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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Floating Ball- Okito's steps??? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bryan Gilles
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Hey everyone,

I'm interested in any materials concerning Okito and the floating ball. I'm researching his steps and have come up five-shy... Any help would be beneficial!

Thank you!

-Bryan
Marshall Thornside
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Hmm, it might explain it in his book.

I know when he was working on the book,
he actually had to ask my dad how he
did the kuma tubes.

I'm guessing here...
you will remember my name

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Spellbinder
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Bryan: Theo Bamberg's book, "Okito On Magic", 1952, contains a History of the Floating Ball, from when he acquired the ball from David Abbott to a brief description of his stage routine. More importantly, it contains his philosophy about the ball, comparing it to a violin which he had to first master in order to play it in a concert. He emphasizes the importance of personal control, lighting, thread color, staging tips, but I'm not sure what steps you have and what parts you may think you are missing.

To me, the most important aspect is hinted at in Okito's words, but not stated directly. You must appear to endow the ball with a life and personality of its own, which you, as magician, cannot really completely control. It floats in spite of you, not because of you. If it could, it would escape from you and live free, like any wild creature of nature.

Because of my own philosophy about the ball, I have always felt that Okito made a mistake in putting the ball back into the cabinet at the end. In my own former stage routine, the ball went up high in the air at the finish, vanishing just before it reached the flies. Since the audience always has empathy with the ball, you become a hero when you finally set it free.
Professor Spellbinder

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Bryan Gilles
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Excellent post Spellbinder!

I believe my father has that book within his collection. I'll have to do some sweet talking to see if I can borrow it!

I currently have a Don Wayne ball in my posession. Would this be an ideal delegate for/ with Okito's works?

-Bryan
Spellbinder
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Abbott's original ball was six inches in diameter. Okito didn't like that size and increased it to nine inches in diameter. His ball was made of aluminum and was heavier than today's plastic models. The weight is good for reducing vibration and slowing down movement, but the light weight of the plastic ball allows for a thinner and therefore more invisible floating medium.

The main problem with the floating ball is that the audience immediately knows that it floats and most magicians, including Okito, then go on to do a ten minute routine with it, usually silent and performed to music. With an uninteresting routine, the audience is sitting there straining their eyes for ten minutes and trying to see what makes it float. Your job is to make the routine so interesting that they forget about the floating aspect and change the mental focus from "it floats!" to "it's alive!" I think Okito would have enjoyed working with the plastic ball and thinner floating medium, which would allow him to go right out into the audience with it, switching between a stage floating ball and an Astrosphere, and maybe even throwing in a Zombie double. But perhaps that's just me and what I used to do, hoping that Okito would approve.
Professor Spellbinder

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Laszlo Csizmadi
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Spellbinder
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I liked the second version best, where she "takes a ride" on top of the ball.
Professor Spellbinder

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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Hi Bryan,
The actual steps are not listed in Okito On Magic.

I believe they are in the very rare and expensive Dr. Albo book, but not certain.
There are a few other out-of-print resources as well.

This has been an interest and passion of mine for a very long time, maybe thirty-years now.

From what I can reconstruct, the Oktio ball was very unlike the Don Wayne,
both in method and more importantly, appearance to the audience.

Okito used balls as small as five inches to a maximum of eight or nine inches,
made of various materials including celluloid, over the years.

He used two variations of music and had sheet music for each piece.

I’ve been working on a simplified variation of his hook-up with some success.

PM me if you’d like to get into a more involved discussion.
Magically,
Walt
hugmagic
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Walt is correct. the exact handling, as written by Fu Manchu, is in the Albo books. There are also various other sources including the Abbott book and Billy Russell's routine. Mike Ching's book gives a good account and sources.

David Ben did a very good version of the original Okito routine.
Richard
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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The David Ben version is good looking and interesting,
but while he used many of the traditional Okito steps,
he did not use the Okito choreography,
so it was very different than watching Okito would have been.
Magically,
Walt
hugmagic
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True enough.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Mike Ching
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Walt, Richard & Spellbinder know of what they speak.

The Albo book (Dr. ALbo is still with us and living round SF I believe) is probably the best single resource.

Lance Burton's current birdcage routine is based largely on the Okito idea (itself based on an idea by David Abbott). Though Okito and his son, FU MANCHU did more of a dance with the ball, someone once described it as "A dance in a spiders' web". Cool analogy.

The Albo book is a collector's item, very expensive though if you know of an oldtimer with it you just MIGHT be able to borrow it, for say, some yardwork?

The original instructions for the Don Wayne ball contain a very streamlined version of the Okito routine.

David Copperfields version by Don Wayne Circa 1980 was very cool, though Operator-Driven. You can find it on YouTube.

I strongly suggest NOT going over 9 inches as the chances of your bumping into the ball increase greatly after 8 inches. One bump that produces a recognizeable "dangling" motion will DESTROY the Illusion. A 6" or 7" ball shows up well, and is fine in my opinion.

After The DANCING HANDKERCHIEF book, I have been working on a Floating Ball/Object book for nearly 17 years. Right now it is in manuscript form and available. Write me if you'd like a copy.

PS: I have a floating lecture with several unique Ideas in case anyone wants to fly me out from Hawaii!

PSS: Also strongly suggest you limit your TOTAL routine to LESS than 2.5 minutes. No Great Floating/Animation routine overstays it's welcome. If you look at most truly GREAT floating routines, the Animation/levitation time is no more than that. The trick isn't very long, it just makes such an impression that people REMEMBER it vividly and they seem to recall that it went on for awhile. No, they just locked into it because levitation is so patently impossible.

It's like the 8 minute zombie routines by novices who have no repetiore of moves for it. Don't go long, and Don't ever fake it.

Magical Aloha

Mike Ching

Pres. Hawaii IBM / "Intl. Website Award of excellence, 2006" (HawaiiMagicClub.Com)
Alumni: McBride/Berger "Masterclass" 2008
Author "NEW ANIMATIONS, THE DANCING HANDKERCHIEF BOOK" C.1991 & 2007
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Mike knows what he’s talking about here!

I think the “dance in the spider web” is probably lost to us forever in the form Okito and his son did it, and what a shame! There are versions and explanations as noted above.

Mike is also on the money saying to stick with a ball between 4 inches and 8 inches and not much smaller or larger. This is a very visible size range for cabaret or large stage.
Okito fluctuated in this range all his career with obviously great success.

Again, his point of keeping the routine brief cannot be overstated. Depending upon the interest you can bring to the presentation a minute-and-a-half to about a maximum of two-minutes make for solid entertainment. After that it is a case of diminishing returns.

Lighting and gimmick color and material are crucial, even more than your backdrop, and if you're serious about mounting this, maybe look into the new and amazing Peter Loughran/Steven & Michael Pignataro's “Voyager” set-up.

I’d love to get my hands on Mike Ching’s new Floating Ball book when it comes out. He’s done a ton of research over a long period of time.

Magically,
Walt
The Mirror Images
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Walt,

Thank you for mentioning our floating ball rig. Not only can you mount this at a current stage, you can also travel with the rig from theater to theater.

For more information please visit:

http://www.masterofillusions.ca/voyager.html
or
http://store.themirrorimages.com/stage-i......lyer.php

A great bonus is we include a Authentic Don Wayne Floating Ball with the rig and everything you need to make the ball come to life.

Mike,

You have pointed out some really awesome points for everyone to absorb while putting together their floating/animation routine.

PS. Please let us know when you come out with your new book. This will be an excellent book to add to a bookshelf for references.

Cheers,
Steven and Michael, The Mirror Images
The MOST Identical Twin Illusionist
http://www.themirrorimages.com
Check out our latest new effect
- Liquid Steel NEW
- MotoBox NEW
- MotoMation NEW
- Voyager
Mike Ching
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Wow, nice to hear from you all. Hope to have the book done within the year. Have a good Summer season.

Walt, thanks for the email. Michael & Steven, enjoyed the video (thought the girl was going to balance the ball on point of the upstretched leg).

Hope 2 keep up with Floating endeavors here.

-MikeC
Mike Ching
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Hope it's cool to mention that NEW ANIMATIONS is reprinted and is going out to wholesalers this week. You can also contact me to have a copy sent out by priority mail for $50.

Aloha,
MikeC
ClintonMagus
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I have an Okito ball and I think the hookup (different from the Wayne ball) removes one "aspect" of movement from the motion of the ball, and the added weight further dampens the movement, making it look more like I believe a levitating object should look.

Somewhere I have Okito's floating ball manuscript. I am out of town right now, but as soon as I get home I will see if I can track it down.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
Illucifer
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The beautiful thing about David P. Abbott's (and, therefore Okito's) floating ball is that it requires no assistants.

Hands down, the absolute best routine for Abbott's effect is the one currently being performed by Teller; The Red Ball.
It's all in the reflexes.
Levity
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Only last night I was viewing the relevant DVD from Dr. Albo's The Ultimate Okito (excellent resource, btw), where Dr. Albo actually demonstrates part of the act with Okito's original ball. This ball, Albo tells us, was actually a celluloid Earth globe, the type of which was readily available in those days. Okito covered this with gold leaf to create his very, very light ball.

The Ultimate Okito is a brilliant work and well worth the price.

Geoffrey
"I suggest you watch very carefully..."
The Mirror Images
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Mike,

Awesome awesome news. Might have to grab a copy when I get a chance. Thanks for the update!!!

Best,
Steven and Michael, The Mirror Images
The MOST Identical Twin Illusionist
http://www.themirrorimages.com
Check out our latest new effect
- Liquid Steel NEW
- MotoBox NEW
- MotoMation NEW
- Voyager
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