Cylinder & Coins

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Andy Galloway » 07/29/09 09:16 AM

In the August issue of Genii, Tom Stone said that the original Ramsay Cylinder & Coins routine does not make much sense. There are threads which are started and go nowhere,such as the first feint with the lid. Why use a wand etc.?
As someone who had the priviledge of receiving personal instruction from its creator, I will try and explain Mr. Ramsay`s thinking behind some of the moves,bearing in mind that it was devised to puzzle magicians.
The feint of apparently loading something under the lid was to provide some misdirection for the first critical move in the routine,that is lifting the cylinder to reveal the stack of coins with piece of cork on top of it, at the same time concealing the fake in the cylinder. While the spectators were wondering what could be under the lid, they could not give there full attention to cylinder. The reason for pretending that the stack of coins is the standard hollow rivetted fake, is that the next time a pile of coins is seen, nobody can be sure if it is four coins or the fake. John used the wand as it gave some cover for the palms employed in the coin vanishes and a couple of times the cylinder was spun on it, proving beyond doubt that the cylinder was empty. After the first coin disappeared, the Coin Through Hand was performed, but it was a bit more than just a digression from the effect as the second time it was attempted, it vanished, giving the second disappearance.
I hope this has addressed some of Tom`s reservations about the original trick and despite it`s apparent limitations, it still seems to capture the imagination of several of the top close-up performers in the World.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 07/29/09 01:40 PM

I had the privilege of visiting with Andy Galloway last year. At that time he performed the cylinder & coins routine. I have read the routine numerous times, I have seen John Carney (no slouch himself) perform it numerous times and I was with Richard James (an accomplished Scottish close up performer). When we were talking about it later, we both realized we were COMPLETELY fooled at the exact same moment. We were led down the garden path and then the rug pulled out from under us.

So if this routine was designed to puzzle magicians then in the right hands, and I think the pacing here is very important, it does the job. Very well!
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Postby El Mystico » 07/29/09 03:31 PM

I started to read Tom's article this morning, but gave up very quickly. There may well be merit in Tom's routine, but it is clear he did not understand Ramsay's, and I'm delighted Andy has contributed his thoughts to the forum.
It's funny; recently an extremely talented maagician told me he had sorted out the problems with Vernon's Cups and Balls routine, and was releasing his improvement. It will be interesting to see which of them is still being performed in fifty years time.
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Postby r paul wilson » 07/29/09 11:01 PM

Cylinder and Coins has fascinated me for many years. In the early nineties, I was fortunate to see Mr Galloway perform it and get completely fooled.

The effect itself is excellent. A cylinder and a cork are used to create a challenge that the audience can easily understand. Four coins vanish and appear inside the cylinder and underneath the cork. It is easily understood that the coins cannnot be dropped into the open end of the cylinder or they would appear on top of the cork. Trying to understand this as a layman is completely impossible without prior knowledge of the props required. Ramsay knew magicians did know about these props and used their knowledge against them.

The feints employed during Ramsay's original routine will fool anyone trying to figure out what's going on. Just when they're sure they've spotted something, it is soon clear that they've been fooled again.

Some of these feints have the effect of toying with the observer but the coin-through-hand vanish uses the feint to creat a baffling and convincing vanish, even though the magician never makes an act of placing a coin into his hand. The audience knows the coin is in the hand because they caught the action. It's an excellent example of people accepting their own conclusions, even though they are secretly being led by the performer.

The feints in Ramsay's original routine work very well. In my experience, both magicians and lay people alike can fall for them. In fact, I might suggest some lay people watch more closely than many magicians.

Variations on Ramsay's routine are numerous. The first time I saw the trick performed, Mr Galloway said that other sleights can be used to create the effect. These variations are down to personal preferences in both sleight of hand and the effect desired. If you don't wish to toy with the audience or employ feints then a more direct sequence of vanishes might work better.

I have several handlings that adjust the effect for my own needs. I even decided to develop a handling that took advantage of people who had studied Ramsay's original. I used a metal cylinder to dismiss the idea of squeezing a cardboard tube. I used a penny instead of a cork to fool magicians when the small cain is dropped into the cylinder (no sound, therefore no hidden stack) and I developed a new stack that fit over all four real coins like a shell (taken from a cheating device). This variation was an extension of Ramsay's routine, simply taking advantage of the current level of knowledge amongst fellow magicians.

The best variation I've seen is Tim Conover's. His use of another prop to make the vanishes more baffling is excellent but his addition of a small ceramic dish is genius.

None of these variations, mine or others, should ever replace Ramsay's original method. Ramsay created a flawless routine that performers could personalise or adjust, once they understood the original handling. The idea that any of these new handlings should replace Ramsay's is just wrong.

There are tricks that began with the effect but took years for someone to find the defining method but this is not one of them, in my opinion.

There are thousands of variations on Vernon's Tiumph but I personally believe that there's nothing wrong with the original and many variations fail to deliver on the effect of that original.

Since discovering this effect I've had this discussion many times. In each case, it is the objective of the performer that decides their argument. In each case it is their preferences that dictate their opinions. Thanks to Ramsay's original routine, and the effect it creates, performers are able to develop their own sequence but it is essential to understand the original and the man who created it.

P
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 12:12 AM

I started to read Tom's article this morning, but gave up very quickly. There may well be merit in Tom's routine, but it is clear he did not understand Ramsay's

Just curious - if you gave up very quickly and didn't read it, how were you able to form an opinion? ;)
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 02:30 AM

Andy Galloway wrote:In the August issue of Genii, Tom Stone said that the original Ramsay Cylinder & Coins routine does not make much sense. There are threads which are started and go nowhere,such as the first feint with the lid. Why use a wand etc.?


Hello Andrew.
I am delighted that you took time to share your thoughts here, and I hope you will write again.

First of all, I think there is a point that seems to be unclear - the article is a theoretical essay about structure.
The handling I described is highly experimental, and should not be interpreted as an "real" alternative handling for Ramsay's "Cylinder and Coins". I put it together only for the purpose of this essay - nothing else.

The main problem with magical theory is that it easily becomes "high brow", esoteric and it's often difficult to understand how the theory could be applied on a practical level.

So after having written three rather "dry" columns, I wanted to illustrate how the ideas in those columns might be applied in a pragmatic fashion, hands-on. But how?
If I used a completely new effect to illustrate with, my points might become diffuse, as there would be no point of reference.
If I used an older effect to illustrate with, there might still be readers who didn't have access to the original description.
So, I decided to see if there were anything suitable in the back issues of Genii - because then "faithful" subscribers would already have access to it, and it wouldn't cost new subscribers a fortune to order that back issue.
...and flipping through the back issues, I quickly found Ramsay's "Cylinder and Coins" in the november 2008 issue. Since I had talked a bit about Ramsay in my May column, it seemed like a good choice to use his piece as an illustration for my theoretical essay.
So, during a week, 10-12 weeks ago, I put together my experimental handling, wrote the essay and illustrated it (the illustrations took a lot of time, about one hour/illustration).

So, if one would view the essay as a "real" alternative handling for Ramsay's routine, I wouldn't protest if it were deemed to be utter crap.
Fortunately, my handling is just an experiment to illustrate theoretical points. And from that perspective I think it is brilliant. (I got the august issue yesterday, and have just read my piece, so I hope I'm allowed this day to feel good about it ;) ).

As someone who had the priviledge of receiving personal instruction from its creator, I will try and explain Mr. Ramsay`s thinking behind some of the moves,bearing in mind that it was devised to puzzle magicians.


When I said that Mr. Ramsay's routine made no sense, I meant when viewed in the context of a story structure (which was the topic of the essay).
If viewed from the context of decieving fellow magicians, then I'm sure that the original routine makes all the sense in the world.
... But there the problem emerges - when the main audience isn't fellow magicians, then it is tempting to remove the parts that are feints for the informed only. And when those parts are removed... well, then there isn't much left but a skeleton with a lot of flaws.
While I've seen variant handlings I greatly admire, I have not found anyone who have deemed it suitable to close an act with. And I believe it have the potential to become a closer.

The feint of apparently loading something under the lid was to provide some misdirection for the first critical move in the routine,that is lifting the cylinder to reveal the stack of coins with piece of cork on top of it, at the same time concealing the fake in the cylinder. While the spectators were wondering what could be under the lid, they could not give there full attention to cylinder.


Unfortunately, that isn't misdirection, that is distraction.
While it probably is effective to accomplish the goal of shielding the first critical move - it has the undesireable side effect that the lid now are a part of the plot, the "story".
And if the lid is a part of the story, then it should be weaved back into the routine again, why else is it introduced? (Besides the internal reason of giving cover for a secret move).
A simple solution would be to let a coin actually appear underneath the lid at some point. Like: "I need my wand to make the coins teleport into the cylinder, because if I don't use the wand, then the coins goes underneath the lid instead."

I am very grateful, Andrew, that you took your time to post your thoughts here, and I hope you are not offended that my thoughts don't share the same paths as yours. If you read my May column, I hope you noticed that I have the highest respect for Mr. Ramsay's intellectual legacy.
I hope this has addressed some of Tom`s reservations about the original trick and despite it`s apparent limitations, it still seems to capture the imagination of several of the top close-up performers in the World.

As a little mind game - let's imagine that Mr. Ramsay stopped aging when he was at his creative peak, and still were alive today. Let's also say that he never created the Cylinder and Coins when he did.
Imagine that he through the years shared thoughts about misdirection with Slydini, took an interest in Juan Tamariz' writings about False Solutions, discussed the art of deception with Tommy Wonder... constantly evolving his own brand of misdirection.
...And imagine that he today, for the first time, happens to pick up a hollow coin stack... turning it around in his hands while thinking "I wonder what I can to with this little thing?"

Do you think that the resulting routine would be identical to the one that he really created back then? What would be different? Nothing? Everything?
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 02:52 AM

r paul wilson wrote:None of these variations, mine or others, should ever replace Ramsay's original method. Ramsay created a flawless routine that performers could personalise or adjust, once they understood the original handling. The idea that any of these new handlings should replace Ramsay's is just wrong.

I'm horrified by your opinion, Paul. Sorry, but I am.

Maybe there is no version yet that can replace Ramsay's original. But that doesn't mean that the original is flawless, and it should not mean that we should stop trying to evolve.

I didn't know Mr. Ramsay, but my guess is that he would be ill at ease, if someone had said; "Thanks to your creation, I have stopped thinking, and have no desire to evolve the magic art any further".
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Postby El Mystico » 07/30/09 03:08 AM

Tom Stone wrote:Just curious - if you gave up very quickly and didn't read it, how were you able to form an opinion? ;)


That's easily answered; within the first few paragraphs you say it is not a performance piece, that it doesn't make much sense, and that the trick leaves many threads flapping at the end.

I think I can form an opinion about your understanding of the trick from that!

For another view on the trick,I'd recommend the John Carney DVD on Ramsay, where he goes into detail on the Cylinder and Coins - describing it as a "great trick", "very clever"; in particular he stresses the importance of understanding the Ramsay philosophy.
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 03:29 AM

El Mystico wrote:For another view on the trick,I'd recommend the John Carney DVD on Ramsay, where he goes into detail on the Cylinder and Coins

Thanks! I have not seen that DVD.
But as I hinted in the "epilogue" of my essay, I am strongly influenced by p. 50-51 in John's book "Carneycopia".
Is the DVD very different from that?
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Postby El Mystico » 07/30/09 06:09 AM

Hi Tom; yes, they are very similar.
I think it is important to note that John starts from the position of thinking the Ramsay routine is a great trick; he is altering it to suit his audiences.
whereas you are starting from a belief that Ramsay's trick is flawed, and not a performance piece.
Even if you are influenced by the Carney routine, when you are starting from such different opinions, the changes you make are likely to be for different reasons.

Incidentally, I'm sorry that neither you nor John seem to like the feints in the routine. I think the proper understanding of, and intelligent use of feints is as useful now as it was in Robert-Houdin's time. They are not just to fool magicians. I think Michael Vincent's work, as one example, shows a great understanding of this.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/30/09 06:19 AM

This is a great thread. Keep going!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 06:34 AM

El Mystico wrote:Incidentally, I'm sorry that neither you nor John seem to like the feints in the routine.

Would you consider it a good idea to expose a riveted hollow stack, throw it aside and then proceed with the original routine (using a second fake stack) ?
That way, the feints would "play" equally well for both laypeople and magicians.

By the way, these feints are rather interesting to study in the light of Tamariz' book "The Magic Way"...
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 07:16 AM

... Another idea to keep the feints, but to "feed" them back into the story:

Handle the loose coins as if it were a riveted stack until the laypeople start to suspect that there is something fishy with the coins. Then at step 9 (in The Ramsay Classics by Andrew Galloway), separate the coins with a smile and the words "I'm just messing with you - I wanted you to think the coins were hollow and riveted together!"
...Then end the routine at step 28 - stop after the stack is revealed inside the cylinder. Just steal out the hidden piece of cork, and leave the rest.
As the spectators discover that the previously loose coins have transformed into a hollow stack, like a "Solid Deception" ending - the feint at the start suddenly makes sense from a story perspective (as per illustration 1 in my essay).
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Postby Bill McFadden » 07/30/09 02:45 PM

In my view, the Lodestones columns provide the reader with much greater value than the mere $6.50 price of an issue of Genii. When applied to the individual's magical thought processes, Tom Stone's writings are, to me, a vehicle for expanding my consciousness, to question what I currently do and apply the thinking of others for continuous improvement. Tom's C&C essay/experiment left me brain-refreshed, motivated, and energized.

Please forgive my name-dropping, but about nine years ago, I was fortunate to have a long conversation with Bill Malone - mostly pertaining to areas of a close-up magic curriculum. He advised me to study Vernon's Cups & Balls and Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins for their application to premise, motivation, construction, prop management, misdirection, timing, technique, routining, and performance to list the obvious. I have been studying and practicing them ever since, and will continue working on them for the rest of my life.

My first step was to acquire as much in print as possible, and carefully study the life and works of John Ramsay. Then came the Galloway tapes. Then, the Vernon handling from The Gen (much better than what's in the Ganson book). From there, I began studying the various "streamlined" routinings of Carney (who is a god, BTW), Paul Wilson, Mike Gallo, and Tim Conover. I believe each of these masters would agree that until the student learns Ramsay, he should leave the subsequent versions alone.

None of those gentlemen (including Mr. Stone, I think) would even suggest that Ramsay's invention and lessons be discarded or rejected. But what happens when the student builds upon the origin can be a thing of beauty. Given what Stone has offered in challenging the student to think and build, other paths should be revealed as well.

To view Tom's article as a repudiation of Ramsay is short-sighted. Anyone interested should read it carefully and thoughtfully. Then, reader cannot help but begin to overcome the dangerous tendency to stop thinking too soon.

And, if you get nothing else from Lodestones this month, then at least you can glean a brilliant lesson in the application of Crossing the Gaze.

Finally, there was a terrific thread on this subject back in 2001, but my pathetic database search skills left me unable to find it in the archives. Perhaps another Forum member could post the link?
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/30/09 04:35 PM

Like Tom I feel that the thinking should not stop with the Ramsay routine. I feel that everything about this effect/routine or any effect/routine should be open to questioning.

While the discussion here so far has been mainly about the handling of the props, I suggest that the props themselves should also be questioned. Many of us have disliked the cork as part of the effect.

It is possible today to make props that Mr. Ramsay could only have dreamed about. So I propose the following as a new set of props for creating the effect but eliminating some of the problems inherent in the current selection of props.

Cylinder as always.

No hollow coin stack. Instead a stack of loose coins. The bottom coin containing a tiny neo magnet.

No cork. Instead a steel shimmed postage stamp.

If desired by the performer, all coins in the stack could contain a magnet to hold the stack together yet allow showing separate coins when desired.

Both stamps could be shimmed if desired.

By using a postage stamp, the thickness of the cork is avoided and the coin stack will effectively cover the stamp by just sitting on top of it. No hollow stack is required. The stamp would come away with the coins whenever they are lifted.

There are other advantages of using the magnetic coins to be considered.

As for Tom's storyline, perhaps with these new props it could be changed to a trip to the post office and the resulting problems.

How do these suggestions fit into this discussion?
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Postby erlandish » 07/30/09 05:07 PM

El Mystico wrote:Incidentally, I'm sorry that neither you nor John seem to like the feints in the routine. I think the proper understanding of, and intelligent use of feints is as useful now as it was in Robert-Houdin's time. They are not just to fool magicians. I think Michael Vincent's work, as one example, shows a great understanding of this.


The thing is, there's a larger purpose at work, to which feints offer one tactic -- namely, the direct manipulation of spectator's suspicions over the course of a routine. I'm not anti-feint myself, but one can also substitute tactics. Carney, for instance, does not use the same coin vanish four times -- he switches to steal methods for the latter two. This allows him to handle the suspicion of "The coin isn't really in that hand" which is aroused by false transfers (specifically, false takes). If somebody thinks they've "got him" after the first two vanishes, he's ready. Later on, with the fourth vanish, there's no feint in the traditional sense, but instead a sort of pantomiming of what other magicians might do, and immediately answering, "No, I didn't do that, it's still over there." which motivates the subsequent actions in a very similar way that traditional feints might.

Like I said, I'm not anti-feint, but there's a larger purpose at work, and one can use different tactics to achieve the same ends -- namely, the arousal of suspicions according to the terms of the magicians, only to later trump them.
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 07:57 PM

Jim Riser wrote:I suggest that the props themselves should also be questioned. Many of us have disliked the cork as part of the effect.


That's mainly because the cork isn't a part of our "normal" set of props, therefore it is easy to question its presence... But in the eyes of a layperson, the cork isn't more strange than those old coins or the cylinder.
A simple solution, if one is concerned over the cork, is to give the cork a place earlier in the performance - so its presence is natural and taken for granted when the time comes for the Cylinder and Coins.
Like, I've got a "2 in the hand, 1 in the pocket" routine with three bits of cork, which ends with the production of a wine glass. The appearance of the wine glass becomes the answer to the question "Why use bits of a wine cork?". And after that, the cork is an established part of the story.

Good ideas, Jim!
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Postby Chris Deleo » 07/30/09 09:13 PM

Ive been performing this for years, never once has the cork been questioned. Personally, I like the cork. It fits in nicely with the "earthiness" of the rest of the props; silver, leather, wood wand, and cork. All natural ingredients that compliment each other in a primitive kind of way.


I remember reading how Ramsay would cut a sliver of cork on the spot, right in front of his audience....is this correct?
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Postby John Carney » 07/31/09 01:48 AM

Thought I would chime in here.

Magic was greatly advanced when Ramsay took familiar elements and designed a new way of using the hollow stack, a new approach to vanishes, as well as pioneering a new kind of misdirection which was utilized not only in the Cylinder and Coins, but in every other trick he did. He took it far past the palming and pointing of the old timers. He also brought a whole psychology to his magic, far more sophisticated than those who had come before. Ramsay didn't just rest on the laurels of others, he sought to solve problems and contribute in his own way. He was not just about the moves.

Doc Daly said that all good tricks have a discrepancy. Magic advances when someone recognizes discrepancies and weaknesses in a routine, and actively seeks the solution to the problems. There is not such thing as a perfect trick. But if we acknowledge weaknesses, and seek a solution, we can come closer.

So Tom is doing just what Ramsay did..... exploring other possibilities. He was not satisfied with the status quo.

I took out the faints myself, as it does not fit my style. Ramsay knew his audience well, and structured the routine with their knowledge in mind. It is perfect for that.

Would Ramsay say that his routine was perfect the way it was? I would guess not.....I would guess that he was still thinking about it to the very end, adding touches and still trying to continue its evolution. That's what made him a great artist.

If Tom would have said his routine was better than Ramsay's, I might be posting a different message.......as it is, I appreciate that there are people out there that build on the what the giants like Ramsay have created.

How else will magic advance? We need to ask new questions and try different approaches. We may have to fail many times before we succeed. But I am not in favor of stopping the clock. What else is out there? ....Ramsay would be looking.

Do I prefer Tom's routine? ......No (sorry Tom)........but then again, neither does Tom.

But Tom did succeed in making us think about things we have not considered, or things that we think we already understand. In doing so, we are following Ramsay's example.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 07/31/09 03:48 AM

When I interviewed Rafael Benetar for Scripting Magic, he related that he will frequently ask his lute students to play a piece as though they were making it up as they went along. He explained "Magic helped me realize that this was the illusion Im attempting to create when performing classical music. Even if the spectators are holding a program that announces the composer, the artistic illusion of creating the music on the spur of the moment remains.

So, what is the illusion you are trying to create in magic? I dont mean the tricks, but the larger illusion you are attempting to convey when performing magic."

This idea of the larger illusion really struck home to me, and it is the reason that I don't use feints (or sucker tricks). It always seems to me that when you deliberately do things that make the audience think they've caught you doing something, then the larger illusion is that the audience can't catch you because you're too clever. The focus of the trick becomes: can the audience catch you doing something? Literally the last thing I want my audience to think about when I'm doing a trick is the idea of catching me doing something.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/31/09 04:59 AM

Pete McCabe wrote:This idea of the larger illusion really struck home to me, and it is the reason that I don't use feints (or sucker tricks). It always seems to me that when you deliberately do things that make the audience think they've caught you doing something, then the larger illusion is that the audience can't catch you because you're too clever. The focus of the trick becomes: can the audience catch you doing something? Literally the last thing I want my audience to think about when I'm doing a trick is the idea of catching me doing something.


In contrast to Vernon's Ambitious Card then?

It seems the feints were designed for a magician audience? (I've not studied Ramsay, so am going from this thread). Is that the case or did he perform it with feints for laypeople?

As Mr K said, great thread.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 07/31/09 07:33 AM

mrgoat wrote:In contrast to Vernon's Ambitious Card then?

It seems the feints were designed for a magician audience? Is that the case or did he perform it with feints for laypeople?


Back (probably)in the 1980's I saw Vernon on a TV show performing his Ambitious Card routine right out of Stars Of Magic. It included the sucker move. It was also the most entertaining, funny and easy to follow Ambitious Card routine I've ever seen.

Audiences hate being made fools of, but they do enjoy being played with.
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Postby El Mystico » 07/31/09 11:27 AM

I'm sorry that due to my post this has moved from the original focus - for now at least.
I think part of the issue now is one of definition.
For Robert Houdin, a feint was e.g a fake take of a coin - to pretend to do something you dont. Thats not what we are talking about.
For Hugard, a feint was about "establishing the move" - eg waving your hand over the pack before repeating the move to do a color change. That's not what we are talking about.

For some a feint is when you make a move that looks like a move to draw out likely hecklers, to squash them in a controlled way. As Vernon shos on the Revelations DVD with relation to the ambitious Card trick.
But there is another angle, which Ramsay used, and which is hugely valuable. That is to make a move that looks like a move...but subtly. and then to reveal that nothing took place - but without drawing attention to it. eg, you do a color change and draw the hand away face down; but in a casual gesture with no attention, show the palm empty - the card has not been palmed.
The aim here is absolutely not to draw out comments. And should be done so that many of he audence will not notice anything unusual. But for the spectator determined to try to follow your methods, wih absolutely no attention on them, they realise they were wrong.
Repeating such a thing two or three times will lead them very quickly, within their own space, with no one being made a sucker of, that they havent got a hope of following your method; so they may as well relax and follow the effect. I think that is what Ramsay was a master of.
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Postby erlandish » 07/31/09 02:00 PM

There was a huge discussion about this over at Magic Video Depot, and through the debate, about six different reasons for using a feint came up.

1) To manipulate tension and relaxation, which can create good timing for a sleight. Tension is raised at the moment of the sleight, things are shown innocent, relaxation ensues.
2) To motivate a sleight, such as the Han Ping Chen.
3) To maintain focused redirection, such as with the Spider Grip Vanish.
4) As a presentational ploy. For instance, to heighten the cat-and-mouse feeling between audience and performer. Not always undesirable.
5) To cancel a method, such as faking a top change in an Ambitious Card Routine. ("Ah! He's just switching the ca- Oh, no he isn't...")
6) To condition a necessary action, such as in Ramsay's Five Fly Cards (or, at least, Galloway's performance of it).

(There's possibly others we missed...?)

This is probably why I'm not personally anti-feint, myself (even though arguably all of the above could be substituted with alternative tactics). I see where Pete McCabe is coming from, but it seems to me to be a very powerful tactic to give up.
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Postby Andy Galloway » 07/31/09 09:59 PM

Tom,
I am not in the least offended that you disagree with what I wrote. I was trying to answer your questions about the Cylinder & Coins based on my experience learning it from Mr Ramsay and I did note your admiration for him in the May issue of Genii. I feel sure that he would be pleased that magicians of the present generation were developing their own versions of his routines. He always said that the starting points of his tricks could be found in the works of Sachs,Lang Neil and Downs.

Chris,
When John was a young man in the grocer`s shop he used to do the standard Cap & Pence apparently impromtu by taking some copper pennies from the till, removing the drawer from a matchbox,then pick up a cork and cut a slice from it with a penknife. He of course had a dulicate piece in the hollow fake palmed ready for switching.

mrgoat,
Ramsay made no distinction between laymen and conjurors when performing his routines, he did them the same way for both. He believed that magicians tended to underestimate the ability of the public to work out how our tricks were done.
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Postby Chris Deleo » 07/31/09 10:54 PM

Thanks, Mr. Galloway. Cutting the cork is great lesson in itself on being way ahead of your audience

Is there footage of Ramsay performing his Cylinder and Coins?
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/31/09 11:37 PM

Andy Galloway wrote:Tom,
I am not in the least offended that you disagree with what I wrote.

That's a relief! :)

There is one thing I'm curious about, Andrew. Do you know if Mr. Ramsay usually performed this routine on its own as a separate piece, or in the context of several effects?

I curious, because if we view the feints in the light of what Tamariz writes about in The Magic Way, they could possibly be considered to be "false solutions". But with a few differences.

Usually, people are not searching for a solution until after they've seen something strange, and at that point it might be useful to 'guide' the spectators to suspect something that immediately can be refuted.
But it's not that common that people are searching for solutions before anything unusual at all has happened.

But in the Ramsay routine, many feints are done before even the first effect has occurred, but not that many once the routine has started. To me, it seems that the placement of these 'false solutions' are a bit odd.

So, I wonder if the reason might be that he usually preceeded Cylinder and Coins with other effects, so that the spectators had a reason to search for solutions already from start.
Or if he had a "catch me if you can" attitude that encouraged his audience to question everything that was done?
Do you have any theory on why Mr. Ramsay assumed that his actions would be scrutinized before the first effect even had occurred?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/01/09 02:45 AM

Yes, Chris, there is footage of Ramsay performing the Cylinder and Coins. We gave it away on a DVD that came free inside last November's issue of Genii! Why don't you subscribe. :)
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby mrgoat » 08/01/09 07:20 AM

Andy Galloway wrote:mrgoat,
Ramsay ( please note the spelling of his name ) made no distinction between laymen and conjurors when performing his routines, he did them the same way for both. He believed that magicians tended to underestimate the ability of the public to work out how our tricks were done.


Massive apologies for the name mistake. And very interesting to learn. Thank you for sharing.
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Postby Chris Deleo » 08/01/09 07:29 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Why don't you subscribe. :)


Just did :)
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Postby Q. Kumber » 08/01/09 11:12 AM

My Genii arrived today and the first thing I read was Tom's column. Like his previous ones - thoroughly thought provoking and interesting. I read it with his intention in mind - the bringing together of the previous three articles.

I've seen a number of magicians perform the Cylinder and Coins. They have all fooled me intellectually but none ever touched me emotionally. I suspect that Tom's presentation would because of his emphasis on story, which can be implied rather than spoken.

Tom, you said that your next column will be your last. I hope you will reconsider as I have found each of your columns to be worth the full year's subscription.
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/01/09 12:28 PM

Tom, you said that your next column will be your last.

Did I? That was a mistake then, because I have two left, in october and december. Then I'm done! :)

Although, Richard is trying to convince me to do next year also, and he can be quite persuasive.
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Postby Steve Vaught » 08/01/09 03:09 PM

I "2nd the motion" --like Quentin--your articles Tom are well worth the subscription.

You can tell the articles are written under much thought and consideration. And as a subscriber, I appreciate that.

And Tom I side with you (in part)on the topic of theory ("Theory isn't worth squat if it can't be applied in a practical manner")

I love to read about theory but sometimes the "air gets a little to thin for me".


Just a quick note about Jamy Swiss.

If you read his review on the book "Performing Magic on the Western Stage"; it is wonderfully funny when he helps (in my opinion) to bring some balance to this evergrowing topic of theory by paraphrasing what a master had once said "Sometimes, a wand is just a wand". LOL

STeve V (the other one)
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Postby Andy Galloway » 08/01/09 07:42 PM

Tom,
I have seen John perform the Cylinder & Coins as a solo item and as part of a programme of other effects.
Magicians who had seen him before or had heard of his reputation would watch his every move hoping to catch him out. John would invariably begin a routine by setting the minds of the spectators on train of thought which would seemingly lead them to the explanation of the trick, then pull the rug from under them. He also felt that you could overdo the use of feints and this would detract from the effect.
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Postby Chris Deleo » 08/01/09 08:03 PM

Did Ramsay ever switch over to a leather cylinder? Also, who manufactured the stack in those days?
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Postby Andy Galloway » 08/02/09 08:41 PM

Chris,
He always used a cardboard cylinder. In those days grocers sold spices in cardboard tubs, the interior diameter of which was slightly larger than a halfcrown and ideal for the purpose. When John was in America in 1950, I believe he gave Conrad Haden permission to manufacture the props for the Cylinder & Coins with either dollars or half dollars, I`m not sure.
Last edited by Andy Galloway on 08/09/09 12:04 AM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: Spelling error corrected
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Postby Koudai Iwatou » 08/08/09 02:12 AM

Nice to meet you. My name is Koudai from Japan in Tokyo.

It's a first time that I write in it at here. It was introduced by Magic cafe, and I came. I'm sorry for my poor English skill, but I'm studying.

Well, I thought about a reason with a wand. Actually, it's not a stick, but it is a tool to cast a spell on. So, Here is the video of my performance.

Koudai's Cylinder and Coins
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9xUdvBeVEw

I am happy when I have you give advice.

Regards.

Koudai.
--Etranger--

by Koudai
http://hp.kutikomi.net/buroko/
http://www.youtube.com/user/kienboss
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Postby Q. Kumber » 08/08/09 05:25 AM

Tom Stone wrote:
Tom, you said that your next column will be your last.

Did I? That was a mistake then, because I have two left, in october and december. Then I'm done! :)

Although, Richard is trying to convince me to do next year also, and he can be quite persuasive.


My error. I re-read the article and you said that it is the column after next that would be your last.

I hope Richard's persuasion works!
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Postby Chris Deleo » 08/08/09 06:42 AM

Beautiful work, Koudai. Very original

How long have you been studying coin magic?
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Postby Tortuga » 08/08/09 10:41 AM

Koudai, that was very nice. Probably would be even better if you weren't forced to sit in front of a camera and keep your gestures confined to such a small space.

Saw a slight flash of the stack in the initial loading sequence, but then again, I was prepared and was looking for it. Certainly no layman would see it. It was very slight.

I know that you are using soft coins, so I am sure that noise is kept to a minimum, but music obviously prevents us from any hint of talking that would likely occur in performance. Do you do this routine for audiences? Do you use patter or music? If patter, what do you do, just talk about transporting the coins from spoon to cylinder and back? I'd be interested in knowing.

Thanks for sharing the video.
It's never crowded on the extra mile.....
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