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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Bumping shells (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jack Skipton
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I love the final phase of the shell game where the spectator places the shell over the pea and a container of the shell (ala Pop Haydn, Bob Sheets, Phil Cass) but my problem is that there is a noticeable 'clicking' of the shell against the container during the steal. I have tried a couple of different containers, the latest is a fairly soft, opaque Tupperware style, but it still makes the click. I'm wondering if heavier shells might do the trick.

Have any of you encountered this and found a good solution?
licker98
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I use heavy metal shells and a shot glass and if you were looking closely, you might notice something. However, I've seen most magicians get around this by doing the push on the off-beat i.e. at a time when the audience aren't watching closely or are preoccupied with something. I would say that it's probably not possible to remove all shell movement (unless you had a perfectly fitting object to cover the shell) so just try and distract or not bring attention to the move.
LeoH
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I've noticed that "Pop" will misdirect attention of the participant by asking him to put his finger in the air as he moves the covered shell and steals the pea. He will give the participant a "thumbs up" sign at the same time, which the participant will usually copy. Pop will tell him that's his thumb, not his finger, then has the participant place his finger on the cover over the shell.

I use this bit, and the misdirection is enough to cover the steal from the participant and spectators.
shellgame-al
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The shell covers that I make for this effect I call "Shell Traps" because the trap is made to become an extension of the shell where the shell has very little room to move inside the trap.

There are two important factors to finding a good shell cover where the shell doesn't move or make any sound.

1. You want very little top head space for the shell so the shell can't lift up when the pea comes out of the shell, The pea will just compress and come out cleanly.

2. The bottom diameter of the shell cover should fit closely to the bottom rim of the shell, so there is not much movement of the shell in a forward or backward direction.

It is hard to find a good shell cover that works well, depending on the shell size.

But if you know the height and diameter of the shell and have a little tape measure, you might be able to find a good cover for your shell when you're out and about.
Manufacture of 3 Shell Game Sets & 3 Disk Monte Sets
3shells.com and magicswindles.com
Jack Skipton
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Thanks very much for the helpful suggestions, MUCH appreciated! Al, that is so helpful I’ll get a better fitting cover, many thanks.
KirkG
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Yep, Al covered it perfectly. Best to travel with a small mat and your shells and peas, as measurements don't always tell the full story. It has to do with the inside taper and that is the limited "head space" that Al mentioned above.
shellgame-al
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Yes, "Kirk" added another point that is important. It is best to fit the shell inside the cover to match the fit and test when the cover has an inside taper.

The inside taper of the shell cover has to fit close to the top of the shell for a well-matched shell cover

This is why most of the shell traps I make don't have an inside taper. Without any inside taper, all you need to know then is the height and the diameter of the shell to get a well-matched shell cover to fit well to the shell.

You don't have to match the two tapered items.

This is why a shot glass with an inside taper can work well on some shells but not well on other shells.

This is because there can be a different outside taper on different shells and there can be a different inside taper on different shot glasses. So it can be hard to find a perfect match for some shells with the inside tapered shot glasses.

Matching two tapered items with the right height and the right diameter can be hard to find.

It is much easier to find a well fit shell cover without an inside taper to fit well on the shell.
Manufacture of 3 Shell Game Sets & 3 Disk Monte Sets
3shells.com and magicswindles.com
KirkG
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Good tips Al. Thanks again.
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