Tenkai Pennies

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Postby Philippe Noël » 01/21/03 12:27 PM

Where was first published the Tenkai Pennies routine?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/03 05:50 PM

That's a good question!
I think it's in Bobo's Modern Coin Magic. I remember an odd paradox created by the mis-crediting of Tenkai's Back Pinch position to Albert Goshman in the book, and then the teaching of the trick Tenkai developed using the Back Pinch, and it was either not explicitly credited to him, or credited to Goshman in Tenkai's own trick!
Perhaps someone can look this up and confirm. I would, but I'm working on the April issue of le Genii!
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Postby Guest » 01/21/03 06:26 PM


If memory serves me correctly...Goshman was not credited with the Tenkao Pennies...He was credited with the Tenkai back palm which everyone calls the Goshman Pinch. I'm not 100% certain as I'm relying on memory. But yes, you are right...it is in Bobo's Modern Coin Magic...the big hardback published by Magic Inc. It is not in the Dover edition!!!


Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/21/03 06:53 PM

Perhaps the initial source of this trick is HUGARD'S MAGIC MONTHLY (Vol. VIII-No. 6: November-1950, p. 721)?

Martin Gardner contributed this item, using pennies. Martin got it from Sol Stone, who got it from Ed Balducci, who got it from Tenkai in or around 1935.

I always thought that the Tenkai Back Clip was better than the Goshman Pinch because the coin is back-clipped between the second and third fingers in the center of the four fingers.

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Postby Bill Duncan » 01/21/03 10:06 PM

Your memory serves you well...

Quoting from the hardbound Magic Inc. edition, page 363 J. B. Bobo wrote:
"The Japanese magician Ishida Tenkai, who once resided in this country, taught me this beautiful little trick quite some years ago. It is included here because it makes use of a technique known only to a few of today's coins (sic) workers."
Was he writing in 1964 or 1952?

He then goes on to describe the effect saying that the coin is "held between the third and fourth fingers in the Goshman Pinch"

Further, he claims on page 359, in the description of The Goshman Pinch that, "...it was evolved by Mr. Goshman and it has been used by him and a few others for a number of years"

According to Sol Stone (on his DVD Quick and Casual Close Up) Tenkai taught his pennies routine to Ed Balducci in 1937 who in turn taught it to Stone in 1945. Stone evolved his own handling using a different back clip technique after that point.

From what I've read Goshman wasn't really even into magic in 1937 so it seems unlikely that he has any claim beyond independent invention.

That's what I know from the sources at hand...

What you describe doesn't sound like what I normally associate with Tenkai. What you are describing sounds like Sol Stone's own technique or perhaps the "Deep" back clip I associate with David Roth. The word "center" throws me because Roth clips just back of center and Stone seems to clip closer to the tips of the fingers.

In every description I can recall of the Tenkai and Goshman back clips they are the same. Which leads to an interesting speculation about what Bobo meant or thought.

Did he believe that the clip was Goshman's? If so the "technique known only to a few of today's coins workers" may have been the hand to hand transfer of a coin during the display and not the method of concealing the other coin behind the fingers.

I can't imagine that he would think Goshman invented the clip especially since he had seen Tenkai use it as well.

Tenkai lived in the states for a time. Did he speak English? If not perhaps Bobo never understood that it was his origination. I can see him swapping tricks and showing the master something with the back clip only to have Tenkai show him something different with the move and assuming that the transfer was what he was being shown.

Or, perhaps it's simply a case of Bobo using the phrase that people knew just as you still hear folks say "Kaps Subtlety" or "Erdnase transformation".
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Postby Timothy Hyde » 02/07/03 12:55 AM

So where does "Six Tricks by Tenkai"
published by Ireland Magic fit into this.
My copy is undated but I've wondered how old it is?

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Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 02/07/03 09:51 AM

I can clear up the mystery as to why Tenkai's backclip is credited to Al Goshman.

At the 1964 SAM Convention in NYC (it may have been the IBM Convention) I was talking to Al Goshman when J.B. Bobo walked up to us and asked Al if he would contribute a few trick to the expanded volume of Modern Coin Magic that he was working on at the time. Al agreed to contribute a few tricks and then performed them for Bobo. He then went into great detail explaining them while Bobo took copious notes. A few of the tricks used the Tenkai backclip which Al never claimed as his own. Unfortunately, he did not mention that the backclip technique he explained was Tenkai's. Al just explained the mechanics of the move. Bobo, apparently not familiar with the Tenkai move, assumed it was Goshman's and credited the backclip or pinch to Al. When the expanded edition of Modern Coin Magic was published, both Al and I were surprised that the move was credited to him. Al assumed Bobo knew the clip was Tenkai's--an assumption that was obviously incorrect. Since the original Tenkai booklet that explained Tenkai's backclip had such a small distribution in the USA and that the expanded Modern Coin Magic became a classic best seller, magicians from that time on have perpetuated the crediting error made by Bobo.

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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 02/07/03 10:27 AM

Originally posted by Timothy Hyde:
So where does "Six Tricks by Tenkai"
published by Ireland Magic fit into this.
My copy is undated but I've wondered how old it is?
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Postby Guest » 02/07/03 10:45 AM

In Sol Stones new DVD Close Up and Casual he performs the Middle Finger Back Clip in his Tenkai Quarters routine. (The Middle Finger Backclip being the one between 2nd and 3rd finger more toward the fingertips).

Here is the background Sol provides on the whole Middle Finger Backclip and Tenkai Pinch on the DVD:

Sol states that, Tenkai taught his routine Tenkai Pennies (which used the Tenkai Pinch) to Ed Balducci in 1936 who taught the routine to Sol in 1945. Sol did not like the Tenkai Pinch and chose to modify it to use the Middle Finger Backclip. Sol continued to state that he taught the routine to Albert Goshman, who had problems with the Middle Finger Backclip, so Sol showed him the Tenkai Pinch. Bobo saw Al Goshman use it, and attributed it to Goshman in his Modern Coin Magic book, the rest was history.

Apparently from what I have been able to gather, Sol had the Middle Finger Backclip in print in Hugards Magic Monthly (Vol. 8. Nol. 6 Nov) in 1950 which agrees with Jon's recollection. I have not personally seen the Magic Monthly, though it seems to coincide with the time table Sol references in his DVD. So it was the Middle Finger Backclip in Magic Monthly NOT the Tenkai Pinch (which is the clip with the 3rd and 4th fingers).

Back to Philippe's question, the actual Tenkai Pinch move I believe was first published in "Six Tricks by Tenkai" I had a date of 1956 on that, but Craig has an earlier date of 1953. Anyone have a printing earlier than that?

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 02/07/03 11:03 AM

Things sometimes get murky when you examine existing documentation.

R. Parrish's SIX TRICKS is also dated 1958.

When Kosky and Furst published THE MAGIC OF TENKAI (1974), which was a pastiche of previously published Tenkai manuscripts, the "Two Penny Trick" is described on pp. 126-127. The text says to use American pennies. The drawings, signed by Tenkai himself, show much larger coins. Then--get this!--the back-clip is shown between the third and fourth fingers...not as it was explained in HMM.

What we don't know is WHO wrote up the HMM description?

Did Tenkai back clip both ways?
Did he change the position later?
Is it "six of one and six of another"?

I don't know. Does anyone?

BTW, H. Rosenthal published a wonderful version of "Yank Ho" in THE NEW STARS OF MAGIC years ago that used the back-clip in an innovative way.

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Postby Guest » 02/07/03 02:28 PM

BTW, H. Rosenthal published a wonderful version of "Yank Ho" in THE NEW STARS OF MAGIC years ago that used the back-clip in an innovative way.

Jon, ixsnay on Harvey's trick :) ...I enjoy being the only person I know (besides Harvey) doing that effect...it is too damn good...especially the vanish of the last coin...WOW! First time I saw Harvey do it...I new I witnessed real magic!!!


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