I'm going nuts about nuts...

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Marty » 10/31/03 06:59 PM

hey ... maybe 27 years ago or so I went from my New England home to Montreal to see Dai Vernon lecture....And among his classic effects that were shown and some stories that he told ...he did this trick with 3 walnuts and a covered glass. he fooled everybody...badly... I wanted naturally to duplicate this wild feat but could never find the necessaries and finally a few years later gave up the search... well after cruising around a bit on Monday I found the set newly devised up for sale... and the memories and the search all came back... I'm not here to make a commercial but would like to ask the elite crowd here if any of you remember such and have thought as much of the trick.... the vanish and "quiet" production of three silly walnuts..???

Marty Shapiro
Greenville, S.C.
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Postby Guest » 10/31/03 07:14 PM

Hi Marty!

That's a great trick, and it is described in the Chronicles. The history is interesting. In fact, I got my walnuts from Ron Bauer, who was close to Milt Kort, who showed Vernon, etc., etc. The ones I have are at least 40 years old, and as good as new. I have done the trick maybe a dozen times for audiences, but played with it hundreds of times for my own pleasure. I didn't know that you could get the walnuts again! Where/who has them? I only have two, and would love a couple more as back ups. In fact, people have asked to buy mine, and though I'd have given them away to the friends who asked, I didn't have enough of them. Anyone else do this trick? I have found that the best time is around the holidays, and I usually grab the walnuts out of the dish of nuts my Mom has out with all the other goodies at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Looks really impromptu, and a can from the cranberry sauce and a saucer from the coffee cups that Mom puts out just add to that. Great fun!

Best, PSC
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Postby Marty » 10/31/03 07:23 PM

thanks "p" for the wonderful comments..
look to hocus-pocus.com for the thing.
I have looked literally everywhere else and hadn't found it yet offered elsewhere.

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Postby mark » 11/01/03 01:17 AM

Mr. Chosse (and others),
The effect Completely Nuts is being sold by Hocus Pocus, who told me that there was a run of 100 coming up for sale at the end of Oct. He stated that Hocus Pocus had purchased them all. Now for the bad news. The items for sale are not the gaffs, but the entire routine. For those well versed in the effect though, the kind folk who are selling the effect are also selling the gaffs at www.notanothercardtrick.com and if the one I have in my here is any indication, they have done a pretty good job. I am tempted to purchase another to see if there is much variance. Hope this helps,

Mark
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 07:54 AM

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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 09:03 AM

Speaking of shells anyone have an idea of when the School for Scoundrels is going to publish their seminal work on the game?

I can't wait for this, hopefully it will be released his holiday season.
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/01/03 11:21 AM

It appears that a few folks here DO NOT KNOW the effect and the properties of these "silent" walnuts... hmmmm....

Chosse, my man.... do you want to tip it here?

BTW... Whit Haydn showed me the first set of the HUGE GIGANTIC walnut shells for the 3-Shell Game (with a 2-inch pea)...

I will be having a set as soon as all the bits are assembled.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 11/01/03 11:34 AM

The trick also appears on page 19 of The Feints And Temps of Harry Riser. Real "old school" close up.

The book is full of great stuff, including more coin magic than you usually find in a book of general close up. There's also work on the multiplying billard balls and the Cap and Pence.

Those looking for the required something extra should investigate their local crafts store aroud the holidays (or just after). One might also think about what could be substituted for the walnuts while shopping in said store.
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Postby Guest » 11/01/03 11:47 AM

Another great reason to read the Vernon Chronicles!!!
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Postby Guest » 11/07/03 09:28 PM

I'm interested in "Completely Nuts", but wonder if the DVD that comes with the gimmicks is region-encoded. I.e. Can I watch the DVD on my Japanese DVD player?

I've asked Hocus Pocus about this twice, but haven't heard a peep from them about it. Incidently, questions I've asked Hocus Pocus in the past about products have also gone unanswered. Have other customers noticed this, or are these buisness practices limited to overseas customers?

....got a bit sidetracked there. Any word on the DVD is much appreciated. I've heard that L&L makes their DVDs multi-region encoded these days - I don't know about other publishers.

Fraser Gould,
Sendai, Japan
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Postby Marty » 11/07/03 09:37 PM

the dvd has two routines a most simple way and the second supposedly advanced...let me say this i went right past the first way and the second ...well you have to be er sitting down ...to do the work...sigh...

the best advice is to seek out Harry Riser's book the The Feints and Temps of HR as noted above. by far this is what you will want to do...


by the way the trick is just great but you will be tickled to hear my one concern with the thing... in my hands it is over in 90 seconds..

not such a problem but let me tell you a lot of fun to perform....

Marty Shapiro
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Postby George Olson » 11/09/03 07:06 PM

Pete,

Doesn't Johnny Thompson do a three shell game with "Giant" Shells? I seem to remember seeing him on a Stevens tape. Remember, I showed you the pottery "Walnut" shells I had. Gave one set to Reed Mc for him to play with. I see them at Garage sales all the time. Maybe if you scurry around antique stores you might find them. I am going to cantact a wood carver and see if he can produce a set for something under the national debt! :eek:

GO

OOps! I remember now it's the old three balls and one shell.
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Postby Guest » 11/11/03 02:41 AM

When I read the peripatetic walnuts in the Vernon chronicles I immediately fell in love with it. The image of the walnuts traveling too this impossible location was beautiful in my opinion and I wanted too do the routine but could never get hold of the necessities. When I by accident browsed on Hocus Pocus and saw the completely nuts sell I did not hesitate and bought one set. Let me say that I didn't watch the explanations on the DVD yet and I think it's a routine, which has potential. Making the routine entertaining is going too be the difficult part as far as I can see. It can be over in 90 seconds but you can make the routine longer if you play it big, which I think you should, as it is a parlor trick, and absolutely not close up. Too rate the quality of the product I can only say that the most important gimmick is from a very good quality. The other materials are from a poor quality IMHO that is and will need too be replaced by you. The routines on the DVD and the presentation are nothing more then a demonstration of the effect. I would like too discuss some ideas about this routine but Im afraid that it will be mixed up as I can see from the posts above :)

Who prefers using a cardboard carton instead of a can too cover the glass?
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Postby Marty » 11/11/03 08:04 AM

hey amon-... I agree with what you said more than 100%... you are right on it....

I went looking for tin cups er tin cans and you know in these modern days the choices have dried up a bit...but found a large ALPO can that fits the bill and in my infinite wisdom... kept the label on and used the pic as part of the patter...something like.."times are tough ... as I could barely afford my ALPO but better now as you see..."kingsize" with walnuts for dessert..

ok lame patter but a start.. the large Alpo can is rather striking...I made a paper sleeve for safer audiences..

I still say it is a fast fast trick.. If you can get 6 minutes out of something that takes 90 seconds you are a better man than I am...or slower...

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Postby Guest » 11/11/03 08:43 AM

At the 2003 LVMI during one of the open sessions, one of the attendees Dr. Andy Labbie performed this routine.

For me, it was one of the highlights of the open performance sessions.

He performed the routine standing and executed the routine masterfully. His walnut vanishes were incredible - they were literally gone before each reveal.

He used a quaker oatmeal cardboard cylinder to cover the drinking glass.
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/11/03 11:10 AM

George my man... can't wait to see you at Kramien's... the other day Whit showed me the new JUMBO walnut shells... wowowoow they are collossal....

Soon as he has the balls finished I will be getting a set.

This will be a best seller for Whit for sure. :D
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Postby Guest » 11/11/03 12:24 PM

Marty 6 minutes is a bit too much for my taste and the walnut too glass effect itself is short and I agree Im not slow enough too make it 6 minutes. But let me clarify what I meant. I use a Johny Walker carton the round carton a whiskey comes in though cut in half (makes sense too me as you are using a whiskey glass as well). I would like too begin by producing a whiskey bottle from the carton and poor a drink in the glass and drink it (this will proof the glass is normal as well ;) ) then you can go in the routine. now that all the attributes make kind of sense too be there in the first place the routine with the walnuts is more "logical" in my opinion as you are now a bit tipsy from the drink hence the strange setup of the glass and the carton over it. Now the routine as a whole can take up to maybe 5 too 6 minutes if you look at the whole presentation Ive got in mind which I will not elaborate too much on. The walnut trick itself is perfect for magicians but will laymen like it as much too there is no "hook" in the effect yet, no story and certainly no sense yet. So Im searching for a reason for the objects too be there. My reason for a carton is that the noise the tin can makes when put down over the glass could cover the sound normally made when using a extra ( I hope I didn't say too much here if so please say so) the carton does not make sound which makes the arrival more mystical IMHO. Do you guys emphasize the silent arrival in your presentation i.e. when the carton is put over the glass nothing is said only silence up till the point a walnut appears and then a lot of noise is made. The more contrast between disappearance and arrival (sound wise that is) the stronger the routine??

Btw I went too the LVMI but only one day I regret missing the open podium now Dan though we at least shook hands :D
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Postby Guest » 11/11/03 01:36 PM

In my mind this routine is similar in some aspects to Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins or a traditional Cups and Balls routine.

The basic premise is an object at the hands vanishes, and then appears under a cylindrical object or cup.

I don't know that magic always has to have a reason or perfect logic. Why do rings link? Why do objects vanish and appear elsewhere? Why do objects penetrate a table? Why do coins travel from one hand to another? Why does a card keep coming back to the top? Why do aces flip over in a packet? Why does the rope restore? Why does a bill travel inside a lemon?

I am sure many answers have been created to the questions, but is it necessary to answer all the questions all of the time?

Back to the walnut routine... When I saw Andy do it at LVMI, I was not aware of the routine. If I remember correctly Andy started with a funny opening line about being nuts or showing us his nuts, something along those lines He did not have an elaborate story about why his nuts disappear and magically travel inside a glass which is inside a cylinder. No stories about the magical squirrel that magically hides food for the winter in a safe place, etc.

Here are my nuts, watch what happens

Even without an elaborate story, I had no freaking idea how those darn walnuts where vanishing and appearing inside an overturned concealed glass. If something fools me, it makes me feel like a layperson. I guess I am a layperson in this instance if you define a layperson as one not privy to the methodology used to deceive. In this instance, I was not privy!

Even without the elaborate magic squirrel story the magic was strong enough to leave a highly favorable impression on me.
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Postby Marty » 11/15/03 05:36 PM

ol' Mike Rogers is probably rolling around in his....he hated double kicker climaxes...
90 seconds is too short for such an effort .. been working on the the production under the can of a squirrel then the can is lifted chock full of nuts......

I know corny as hell....but might get a laugh I hope....remember the trick sold today is called "Completely Nuts"....which I hope to admit at the end

sure wish I could find the squirrel from the movie Ice AGE...there just aren't any ...in 3D...

Marty
spending All his spare time looking for a 6" critter that fits...sigh

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Postby Steve V » 11/15/03 07:16 PM

Pete, how big are these shells Whit is putting out and I take it they are for a more cups and balls routine than a traditional shell routine. I don't know, of course, so if you could clarify it would be nice. Whit is going to be lecturing in the Bay Area in January, maybe he'll be doing the routine then.
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Postby Guest » 11/16/03 12:38 AM

I've been looking for years for the right "walnut" also. I came across some hollow plastic ones at a craft store, but they won't work, for the same reasons that a real one wouldn't. Glad to hear these have been made available--I'll have to snap 'em up! The routines in both the Vernon Chronicles 2 and the Riser book are outstanding, and would be particularly excellent "impromptu" during the holidays as Paul suggested.
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Postby C. Hampton » 11/16/03 01:01 AM

Well,

after reading the posts I get somewhat an idea of what this trick is about. I still have an additional question for those wha re familiar with it.

When doing the vanish of the nuts, can you show the reaperance of the nuts in the glass one by one, or you vanish the 3 nuts one by one to show them all together in the glass at the end.

Amo mention buying the completely nuts routine and questioning the quality of some of the props included in the routine.

Being overseas it might be hard for me to find an Alpo king size can. Is this thing easy replaceable?

Thanks for your responses.
Carlos Hampton
www.damainquieta.com/conferencias
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Postby Guest » 11/16/03 07:22 AM

You vanish one nut at a time, revealing the nut each time.

You don't need an alpo can, it comes with a cardboard cover - it looks like it is a cut of one of those tubes used for shipping blueprints.

I prefer the cardboard cover to a can.

You need to supply your own walnuts and your own small plate.

I agree with Amon, the main gimmick is good. The glass part of the gimmick I was not impressed with. I have sent an email to Hocus Pocus to see if mine is the norm, or substandard.
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Postby Guest » 11/16/03 06:08 PM

Dan,

I've heard someone else mention they were a bit disappointed with the glass gimmick.

Can you let us know when (if) you get a reply from Hocus Pocus?

Fraser
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Postby Dan LeFay » 11/17/03 06:15 AM

Yesterday my friend Amon-Re showed me the walnut routine which I was unaware of. He told me about it earlier but I could not imagine exactly what it was so I watched with the eyes of a layman.
I am very impressed. Though his handling was far from flawless I immediately saw the raw beauty of such a routine and when he shared the method I was struck...
This has the same appeal as Cylinder and Coins, with very natural objects.
Have to admit that one of the gimmicks became obvious to me after the second vanish, but the "main-gimmick" fooled the pants out of me. What a brilliant idea!

After letting the effect sink in for a few minutes I mentioned that it missed a climax. On second thoughts I think it is so strong it does not need any...
It is tempting to end with "some" final load or big production at the end but you might fall in the same trap as the jumbo coin production at the end of a matrix.

Again there is the comparison with Cylinder & Coins (I'm practicing Carney's version) but the climax in this trick is done with the very same props and without an additional load.
To keep the walnut routine as a major effect I think an added kicker-climax should follow the same lines.

Overall it was a joy to witness a "lesser known" classic, very inspiring!
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Postby Guest » 11/17/03 12:12 PM

Fraser,

Hocus Pocus emailed me to send my glass back for replacement, which I intend to do. I will report back when I get the 2nd glass.

Dan
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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 06:36 AM

I'm very curious how the quality will be. It needs too be polished also in my opinion
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Postby Rob Signs » 11/24/03 10:32 AM

The HUGE walnut shells are on the School for Scoundrels site (www.schoolforscoundrels.com) now. They're also available from Hocus Pocus. They're called "Trade Show Shells"
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Postby Guest » 11/28/03 06:02 AM

I'm a bit confused. The trick that the original poster refers to doesn't appear to be related to the 3 shell game.

Can anyone describe exactly what the 3 walnuts/glass/can thing trick looks like?
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Postby Guest » 11/28/03 08:59 AM

I think someone heard the word "walnut" and went on a tanget, this thread has pretty much covered two effects that have a walnut in commmon!

I thought the basic effect was described earlier in the thread but here it is in a nutshell (pun intended):

A glass is overturned onto a saucer, and covered with a cardboard cylinder or tin can.

3 walnuts are shown, one is vanished. The can/cardboard cover is removed to show that the walnut is now inside the overturned glass. This is repeated for the remaining walnuts.
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Postby Guest » 12/01/03 10:57 AM

Originally posted by Amon-Re:
I'm very curious how the quality will be. It needs too be polished also in my opinion
The new glass wasn't much better.

A friend of mine said that I could try polishing it with a fine grit wet/dry sandpaper lubricated with kerosene. I am going to try this. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Postby Guest » 12/01/03 11:03 AM

The glass in the pictures on the net looks pretty obviously gaffed in the way you'd expect given the description. Maybe it's just the way it's photographed but it doesn't look like you could do this close to people who have a clear view of the bottom of the glass.

Is this actually convincing in close up circumstances?
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Postby Guest » 12/01/03 12:14 PM

Originally posted by NeilC:
Is this actually convincing in close up circumstances?
No it is not meant to be done close up. It is probably best performing for seated spectators who are at least 2 meters away.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/01/03 12:56 PM

Teh trick is beautifully described in Harry Riser's Feints and Temps.
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Postby Guest » 12/01/03 05:46 PM

Originally posted by Dan Watkins:
A friend of mine said that I could try polishing it with a fine grit wet/dry sandpaper lubricated with kerosene. I am going to try this. I'll let you know how it goes.
I tried hand sanding as per above, it did not help.
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Postby Dan LeFay » 12/03/03 11:39 AM

I took my glass to a glass-sculpturor to ask if he could polish it. He said that was not possible.
The h*** should be melted instead of drilled.
He is making (blowing)me a new glass from scratch.
I still think though, that the glass that comes with the package will do it's job well.

Is there anyone who has seen Vernon do the routine, maybe someone from the "incrowd" who has actually seen his glass from upclose? I bet it's just the same!
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/03/03 01:22 PM

Perhaps it could be fire-polished with a MAPP or Propane torch?
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Postby Jim Riser » 12/03/03 02:13 PM

Bill and others;

Danger! Danger!

If the glass is made from real glass (vs. a plastic), trying to fire polish it with a torch is asking for trouble. Due to the coefficient of expansion of glass, the object would literally explode as soon as the flame hit it. Glass needs to be slowly heated to working temperature then slowly brought back to room temperature (annealed) to avoid unwanted internal strains.

When I used to work as a glassblower, I made several such glasses with polished rims. Trying to drill a hole in a modern glass could be trouble as many are tempered and would fly to pieces when trying to drill it. I no longer work as a glassblower - so do not ask :)

Is this an item that I need to make (for others) out of fluted lucite with a polished rim? :D
Jim

Added: Dan Watkins just sent me an image of the glass in question. Here's what I wrote him...

The glass you show is a soda lime type of glass (soft glass = high coefficient of expansion) found at restaurant supply houses. Fire polishing this would take some expensive specialized equipment. Even then it would not be real good due to the coarse cutting of the drill.

The (off center) hole was drilled from the inside using a diamond core drill with the glass full of water - for coolant and to flush away the glass particles. As such core drills emerge, they leave the chipped edge seen in your image. The gray sides of the hole are rather coarse for anything other than mechanical polishing. I can do this on my glass engraving equipment; but the cost would be ridiculous. It is a bad news job.

The lucite "glass" I was referring to is a very heavy molded plastic that looks like a nice crystal glass with cut flat sides. I used to make these to go with my hank pedestal. This glass has hard walls and the sound of the walnuts hitting it could still be heard. There is less of a breakage problem when transporting this type of glass. They are only worth making if there is a demand as it takes a while to get tooled up for the job.
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Postby KirkG » 12/03/03 04:17 PM

I had the opportunity to see Dai Vernon do it at a lecture at the Magic Castle. It blew us all away. Slow and unhurried. A thing of beauty. He didn't use a tube, but a handkerchief. I also saw the version at LVMI and it was nicely done.

Quality props are available if you take the time to look for them. The handkerchief helps.

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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/03/03 05:21 PM

Thanks to Jim for possibly keeping someone from putting out their eyes.

If you are interested in working on glass, look to amateur telescope making books. There are instructions on cutting, grinding, polishing, figuring, etc. and discussions of the different types of glass (soda-lime, pyrex, cervit, etc.) and their properties.

Not much on melting glass or blowing it, though.
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