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Topic: Dai Vernons Cups and Balls routine
Message: Posted by: Arkadia (Dec 21, 2004 12:54PM)
I am workin' on Dai Vernons cups and balls routine right now. I like the basic pattern but belive that there's to many hand-to-hand-to-hand-vanish movements. You are supposed to pick up a ball with your left hand, throw it to you right hand and then place it in your left hand which puts it in your pocket. Natural, no I don't think so. (I am using Dai Vernons Book of Magic as my referense.)

How do you solve this problem?

/Ark
Message: Posted by: BerkleyJL (Dec 21, 2004 01:36PM)
I generally like to do two classic passes followed by a wand vanish that (without saying so outright) demonstrates the ball is really in the left hand to contradict any theories on how the vanishes are being accomplished. For the two classic passes, you can tip the cup dropping the ball into the left hand and talk about the ball as you show it to both sides of the audience...ending with the ball in the right hand. Then you pass it to the left to put it away.

Or you could learn the classic pass ambidextrously, which I'm working on but not confident with yet.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 21, 2004 01:40PM)
There is no reason not to alter the Dai Vernon routine. In Vernon's hands it made sense, but if you feel uncomfortable, substitute anything you like for that vanish.

Check some of DeCova's work on the cups and balls for alternative ideas.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 21, 2004 01:47PM)
[quote]
On 2004-12-21 14:40, Bill Palmer wrote:
There is no reason not to alter the Dai Vernon routine. In Vernon's hands it made sense, but if you feel uncomfortable, substitute anything you like for that vanish.

[/quote]

This is the best advice I've seen for any magic, in some time!

[quote]

Check some of DeCova's work on the cups and balls for alternative ideas.
[/quote]

I am not familiar with this name. Can you give a source, please?

~michael
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Dec 21, 2004 03:41PM)
From a theoretical perspective, I also did not like the repetitive hand-to-hand vanishes in the Vernon routine. I have always believed that a magician should not perform the same effect, using the same method, for the same audience in the same show. By doing so, you are just begging to get busted. Yet, that's exactly what you are doing by repeating the exact same vanish several times in a row.

As a result, I use a different type of vanish in each case. So it is the same effect in each case, but using a different method. I start with a false transfer; then I do a fist vanish; then I do a wand vanish. All of this then flows into the wand spin for the production of the three balls.

That's pretty much all of the Vernon routine that I adopted. Other aspects of my routine come from Tommy Wonder, David Regal and Michael Ammar. I just did a "pick and choose" of the various moves I liked and developmed my routine accordingly.
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Dec 21, 2004 03:52PM)
[quote]
On 2004-12-21 13:54, Arkadia wrote:
I am workin' on Dai Vernons cups and balls routine right now. I like the basic pattern but belive that there's to many hand-to-hand-to-hand-vanish movements. You are supposed to pick up a ball with your left hand, throw it to you right hand and then place it in your left hand which puts it in your pocket. Natural, no I don't think so. (I am using Dai Vernons Book of Magic as my referense.)

How do you solve this problem?

/Ark
[/quote]

My routine is derivative of Vernon's, but I do not make all the transfers as you've mentioned. I just pick up with the right, toss it in the air, catch it with the right, and then FT to the left.

Though, I will state that I honestly believe that garden variety lay people just simply do not care or think about it. And that statement is not being lazy in terms of thought or performance. I have just found that to be true the more lay audiences I have played to.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 21, 2004 04:07PM)
Re: DeCova -- Alexander DeCova is a German magician, currently living in Vienna. He put out a set of videos, called DeCova's Treasures (I believe). One of them had a vanish from John Carney that is one of the most deceptive vanishes I have ever seen. It is definitely worth the price of the tape.
Message: Posted by: DwightPA (Dec 21, 2004 05:05PM)
There are some (I believe the late Mike Rogers was one) who feel that the pass should not vary; that consistency is the best.

Dwight Powell
Message: Posted by: pepka (Dec 21, 2004 05:41PM)
I, like most of us here, perform a variation of the Vernon routine. The passes back and forth are meant to be done casually, playing with the ball. I have eliminated them at the beginning of the routine and replaced with the wand through the hand, wand spin, and a vanish of Tommy Wonder. The final vanish is in the books of Wonder and also on his DVDs. It is so beautiful and simple. Check it out!
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Dec 21, 2004 07:22PM)
The hand to hand... to hand, is easily justified by the actions of displaying the balls. If you're right handed, it stands to reason you would lift the cup with your right hand, tipping the ball into your waiting left hand. Then, to show the crowd (there IS a crowd, right?) you show it first on your outstretched palm to your left, then you pick it up with your right hand and show the people on your right. Now, since your hand is full and you need to pick up the wand it's a natural action to "drop" the ball back into your left hand and grab the wand.

Cellini would vary the transfers a bit for each. One time a simple false transfer, another would be a french drop, and so on... No fancy wand vanishes, "push through" vanishes, or wand spins. Just showing (and vanishing) the balls.

Put that way, it all makes sense.
Message: Posted by: Whitewolfny (Dec 21, 2004 07:26PM)
I'm using the basic Vernon routine but my patter right now is targeting a specific audience for whom I will be performing in March. I'm doing a talk to a local professional purchasing organization talking about problems of tracking inventory. The beginning of my talk will be a short scenario using the cups and balls to demonstrate the problems of tracking inventory. I plan to use a standard tip over load to pick up the ball in my left hand, explaining the "parts" must be picked from the inventory shelf. I will casually transfer the ball to my right hand and explain "the parts are sent to manufacturing." I make the FT at this time and use the "flashy stick" to represent the computer transaction that removes the part from inventory. The moves and stages of my routine are Vernon's but the patter idea is mine. I don't toss the ball back and forth from hand to hand, just a single transfer to set up the vanish or FT. Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Tilman (Dec 21, 2004 08:39PM)
Bill, Michael,

the move Bill mentions is indeed on DeCova's Treasures Vol. 2. Quoting a remark of mine from another thread where Bill recommended the same move: I do not remember Alexander DeCova crediting Carney. In workshops, DeCova teaches the move as something one might want to learn before attempting the Vernon/Mora wand spin vanish (because one can practice the st**l before mastering the spin). I recall him crediting Tommy Wonder as providing the inspiration for the move. As there is indeed a very similar, though not exactly identical (it does not use the wand), move in Wonder's routine, I guess that this is DeCova's source.

Arkadia,

as you talk about putting the balls into the pockets after the fake transfer, I guess you speak about the final load sequence rather than about the opening sequence of the routine. I do not know which portion you refer to exactly, but at some point, hand-to-hand shifting can be avoided when the hand which takes a ball from under a cup (that is temporarily lifted by the other hand) in the same action s*c***ly lo*ds another ball under the cup when the cup is replaced. This is done by releasing the second ball from pinky p**m when the cup is set down. The hand that takes and l**ds can then proceed to fake transfer its ball into the hand that has just set down its cup and now goes to the pocket. Good luck with your routine (send me a private post if you want more details).
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 21, 2004 09:56PM)
You may be right about that move, I think it is in Carneycopia, though.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 22, 2004 04:33AM)
I can't imagine any routine that wasn't influenced by Dai Vernon. I have Micheal Ammar's tapes on cups and balls. He learned his routine from The Professor himself. He mentions, towards the end, that Dai would probably have eliminated that move eventually as he was moving to more simplicity.

My routine was influenced by Michael Ammar's understanding of Dai Vernon, and by John Bannon who used multiple final loads and some handling from the Benson Bowl. I don't use the vanish that you mentioned once.


The point is, find what you really like, then change it, make it yours. If we all didn't do that then magic would become pretty boring with us all slavishly following the same script.
Message: Posted by: Arkadia (Dec 23, 2004 03:53AM)
Thanks for all the answers. Will check up some more vanishes and I have been looking through Ammars Stand up Cups and Balls. He uses the wand for the three vanishes. The push throu, striking vanish and dai vernons spin. I hvae problems with the stike vanish because my wand is very heavy and long. But I will hopefully get it right eventually.

I am currently workin on my own routine (in what sense you can say that anything is yours in such an old effect...) I wanted to learn Dai Vernons routine first because of its historical value and the fact that it is one of the most used routines. I will then go from there and work my way towards something that fits me. I am thinking of a colorchange that takes plce during the routine and that I put away all the discoloured balls. "No I only want red balls, why did this one get yellow?" I place the yellow balls under a different cup. And at the end a final load will be revealed under it. This is just thoughts and I'll se what I come up with in the end.

/Ark
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Dec 23, 2004 12:49PM)
I think one problem here is the comment, "I wanted to learn Dai Vernons routine first because of its historical value and the fact that it is one of the most used routines."

The Vernon routine takes study to get all out of it that it possesses. I expect those having trouble with the opening vanish sequence have never had the opportunity to see the Professor, in his prime, perform the routine. He is pretty good on the Ammar tape, but it is not his best showing. The psycology behind his routine and move choices is significant. Two vanishes in a row to establish the pattern and then the wand spin, as he hardly ever performed it differently, to cancel any thought as to how he was accomplishing the vanishes set up the audience completely. The revelation of them all under the cups was another smashing blow.

Most performers today, don't get that effect, because they make too much of the tiping off the balls off the CUPS, rather than the tipping off the BALLS off the cups. The cup work should be incidental and or transparent as if you never when near them.

With all due respect to Michael Ammar and his many accomplishments, I disagree with his interpritation of the Vernon routine. I like his own routine, but I would probably make a few modifications as well.

One other tip. Slow down! I am still trying to hold myself back and I have slowed down considerabley. There are a lot of items to keep track of. Simple, well executed vanishes, so they KNOW where the balls is, will make the vanish more impressive. Watch other performers and see how they leave the audience in the dust wonder what went on and how they missed it, rather than blown away by the fact they didn't miss anything and yet the amazing magic happened right under their eyes.

Kirk G
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Dec 23, 2004 04:10PM)
I like the Vernon routine and it seems all spectators do. I just don't like
the fake explanation.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Dec 23, 2004 11:53PM)
Tom G.

I agree with the dislike of the fake explanation. I have modified that part so significantly that it works, but doesn't expose any "real" magic.

Kirk
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Dec 26, 2004 05:56AM)
I was able to dig out the DeCova tape and he did rework 2 of Vernon's phases.
Some clever stuff.
Tom
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 26, 2004 08:41AM)
I am one of those fortunate ones who got to see the Professor do the routine when he was still doing it well. This was in 1972. It was lovely. That's all I can say. Lovely.
Message: Posted by: Jeffrey Cowan (Dec 30, 2004 06:31PM)
To answer the original question: think about "why" you are transferring the balls. Do you have some justification for it? Also consider applying the Erdnase strategy of changing the TIMING of the move. David Williamson does an excellent job incorporating these two points into his routine.
- Jeffrey
P.S. The video of Vernon doing his cups and balls routine reveals that he used no justification for the false transfers leading up to the vanishes. Now that might pass muster with some folks if you do it twice in a row (and then do the wand spin vanish), but not with "engineer types" who are sober and giving you real heat. Today's magicians stand on Vernon's shoulders -- which means not only that they owe him and the earlier masters a debt but also that they have have the potential to improve the trick and make it more deceptive.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Dec 30, 2004 07:06PM)
I am a big Dai Vernon fan...

And I am sure Bill Palmer would know the answer of the question I am asking... But did't Dai Vernon use some ideas for the cups and balls from Max Malini???

I think in the book Vernon's tribute to Malini - Vernon Credits Malini for the idea of taking the loads from his body (pockets) rather than a drop bag... He is also talked about using glasses with newspapers and doing the impromptu method for the cups and balls...

I have seen Dai Vernon wow a room full of magicians with this routine and get a standing ovation...

As far as the vanishes go - check out the Dai Vernon impromtu method for the cups and balls in the Stars of magic...

The advice above is great...
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Dec 30, 2004 09:16PM)
In john Bannon's chop cup routine, he does a "phony fake explaination"
which does not expose anything becuase it is so outrageous.

Well, maybe not outrageous for a layman but not too many are going to buy into it.
I think is is a good way to go if you do Vernon's explaination phase and don't
want to change the phase itself.

So you can come up with your own idea, ...

Instead of "I pretend to take the ball", ask youself this...
What would you tell the spectators in terms of
"I actually take the ball but somehow it ends up back in this hand"


Anyway, I like the idea. That Bannon dude has a gift for presentations.



[quote]
On 2004-12-24 00:53, KirkG wrote:
Tom G.

I agree with the dislike of the fake explanation. I have modified that part so significantly that it works, but doesn't expose any "real" magic.

Kirk
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 30, 2004 11:26PM)
I have just studied over the Charles Bertram routine in C. Lang Neil's, Modern Conjuror, and began to wonder specifically why Dai Vernon's routine became the standard. I will use Bertram's routine only as a point of loose comparison, not necessarily as a better alternative.

Agreed, the Vernon routine has done away with the production of balls from the wand, yet it hasn't completely done away with the wand as an instrument with which to vanish the balls. It's not new, and wasn't with him. There are some similar patterns, although I can only reason that there are really only so many patterns with 3 cups and 4 balls.

The false transfers are no more or less justified (or unjustified) in either routine. Bertram's routine is a stand up routine; Vernon's could be. Both use the pockets for containment of the final loads.

Concerning the false explanation, I think this was probably born by embracing a growing problem with the Cups and Balls, at that point in history, and that may possibly have been over exposure, especially by inept performers. The Cups and Balls, I have heard, fell from favor among magicians around the beginning of the 20th century.

As long as the audience was clamoring, and resistance was futile, the better (or at least a logical) choice was to meet this thing head on, and fess up... almost. Give the audience their scapegoat, and then get on with business. Bertram's routine may not have faced the same issue during its time. Vernon may simply have chosen the lesser of two evils.

So, while not similar enough to be called overly connected, I find many, many good things about Bertram's routine, or at least no more objectionable factors than have already been mentioned in regard to Vernon's routine.

As Bill mentioned earlier, "There is no reason not to alter the Dai Vernon routine."

The same goes for Bertram's, or in fact any other routine. Obviously, both of these gentlemen altered routines drawn from somewhere else. The variances are what make these routines different and hopefully unique to each of these two, and in fact, every performer. Look at Ricky Jay's routine. It uses Vernon elements and patter lines taken directly from Hoffmann.

Although there are only so many patterns possible with 3 cups and 4 balls, there are many, many more ways to sequence these patterns, and thus come the multitude of routine possibilities. But, there is more.

How a performer handles the incidentals, like the exact execution of a chosen sleight to vanish, produce, or transfer a ball, is a subject unique to each performer, and not the Cups and Balls itself.

The execution of those incidentals is not the measure of the merit of any routine. It may be said to be the measure of the merit of the mechanic performing them. Likewise, the entertainment derived from a routine is only a measure of the merit of the entertainer. This comes from the storyline, the interaction, the presentation delivery, the characterization, etc. It has little if anything to do with the patterns, the sequencing, or the execution of the incidentals.

So why did Vernon's routine become the standard on which most modern routines are based? Or better phrased, why has Dai Vernon become the icon for the Cups and Balls? In light of the objections to various aspects of his routine, I'd suspect it is because there are magicians alive today who can say that they have actually seen Vernon perform the Cups and Balls. These magicians can say that they have seen something as potentially confusing as the Cups and Balls performed in a relatively concise sequence, with basicically natural moves (giving elbow room to the arguments above), and by a man who spoke with plain words. But with all respect for Mr. Vernon, mostly I think because it's an easy and fashionable place to stop. There WAS magic, good magic, long before Dai Vernon. Don't forget to look beyond both horizons.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 31, 2004 02:23AM)
Three cups, four balls, one wand... small box. Fuss all you want.

It helps to find the sources for the componants of Vernon's routine, and so find where the man's work begins.

The Mora ball vanish done with with a drummers stick spin was a nice touch.
Message: Posted by: Werner G. Seitz (Dec 31, 2004 02:45AM)
[quote]
On 2004-12-31 03:23, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
The Mora ball vanish done with with a drummers stick spin was a nice touch.
[/quote]Hmm, I've never seen anybody using the drummers stick spin in connection with the Mora vanish..
(The drummer stick spin is *around* the thumb, DV used another and original spin if I am not mistaken ?)
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Dec 31, 2004 08:23AM)
It is still a drummers stick spin. In fact there are many of them. It could also be said, however, that is is a Drum Major or Baton Twirler's spin.

Kirk g
Message: Posted by: Werner G. Seitz (Dec 31, 2004 10:35AM)
[quote]
On 2004-12-31 09:23, KirkG wrote:
It is still a drummers stick spin. In fact there are many of them. It could also be said, however, that is is a Drum Major or Baton Twirler's spin.

Kirk g
[/quote]Yes.. I have to agree..had thought a tiny bit about it after I posted and recognize to have seen a drummer doing it..

The reason I posted though, was not that just to thease Jon -also I love to do so :) -, but soley because I am pretty sure I have read it from DV himself, that he developped that wandspin he did use for the Silent Moras vanish, after seeing Silent Mora doing it using a fan.

And...apart from this, the term *drummers wandspin* is normally used for the move where the wand soley spins around ones thumb..as used by Dave Williamson, Mike Gallo, Michael Ammar - oh, BTW me too, when doing the ring on wand, right at the beginning to 'hide' the *extra* -and a lots of others..

BUT, I agree, the move used by DV also is use by drummers, still it is -for most ppl-a bit of a misunderstanding/interpretation to use that term for DVs move, for the above mentioned reason :)

*Drum major wand spin* would have explained it, so even I had understood it :)
Jon, please be precise in the terms you use :kermit: :)
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 1, 2005 03:31PM)
I've never been a big fan of the Vernon routine. Tipping the balls off the cups seems to me unnatural. Anyone would normally just pick the ball off. Nevertheless there are may excellent points in it but I think each performer should develop his own routines rather than trotting out a well worn one move for move.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 1, 2005 04:09PM)
I think that it is good to experiment and to work to improve on classic routines.

On the other hand, most people start changing things before they really understand and grasp the importance of the way things are done in a routine like Vernon's. Please don't forget that he was a true master, and all that that implies.

Many of the so called "improvements" to Vernon's routine I have seen were actually a step backwards. I saw Vernon do his routine live several times in the late 60's and early seventies. It was incredible each time. The naturalness and cleanliness of the moves was astounding, and the psychology of the routine was profound.

The routine beat the heck out of the spectators and played with their pre-conceptions and observations in a powerful way that simply made the members of the audience feel "mastered." Vernon seemed to know what they were thinking and then confirm their solutions only to demolish them again. And then there were the final loads!

You should not try to improve a routine until you have mastered the original. It is simply presumptuous and wrong, and it keeps you from learning the hard won secrets of the great ones.

I think their are many ways to alter and improve Vernon's routine with the cups. But it will be much more difficult than most people think.

If you simply apply the formulas that you have heard from others (it is wrong to "expose" the vanish, moves should not be repeated, etc.) you are liable to miss the many lessons that are in the routine.

Vernon is much deeper than most people realize, and the formulas that they have learned are rules that Vernon understood and broke whenever he had an overarching reason. Find out how and why Vernon broke the rules that you are trying to rack him out on.

For example, I think Vernon wanted to suggest the possibility of a pass by repeating the move twice, only to demolish the idea witht the wand spin vanish. He brings it up again in the explanation, only to play with the audience some more.

Before the audience can tire of being beaten in this little game, he blows them away with the final loads. The sensation that the performer could practically read your mind, that he knew what you were thinking and was miles ahead of you was very powerful. And then the production of the loads was both magical and crushing. You just have to give up and shake your head and go "Wow. That was something!"

If you don't understand what Vernon was thinking at any point, go back to the routine and try to figure it out.

Don't apply other people's theories to Vernon. Learn what he believed magic was all about by studying his work and finding out how he thought. Once you have mastered Vernon--there's a wild thought--then go ahead and build on his work as much as you can.
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Jan 1, 2005 06:32PM)
Wow, powerful post Whit.
Message: Posted by: bunkyhenry (Jan 1, 2005 07:14PM)
Yes, very true. I think the more one performs the Vernon routine (in performance) the more it becomes. I find that it (the routine) is really way ahead of me.
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Jan 1, 2005 09:08PM)
One thing I haven't seen mentioned lately is that at the end of vol. 2 of Michael Ammar's C&B tape is the Professor himself performing his routine on Mark Wilson's Magic Circus.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jan 2, 2005 12:32AM)
Whit,

Most excellently put. Kirk G
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 2, 2005 12:57AM)
It's a good routine till it goes into "explanation mode" instead of leading to any climax of its own. That is where some improvement can be made.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 2, 2005 12:24PM)
I recently had a very bright A student at UCLA say something like, "I thought had some of the first part figured out but I have no idea how those lemons got there."

What he didn't mention, thought, was the reactions of the audience. They were blown away by the routine.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 2, 2005 01:38PM)
Whit's post is dead on. If you want to see how one other master of the cups interpreted the Vernon routine, get Bob Read's [i]Penultimate Cups and Balls Routine[/i].

As far as the "unnaturalness" of tipping the balls off the cups into the hand -- I disagree. In Vernon's hands it looked like it was absolutely natural. It looked fair. It didn't look like he was "doing something."

By using the same move consistently, he did what Schneider refers to in his notes and elsewhere as establishing a move as the natural way to do something.
Message: Posted by: pepka (Jan 2, 2005 06:36PM)
Amen Brothers Whit and Bill.
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 3, 2005 05:57PM)
Actually though, I still don't like the tip off move. I can see it's considered the most heinous blasphemy to criticise Vernon's routine, even ever so sleightly ;) But it's still an "unnatural" action in the sense that normally a person would just pick the balls off the top of the cups. Even if it becomes the established way during the routine, the first couple of times it's done, it isn't established. Now I agree that Vernon performed this action in masterful way, but that's not really the point. Many others have used his routine, and with any action which is not the most normal and direct way one has to be three times as good at it to avoid suspicion.

I'm thus not criticising his personal handling of it, but the move itself and the practicality of other generations of skilled and not so skilled people performing the same move. When one discusses a routine in practical terms, rather than just absolute ones, consideration has to be given to the ease of transferability of that routine to the many who may perform it.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jan 3, 2005 06:41PM)
I think that both Whit Hayden and Bill Palmer are right on the money... Vernon’s routine and his thinking behind the routine and the way that HE performed it was as much of a part of him as any of the Slydini routines... That ere built around Slydini's personality and body language... That is why many people have a hard time performing Slydini magic.

The reason is that the effects are built around Slydini's personality so much - students often sort of become Slydini when they are performing them.

This was told to me by one of Slydini's students - Glenn Haywood...

Vernon's cups and balls routine is the same way. The part where he does a fake exposure worked well for Vernon and the audience was hooked by the bait... Vernon's magic and one of the reasons I consider myself a student of his work - is that in his routines Vernon seems to be thinking one ahead of the audience - and then lead the audience into thinking something - then prove them wrong...

Sort of leading the audience down a garden path and then turning on the sprinklers...

This was all done by a magician in an entertaining way that was also a performing artist...
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jan 3, 2005 07:17PM)
Blackshadow,

I think if you got the chance to see a quality Vernon performance you would better appreciate the tip off move. The one on Ammars tape isn't his best work.

That being said, the purpose of the move is a "display quality" move to show the absolute fairness of the moment. His patter was along the lines, I am not going to move quickly in order to fool you. The whole focus should be the balls falling onto your hands and how lightly and openingly you show them. The fact that you touch the cups shouldn't even register in their minds. Most performers do not adaquately motivate this action before they start. So it looks very unusual.

It is not a "normal" way to pick up a ball, but a very "fair" way.

Kirk g.
Message: Posted by: Laird (Jan 4, 2005 02:21AM)
What has worked for me has been to take the mouth down cup with the ball on top and lift it. While holding the cup, with the ball on top, toss the ball up in the air and catch with your other hand. Load your cup while placing it back down.
It looks like your having fun with the cups and balls. And while your ball is in the air the direction is away from your loading the cup. People tend to look at a moving object anyway. There is even more justification to handle your cups if you're throwing the ball with them.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 4, 2005 06:57AM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-03 18:57, BlackShadow wrote:
Actually though, I still don't like the tip off move. I can see it's considered the most heinous blasphemy to criticise Vernon's routine,...[/quote]


It's okay. Those who have nothing of their own need to cling icons of the past. Dead icons and works beyond their comprehension. Instead of leaning from the man and his works, they cling to the icon.

Dai Vernon had a great eye for good material and collected it, assembled it and put what he felt was the appropriate slant or touch on the material so it would work for him in his setting. Truly laudable accomplishments. For others to blindly presume that what worked for one man in one place long ago, would work as well for all of us in our different places if unfortunately typical in our community.

Onward! Go look at the works of Charles Bertram, J. N. Hofzinser, Tommy Wonder, Fred Kaps.... and assemble what works best for you. Look at the walnut trick and see if that gives you any ideas. Have a look at Curtis Kam's version of the chop cup routine and see if that inspires you in some way. Enjoy!
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Jan 4, 2005 07:19AM)
I think that many of the hard core pro-Vernon posts we have seen in this thread are from magicians who [i]have[/i] contributed something of their own. I also immangine that they all have modified Vernon's routine (or now do something completely different) and are familiar with dozens of other top notch C&B routines. I am not sure who, at least the pros posting here, are simply clinging to the icon of Vernon. Someone like me, however, is liable to that charge, I suppose, but even I modify where I can. My problem is that I am still new. I feel that if benefits me to study one or two routines very closely, at least long enough that I begin to understand what Vernon was doing.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 4, 2005 12:16PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-04 07:57, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-01-03 18:57, BlackShadow wrote:
Actually though, I still don't like the tip off move. I can see it's considered the most heinous blasphemy to criticise Vernon's routine,...[/quote]


It's okay. Those who have nothing of their own need to cling icons of the past. Dead icons and works beyond their comprehension. Instead of leaning from the man and his works, they cling to the icon.

Dai Vernon had a great eye for good material and collected it, assembled it and put what he felt was the appropriate slant or touch on the material so it would work for him in his setting. Truly laudable accomplishments. For others to blindly presume that what worked for one man in one place long ago, would work as well for all of us in our different places if unfortunately typical in our community.

Onward! Go look at the works of Charles Bertram, J. N. Hofzinser, Tommy Wonder, Fred Kaps.... and assemble what works best for you. Look at the walnut trick and see if that gives you any ideas. Have a look at Curtis Kam's version of the chop cup routine and see if that inspires you in some way. Enjoy!
[/quote]

Thank you, Jonathan, for that very succinct post! That is exactly the point I was aiming at earlier, although I may not agree that the people referred to have nothing to offer. Too often magicians tend to worship the icon at the alter and not their accomplishments, or the idealism for which that icon stands... the same mentality that has half the teenage newbies believing that David Blaine invented street magic!

Dai Vernon was a great magician... I totally believe that. His contributions to magic will, and should be regarded as high water marks, and studied, for a long, long time. But, it would be a far stretch to give validity to any single magician as being the beginning, or end, of a trick such as the cups and balls.

We can surely learn from these magicians of greatness, but we can never progress if the status quo is maintained, just because, "That's the way HE did it." That reason, in and of itself, is too full of holes.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 4, 2005 12:41PM)
Still, why crawl between his legs when you can stand on his shoulders?

All I said was that many magicians never take the time to understand Vernon before they begin making changes. Most "jump" the lessons to be found in the old routines, instead of doing the work required to understand and grow from them. There is hubris in that. When I look around the magic scene, I see lots of originality, but often litte depth or quality--too many magicians have not learned the lessons they should have studied before becoming so "original."

The "tip off" move is a very powerful thing, with great economy of motion. Vernon made it seem "natural"--at least no one watching questioned it.

What replaces it, that is stronger?

If you have discovered a better motivation for lifting and loading each cup after vanishing each ball, I for one would be interested.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Jan 4, 2005 02:20PM)
Whit makes a good point. If you are doing the Vernon routine, or something based on it, are there clearly better ways to take the ball off the top while loading the ball?

Gazzo, who does a version of Vernon's routine, which is really what I do, picks up the cup, I believe, drops or tosses the ball to the left, and then puts the cup back down. His motivation is that it shows that there is nothing under the cup. I think this is an acceptable alternative to the tip over. But is it clearly better? I prefer to do the tip over for several reasons. One, my Harries cups have a large bottom, but they do not have a deep indent and the ball sometimes rolls off when I lift the cup. Two, I have always felt more comfortable with the tip over move and feel it is fair looking. Since, in my routine, the specs have held the cups and they put them down at the start, there is no problem with the tip over. I want the spectators to know that I am not doing anything fishy. I tip the cup so that I show that [i]I am clearly staying away from the ball[/i]. The ball does fall into my hand, but the hand is wide open and stays wide open as I toss it to my wide open right hand. I think the motivation and the logic of this is sound. The touching of the cup is not sneaky at all. I don't even look like I am going to close my hand until I draw attention to the wand, which is the motivation for the transfer.

I am sure there are excellent routines that eliminate some of these "problems", but I know the Vernon routine. As a newer C&B user, this is a great place to start.

I have always believed that creativity needs fuel. That fuel is experience. But you cannot experience a performance piece, like a magic routine without performing the routine many times. I can't count the number of times I studied a routine, only to make changes that seemed convenient, later to discover that the original method was better. I have wasted time in my own studies, by, ironically, not giving the time to really understand what a magician is trying to communicate with me.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 4, 2005 03:26PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-04 15:20, chrisrkline wrote:
But you cannot experience a performance piece, like a magic routine without performing the routine many times. I can't count the number of times I studied a routine, only to make changes that seemed convenient, later to discover that the original method was better. I have wasted time in my own studies, by, ironically, not giving the time to really understand what a magician is trying to communicate with me.
[/quote]

Exactly the point. There is nothing wrong with changing a classic routine, but one is wise to perform it many times and try to understand it the way it is written first.

I think there are way too many guys that think they know more than they do, because they skipped lessons here and there. They have seen improvements to classic routines by people who have already studied those routines deeply the way they were written, and think that they can do the same without going through the same process. This is just arrogance.

Vernon was a stickler for naturalness. He must have considered whether or not the tip off was "natural"--why did he choose it? What would he have said in this discussion?

He certainly would have welcomed this debate and been glad to see that people were discussing the important stuff.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (Jan 4, 2005 04:00PM)
Ammar suggests that it may be awkward to do the tip over move if you are standing. Even so, it is easy to say, "I perform standing, so I will do something else," without adequately understanding what Vernon was up to. Some have argued that the tip over move is unnatural, which is certainly within Vernon's philosophy. But sometimes there are other considerations. I am no expert on Vernon, but I am guessing that he may have wanted to make a bigger point then "I am just picking up a ball." He wanted, I suppose, to say something more in line with, "I am going to do something amazing--watch closely." The tip over move satisfies that desire. It is not natural to roll up your sleeves before you do a magic trick, for example, but in the context of your magic, it may be necessary.

In other words, if you are going to do something with the cup, to put the ball in your left hand, it is important for anyone starting out to keep these types of ideas in mind. "What do I wish my audience to feel, think, and believe, at this moment?" Understanding how Vernon answers these questions is important.

I do, also, believe, that many people do the tip over move with no more understanding of its purpose (I did) than the person who just blindly changes the handling for no reason. Following Vernon is not a guarantee of greatness. But that fact does not lead us to the conclusion that one should just have it their way just to be different. It is not enough to do what Vernon does, but to understand why Vernon did it.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 4, 2005 04:13PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-04 13:41, whithaydn wrote:

All I said was that many magicians never take the time to understand Vernon before they begin making changes. Most "jump" the lessons to be found in the old routines, instead of doing the work required to understand and grow from them. There is hubris in that. When I look around the magic scene, I see lots of originality, but often litte depth or quality--too many magicians have not learned the lessons they should have studied before becoming so "original."

[/quote]

While I tend to agree with your point on the quest for originality, "Most", and "many" are keys to your statement. Is it original to use an alternate method for any regarded as very good? Probably not... at least no more so than using shrunken heads for final loads instead of lemons.... and this type of thinking is precisely why I have started selling off most of my "treasured" books that only offer another's dissection and reassemblance of classic routines. To me, they are largely novelties, at best. I can make my own. Good, bad, or indifferent, I can make my own. I am only keeping those that I feel have the soul of magic built in.

Is somewhere out there the next Dai Vernon? Yes... but only in the extreme figurative sense. Somewhere out there IS someone who will make a splash while others are making ripples. It may happen tomorrow, and it may not happen for two hundred years. Some will surely miss this in their mantric pursuits of other icons, being caught up in the whirlpool of rehashing the status quo. Some will fall at this person's feet, and begin the process again. Such is the foundation of celebrity.

All I said was that there is always a good reason to question the status quo, not necessarily that there is , or ever will be a reason to change it. It's called being open-minded.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 4, 2005 05:32PM)
Just make sure you've shaken all the raisens out of the box before you toss it to someone else complaining that it's empty.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 4, 2005 07:50PM)
There is a story that when one of the better known American basso profundi was going to play the part of Mefistofeles in a production of Gounod's [i]Faust[/i], he wondered why, at a certain part of the program, right before an aria, Mefistofeles always walked downstage right and looked into the orchestra pit. He wondered if perhaps it was Mefistofeles taking a look back into Hell.

He asked his teacher, who said, "It is a tradition. Ever since Chaliapin performed the role with the Bolshoi Opera, it has been done that way."

Finally, after much wangling and searching, the fellow was able to as Chaliapin if he could remember his motivation for that seemingly unmotivated act.

He thought for a few moments and finally replied, "Ah, yes. I remember. Chaliapin needed to spit."

So, it's good to understand the motivation behind a move. And it's good to question things. But the story does not explain what bit of stage business the basso profundo substituted for spitting into the orchestra pit.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 4, 2005 09:07PM)
Great story, Bill.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 7, 2005 10:16PM)
Armando Lucero, Juan Tamariz, John Carney... making more than ripples.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Jan 7, 2005 10:32PM)
Bill's story reminds me of another. I can't remember where I heard it first. A mother was teaching her daughter how to bake a ham. First she cut off both ends. When her daughter asked why she couldn't say. It was the way that her mother always did it. So the little girl asked the grandmother and she laughed and said it was because she didn't have a pan big enough for the whole ham.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Jan 8, 2005 11:16AM)
Brilliant Rik! This one's committed to long-term memory!

John
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 8, 2005 11:32AM)
A sharp-eyed reader pointed out to me that "Mefistofeles" is spelled "Mephistopheles." Not in this case -- Gounod's opera is in French, and the name of the character is spelled "Mefistofeles." Nice try, though. I didn't put in the accent's because foreign characters are difficult to input on a standard keyboard.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Jan 8, 2005 05:14PM)
I believe that one key to eliminating extraneous movements in a cups and balls routine is [i]saturation[/i]. I can perform the Vernon routine without even thinking about it.

When I first started out, I was more concerned with "what phase am I at, where are the balls currently located, e. al." and was content to have actually gotten through the routine in a cogent and entertaining matter.

But then arrived this point where I instinctively knew where the concealed balls were at all times, and my surface thinking went to the actual presentational appearance of it. That--was when the things I personally percieved to be "alliterative" and "redundant" were eliminated by my own tinkering under the hood. Some things about the routine legitimately germaine to Vernon were conversely clubby contrivances for me.

So, in short, when the routine becomes second nature in its current form to you, the next door will open unexpectedly--like a game of [i]Myst[/i].
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 8, 2005 07:09PM)
Let me relate this to an entirely different piece of magic. I have done the Gene Anderson newspaper tear so many times that I can do it in the dark, blindfolded and half asleep. I was in the middle of a performance of it one afternoon and realized just how smooth and natural it had become. And I was completely on autopilot. That's the way any routine should be. It gave me a chance to really project the emotions and the fun of the routine without even thinking for a split second about the trick, itself.
Message: Posted by: MJ Marrs (Jan 8, 2005 07:44PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-08 20:09, Bill Palmer wrote:
Let me relate this to an entirely different piece of magic. I have done the Gene Anderson newspaper tear so many times that I can do it in the dark, blindfolded and half asleep. I was in the middle of a performance of it one afternoon and realized just how smooth and natural it had become. And I was completely on autopilot. That's the way any routine should be. It gave me a chance to really project the emotions and the fun of the routine without even thinking for a split second about the trick, itself.

[/quote]

It's interesting that almost any art form's highest expression is the ability to perform ones skills pretty much on "autopilot." In the Chinese martial arts a mastery level is one of "wu wei" (no mind) where one flows through the movements skilfully due to the thousands of repititions over the years.
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 8, 2005 08:34PM)
Getting back to Vernon's routine, Ammar thought the tip off load was OK. I have to say I like both Ammar's and Vernon's handling of this move very much but I have seen it done badly by others so many times.

However, the bits Ammar was hesitant about were the hand to hand transfers and the fake explanation at the end which Jonathon Townsend has already alluded to. Vernon himself had mixed feelings about that phase, but it kind of fitted in with his patter through the routine where he was saying "I'll explain this swindle later." In the tapes I have seen, he seemed to establish good audience rapport and get a lot of laughs with this concept. I don't have the advantage of seeing him perform live as many here have done, but it he seemed to have great empathy with the spectators to me.

Maybe if he'd originated the routine later he would have done more wand vanishes than the left right left movements but then again, the transfer fitted in with his fake exposure, so a lot of the routine, the patter, and the "business" with the audience would need to have been reworked. So although the whole thing may have been cleaner, the total entertainment value could have been affected. We shall never know the answers to that question.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 8, 2005 08:43PM)
Shane is hosting a video clip of Vernon performing the routine.

Did you notice the extra transfers before he did the wand spin only on the third vanish?

I like the way he drops the cups through the cup.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 8, 2005 11:19PM)
My good man, JT, where doth one view the Vernon example?
Message: Posted by: MJ Marrs (Jan 8, 2005 11:49PM)
Hey Mr. Biro, what happened to the eye patch? I hope you're not wearing a neck brace the next time I see you on the forum! LOL
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 8, 2005 11:54PM)
Yes, Pete. First the eye patch, then one, and then two arm casts... Whatever you are doing, please stop and reconsider your next planned actions. We need you here.

...and tell the surgeon who reattached your left arm that he accidentally put on someone else's right arm.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jan 9, 2005 12:56AM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-09 00:19, Pete Biro wrote:
My good man, JT, where doth one view the Vernon example?
[/quote]

Pete,
Shane is one of our younger Café staff members. You can find the clip on his website at http://www.magicshane.com

It's a video cap of the clip seen at the end of vol 2 of Michael Ammar's C&B video. If you have that video then you've already seen it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 9, 2005 03:03AM)
There's a question here of legal issues. Has Shane gotten permission from the people who own the rights to these videos to post them on his web site?
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 9, 2005 03:06AM)
I liked his cup through cup move. It's fast, and it's better let the cup fall if you have a pad. It's a move which is only going to fool a proportion of the audiencec as compared to other sleights but I think he fooled more than most with it.
Message: Posted by: Shane Wiker (Jan 9, 2005 06:12PM)
Bill,

I don't think L&L owns those videos, but instead can use them because no one else owns them (I could be wrong).

As for the Don Alan video, I got a PM telling me that the video is actually from Glenn Bishop's website, so I took it down.

Shane Wiker
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 9, 2005 06:48PM)
Shane:

SOMEONE owns the videos. The video of Vernon was produced by one of Mark Wilson's companies, and I'm reasonably sure he has retained the rights to it. You might want to check with Michael Ammar about that one, though. I don't want to see you getting in trouble over these things.

Mark gets protective of his stuff from time to time. A few years ago, the Supercuts Hair Salon used a piece of footage of Mark doing one of his sawings with Nani in one of their commercials. They thought it was stock footage. Mark called it a windfall!

It's always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to broadcast footage. If it ran in 1977, it is probably still under copyright, either to Mark or to the broadcasting company.
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 10, 2005 04:34PM)
Well, come on guys, be reasonable. I'm sure Shane's intentions were entirey honourable. The precise letter of the law may say something different, but what harm could posting a low res extract of a vid do, especially if acknowledgement is given to the owners of the copyright, and where the full version may be purchased? It's a great routine which deserves exposure. Who knows how many hundreds may be inspired to work on their own routines or want to study the C&B after viewing even a low res clip on the net of a quality act like this. Who knows how many more may seek to buy the full version for their further use?

I aways think one has to look at the wider picture, and consider the concept of the general good. By being over protective to the point of observing minutiae, we are smothering the development of the magic art.

I'd hope whoever owns the footage would see the sense of having a trailer on sites like Shane's where many aspiring magicians may visit.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 10, 2005 06:25PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-10 16:10, Fan Of Classics wrote:
B.T.W. Shane L&L are the ones who have re-released the Vernon Revelation series so why would they not own the rights?
[/quote]

They may not own the rights, but they may have gotten permission to use the clip. Or they may have paid a fee to someone who is a clearing house for these things. This is not an uncommon practice. For example, if you have a show, you can purchase the right to use a piece of copyrighted music for a period of, say, one calendar year. Then you don't have to jump trhough a bunch of hoops with SESAC, BMI or ASCAP every time you work a public, for profit show. But that doesn't give someone who works for you the right to use the tune in his show. Or you may produce a video with a piece of music in it which you have paid the necessary usage fees for. Someone else may purchase the video. This doesn't give him the right to post the music or the video on his web site.

I'm not trying to pick on Shane for putting up the clips. I'm looking out for his interests. I think Shane knows this.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Jan 10, 2005 06:38PM)
I am impressed with the gentleness and helpfulness of several posters here, especially Mr. Palmer.

Shane, do check the status of your videos and let us know the outcome. I am confident that if you approach the copyright holders in good faith, you will be treated respectfully.

John
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 10, 2005 08:41PM)
Why is this part of the conversation happening on the public side of the BBS?

One couidl well doubt that a posted low quality clip will diminish sales of anyone's product. Likewise it may actually spur interst in a source product if there were one.
Message: Posted by: Randy Sager (Jan 10, 2005 10:08PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-10 21:41, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Why is this part of the conversation happening on the public side of the BBS?

One couidl well doubt that a posted low quality clip will diminish sales of anyone's product. Likewise it may actually spur interst in a source product if there were one.
[/quote]

Never mind what I had posted was stupid. Of course maybe quite abit of what I say at times could be thought of as that I suppose.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 11, 2005 12:32AM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-10 21:41, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
One couidl well doubt that a posted low quality clip will diminish sales of anyone's product. Likewise it may actually spur interst in a source product if there were one.
[/quote]

In the case of posting copyrighted material, that is totally immaterial when the legal aspects of it are considered. In copyright/royalty cases, damages from diminished sales are not necessarily the primary consideration.
Message: Posted by: Shane Wiker (Jan 11, 2005 12:46AM)
Please see my response at:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=97740&forum=2&start=60

Shane Wiker
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 11, 2005 05:44PM)
In the tape of the Vernon routine on the Magic Circus in 1977, how effective do you think the move is where the cup is shown bigger on the inside than the outside by use of the wand. I've done this before, and always thought it somewhat of a tongue in cheek gag, but perhaps I'm not appreciating the power of the move for a fresh audience.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 11, 2005 07:11PM)
Black Shadow, I liked the thing so much that I put it INTO the Ramsay routine, right before the wand goes through the cup. It registers as startling to those who are not skeptical and tongue in cheek to those who are.
Message: Posted by: Tilman (Jan 12, 2005 08:07AM)
Yes, I think this holds true of a number of cup moves. The wand through cup and the cup through cup move probably fall in the same category. The difficult thing is to present them in a way that allows for both interpretations of what is going on.
I still find that difficult. Sometimes, my presentation must have been too much on the serious side and spectators told me afterwards that they 'liked the cups except that stupid thing with the wand and the cup'. On the other hand, after one of these performances someone else also came up afterwards to tell me that the wand passing through the cup was one of the most startling things he had ever seen.

Jonathan, do you have any tips regarding a presentation that allows for both, the tongue in the cheek and the serious interpretation? I would very much like to know how you handle the presentational side of it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 12, 2005 11:57AM)
When you introduce the cups as special to you, and antique/magical/xxx your character and the way you handle the cups does most of the work for you. If they know you are tongue in cheek about the props... the gags are amusing. If they are off guard, the gags can come across as quite startling too. World's oldest 'Dixie cups'?