palm a card as a means of concealment. Of course [i]everybody[/i] knows about palming--and I contend the same parameter is aware of french drops--as they are executed daily by playful uncle Charlies all over the world to extract wayward nickles from the ears of their nieces and nephews.

I guess if I had a predeliction to trying to make people believe I'm a god, than I would be more inclined to be a panic merchant over a [i]faux[/i] explanation.

This is not to say that I [i]prefer[/i] using the explantion. I just use a french drop (and a bad one, but I think all of them are bad) for the "exposure" and then use regular false transfers for the rest of the routine. They just don't link the two moves.

The first time I ever witnessed the cups and balls (Vernon-esqe) was Paul Gertner's appearance on television. He used such an explanation,and I bought it, hook line and sinker. He killed me with that routine, and it is one of the preeminent memories I have of magic on television. And perhaps [i]that[/i] experience informs my opinion today.

All that being said, I am excited about seeing Reed McClintock's new Cups and Balls routine, "Defiance 2." Reed takes issue with the explanation phase, like many others, and has jettisoned it as well. I am thoroughly interested in what he has accomplished.

Great thread, everyone!

Ron
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Nov 17, 2003 04:24PM)
[quote]
On 2003-11-16 13:02, KirkG wrote:
Bunkyhenry,

You are correct. The Vernon routine does use the fake explanation, I should have been more clear. Ah hem...

"Do the Vernon routine slowly but modify the fake exposure section or omit it entirely."

What I did was make the example of the fake transfer and palming so ridiculous, that no one could believe it. I actually "palm" the ball between my fingers, ala the "billiard ball display postion." (In other words, in plain sight.)
Kirk Grodske
[/quote]

Kirk,
I think that's a great take on doing the false explanation. I happen to believe in not doing the false explanation for various reasons, however, if I were to include it, I could definitely see my way clear to do it your way. Very good thinking and funny too. (Some people may even believe you really were doing that and they just weren't catching it!)
I also am not into the "history lession" presentation in its generic form. However, if someone could make the history lesson approach original and fresh then it could work, I would think.
My own approach is very different and rather heavy on narrative and pop culture. It works for me. I'm still fine tuning it on the street but it's almost "there."

Jim
Message: Posted by: cataquet (Nov 17, 2003 06:17PM)
First off, I am of the school that starts off the routine with the production of the balls. So, I actually found it funny when Bob Gerdes argued, "After all, if the magician can simply produce as many balls as he likes, what's the big deal that they apparently disappear and reappear elsewhere?" (2 Oct)

When Pete Biro raised his concerns, he was worried about was the following scenario. You show a ball under cup A, then a wave of the wand and the ball is under cup B. If you fail to show there is no ball under cup A, then the specky might reason, "Hey, he's using an extra ball." For that reason, in this context, you MUST show that there is no ball under cup A. A similar situation arises in the Vernon routine with the vertical penetration of the balls thru the cup. Surely, this is an identical problem (which fortunately has been solved with a bit of sleight of cup)!

I have more to say, but this is getting long enough.

Bye for now.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Nov 17, 2003 07:13PM)
James,

I hope to see your routine some day. You sound like you've got it together!

Cheers,

Ron
Message: Posted by: Bob Gerdes (Nov 18, 2003 09:46AM)
[quote]
On 2003-11-17 19:17, cataquet wrote:
First off, I am of the school that starts off the routine with the production of the balls. So, I actually found it funny when Bob Gerdes argued, "After all, if the magician can simply produce as many balls as he likes, what's the big deal that they apparently disappear and reappear elsewhere?" (2 Oct)...
[/quote]

Well, I'm glad I gave you a laugh! ;)

But, do you understand my point? All I was trying to say is that that spectators MIGHT be less inclined to accept that you are only using 3 balls if they are magically produced at the beginning. In Vernon's routine, they see 3 EMPTY cups, 3(?) balls and 2 otherwise empty(?) hands. Seems a little cleaner to me, and more strongly suggests that only 3 balls are in play. (After all, they SAW only 3 balls with their own eyes, and nothing else!)

And in my post I did acknowledge that I've seen extremely strong routines in which the balls are produced (Ammar, etc) and the specs don't seem to mind. :)

Clearly, both approaches can be effective.
(I just like Vernon's way better!) :P

Bob
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Nov 18, 2003 11:50AM)
Me too. :cups:
Message: Posted by: cataquet (Nov 18, 2003 03:29PM)
I think the production of the balls (individually) is probably excessive. However, I think the production of three balls (all at once) after showing the cups empty is a very strong opening effect. But then again, that's how I open my routine, so I would say that. :rolleyes:

Most magicians begin with the Vernon routine and then start tweaking it to develop their own routine. When I started working on the routine (1970s), I wanted to make the following changes:
[list]
[*] When a transposition takes place, the vanish (empty cup) is shown before the appearance (ball under cup)
[*] No move is ever repeated twice (every vanish is different)
[*] Audience participation.
[/list]
So after 30 :eek: years of performing the routine, I've got something that works for me (and probably only me). I have a reason for every move in my routine, but it is very different from the Vernon routine. Nonetheless, I must admit I feel guilty criticizing Vernon's routine.

Actually, this discussion makes me want to look at the [i]Revelations[/i] videos. According to the index, Vernon talks about the cups and balls on Volume 5.

JonTown pointed out perhaps the greatest weakness in my C&B routine: WHY?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Nov 20, 2003 04:15AM)
I also think that producing the three balls is excessive for a normal cup routine, as the audience sees the cups, and IMO knows what's about to happen. But to each their own.

So, here is one of my ideas that I'm working on--I'll share it with you. Produce the 3 balls at the beginning individually (like you would 3 coins for a coin opener), do a three ball routine with them, setting them down on the table at the end.

Take your wand out and table it, showing hands empty on the off-beat.

Remove your silk from your pocket to wipe your brow and comment something like "I hope you liked the warm up, if not I guess we can start drinking." Produce the three cups with the silk.

It flows, and gives you three segments, all relating to another and everything has a reason.

Think, and create your magic.



MM
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Nov 25, 2003 02:17PM)
Ron,

I don't think any of the magicians that don't like exposure as part of a routine suffer from God complexes.

Even though there are many routines that have felt there was no problem with including that plot line, that still doesn't make it right or wrong, just wrong for me. Perhaps also wrong for all those who have taken their vows as members of the SAM, IBM and AMA as seriously as I do.

I think using exposure as a part of a trick is a cheap shot. It is a lazy man's solution, unless it is being presented to an audience of only magicians at a convention as an inside joke.

Open Travelers demonstrates that it is in no way possible to do what they are describing and it is done tongue-in-cheek. No real palms or methods of getting into palms are exposed. It is different for the French Drop and other routines you used as examples and equally as wrong. But only IMHO.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Dec 31, 2003 02:52AM)
[quote]
On 2003-11-25 15:17, KirkG wrote:
Perhaps also wrong for all those who have taken their vows as members of the SAM, IBM and AMA as seriously as I do.

I think using exposure as a part of a trick is a cheap shot. It is a lazy man's solution, unless it is being presented to an audience of only magicians at a convention as an inside joke.[/quote]

After re-reading the above text, I decided to pose a question (and in no way is it meant as an attack on KrikG). With this thinking would one then consider the Professor to be utilizing a "lazy man's solution" to his magic, or a stroke of genius?

I think for the time period of the professor the misdirection is perfect- who wouldn't get pulled into a magician letting you in one a secret- no matter if it was truthful or not in nature. The lay audience at that time was not as smart to some things as the audience of today is. (yet it still works today not only with this effect, but with other classics of magic- perhaps this is a new thread)


[quote] Open Travelers demonstrates that it is in no way possible to do what they are describing and it is done tongue-in-cheek. No real palms or methods of getting into palms are exposed. [/quote]


True nothing is exposed, however if you ever saw L.J. perform the routine his hand gestures do mock actual slights which magician's perform. So although its a method of showing it's not possible, to those in the know, its a form of limited exposure.

I think that once again it comes to personal preference. Those different preferences we each have create different avenues of thinking and advancement, keeping magic fresh for the current time period.

MM
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Dec 31, 2003 10:27AM)
Having seen the Professor do this routine both at the famous $1,000 lecture and at the Castle several times, I believe that I can say that no real exposure occurred.

His mocking "replication" of Le Tourniquet was SO poorly done (intentionally) that not even an educated lay person could construct the original sleight.

When one looks at Paul Harris' Invisible Palm routine, he comes closer to tipping the goods about palming a card in that routine than the Professor ever did in his cups routine. And I have yet to hear anyone accuse him of exposure.

So, maybe it IS a matter of degree, of intent and of execution of the faux sleight after all.

And, to ask the difficult question, would not the Flight of the Paper Balls (ala Slydini) be an exposure under some of the standards espoused inthis thread? The entire audience gets to see how the volunteer is fooled, but the efect is stunning to the person that is experiencing the method close up.

And let's face it, nobody can cut a rope with their fingers! Any child can tell you that, so isn't that a form of exposure?

No one is going to lose work from a very bad version of Le Tourniquet being shown, buried in the middle of a rivitting routine, and that's what the rules about exposure are all about - keeping the real secrets safe so we can all keep working.

At least, that's what I've always been told. And it appears to be the stance taken by the Ethics Committees of every magic organization that I am familiar with.

No flames meant or implied, just food for further thought!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Dec 31, 2003 11:09AM)
To both Lee and Muggle,

I don't feel flamed in the least. As I said, it was only my opinion. To clarify my point a little more, it is not the plot line that I object to, but the execution.

When Vernon, performed it( the fake FD), it was so bad, as to be laughable. No one believes it, due to the twinkle in his eye, and the rapid smack in the face of the large loads. The torn and restored Napkin in Danny Rouzer's hands was a delight. Here a fully functional normal man is coverted into a deformed cripple right before your eyes. Again, no one took him seriously.

The Silk Dying in the Hand, or Sucker Die Box even, lead them down the garden path, without true exposure. Now if one of them showed the dye tube and then used a pull to finish the job, I don't think anyone would argue whether or not exposure took place.

It is only when the performer, isn't willing or able to apply the presentation and performance points and actually demonstrates a "working" sleight and then exposes it's falsehood, that I find objectionable.

I have seen a variety of "false placements" from Al Schneider Put Vanish to David Roths Visual Retention Pass, done perfectly and then exposed as "just pretend."

At some level, I even think poorly constructed "flurry's" are exposure.

As far as Open Travelers(Jennings), there is no actual palming exposed. He does a move, in an open manner, and then immediately shows that there is nothing in the hand, and still magic happens, all the while actually palming on the off beats, to achieve the next step.

I do a series of color changes that use cancelling methods, because it is no great leap, that I may have something in my hand or palmed it, so when they follow the "guilty" hand or grab it, they find nothing and then I prove again and again that I don't have something in my hand as the cards continue to change and then fans of cards appear and disappear.

One famous magician, who shall remain nameless, starts his show with a back palm production of a single card and then changes it to another and then throws both cards on the ground in front of the audience. I can't get him convinced that this is BAD! My understanding of his justification as he uses it to establish the charactor of a burn out magician who is more than a little disrespectful and the audience "knows" where they come from anyway. I think there is a better way.

I hope that clarifies my point and gets all of us to reevaluate the routines that we do and why we do them and to make the adjustments and improvements necessary.


Kirk
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Dec 31, 2003 09:50PM)
Good post Kirk, glad you didn't take any offense.

This thread has been great in re-evaluating both routines that I do, and those of others around me. I try to always study routines of both good and bad performers- you will always learn something from them, no matter if you liked their preformance and content or not.

I appreciate the thoughts and banter about using false explanations in magic. In fact, I'll close with something I found today while reading an old linking ring (in an article by Eugene E. Gloyf) which made me think about this thread.

"Magicians, however, guard their methods while one expects the answers to puzzles to be disclosed. In the case of sleight of hand feats, the deceptions can be so compelling that even if the methods used are revealed, people tend to doubt their validity. " He then continued on with- "There is a good deal more to the presentation of a sleight of hand trick than digital skill."

I feel this is why Vernon's routine was so good- he gave them the answer in an unbelievable manner. This added to the effect, and to its impossible nature. Just like the paper balls over the head, the nature of the trick is really lost as a "tool of magic" in the tricks presentation and comedy surrounding the effect. So in the end, people tend to doubt certain aspects of "the inner workings" when relating it to the effect or something else. (IMO)

I also feel Kirk's passion about lack of quality in some performers magic, whether intentional or not. But the fact is that even though there are some bad magician's, the audience still comes back. Maybe not next year, but sooner or later. So I try to be as good as I can be, giving the best show that I can. If that means giving a false explanation (no matter true or not) for a trick to enhance the effect, I most likely will add it.

How far to go is the end question- only each of us has that final answer. Hope this all makes sense. I had a really long day at work and am exhausted, but wanted to post while it was on my mind.

MM
Message: Posted by: fonda57 (Dec 31, 2003 10:53PM)
I like John Bannon's Off Cups and Fuzzballs in Impossibilia.
Message: Posted by: Darren Roberts (Jan 1, 2004 08:54AM)
I have been very interested in learning the cups and balls.

I do not have Vernon's Cups and Balls routine as it is being discussed here, but I do have Vernon's "Impromptu Cups and Balls" in the Stars of Magic book.

How does it compare? Is it a good "starter" routine? I liked the idea of learning the cups and balls using the impromptu routine because I won't feel like buying a "cheap" set of starter cups, then wish I had waited to spend the money on a much nicer set :lol:

Thanks for any advice.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jan 1, 2004 09:39AM)
The “Impromptu” version of Vernon’s Cups and Balls is shorter and leaves out a number of phases found in the longer version. It is sort of an “abridged” version.

The longer version has a vanish or two (including the Malini wand spin vanish) and a spectator choosing a cup for the balls to appear under sequence that is not found in the impromptu version.

Both have the fake explanation phase(I won't enter that debate).

I believe that the impromptu version is as good a place to start learning the Cups and Balls as any. Especially since you have it already. Learn the routine and learn it well and it will serve you for years. You will find elements of the Vernon routine in almost every routine that is published.

You are not limited as to what cups or balls you use for the routine. Even though he explains it using glasses wrapped in paper and wads of paper for balls you can use anything from paper cups to the most expensive cups available. The magic is not in the props it’s in the routine as performed by the magician. I watched him perform the impromptu version using his silver cups and another time I saw him perform his “full length” routine using Styrofoam cups and wads of Kleenex as balls. Even the master was flexible.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 1, 2004 05:13PM)
[quote]
On 2004-01-01 10:39, Harry Murphy wrote:

Both have the fake explanation phase(I won't enter that debate).

[/quote]

IMO this thread has opened our minds on the topic, and has helped expand magic for each of us- even if only a small amount. Looking at your post count, you have to have some good points to add to the discussion, which will add to the conversation.

This board gives me more help than my local magic group does, please by all means, dive in!

MM
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 1, 2004 09:36PM)
One of the things I firmly believe about the cups and balls is that the more you read and learn about the trick, the better equipped you will be to work out a routine that fits your own style.

The very first actual routine ever published in a magic book was probably the cups and balls. The material on magic in Discovery of Witchcraft is exposure, pure and simple, and the magic in the Art of Jugling is not actually routined.

But when the author of Hocus Pocus Junior set out his cups and balls routine, he gave out a whole lot of information, from how to sit, how to hold your hands and even what to say. In Joro's book on the cups and balls, which may be one of my next translation projects, he lists over 700 published references to the cups and balls in German and in English. Since this book was published in 1999, more references now exist. And his book does not list videos.

Obviously, few can afford to have all of the published routines on hand, but that doesn't mean that you should not look at all sources that you can afford to.

And, by all means, keep your eye on this thread. It has a lot to offer.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jan 1, 2004 09:39PM)
As long as I am sharing opinions, if you read the Slydini write up on Flight of the Paper Balls, he exposes classic palming to the audience. I never do. I just omit that section. Later, if the audience really thinks you accomplish miricles by tossing stuff over their head, I can live with that.

I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Murphy and suggest that Darren buy a set of cheap aluminum cups and learn the original Vernon routine, and NEVER do the impromptue version. I am sure many will disagree, but it is awkward and looks bad.

While I may allow a chop cup routine with a coffe cup, not a cups and ball routine, and NEVER NEVER a butter knife or bic pen as a wand. The Magic Wand is a symbol and element of respect, and should never be regarded as casually as a dirty table utensil. If you are going to use the wand, use a real one.

There are moves in the standard Vernon routine and aquitements that are not available to you in the impromtu version. I was just able to buy a copy for $5.00, so it isn't hard to find.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jan 1, 2004 10:14PM)
Kirk I don’t disagree with you. My point about learning the impromptu version was that Darren already HAS it!

Rather than spending then next few weeks or months tracking down and buying the “ultimate” cups and balls routine I think that he just ought to use what he has and get started. I think that we sometimes go on fruitless quests for the “ultimate” prop or routine and never learn or perform any. In terms of the cups and balls, Bill Palmer rightly points out that the references fill libraries! He notes that there are over 700 known references published in German and English. Heck, I have 24 references on my shelf and those are just the ones I decided to keep! There must be a start point and Darren already has one. I say to him “go for it!”

Further, I believe that the Vernon “Impromptu” routine offers a good start point that is relatively easy to learn, easy to perform, and is magical in its execution. I don’t think that it looks awkward at all (at least not in Vernon’s hands and Vernon performed it fairly regularly).

Every phase of the Impromptu routine is found in the expanded full routine. Learning the Impromptu routine will not hinder, but will in fact, enhance the learning of the longer routine.

I’m neither here or there on a set of cups. Buy a set of cheap aluminum or copper cups and get started or go to the dollar store and find some nesting plastic glasses and get started. But by all means get started!

I’m even less invested in the nature of wands. A foot long length of wooden dowel works fine. I’ve seen a “magic marker” used in a table-hopping routine that worked well too and did not detract from the performance. Of course this from a person that has dozens of wands! I have everything from the traditional to the bizarre, made of metal, plastic,glass, and wood. Some are very plain and others encrusted with crystals and gems. The one I use in my street act is a length of tree branch that had been naturally twisted by vines that I cut to length and shaved and sanded all the bark off. It fits the character (as does most of my wands!).

Bottom line...get started!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 2, 2004 02:38AM)
I agree get started, and save for a good set of cups. All to often I see people not start something till they order an item that they need to do or learn an effect. Then before you know it they have more stuff lying around and they can't focus on any one effect.

I learned the Cups and Balls effect with a cheap set of Morrissey cups, then used a set of coffee cups, & then I purchased a good set. You can even find good routines with simple props like paper Dixie cups- ex. RB's Dixie in his private study series.

As far as the wand, I feel that the true use of a wand is to conceal what the hand is doing. If I'm correct with my history, that has been the wand's primary use through the ages and won't change. I don't know of very many illusionists who use a wand. Symbolism is great and all, but it has more of a practical use compared to an item of magical jewelry. (no disrespect, just my opinion based on what I've read).

It's only been in recent years that magician's have started using a knife or something else in its place- usually because it fits the performance, their performance style or its setting (ex. impromptu @ a restaurant)

But no matter what- grab any book that has the cups in it, learn all the routines that you can and get started. It will improve everything in magic that you do.

MM
Message: Posted by: Welshwizard (Jan 2, 2004 05:21AM)
[quote]
On 2004-01-01 10:39, Harry Murphy wrote:

The longer version has a vanish or two (including the Malini wand spin vanish) and a spectator choosing a cup for the balls to appear under sequence that is not found in the impromptu version.
[/quote]

Harry, I am interested why you credit Max Malini with the wand spin vanish. On the Ammar cups and balls tapes the wand spin vanish is credited to Silent Mora who used a fan to effect the vanish in a billiard ball manipulation routine. Vernon is credited for adding the spin. Where does Malini come into the equation?

Secondly, I think that the Vernon routine is a great place to start learning the cups and balls. All of the standard moves are included in the routine, along with some of the most popular sequences for three cups. IMO Vernon's routine remains a classic, despite new advances like only using two cups and new sequences.

:cups:
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jan 2, 2004 06:14AM)
You are absolutely right! Malini DOES NOT come into the equation at all! I miss-typed. That BIG mistake was the result of me typing on two threads at the same time (I was into an egg bag discussion on an AIM chat). Lame excuse I know! I should simply say that I made a very stupid mistake. The reference should have been Silent Mora NOT Malini wand spin. Sorry, just goes to prove that I can be very wrong! :wow:
Message: Posted by: Darren Roberts (Jan 2, 2004 11:40AM)
Thanks for the advice from everyone!

I think I will learn the impromptu routine first - just to get started! As soon as I'm comfortable with that, I'll pick up Vernon's full routine.

As I do that, I will save money for a nice set of cups that I will want to keep forever.

Plus, if I do a good cups and balls routine using "impromptu" materials, I will better be able to convince my wife that a nice cups and balls set is a worthwhile investment :rotf:

Thanks again!
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jan 2, 2004 02:03PM)
Darren,

Noooo! Don't let her see that you can do it perfectly well without those ridiclously expensive cups! Been there, done that.

Repeat after me, " You need those cups, you need those cups.

Seriously, a cheap ($15.00) set of cups will be a good back up and let you practice all the moves and when you get the "good" set you can use these in those neighborhoods you wouldn't want to take anything nice. Plus they are nice to loan to your magic friends who want to get started.

As far as a wand, while it may be used to help conceal items, it really is there to dress up the act and point up the magic moment. As such, it should fit the bill. Using a pen or knife, is kind of like wearing tennis shoes with a tuxedo. No one really thinks is adds anyting to the look in the way of improvment, just different, and nowadays, not all that different.

Stick to respecting the old ways, and don't even mention illusionist when discussing "real" magicians. :-)

I am glad someone else brought up the Malini comment as I didn't want to appear to disagree with everything he said.

Happy New Year to all!

Kirk Grodske
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 2, 2004 02:12PM)
Till someone can drink from those 'cups'... they are way out of bounds for me. They are almost dribble glasses, the thick rims make it very tough to drink from and pour from.

If you can learn the first sequence where the balls on top of the cups are vanished... you have the key to a great cups routine. Anyone using a pen instead of a wand for the spin vanish? Any suggestions for what to load under coffee cups at a diner?
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jan 2, 2004 02:12PM)
You mean that one doesn’t wear Chuck Taylor’s with a tux?!?

Feel free to disagree with everything I write. As we have noted here, I can be wrong! And when it comes to opinions mine is clearly no more valuable or important than any other person’s. In fact I have actually changed my opinion on a thing or two just reading a counter argument here!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 2, 2004 04:42PM)
Love this post-

But if we really stuck to the old ways, magic would probably be passed down from generation to generation.

It wouldn't be available as easy as it is today. I know guys who killed to get basic knowledge years ago on the wand spin, yet after a few minutes today, any Joe can find something relating to it.

The old ways kept secrets secrets- the magicians of old weren't worried about #'s of people in assemblies or which ring they belonged to, and they did not make an extra $25K (or more) a year selling secrets, marketing effects, publishing web sites, or designing TV specials on the secrets.

So although I agree with you, I disagree-

IMO costume is good, but a wand is to help conceal and look natural first, costume second. IMO a magician's wand isn't to him what a crown is supposed to be to a king.

.........and good point about the illusionist's. :sawingchick:

just my .02!

MM
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 2, 2004 06:44PM)
About the wand...

think about that cook on TV, Emeril... with that box of spices he uses to 'take the flavor up a notch' ... he takes a pinch onto the food and goes... BAMM!

now imagine using a wand in much the same way. you set up the situation with the props, pick up the wand and ...
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jan 2, 2004 06:52PM)
Mr. Murphy,

I disagree . . . that your opinion has no more merit than anothers. I have ready many of your posts and you have a strong background and creative mind. I am happy to discuss any topic with you as I am sure it will be learning experience each time.

Same to you Mr. Muggle(see above to Mr. Murphy),

Although I will still beg to differ on the wand. Although it is a great assistance to concealment, it doesn't take that much work or effort or respect for the art, to take that next step of costuming. Because, one of the reasons it works as a costume is because it is appropriate to the costume of the performer. Otherwise why is he holding that spoon? It is not a "real" magic wand. Let's look for the reason.

If you are in a venue where you don't "have the proper props" just do another routine. Respect the art to wait until the proper time to do the best job. Use the right tool at the right moment. Be the best you can be!

Also there is quite a bit of magic just being passed one to another just to avoid the proliferation of the market.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 2, 2004 07:38PM)
One of Charlie Miller's favorite items to use as a wand was the tube of white cardboard you get from the hangar your trousers come back from the cleaners on.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 2, 2004 10:50PM)
Thanks for the words Kirk.

Alright regarding wands- yes if you don't have the correct tools don't do the routine.

However IMO to use an item to further take away from the spectator's mind that you are 'dirty' during a routine does strengthen the effect. It should be used both when you are dirty, and when you aren't to further strengthen thoughts that it is a prop and has no significance (magical or not- but that's another topic) in your spectator's mind.

The wand's utilization could even allow the placement of an item under a non-congruent thing such as a napkin, plate, or cup if working at a dinner table. (although I know most of this discussion isn't on restaurant magic).

I agree that the wand does add class and completes the magician. But what is it's primary use, and is it limited just to that spectrum of thought?

If the magician doesn't use the wand for anything than IMO the atmosphere is incomplete. It would be like a fire man always carrying a hose or ladder- it's only needed when its needed. (Otherwise illusionist's would have one).

With that being said, for my "A" material routines I actually produce the wand in the routine, then use it with prop management after its use to enhance the effect- (e.g.) placing it at the close-up mat's right edge to stop the balls from rolling off to the weak side, etc.

I try to not handle my items to much, but every action should be deliberate and justified. (Building up reasons an item was used in the spectators mind when they re think what they saw later).

Getting back to your post about items such as knives etc., I view things differently. I try to use the appropriate item in the appropriate time frame, but it has to be congruent.

What about medicine men, or an Indian witch doctor, they both use wands, but of a different type. I have a school professor character where he lives by his ruler, and that is his "wand". Not that the item has magic properties, but he will use it to help look clean when he's dirty. He uses it constantly, and because of that, it's a part of him.

I hope I'm not rambling on here, just wanted to give another take into my thought process. Your correct with respect, and if my performing character at any given time was the traditional magician performing the cups as a stage effect like Vernon did, then I would have a wand.

In closing, that was good point about the balls over the head- you made me dig out my book on that one.

And as far as cups being expensive- buy a set of seconds. They aren't that bad- just look used. And its cheap for some quality.


MM
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jan 3, 2004 04:18PM)
Mr. Muggle

I totally agree with using another item "in the set" as a cover for concealment. Whether it is another coin you gently wave a la EG or a silk a la Cone and Ball, any of these techniques are great. They don't replace a wand however. I am also not saying that everyone needs to use a wand in every routine. Trying to hold a wand plays havoc with my pass. If fact it is hard to think of many card tricks where you could use a wand. I think that is one reason they are relegated as "tricks."

I am also not saying a wand has to be a smooth black stick with white ends, although I prefer light ends to dark, to help show up the spin.

The use of a ruler is a good idea, but I can't help but think it could be enhanced by making the ruler slightly unusual or quirky. Perhaps a nicer wood, or older style? Perhaps a bit more slender? Maybe longer than 12 inches, etc.?

I remember teachers using a pointer in class. It was a maple stick with a black rubber point on one end and an eye hook on the other. It was used to direct attention by pointing or capture attention by slamming on a desk top.

Certain tricks benefit from the use of a wand and if you are going to need that benefit, us a real wand.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 3, 2004 05:28PM)
I tried the longer pointer, but kids thought I was using a harry potter type of wand, and no one really understood what I was working with. Since it confuesd and didn't add to the character I decided to use an older ruler, which is more thin, and has 3 sides to it.

My teacher character doesn't do the cups either, but his wand does enhance his magic.

MM
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jan 3, 2004 06:59PM)
Is anyone familiar with Reed McClintock's new version?
Message: Posted by: jimisolo (Jan 6, 2004 11:11PM)
Speaking of Vernon's Cups and Balls routine, did anyone around here learn his routine from his Revelations video? Maybe it was just me, but I found this to be quite frustrating.

Vernon and Ammar might have well been talking at the exact same time (and sometimes they did. :lol: ). I'm sure with the DVD version it is slightly easier to navigate back and forth, but the actual explanation could be described as brisk and choppy.

I finally just sat down and wrote the dang thang out on a pad of paper from beginning to end. Don't pretend I'm the only one. :bg:

I had initially learned a cups and balls routine from Tarbell's book 1, but felt like I really needed something more visual to catch some of the nuances that may have been lost in 'print'. Jumping into it from the Professor, himself, seemed like a mistake in the beginning. All the rewinding, the writing, the pausing, the watching it again from the beginning, erasing and re-writing...I thought I was going to go nuts.

After a few days of "deciding it was time to stop for now" :confused: , and then going back over my notes and the video again and again - I found that it had really helped my understanding of the routine and the individual steps. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that if my initial "frustration" had not challenged me in the way that it did, that there is no way that I would have studied it as thoroughly as I had.

To sum up (I know this got lenthy. :bwink: ), I went on to Ammar's tapes and found them to be quite straightforward (no digressions, or interjections) and chock full of great stuff. I am now greatly interested in learning some of the 2 cup stuff that's out now, and maybe some chop cup stuff as well.

BTW-I still did the same thing with the Ammar tapes, but not because I found them confusing or frustrating. No, because it all had been so well worth it the first time. :cups:
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 7, 2004 12:28AM)
Chop Cup- something I've played with, but never found "my routine". I have never been happy with the effect, and have never found any routines that I really liked.

Ammar's book & DVD set is good. Although I'd like to see him come out with Vol. 3 and add to Vol. 1 & 2, making the 3 book series the most complete documentation on the cups ever.

Think it will ever happen?

MM
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 8, 2004 01:02AM)
Frenchman Ettiene Laurenceau (SP?) is working on a H U G E book covering every known thing about the cups and balls.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 8, 2004 02:45AM)
Really, Great- that will be a MUST for every magician's library. I would pay top dollar for a book of that nature.

Thanks for the word Pete, its something to look foward to.

MM
Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Jan 8, 2004 08:58AM)
Greetings and Salutations Pete,

And Happy New Year!

Do you have any kind of details, sketchy though they may be, on the book? And speaking of books, I thought at one time you were working on a book on the cups and balls, or was it the linking rings, I think my mind must be slipping!

Anyway, how comes the progress on your book? Keep us posted.

Joe in KC

Live a great adventure, make magic happen!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 8, 2004 11:56AM)
My Histeric Linking Ring book is about 87% written and am just so lazy these days.... duh...
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Jan 8, 2004 03:15PM)
[quote]
On 2004-01-07 00:11, jimisolo wrote:
Speaking of Vernon's Cups and Balls routine, did anyone around here learn his routine from his Revelations video? Maybe it was just me, but I found this to be quite frustrating. [/quote]
DVD's are always easier to navigate, and personally I like the Vernon Revelation/Early Ammar stuff just for reference & history on the men. I have a few of them each, and I've heard of and seen A LOT of duplication. I've experienced the same problems that you have.
[quote]
I finally just sat down and wrote the dang thing out on a pad of paper from beginning to end. Don't pretend I'm the only one. :bg:

[snip, snip]

Jumping into it from the Professor, himself, seemed like a mistake in the beginning. All the rewinding, the writing, the pausing, the watching it again from the beginning, erasing and re-writing...I thought I was going to go nuts. [/quote]
Give this man a prize Charlie! No, I write EVERYTHING that I learn out on paper with sleights added to the text. Then I go a step further and transfer it to poster board, and hang it on the wall next to a large mirror. Now I can watch my presentation, the sleights, the audience, and read along while I practice. Excessive? It works for me and I thoroughly learn the routine.

I've also found that my presentation and eye contact has become better in performance because of this style of practice. With the length of time it takes to get all the necessary aspects down with the cups, it's MO that everyone should start w/ a hard routine. You're learning the routine as you learn the sleights, and beat it into your head.
[quote]
After a few days of "deciding it was time to stop for now" :confused: , and then going back over my notes and the video again and again - I found that it had really helped my understanding of the routine and the individual steps. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that if my initial "frustration" had not challenged me in the way that it did, that there is no way that I would have studied it as thoroughly as I had. [/quote]

Besides going over your notes, have you tried starting the routine from all different possible points? I've found doing this gives you extreme confidence, knowing that you have tried everything not to get thrown off while performing the routine.


Extra Effort is ALWAYS worth the time, that's where a lot of magician's fall short IMO.

MM