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Bob Johnston
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Philadelphia, PA
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I have started using the latest version of Cups and Balls by Al Schneider, with kids. I have always used (very successfully) a modified Vernon routine for kids with some of the speed and flourishes removed. But this Al Schneider routine is IMO excellent for kids.

Has anyone else looked it over from his new DVD’s?

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Al Schneider came to Dublin a few years ago and gave a three day workshop for five magicians including me. It was excellent and taught me more about sleight of hand than I'd ever learnt before. At the end of the three days I was performing the cups and balls to an acceptable level, as well as a few other effects.

No one was as surprised as me.

If I were still performing children's shows regularly I would use the Al's Cups and Balls routine in every show. It is superb.

There is a common fallacy which was spread by Fred Kaps (on the Parkinson Show) amongst others that you can't do sleight of hand for children. The common phrase is "If you put it in one hand and it's then shown to be not there, they'll want to see in the other hand". So will adults! The difference is that the children will vocalise it.

Sleight of hand done well with misdirection will elicit audible gasps of amazement from children.

As a follow up GAZZO was doing a two day workshop in Dublin last summer. As an ongoing student of magic I flew back for it. Not only did I learn another cups and balls routine which would also be suitable for children but I was reminded about a lot of stuff I'd forgotten, especially about simplicity of plot and correct use of misdirection.
not finished
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I wonder about the angles in doing cups and balls for kids since they are sitting on the floor generally. Can they even see the top of the table?

My gut feeling is that it might not be suitable for younger kids. Older ones fine providing the phases leading up to the climax are not too convoluted.

I once saw a childrens entertainer at an Irish outdoor event do a long, long convoluted Linking Ring routine for kids. A vendor came over to me and said he couldn't believe it. It went on for ever and was quite unsuitable for children. How many times can you link and unlink rings and make it effective? There has to be a limit.

I have often thought that the best way to do the rings is to have two rings only, have a spectator on stage examine the two rings thoroughly then you link them ONCE ( do not unlink them again) and then have the spectator examine them again. That is actually all you need to do to get a stunning effect. I don't know if it is possible with those locking key rings because I have never looked at them and do not know if they would bear examination or not.

Anyway as I keep saying the magic should be secondary in a kid show. Entertainment comes first and the magic is just an excuse for you to be there in the first place. Your main purpose is to make the kids laugh, participate and enjoy themselves. If you can make them amazed by the magic then all well and good. However it isn't that necessary since it isn't what you are really there for.

Some people are going to say that if you are booked as a magician the magic should be uppermost. Wrong. You use the "magician" tag just to get the booking in the first place. You can do a trick or two to justify your presence but your main aim is to make the kids laugh rather than mystify them.
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Profile of TrickyRicky
Well said "Mr Not Finished".
I do the "Three Rings" for children with great success. No sleights, just a bunch of rubbish. Yes, the ring do link and unlink, but its the funny bits that gets the laugh.
Cups and Balls? Unless you do something funny with those balls, you're in trouble of losing your audiance.
I might come up with a funny routine one day. As I'm writing this post, my mind is going wild with a few funny stuffs for the "cup and balls"
Got to go and write them down before I forget.
Richard Lyn "Tricky Ricky"
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I'm bringing back the rings, but plan to do a five ring routine... short and sweet. Two rings ling/unlink 2 times in a different way, three rings link, then all five in a row. I have a few silly lines here and there, but am always looking for new ideas if anyone has any ideas.

the "cups", I've toyed w/ the idea of using this w/ kids for some time now. what makes Al Schinider's routine so good? I've never seen it.


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Profile of Emazdad
If you go to Ray rays site you'll see what not finished means by the different styles either side of the pond, Rayray dressed as if he's some sort of lance Burton / david Copperfield type magician performing magic at the children, going for the look how magicial and amazing I am approach. He put's his amazing magic show on as if it's a mini las vegas stage act. (I know your not all like that over there)

Ray I'm not having a go at you personally, just usinmg your style of shgw as an example.

Personally I couldn't do a show in the style demonstrated on Rays site, it's not simply not my way and I'd feel silly doing all that magical posturing.

Over here, it's the interaction with the kids, getting them up, having a laugh, occassionally driving them into a mild frenzy, style that most entertainers use, The good ones not over doing the frenzy stuff. The entertainment comes before the magic.

Some of my competitors (I use the term competitor loosely) round here do a lot more of the 'look at this amazing magic trick' stuff. As far as skill goes some are much more skillful than me, and can do all the clever finger flinging moves, but they don't have the talent to actually entertain either kids or adults with those skills. It doesn't stop them trying though.

They go to a kids show come out in there tux 'look at me I'm magic' music playing and it all falls flat with the kids.
These guy's struggle to relate to the kids, They're not kids entertainers, which is what you have to be to do magic with kids successfully, They're not Adult entertainers either, just magicians who can do clever moves. One in particular gets quite frustrated when the kids don't appreciate his skill and fail to clap on cue.

Sorry I was wrong, ray doesn't look like lance Burton, more like an extra from 'The good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Sorry ray couldn't resist it Smile
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Rupert Bair
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Correct Clive, have a sweet.
Most magi's who are exellent at sleights are rubbish at performing due to the fact they are usually just worried about angles and spend 5hrs a day practising.
And then you have the showmen who are rubbish at sleighty stuff but can but on the greatest show on earth.

Im totally for smart appearences I hate when entertainers wear shabby old clothes, that havent been washed or ironed.

Regarding cups and balls I don't like it for kids shows, table magic it works great.

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