In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Al Schneider
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby Al Schneider » May 29th, 2017, 1:39 pm

You are right about the Matrix. I have told the story often about selling books at magic conventions. One day a young guy and his lovely wife stopped by to talk. She stood politely back while I chatted with him. During our chat I pitched the Matrix book. He said he had it and liked to perform it. Suddenly she came alive and announced that was her favorite trick he performed. I said then I didn’t need to demonstrate it. He said he would like to see it anyway. I did Matrix. He looked down without comment. Something was wrong. THEN. She got real close to him. She slid one arm lovingly around his shoulder. Then she whispered in his ear, “Honey, that’s not the same trick. He doesn’t touch the cards and the magic happens anyway.”

I have observed that most do not understand some subtleties about the trick. I have performed it seven times in sequence for people and it kills each time. I have tried to explain these things but all I get is that I do bad theater and I am old fashioned. In my opinion the original Matrix is vastly ahead in tech and everyone that improves it uses old tech.

Well, I got off some steam there.

About the big ball. We are thinking differently. In most cup and ball routines there is a flurry of small ball motions then the performer lifts the cups to reveal the biguns. While the reaction is good it can be better. In my analysis I came up with this. The audience should be informed what is going to happen. Then when what happens is not supposed to happen they are really amazed. That is, build expectation and prove it or alter it. Both win. But what happens must have some logic in it. In this routine, the audience has seen balls disappear and appear under the cup. Then I talk about the big finish. Then three balls disappear. (this is a Rubeistein move) Notice, I have gone to great lengths to get them to think the three balls will then appear under the cup. I believe, at that point, they picture three balls there. That would be very logical based on what has transpired. Then the cup is lifted and there are not three balls but a large ball. I believe that in their head three balls just morphed into a large one.

Now, I understand that you have your opinion. But, I would like to point out that this sequence has been developed over many years of thought and the development and testing of many different cup and ball routines. Actually, this experiment began in 1962 when I developed a quick cup and ball routine with the Adams cup set.

Sorry I got so long. Was just getting comfortable under the rock.

Al
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » May 29th, 2017, 2:27 pm

AL WROTE: "I have observed that most do not understand some subtleties about the trick. I have performed it seven times in sequence for people and it kills each time. I have tried to explain these things but all I get is that I do bad theater and I am old fashioned. In my opinion the original Matrix is vastly ahead in tech and everyone that improves it uses old tech. Well, I got off some steam there."

This is why one should never listen to the reactions of MAGICIANS to a performance! Instead, I listen to the reactions of LAYMEN (like the lovely wife referred to earlier)! They are our BEST TEACHERS!

Isn't it interesting that she saw Matrix as a completely different trick than when her husband performed it - even though it had previously been her favorite.

Isn't it more fun here than under the rock?

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » May 29th, 2017, 9:18 pm

Al. I once met one of your students who remarked to me, "You are just like a British Al Schneider!" so I suspect we are not that far apart on most matters! In fact I think I once stated on this very forum that I was a great believer in something you once wrote about eye contact. That one should not make eye contact when we get to the climax of a trick. Your logic was impeccable and it is something I have always agreed with and have noticed in my own work.

Some people get very intense in their disagreements. I have seen magicians almost come to blows over daft things like the best way to do a false riffle shuffle. Not my style actually so I am perfectly happy to agree to disagree. No skin off my nose and all that. However, I don't think we disagree that much anyway. I appreciate your point that the routine itself has been tested over many years. And the sequence has been found to be just right. I am not saying that a single part of the sequence should be altered. Everything should stay exactly the same as it is. I am merely suggesting a few lines of patter to make it stronger---nothing more. If you choose not to use my suggestion all well and good. Tomorrow I will still be a British Al Schneider and may the saints preserve you---you will still be an American Mark Lewis --and may God have mercy upon your soul.

Still, with all your testing, research and development one thing has not been tested. My few lines of patter. In mail order it is said that it is expensive to test but more expensive not to test. Magic is easier because to test what I said won't cost you a penny or much time either. Just a few seconds in actual performance. Then you will find out if there is any validity in my theory. If you don't that is perfectly fine with me and I am sure I will rest peacefully anyway. If you do discover I am right all the better!

You have made an excellent point that the laymen will expect to see three balls under the cup after the vanish. However, they don't and I think that is what is bugging me. The circle of logic is not completed. Of course magic is not supposed to be logical anyway so maybe it doesn't matter. I just think it is a better presentational ploy to distract the spectator's mind for a moment from their expectation of three balls by asking, "Did that surprise you?" pause and then lift the cup saying, "Well, this is what surprises me!" I think, respectfully, that this is better than simply saying "Here is the big climax" which is what I think you said in the video in a sort of offhand manner.

Anyway, try it my way as an experiment the next time you perform this for a layman. You don't have to alter a thing in the routine. However, if you don't want to, that is fair enough and I don't mind a bit. I will always respect your work and your thinking anyway.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » May 29th, 2017, 10:14 pm

I think no matter how far up the magical ladder we may have made it, and no matter how happy we are with a routine, there is always something that can make it better (a line, a move, a subtlety, what have you) and it is good to be open to that, because then not only does the routine improve, but we as performers do, as well.

Al Schneider
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby Al Schneider » May 30th, 2017, 2:51 am

Now you know why I like it under my rock.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » May 30th, 2017, 6:19 am

At least you are under the rock. People often want to THROW rocks at me! Incidentally I feel quite stupid being fooled by your three ball vanish. I just looked at it again and realised what happened. I do the same damn move and with three balls believe it or not! I can't believe I was fooled by my own move! I have used it as a climax to a three ball routine without the cups.

It seems to be a kind of Slydini Revolve Vanish so I am not sure where Rubinstein comes into it. I am sure he probably does though. I am not the sort who is overly concerned where moves originate although I can understand why some people do fuss about these things. I am more concerned with how I can use them in my work. In truth I use that vanish myself quite a lot usually with coins.

Anyway this conversation has made me decide to dig you out from under your rock and I am going to read your book again when I have my breakfast this morning.

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » May 30th, 2017, 5:30 pm

As promised I did read Al's book at breakfast this morning. Excellent advice on handling hecklers in a non confrontational manner.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 1st, 2017, 1:49 am

performer wrote:Al. I just watched your video again and something occurs to me which brings to mind something I said earlier about a slight change in wording increasing the impact of a trick. You make three balls vanish all at once and it is indeed quite startling then you go for the big finish of the large ball underneath the cup. Something was nagging my inner mind about it and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. At first I was wondering if the big ball was almost anti climatic after the astonishing vanish but no--I don't think that was it. It may possibly have been the incongruity and lack of logic because you made three small balls vanish and then one big ball appear. It didn't seem to jive right somehow.

I suspect (but of course don't know for sure) that perhaps the effect of the large ball would be blunted a trifle because of this. However, the solution to it, (if I were doing it anyway with my particular personality) would be very simple indeed. No need to alter a single thing in the routine or fiddle about with the mechanics in an attempt to solve a problem which might not even be there anyway. Just a simple change in phrasing would explain the lack of logic, give a second or two between two strong phases and avoid the anti-climatic feeling.

Leave things exactly as they are but when the three balls vanish you say, "Did that surprise you?" No matter what the response you reply, "Well, this is the bit that surprises me!" lifting up the cup to reveal the large ball.

I bet that simple change in patter increases the reaction to a significant degree. I am psychic and know these things!


I agree. I believe that no matter how good a reaction Al may have been getting with the patter prior to revelation of the big ball, Performer's suggestion as to the patter would increase that reaction. I was at least initially assuming that Al posted that video for us to evaluate and get our honest feedback, although now I am no so sure...

In any event, my own thinking is why stop with just one final load? I personally prefer to use lemons, which evokes a very strong reaction, partly because of the total surprise of the appearance of the big load (big, bright and yellow) and partly because of the utter incongruity of the appearance of such an item (a piece of fruit). When the first final load appears, the built-in misdirection is so strong you could then practically load a watermelon. I have found that the timing and misdirection is such that I can use 3 lemons (or sometimes a lime, a lemon and a red potato as a variant). The reactions build exponentially with the revelation of each additional large final load, so to my way of thinking why stop at just one? There is so much more magical mileage that can be milked out of it with multiple final loads coming from a single cup, or bang for the buck, as it were...

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » June 1st, 2017, 8:40 am

I must say that I am rather enjoying reading Al's book lately as a result of this conversation. I like his writing and his thinking.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 1st, 2017, 11:01 am

Yes, while his performing approach and style is very different from my own (and it should be), he has given much to the magic world, and I'm sure to those for whom he has performed as well. I have certainly been influenced by his insightful thinking. I just wish he hadn't retreated back under that rock...

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » June 1st, 2017, 12:21 pm

Magic is all things to all men. We cannot all be the same and it is perfectly natural that one person may have a different approach to another. I expect he will come out from under the rock sooner or later.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 1st, 2017, 12:48 pm

Agreed. Yes, I hope you are right that he will eventually emerge. I think that when the thread since he jumped in is examined, there were many positive comments about Al and his work, even if there was some gentlemanly disagreement and differing ideas. So I don't really understand his last comment stating, "Now you know why I like it under my rock."

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » June 1st, 2017, 1:06 pm

He says in his book he is a shy man. Shy people like to hide under rocks.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 1st, 2017, 3:24 pm

Well yes, shyness might account for it, but he wrote: "I have observed that most do not understand some subtleties about the trick [Matrix]. I have performed it seven times in sequence for people and it kills each time. I have tried to explain these things but all I get is that I do bad theater and I am old fashioned. In my opinion the original Matrix is vastly ahead in tech and everyone that improves it uses old tech. Well, I got off some steam there."

Performing the same routine 7 times in a row for people doesn't really strike me as an attribute of shyness, but more like the chance to prevail in a battle of wits. I think it is more his antipathy for being criticized (and I would imagine unjustly criticized a good deal of the time), but again some of the greatest magicians/entertainers I have ever known welcome constructive criticism because they want to keep going to a higher level.

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » June 1st, 2017, 8:08 pm

I don't!

As for Matrix I don't know much about Al's method except that it is highly thought of. I just use the old sympathic coins thing. It seems to work well enough I must say.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 1st, 2017, 8:12 pm

I did not say THE greatest, only some of the greatest...

performer
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Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby performer » June 1st, 2017, 8:37 pm

Ah! That is of course true and puts a different light on the matter!
With regard to Al doing the trick seven times I suspect it wasn't for the reasons you attribute to him. I base this suspicion from things I read in his book. He is very keen on experimentation to find out the right way of doing things. I can't argue with that.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 625
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Re: In-the hand cups and balls routine - MAGIC Magazine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 1st, 2017, 9:24 pm

performer wrote:Ah! That is of course true and puts a different light on the matter!
With regard to Al doing the trick seven times I suspect it wasn't for the reasons you attribute to him. I base this suspicion from things I read in his book. He is very keen on experimentation to find out the right way of doing things. I can't argue with that.


Yes, I definitely do not want to cast any aspersions or portray anyone in less than a positive light. As I mentioned, I have a lot of respect for him and have been influenced positively by his thinking.


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