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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Cups and Balls vs. Chop cup (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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JIMclubber64
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Hey everyone,
I'm interested in getting either a Chop cup or Cups and Balls set, but first I want to clear few things up.

1, what is the difference between a C&B set as apposed to a Chop cup? I understand that a Chop cup has a gimmick, but do cups for a C&B set have any gimmicks of any kind, or is it based PURELY on Slieght of Hand? (I hope this isn't asking for too much revelation)

2, What types of things (routines) can be done with a chop cup that can't be done with a cups and balls, and vice versa?

And 3, which would you recommend for someone who is very familiar with sleights, but not with performing either C&B or Chop Cup to get first(combo set isn't an option, unfortunately)?

Also, is the Cups & Balls book by Fun Inc. a good resource for learning the Cups and Balls?
Thanks for your help,
JIMC64
"Magic should always have a purpose. [...] Find your purpose for performing. Only then will you be able to find the right trick!" -- Jay Noblezada
ray raymond
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The best rescource for learning is the Michael Ammar book "the complete cups and balls" if you can find it it is out of print now. He also has two videos (with the same title) that demonstrate everything in the book. the video's are still available.
plungerman
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The Chop cup was invented by Alvin Wheatley whose asian performing persona was called "Chop Chop". For several reasons he decided to trim down the C&B to fit onto the small tables or spaces he was performing in. (I'm waiting to be set upon by the rest of the crowd here who will cheerfully correct my mistakes.)

You can still do penetrations, vanishes and productions but some of them will work a little differently. If you really enjoy slight of hand work then you can make good use of a cup and ball set. If you just need to entertain a little and don't have much space to do it in then maybe a chop cup will do.

Though the chop cup is well used in close quarters you must have enough persona about your act to prevent poeple grabbing the cup, which they might do. With the C&B times 3 you see much less of that. Partly because you usually have a wand in hand pounding the curious fingers of the crowd.

If your interest is in sleights then I think you might become bored with just a chop cup sooner than later.

Yes, the Cups & Balls book by Fun Inc. is a fair place to start. Better yet, find a copy of Dai Veron's routine. Be aware also! While folks like us chat it up about how nice one set of cups is over another (and yet another...), you can get a perfectly serviceable set of cups for next to nothing. Try your local Bed Bath & Beyond or craft store. Find a set of cups that stack a bit and aren't two light or heavy. I've seen many FanTastic routines done with very modest props, that would not work with a super-pro set. One worker's routine was with hard plastic cups that he sawed down to be shorter so they would stack. Have fun.

P
yin_howe
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You could just do a search on youtube for "cups and balls" and "chop cup". You will find plenty (some better then others) of performances to see the difference in the presentation of the CnB and Chop cup.
"Talent without passion is talent wasted.."
Darth Ewok
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Buy a combo set. that way you can do either a chop cup routine or the C&Bs. I just got a cheap combo set and its already got me wanting more. (i already had a chop cup in that design so now I have an extra chop cup.

has anyone ever used 2 chop cups in a 3 cup c&b routine?
my real name is Kevin Harrison

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kentfgunn
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2 chop cups . . .

I know a nut job who has used three choppers and other gaffs to boot.
Pete Biro
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I would NOT rush into this. I would get a non gimmicked set of 3 cups and learn a basic routine like the Dai Vernon version. After you can do that to perfection then you can expiriment and check out other routines.

http://www.stevensmagic.com has a DVD that teaches all the basic routines.

Trust me, this will keep you busy and give you a great foundation to work from.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Bill Palmer
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The Fun, Inc. booklet has the version of the Dai Vernon cups and balls routine that appeared in Stars of Magic. The complete routine is also available from various sources.

The Michael Ammar book shows up on eBay from time to time.

I use the chop cup in almost every performance I do, whether close-up or stage. The biggest advantage of the chop cup is that you get to the loads very quickly. The second biggest advantage is that it requires less sleight of hand than a full-blown C&B routine. However, you must perfect your final load sequence.

I would not recommend starting with a combo set. Get a "real" chop cup. It will look right by itself.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
funsway
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In the eBook "ChopSign" many alternative uses for the Chop Cup principle are explored, including how to produce the same results without a gaffed container, and how to blend C&B and CC together -- and with other effects. Write me as below and I'll send you a copy -- later you can pay me wht you htink it is worth ;-) AT least it should help you with your decision. I'll include the 40 page Kup & Stone GUIDE filled with dozens of innovative Moves, Sleights and Subtlties for containers and small objects.

and check out Bill Palmer's museum
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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JIMclubber64
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Hey, thanks for the offer funsway! Smile I sent you an email, so you should have it now. And thanks for th help, everyone else, I think I know what I'm going to do now.
"Magic should always have a purpose. [...] Find your purpose for performing. Only then will you be able to find the right trick!" -- Jay Noblezada
marty.sasaki
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I believe that the cup became known as the Chop cup because Al Wheatley would say "chop chop" after an effect as sort of a punctuation mark on the effect and maybe do a chopping motion. I get this from Ray Goulet, as a story he tells descriping the chop cup in his collection that was Wheatley's.

In any case, I think it's a matter of choice. The cups and balls is often thought of as a test of sleight of hand, you can't call yourself a magician until you have a creadible version of the cups and balls. However, in some ways the single cup routine can be more interesting, certainly easier to keep track of, or so it seems.

Personally, I find most cups and balls performances boring, looking more like juggling than anything else.

Take a look around and find the one that looks the most entertaining. Eventually you will get the other, or abandon cup magic altogether.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
Bill Palmer
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The person who was most often credited with saying that a magician must master the cups and balls was not noted for having ever performed the trick.

So, what does that make Houdini?
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
funsway
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Quote:
On 2009-05-30 04:55, Bill Palmer wrote:
The person who was most often credited with saying that a magician must master the cups and balls was not noted for having ever performed the trick.

So, what does that make Houdini?


Since standard C&B in the 20's involved a lot of sleights, and the Stacking approach popular today was called the "No Sleight Method," I believe Houdini was refering to the discipline and dedication of learning the Sleights -- not any need to actually perform in public -- just as I would not expect Van Cliburn to entertain me by playing scale excercises.

Thus, the key is the word 'master', not 'Cup' or 'Ball', and the concept that one should never perform an effect in public unless it is mastered, or least past the "I'm playing with this new trick - hope it works" stage.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Bill Palmer
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The stacking approach is part of the Hocus Pocus Junior routine.

There is no evidence available that Houdini ever mastered the cups and balls.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
dcjames
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Quote:
On 2009-05-30 07:35, Bill Palmer wrote:
There is no evidence available that Houdini ever mastered the cups and balls.


I wonder if Houdini ever owned a set of cups? If so I would be interested to know more about the cups he preferred.
“Magic is very easy to do - poorly.”

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cupsandballsmagic
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Quote:
So, what does that make Houdini?


An escapologist Smile
Bill Palmer
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BINGO!

It also makes him a bit of a hypocrite.

Orson Welles used to tell about meeting Houdini backstage. Houdini used to tell beginners that he never added anything to his act until he had practiced it 100 times. While Welles was there, a local dealer came in with a new trick, showed it to Houdini, who purchased it and said, "Great! I'll do it in tonight's show!"

Welles was quite disillusioned.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
bishthemagish
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If I may add - about Houdini. A lot of my information about Houdini is what I remember of what Jack and Anne Gwynne told me about him. Jack Gwynne built a take apart chicken vanish that Houdini used in his show and later after Houdini passed on Hardeen used it in his show.

Did Houdini do the cups and balls? I don't know but I would think that he knew about them as there are several cups and balls routine ideas in the Tarbell Course and Tarbell talks about Houdini having three sets of the Tarbell course one he kept with him while he was on the road.

Perhaps Houdini just did not think that the trick was big enough for his stage act. I don't know - and I would think that most magicians that earned a living in those days - and many of them that I knew - they only spent a lot of time on the magic that was going to earn them an income - fill a theater in the way of promotion - or help them get booked.

However speaking as a person that loves magic there are a lot of tricks that I admire that I would not choose to put into my own act - just because they do not fit my style as a performer or the way I like to work.

However I would not consider it would make me a hypocrite if I admired and thought that a trick like the cups and balls was a magicians trick that it takes a real magician in order to master it. And in my opinion that was what Houdini in his way - was saying in his quote that is taken out of context - about the cups and balls.

The second thing I would like to comment on is that many of the old time pro magicians that I have known in my lifetime often considered the performance of their craft as practice. Because it is with the performance of magic there is the craft of magic in practice.

Just another point of view to consider if you may - or may not.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
funsway
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There is huge difference between "practicing a performance" and "practicing for a performance." If a couple of Sleights are truly mastered they can be used with a new object or "new trick" instantaneously. It is only the perpetual student who must learn every new trick from scratch. There are many magicians who cannot wait until they can purchase a new trick or gimmick -- not because they are tired of the old trick, but tired of praticing to make it 'theirs'. Many have a 'signiture effect' that is beautiful to watch even though it is no longer 'secret' to you, but may be a miracle for a new audience.

Not defending Houdini who was certainly more showman than magician, the mark of a 'professional' should be to be so practiced in your art that you can focus on the audience without concern for the sleights or moves --
to be able to take a new trick and perform it that very day --
because all of the sleights are as automatic as scratching your ear.

ask Bill -- any Cup and Ball any Time.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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bishthemagish
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Thanks for posting funsway.

The Orson Wells story with Houdini is an interesting one. I think the trick in question was a floating table - moving table. Houdini did a spirit expo as part of his show. We don't know if the table (at the time of Orson's story) was a new trick or an old trick that Houdini was replacing - or upgrading.

Taking the quote a bit further I would like to add - that My Dad (the late Billy Bishop) was fond of saying the difference between an amateur magician and a professional magician was 200 shows.

In saying that it was his opinion that it takes about 200 performances in front of different audiences to make an act honed or give that act that professional touch. By the way Jay Marshall was one of his best friends and not only did Jay Marshall like my dads quote he started to use it when talking to magicians about performing magic.

Also if I may add - that the first 200 times he considered practice. Because in his opinion if the act or routine was not second nature yet (like any new stuff in his act) it was still in it’s practice stage.

And when he added a new trick to his show it was his opinion that it took 200 practice times in his show to hone the trick and let the audience help him hone it and for it to find it's place in his show - of other magic that was already audience tested.

Houdini said 300 my dad said 200 - in my opinion they both said it different but they were both trying to say about the same thing.

From what Jack and Anne Gwynne who performed in vaudeville in those days told me about Houdini is that Houdini was a very good magician. And not only tried to get the best magic for his full evening show of magic and escapes and spirit expo show. He also was very good - for his day - with a deck of cards just as Harry Blackstone Sr. Was.

Perhaps he could do the cups and balls - we don’t know - but as of yet I have not seen any record of him doing the cups and balls at any recorded performance. But at one time I did see a picture of him of what looked like Houdini producing a small rabbit out of a dove pan. And I do not think that the dove pan or duck pan was recorded as part of his formal vaudeville show - or his full evening show. Perhaps it was a publicity picture or a picture of Houdini doing a small show that he did as a promotion - for kids in hospitals while on the road.

I hope this helps.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
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