Al Baker Rice Bowls

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Postby David Nethery » 05/27/03 04:02 PM

I have always wanted to do this since reading about it in Bruce Elliot's "Classic Secrets of Magic" . Now the publication of "The Secret Ways of Al Baker" has renewed my interest in this effect .

Who makes the gimmick ? I've tried the usual common item that one might think would work for this , but it doesn't work very well at all (irregular edges and breaks too easily) . I want to buy a heavy duty gimmick , the correct shade of white with the blue or green band to match the bowls.
Is anyone making this gimmick ?
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/27/03 06:29 PM

Not that long ago, Tannen still made the Baker bowls and gimmick. I have a set of the bowls, but don't know where my gimmick is... It is one great effect, for sure. :genii:
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Postby Carl Mercurio » 05/28/03 07:10 AM

Pete,
Who does the most compelling presentation of this effect. I've seen Clarke Crandall on tape. I have the new Baker book. Any others come to mind?
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Postby Paul Green » 05/28/03 08:10 AM

Charlie Miller used the Baker Rice Bowls. I would imagine that a performance would be on the Stevens tapes.

Loved the whistling.

Regards,

Paul Green :D :D :D
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Postby Guest » 05/28/03 08:53 AM

Indeed, Charlie Miller's routine is on one of the Steven's videos. I don't recall the exact title; but there are about a dozen performers doing some great magic. Shimada's dove act and Marvyn and Carol Roy are on the tape. :)
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Postby David Nethery » 05/28/03 01:59 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Not that long ago, Tannen still made the Baker bowls and gimmick.
Thanks for the tip , Pete.

I checked Tannen's web site. They are indeed offering the Al Baker Rice Bowls.
Tannen's price is $150.00 (!) which seems a little steep. For that price I would want a life-time warranty that the gimmick won't tear, discolor , or become brittle ! (with unbreakable bowls , too )


I'll keep looking for someone who sells the Baker bowls at a somewhat more reasonable price .

I would love to see someone put out a coffee cup version of the Baker method, with two wide-mouthed coffee cups and using coffee beans instead of rice , with the final liquid production being a nice cup o' joe .
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Postby Carl Mercurio » 05/29/03 08:45 AM

D.T.,
Now you're thinking! That's a great idea and would really update the effect in today's context.....
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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/29/03 08:54 AM

Years ago, as I recall, Himber put out a coffee cup version of the rice bowls.
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/29/03 10:09 AM

Right on Steverino... as always...

Himber did market two cups, made of metal, built somewhat along the lines of the Brahma bowls. No lid, double walls.

I forget when I sold mine. Wish I had not. ARgh...

Note: IMHO the killer version of the bowls is made by Owen Magic and is made in, I believe, brass.

$150 for the Baker bowls is a good deal, based on the value of the effect.

Maybe you can get 'em to sell you a spare rubber cover???
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/29/03 10:10 AM

Of course if you have seen JADE do her routine... she just goes into a Chinatown store and buys real bowls and makes the gimmick herself. :cool:
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/29/03 10:15 AM

Then again... you can search ebay, etc. and try to find a set of P&L (or Morrissey) Brahma-type bowls.

Here's the REAL WORK on removing the tape gimmick from any of the double-wall bowls (to allow the water to flow).

I use WHITE ADHESIVE TAPE and write "$300.00" on it, like a price tag.

I get to the point in the routine where I have the water loaded bowl on top and need to remove the tape.

At this point I do a "pause--a time out" and "confide" in the audience, saying... "This has nothing to do with the trick... but do you know how much these things cost?" I look offstage, then back at audience, saying, "I'm not supposed to tell... but look (openly remove the tape and show it) at the price tag... it says $300.00 --- (look offstage again)... but that's not what I say at home."

You get the laugh, you get rid of the gimmick and do it without the usual suspicious, difficult to cover, move.

:D :genii: :D
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Postby Jim Riser » 05/29/03 06:08 PM

Question:
If I were to tool up to spin sets of "Brahma type coffee cups", would anyone really be interested? I would not want to invest in tooling costs for making something people would not necessarily want.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 05/30/03 12:35 AM

I should mention that in the June internet auction of Martinka there will be my set of original Baker Rice's Bowls in superb condition,even the covers-after over 40 years!
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Postby Jim Riser » 05/30/03 07:37 AM

Above Pete mentions his "price tag" method for uncovering the hole on Brahma type rice bowls.

My method has always been to use clear tape (Scotch Magic is great) to seal the hole. Before covering the hole with the tape, I fold about 1/4" of one end back on itself. This forms a tab which will be very easy to grab when removing the tape. This tab, itself, will not stick down to the bowl. The clear tape is virtually invisible and the tab may be pressed against the metal of the bowl until you are ready to remove it.

I've always used this same type of tape tab on other effects such as the funnel (before getting my Merv Taylor valve funnel) and even Soft Soap boxes.
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Postby Kendrix » 05/30/03 02:32 PM

Put me down for a set of the Brahman Coffee bowls. I think they would be great.
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Postby Guest » 05/30/03 03:08 PM

JIm - that is the method I use also. My little addition is to weaken the adhesive tape slightly by sticking it to my finger and removing it a couple of times. Then when you cover the hole, bend the tab down so that a little bit of the adhesive curls back to the outside of the tab. Then I can remove the tape with one swipe of my finger, wrapping the tape around my finger until I can remove it unnoticed. Hope this will help! It makes the move of removing the tape fairly unnoticeable! --Asrah
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/30/03 03:27 PM

You could actually get a pair of real coffee cups (you would have to do a lot of looking around) that were the right shape, then make an insert and epoxy it into one cup.

Using coffee beans instead of rice, or ground coffee??

Jim: Let me make a sketch of an idea on this and I will email it to you.
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/30/03 03:31 PM

Here's a thought for a routine.

Show two coffee cups, seemingly empty.

Bring out a container of unground beans... show some... fill one cup (actually switching for ground coffed)... talk about no need for one of those "expensive" coffee makers so popular.

Put cups together... turn over, etc., saying "First I grind the coffee beans" lift cup and show large mound of ground coffee in one cups.

Scoop off excess (all of it) saying, "Don't need all of this, it'd keep me awake for a week."

Put cups together, remove tape, chat a bit, then reveal the liquid (you could use real coffee).

Any thoughts? :confused: :genii: :confused:
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Postby Carl Mercurio » 05/30/03 09:55 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Any thoughts?
Yes, my thought is that would be really cool...
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/31/03 11:02 AM

I have no experience with this effect, but I have done some work with tape. So this is just an idea.

What if you took a piece of double-stick tape, and stuck it to a piece of double-stick removable (aka repositionable) tape. So you have permanent side and a repositionable side.

Stick the repositionable side to the bowl. Then in performance, you stick your thumb to the permanent side, and the tape will come off the bowl onto your thumb. No tabs, no moves, etc.

Just a suggestion.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/01/03 10:05 AM

You can forget tape if you want to and use a small disc of plastic with vasaline on it and just slide it aside.
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Postby Jim Riser » 06/01/03 12:28 PM

Pete;
Shades of Anverdi with the disc. It works only with flat surfaces having the hole and best with a recessed flat surface which Brahma rice bowls do not have. The recess keeps it from getting rubbed off and helps to hide the hole.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/01/03 04:10 PM

Some years ago I had one of the race car fabricator friends of mine make me a water fountain load (I forget what olde book the idea came out of) but it was pressurized and with a release (it was loaded into a rice bowl) it would squirt a fountain of water into the air.

Heheheh... Gallagher would have loved that!

The device now resides in the Bob Albo Collection.

Note: Gallagher was once in the front row of a magic show I produced (saw him from the wings). So I had the MC have him stand and take a bow... and throw a cup of water on him! Heheheh :D :D :D
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Postby Jim Riser » 06/01/03 09:00 PM

Pete;
Magic of Hoyam for the fountain load. Abbotts used to market an inferior version in a set of bowls - a rubber bulb.
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Postby Robert Allen » 06/09/03 08:07 PM

Okito on Magic, an old book (reprinted recently?) by Magic Inc., has 2 pages on The Inexhaustable Bowl. The gimmick is almost exactly shaped like the stainless hip flask Jim Riser sells with his mini-chop cup, though I presume the Okito gimmick was larger than the small flask. How much pressure can that flask take do you think :) ? You could run a simple tube painted black up the center of the bowl and spray the water in from the bottom of the bowl. With a left and right nozzle attachment you could "take" the water fountain out of the bowl, pass it around from hand to hand, etc.

Hmm. I can imagine a Fire & Water routine using such a gimmick along with a Fickle Fire. Maybe even add the fake ice cubes sold by Stevens for a triple element tour de force.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/09/03 10:17 PM

Jim, right Magic of Hoyam. The gimmick I had made was a beauty, but I stopped using it and gave it to Dr. Albo for his collection.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/10/03 09:39 AM

I followed a Chinese Water Fountain act once (they closed the first half and I opened the second half--they needed time to "mop up" the stage)... anyway I came on smoking a cigarette and had one of those joke store fake rings that squirted water on... squeeze the bulb and up goes the water and it put out the cigarette flame...
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/10/03 09:41 AM

Has anyone found a "reasonably priced" source for the Al Baker bowl rubber cover? I have the bowls but 30 years of aging has killed the rubber cover. :help:
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Postby David Nethery » 06/11/03 06:08 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Has anyone found a "reasonably priced" source for the Al Baker bowl rubber cover? I have the bowls but 30 years of aging has killed the rubber cover.
I'm still looking . If I find a source , I'll post it here .

I am going to talk to a guy at my work who does sculpture and mold-making . I know he's worked with latex rubber quite a bit for his molds and also doing masks (Halloween-type masks) . I'm going to see if he can make up a few of the covers for me (I found a suitable set of wide mouthed coffee cups at a Pottery Barn store . I can paint a blue stripe along the rim to hid the edge of the gimmick ). I'll post back here if this is a success.

If anyone connected with the Secrets of Al Baker book is reading this forum I would be interested to get some background on how Al Baker had the covers manufactured.

I've never actually seen a set of Baker bowls with gimmick.
I know from the description in Classic Secrets of Magic and the Al Baker book that there has to be a sort of "lip" around the edge so it will adhere firmly to the rim of the bowl, but can also be easily removed .

From reading about it this seems to be the clearly superior method for acheiving the Rice Bowls effect , but I'm guessing that the reason it is not a common item from dealers is because the gimmick is troublesome to manufacture at a low cost , so it has fallen out of favor.

I think the coffee cup and coffee beans version would be very commercial.
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Postby Robert Allen » 06/11/03 09:15 AM

I'd buy a set of the coffee-cups if they were made, but given a few provisos:

1) I'd want them to look like some form of real coffee cup, both in shape and texture. If they're to be spun, then they should either look like a vacuum set of stainless cups, or better yet those blue-enameled camp cups. Thick ceramic "diner" cups would be idea, but wouldn't nest mouth to mouth well, and of course they are not spun. I do wonder if making cups to look like vacuum cups would give the fluid load away at all, as people would be familiar with thick walled cups. I'm probably just being anal though.

2) It would be nice to use hot/warm coffee as the liquid load (wouldn't it?) Or milk. Either would require that the handle doesn't heat up much if a warm load is used. One couldn't use a cold load because of the condensation you'd get on the outside of the cup.

3) Price would preferably be in the sub-$200 range. That might be a bit of a tough nut to crack though given the effort required to spin a set, amortized over the likely production run.

By the way, FWIW, I wouldn't use coffee grounds but rather whole beans to replace the rice. Grounds are just a mess and get everywhere. Beans can stick to each other if they get moist/damp. I wonder if synthetic beans are available? If not, then oven drying and treating beans would probably be the best plan for performers.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/11/03 09:48 AM

I recently bought a really nice coffee cup with a magent ala chop cup. It is plain white and a mug style but not real thick.

This would be ideal.

You would want to use real cups.

I would suggest locating some really HUGE cups almost like soup bowls before anyone made the gimmick.

Low and wide would be best.

What I will try to do is post a photo of the Original Baker bowls and a shot of a coffee mug that I think would be best.

Now, this would have to be in the for sale section here on genii.... Will try to do later this afternoon. :genii:
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/11/03 09:51 AM

Performance note: Charlie Miller's routine used the Baker Bowls and to place between the bowls, when he copped the gimmick, he used a Pot Holder. This really worked nice and allows one to lift it off and take the rubber cover (white to match the bowls) away in a natural manner. :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/11/03 09:52 AM

Another note: When you put the liquid into the cup and stretch the rubber cover over it, you let air out and push down in the middle of the cover so it is CONCAVED.

That way you can lift both bowls/cups up and flash the interiors to show them EMPTY. :genii:
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/11/03 10:16 AM

I am about to attempt to post photo in "Collector's Marketplace" section on the forum.
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Postby sleightly » 06/11/03 10:24 AM

The long, low cafe au lait mugs would be wonderful...

ajp

(Now let's quit talking about it so Jim can make them for the twelve of us... I don't want anyone else knowing about them!)
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Postby Robert Allen » 06/11/03 01:55 PM

I'll just add:

It occurred to me that spun cups could be done up in white baked on enamel, which would look very appropriate to the trick, and which would cut down on finishing costs on the spun metal somewhat (maybe).
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Postby Jim Riser » 06/12/03 08:51 AM

OK, guys, in my mind the brahma type cups are already made. The only questions I have before making spinning chucks are:

1. What size/shape of cup do we want?
2. Is this for close-up, platform, or stage?
3. Round or flat handles?
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/12/03 09:25 AM

Yo Jim... I will email you the photo. For some reason it didn't show up here on Genii... :help:
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/12/03 09:27 AM

Also... having once owned the Himber ones... I know quite a bit of the working/design, etc. and can explain some details... like the air hole placed near a handle so the thumb can scrape it off without re-positioning.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/03 10:05 AM

Years ago Abbotts made the Al Baker Rice Bowls. (I got mine in the late 50's, when I was a pre-teen magician. The rubber cover held up well for many years, but eventually dried out.

I doubt if they still make it, but you might give Greg Bordner a call and see.

By the way, I heard a rumor from Michigan that this will be the last Abbott's Get Together. Can anyone confirm that?

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