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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Knots and loops » » John Scarne rope routine (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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HowaboutBob
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeK-hD_g7eM

Can any one help? I know the details of Scarne's rope demo but I can't figure out the disappearing knot in his hand in the first 20 seconds of the routine. Can anyone help? I've been obsessed trying to figure it out for two days now. Thanks. Bob
Harry Murphy
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That routine is really a nice amalgam of pretty simple (and easily found) rope tricks. The knot is a basic false or dissolving knot well handled.
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Bill Hegbli
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It looks like his left hand never releases the loop, try that and see if that works.

I checked an online Table of Contents of his book "Scarne on Magic Tricks", it lists a handkerchief dissolving knot, and a ribbon trick listed. I lost my copy of the book or gave it to a budding magician along the way of life.

Actually the knotting process looks like a move in the Daryl Rope Routine for switching rope ends, but he does not switch any ends at that point.

After watching the video several times, I have concluded that is done through camera editing. I know in those days of filming they usually ran through scenes without any editing, but I believe that is the only way a real knotting of 2 ends of the rope can become a sliding knot.
Harry Murphy
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Watch the video again. No camera editing for the dissolving knot sequence (nor does there have to be), It looks pretty close to the Al Baker dissolving knot. It is well practiced for sure. The knot is made and held with the left forefinger (it has to be held as it will "fall" out) until it is moved (giving the appearance that the knot is being tightened). It is gone as the hand is wrapped around it.
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Bill Hegbli
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Harry, you came to the same conclusion that I did. I was speaking of when he has the potential purchaser tie the ends together, then cuts the rope, the rope falls. Now here is the discrepancy, he does the pull down of the knot, it is suppose to look like he is just changing the position of the circle of rope to near center or opposite side from the knot. Actually, it is a sliding knot. How can that be? So between the time he cut the rope and had it tied, and the beginning of the sliding of the knot, there was some film editing. That is what I was referring to in my post.

I just guess, I was more interested in that discrepancy then the of vanishing knot.

Harry, remember when they sold that vanishing knot trick. You got a 2"x3" piece of paper and a short piece of toupee tape, now carpet tape will work in it's place.

The OP, HowaboutBob, said he figured out everything else, I would like him to explain that move.
HowaboutBob
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Scarne ties the sliding knot and then cuts the rope just above the sliding knot. He then slides the knot
down to the center of the rope, showing restoration. His second cut is fake. He has the two rope ends already
in his hand and fakes the second scissor cut. Unties knot and restores the short and long pieces as one.
Ive had rope in my hand for three days now trying to make that dissolving knot look good. Im going to research some Al Baker knots as well.
Still havent figured it out.
Harry Murphy
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Bill, Watch it again. The customer does not tie the knot but is asked to examine the circle (he looks briefly at the knot and hands the mess back).

Scarne does a pretty standard standard sliding knot routine albeit he does it very well. I suspect that routine is in the old literature somewhere.

There is no discrepancy that I can find on that clip. There probably was editing simply because it appears to be multiple shots on film. This was made in 1939 well before the multiple video camera technique was developed. That mens that every scene change (close-up, angle change, etc) was a different camera set-up. I must admit that the editor was pretty good at keeping the continuity looking good. The dissolving knot was a single set-up and single shot. No editing required. The sliding knot sequence had four different set-ups. So the trick was done at least five times and edited for the film. I don't believe that anything tricky was done off camera (didn't have to be).
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HowaboutBob
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Ive looked for the movie, Dark Magic, from 1939, running time 10 minutes, that this clip is from. Havent found it. Anyone know where it can be found? Id like to watch the whole thing.
ljsviol
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Quote:
On 2013-06-14 09:16, HowaboutBob wrote:
Ive looked for the movie, Dark Magic, from 1939, running time 10 minutes, that this clip is from. Havent found it. Anyone know where it can be found? Id like to watch the whole thing.


It's in the collection "Robert Benchley Shorts (30 Shorts 1935 - 1944)". Amazon shows it:

http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Benchley-Sh......benchley

and ClassicFlix (a DVD rental company like NetFlix, specializing in older film) has the collection as well.
http://www.classicflix.com/robert-benchl......328.html

Cheers,
Larry
Bill Hegbli
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Okay, when Scarne ties the knot, and hold it open in a circle. Note how the rope curves out away from the knot when one end is dropped, but after he cuts & restores the rope, the knot that falls from the hand only has a separate piece tied to it. So how does the rope go from a real knot to a sliding knot?

If the second cutting of the rope is fake, then that is the best fake cutting in the world. If anything the 1st cut would be a fake cut, not the 2nd cutting.
Harry Murphy
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Go for editing.

The routine can be done as presented using pretty commonplace rope moves. I believe that Scarne simply did the routine a number of times with the camera set for different viewpoints and then edited together to give you the clip you see. However I believe that you are seeing pretty much what you would have seen if you were standing at the counter.

The first cut and restore of the knotted rope was done in one continuous take (no edit or camera reset). The knot tied when cut makes a sliding knot IF you grab a different bit of rope (he cuts the proper length to throw you off). This is basically the same knot that is used by Slydini for a splitting the knot in his silk routine. The knot seems to change appearance because a different "arm" or "ear" of the rope was grabbed thus changing the orientation of the knot.

The second cut is good acting and making the scissors do some work at the edge of an existing cut. It is good.

I really don't have the skills to clearly explain this. Maybe Al Angello will chime in and help explain it. This is really very standard (and old) stuff to someone well versed in rope magic.

If you can't see it then go for edits as the explanation.
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HowaboutBob
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Ljsviol, youre the one who posted the videos in the first place. Thanks for doing that! Awesome clips!
Harry Murphy
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The trick that leads into the rope routine is the cups and balls. You see them sitting on the counter. Here is Scarne doing a basic C&B routine (been posted before but here it is):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBvuQZm5AzY
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ljsviol
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On 2013-06-14 16:23, HowaboutBob wrote:
Ljsviol, youre the one who posted the videos in the first place. Thanks for doing that! Awesome clips!

Well, I'd been looking for that video ever since I read Scarne's "The Odds Against Me" maybe 45 years ago (he has a picture in the book from the film). Once I found it, I wanted other people's searches to take less time. -)

Larry
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Ah magicians - we criticize people trying to work out our tricks and then agonise working out others'!

The second cut he does physically cut the rope, but note his left hand then drops off screen to behind the counter, which I think should explain it to magicians reading this.

Amazing routine and that dissolving knot looks fantastic!
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On 2013-06-18 07:24, David Fillary wrote:
Ah magicians - we criticize people trying to work out our tricks and then agonise working out others'!

The second cut he does physically cut the rope, but note his left hand then drops off screen to behind the counter, which I think should explain it to magicians reading this.

Amazing routine and that dissolving knot looks fantastic!


Scarne is long deceased, so I am sure he will not mind if we honor him with a little puzzle solving. No one is doing anything like this, so it is not like we want to solve someone's trick that he is making a living off of today. This trick reminds me of the Ken Allen Cut and Restored Again Rope Trick he sold way back in the 1960's. I got one of the last one at the local magic shop. That is why I was taking a close look at it, and it just looked to impossible, and it is!

You are right on the 2nd cut, I agree with you analysis's of the that portion of the cutting.
Dick Oslund
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Hi Bill! I was just cruising through this thread, and noted your note on KEN ALLEN.

I first saw him do his "IF YOU LIKE IT" C/R rope routine in 1954 at the MAES convention in Norfolk, VA. He did it on the public show and "killed" with it. We became friends.

I used his routine to open the high school program for a number of years. I added the Slydini cut that set up the Professor Nitemare. Then Denny Loomis and I worked out a "bluff" restoration after the PN. (Before the Conway idea came out). At first, it was necessary to use rbr. cmt. to set it up. When "Magic" (Scotch) Tape, came along, it made the job much faster and easier.

Ken later got out of magic. I last saw him when I was working the Magic Inc. joint at the SAM conv. in NYC (l978). He died a couple years back after a long bout with cancer.

He was a fine magician -- and a nice guy, too!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Sealegs
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There is a discrepancy in this routine and I think it looks odd.

The rope is cut a few inches from the knot the ends are taken into his left hand and the knot is slid along the length of the rope and then raised into the left hand. The knot shouldn't be able to slid down the length of the rope. This 'sliding knot' isn't presented as an effect and indeed it's not meant to be one so it ends up being a piece of handling that just looks unnatural (because it is) and weird.

The only way this would look ok was if the rope was supposed to be being pulled through his hand but at this point he hasn't yet restored the cut so there's no circle of rope to pull through his hand.

It's true enough that it all happens in the blink of an eye and is over before anyone is likely to be able to pick up on what specific discrepancy was that they saw.... but because it looks odd the audience may well feel that they've seen something suspicious that wasn't as it was supposed to be and for many people that sort of alarm bell going off is enough to remove the impact of the effect.

The premise of this part of the routine reminds me of an excellent repeating cut and restored rope that was featured by the late Harold Taylor and that featured in his lecture notes from the 70's.
Neal Austin

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Dick Oslund
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Hey Neal! When "3 trick Harold" lectured at Magic Inc. while on that 1970 tour, I was staying in the Charlie Miller Suite and got "assigned" by Frances to be "gofer" for Harold. His lecture was excellent--especially his c/r rope routine. He "caught" me when he tied the ring in the center of the rope and then cut the ring loose!!!!! I've used that particular bit many times since--especially when I want to "catch" a magician or two!

Thanks for mentioning Harold's name. I'm retired and don't perform that much anymore. You've reminded me of a fine technique for the c/r!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
The rope is cut a few inches from the knot the ends are taken into his left hand and the knot is slid along the length of the rope and then raised into the left hand. The knot shouldn't be able to slid down the length of the rope. This 'sliding knot' isn't presented as an effect and indeed it's not meant to be one so it ends up being a piece of handling that just looks unnatural (because it is) and weird.


You are right, I was so versed in the old sliding knot being used to seemingly pull a circle of rope around, I totally overlooked the rope not being restored yet.
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