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Hi everyone,

Could you please tell me on which videos (or books) I could find the explanations for the "Cylinder & COins" routines.

Thanks in advance!

Ronnie Lemieux
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Dan Watkins
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Ramsay’s original routine can be found in a few places including: Victor Farelli’s monograph, John Ramsay’s Cylinder and Coins, Andrew Galloway’s, The Ramsay Classics, as well as the recently released Andrew Galloway video by International Magic, “The Magic of John Ramsay” wherein Mr. Galloway performs and teaches the routine on video. Other variations have been released most notably in the works of John Carney (in Carneycopia), R. Paul Wilson (5X5 Scotland), Mike Gallo (The Siamese Coins), and Lewis Ganson (The Art of Close-Up Magic vol 1.) David Roth also has a version (not the best one in Expert Coin Magic). Bob Kohler indicates that he has plans for an upcoming DVD release of Tim Conover, Bob Kohler, and Michael Forbes’ handling of the routine as well. This will be a “must buy” item for anyone interested in the routine.
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Chris S
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One thing that has concerned me a bit about some of the discussion that seems to be going around regarding this effect is the issue of commercial appeal. From my experience (and to be honest I have only ever toyed with the Gallo variants but I imagine the response would not vary significantly) I have NEVER gotten a good reaction from laypeople from the routine. Not once. Never. Nada. I once asked a non-magicians friend who usually loves coin magic why they were not impressed. They explained that Once that first coin has vanished, the rest of the routine was pretty predictable. They simply lost interest in watching one vanish after another. Furthermore, they found the props very odd and unmotivated. I tried to explain what the cork was for, and I could not! I actually got a better response from audiences when I did not use the cork in the routine (but still, it was not a reaction I was happy with).

I guess my concern revolves around the simple fact that John Ramsay was a magician's magician - he seems to have been almost entirely focused on putting it over the lads. This thinking permeates many of his routines including the C&C. I just want to make people aware of my experiences and to perhaps consider whether there are more commercial routines out there which will still give you a nice feeling of accomplishment in the learning (any number of Roth's and Gallo's routines would fit this bill quite nicely).

Then again, if you want to learn the routine just to get used to the very different requirements of soft coin work, then I am sure there is value there.

Just my thoughts
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Dan Watkins
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Do yourself a favor and study the Carney routine from Carneycopia and watch his peformance of it in his video "Up Close and Far Away." Also, when the Conover, Kohler, and Forbes' DVD on the routine comes out, do yourself a favor and get it and give it another shot.

These are guys that make a living doing this routine for laymen and I am sure have the insights behind making it sucessful.

I have seen the versions Carney (from video) and Kohler (live) do, and they both tell a quick story about John Ramsay, about who he was, and how Ramsay fooled everyone with the routine. How it was one of Ramsay's most famous and favorites. They set up the routine with an interesting story and proceed to deomonstrate the routine after interst in it has been created. One thing you learn from Carney's performance is you don't explain what the cork is for. He talks about the cork being important later on the routine, it acts as sort of a marker, for now remember it is underneath this cylinder. Then moves on with the routine.

Generally I agree that the original Ramsay routine includes fients and nuances that are for a magician audience, a good place to start now is to see what Carney did to remove them to make it play better for the laity.

Think about it though, your logic regarding repetition is not unique to this routine. Once you make 1 coin go magically from one hand to another, you could argue that the other 2 or 3 become predictable for coins across. Cylinder and Coins is not the only routine that can suffer from a lackluster performance, if not designed, structured, and performed right.
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Chris S
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Hmmm. Possibly. I have read and seen Carney's performance (and Connover's, for that matter), Kohler's I have not seen. The ones I have seen, I readily accept were stunning and beautiful, but still, I am still dubious. When I put on my real-world layperson hat, I get me the 'itchins! I guess my problem is not so much with the routine itself, but rather the props required. Firstly, as suggested by a number of laypeople I have quizzed following the effect, they said that the cork was something they could not relate to. It was an unmotivated prop. The question mark in their mind was there, regardless of whether I explained it or not. Secondly, and I think this is the biggest problem I have with it, the cylinder is just sitting there for the majority of the routine. The places where I have worked, you would not get away with that - it would last two seconds before someone got grabby. Nobody, and I mean nobody, would be able to take this sort of routine to a restaurant or the majority of parties. If you were lucky, or your crowd management was good, MAYBE you could get away with keeping their attention away for the cylinder at the beginning of the routine, but following the revelation of the stack under the cork, I will bet you all the money in the world that a mildly impolite person (or a child!) would be grabbing for the cylinder and the coins before you get to the final reproduction phase (or during - yikes!). Perhaps if you replace the cylinder with a rabid Rottweiler, then it could work. A daresay it would make the empty convincers a little more tricky, however - "Down Sheeba!" Smile

I do agree with the repetitiveness of coin work, and I think the way around that is to make the vanishes progressively more powerful or interactive (in any routine). Perhaps some of the versions that Bob is releasing will help with this concern, but the Ramsey routine (and even Carney's) did not have this progressive power of the vanishes. However, even if this obstacle is overcome, I just don't see it being a useable routine for 99.9% of magicians out there who do not work the formal sit-down type performances for the reasons stated above.

Look foward to hearing your thoughts.
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Curtis Kam
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Chris, frankly, I think your analysis is right on, and you're not alone. It's true that the Ramsay material can be made to play well for a lay audience, and certainly John Carney does a good job with it. But he'll be the first to tell you that it wasn't easy, and his initial experiences with the routine were a lot like yours.

And that all makes perfect sense. Why would anyone think that a routine created solely to fool magicians would automatically be entertaining to laymen? It's like saying, "Hey, that magic Ding Dong bit just kills the guys at the local club, so how come it doesn't work at kids' parties?"

That being said, there are times when something designed for one audience turns out to contain something special that appeals to everyone. I think that is true of the Cylinder and Coins. There is something appealing in the simplicity and elegance of the problem the performer sets for himself.

So, yes, there is no reason to believe that a routine designed to fool magicians would necessarily entertain laymen, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

Two considerations for the future:

1. You might experiment with changing the structure of the C&C routine. There are two effects. If the effect of the coins appearing under the cork is really the most interesting of the two, then shouldn't it occur second? In the Ramsay routine it comes first.

2. While the C&C appears to have innate appeal for a lay audience, I am not so sure that's true of the "Coins in Hat" although I know John Carney has a routine for that, too. I was not able to visualize this routine working without a major handling overhaul. My routine preserves the basic effect, but the method is entirely different.
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And hey, maybe that's your problem... this is not a table hopping trick LOL. this is designed for formal close-up shows.
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Thomas Wayne
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I would have to disagree with Chris entirely. The Ramsay Cylinder & Coins is my all time favorite effect to perform for laypeople. Please note that my most common performance venue is in a restaurant and I have NEVER had anyone even begin to grab at the cylinder (or any other props for that matter). Perhaps you are performing in the wrong venues, Chris.

As for audience interest, the version of the routine I perform is modified from one of Bob Kohler's unpublished handlings; in this version, the audience is first primed with a brief historic tale that forewarns them of the baffling nature of what they are about to see. In a way, the verbal setup creates a "challenge" mentality that piques the interest of the audience (oddly, women audience members are ESPCIALLY intrigued, in my experience).

In the routine I do, the first coin vanishes completely, with both hands being shown unmistakably empty. This makes the audience watch very intently at that point. The second coin vanish is VERY clean (though I am holding out in my wand-holding right hand); in my experience the audience is now completely intent on resolving the "how's he do it" nature of the vanishes. There's no question they HAVEN'T lost interest at this point. After pointing out that this is their "last chance to catch me" (ala Slydini) the third vanish is a complete vanish and at that point both hands are totally clean. This is always a very strong applause point for me.

The revelation of the stack inside the cylinder, under the cork, acts as sort of a "bridge" (think music) in the presentation. Following this, I offer to "repeat the trick" (ala Carney), only this time "I'll cover the coins instead of the cork". The cork then instantly changes places with the first coin, followed immediately by the second and third. The cork is found inside the cylinder and the props are all briefly displayed and retired to finish the routine.

Some important points regarding performance: the cork is cut from a full cork (with a pocket knife) right in front of the audience; seen as a piece of a wine cork (something they recognize) it is readily understood. Each vanish is treated as a separate and increasingly difficult feat; humor and audience management is used to bring the energy down after each vanish so the next climax will be higher (think Nelms' "Continuity"). The reproduction of the coins occurs at a rapid and unbroken pace and the final response (applause) is earned in part on some callback patter and in part on closing with the statement, "And THAT is John Ramsay's Cylinder & Coins." while striking an applause-cue position.

Chris, I'm sorry to hear that your audience response has been less than stellar. For me - thanks to the teaching of Bob Kohler, Mike Forbes and others - the Cylinder And Coins has been a very strong routine for me, and is the one laypeople most often bring up when they see me later.

Thomas Wayne
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Chris S
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I can see your point. The venues that I have performed at, however, would allow me about 30 seconds per effect, maximum - any more than that and people start to get all glazed over. It is also difficult to take the time inviting the audience into a long(ish) dialogue about the history of the effect and what is about to happen. I leave ANYTHING on the table and the odds are it will get picked up. Its the nature of the beast. I can break their wrists, sure, but it usually puts a downer on the rest of the performance. It is a fiery crucible indeed, but one which provides a great many opportunities to find and refine routines that hit hard, hit wide and hit quickly. I guess in the end its kind of like comparing apples to oranges. Both are restaurant situations, but it seems that the market and the custom that that therefore entails have a very different view of what they want to see.

Or, maybe its just something about Aussies!

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I perform Carney's routine, right out of the proverbial box and it gets a very strong reaction.

Carney's version does not allow both hands to be empty at the same time so I believe it naturally urges the spectators to guess as to what is happening (what else can they do).

If I could read the mind of some of the spectators (the ones that try to figure things out) this is what I think they might be thinking...

After the first coin, they guess, possibly the "other hand".

After 2 coins, they still think they might know.

Then Carney takes them on a ride (and hopefully so do I). Now they notice that their first guess was potentially wrong, and parhaps a switch was done.

The 3rd coin is deviously vanished and by the time the 4th coin is gone, they've pretty much seen a very convincing display of both hands empty. They give up! They're gone!

All of a sudden, there are the coins under the cylinder (which has been lifted up at one point in the middle of the routine). Now they have to think back...Did he, didn't he put some under there before???

Before they can even finish back-tracking, the cork disappears and the coins are back.


I now know that Kohler's verion was the one I saw originally. I forgot that it was only with 3 coins.

When I think back, I wanted to learn the method because I was so taken by Bob's presentation. It was just beautiful. I had to know how it was done.

I was told (intelligently but incorrectly) that it was probably Carney that did the routine so I purchased Carneycopia and slurped up the routine ...ahhh! Finally I knew how it was done.

While I was reading the book, it dawned on me that if I took the time to learn it, I would be rewarded a million times over for my effort. I would learn a lifetime lesson in misdirection, timing, routining, etc. and could keep on working on that one routine for the rest of my life, tweaking etc.

Supposedly, if I mastered this routine, I would learn the real secrets to deception. . . Misdirection!

That's is why I learned it. For the lessons in magic and secondly to be able to perform the most wonderful piece of magic, I'd ever seen.

I think my love for the routine comes out in my performance and it is definitely the routine people come up and talk with me about after a performance.

I still have a lot to learn about the routine, but I do think it has been the best use of my time learning anything about magic.

So after a year of practice, I was ready to show it around!!!

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