Cups and Balls

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erdnasephile
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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby erdnasephile » February 19th, 2017, 2:26 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:IMHO, the final loading sequence is either deceptive or not deceptive - there is no in between. With proper timing and the more or less built in misdirection, the loads will not be seen, and you will not be caught. I was never a fan of the Vernon exposure gambit, and doubt that I ever will be.


I hear you, Alfred. You are certainly not alone in your feelings about the exposure gambit, as it seems this is the first thing most performers jettison from the Vernon routine. Opinions are all over the board: from Ken Krenzel's absolutist position to Penn and Teller's diametric view.

I really haven't decided yet how I feel about it. Ultimately, I think it comes down to an intentional artistic choice, what I'm trying to say with the routine, and what's the most effective way for me to say it.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 19th, 2017, 4:00 pm

I'm of the camp that believes Vernon's exposure gambit adds nothing to the routine. It confirms the spectators' suspicions that at times the magician didn't really transfer the ball. The adage "What does not add will subtract" applies especially to magic.

Krenzel was not an advocate of pseudo explanations in routines like the color changing silk. The pseudo explanation for the color changing silk doesn't seem to cut as close to the bone as Vernon's exposure gambit, which is a real confession.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 19th, 2017, 4:37 pm

@Erdnasephile: "I really haven't decided yet how I feel about it. Ultimately, I think it comes down to an intentional artistic choice, what I'm trying to say with the routine, and what's the most effective way for me to say it."

Indeed. The infinite palette of artistic choices is one of the elements that makes our art such a creative and fascinating one.

@Leonard: "I'm of the camp that believes Vernon's exposure gambit adds nothing to the routine. It confirms the spectators' suspicions that at times the magician didn't really transfer the ball. The adage 'What does not add will subtract' applies especially to magic."

Well said!

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby erdnasephile » February 19th, 2017, 6:41 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:I'm of the camp that believes Vernon's exposure gambit adds nothing to the routine. It confirms the spectators' suspicions that at times the magician didn't really transfer the ball. The adage "What does not add will subtract" applies especially to magic.

Krenzel was not an advocate of pseudo explanations in routines like the color changing silk. The pseudo explanation for the color changing silk doesn't seem to cut as close to the bone as Vernon's exposure gambit, which is a real confession.


Very valid points. Which makes it all the curiouser as to why Vernon chose that path.

However, I've often thought a similar objection applies to certain gambling demonstrations during magical performances. Many of them tell the audience exactly what we are doing in terms of seconds, bottoms, etc. They remind the audience that we really do have methods. Yet, these sorts of routines don't seem to arouse the animus as much as the false transfer "exposure".

Yet, I think some others might say: what 21st century audience member doesn't know there are methods behind our sleight of hand magic? Therefore, any reasonably intelligent audience member would conclude after the ball vanish: "it's in the other hand", so why not use it against them? Besides, when those three lemons come out all the end, the "exposure" will be looked on as "He was just putting us on" and will be eventually forgotten. (I'm not necessarily defending that line of reasoning, but I suspect that may be part of the rationale for the Professor's gambit.)

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 20th, 2017, 12:41 pm

Erdnasephile, you have made some very logical observations. Fascinating discussion. Now, if I was proficient at dealing seconds and bottoms (which I decidedly am not), I might very well be loathe to mention either technique in the course of my poker deal routine. And when I say "my," I mean essentially a patchwork quilt of my ideas coupled with those of quite a few other magicians, past and present.

I know we are getting into fine points and distinctions here, but perhaps what I find less off-putting about the false explanation of a bottom deal in a poker deal routine than in the cups and balls, is that (1) in the context of the cups, it is a very important magician's move that is being gratuitously revealed (i.e., a false transfer/vanish), indeed, one which we actually do several times in the course of the routine, whereas in the gambling routine, it is a gambler's cheating move that is spoken of - and, importantly, a move that I never actually do in the routine; and (2) in giving the spectators the false explanation of a bottom deal in the first phase of the poker deal routine, I am actually pre-setting the conditions for a super astonishing finish, as opposed to tipping a move, after the fact, that I've already used to deceive them.

After the pseudo explanation of the bottom deal in phase one, I invite them to bring their highest scrutiny to bear in the denouement (royal flush) phase - i.e., to watch my dealing closely and see if they observe anything out of the ordinary. They are watching very closely to detect any bottom deal, which, of course, never happens. The result is squeaky clean handling, with an incredibly magical ending and/or one for which they credit you with awesome skill.

Incidentally, while spectators do normally logically reason that a coin is "in the other hand" after a "vanish," the same does not necessarily hold true following a vanish in the cups and balls, particularly if a wand is used. (PS i wouldn't think of doing the routine without a wand). When the guilty hand picks up the wand or removes it from underneath the arm, it greatly allays or removes any suspicion. It is uncanny, but they just don't conceive that a hand holding a wand could be secreting anything. Add to this the fact that, with the timing and working of the cups and balls, I (and obviously many others) am immediately cleaning up by lifting up the next cup and taking the ball on top of or under it, and simultaneously ditching the previous ball. In the context of these consecutive, multiple sequences, any theory of the ball being in the other hand after each vanish, if any, is quickly dissipated or implicitly refuted.
Last edited by MagicbyAlfred on February 20th, 2017, 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 20th, 2017, 12:45 pm

The "behind the cup" and false transfer mentions come right before the larger balls appear. I'm going to guess that for previous generations the surprise cancelled out the learning. Guessing the net effect was the same as what Penn and Teller do in their routine where what you see, hear and understand goes nowhere when you notice the larger balls got under the clear cups.

Anyone try making the fourth larger ball production into callback rather than kicker - where you put a production ball into your pocket and and offer to do an encore - bringing it back under a cup as you put them away? How's that play for audiences?
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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jackpot » February 21st, 2017, 9:46 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:I know we are getting into fine points and distinctions here, but perhaps what I find less off-putting about the false explanation of a bottom deal in a poker deal routine than in the cups and balls, is that (1) in the context of the cups, it is a very important magician's move that is being gratuitously revealed (i.e., a false transfer/vanish), indeed, one which we actually do several times in the course of the routine, whereas in the gambling routine, it is a gambler's cheating move that is spoken of - and, importantly, a move that I never actually do in the routine; and (2) in giving the spectators the false explanation of a bottom deal in the first phase of the poker deal routine, I am actually pre-setting the conditions for a super astonishing finish, as opposed to tipping a move, after the fact, that I've already used to deceive them.


Dealing from the bottom, smoke and mirrors, and up your sleeve are all common "knowledge" among our audience members. I don't think you are giving anything away by giving a false explanation about dealing from the bottom. You are disarming your audience and actually telling them something that several of them probably feel is "obvious".

In a set where I am performing Merlin's Lost Aces or another ace assembly which relies entirely on bottom dealing to gather the aces I would avoid discussing bottom dealing on that evening. If I'm not doing material in my set that requires bottom dealing I think it is fine to "expose" dealing from the bottom because many members of our audience are already aware of this subterfuge.

You are not revealing a magic secret in you gambling expose. You are providing a public service by educating the public about gambling cheats.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby performer » February 21st, 2017, 10:06 pm

I agree that it is probably not a big deal either way. However, on balance I am just not keen on the pseudo expose. After all it is not as if there are no other alternatives. Magic is supposed to be a secret art after all. Mind you there is not much secret about it any more what with magic camps, internet exposures and magic shops selling anything to all and sundry. Exposure of classic magic secrets seem to be all the rage nowadays.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby erdnasephile » February 22nd, 2017, 8:51 pm

Lots of interesting thoughts here.

Alfred: I see your distinction between gambling moves vs. magician's moves. Yet, there are routines where the existence of the False Shuffle is exposed (See: Ortiz' "The Vegas Shuffle" routine). If we do routines like this, are we not calling into question every shuffle we do thereafter?

Re: tipping the very move that just fooled them. Hopefully, as Ganson puts it a "clumsy French Drop" is used in the expose, which distances itself from the actual false transfer. That's why I think the audience eventually believes it's just a gag once that fruit comes rolling out.

I think you've hit upon a very important point--for those ball vanishes to hold up, you have to show them where the ball went. Vernon seemed to emphasize this in nearly every lecture I've been watching. He says that you can't hesitate once that ball is "gone". You have to keep moving and reveal the transposition because otherwise, you give them too much time to think.

Just curious: did anyone do the Cups at Malones?

JT: I think your parallel to the way P & T's cups and balls fools people makes sense. In addition, I have never liked the fourth large load, which always seemed anticlimactic to me. I would, too be interested in how your proposed strategy might play for real people. ( Actually, if I was doing a 4th load, I'd be tempted to load the main prop for the next routine under a cup. Then, I would start putting away the other cups, and then produce the next prop from the remaining cup on the table.)

Jackpot: Re: the public service. Interesting...I've never thought of exposures as a moral/ethical issue--it's always been more of a theatrical issue to me. I remain concerned about exposing some gamblers sleights (false shuffles), as above. Here's a thought: let's say we only exposure "bottoms" where we aren't doing effects that rely on it during a set. Is that fair to future performers the people might see later? Granted, most people are only going to see live magicians once or twice in a lifetime; however, I still cringe when I hear stories about laypersons saying: "It's the double-flip that's doing that." Then again, even if some goof has already exposed the DL to my audiences, they are still hopefully fooled by better technique (push off stud DL) and better applications.

Mr. Lewis: I agree--it's probably not a big deal. However, IMHO, it needs to be a conscious choice on the part of the individual performer to decide what's best for them, which is why I very much appreciate your and everyone else's thoughts on this matter to help me work through this issue.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby performer » February 22nd, 2017, 9:48 pm

I must say that I have never liked the fourth load either. I have never articulated this feeling before so it is nice to see that someone else thinks along the same lines. I have noticed time after time that the reaction is always stronger when the first three big loads are revealed and a lesser reaction when the fourth one happens. Three is a logical number (ie: the rule of three) since you are using three cups. A fourth load is unnecessary and is just gilding the lily.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Ian Kendall » February 23rd, 2017, 3:58 am

I'm going to disagree with the idea that the fourth load is anticlimactic, or gets a lesser reaction.

I'm going on personal experience here, but YMMV.

Edit: As to Mark's post; the first reveal gets a big reaction. Then you have three reveals in a row, so the rule of three still stands.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 23rd, 2017, 4:42 am

Erdnasephile wrote: Lots of interesting thoughts here.

Erdnasephile wrote: "Alfred: I see your distinction between gambling moves vs. magician's moves. Yet, there are routines where the existence of the False Shuffle is exposed (See: Ortiz' "The Vegas Shuffle" routine). If we do routines like this, are we not calling into question every shuffle we do thereafter?

Re: tipping the very move that just fooled them. Hopefully, as Ganson puts it a "clumsy French Drop" is used in the expose, which distances itself from the actual false transfer. That's why I think the audience eventually believes it's just a gag once that fruit comes rolling out.

I think you've hit upon a very important point--for those ball vanishes to hold up, you have to show them where the ball went. Vernon seemed to emphasize this in nearly every lecture I've been watching. He says that you can't hesitate once that ball is "gone". You have to keep moving and reveal the transposition because otherwise, you give them too much time to think.

Just curious: did anyone do the Cups at Malones?"

Erdnasephile, I share your concern regarding exposure of the false shuffle. False shuffles are not merely a gambler's move; they are an exceedingly important and powerful weapon in the magician's arsenal. There are so many fantastic card effects that we have at our disposal, that is just not worth confirming to the layman that we might be employing such a subterfuge. And, as you suggest, I absolutely agree that exposing a false shuffle needlessly calls into question every shuffle we do thereafter.

Yes, I frequently performed the cups and balls at Malone's. I had the honor of learning it from Bill himself. One night in 1994, he came over to my apartment in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a beautiful antique wooden wand with brass tips, a set of aluminum cups, some red crocheted balls, and four large rubber balls (different colors) for final loads. The routine he taught me was based on Vernon's, but as Bill had modified (and, in my view, improved, it. The routine did NOT include the expose/false explanation phase. I was mesmerized watching Bill perform the routine. Everything was so smooth, natural and MAGICAL. It turned out to be worth it's weight in gold because Malone's at the Boca Raton Resort was an international destination and I could bridge the communication gap by performing it for those guests who spoke no English - no patter necessary - everyone understood, and it invariably got laughter and applause. I still have that wand, those cups and the four rubber balls to this day...

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby performer » February 23rd, 2017, 5:00 am

Ian Kendall wrote:I'm going to disagree with the idea that the fourth load is anticlimactic, or gets a lesser reaction.

I'm going on personal experience here, but YMMV.

Edit: As to Mark's post; the first reveal gets a big reaction. Then you have three reveals in a row, so the rule of three still stands.


You can certainly disagree but I have never been known to be wrong and it behooves us all to follow the path of greater wisdom. You have just admitted that the first reveal gets a big reaction. Alas I have never seen the second reveal get an equal reaction. Check out all the alleged hotshots that do this on You Tube and you will see what I mean. And that includes Vernon. It always seems anti climatic to me. Just an afterthought. After all you have already proved yourself. What is the point of continuing? And apart from anything else it is bloody inconvenient. The less you have to carry around with you the better. I don't have a massive objection to it--I just don't think it is worth all the bother.

I certainly agree with the idea that you have to continue on without too much yap after the ball vanishes. I know of a fellow in Toronto who chatters and chatters and chatters after the ball has gone giving people loads of time to figure out the ball is in his other hand. He doesn't do kid shows otherwise he would soon find out when they yell out, "It's in your hand!". At any rate you don't want to chatter without action anyway otherwise you might as well become a mentalist.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jackpot » February 23rd, 2017, 7:57 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Jackpot: Re: the public service. Interesting...I've never thought of exposures as a moral/ethical issue--it's always been more of a theatrical issue to me. I remain concerned about exposing some gamblers sleights (false shuffles), as above. Here's a thought: let's say we only exposure "bottoms" where we aren't doing effects that rely on it during a set. Is that fair to future performers the people might see later? Granted, most people are only going to see live magicians once or twice in a lifetime; however, I still cringe when I hear stories about laypersons saying: "It's the double-flip that's doing that." Then again, even if some goof has already exposed the DL to my audiences, they are still hopefully fooled by better technique (push off stud DL) and better applications.


erdnasephile,

My apologizes. I should have said providing a public service in quotation marks. I was making the remark tongue in cheek. In those cases where I "expose" a gambling subterfuge I use the bottom deal as a theatrical device. My exposure of bottom dealing is with a full deck and very obvious. I am not tipping an actual sleight, but am just moving cards as part of a story.

I have heard "dealing from the bottom of the deck" used as a metaphor and in my opinion it is part of popular culture.

On different occasions I have performed for spectators who have seen me do my "public service" bottom deal. On the subsequent occasions when I have used an actual bottom deal it has been deceptive and for a different purpose.

I would never hint that a false shuffle even exists. From my experience in every audience there spectators who know about dealing from the bottom of the deck, but very few (fortunately), if any, who are as aware of most other sleights.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jack Shalom » February 23rd, 2017, 8:29 pm

Any thoughts about the final loads being three different fruits as opposed to all alike?

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jackpot » February 23rd, 2017, 8:44 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Any thoughts about the final loads being three different fruits as opposed to all alike?


I always find that to be effective. My belief is that easiest big reaction to get is for the first load. It becomes more difficult to get a big reaction with each subsequent load. (At some point we will reach Mark's gilded lily.) Depending on the showmanship and ability of the magician, anything beyond one load maybe gilding the lily for one conjurer while multiple loads will be highly entertaining when done by another. An effective way to continue to make the reactions strong is to use different fruits and/or vegetables. Besides that you have something to eat at the end of the evening.
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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jackpot » February 23rd, 2017, 9:00 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Any thoughts about the final loads being three different fruits as opposed to all alike?


Lemons, limes and small potatoes always work well, while kiwis, and heirloom potatoes or tomatoes usually get an extra good reaction because they are more unusual.
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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby erdnasephile » February 23rd, 2017, 9:23 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:I'm going to disagree with the idea that the fourth load is anticlimactic, or gets a lesser reaction.

I'm going on personal experience here, but YMMV.

Edit: As to Mark's post; the first reveal gets a big reaction. Then you have three reveals in a row, so the rule of three still stands.


Hi, Mr. Kendall: I respect your opinion and I'm glad you chimed in here.

May I please ask: what tempo do you do your reveals at? For example:
1) Do you reveal the first (then pause) and reveal the next three all at once (ala Mendoza--he only uses three, but reveals all 3 at once)
2) Do you reveal the first (then pause) and reveal the next three serially (ala Ammar).
3) Do you reveal all 4 serially (ala Vernon)

Mendoza:



Ammar:



Vernon:


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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby John M. Dale » February 24th, 2017, 2:00 am

Didn't Lance Burton do the C&B with a white mouse as the 4th load. Using a very surprising 4th load would give it "punch". Along the same lines, Paul Gertner's 4th load in his Steel C&B is too big to fit back in the cup.

I considered using a live turantula as the 4th load (my secret assitant."Harry") but decided against it because of the fear some people have of spiders. I was worried that in their panic they might hurt themselves trying to get away or the spider itself if they reacted by trying to slap it away. (My wife threatening to leave me if I got a turantula was also a factor.)

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Ian Kendall » February 24th, 2017, 4:50 am

May I please ask: what tempo do you do your reveals at? For example:
1) Do you reveal the first (then pause) and reveal the next three all at once (ala Mendoza--he only uses three, but reveals all 3 at once)
2) Do you reveal the first (then pause) and reveal the next three serially (ala Ammar).
3) Do you reveal all 4 serially (ala Vernon)


That's a good question. The answer is that I have used various over the years. In my early street shows I did six loads (but, ironically, not a large hat load). I whittled that down to four and used to produce them in quick succession, but now I pause.

Rather than make you sit through the whole thirteen minute routine (although, you are free to do so if you feel the urge), the loading sequence is at the end of this short video:

(Embedding seems not to be working...) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-MBzyjtIm0

Other cups routines:

Githa's Cups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T96rqy453yI
Castle Cups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsRocAIgVL4

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby performer » February 24th, 2017, 6:55 am

Oddly enough Ian has proved my theory in a back to front manner. He gets a big reaction with the first reveal but then it peters out with the second reveal which is of the three balls. Most people that do this get a strong reaction when they produce three balls first and then a weaker reaction with the fourth ball or melon or whatever it is. But the principle remains the same. I should have said a weaker reaction follows the second REVEAL rather than the second load. They have run out of applause with the second reveal as the first reveal has taken it all up.

I have looked at various cups and balls routines on you tube and the only time the second reveal equals or on very rare occasions surpasses the first reveal is when the second reveal is of something very different or novel. Some kind of massive contrast and the performer times the second reveal in a skillful manner.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 24th, 2017, 12:18 pm

JOHN M. DALE WROTE: "I considered using a live turantula as the 4th load (my secret assitant."Harry") but decided against it because of the fear some people have of spiders. I was worried that in their panic they might hurt themselves trying to get away or the spider itself if they reacted by trying to slap it away. (My wife threatening to leave me if I got a turantula was also a factor.)"

Skipping the tarantula as the final load was probably a wise decision. It's an odd coincidence, though, because I considered using my wife as the fourth load, but my per tarantula threatened to leave me. And I don't even have a wife...

This is a fascinating thread, as any thread concerning the cups and balls is bound to be. In regard to the issue of multiple loads, I am of the opinion that at least three is the way to go. It naturally packs far more of a punch and is more astonishing to a spectator to see 3 large loads appear essentially out of nowhere than just one. More isn't always better, but in the case of the cups and balls I firmly believe that it is. Again, just an opinion. I find that it significantly maximizes the impact of the fourth final load when I pause after revelation of the first three, and then, almost as an afterthought, have a spectator wave the wand and lift up the center cup to find the fourth him/herself. This will often produce a scream from a woman, but inevitably a great reaction from the spectators, regardless of who lifts the cup. Oftentimes someone will lift up the center cup on their own accord to find the fourth load, and that is a great moment...

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 24th, 2017, 12:18 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:JOHN M. DALE WROTE: "I considered using a live turantula as the 4th load (my secret assitant."Harry") but decided against it because of the fear some people have of spiders. I was worried that in their panic they might hurt themselves trying to get away or the spider itself if they reacted by trying to slap it away. (My wife threatening to leave me if I got a turantula was also a factor.)"

Skipping the tarantula as the final load was probably a wise decision. It's an odd coincidence, though, because I considered using my wife as the fourth load, but my pet tarantula threatened to leave me. (And I don't even have a wife).

This is a fascinating thread, as any thread concerning the cups and balls is bound to be. In regard to the issue of multiple loads, I am of the opinion that at least three is the way to go. It naturally packs far more of a punch and is more astonishing to a spectator to see 3 large loads appear essentially out of nowhere than just one. More isn't always better, but in the case of the cups and balls I firmly believe that it is. Again, just an opinion. I find that it significantly maximizes the impact of the fourth final load when I pause after revelation of the first three, and then, almost as an afterthought, have a spectator wave the wand and lift up the center cup to find the fourth him/herself. This will often produce a scream from a woman, but inevitably a great reaction from the spectators, regardless of who lifts the cup. Oftentimes someone will lift up the center cup on their own accord to find the fourth load, and that is a great moment...

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 24th, 2017, 1:30 pm

I watched the final load productions in Mendoza, Ammar and Kendall. The video for Mondoza cut away just at the instant you'd expect to see some reaction from the woman to his left. :( No huge hollar from the guy who's usually noisy front and center. The Ammar video similarly misses some reaction shots. Kendal's video clearly depicts the audience reaction by sound (bravo)

IIRC tarantulas are fragile and might not do well being transported/packaged or loaded in context of a cups routine. May as well ponder doing a chop cup with a small shell and then having it crawl away inhabited by hermit crab... not so real-world practical. :)
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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby erdnasephile » February 24th, 2017, 2:28 pm

John M. Dale wrote:Didn't Lance Burton do the C&B with a white mouse as the 4th load. Using a very surprising 4th load would give it "punch". Along the same lines, Paul Gertner's 4th load in his Steel C&B is too big to fit back in the cup.


Thanks for mentioning some great routines! Mr. Burton does a very fine job: (If memory serves, Johnny Thompson and Jamy Swiss worked with him on it). Actually, I think Lance uses just 3 loads. ( "Petey" shows up as #3):




I think Paul Gertner's 4 load sequence in his superb routine really works (despite the partial "exposure" gambit ;) ):




However, I wonder: when the loads are done below the edge of the table, do audiences afterwards think that's where those big loads came from? (I don't know the answer--I'm probably thinking like a magician--but I suspect such loading techniques are more invisible when the audience is seated at the table in close proximity to the magician than if they are in a parlour-type situation). Those of you who know better, please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Ian Kendall » February 24th, 2017, 2:39 pm

We had a similar conversation a while back on another forum about the use of the gibechiere. The consensus was that people who had never loaded from a pouch were vehemently against it, and claimed that the origins of the loads were obvious. Those of us who had used a pouch said that this was wrong...

I have a video from a recent show (I'll try to dig it up and upload it) where - according to the cameraman - I flashed every load (which I can believe, under the scrutiny of the unblinking eye. As I recall, the reactions were as usual.

I used a gib in my first year at the Castle working in the Close up gallery. When I worked the Parlour (as in the videos above, and also in Githa's cups) I used my pockets, and a holdout system I worked out for under my jacket. Whether I use a gib or the holdouts depends a lot on what I am doing in that particular show.

The bottom line is that in a properly structured routine, the loads - be they from a pouch, pocket, lap or servante, should not be seen. Often I will cringe when I see my routine on video, but that doesn't last long...

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Ian Kendall » February 24th, 2017, 2:56 pm

Here's the last few moments from the Trickery show last month. Because the ceiling scraped the top of my head, I was working in front of the stage which is why it looks like a close up show.

https://youtu.be/1fjIX2nHzVg

(Embedding still not working for me...)

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby John M. Dale » February 24th, 2017, 4:31 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:IIRC tarantulas are fragile and might not do well being transported/packaged or loaded in context of a cups routine. May as well ponder doing a chop cup with a small shell and then having it crawl away inhabited by hermit crab... not so real-world practical. :)


Jonathan,

I appreciate your concern, however I'm well aware of the fragility of a tarantula and I'm not Gali-Gali and would never perform any routine the would endanger the health and wellbeing of an animal. I was working on a load device that would have safely held the arachnid with a removable top. The entire device would go into the cup and then lapped when "Harry" was revealed. I don't load from my pockets. I have a small wooden top opening box with a carrying handle that I use to carry all of my prop that I'd be using that I load from.

Testing involved using a fake stand-in and if that showed ANY chance of harm the process would have been modified to eliminate the hazards or it would have been abandoned.

Actually the hermit crab idea is probably more workable. I used to work at a place that sold hermit crabs and when the are closed up in their shells the are very well protected. You could probably palm one in without harm without the load device I was working on with a bit of careful practice.

However, I've since decided to use no livestock because others may not be as careful as I would be and I don't personally want to encourage their use.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby performer » February 24th, 2017, 4:42 pm

Using tarantulas and crabs is a horrible idea! Your wife is right!

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby erdnasephile » February 24th, 2017, 7:18 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:
May I please ask: what tempo do you do your reveals at? For example:
1) Do you reveal the first (then pause) and reveal the next three all at once (ala Mendoza--he only uses three, but reveals all 3 at once)
2) Do you reveal the first (then pause) and reveal the next three serially (ala Ammar).
3) Do you reveal all 4 serially (ala Vernon)


That's a good question. The answer is that I have used various over the years. In my early street shows I did six loads (but, ironically, not a large hat load). I whittled that down to four and used to produce them in quick succession, but now I pause.

Rather than make you sit through the whole thirteen minute routine (although, you are free to do so if you feel the urge), the loading sequence is at the end of this short video:

(Embedding seems not to be working...) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-MBzyjtIm0

Other cups routines:

Githa's Cups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T96rqy453yI
Castle Cups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsRocAIgVL4


Mr. Kendall:

I enjoyed your performances--very entertaining and the loads were covered really well. I very much liked the impact you got with them.

May I please ask: how did you finally settle on the timing you employed?

In my amateur brain, it occurred to me that 1) the impact of the first load reveal seems heightened as a result of the business with the rapid ball appearances in the center cup that came just before. It's the change of appearance and pace that really punctuates the moment for the audience. 2) the 3 subsequent limes don't feel anticlimactic because of the pause you put in just before the 3 limes appear. It's almost like it's a different phase: 3 loads, but one definitive climax. Again, punctuation.

Am I on point here?

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Ian Kendall » February 24th, 2017, 7:31 pm

May I please ask, how you finally settled on the timing you employed?


Honestly? Trial and error over a long period of time. In the morning I'll try to find a video from longer ago, when the timing was very different. The most important thing about working on timing is listening to your audience. I think one day I stopped after the first load and got a good reaction. I probably tried that a second time, and got a similar reaction. Then I would have shifted the routine in that direction.

Ten years ago the routine was very different; many of the bits and pieces were improvised in a street show, and then adopted into the routine. Many other bits were discarded. There are other subtle differences between my street routine (which I do when I am wearing a pouch) and my 'indoor' routine, when I am loading from my pockets. Githa's Cups is very different; the opening and middle sections were changed.

I think you are on the right track when you describe the three final loads as a separate climax, but I'd be lying if I said I planned it that way. It turned out as a happy accident.

As for the loads themselves; I wrote an article in MUM years ago about the Chop Cup, and I discussed the final loads. My feeling is that the size of the load is not important in itself, but the fact that it is very dissimilar to the balls provides the conflict with what is expected, and that's what provokes the reaction. For example, if you were using a Chop Cup in a restaurant gig (and many do), you can save a lot of pocket bulge by using clementines or satsumas instead of an orange. You'll get the same reaction. (This is why I used limes in the Castle; since I was loading two loads from a pocket, the balls I use on the street would have bulged too much in my suit jacket).

Hope that helps.

Oh, and call me Ian. I hate being called Mister something :)

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Ian Kendall » February 24th, 2017, 7:41 pm

Just reading Mark's post, and I think this is a pertinent point:

Oddly enough Ian has proved my theory in a back to front manner. He gets a big reaction with the first reveal but then it peters out with the second reveal which is of the three balls.


There's a reason for this. After the first reveal there is a strong reaction and I step to the side of the table in an applause cue. Following the idea that you should not wait for a laugh to finish completely before moving on, I try to start the production of the next three loads just before the initial reaction is dropping off - the plan is that these then sustain the applause until I step to the side again for my final cue.

Now, the applause starts strong, continues throughout the reveals, and then rises again for the finale. In the Castle show that's 30 seconds of sustained applause, and 20 seconds in the Trickery. I'm happy with that.

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 27th, 2017, 3:11 pm

John M. Dale wrote:...Actually the hermit crab idea is probably more workable. I used to work at a place that sold hermit crabs and when the are closed up in their shells the are very well protected. You could probably palm one in without harm without the load device I was working on with a bit of careful practice.


I met someone who had two as pets. Apparently you can buy new shells for them. So it kinda seems a natural to do a chop cup type trick with an empty shell then switch in the entire occupied shell so the thing can walk away on its own after the usual magic part.

Any thoughts on four balls stuck together into a pyramid as a load?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 27th, 2017, 5:26 pm

J.T. Wrote: "Any thoughts on four balls stuck together into a pyramid as a load?"

I long believed that 4 different pieces of fruit was the strongest for the final loads; that is, until I saw Johhny Ace Palmer's ending utilizing 4 live chicks (the poultry, not the human, kind). I was very conflicted about that ending, however, because although I realized how powerful of an impact it had, I have, for most of my life, considered myself an animal rights activist, and do not believe humans should hunt, eat, or otherwise exploit animals for their perceived pleasure or entertainment. End of sermon. But, this being said, I believe that fruit is a very strong finale, and that is what I use. I know there are people who believe that it is not the size or particular nature of the final loads that packs the real wallop, but just the fact that the loads are different from the balls used during the main part of the routine. Thus, I have seen, for example, proponents of sponge balls as final loads. While that would be one heck of a lot lighter and easier to carry around in the pocket, I just don't buy it. IMHO, the sheer incongruity and surprise of, for instance, a lemon, a lime, an apple and a potato coming out of 3 cups at the end trumps pretty much any alternative, including, rubber balls, large crocheted balls and baseballs - and yes, 4 balls in the shape of a pyramid.

Four balls stuck together into a pyramid as a load does not strike me as being as strong as any of the other options discussed above. Perhaps the pyramid of balls could work if part of the patter (as used by many magicians) was that the magicians used to do the trick in ancient Egypt for the pharaohs, and there are inscriptions of magicians performing the trick on the great pyramids (which might not be true, in reality). Even then, it's not really hitting me. What prompted you to wonder or consider the idea of the 4 balls stuck together in the shape of a pyramid as a load?

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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 1st, 2017, 9:54 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:... What prompted you to wonder or consider the idea of the 4 balls stuck together in the shape of a pyramid as a load?
I've been going back to basics and looking for the magic in the tricks. I was thinking of the story about a youngster who takes off his hat and finds another underneath... - about there being something under the cups every time you lift them. Each time a single ball ... casually picked up and put away as if it was an accident. Then later maybe two... and after that four together in the pyramid.
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Re: Cups and Balls

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 1st, 2017, 1:17 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:... What prompted you to wonder or consider the idea of the 4 balls stuck together in the shape of a pyramid as a load?
I've been going back to basics and looking for the magic in the tricks. I was thinking of the story about a youngster who takes off his hat and finds another underneath... - about there being something under the cups every time you lift them. Each time a single ball ... casually picked up and put away as if it was an accident. Then later maybe two... and after that four together in the pyramid.


It sounds like a nice, creative idea...


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