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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Dai Vernons Cups and Balls routine (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jeffrey Cowan
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To answer the original question: think about "why" you are transferring the balls. Do you have some justification for it? Also consider applying the Erdnase strategy of changing the TIMING of the move. David Williamson does an excellent job incorporating these two points into his routine.
- Jeffrey
P.S. The video of Vernon doing his cups and balls routine reveals that he used no justification for the false transfers leading up to the vanishes. Now that might pass muster with some folks if you do it twice in a row (and then do the wand spin vanish), but not with "engineer types" who are sober and giving you real heat. Today's magicians stand on Vernon's shoulders -- which means not only that they owe him and the earlier masters a debt but also that they have have the potential to improve the trick and make it more deceptive.
bishthemagish
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I am a big Dai Vernon fan...

And I am sure Bill Palmer would know the answer of the question I am asking... But did't Dai Vernon use some ideas for the cups and balls from Max Malini???

I think in the book Vernon's tribute to Malini - Vernon Credits Malini for the idea of taking the loads from his body (pockets) rather than a drop bag... He is also talked about using glasses with newspapers and doing the impromptu method for the cups and balls...

I have seen Dai Vernon wow a room full of magicians with this routine and get a standing ovation...

As far as the vanishes go - check out the Dai Vernon impromtu method for the cups and balls in the Stars of magic...

The advice above is great...
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TheAmbitiousCard
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In john Bannon's chop cup routine, he does a "phony fake explaination"
which does not expose anything becuase it is so outrageous.

Well, maybe not outrageous for a layman but not too many are going to buy into it.
I think is is a good way to go if you do Vernon's explaination phase and don't
want to change the phase itself.

So you can come up with your own idea, ...

Instead of "I pretend to take the ball", ask youself this...
What would you tell the spectators in terms of
"I actually take the ball but somehow it ends up back in this hand"


Anyway, I like the idea. That Bannon dude has a gift for presentations.



Quote:
On 2004-12-24 00:53, KirkG wrote:
Tom G.

I agree with the dislike of the fake explanation. I have modified that part so significantly that it works, but doesn't expose any "real" magic.

Kirk
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Michael Baker
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I have just studied over the Charles Bertram routine in C. Lang Neil's, Modern Conjuror, and began to wonder specifically why Dai Vernon's routine became the standard. I will use Bertram's routine only as a point of loose comparison, not necessarily as a better alternative.

Agreed, the Vernon routine has done away with the production of balls from the wand, yet it hasn't completely done away with the wand as an instrument with which to vanish the balls. It's not new, and wasn't with him. There are some similar patterns, although I can only reason that there are really only so many patterns with 3 cups and 4 balls.

The false transfers are no more or less justified (or unjustified) in either routine. Bertram's routine is a stand up routine; Vernon's could be. Both use the pockets for containment of the final loads.

Concerning the false explanation, I think this was probably born by embracing a growing problem with the Cups and Balls, at that point in history, and that may possibly have been over exposure, especially by inept performers. The Cups and Balls, I have heard, fell from favor among magicians around the beginning of the 20th century.

As long as the audience was clamoring, and resistance was futile, the better (or at least a logical) choice was to meet this thing head on, and fess up... almost. Give the audience their scapegoat, and then get on with business. Bertram's routine may not have faced the same issue during its time. Vernon may simply have chosen the lesser of two evils.

So, while not similar enough to be called overly connected, I find many, many good things about Bertram's routine, or at least no more objectionable factors than have already been mentioned in regard to Vernon's routine.

As Bill mentioned earlier, "There is no reason not to alter the Dai Vernon routine."

The same goes for Bertram's, or in fact any other routine. Obviously, both of these gentlemen altered routines drawn from somewhere else. The variances are what make these routines different and hopefully unique to each of these two, and in fact, every performer. Look at Ricky Jay's routine. It uses Vernon elements and patter lines taken directly from Hoffmann.

Although there are only so many patterns possible with 3 cups and 4 balls, there are many, many more ways to sequence these patterns, and thus come the multitude of routine possibilities. But, there is more.

How a performer handles the incidentals, like the exact execution of a chosen sleight to vanish, produce, or transfer a ball, is a subject unique to each performer, and not the Cups and Balls itself.

The execution of those incidentals is not the measure of the merit of any routine. It may be said to be the measure of the merit of the mechanic performing them. Likewise, the entertainment derived from a routine is only a measure of the merit of the entertainer. This comes from the storyline, the interaction, the presentation delivery, the characterization, etc. It has little if anything to do with the patterns, the sequencing, or the execution of the incidentals.

So why did Vernon's routine become the standard on which most modern routines are based? Or better phrased, why has Dai Vernon become the icon for the Cups and Balls? In light of the objections to various aspects of his routine, I'd suspect it is because there are magicians alive today who can say that they have actually seen Vernon perform the Cups and Balls. These magicians can say that they have seen something as potentially confusing as the Cups and Balls performed in a relatively concise sequence, with basicically natural moves (giving elbow room to the arguments above), and by a man who spoke with plain words. But with all respect for Mr. Vernon, mostly I think because it's an easy and fashionable place to stop. There WAS magic, good magic, long before Dai Vernon. Don't forget to look beyond both horizons.
~michael baker
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Jonathan Townsend
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Three cups, four balls, one wand... small box. Fuss all you want.

It helps to find the sources for the componants of Vernon's routine, and so find where the man's work begins.

The Mora ball vanish done with with a drummers stick spin was a nice touch.
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Werner G. Seitz
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Quote:
On 2004-12-31 03:23, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
The Mora ball vanish done with with a drummers stick spin was a nice touch.
Hmm, I've never seen anybody using the drummers stick spin in connection with the Mora vanish..
(The drummer stick spin is *around* the thumb, DV used another and original spin if I am not mistaken ?)
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KirkG
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It is still a drummers stick spin. In fact there are many of them. It could also be said, however, that is is a Drum Major or Baton Twirler's spin.

Kirk g
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Quote:
On 2004-12-31 09:23, KirkG wrote:
It is still a drummers stick spin. In fact there are many of them. It could also be said, however, that is is a Drum Major or Baton Twirler's spin.

Kirk g
Yes.. I have to agree..had thought a tiny bit about it after I posted and recognize to have seen a drummer doing it..

The reason I posted though, was not that just to thease Jon -also I love to do so Smile -, but soley because I am pretty sure I have read it from DV himself, that he developped that wandspin he did use for the Silent Moras vanish, after seeing Silent Mora doing it using a fan.

And...apart from this, the term *drummers wandspin* is normally used for the move where the wand soley spins around ones thumb..as used by Dave Williamson, Mike Gallo, Michael Ammar - oh, BTW me too, when doing the ring on wand, right at the beginning to 'hide' the *extra* -and a lots of others..

BUT, I agree, the move used by DV also is use by drummers, still it is -for most ppl-a bit of a misunderstanding/interpretation to use that term for DVs move, for the above mentioned reason Smile

*Drum major wand spin* would have explained it, so even I had understood it Smile
Jon, please be precise in the terms you use Smile Smile
Learn a few things well.....this life is not long enough to do everything.....

( Words of wisdom from Albert Goshman ...it paid off for him - it might
as well for YOU!!!- My own magic is styled after that motto... Smile )
BlackShadow
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I've never been a big fan of the Vernon routine. Tipping the balls off the cups seems to me unnatural. Anyone would normally just pick the ball off. Nevertheless there are may excellent points in it but I think each performer should develop his own routines rather than trotting out a well worn one move for move.
Whit Haydn
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I think that it is good to experiment and to work to improve on classic routines.

On the other hand, most people start changing things before they really understand and grasp the importance of the way things are done in a routine like Vernon's. Please don't forget that he was a true master, and all that that implies.

Many of the so called "improvements" to Vernon's routine I have seen were actually a step backwards. I saw Vernon do his routine live several times in the late 60's and early seventies. It was incredible each time. The naturalness and cleanliness of the moves was astounding, and the psychology of the routine was profound.

The routine beat the heck out of the spectators and played with their pre-conceptions and observations in a powerful way that simply made the members of the audience feel "mastered." Vernon seemed to know what they were thinking and then confirm their solutions only to demolish them again. And then there were the final loads!

You should not try to improve a routine until you have mastered the original. It is simply presumptuous and wrong, and it keeps you from learning the hard won secrets of the great ones.

I think their are many ways to alter and improve Vernon's routine with the cups. But it will be much more difficult than most people think.

If you simply apply the formulas that you have heard from others (it is wrong to "expose" the vanish, moves should not be repeated, etc.) you are liable to miss the many lessons that are in the routine.

Vernon is much deeper than most people realize, and the formulas that they have learned are rules that Vernon understood and broke whenever he had an overarching reason. Find out how and why Vernon broke the rules that you are trying to rack him out on.

For example, I think Vernon wanted to suggest the possibility of a pass by repeating the move twice, only to demolish the idea witht the wand spin vanish. He brings it up again in the explanation, only to play with the audience some more.

Before the audience can tire of being beaten in this little game, he blows them away with the final loads. The sensation that the performer could practically read your mind, that he knew what you were thinking and was miles ahead of you was very powerful. And then the production of the loads was both magical and crushing. You just have to give up and shake your head and go "Wow. That was something!"

If you don't understand what Vernon was thinking at any point, go back to the routine and try to figure it out.

Don't apply other people's theories to Vernon. Learn what he believed magic was all about by studying his work and finding out how he thought. Once you have mastered Vernon--there's a wild thought--then go ahead and build on his work as much as you can.
Tom G
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Wow, powerful post Whit.
bunkyhenry
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Yes, very true. I think the more one performs the Vernon routine (in performance) the more it becomes. I find that it (the routine) is really way ahead of me.
Tom G
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned lately is that at the end of vol. 2 of Michael Ammar's C&B tape is the Professor himself performing his routine on Mark Wilson's Magic Circus.
KirkG
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Whit,

Most excellently put. Kirk G
Jonathan Townsend
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It's a good routine till it goes into "explanation mode" instead of leading to any climax of its own. That is where some improvement can be made.
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Pete Biro
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I recently had a very bright A student at UCLA say something like, "I thought had some of the first part figured out but I have no idea how those lemons got there."

What he didn't mention, thought, was the reactions of the audience. They were blown away by the routine.
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Bill Palmer
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Whit's post is dead on. If you want to see how one other master of the cups interpreted the Vernon routine, get Bob Read's Penultimate Cups and Balls Routine.

As far as the "unnaturalness" of tipping the balls off the cups into the hand -- I disagree. In Vernon's hands it looked like it was absolutely natural. It looked fair. It didn't look like he was "doing something."

By using the same move consistently, he did what Schneider refers to in his notes and elsewhere as establishing a move as the natural way to do something.
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pepka
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Amen Brothers Whit and Bill.
BlackShadow
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Actually though, I still don't like the tip off move. I can see it's considered the most heinous blasphemy to criticise Vernon's routine, even ever so sleightly Smile But it's still an "unnatural" action in the sense that normally a person would just pick the balls off the top of the cups. Even if it becomes the established way during the routine, the first couple of times it's done, it isn't established. Now I agree that Vernon performed this action in masterful way, but that's not really the point. Many others have used his routine, and with any action which is not the most normal and direct way one has to be three times as good at it to avoid suspicion.

I'm thus not criticising his personal handling of it, but the move itself and the practicality of other generations of skilled and not so skilled people performing the same move. When one discusses a routine in practical terms, rather than just absolute ones, consideration has to be given to the ease of transferability of that routine to the many who may perform it.
bishthemagish
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I think that both Whit Hayden and Bill Palmer are right on the money... Vernon’s routine and his thinking behind the routine and the way that HE performed it was as much of a part of him as any of the Slydini routines... That ere built around Slydini's personality and body language... That is why many people have a hard time performing Slydini magic.

The reason is that the effects are built around Slydini's personality so much - students often sort of become Slydini when they are performing them.

This was told to me by one of Slydini's students - Glenn Haywood...

Vernon's cups and balls routine is the same way. The part where he does a fake exposure worked well for Vernon and the audience was hooked by the bait... Vernon's magic and one of the reasons I consider myself a student of his work - is that in his routines Vernon seems to be thinking one ahead of the audience - and then lead the audience into thinking something - then prove them wrong...

Sort of leading the audience down a garden path and then turning on the sprinklers...

This was all done by a magician in an entertaining way that was also a performing artist...
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