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Michael Baker
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I've briefly discussed this with another magician and we thought it might be a topic for here. We want to know your thoughts on the selection of final loads for cups and balls. Let's consider this for routines with any number of cups. Some people prefer to use objects that are all alike, like all baseballs, or all oranges, etc. Some use similar objects, but with differing colors. Others use various objects, such as a lemon, a turnip and a tomato (just an example). Gazzo uses all oranges from the cups and a melon from his hat.

Also, the number of loads can range from a single load, to one per cup, to more loads than there are cups.

Tell us what you use, and why.
~michael baker
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Bob Johnston
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I go with pee-wee baseballs, as I use small baseballs (Mike Rogers) for the working balls. But if time permits, I like to stop at the produce store for some mixed fruit and a potato.

There is no doubt in my mind that 4 different kinds of food showing up under the cups is a great finish.

I use four loads because the forth one is so simple to add when the shock of the third is getting all the attention. If I am doing a kids close-up show, and they are young enough, I will do six loads working from my lap.

Bob
sethb
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I use three larger balls, all the same color (usually red). The balls are the right size to stay loaded in the top of the cups until needed. I like the idea of fruit but am always afraid of variations in size of real fruit, and didn't care for the rubber stuff.

Then I finish with a "D"-size battery for the fourth and final load. This lets me use the line, "Oh, I guess the battery's dead!" when a supposed ball-through-cup transfer doesn't work. This always gets a good laugh and provides a logical end to the routine.

No claim to originality here; I believe Al Cohen used the same line and "battery load" in another context. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
geemack
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Greg McNeil Peoria,Illinois
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Good question. For the standard Cups & Balls routine I prefer three matching loads. I use tennis balls in most cups, baseballs in the larger ones. My main routine is fairly short and quick, with a sort of "linear" presentation... "You see there is a little ball in this cup, and this cup, and this cup". The action is fairly balanced across the three cups, and I bring the final loads into view pretty much all at once... boom boom boom. I see it as a single climax of three large balls appearing from three cups. Matching loads seem to suit that aesthetic objective.

For dice stacking I load regulation pool balls, first an 8-ball, then as a final kicker a 5-ball. They are obviously different colors. My comment to the spectators is about how the lights aren't very bright in here and I could have sneaked this black ball in while you weren't looking (even if in the most brightly lit setting). I follow with a line about how it would be much more difficult to do that with a bright orange ball... like this 5-ball! In this case there are two separate climaxes, with two similar but differently colored loads.

I don't think the loads have to be justifiable or "make sense", but I do think they should be appropriate from an aesthetic point of view. A hodgepodge of final loads might just be a bit overwhelming for many routines, yet may be quite humorous for others. Michael mentioned Gazzo's finale with oranges. He produces obviously more oranges than could have fit in the cups. I think that is strong stuff, and wouldn't be any stronger if he used six different fruits and veggies. But, with the right kind of timing and perhaps the appropriate comedy lines it could play just as well with a variety of items.

For the most part I believe the fact that we have produced some very large things is enough to carry its own weight. Matching (or very similar) loads is probably about as good as it gets. The spectators don't need to be bogged down with details and specifics. "Wow, where did THOSE come from?!", is enough. But depending on the presentation style of the performer and the timing, pace, etc. of the routine, a variety of load items may be the right way to go.

Greg
what
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I have tried all kinds of final loads, as have most of you, I suppose. I tried fruit, raquet balls, fuzzy toy animals, sponge balls, relaxation smiliey balls, and more.
I finally settled on 3 goofy face smiley balls and 1 lemon. Somehow it just fits me and my act (I don't think I an explain why, It just does).
I came up with tag tag line, "And the votes are in, 3 happy faces to one sour face [as I reveal, then drop the final lemon load]. The smiles win by a mile!"
Magic is fun!!!
rikbrooks
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I love the wooden egg. I buy them a little big for my cups then slowly and painstakingly shave them down with my dremel tool until they are JUST small enough that the cup doesn't wobble when I load it. Then I load them vertically. When the egg is horizontal it is wider than the mouth of the cup. It looks absolutely impossible.
sethb
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Quote:
On 2004-12-22 11:47, geemack wrote:
For dice stacking I load regulation pool balls, first an 8-ball, then as a final kicker a 5-ball. . . . My comment to the spectators is about how the lights aren't very bright in here and I could have sneaked this black ball in while you weren't looking (even if in the most brightly lit setting). I follow with a line about how it would be much more difficult to do that with a bright orange ball... like this 5-ball!


Geemack, I love the idea of the pool ball loads. I assume they don't talk because you're using leather cups for dice stacking?

My only comment concerns the patter. Why mention that you "could have sneaked this ball in while you weren't looking," even if it happens to be true? To my mind, this unnecessarily points the way to the answer. I know that some C&B workers, especially Gazzo, challenge the specs to catch him loading the cups, but for mere mortals such as me, I'm content to let them think they were in the cups to begin with, or Lord knows what else.

My other thought is that this patter implies the specs are not intelligent, not attentive enough, or are dumb enough to miss what should be obvious. I think that's a dangerous path to tread, but I guess it depends on your presentation. I believe it is much easier to mystify people (entertain them) than fool them, which many people resent. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
BerkleyJL
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Currently my final loads are four different colored lacrosse balls. They look huge compared to my cups but they will just fit. I'm looking for something to switch to, as I cannot adjust the position of my cups once the finals are loaded...the balls rub the edges too tightly.

I don't want to use fruit/potato, because they need to be replenished for each show. Michael Ammar sells fab-fruit, but it's a little expensive for my tastes, even though they look so realistic. Oh well, the quest continues.
I need a stage name.

Joe Berkley
geemack
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Greg McNeil Peoria,Illinois
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Seth,

Very valid comments, and I really do agree. I'm fully with you on the importance of entertaining them, as opposed to fooling them.

Regarding the pool ball loads, my actual line gives the spectators credit for intelligence rather than diminishing it. "I know what you're thinking... you're thinking with this dim lighting it would be easy for me to sneak this ball under there while you weren't looking." And, by the time I mention that, the 5-ball has already been loaded, so there's not a challenge involved or an opportunity for them to "watch closer". With due consideration for the reasoning behind the rules, in this case I give the rules a good hard bend. Smile

As for preventing the pool balls talking... I set the cup down with a bit of a slide letting the pool ball gently roll off my fingers while at the same moment my other hand is knocking over the stack of dice! This makes quite a clattering sound and covers the little clack of the ball making contact with the table. Then I pick up the 8-ball and drop it from about 3 or 4 inches above the table. That loud whack more than covers the little sound made while setting down the cup containing the second load.

Ooops, I've strayed from the original topic, which is the aesthetics of using a variety of load items vs. similar/same load items. The main point in this case is these load items lend to the continuity while providing visual variety and some patter that keeps it more or less connected.

Greg
drwilson
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I use four oranges. I reveal the one in the middle and reload (that first orange really knocks them). I put the orange on top of the middle cup. Then I simultaneously reveal the two on either side, setting the cups down behind where the middle one is and topping each of them with the oranges. Then I reveal the one in the middle, bringing the cup with its orange on top behind the final orange, putting it in line with the other two cups.

I like this because the final picture is so nice. You can't even see one of the cups because there is an orange in front of it. The Gazzo cups in copper, which I use, look like they couldn't possibly hold an orange when you set it on top of the cup. The copper looks great with the oranges.

The movement when I lift the two outer cups shows that both my hands are empty. That fourth orange is a real surprise, but it is hinted at because the middle cup is out of line.

I think that fruit is much better than man-made objects as a final load when using the balls that I use (the little baseballs). I have done this with three or four incongruous pieces of produce, but I just don't like the chaos in the final picture. Having things be balanced and symmetric suggests to me that the chaotic forces of magic have been quelled. The rite is ended!

When I used smaller cups I really liked lemons as final loads. Since they are ellipsoidal rather than spherical, with cups that are about the size of lemons on the inside, you have to orient the lemon when loading it. Once it comes out, you can't even cover it with the cup. It looks like it grew out of the cup.

I also like stopping at four final loads. Besides being easy to do, there is the implication that you could keep going, but you didn't.

Yours,

Paul
thumbslinger
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I think the theme/storyline of the routine will help dictate good loads. In case no one has seen his routine, iI won't reveal but David Regal has a fun climax.
Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and Tommy Emmanuel are all you need to study to learn to play guitar.
Jonathan Townsend
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Curtis Kam has something great in his lecture on this subject.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Michael Baker
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I have a close-up routine using Morrissey minis with an olive theme that uses the arrangement of props seen here. The finish display has the configuration you see except for the small balls, which are gone by the end.

Image


I am also working on a street C&B routine with yet undetermined final loads, and also a Victorian era routine with the loads seen next, which are made to resemble those from Hoffmann or similar period works.

Image


For me, the trick is an evolutionary process in a state of flux. Down the road, I will surely be doing something different, for different reasons.
~michael baker
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sethb
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Michael Ammar has a very good essay about types of final loads in his Cups & Balls book. I believe he argues that three different, incongruous loads are best, and he uses three different vegetables as final loads.

Now that I think about it, the main purpose of the final loads is to surprise the audience. So whatever you can do to increase the surprise value would be effort well spent.

A large final load fits the bill just because of the size. In addition to the question of how it got there in the first place, there is the additional question of how it managed to fit into and come out of the cup. Magicians have spent multo bucks designing cups that appear too small to hold the items in them, and we should make the most of them!

I also agree that three similar loads, followed by a fourth dissimilar load, is a good arrangement. The repetitive production of the second and third similar loads just increases the impact of the first load. Production of the fourth dissimilar load provides extra surprise value, while also providing a natural way to end the routine. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
BerkleyJL
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What about a bouquet of spring flowers as the 4th final? It will certainly look (and be) too large to fit in the cup after it is produced.
I need a stage name.

Joe Berkley
rikbrooks
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Let me give you an example of the egg that I spoke of.

Click here to view attached image.
sethb
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I really like the egg and lemon ideas, but imagine that some care would have to be used in loading.

For a "parlour" performance, you could use a table servante that would enable you to properly position these items prior to loading. Nowadays I work seated and generally load from my lap, never having had the guts to try it from my back pants pockets a' la Ammar. I just lean forward to emphasize some point, which covers my hands dropping below the table, which permits me to get the load ready to go.

One of these days I'll try a lemon and see how it works out. I guess it really wouldn't be much tougher than the "D" battery I use now, which also needs to go in vertically and not horizontally. If I pick it up properly, I should be able to get it loaded properly, too.

Thanks for the good idea -- it goes to show that there's always another way to beat what appears to be a dead horse. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
rikbrooks
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What appears to be a dead horse? LOL, cups and balls will never die. Good grief, how COULD they!

As has been said so many times, it ain't the trick, it's the magician. Now that I have a topit in both sides of my duster as well as pockets directly over other pockets (double pockets in each side) I'm beginning to look at the cups and balls a little differently.

Maybe I can do something with that raven too.
Jonathan Townsend
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Not a dead horse. Wonderful and most basic effect. Been with us for thousands of years. A great trick to explore.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
sethb
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Ah, that's the trouble with e-mail -- sometimes your message doesn't come through the way you meant it.

When I referred to the C & B as "something that appears to be a dead horse," I meant that even though the C & B is an ancient trick, there is always something new that can be done with it. It was intended as a compliment, not a disparaging remark. I find it ironic that many magicians are always on the lookout for "what's new," when they haven't ever fully explored "what's old" yet.

Sorry if I inadvertantly raised anyone's blood pressure! <grin> SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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