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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » 3 Fly or VCA? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Decker
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James Harrison
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Alrighty then, what should it be called? and who deserves the credit?
mjb16
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I think we might need some information to back up your statement Decker. To my knowledge it's a Jonathon Townsend idea and Chris Kenner took it to the fingertips, but then again I could be wrong. But I'm sure Jonathon will post on this topic soon...
Harry Murphy
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I believe that the title has become synonymous with any stand-up, at the fingertip, coins across routine.

It is like calling all colas “Cokes” (they’re not) or all copies “Xerox’s” (they’re not) or all vacuum bottles a “Thermos” (they aren’t). Even after years of brand name protection suits some names just become generic to the class. In magic we have “Three-Fly”, “Matrix”, “Triumph”, and so forth to talk about a class of tricks that are (or seem to be) similar in effect. Spoken language is full of “short-hand” words that convey a clear mental image of what is being talked about. (By the way, “short-hand” is another example).

When someone tells me he/she is performing their own version of “Three-Fly” I at once know what they are talking about. They could say, “I perform my own version of a stand-up coin trick where the coins magically transfer from one hand to the other with the coins seemingly melting away, one at a time, from one hand as they appear in the other and all the time the coins are held visibility at the fingertips in front of my body.” Me? I think that saying “I perform my own version of Three-Fly” gives me the same mental image and understanding.

So what exactly is your complaint?
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Jonathan Townsend
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For a generic term, how about Visual Coins Across? Makes a simple acronym (short-hand) of VCA. No hard feelings attached to that term.

Re: In magic we have “Three-Fly”, “Matrix”, “Triumph”

"Matrix" is a specific routine invented by Al Schneider. A tabled coin assembly using four cards as covers. Al published his routine and got the ball rolling for coin Assemblies as we know them.

"Triumph" is a specific routine invented by Dai Vernon as an answer to a card problem. Dai published a workable version for his routine in Stars of Magic and got the ball rolling for the face up/face down shuffle tricks.

"Three Fly" and "Menage et Trois" are the titles given to a routine that is not original nor based upon published material. It effectively exposed a new premise in coin magic to the fraternity... Which would be more wonderful if it were given with permission of its creator.

In magic, ideas or basic premises are property and usually kept private and secret. I'm happy you were impressed with what Chris and Bob showed you. Likewise that many have adopted the idea and are exploring the basic premise. If for a moment you think of an idea as a child... then you can follow the analogy to how I feel about this sometimes.
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Rob Elliott
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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery -- especially in the magic biz. The Matrix may be Al Schneider's baby, but the fact that there are so many versions of his effect speaks volumes about its validity and worthiness in the world of coin magic. The same is true for 3 Fly. You should be proud of the fact that, since you came up with the idea, virtually EVERYONE wants to incorporate some form of it into their repertoire. We all tailor effects to fit our personality, performing style, etc. My Wild Coin is not the same as David Roth's but it is based on his basic premise.
Jason Wethington
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Rob the issue isn't comparable to Roth's wild coin. Jon's routine was never published.
Apples and oranges Rob.
Rob Elliott
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So you're saying his idea was stolen? I didn't realize that. That's just wrong.

Thanks for clarifying, Jason.
Dan LeFay
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To stay at the anologies, how does Al Schneider's Matrix relate to (I think)older version where 4 coins and two cards were used?
This might be the same for Jon's Visual coins across, and Kenners vertical fingertips coins across.

Jon deserves all the credit's for the visual nature of the coins across plot. In Kenner's book he gets those credits as well (though no permission was asked obviously).
It seems that Kenner brought the visual coins across-routine in front of the face. It is this very picture that is so widely adapted. I have yet to see someone do a routine that resembles Jon's routine...
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Jonathan Townsend
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Re: How does Al Schneider's Matrix relate to (I think)older version where 4 coins and two cards were used?

The Sympathetic Coins trick dates back in print to the Downs book, and there it is credited to Yang Hoe. The trick uses two covers and a handkerchief, and the coins take a trip under the hank to arrive under one of the covers.

The 'other' early version of a modern coin Assembly is Derek Dingle's "Four Coins in the Counting", published 1976 in Dingle's Deceptions. Great routine. If memory serves, he credited the both Ross Bertram for the sucker vanish from Stars of Magic, and the trick from the Downs book.

On another positive note, Chris Kenner made a rep for himself doing routines very well. He has a vanish for the last coin in his handling of the Visual Coins Across that he may wish to share. He did a version of David Roth's 'Original Chinese Coin Assembly' on the carpet at the convention in 87. It was impressive to watch the shadows of his hands on the carpet. Another item of his he may wish to share.
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Dan Watkins
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Chris Kenner saw Jonathan's routine, where the coins start in a fan and arrive in a palm up hand.

Chris changed the structure of what he saw to have the coins start in a fan, and arrive at the fingertips in a fan as well. Chris published this routine as "Three Fly", his book and handling was very popular.

Often, a routine or move gets attributed to the first person to publish or popularize an effect. As an example calling the Tenkai Pinch (originator) the Goshman Pinch (popularizer).

In this case, Jonathan originated the visual concept, and Chris popularized the Fingertip to Fingertip concept.

As an interesting aside, here is an excerpt from my Coinvention coverage where David Roth offers his insight to the routine: "Immediately after the panel discussion, David and I spoke regarding key elements in history that have some relation to Three Fly. One is a T. Nelson Downs poster circa 1900 that shows Downs holding coins in a fan that has a caption “before the pass” and another picture showing Downs holding the coins in a fan with one coin in the other hand. The caption on the second image states, “after the pass” indicating that Downs may have had a Three Fly type routine – however there is no way to know by which method Down’s coin pass worked, he may have completely concealed all the coins during his pass and the pictures only depict the initial and final display.

Another interesting fact David mentioned was that in Professor Hoffman’s MORE MAGIC (1890) there is a method to un-shell a coin and display the coin and shell at the fingertips. This may be the earliest piece to depict a Three Flyesque sequence.

It was interesting discussing such things with David, but he made it clear that he feels that Chris Kenner really deserves the credit for making the version of the routine as we have all come to know it. If Chris had not published his version, the effect would never have become as popular as it is today."

Soon I believe we will be able to read a very informative book providing every detail Jonathan's progress to create the original concept that started the whole thing. No one disputes that Jonathan is the originator, Kenner's modified routine is the one that popularized. One could argue good or bad about what Kenner did, but that seems to be the way history was written.

Around the same time as the Kenner book, Gary Kurtz' book also came out with his own handling as part of his "Trio" routine.

All the subseqent versions (Hooser's, Kam's, Kohler's, McClintock's, Neighbor's, etc.) came after the Kenner/Kurtz publications.
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Stuart Hooper
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Mr. Watkins, just because someone popularized a stolen idea, doesn't make it right. Right and wrong are strange terms...but it hardly a good example to young magicians...oh...I can steal something...but since I made it popular...and every other published version came after mine...that makes it okay? Excuse me? Just because honor seems to be a scarce quality today, does not mean it should be discarded!

:stout:
Dan Watkins
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Mithrandir,

I wasn't making any comments regarding right and wrong, I was just commenting as to the history.

I never said it was okay that he popularized it, only that it is the historical fact that he did.

History is history.

Jonanthan is about to bring the whole thing full circle once his manuscript comes out, and establish the historical origins that created his routine.
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Chris S
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I question whether Roth would have had the same view if he had held tight to the Portable Hole concept and was beaten to publication by someone who had seen the routine.

Right and wring is ALL this is about. The history is not in question.
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Curtis Kam
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Dan, the first coin in Jonathan's routine goes fingertip to fingertip. Always has. The palm up production is only used when there is already a visible coin in the hand, a constraint that reflects the state of the art at the time the routine was devised.

Chris Kenner did bring the action up to face level. That difference is primarily reflection of the difference between Jonathan's and Chris' performing personalities. That difference in personality is also reflected in the way they interpret the basic effect. I don't think I can cover it sufficiently here, but when you look closely, the two effects (regardless of finger/coin postioning) are very different.

I'll leave it to Jonathan to explain fully, when and if he feels it's appropriate. Briefly, however, one of Jonathan's goals (and he's said this before here at the Café) was for the hands to fade into the background, so that the coins appeared to move on their own. Chris Kenner's bolder, "in your face" style is antithetical to this, albeit successful in its own way.

Regarding what we should call the effect, I'd suggest we strive for accuracy. If you're talking about a routine that is intended to achieve the overall illusion Jonathan sought, it's a variation of "the visible coins across" (i.e. VCA). If you're talking about a handling that is designed to challenge the audience, it's probably more accurate to call it a variation of "3Fly". If you have no idea what I'm talking about, well, you might as well call it "3Fly". Jonathan has yet to publish, and you can't claim to be doing a variation of his routine unless you've seen it.

At least, this makes sense to me. Rest assured, all will become clearer once Jonathan's book is published.
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Dan Watkins
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Guys,

The original post made two statements:

1. The routine is not called "3 Fly"
2. Kenner gets no credit for it.

All I am saying is, Chris Kenner published a routine, which was tilted, "3 Fly". This publication became very popular.

That means a routine called "3 Fly" does indeed exist, and Kenner published it. Therefore when referencing Kenner's published version, it is valid to call it by its name and publisher/author.

That is ALL that I am saying. Nothing more, nothing less.

Should Chris have recieved permission to publish a routine which was HUGELY influenced by Jonathan - I don't think there is anyone who would say no. Chris did not, so there is some fault here.

Chris is acutely aware of his tresspass and said publicly that he regrets that he published it fourteen years ago.

Does it make what he did squeeky clean and right? Nope.

All this does not change the fact that there is a routine in a book from Chris Kenner that is called "3 Fly". One may wish that this routine by this name does not exist, one may wish that it wasn't published by Chris Kenner, but the reality is, it exists, and he did it.

[EDIT]

I just read Curtis' post above mine - he wrote it as I wrote my reply. I agree with Curtis.

I have read Jonathan's draft. If one is referencing Jonathan's original, it is not right to call it "3 Fly" - it is not.

If one is referencing Kenner's variation, that is what is called "3 Fly".

I am in total agreement.
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Curtis Kam
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Sorry, Dan, rereading my post above, the latter comments are not directed at "you" in particular, or even at all. I shifted focus without much warning there.
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Dan Watkins
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No apology needed Curtis, your writing is accurate regardless of who it is directed to!

HERE is a very intersting post, it seems as though he acknowledges the existence of this specific routine and the author.
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Stuart Hooper
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All I'm saying is that my particular understanding of the situation is that much was stolen outright by Mr. Kenner from Mr. Townsend. Dan you claim not to be saying it's right or wrong...that's exactly my point.

I'm saying it's wrong.

:stout:
Dan Watkins
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No arguement here, though the original post was about not calling "IT" (which is ambigious), "3 Fly" and Kenner gets no credit. I think Kenner gets credit for "3 Fly" insomuch as "IT" is defined as this particular routine published.

Tangential to the main topic, stealing is wrong.

Though as Curtis pointed out, Kenner's routine is pretty different in focus than Jon's. What I do think is clear is that publishing a routine wherin you credit someone else's unpublished routine without permission is wrong.

I am not willing to start throwing stones a decade and a half later. I myself have done some things a decade in a half ago that today I feel are repulsive, and I know I have changed greatly in a decade and a half.
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