Ken Kesey performing coin slights

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MaxNY
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Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby MaxNY » March 28th, 2017, 1:14 am

One of my first adventures in New York Television was transferring some footage of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters running around with their Magic Bus. I didn't really know who he was, but some "old timers" (This was 1985) wanted to see the footage, so I then quickly learned who Ken Kesey was. This is NOT that footage, but something a few of us would enjoy, only 2 minutes long, but you must zoom ahead to 1:23:06...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCUP6bP17fg

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby Richard Hatch » March 28th, 2017, 4:56 pm

Thanks for the link! I had very low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised...
This Esquire article by Chip Brown from 1992 mentions his view of himself as a magician and some of his tricks:
http://www.chipbrown.net/articles/kesey.htm

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 28th, 2017, 6:34 pm

Richard Hatch wrote:Thanks for the link! I had very low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised...
This Esquire article by Chip Brown from 1992 mentions his view of himself as a magician and some of his tricks:
http://www.chipbrown.net/articles/kesey.htm


Yes. A quick little off-the-cuff coin trick, that would be easy to dismiss at first blush, is actually quite good when you analyze it, and I am sure it is disarming and a real fooler when done for laymen. It actually contains the elements of a well-constructed effect. The coin he places between his teeth with the left hand and then retrieves from the mouth with the guilty right hand following the false transfer of the other coin and fake toss in the air, acts in effect as a "wand," adding very solid misdirection. I would not overlook it as an excellent anywhere-anytime impromptu trick that can be done with quarters (borrowed if available), but even if not, and you use your own coins, they are examinable at the start.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby performer » March 28th, 2017, 7:56 pm

I think that is the first trick in Henry Hay's "Learn Magic" book. In some ways I like that book even more than his far more well known classic "The Magicians Handbook" Less tricks but more quality descriptions. And superb illustrations. That coin trick is superbly written up for example.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 28th, 2017, 9:52 pm

performer wrote:I think that is the first trick in Henry Hay's "Learn Magic" book. In some ways I like that book even more than his far more well known classic "The Magicians Handbook" Less tricks but more quality descriptions. And superb illustrations. That coin trick is superbly written up for example.


Yes, indeed, Performer, you are absolutely right. It is called "The Flying Coin." It is the first trick in the book and of "Part 2" of the book (the teaching of tricks does not start until Part 2). The main difference in the way Henry explained it and how Ken Kesey performed it, is that in Hay's method, after the false transfer of the coin is made from right to left hand and the guilty (right) hand grabs the coin that is between the teeth, the "vanish" of the coin supposedly in the left hand is consummated by snapping the fingers of the left hand and then opening the left hand to show it empty, and the right hand is then opened to show the two coins together on the right palm. However, in Kesey's version, the vanish of the coin supposedly in left hand is made by making a tossing motion upward with the left hand and simultaneously opening the left hand in the act of the tossing.

The other difference is that Kesey lets the two coins clink together in his right hand as he acts as if he is catching the coin that was "tossed" into the air by the left hand. It is a nice touch because it adds an audible element to the arrival of the coin (supposedly) tossed by the left hand, thus engaging more than one sense in the effect, and providing enhanced entertainment value and an extra convincer.

Incidentally, you are probably aware that Hay emphasizes the super-important point that when a coin pass (false transfer) is done, the hand receiving the coin is the one that moves first (moves away as the eyes follow it) and thus, the guilty hand will fade into the background insofar as the spectators' perception. Their eyes follow movement and they will look where we look. Misdirection 101.

I am also sure that you are aware that the entire Part 1 of the book is dedicated to very important issues such as presentation, a performer's personality, natural (as opposed to rote, memorized) patter, how to set up an effect so the audience knows what the effect is and when it happened, how to get applause etc. It is a fabulous book, and Hay's colloquial and conversational writing style is very engaging and clear.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby performer » March 28th, 2017, 10:49 pm

I know the late Bob Cassidy swore by Hay's other book, "The Amateur Magician's Handbook". I like that book a lot too and I think Roy Walton sold it to me decades ago in Glasgow. I remember him telling me there were very good card tricks in it at any rate. It is indeed an excellent book but there was just too much material in it for everything to be described with the same detail as "Learn Magic". And "Learn Magic" does not seem to be quite as well known. I really love it though for the excellent descriptions and the wonderful illustrations by someone called Hans Jellinek. I often think that illustrators never get the credit they deserve in magic books.

As a result of this thread I just spent a pleasant hour rereading the book.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby Matthew Field » March 29th, 2017, 4:43 am

Kesey says "It opens up a crack" that lets "the light get in", and that's precisely what I love about magic. Leonard Cohen: "There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Our demonstrations, our trickery, shows that everything is not rational. Magicians who waste that moment, or, even worse, who demean it, are of no interest to me.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby performer » March 29th, 2017, 10:49 pm

With regard to Henry Hay It is not generally known that he also translated Mein Kampf for an English edition of the book. I rather think I prefer his magic books.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby MaxNY » March 30th, 2017, 8:15 am

Put enough coins in your mouth..you'll be walking towards the crack of light...

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby Richard Hatch » March 31st, 2017, 1:10 am

performer wrote:With regard to Henry Hay It is not generally known that he also translated Mein Kampf for an English edition of the book. I rather think I prefer his magic books.


Hay (Barrows Mussey) told me that the challenge of translating Hitler was to avoid the temptation of making him sound better in English than in the original German!

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby performer » March 31st, 2017, 5:27 am

He lived in Germany, didn't he?

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby Richard Hatch » March 31st, 2017, 10:26 am

performer wrote:He lived in Germany, didn't he?

At the time of the Hitler translation (1939), Mussey was living and working in the US. During the war he served as a Marine in the Pacific. He did move to Germany after the war, in 1950, first working as a journalist and later as an advertising copywriter and consultant. He married a German journalist (who wrote a cookbook under the pen name "Henrietta Hay"). Mussey was supposedly regarded at one time as the greatest living German language copywriter, quite a distinction for a non-native speaker. He remained in Germany until his death there in 1985.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby performer » March 31st, 2017, 3:26 pm

I find that quite fascinating. Thanks for posting that.

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby Charlie Randall » March 31st, 2017, 10:14 pm

You'll have to take what Richard says about Henry Hay with a grain of salt as Richard was responsible for his death!

Ok, there's more to it than that, and Richard is mentioned in the 4th printing of the Amateur Magician's Handbook, but still. ;)

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Re: Ken Kesey performing coin slights

Postby performer » March 31st, 2017, 10:26 pm

Richard shouldn't go around murdering people. Most impolite if I may say so.


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