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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Knots and loops » » Rope trick originality (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicians
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I hope you all realize how much audacity it takes to claim that a move or routine is original. It is okay to do a few routines that people encourage you about or a lecture piece that is a blow-away. But, once you go National, its a different story.
I have posted an Ode to George Sands last year, and pointed out how so many of the most popular rope artists have borrowed from him.
Aldo, Tabary, Sanders and more, have all incorporated the Sands moves into their original works. And, the problem is, that some of the moves are stellar and the "artists" have used the stellar moves, added their own 3" to it, and sell the hell out of the whole body of their work on the back of their forefathers. Michael Finney uses a move straight out of one of my lectures. He says he doesn't remember where he had seen it, yet he teaches it and is applauded for the move.
The modern buying public sees this and bestows all of the credit to the new guy with no knowledge of their borrowed content.
I have pointed this out on so many occasions and find it my duty to do so.
A short while back, Chriswell, a very well meaning newcomer to rope magic had rediscovered the wheel and had published a short rope move that was applauded and encouraged. I contacted him and pointed out that he had come up with a clever effect and move but was not the first. He doubted me, but luckily I found a video made around the time he was born that showed the effect.
Now, I have been told I am jealous, or bitter that someone is getting notice of an effect. Not true. This forum is for setting the record straight and if I have the knowledge I will do just that.
Discovering a move that is great or profound, and a "killer effect" on an audience
is fine, but credit should be given to the origin not the rediscovery.
One fellow said, "two great minds think alike", and may be true, but someone had the inspiration first and he should be honored.
We are at a crossroad of magic. The great transition from books and manuscripts to digital and instant publication. Many great rope effects and moves never jump off the written page, and the video has impact and dynamic impression.
I have published rope effects and if anyone points out that I have crossed a bridge that has been traveled before, I will turn around.

Creation of an effect requires more than just a move. A rope effect must be original and have practicality. In my act, I use moves by John Cornelious, George Sands, Frank Garcia, and Eric Lewis. They each have that one killer move.
Even though I combine all of these great artists in one effect that none of them had ever used together, I can't call the routine original. Not to my standards.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Dougini
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Ian, you are truly a magician of honor! I have come up with various ideas, myself. All sorts of stuff. I have not dared publicize them, due to the very thing you mentioned. Someone may have come up with it before.

Back around the late 70's, early 80's, playing around with Floating Ball ideas, I came up with the notion of tearing apart the original AstroSphere effect, and combining it with (what I found out later) a Ralph Wichmann hookup. I found out much later, it is nothing new. Many have performed it that way! The idea of the One-Point, for example was published in a German book by Wichmann. I bought the translation in the early 90's.

I never knew about Wichmann, nor the One-Point. I am so glad I did not publish my ideas, as they were not "original". They were, but just because I independantly thought of it, does not make it mine. I would have hated myself, if someone had shown me that after publishing what I thought was an original idea!

My hat goes off to you, Ian! A man of honor! Smile

Doug
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I once contacted Eric Lewis widow to find out if she knew the origin of a move. The old masters of rope are gone. Allan Sands was a great source of his Father's work and because of my defense of his Father's routines, he re-issued Sandsational rope, and Ropesational.
There are keepers of the flame on this forum like Pete Biro who created some great effects and knew a lot of the rope guys from yesteryear. I crossed path with many of them in the 70's. I had first hand tutoring by Sands, Garcia, Ted Collins, even Walter Gibson.
Every rope effect has that inspirational little move, a thumb or finger placement, a twist or hidden piece. John Cornelious had one such move where you tie two ends of a rope and do a "Sands switch" for the "piece". He grabs each end of the twisted rope and pulls it back and forth and the illusion is perfect. That move can be seen in Tabary and Fiber Optics. It is that minutia that I spot inside of modern routines. Like a film splice of pieces of other classics, each one with a name and origin.

More later...
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Woland
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Ian,

Based on your comments in the thread you mentioned above, I obtained the George Sands book and DVD. Which I then followed up by obtaining some of your materials. Which I then followed up by obtaining the Stewart James Encyclopedia, the Loomis Knot material, Whit Haydn's routine, and Jim Gerish's recension of the Ted Collins Panama Rope Mystery. I do not mention the Shigeo Takagi routine, because I obtained that book primarily for Own To Tama. On Al Angello's recommendation, I obtained the Karl Fulves book which has a good explanation of the basic move. I have been doing the Jack Miller C&R as explained by Ed Mishell, and I am trying to learn the Miracle Rope Trick version. Finally, Mr. biro's very brief video which shows a nearly move-less move.

These are my foundation.

"There is nothing entirely new under the Sun."

Woland
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The key is to pick what works for you and work on it FOREVER.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Woland
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That's very good advice. But I think a useful first step is to get an overview of what is possible, and what has been done by the masters. That is what I propose to do. Then, with no pretense at having created anything new, I hope to be able to select a series of effects that can be put together in a coherent, well-motivated sequence that serves to express what is for me the mystery of a magic performance, and practice that until I can do it backwards and forwards, in any venue, while interacting with the participants in a meaningful way. I think that's what the masters do.

Woland
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Quote:
On 2010-11-08 16:47, Woland wrote:
That's very good advice. But I think a useful first step is to get an overview of what is possible, and what has been done by the masters. That is what I propose to do. Then, with no pretense at having created anything new, I hope to be able to select a series of effects that can be put together in a coherent, well-motivated sequence that serves to express what is for me the mystery of a magic performance, and practice that until I can do it backwards and forwards, in any venue, while interacting with the participants in a meaningful way. I think that's what the masters do.

Woland

I knew Ed Mishel, but I am un-familar with his rope work. Of course, I only knew him in the late 70's. When I do rope magic, I sometimes wander and combine effects on the fly. That was the beauty of Sands, to quote him "there's no end to the number of rope tricks you can do" (as you do his never-ending loop).
I am impressed by your new background.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Woland
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I was referring to Ed Mishell's book on the Jack Miller hold-out. There isn't much rope work in there, really, just a very quick C&R effect, which I think is conceptually very similar to Bill Neff's Miracle Rope Trick.

All credit for my attempt to gain a better background in rope routines, I owe initially to your posts in this forum -- and to other commenters here as well. But as I mentioned, the first source I searched out was the George Sands book which Alan Sands published - because of your enthusiastic endorsement.

The richness of the material impressed me, but I realized I would have to gain a better knowledge of the field in order to appreciate it.

But we have derailed your original topic here, which was originality. If one is to believe Dariel Fitzkee, there are only a few ways to C&R a rope (I haven't located his book yet, so I am not sure how he organized the field). But there are many, many variations described in the Stewart James Encyclopedia. How many of them are really innovations, is impossible for me to say. It is clear that there are many ways of accomplishing a very similar effect, and each has advantages and disadvantages. Even the simplest can probably be presented as a true miracle, with skill and art.

If one looks at the earliest printed sources on various routines or effects in magical performance, it appears that they actually document a performing tradition that existed long before anything was written down. So they capture a moment in the development of the art, but we don't know who originated the work, or how they did it.

A gigantic library of material has been published since then, often in what are today seemingly obscure or little-read periodicals. It would be very difficult to be certain that a given way of doing an effect was truly "new." Even if discovered or invented completely independently.

Your approach is certainly laudable and scholarly. To honor one's sources is to know, as Newton knew, that we see a little farther because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Those of us who come s to rope work as newcomers are standing on your shoulders, which from the looks of it, are sturdy.

Woland
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Ah, I actually had that Holdout at one time (I never used most of the weighted pieces, but understood the concept). The Bill Neff effect is a little faster than the normal holdout. I did it once but was unsure I could pull it off. I have done bolder things since.
About originality:
The Tabary manuscript is extremely intricate, and I opted to get into the video instead. He has a few moves I absolutely envy (when he melts a loop piece into another rope). If you can tolerate his slow and deliberate teaching, he has a lot to offer.
I was surprised at the "Four Nightmares", and originally thought it was just an odd toy. The concepts used in that effect are meritorious enough to combine into other effects (even though its gimmicked).
I also like Hen Fetsch quadropelets, as it is a minimalist effect and strong.
The best encyclopedic collection on video is Daryls rope DVD's. Lots of repetition but a wealth of rope history and innovation.
In my case, I absorb these works so as not to duplicate what has been done. I can't create new magic without knowing what has been accomplished. This has been why I attack some of the lecturers who expand a "re-discovered" miracle.

Some of the innovative routines involves less magic and more psychology. In my case, I simulate moves that lull the spectator into completing the effect because they have seen it before. That is the strength of Professors nightmare deviations.

That is also the strength of cut and restored effects, that start out "stock" and then surprise you.

Then, there is the little move you create that searches for a routine. This is what has happened with Tabary and Fiber Optics who do avante garde moves around stock effects.
This is all okay as long as credit and history is included in the instruction. The new school of rope worker must acknowledge and differentiate original from derivative magic.

Oh, and thanks for the compliment. Shoulders get a little weak at times.

The book I love is the Trick Brain, but the Fitkee Trilogy will be well worth the investment.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
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