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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Which cups and balls routine? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ian Davis12
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I combinded Andy the comcics routine and the routine in Mark Wilsons complete course in magic. The routine I came up with is one of my favorite things that I do.
Paul Chosse
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1955 - 2010
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Which cups and balls routine? Great question! I've read the responses with interest. Some great suggestions!

Sorry to see no mention of the John Ramsay work on the Cups and Balls though. Or of Don Alan and the Chop Cup? Milt Kort and his humorous, rhyming approach?

Vernon did what you all are doing now - he researched all the available material, studied the current pros, (Malini, "Pops" Krieger, etc.), and distilled the information he'd gathered to a final version. He added the inimitable Vernon "touch" and honed that routine to an "acceptable" level - for him. His standards were pretty high, so we inherited the fine routine you all know today as "Vernon's Cup and Ball Routine", which is, by the way, anything BUT routine!

And now, we all are re-inventing the wheel! We are doing what Vernon did, starting with his finished product! Pretty funny, huh? Still, it is a great excercise. I did this in my youth, gathering everything I could find on the C&B, and refining, etc. until I found that my results were startlingly similar to the Vernon routine!

Robert-Houdin's "Secrets of Conjuring and Magic", (English translation 1868), is a wonderful starting point. The original early editions have terrific illustrations of all the palms, etc. There is a huge section devoted to the C&B's, more that any other single effect. In fact, that section was the starting point for many of the descriptions of the C&B's in the magic texts that were to follow over the next several decades (The Modern Conjuror, Magician's Tricks and How They Are Done, Modern Magic, etc.)

You might try a foriegn, (Iran), influence like Rezvani's "Tomato Trick" (issued as a monograph in French, but re-written and included in Dariel Fitzkee's "The Magic of Rezvani" in 1950, I think it was, in English - with an introduction by CHarlie Miller, who was much impressed with Rezvani in every way, and that took SOME doing!). This could be considered the predecessor of routines like Roy Benson's bowl routine, the inspiration for Don Alan's "Bowl Routine".

And speaking of Charlie Miller3X, he had a wonderful routine with white diner-style coffee mugs and rolled-up bills that Mike Skinner made one of his showcase items! It's described in several places - first in Chap's Scrapbook, a magazine by Frank Chapman, put out in the forties. The Scrapbook was later issued as a booklet, all issues under "one cover" so to speak, by Magico, in NYC. The routine was also included in that fabulous and much overlooked book by Bruce Elliot - "Classic Secrets of Magic". That book was published for the masses by Harper, then re-issued under a different title as a .95 cent paperback! ("Great Secrets of the Master Magicians"). By the way, other "Great Secrets" include Wally Dean's "Miser's Dream", the aforementioned "Roy Benson/Don Alan Bowl Routine", Vernon's card magic - Ace effects, Ambitious Card work, etc., the "Dr. Sacks' Dice Routine" which has recently experienced a re-birth, with changes by several modern-day performers. Anyway, the book is all gems, but the single shining star is the Miller impromptu "Cups and BILLS".

Speaking of impromptu, don't forget Vernon's version from the "Stars of Magic" series. He rolls glasses in newspaper and makes balls from the same stuff, then does a version that is different from his classic routine, since he is limited by the props. The glasses don't stack like a set of standard Cups, so Vernon has to work around that - and does so quite successfully (what else?).

And speaking of "Classic" Cups, there is a set known as the "Charlie Miller" Cups. Magic Inc. used to sell them for 9 dollars a set - imagine? And it wasn't so long ago - 1995? I know, because I bought several dozen when I co-owned Golden Gate Magic with Bill Whittington. Sorry I sold them all, now! They are similar to the Ross Bertram design, and those cups are beautiful too, designed to Ross' specs for the routine that he did for years. Ross's work with the C's&B's is on a par with the coin work he is so well known for, and can be found in the two big books on his work that were published by Lloyd Jones and his company, Magic,LTD. Byron Walker still has stock, I think. Now I am starting to sound like an ad for book dealers, so I'll stop. Besides, it's more fun if you find all this stuff for yourself.

And the Gertner routine, steel balls and all, is from an eighteenth(?) century text on magic, did you know that?

The Ramsay routine is written up in several forms, the Farelli version(1948) being really wonderful. It is a two-cup routine, like the Williamson one developed decades later. Included in Ramsays' routine is a bare-handed vanish of a large final load, like a lemon, that is AMAZING, if done well. And there are other significantly "different" sleights and methods that make this an important text for more than just the C&B info.

That's all I can pop off the top of my head right now, but there's tons more if I stop to think for a few minutes. It isn't necessary, though - you get the idea. You can have an awful lot of fun just doing the research - and given enough material you can make up a version of your own, or settle on an existing one that will adapt nicely to your performing persona. The thrill is in the hunt, so HAVE FUN!

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
kentfgunn
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Inner circle
Merritt Island FL
1639 Posts

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Wo,

Paul Chosse lives again. Welcome back to the Café oh wise and aged one. I think you owe me a book.

While we're on the subject of cups and balls . . . I think the single most important thing about the routine you do is:

Do something original. I keep hearing and reading that it's better to copy the experts. Emulate the masters.

If that's all they had ever done, there'd only be one routine.

If you must xerox another performers routine, at least pick something obscure.
KG
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