Kirk wrote:Please don't use coffee cups and paper balls. Give the trick the respect that it deserves and use cups that are interesting, work well, nest without wobbling and so forth. If you must use coffee cups, at least don't use a table knife for a "magic wand".
I consider this very poor advice, not knowing the performance context. Mike Skinner did a great routine using coffee cups on the Tonight Show. Bob White does a great routine with paper coffee cups. John Carney does a wonderful one cup routine with a coffee cup, a borrowed bill, a knife (as wand), with the lemon produced at the end being cut open with the knife to reveal the spectator's bill. Vernon himself published a great impromptu routine using glasses covered with paper in the STARS OF MAGIC series. Gerald Deutsch's earlier post mentioned Charlie Miller's routine. Carney, Skinner, Vernon, Miller and White, all experts with the cups, chose on occasion to perform it without "fancy" cups. I am guessing that the impression on spectators is magnified when using "normal" objects for the routine. As beautiful as some cups are (the Sherwood cups in particular), I am sure to laymen they appear to be suspicious magician's props, despite having them examined as some routines do. The cups then get the credit, rather than the performer, to those audiences who don't appreciate, as we do, their history and aesthetic qualities.