Cups and Balls Thought

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Pete Biro » 03/23/02 09:34 AM

Does anyone think a gaffus for producing a cup full of liquid (as a final cup and ball load) is worth persuing? :confused:
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Postby Adam Brooks » 03/23/02 11:28 AM

A short while after my first real exposure to a real cups and balls, I thought it would be a great idea to do a routine with C+B routines with cookies, and end with one of the cups full of milk. I thought about every possible way to gaff a cup for the final production, and most of the ideas seemed ultimately impractical.

On the flip side, I've seen numerous routines that have this kind of ending: Tim Ellis' routine finishes with a milkshake in one of the cups, and I've seen a chop cup routine with a coffee cup and donut which ended with the coffee cup full of, duh, coffee. Both of these routines resorted to switching the cups out at some point.

I wonder whether a solid or liquid final load has a greater impact than the other. A solid final load has a subconscious message of "How the hell did such a huge thing get under that cup without me seeing it?!", while, with liquid, you get much more, because everyone knows:

1.) You can't hold liquid, let alone put it under a cup without people seeing.

2.) If liquid ever was in the cup, it would splash out whenever the cup was mouth down.

I think that such a gaff would be useful, given the right routining, of course. I have a couple of ideas, never tested, but would be completely practical for producing a cup of liquid for a final load. If anyone is interested, E-mail me for details.

It's a fun idea, and the world needs more fun ideas. :)

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Postby Jim Riser » 03/23/02 01:28 PM

As someone with an interest in cups and the equipment/skills to make what I need, I have "toyed around" with a liquid final load for the cups. I do not think that a gimmicked cup (as in the old National Magic Cups) is a viable solution to the problem. My current line of experimentation is with a foo can type of insert that can be loaded into the cup just before pouring out the liquid. This insert is actually a gimmicked separate cup that gets loaded into the regular cup and fits perfectly inside. After the liquid production, this gimmick could be lapped and the cups left "clean". Adam, I'd be interested in hearing your ideas on this matter.
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Postby Michael Edwards » 03/23/02 01:31 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Does anyone think a gaffus for producing a cup full of liquid (as a final cup and ball load) is worth persuing? :confused:


Pete:

National Magic put out a set of cups years ago, gimmicked to produce a liquid final load in all three cups. Based on a Paul Rosini presentation, these cups -- designed by Jim Sherman -- were first released in 1937 as "The Miracle Cups and Balls." With these cups, the cups and balls are performed in the standard way. The cups can be handled normally. At the conclusion of the routine, all three cups are shown empty. Then the magician proceeds to pour a cocktail or mixed drink (at least that's what Rosini did) out of each cup. I use colored water. The cups themselves were stage-sized, measuring about five inches in height and made of "hyb lum," a non-tarnishable metal with a chrome finish (though I think of them as aluminum). You can see a photo of my set on Jim Riser's historic cups webpage.

Michael Edwards :)
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Postby Michael Edwards » 03/23/02 01:39 PM

Originally posted by Jim Riser:
As someone with an interest in cups and the equipment/skills to make what I need, I have "toyed around" with a liquid final load for the cups. I do not think that a gimmicked cup (as in the old National Magic Cups) is a viable solution to the problem. My current line of experimentation is with a foo can type of insert that can be loaded into the cup just before pouring out the liquid. This insert is actually a gimmicked separate cup that gets loaded into the regular cup and fits perfectly inside. After the liquid production, this gimmick could be lapped and the cups left "clean"...
Jim :cool:


Jim:

We must have been posting messages concurrently inasmuch as I hadn't seen your post prior to answering Pete's. The advantage of the National Cups were that they were selfcontained. There was no switching, no gimmicks, they could even be inspected (very casually) by a spectator. And, by the way, they cost $10.00 ($10.25 postpaid). Of course, that was sixty-five years ago. :D

Michael

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Edwards ]
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/23/02 01:47 PM

I have a set of them there bigggg ones from whence you describe.

I'm thinking of a device to fit into a Johnson, Dew, R&T type cup (not to mention the Johnny Paul cups--second gaff due to size difference.)

Around 1 ayem I hit on one that I'm working on... one that would be a great lecture item, that anybody could make in a short time... will email you and Mr. Riser a photo later (Sunday or Monday)...

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Postby Guest » 03/23/02 01:49 PM

Long ago Ben Stone (Delben Magic) showed me a routine with a wand with a tiny needle point at one end. The final load was a small balloon filled with water. The needle was used to pop the balloon after the cup was tipped up.

In some old magic books it was suggested if the balloon were orange...the popped balloon would look like a goldfish.

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: MarkRobertson ]
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/23/02 01:49 PM

Here's a goofy, possible "great" idea... hehehe...

Blow an egg and refill with H2o...

Load and leave in cup... produce a glass, pick up cup with egg, break with thumbnail and pour out the water???

Why not?

Trouble is... NOT MARKETABLE... TSK TSK :eek:
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Postby Guest » 03/23/02 01:59 PM

You could always market the refills. :rolleyes:
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Postby Jim Riser » 03/23/02 02:07 PM

Michael;
I'll take two sets ;-) Your price seems fair to me!

The National Magic Cups are nice cups - my concern with the National Magic type of cups is the overall size of the cups, the reduced interior (attic) space, and the fact that the cups themselves just aren't ungimmicked.

The goal is perfection and I do not feel that National Magic's solution is quite it.

Sometime this year I will be introducing my standard sized copper cups (to match the minis and jumbos) with a liquid final load feature. This is still in the experimental/development phase. My current thinking is to use the add-in load; but I am open to other solutions. I still have not decided if liquid from all three cups is important or if from only one will serve the purpose. Small empty glasses could be produced from the other two cups to give a drink to several spectators. I'm very open to suggestions. I am still seeking perfection. The solution must be practical and most any construction concerns can be overcome.
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Postby Guest » 03/23/02 02:25 PM

I know Tim Ellis does a 1950's milkshake routine with milkshake cups and cherries and finishes with producing a milkshake. Very fun.

I always wanted to a cups and balls routine that used the old "lime in the coconut" song and three coconut shells and a lime.

Maybe a stage shell and pea routine?

Has anyone seen the chop cup shell and pea sets anywhere? Saw one a while ago and haven't found it.
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Postby Michael Edwards » 03/23/02 03:45 PM

Jim:

I think there were a couple of reasons the National cups were as large as they were. When Paul Rosini handled them with the final water loads, they really resembled cocktail shakers...an appropriate image given that he was often performing in a nightclub setting and his final loads were mixed drinks. Indeed, Rosini first performed this routine at the Empire Room in Chicago's Palmer House. But Rosini was also known for another ending to his cups and balls routine...the production of six live chicks. He was very cautious in his handling of these fragile creatures and they grew very quickly, so a large cup well suited his use. The fact that his water cups and chick cups looked the same was only natural. However, I agree that they weren't -- and aren't -- a perfect solution.

I've played around with a number of approaches to liquid loads: gimmicked cups, switched in cups, but lately I've been concentrating on finding ways to switch in the liquid using one of the other loads rather than the cup itself. Both Mark and Pete seem to be thinking the same way. I'm really interested in what you come up with in cup design...though lapping seldom would work for me inmasmuch as I am rarely seated. Regardless, please put me on the waiting list for a set of your regular-sized cups. I know whatever you produce will be first-rate.

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Postby Pete Biro » 03/23/02 03:47 PM

check out www.chefanton.com and look for whit haydn's stuff.. I believe he still has the magnetic three shell set up... altho I find a gaffe is often harder to use than sleight of hand. :)
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Postby Jim Riser » 03/23/02 04:09 PM

Michael;
thanks for the extra background info on Rosini's use of the cups. A big reason that I do not want to utilize the National Magic method is that it will not effectively work with curved cups. It is much better suited to the tapered style of cup. A drawing of the cross section of both types of cups stacked will clearly show why it is not practical with curved types of cups. They stack differently.

My thinking for a stand up stage/platform routine would be to utilize a shelf behind and below table top. The load with liquid could easily be introduced as a cup was slightly lowered behind the table. A servante or well could catch the gimmick when empty - leaving the cups clean.

More later.
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Postby Adam Brooks » 03/23/02 05:01 PM

Wow, some great ideas out there. No doubt, producing liquid as a final "load" is a worthy persuit. One thing that I feel is worthy on note, and since it seems many people here are very knowleddgable about the various style cups created over the history, I'm hoping someone will chime in here.

I think there is little argument that C+B is a time-tested classic. However, most routines out there have one very important thing in common: when a layman watches one, only two things will be remembered, one much more strongly than the other: The final loads,

"He did this trick where 3 mongeese appeared under these cups!"

and what the balls did:

"He put a ball under each cup, and then they were all under the middle one!"

So here's my question: Do people really remember that you used these beautiful, elegant-looking brass or silver or whatever cups? The good balance, grip, size and weight of the cups are something that are only appreciated by the magician. For the audience, you could a kiddie cup to cover the balls and the routine would impact the audience just the same, IMHO.

My two pesos,

Adam

P.S. When I pour the liquid from the brass cup at the end of the routine, am I doing it because it is impossible, or because it makes sense?
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Postby Michael Edwards » 03/23/02 06:07 PM

Originally posted by Adam Brooks:


So here's my question: Do people really remember that you used these beautiful, elegant-looking brass or silver or whatever cups? The good balance, grip, size and weight of the cups are something that are only appreciated by the magician. For the audience, you could a kiddie cup to cover the balls and the routine would impact the audience just the same, IMHO.

Adam

P.S. When I pour the liquid from the brass cup at the end of the routine, am I doing it because it is impossible, or because it makes sense?


Adam:

While there are some magicians who use their first stages simply as a build-up to the final loads, I think that misses the true magic of the cups and balls. I believe that each phase should have a reason...and a truly magical effect. The cups and balls are not just the shell game enlarged. That brings me to your P.S. To my mind, the answer is both! It should be magical...and follow the logic of your routine. As for your earlier "question," you are quite right. The audience seldom remembers the cups you use. The focus needs to be on you and the magic...not the apparatus. But there are exceptions. In two of the most wonderful presentations I have ever seen, the spectators indeed remembered the cups quite clearly. In one case, they were paper dixie cups obviously devoid of any trickery; the other they were mason jars covered in front of the audience with newspaper. :)

Michael Edwards

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Edwards ]
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/23/02 06:37 PM

One of the great cups and balls routines was (still is) that of Bob Read. It was published. His cups were all different, one cup from a magic shop, a coffee cups and one other, which I don't recall...

Some of the effects were the tip of the wand vanished off the want and appeared under a cup, his watch fell apart, it was laugh after laugh and pure entertainment.

About "what do the spectators remember?"

I did the CB at a dinner table at Christmas. A doctor was the closest to me and when he lifted the cups and found three lemons he nearly had a heart attack.

Months later he still talks about it.

The preliminary stuff is to entertain and SET UP the finish...

The amazing reactions and laughs from various phases, like cup thru cup, wand through, gag pseudo vanishes and penetrations ALL PLAY AND ALL BUILD.

Get Gazzo's tape and watch a master.

He kills before he does anything, just having three people handle and examine the cups! :eek:
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Postby Steve Hook » 03/23/02 11:07 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
One of the great cups and balls routines was (still is) that of Bob Read.


I think it was called THE PENULTIMATE CUPS AND BALLS.
:confused:

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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/24/02 12:48 AM

Pete:

I have an idea for a shot glass which could be filled (sort of) and laid on its side without spilling. Then it could be righted, lifted to your lips, and you can drink all the liquid, proving it is real. No covers -- completely self contained. I'm pretty sure it would work.

The idea is it can sit in your pocket very safely and be loaded into a cup which is then laid on its side. This cup can then be turned mouth down and immediately lifted to produce the shotglass.

It could also be used for Eugene Berger's Shotglass Surprise and other appearing full shotglass effects.

email me if you're interested and I'll tell you all about it. It would have to be made of plastic, I think. And I've searched many stores and the internet several times and have never found even a single ungimmicked shot glass made of plastic, so I haven't been able to experiment with it.


If you did have a cup gaffed to hide a liquid load of some kind, you could do Gregg Webb's C&B routine in the April issue or the Alex Elmsley routine, both of which keep a load concealed in one cup through the entire routine.


If you want to use the balloon and wand with needle idea (brilliant!) and don't think the spectators will go for the balloon as a goldfish, glue a magnet into the balloon and use a chop cup. And while you're at it, put a real goldfish in the balloon. That would be a sensational final load!

Just remember to either load the balloon very shortly before performing or include some air in the balloon. Otherwise the poor fish may suffocate.
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Postby cataquet » 03/24/02 05:55 AM

I have two versions of a final liquid load that I have used successfully. Neither requires a cup switch.

Version 1. I have a double shot glass filled with alcohol. The mouth of the glass is covered with a very shallow cap, which has a strong magnet in it. If the glass were to be knocked over in my pocket, the contents would spill, but I have a holder in the pocket (just a thin piece of card with a spring C clamp on it) which keeps it upright. The glass is slightly shorter than the inside of the cup, so when I load it, the cap sticks to the top of the cup (which is a chop cup with the opposite polarity)and the glass drops free when placed on the table. The shot glass has to be heavy to effect the release of the glass from the cap, but the distance that the cup falls is only about 1/4", so there's no spillage.

Version 2. I like the idea of showing a solid cup at the end of the routine, but I don't like many of the moves associated with starting with one. So, in this version, I have a cup where a solid bottom screws into the mouth. Effectively, it's just a final load that twists (and locks) into place. However, the cup has a little finial on the top (they look like the Morrisey cups with a Hindu cup top). I pull the top plug and then I can pour liquid (although I prefer a sand pour).

In version 1, I have to retrieve the quater sized cap in the cup. In version 2, I'm left clean.

Bye for now

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Postby Guest » 03/24/02 08:56 AM

Heres a thought, ice. that melts while the cup is face up. that you load just like a ball. Just an idea I had, sure it would take a lot of timing but i think it would be worth it!
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/24/02 09:35 AM

Many many many years ago, Earl Turow wanted an unusual finish for his cup routine.

He had (pre Burger, I think) a small candle on his table.

I discovered a P&L Phantom Tube extra load holder would just fit into his cups.

I put rice in the load holder, and put FLASH PAPER over the end of the drum head.

He loaded this, set it down for a bit, then lifted the cup, and moved it over the candle.

FLASH WENT THE FLASH PAPER and the rice load was produced, and put out the candle flame.

I think this was in the late 1950s or early '60s.

:p
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/24/02 09:39 AM

Another idea I had, but never built was a vanish of the close up mat.

Huh?

Here's the thought... after the cups and balls - or chop cup - you start to put the props away, and actually switch cups, putting one cup back on the table for a bit (you are seeming finished and just clearing the table).

You say, "Here's one more, watch..."

And the close up mat vanishes...

It was a thin mat, no padding, almost just a silk laying on the table or over a thicker mat.

The cup is gaffed with a spring inside and it sucks the cloth into it.

Probably impracticle, but this just is an example of THINKING of effects.

Another way is to have a hole in the table and the cloth is sucked down under a cup, you lift the cup and it is gone...

keep thinking... :eek:
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Postby Guest » 03/24/02 11:32 AM

The magnet for the balloon is a great idea. I did use a liquid load for a chop cup at the bar, but never thought of using a magnet (duh).

I did use the balloon. Here is how I did it. You have to look for the cheap, really small balloons. You want them filled with liquid...but no air. When you pop them it is quiet and the liquid dosen't splash. I tied a loop of thin fishing line onto the knot so I could load it from a pocket like a dove steal.

The balloon can remain behind the hand as you lower the cup and pour into another. Attention on the liquid will give you cover to ditch the balloon/loop. The balloon is wet, but then so is the bar. It might be more practical for bar workers.

The reaction to the appearance of liquid in a cup that has been upside down is very strong.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/25/02 12:31 AM

Pete Biro:

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin had a lit candle on his table. He was also pre-Burger, I'm pretty sure. ;)
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Postby Michael Edwards » 03/25/02 02:53 AM

He was also pre-electricity. Of course, Pete may be as well. :D

Michael Edwards

(In fact, electricity has always been with us. It just took us a while to "discover" it. But, of course, it hadn't been put to use lighting Paris' homes and streets yet. )

[ March 25, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Edwards ]
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/25/02 09:26 AM

Right... my first Dr. visit I had a "gastrokardiogram" they feed you beans, insert a tube in ...... and the equipment was gas powered.
:D :eek:
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/25/02 09:28 AM

Serious question. Is Tim Starr living? If so is he still making props?
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Postby Jim Riser » 03/25/02 10:07 AM

I have been told that he (Tim Starr) is now selling real estate.

FYI (update) - I have designed a cup insert which will automatically fill a small glass that is covered with the cup. Effect: small empty glass is momentarily covered with a cup. When the cup is lifted, the glass is full.

I am considering having a small candle holder with votive candle produced after uncovering the filled glass. This would actually be the cup insert. This would leave the cups "clean". I may make a few for fun.
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Postby Guest » 04/04/02 06:10 PM

just an idea,

but what about three brandy glasses that are full of brandy under each cup.

You can use the gimmicked glasses that are always full and don't pour ( they look full but are really empty.)

you could then use a thumb tip ( doh!! these things are under used) full of brandy and partialy fill (secretly) one glass so that when you tip the glass it appears to empty some of the brandy out???

simple eh??
but like i thought just an Idea.
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Postby Alpen » 04/04/02 07:54 PM

Hey guys,
Its taken me a long time to look this up, but in the July 1978 Issue of Pabular, Fred Robinson reviews the Oasis Convention, in which a Swedish performer (whose name he can't remember) did a cups and balls with a climax production of a glass of liquid. Not really a useful tip, but one that shows that it can be done, and it has been around.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 04/04/02 08:46 PM

Pete, this is going to be a long one:

I certainly thought a liquid production from C&B would be cool, so I worked one out for competition at the IBM in Hawaii in 1982, I think.

The routine was a two cup routine, using aluminum copies of Paul Fox Cups (at least, I hope they were just copies.) Everything came out of a tackle box. The balls were cork fishing floats, the wand a piece of bamboo pole, the intermediate loads were natural sponges.

The premise was that I would do a standard C&B sequence, after which the balls would both vanish. A wave of the wand would send us back in time to when we had two balls, and they would reappear from the wand. This happened twice. Then a natural sponge appeared under each cup. Then the cups were placed mouth-to-mouth, and the entire trick went "back in time, back to when Japanese fishermen used delicate glass fishing floats" (about 2.5" dia)The top cup was removed, to show an antique glass float apparently floating on something that filled the bottom cup. The float was removed, and out of the cup was poured water, and then a Siamese fighting fish.

One of the cups was gaffed with a plastic disc that sealed off the cup at the first rim (about 1.25" into the cup) I installed a sliding trap door into the disc, that pivoted around a central axis. This allowed the cup to be filled with water and a fish, then sealed off. The space beneath the disc allowed the cup to be used as usual, as far as the small balls were concerned.

At the end, when the Japanese float appeared, it "floated" on the gaff, simulating the action it would have if floating on water.

I liked it, but I never used it for anything besides the competition. Michael Ammar thought it might be a nice addition to the C & B book he was compiling, but when I sent him a tape of the routine, it arrived blank. I never did get around to sending him another.

And, perhaps in answer to your initital question (finally) I didn't even win the competition. Seems the judges were more impressed by some goofy dweeb who also did C&B, but he produced three chicks at the end. (and then a dove, and then split the dove, but I digress...)This, of course, was when both he and the chicks were younger, so the cups weren't walking around on the table on their own, like they did last itme I saw him.

SO TO CUT TO THE CHASE: Livestock 1, Liquid 0.

but I'm not bitter.......
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Postby Jim Riser » 04/05/02 04:59 PM

Alpen;
The production of a glass of liquid at the conclusion of a C&B routine has been around for quite a while. I clearly remember watching Johnny Platt doing his routine in the Close-Up Room at the Magic Castle in 1967 or 1968. His version was pure sleight of hand and the method I've used for over 30 years. His presentation was so strong that I had to watch his routine three times before seeing the loading of the cup. Pure guts!!! I loved it then and still do. It will always work in person; but never on TV. This is the production of an already full glass. What I am trying to do with a specially spun gimmick is to first of all produce the empty glass then cover it only to reveal it filled with liquid or to produce the empty glass then fill it from the cup. This is different than just producing the filled glass - and more difficult to do.
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Postby Jim Riser » 04/05/02 05:08 PM

Curtis;
During the same time period that I saw Johnny Platt do his routine at The Castle, I witnessed the first performance I had seen of the cups and balls with the chick ending. This was by "The Great Orlando". His last name was Bagley, as I recall. He was an elderly gent at the time and the handling was smooth. The only flaw might have been that his pockets and cups "peeped" all through the routine ;-) He pulled it off, nonetheless.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/06/02 10:10 PM

HAHAHAH reminds me of a small convention in Nashville, TN... Johnny Ace Palmer was getting set to work, and we know he does the baby chick ending, right...

Heheheh... Mike Close had a little toy that cheeped like baby chicks...

Needless to say, Close loaded the toy under the table just before ACE came out to work... and he went slightly nutz wondering why his little chickadees were peeping peeping peeping...

We are a sick lot!

:D :eek: :D :eek: :D
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Postby Pete McCabe » 04/09/02 12:19 PM

This just occured to me.

Tom Stone has a wonderful routine called "Champagne" in which you steal a glass of water right off the table during a coin and handkerchief routine, then produce it from the handkerchief.

I can't see why you couldn't you do this with the Cups and Balls. If Tommy Wonder can steal the bag and load it under the cup you should be able to work out a way to steal a half-full drink from the tabletop and load it under a cup.
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Postby Guest » 04/22/02 08:15 PM

Fascinating thread. Sorry to hear that the balloon/magnet/chop cup idea is already out there...so much for originality on my part. Worked on it for awhile a few years ago...now possible because of the incredibly strong magnets available. Planned to use a swami gimmick with a needle tip instead of graphite - dip the finger in and "taste" the finger, popping the balloon, then poor wine (or juice) into a glass produced separately. If liquid is dark enough will show better and hide balloon in case it slipped...

Alternatively, Horace Bennett used to do a routine and produce a full cup of sand at the end...it was very effective and would work for liquids also...He just set the cup down full at the beginning and used only two cups throughout the routine, moving the fluid filled cup around the table from time to time...no one ever noticed it wasn't inverted until the end...clever.

tr
:cool:
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Postby sleightly » 04/23/02 05:03 AM

When I perform my dice stacking routine at the bar (which is a two cup routine and combines an exhibition of stacking with cups and balls moves and productions), the objects that are produced from the dice cup towards the end as "kickers" are stolen from the bar top, the tall-style salt & pepper shakers (which are always on the bar) and usually an object or two belonging to a spectator. The bartenders are also trained to "deliver" a full shot glass or appertif glass to the bar top partway through (when they have the opportunity) that I load simply by placing the cup over and dragging it to the center.

The benefit of the two cup dice stacking is the wonderful built-in misdirection when one cup is "put out of play."

Really enjoying this discussion...

andrew
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/23/02 07:50 AM

The "already full of sand" idea is great... Alex Elmsley does this in his routine using salt. In addition, Alex works over a spread out sheet of newspaper (that has more salt within the folds) and when he finishes pouring the salt out of the load cup he then picks up the paper to pour it back in, and the added salt gives him enough to fill all his cups... clever fella, eh?
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Postby Pete McCabe » 04/23/02 02:47 PM

Andrew:

Your dice-stacking/cups and balls combination is one of those brilliant ideas that seem so obvious after someone else thinks of it.

Kind of like finishing an egg bag routine by producing a live dove. What better climax there could be to an egg bad I can't imagine. But have you ever heard of anyone doing it?
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