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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Vernon's Cups and Balls Routine (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ron Giesecke
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Quote:
On 2003-10-11 20:46, JonTown wrote:
I don't understand why folks do any explaining or history lessons in performance.



This is better than a tepid narration of the effect, where the obvious is explained ("I am putting a ball under this cup") I think explaining that which is already explaining itself is far inferior.

Ricky Jay's routine is for me, more compelling because of the historical merit with which he injects it.

I could be wrong. . .
Mitch Schneiter
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On 2003-10-11 19:19, Ron Giesecke wrote:
So, where could one locate Bannon's cups and balls routine?

You can find it in John's book "Impossibilia". The routine "Of Cups And Fuzzballs" is on page 82.
KirkG
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Here's my two cents.

IMHO you should never display or even hint at real methods of work. Ie. don't say trick cards, "real" or "ordinary" or show any sleight, real or otherwise, that closely approximates something in use by the magic community. I, for one, use the French Drop, both in it's orginal position, for Spellbound and Spider Vanishes and in the LePaul position for actual amazing vanishes. As such, I don't want to remind anyone of its existance or even hint that I may not actually be putting something where I say I am when I do it. This applies both to the hand and the pocket.

I strongly encourage the Vernon routine, but perform it slowly. Work on making the moves smooth and natural to you, even if you have to work at making your "normal" moves more natural. One of the huge benefits living close to the Magic Castle, other than actually meeting Mr. Vernon and having him critque my cups and balls, is the ability to see taped performances from our libray as often as I like to see the various ways he and others handle the props and routine.

Many of the fast routines leave the specators in the dust and they just know something wonderful happened, but didn't quite see it. Confusion is not magic. Let them KNOW where the ball is, so when it vanishes it is real magic. Then once you have handled the cups through this complete routine in an open manner, suddenly they are filled to overflowing with the final loads!

Many performers try to add additional loads, but they struggle to do so and that dilutes the surprise and magical effect. Strive for smoothness.

Kirk Grodske
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For a while, I was doing the EG Brown routine, which simulates the four ball routine while using just three balls. If memory serves, this is somewhere in Pallbearer's.

I'm also extremely fond of the Bannon Chop2 routine, and performed it often on the street in Georgetown in short sleeves.
KirkG
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Just have the oppportunity to see Jason Latimer's clear cups and balls. What a cool thing to watch! Lots of surprises and great effects. I won't describe it so that when you see it for the first time, it will be totally new for you. I can see why it won Fism!

I can hardly wait for the next incarnation. It is a very stylized performance piece for a cute kid. How will he do it when he is forty?

I would make the same suggestion I have all along and that is to slow down. I hope to be able to find the time to see it again, before his week at the Castle is over.

Kirk
Peo Olsson
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So what to use as final load for the Cups & Balls?

I lean heavily towards fruit loads.

Doesn't look good if you start with small knitted balls for the routine, and finish with big knitted balls at the end.
Fruits are more suprising and unexpected.

But that's me.
Smile
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DamienKeen
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Wow there's so many in-depth discussions going on in one thread. I think I'll leave the Vernon exposure thing out of my reply, I've talked about that loads before Smile

In my Loomis micro chop cup routine, I have added in a false explanation. But no, a serious one. One which is the same to what I think Frank said. About the ball shooting up the sleeves, around my body, down the other sleeve, and into my hand. Although it happens from my pocket Smile

Personally, I strongly disagree that Vernon's routine is as someone said "old and dated". That is a shock to me, that someone has said that. It is such a fluent and smooth routine. When you study the cups and balls properly, you will begin to understand the natural flow between phases, and the natural preparation for the final load sequence. Vernon's routine is one of the best and classic examples of this.

I now use a variation of a routine that is basically Williamson's. I think I moved onto 2 cups because of the symmetry and easy to follow routining. I know 3 cups isn't hard to follow, but 2 cups just seemed to fit me better. Loads = Fruits Smile

I strongly reccomend the Ammar vids on the cups and balls. I have the book too. He goes into a good deal of depth about misdirection, timing and everything that makes a good routine.

The only frustrating thing about the cups and balls is that you will always need table space. Hence why I got the Micro Chop cups, which I strongly advise Smile

On the point of reproducing the balls at the start of the routine, well I'm definitely with all those who feel this may lead the specs to believe you could produce x amount of balls to accomplish what you do. I make sure I show the cups first, without even mentioning balls. Along with my flustration count, showing the cups without the balls is a big convincer that I have no extra balls in the cups or in my hands. Then when I bring the 2 balls out I make sure I emphasize the fact that there are JUST 2 balls.

Damien.
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KirkG,
IMHO you should never display or even hint at real methods of work. Ie. don't say trick cards, "real" or "ordinary" or show any sleight, real or otherwise, that closely approximates something in use by the magic community. As such, I don't want to remind anyone of its existance or even hint that I may not actually be putting something where I say I am when I do it. This applies both to the hand and the pocket.

Quote:
I strongly encourage the Vernon routine.


How can you encourage the Vernon routine? Doesn't the Vernon routine tip the french drop?
Jonathan Townsend
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The opening with the cup through cup and the first sequence with the wand flourish is really strong.

There are other options regarding explanations. One might involve the three shell game, where you explain with larger shells and 'tip' how it's really done using three 'peas'.

Tipping false transfers and 'pretend to put ball in pocket' is just going to backfire later... sooner for younger audiences, and a bit later for adults watching another trick like two in the hand- one in the pocket.

It might help to remember that Dai Vernon was not much of an entertainer for real people. If you want entertainment... have a look at what Fred Kaps did or Ken Brooke or Don Alan or Al Baker...

IMHO if you drop out the false transfer explanation the routine just needs a presentation.

Asking an unsuspecting audience to suffer through an unwanted history lesson on how a trick has remained unmotivated for thousands of years is not the best premise for a good presentation. Again, IMHO. Feel free to pretend you are on the history channel if that works for you.
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snilsson
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Jon, have you seen the Johnny Thompson tapes? His performance of the cups and balls is a history lesson and it's very entertaining. There is no external plot and he does use a fake explanation. Part of the routine is actually done as an impersonation of Dai Vernon. If Vernon was just half as good as Johnny Thompson's impersonation he certainly must have been a great performer. As an added bonus you get to see how Max Malini and Pop Krieger performed the cups and balls. Once again, no "presentation", just great magic and entertainment. When expertly performed, the cups and balls don't need an external motivation. In fact, adding an extra story line may well dilute and confuse the basic plot.
Daniel Faith
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I LOVE Michael Ammar's C&B routine! Producing the balls one by one; performing awesome moves and finally, eliminating the cups one by one is the ultimate!
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Mr. Muggle
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All the posts above have good references for the serious cups and balls worker. However I would take a step further suggesting routines from Aldo, Elmsley, and Tim Ellis to name a few. These routines will take you away from the traditional Vernon thinking in different ways and give your brain other avenues of thought.

IMO the problem with the cups and balls of today is that most routines are all the same--or too much the same.

When learning, I suggest you get all the info you can on the topic, and then compare all the routines you can find, combining ideas and building your own.

Isn't that our main goal? Smile

MM
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
Ron Giesecke
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Quote:
On 2003-11-01 22:49, JonTown wrote:

Asking an unsuspecting audience to suffer through an unwanted history lesson on how a trick has remained unmotivated for thousands of years is not the best premise for a good presentation. Again, IMHO. Feel free to pretend you are on the history channel if that works for you.


Again, I think suffering through a history lesson depends on whether or not the teacher is capable of giving a compelling lecture. Granted, by starting out with "this trick was performed by the ancient Egyptians," and then never again referencing the history of the effect, but merely narrating the obvious--it is something to suffer through.

But you are on the mark with the "History Channel" reference, as they are compelling in their presentational packaging with regard to history.

All of this, of course, is just my personal opinion.

I love this topic.
Jonathan Townsend
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My comment about UNMOTIVATED routines stands.

A really good performer could recite the phone book in some way and get a good response from the audience...Citing folks like Johhny Thompson who are great performers does little to answer the question posed. That is still: just why are you fussing with those really odd cup-things and those strange little sweater-balls?

I will stay with my earlier opinion about the Vernon routine...that is is quite good and were I to perform it I would omit the discussion of a false explanation. Not suggesting a change in the routine per-se, just a minor presentation point on the "let you in on a secret." And this only because I don't want to get burned on a false transfer or concealment later.

So, would you drink from your cups? Where did you get those funky "balls" from? And most important to the audience...why should they care?
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Mr. Muggle
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Quote:
I will stay with my earlier opinion about the Vernon routine...that is is quite good and were I to perform it I would omit the discussion of a false explanation. Not suggesting a change in the routine per-se, just a minor presentation point on the "let you in on a secret." And this only because I don't want to get burned on a false transfer or concealment later.



The problem IMO with the Vernon routine is that it is too one-sided, meaning that all of his transfers went to one side, over and over again, showing to me a flagging repetition. Granted, to the lay audience with everything going on it may not--or does it?

I have worked on my routine to make each transfer vary back and forth, in essence being more ambidextrous--to me that makes it more natural and improves the Vernon method.(if it can be).

Quote:
So, would you drink from your cups? Where did you get those funky "balls" from? And most important to the audience...why should they care?



It is just a "prover" showing that they are cups, and only cups, even if you don't see them in most people's kitchens.

I usually leave mine out to the side so if someone is walking by, they can look at them, handle them, and see for themselves that they are not "gimmicked." When having a close-up table set up, this usually is another way to gather or stop people. In this case just don't use it as a closer.

Although you can't apply this with all things in magic, I try to offer as much "fairness" as I can to a spectator so when they are remembering the effect afterward, they themselves disprove any possibilities of how it was done.

I love this topic!

MM
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
KirkG
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Bunkyhenry,

You are correct. The Vernon routine does use the fake explanation, I should have been more clear. Ah hem...

"Do the Vernon routine slowly but modify the fake exposure section or omit it entirely."

What I did was make the example of the fake transfer and palming so ridiculous, that no one could believe it. I actually "palm" the ball between my fingers, ala the "billiard ball display postion." (In other words, in plain sight.) I will not go into all the patter and routining by play, as that is unique to my performance, but I think you get the idea.

It is the rest of the routine that is so well constructed and such a great lesson in canceling out and offering suprises along the way with great magic happening throughout, that I want magicians to get from this routine.

The Mendoza approach of reducing the number of cups or the Wilson methods of changing the cup loads are all better than exposing the french drop.

Sorry to be so long in responding, I didn't realize there was a question directed at me. Is there a way to subscribe to these threads? If not, feel free to email me directly if you have a question.

Kirk Grodske
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I am finally putting in the work to learn this routine. I am already familiar with a couple of its phases, but I am just curious, how long did you study & practice this before you were "performance ready" with this routine, or your own personal variation of it?
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Jonathan Townsend
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Staying with the Vernon routine here and its variants.

Anyone doing the Scotty York routine? Nice to start all set for the finish. Smile

Anyone doing a Three Shell game sequence where one ball is mixed among the cups?

How about the Kaps bit with the mouth up cups?

Let's discuss the two cup routines elsewhere. The John Ramsay and Tommy Wonder routines deserve their own seperate threads.

* Since someone asked earlier...it took quite a while to get comfortable with that fancy wand spin vanish. The rest of the routine is more forgiving IMHO.
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KirkG
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I was performing the routine in a few months. I was performing it well after a few years. I have now done it for almost 25 years--wait, strike that, I am older than I thought--OVER 25 years and I feel I have it down pretty good.

The wand spin takes only a few days to learn, IF you are shown the right way to do it and put in about an hour of practice every day. Most mistakes I see are grabbing with the right and opening the left or turning it palm down.

The cool thing about the routine is it is forever growing and developing itself in your life. After I got the mechanics down, then the presentation, I began to develop the "theater" of it. This greatly increased the audience response.


Kirk
Ron Giesecke
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I guess I take no umbrage with an psuedo exposure of a palsied french drop, beause it falls in line with a lot of other exposure moves we do in other contexts.

Many card under the glass routines expose the theory of misdirection--in fact some routines in magic go so far as to teach a short narrative about the definition of misdirection--as a setup to midirect in another way entirely.

"Ring Leader" has a false explantion of how a ring is taken off the rope. It happens to be a legitimate sleight.

"Open Travellers" alerts the otherwise addled that it is possible to palm a card as a means of concealment. Of course everybody knows about palming--and I contend the same parameter is aware of french drops--as they are executed daily by playful uncle Charlies all over the world to extract wayward nickles from the ears of their nieces and nephews.

I guess if I had a predeliction to trying to make people believe I'm a god, than I would be more inclined to be a panic merchant over a faux explanation.

This is not to say that I prefer using the explantion. I just use a french drop (and a bad one, but I think all of them are bad) for the "exposure" and then use regular false transfers for the rest of the routine. They just don't link the two moves.

The first time I ever witnessed the cups and balls (Vernon-esqe) was Paul Gertner's appearance on television. He used such an explanation,and I bought it, hook line and sinker. He killed me with that routine, and it is one of the preeminent memories I have of magic on television. And perhaps that experience informs my opinion today.

All that being said, I am excited about seeing Reed McClintock's new Cups and Balls routine, "Defiance 2." Reed takes issue with the explanation phase, like many others, and has jettisoned it as well. I am thoroughly interested in what he has accomplished.

Great thread, everyone!

Ron
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