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JamesinLA
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Quote:
On 2003-11-16 13:02, KirkG wrote:
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.)
Kirk Grodske


Kirk,
I think that's a great take on doing the false explanation. I happen to believe in not doing the false explanation for various reasons, however, if I were to include it, I could definitely see my way clear to do it your way. Very good thinking and funny too. (Some people may even believe you really were doing that and they just weren't catching it!)
I also am not into the "history lession" presentation in its generic form. However, if someone could make the history lesson approach original and fresh then it could work, I would think.
My own approach is very different and rather heavy on narrative and pop culture. It works for me. I'm still fine tuning it on the street but it's almost "there."

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
cataquet
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First off, I am of the school that starts off the routine with the production of the balls. So, I actually found it funny when Bob Gerdes argued, "After all, if the magician can simply produce as many balls as he likes, what's the big deal that they apparently disappear and reappear elsewhere?" (2 Oct)

When Pete Biro raised his concerns, he was worried about was the following scenario. You show a ball under cup A, then a wave of the wand and the ball is under cup B. If you fail to show there is no ball under cup A, then the specky might reason, "Hey, he's using an extra ball." For that reason, in this context, you MUST show that there is no ball under cup A. A similar situation arises in the Vernon routine with the vertical penetration of the balls thru the cup. Surely, this is an identical problem (which fortunately has been solved with a bit of sleight of cup)!

I have more to say, but this is getting long enough.

Bye for now.
Harold Cataquet
Ron Giesecke
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James,

I hope to see your routine some day. You sound like you've got it together!

Cheers,

Ron
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Quote:
On 2003-11-17 19:17, cataquet wrote:
First off, I am of the school that starts off the routine with the production of the balls. So, I actually found it funny when Bob Gerdes argued, "After all, if the magician can simply produce as many balls as he likes, what's the big deal that they apparently disappear and reappear elsewhere?" (2 Oct)...


Well, I'm glad I gave you a laugh! Smile

But, do you understand my point? All I was trying to say is that that spectators MIGHT be less inclined to accept that you are only using 3 balls if they are magically produced at the beginning. In Vernon's routine, they see 3 EMPTY cups, 3(?) balls and 2 otherwise empty(?) hands. Seems a little cleaner to me, and more strongly suggests that only 3 balls are in play. (After all, they SAW only 3 balls with their own eyes, and nothing else!)

And in my post I did acknowledge that I've seen extremely strong routines in which the balls are produced (Ammar, etc) and the specs don't seem to mind. Smile

Clearly, both approaches can be effective.
(I just like Vernon's way better!) Smile

Bob
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Me too. Smile
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
cataquet
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I think the production of the balls (individually) is probably excessive. However, I think the production of three balls (all at once) after showing the cups empty is a very strong opening effect. But then again, that's how I open my routine, so I would say that. Smile

Most magicians begin with the Vernon routine and then start tweaking it to develop their own routine. When I started working on the routine (1970s), I wanted to make the following changes:

  • When a transposition takes place, the vanish (empty cup) is shown before the appearance (ball under cup)
  • No move is ever repeated twice (every vanish is different)
  • Audience participation.

So after 30 Smile years of performing the routine, I've got something that works for me (and probably only me). I have a reason for every move in my routine, but it is very different from the Vernon routine. Nonetheless, I must admit I feel guilty criticizing Vernon's routine.

Actually, this discussion makes me want to look at the Revelations videos. According to the index, Vernon talks about the cups and balls on Volume 5.

JonTown pointed out perhaps the greatest weakness in my C&B routine: WHY?
Harold Cataquet
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I also think that producing the three balls is excessive for a normal cup routine, as the audience sees the cups, and IMO knows what's about to happen. But to each their own.

So, here is one of my ideas that I'm working on--I'll share it with you. Produce the 3 balls at the beginning individually (like you would 3 coins for a coin opener), do a three ball routine with them, setting them down on the table at the end.

Take your wand out and table it, showing hands empty on the off-beat.

Remove your silk from your pocket to wipe your brow and comment something like "I hope you liked the warm up, if not I guess we can start drinking." Produce the three cups with the silk.

It flows, and gives you three segments, all relating to another and everything has a reason.

Think, and create your magic.



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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Ron,

I don't think any of the magicians that don't like exposure as part of a routine suffer from God complexes.

Even though there are many routines that have felt there was no problem with including that plot line, that still doesn't make it right or wrong, just wrong for me. Perhaps also wrong for all those who have taken their vows as members of the SAM, IBM and AMA as seriously as I do.

I think using exposure as a part of a trick is a cheap shot. It is a lazy man's solution, unless it is being presented to an audience of only magicians at a convention as an inside joke.

Open Travelers demonstrates that it is in no way possible to do what they are describing and it is done tongue-in-cheek. No real palms or methods of getting into palms are exposed. It is different for the French Drop and other routines you used as examples and equally as wrong. But only IMHO.

Kirk
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Quote:
On 2003-11-25 15:17, KirkG wrote:
Perhaps also wrong for all those who have taken their vows as members of the SAM, IBM and AMA as seriously as I do.

I think using exposure as a part of a trick is a cheap shot. It is a lazy man's solution, unless it is being presented to an audience of only magicians at a convention as an inside joke.


After re-reading the above text, I decided to pose a question (and in no way is it meant as an attack on KrikG). With this thinking would one then consider the Professor to be utilizing a "lazy man's solution" to his magic, or a stroke of genius?

I think for the time period of the professor the misdirection is perfect- who wouldn't get pulled into a magician letting you in one a secret- no matter if it was truthful or not in nature. The lay audience at that time was not as smart to some things as the audience of today is. (yet it still works today not only with this effect, but with other classics of magic- perhaps this is a new thread)


Quote:
Open Travelers demonstrates that it is in no way possible to do what they are describing and it is done tongue-in-cheek. No real palms or methods of getting into palms are exposed.



True nothing is exposed, however if you ever saw L.J. perform the routine his hand gestures do mock actual slights which magician's perform. So although its a method of showing it's not possible, to those in the know, its a form of limited exposure.

I think that once again it comes to personal preference. Those different preferences we each have create different avenues of thinking and advancement, keeping magic fresh for the current time period.

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)
Lee Darrow
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Having seen the Professor do this routine both at the famous $1,000 lecture and at the Castle several times, I believe that I can say that no real exposure occurred.

His mocking "replication" of Le Tourniquet was SO poorly done (intentionally) that not even an educated lay person could construct the original sleight.

When one looks at Paul Harris' Invisible Palm routine, he comes closer to tipping the goods about palming a card in that routine than the Professor ever did in his cups routine. And I have yet to hear anyone accuse him of exposure.

So, maybe it IS a matter of degree, of intent and of execution of the faux sleight after all.

And, to ask the difficult question, would not the Flight of the Paper Balls (ala Slydini) be an exposure under some of the standards espoused inthis thread? The entire audience gets to see how the volunteer is fooled, but the efect is stunning to the person that is experiencing the method close up.

And let's face it, nobody can cut a rope with their fingers! Any child can tell you that, so isn't that a form of exposure?

No one is going to lose work from a very bad version of Le Tourniquet being shown, buried in the middle of a rivitting routine, and that's what the rules about exposure are all about - keeping the real secrets safe so we can all keep working.

At least, that's what I've always been told. And it appears to be the stance taken by the Ethics Committees of every magic organization that I am familiar with.

No flames meant or implied, just food for further thought!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
KirkG
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To both Lee and Muggle,

I don't feel flamed in the least. As I said, it was only my opinion. To clarify my point a little more, it is not the plot line that I object to, but the execution.

When Vernon, performed it( the fake FD), it was so bad, as to be laughable. No one believes it, due to the twinkle in his eye, and the rapid smack in the face of the large loads. The torn and restored Napkin in Danny Rouzer's hands was a delight. Here a fully functional normal man is coverted into a deformed cripple right before your eyes. Again, no one took him seriously.

The Silk Dying in the Hand, or Sucker Die Box even, lead them down the garden path, without true exposure. Now if one of them showed the dye tube and then used a pull to finish the job, I don't think anyone would argue whether or not exposure took place.

It is only when the performer, isn't willing or able to apply the presentation and performance points and actually demonstrates a "working" sleight and then exposes it's falsehood, that I find objectionable.

I have seen a variety of "false placements" from Al Schneider Put Vanish to David Roths Visual Retention Pass, done perfectly and then exposed as "just pretend."

At some level, I even think poorly constructed "flurry's" are exposure.

As far as Open Travelers(Jennings), there is no actual palming exposed. He does a move, in an open manner, and then immediately shows that there is nothing in the hand, and still magic happens, all the while actually palming on the off beats, to achieve the next step.

I do a series of color changes that use cancelling methods, because it is no great leap, that I may have something in my hand or palmed it, so when they follow the "guilty" hand or grab it, they find nothing and then I prove again and again that I don't have something in my hand as the cards continue to change and then fans of cards appear and disappear.

One famous magician, who shall remain nameless, starts his show with a back palm production of a single card and then changes it to another and then throws both cards on the ground in front of the audience. I can't get him convinced that this is BAD! My understanding of his justification as he uses it to establish the charactor of a burn out magician who is more than a little disrespectful and the audience "knows" where they come from anyway. I think there is a better way.

I hope that clarifies my point and gets all of us to reevaluate the routines that we do and why we do them and to make the adjustments and improvements necessary.


Kirk
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Good post Kirk, glad you didn't take any offense.

This thread has been great in re-evaluating both routines that I do, and those of others around me. I try to always study routines of both good and bad performers- you will always learn something from them, no matter if you liked their preformance and content or not.

I appreciate the thoughts and banter about using false explanations in magic. In fact, I'll close with something I found today while reading an old linking ring (in an article by Eugene E. Gloyf) which made me think about this thread.

"Magicians, however, guard their methods while one expects the answers to puzzles to be disclosed. In the case of sleight of hand feats, the deceptions can be so compelling that even if the methods used are revealed, people tend to doubt their validity. " He then continued on with- "There is a good deal more to the presentation of a sleight of hand trick than digital skill."

I feel this is why Vernon's routine was so good- he gave them the answer in an unbelievable manner. This added to the effect, and to its impossible nature. Just like the paper balls over the head, the nature of the trick is really lost as a "tool of magic" in the tricks presentation and comedy surrounding the effect. So in the end, people tend to doubt certain aspects of "the inner workings" when relating it to the effect or something else. (IMO)

I also feel Kirk's passion about lack of quality in some performers magic, whether intentional or not. But the fact is that even though there are some bad magician's, the audience still comes back. Maybe not next year, but sooner or later. So I try to be as good as I can be, giving the best show that I can. If that means giving a false explanation (no matter true or not) for a trick to enhance the effect, I most likely will add it.

How far to go is the end question- only each of us has that final answer. Hope this all makes sense. I had a really long day at work and am exhausted, but wanted to post while it was on my mind.

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)
fonda57
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I like John Bannon's Off Cups and Fuzzballs in Impossibilia.
I j
Darren Roberts
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I have been very interested in learning the cups and balls.

I do not have Vernon's Cups and Balls routine as it is being discussed here, but I do have Vernon's "Impromptu Cups and Balls" in the Stars of Magic book.

How does it compare? Is it a good "starter" routine? I liked the idea of learning the cups and balls using the impromptu routine because I won't feel like buying a "cheap" set of starter cups, then wish I had waited to spend the money on a much nicer set Smile

Thanks for any advice.
Harry Murphy
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The “Impromptu” version of Vernon’s Cups and Balls is shorter and leaves out a number of phases found in the longer version. It is sort of an “abridged” version.

The longer version has a vanish or two (including the Malini wand spin vanish) and a spectator choosing a cup for the balls to appear under sequence that is not found in the impromptu version.

Both have the fake explanation phase(I won't enter that debate).

I believe that the impromptu version is as good a place to start learning the Cups and Balls as any. Especially since you have it already. Learn the routine and learn it well and it will serve you for years. You will find elements of the Vernon routine in almost every routine that is published.

You are not limited as to what cups or balls you use for the routine. Even though he explains it using glasses wrapped in paper and wads of paper for balls you can use anything from paper cups to the most expensive cups available. The magic is not in the props it’s in the routine as performed by the magician. I watched him perform the impromptu version using his silver cups and another time I saw him perform his “full length” routine using Styrofoam cups and wads of Kleenex as balls. Even the master was flexible.
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Quote:
On 2004-01-01 10:39, Harry Murphy wrote:

Both have the fake explanation phase(I won't enter that debate).



IMO this thread has opened our minds on the topic, and has helped expand magic for each of us- even if only a small amount. Looking at your post count, you have to have some good points to add to the discussion, which will add to the conversation.

This board gives me more help than my local magic group does, please by all means, dive in!

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)
Bill Palmer
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One of the things I firmly believe about the cups and balls is that the more you read and learn about the trick, the better equipped you will be to work out a routine that fits your own style.

The very first actual routine ever published in a magic book was probably the cups and balls. The material on magic in Discovery of Witchcraft is exposure, pure and simple, and the magic in the Art of Jugling is not actually routined.

But when the author of Hocus Pocus Junior set out his cups and balls routine, he gave out a whole lot of information, from how to sit, how to hold your hands and even what to say. In Joro's book on the cups and balls, which may be one of my next translation projects, he lists over 700 published references to the cups and balls in German and in English. Since this book was published in 1999, more references now exist. And his book does not list videos.

Obviously, few can afford to have all of the published routines on hand, but that doesn't mean that you should not look at all sources that you can afford to.

And, by all means, keep your eye on this thread. It has a lot to offer.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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KirkG
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As long as I am sharing opinions, if you read the Slydini write up on Flight of the Paper Balls, he exposes classic palming to the audience. I never do. I just omit that section. Later, if the audience really thinks you accomplish miricles by tossing stuff over their head, I can live with that.

I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Murphy and suggest that Darren buy a set of cheap aluminum cups and learn the original Vernon routine, and NEVER do the impromptue version. I am sure many will disagree, but it is awkward and looks bad.

While I may allow a chop cup routine with a coffe cup, not a cups and ball routine, and NEVER NEVER a butter knife or bic pen as a wand. The Magic Wand is a symbol and element of respect, and should never be regarded as casually as a dirty table utensil. If you are going to use the wand, use a real one.

There are moves in the standard Vernon routine and aquitements that are not available to you in the impromtu version. I was just able to buy a copy for $5.00, so it isn't hard to find.

Kirk
Harry Murphy
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Kirk I don’t disagree with you. My point about learning the impromptu version was that Darren already HAS it!

Rather than spending then next few weeks or months tracking down and buying the “ultimate” cups and balls routine I think that he just ought to use what he has and get started. I think that we sometimes go on fruitless quests for the “ultimate” prop or routine and never learn or perform any. In terms of the cups and balls, Bill Palmer rightly points out that the references fill libraries! He notes that there are over 700 known references published in German and English. Heck, I have 24 references on my shelf and those are just the ones I decided to keep! There must be a start point and Darren already has one. I say to him “go for it!”

Further, I believe that the Vernon “Impromptu” routine offers a good start point that is relatively easy to learn, easy to perform, and is magical in its execution. I don’t think that it looks awkward at all (at least not in Vernon’s hands and Vernon performed it fairly regularly).

Every phase of the Impromptu routine is found in the expanded full routine. Learning the Impromptu routine will not hinder, but will in fact, enhance the learning of the longer routine.

I’m neither here or there on a set of cups. Buy a set of cheap aluminum or copper cups and get started or go to the dollar store and find some nesting plastic glasses and get started. But by all means get started!

I’m even less invested in the nature of wands. A foot long length of wooden dowel works fine. I’ve seen a “magic marker” used in a table-hopping routine that worked well too and did not detract from the performance. Of course this from a person that has dozens of wands! I have everything from the traditional to the bizarre, made of metal, plastic,glass, and wood. Some are very plain and others encrusted with crystals and gems. The one I use in my street act is a length of tree branch that had been naturally twisted by vines that I cut to length and shaved and sanded all the bark off. It fits the character (as does most of my wands!).

Bottom line...get started!
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Mr. Muggle
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I agree get started, and save for a good set of cups. All to often I see people not start something till they order an item that they need to do or learn an effect. Then before you know it they have more stuff lying around and they can't focus on any one effect.

I learned the Cups and Balls effect with a cheap set of Morrissey cups, then used a set of coffee cups, & then I purchased a good set. You can even find good routines with simple props like paper Dixie cups- ex. RB's Dixie in his private study series.

As far as the wand, I feel that the true use of a wand is to conceal what the hand is doing. If I'm correct with my history, that has been the wand's primary use through the ages and won't change. I don't know of very many illusionists who use a wand. Symbolism is great and all, but it has more of a practical use compared to an item of magical jewelry. (no disrespect, just my opinion based on what I've read).

It's only been in recent years that magician's have started using a knife or something else in its place- usually because it fits the performance, their performance style or its setting (ex. impromptu @ a restaurant)

But no matter what- grab any book that has the cups in it, learn all the routines that you can and get started. It will improve everything in magic that you do.

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)
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