World's Best Linking Rings Performers?

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Postby Mark Jensen » 03/29/04 07:41 PM

Hi,

I know it's only opinion, but I would like some input into who you think the top Linking Rings Performers in the world are today and a brief explaination why.

Thanks,

Mark
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/29/04 08:22 PM

That's a tough one, there are so many. Jeff McBride comes immediately to mind, as does Whit Haydn. Tom Ogden and Rick Thomas are very good as well.

The best I ever saw (though not in person) was the late Richard Ross.

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Postby Guest » 03/29/04 08:34 PM

Jonathon Neal, who uses just two (2) rings. Slow and deliberate with good music and lighting, his routine creates mystery and appreciation.
Wonderful contrast to most who jangle a bunch of rings, often with the audience, not knowing what is supposed to be going on.
Less can be more.
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Postby John Smetana » 03/29/04 09:14 PM

I had an opportunity to see Richard Ross, only once, and his rings were pure poetry, IMO. Not too long..smooth and easy..a real treat to see.

Best thoughts,
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Postby Paul Green » 03/29/04 09:31 PM

Casting another vote for Richard Ross. I saw him when he was young and then again at the Academy of Magical Arts Banquet.

His routine was so beautiful and mysteriously wonderfilled. It took my breath away and brought a tear to my eye.

Get the tape--live the moment!

Respectfully,

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Postby Mark Jensen » 03/29/04 09:52 PM

Of course Richard is and should be at the top of the list of best of all time.

However, I am also interested in your opinions on the best still performing today.

Thanks,

Mark
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/29/04 10:56 PM

Sorry, but its difficult, if not impossible, not to bring up Ross. At least I did come up with four who are among the living! :)

Diego is correct about Jonathon Neal: his routine is wonderful.

I wonder if its possible to include Mike Caveneys linking hangers in this thread? They are, after all, linking things.

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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/29/04 11:36 PM

It depends on whether you're talking about a linking ring routine performed for laymen or magicians.

If performed for laymen, the audience must perceive that the rings have been handled and examined by at least one audience member, otherwise the audience make the logical assumption there's gaps - otherwise they don't care how poetic your moves are.

Whit Hayden, Paul Daniels and Karrell Fox all have (had) superb four ring routines. I once saw Vernon on a TV show perform his six ring routine close-up with small rings (possibly to Dick Cavett). I was surprised how funny he was.
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Postby Guest » 03/30/04 12:34 AM

Must...handled and examined...? It always depends on the performer, and the way Jonathan Neal displays the apparent solid circles of steel, and the way the rings seem to slowly melt thru and out of each other, creates not only mystery, but an appreciation for the very visual illusion that his rings create.
Maybe related, but most people assume Copperfield is attached to wires somehow, during "Flying", but the fantasy is so compelling to watch, people want to enjoy the illusion he is performing.
Uri Geller does not give his spoons for examination. He just holds up a handful of spoons that he tells the audience, he just picked up from the resturant next door, and nothing else is needed.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/30/04 02:00 AM

While people probably assume that Copperfireld is held up by wires, the one thing that discounts this in the eyes of the audience is the perspex box ... which has been examined by audience members.

Uri Geller never refers to himself as a magician.

It is sad and unfortunate that most magicans are incapable of understanding (or pig-headedly refuse to acknowledge) the psychology of what makes magic work from the audience's viewpoint. Max Maven gave a SUPERB lecture on this subject last year in Belfast.

I have seen dozens of magicians perform the ZigZag Illusion. Only three (of the ones I've seen)have used the most vital part which is the real psychological convincer for the audience.

Any guesses what that might be?
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Postby Guest » 03/30/04 04:14 AM

Please dont forget FISM Winner Viktor Voitko from Ukraine with the floating linking rings. Pure poetry and more. He breakes the rules. For me the best of the last years.
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Postby Dennis Kyriakos » 03/30/04 08:55 AM

Peter Samelson.

Never had any desire to perform linking rings until I saw his performance a couple of weeks ago. He didn't speak a word. He didn't use music. Yet he drew gasps from an audience of laymen. Beautiful magic.
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Postby David Nethery » 03/30/04 09:35 AM

Originally posted by Quentin Reynolds:

I have seen dozens of magicians perform the ZigZag Illusion. Only three (of the ones I've seen)have used the most vital part which is the real psychological convincer for the audience.

Any guesses what that might be?
The tickling bit ? (with audience member )
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Postby Guest » 03/30/04 10:15 AM

Ross is the king of rings in my book.

Woody Pittman (who works the Castle sometimes) has got a beautiful ring routine as well. I've heard that he actually had some help from Ross in constructing his wonderful routine.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/30/04 10:44 AM

Only three must have read the Harbin book.

The key to the Zig Zag is to have a spectator "Mrs. Woman" as Harbin would call her, push the center section until it stops, "Because there is someone in the box," Harbin would say.

Then in go the blades.

"Now, push again Mrs. Woman."

When she pushes the center section and it goes ALL THE WAY... the look on her face is what sells the trick.

Just like the look on the face of the woman that reaches into the egg bag to find the egg.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/30/04 10:47 AM

Back to the Rings.... In no particular order

Depends. Comedy or straight?

Comedy: Jay Marshall, Topper Martyn, Paul Daniels, Terry Seabrooke, Ken Brooke, Whit Haydn, Roy Benson, moi

Straight: Vernon, Ross, Voitko, Swadling, Latimer, J. N. Brown, Slydini
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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/30/04 10:53 AM

Yes, it's the use of the audience member that is the psychological convincer for the Zig Zag.

Also the genius of Harbin allows the audience volunteer to look (inspect)inside the box while in fact the mechanical bits that make it work are outside the box.

Now back to the rings...
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/30/04 11:15 AM

I have seen the linking rings performed for lay audiences a fair number of times. In the vast majority of these performances none of the rings were ever examined by anyone.

In every performance, even the less-capably executed ones, there were audible gasps from the audience during the routine. In the best routines these gasps were virtually continuous and accompanied by blurted statements of utter disbelief.

So I think I have to respectfully disagree with Quentin Reynolds.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 03/30/04 12:01 PM

Originally posted by Dennis Kyriakos:
Peter Samelson.

Never had any desire to perform linking rings until I saw his performance a couple of weeks ago. He didn't speak a word. He didn't use music. Yet he drew gasps from an audience of laymen. Beautiful magic.
I agree. I've seen him do this a few times at MNM, and it always gets audible gasps.

Then again, pretty much anything Peter does is fantastic.

-Jim
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Postby Steve Bryant » 03/30/04 01:10 PM

Wow. To this list add Martin Lewis, Cellini, Richard Himber.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 03/30/04 01:11 PM

And Johnny Carson!
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Postby Q. Kumber » 03/30/04 01:13 PM

I don't mind in the least if anyone disagrees with me but I would bet cash that putting magicians of equal skill, each performing the same linking ring routine before laymen, the only difference being that one of them has, or apparently has the rings handled/examined by a member of the audience, that magician will win the audience vote hands down.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/30/04 11:19 PM

As long as we're disagreeing so respectfully, I have to say that it's not possible to have two magicians do the same linking ring routine if one of the routines includes having audience member(s) examine eight different rings. The good ring routines I've seen have no such blocks of dead time.

This is the large, often unmentioned cost of having props examined; it is usually deadly dull to watch someone examine a prop. Sometimes it's worth it, and some times it's necessary, but many performers don't seem to take this cost into consideration at all.

With many props you can achieve the same effect without them literally "examining" the prop. For example if you hand someone a deck and have them shuffle it, the audience will be convinced the deck is ungimmicked. I don't know any way to get the audience to handle an entire set of linking rings in this manner.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/30/04 11:50 PM

While I disagree in general with Mr. Reynolds, it (having the rings inspected) is possible to do and do well. This is what sets Whit Haydns routine apart from so many: the volunteer and the audience believe that all four rings have been handled by the volunteer, and yet there is zero dead time. Its a masterpiece of construction and audience management. I believe similar thinking could be applied to routines with more rings.

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Postby Dale Shrimpton » 03/31/04 05:07 AM

For me, i think that Bob Swadlings fast paced ring routine is about the best i have seen. In a british ring convention where every bloody act used them, his was a breath of fresh air.
However, i am surprised that Dante hasnt been metioned. My mentor saw the simsalabim show, whilst it was here in the u.k, and remembers the rings more than any other effect. He closed the first half with it, and at the end of the routine, the 8 rings were thrown, still linked, onto the footlights. People were invited to come up and inspect them during the Intermission.
every ring was found to be solid, and permenantly joined to each other.

They were switched, Dante walking forward to the audience as the front of house tabs closed.
his arms, outstretched in applause cue possition.
for a fraction of a second, the rings went behind the rapidly closing tabs, and the deed was done.
So simple a ruse, still remembered after all those years, and passed on for possible use in years to come.....


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Postby MaxNY » 03/31/04 07:51 AM

I tried, and tried to hold out, but I can't hold out anymore. There is one common factor here ...Rings in the magicians hands, as viewed by audience. I also do that type of routine but with the Birthday boy or girl. And if that is the kind of routine we are voting on, my vote goes to Paul Daniels.
---Years ago I developed a way to bring the rings to a [censored] room, or Bar Mitzvah. I work with 8 rings, and keep them moving throughout the surrounding crowd. If, and when things get tight, I gather back all , or some of the rings, (they always rest around my neck when not in use) and reduce the heat down to just a few rings, or ring and scarf (via a little help from Kirk!). The Silk thru ring is strong enough to eliminate all other "possibilities". I get about 20 minutes. Crash thru's with them holding a ring, silent fall offs, I use every trick in the book, except for designs like the globe or flower. I never try to keep just one ring aroud my neck, so the scarf with come into play when I need the focus to be on just one ring, while the key, and solid sister are around my neck.
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Postby Guest » 03/31/04 06:26 PM

Saw David Ben do the linking rings at the party for Mel Stover in Winnipeg a few years ago. The best I've ever seen. As I recall he passed the rings thru his arm - totally took me by surprise.
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Postby David Alexander » 03/31/04 09:41 PM

Success, ie. entertainment, with the Linking Rings has to do with the interaction of the magician with the spectators...the situational humor that arises, not just technical perfection and odd little moves that impress magicians.

I would vote for Faust, who used 15" solid stainless steel rings and Gene Gloye who published one of the most commercial routines ever.

Then there was "Skipper" Frank Herman of LA TV frame who did the rings more entertainingly for lay audiences than anyone I've ever seen. He was technically perfect and very funny.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/31/04 10:46 PM

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the differing points of view in this thread aren't at least partly the result of different performing environments. The best ring routines I've seen recently have been done on stage, silently to music, where direct audience interaction (such as having the rings examined, etc.) simply wasn't part of the deal.

On a related note, I was talking with someone about Andrew Goldenhersh recently and realized that I had seen him do his version of the Needles in all three performing spaces: close up, the parlor, and the Palace. (I may also have seen him do his wonderful Miser's Dream routine all three places, but I'm not sure; certainly he could.)

There aren't a lot of tricks that can be performed in all three places (much less, as in Andrew's case, a single version of a trick). I guess that's one of the things that makes the rings a classic of magic.
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Postby Guest » 03/31/04 11:23 PM

I thought I would pay you all a quick visit to expound upon this matter which of course is of earth shattering importance.

I tend to think that the rings should indeed be examined. You cannot underestimate the intelligence of laymen. It does dawn on them that there may well be a slit in the rings.

I think the argument about it slowing things down is [censored]. I see no reason why the performer has to wait for the results of the examination before he continues. While the rings are being examined he can carry on waffling and doing his thing anyway. No need to stop.

However many professsional magicians have gotten along quite well without this examining business.
Usually silent acts.

However, the late great Al Koran did a show stopping 3 ring routine to patter and nary an examination. It may well have been the strongest trick in his act in some ways.
When someone once asked Koran about this lack of examination I vaguely remember that he replied that he didn't need to have them examined because his audiences had seen other magicians do the trick and hand out the rings for examination.
In other words the other magicians had done his job for him.

Maybe that is an answer to the mystery as to why certain magicians can get away without having the things examined.

I hate to be negative about the rings. I do think it is a wonderful classic but it is very hackneyed. It has a bad reputation in showbusiness. I remember showing up at a hotel gig and the owner said "Magician? I hope you are not going to do that ring trick. I would rather you didn't. I hate the bloody trick-it is so boring and everyone has seen it"
I told him I only bored people with card tricks.He said that was OK as long as I didn't do the rings.

I think some magicians are their own worst enemy where this trick is concerned. I was selling svengali decks at an outdoor festival once and several of the vendors complained to me about a magician that they had seen there. It appears that he did the rings and went on and on and on and on.
They were actually laughing at him. I told the magician it would be wise to cut out half of the weird and wonderful moves he had. He took no notice and to this day is performing the same routine that bored the vendors so long ago.

Some people never learn.

OK. I get vibes I had better go.
Cheerio till next time.
[censored]
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Postby Q. Kumber » 04/01/04 03:51 AM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
As long as we're disagreeing so respectfully, I have to say that it's not possible to have two magicians do the same linking ring routine if one of the routines includes having audience member(s) examine eight different rings. The good ring routines I've seen have no such blocks of dead time.

This is the large, often unmentioned cost of having props examined; it is usually deadly dull to watch someone examine a prop. Sometimes it's worth it, and some times it's necessary, but many performers don't seem to take this cost into consideration at all.

With many props you can achieve the same effect without them literally "examining" the prop. For example if you hand someone a deck and have them shuffle it, the audience will be convinced the deck is ungimmicked. I don't know any way to get the audience to handle an entire set of linking rings in this manner.
Pete,
I'm not talking about handing the rings out to be examined. I'm talking about the perception of the audience that they, or one of their members have handled/examined the rings. This can easily be done as part of the routine.

And it is perfectly possible for two performers to perform the same routine (eg the Vernon Symphony of the Rings), one with audience involvement and the other without.

I'm sure every magician on this forum who has ever done a card trick will identify with the difference in audience reaction when the card changes in the magician's hands and when the card changes in the sepctator's hands. Same trick, totally different reaction.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/01/04 10:31 AM

I'm working on a routine where each ring is placed over the head of a spectator, then you take the rings back, one at a time, and put one back, then take it again finishing with them all linked (locked) and you hang the three over you own head and walk off.

Shoot Ogawa

Reed McClintock

Two close up versions well worth seeing.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/01/04 10:32 AM

Roy Davenport has a fabulous routine with a huge quantity, very showy and theatrical.

Pat Page is no slouch with the rings either.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/01/04 10:33 AM

Al Koran doing his 3-ring routine (the routine that saved his life) -- read the story in his notes.
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Postby Philippe Noël » 04/01/04 12:22 PM

My favorite Linking Ring Routine is from a very modest professional magician, something very rare by the way, his name is Bob Alan from Belgium.
It is a four rings routine and all the rings are given at least once to be hold by the spectator.
It's a beauty!!!
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Postby George Olson » 04/01/04 08:15 PM

Sunday night (as he does quite often on his way to work), Reed stopped by at my venue he showed the fellas his upgraded routine.

Quite honestly, he's taken it to a new level of beauty.

He leaves in a week or two for his European Lecture tour. First Fecters, then Spain...

GO
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Postby Oliver Corpuz » 04/01/04 10:37 PM

Chris Capeheart needs to be mentioned. If you ever saw him perform his linking ring routine from the Stars of Magic series in person, you'd understand why. The look on people's faces when he does the crash link move is pure astonishment.

- Oliver
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Postby ggarcia » 04/29/04 10:08 AM

All the magicians mentioned thus far are excellent choices; for me Shoot Ogawa his ninja ring routine for lay people is amazing, and for magicians I think it is even better! I saw his routine at the magic castle. Link a spinning ring, link a ring in a spectators hand, you got to give it to the guy.
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Postby Jim Riser » 04/29/04 12:26 PM

Jonathan Pendragon and Rick Thomas both do excellent stage presentations of the rings. The audiences at both performances really appreciated the routines. Both are smooth and artful.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/29/04 02:46 PM

Did I mention Toppper Martyn?
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