who invented the paper balls over the head?

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Dale Shrimpton
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who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Dale Shrimpton » January 10th, 2003, 5:01 am

Well, the title say's it all realy. I have been asked this question on another forum, and after a bit of research, i have more or less drawn a blank. If anyone knows about the history of paper balls over the head, and the principle atatched,I would love to hear.
Many thanks..
Dale

Brian Marks
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Brian Marks » January 10th, 2003, 7:35 am

Wasn't it Slydini

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 10th, 2003, 7:48 am

No, it was not Slydini.
I think there is some evidence to suggest that it was Blackstone, Sr., who also invented the "Two in the Hand, One in the Pocket" style routine.
I think ...
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Pete McCabe
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Pete McCabe » January 10th, 2003, 9:40 am

Richard,

Just to clarify...

You think Blackstone Sr. invented paper balls over the head and you're sure he invented two in the hand, or you think he invented both?

Thanks in advance.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Q. Kumber » January 10th, 2003, 10:11 am

To the best of my knowledge George Johnstone of Chicago was the first to develop a paper balls over the head routine.

He had worked on the Blackstone show and Blackstone used it as a quick gag. George took it further.

I understand he performed it at a magic convention and Slydini either saw it or heard about it and developed it further.

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Max Maven » January 10th, 2003, 2:28 pm

I'm fairly certain that the trick predates Blackstone. The earliest account I've found is a version done by Dunninger in the 'teens or early twenties. And, as it was a variation, that would indicate prior versions.

The one name that is inevitably skipped when this effect is discussed is George Jason (whose entire existence is largely forgotten by today's magic populace). His version was a mainstay of his show.

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Pete Biro
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Pete Biro » January 10th, 2003, 4:10 pm

Thanx Max... the first person that I saw do it was, indeed, Blackstone. Seabrooke told me that George Johnstone learned it from Harry and, yes, Slydini did get it from watching Johnstone. Hmmm... a thief? :*)

I'd like to know what Jason did that was different.

Just as an aside, when I was in the army our first sargeant came up to me (I was a real rookie) and said, "I hear you are a magician? So fool me!"

"Yes SIR..." I shouted.

We were up on the steps of the barracks and there were maybe 100 guys crowded around watching.

I did the Coke Bottle over his head, tossing it into the crowd.

He was NAILED... and the 100 guys cheered!

The next few days I got a lot of practice clening toilets and peeling potatoes.

(It was worth it!) :D :D :D
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Dale Shrimpton
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Dale Shrimpton » January 13th, 2003, 4:21 am

Many thanks for the interesting replies that have come through so far.
Now interestingly enough, whilst going through the library, i found some information as to who didnt create this. As Richard rightly points out, it wasnt Slydini.
This is backed up by a piece written in Lewis Gansons wonderful book, "Magic with Faucet Ross ".on page 153, appears the following..

" For years , magicians have been Vanishing paper balls, Rolled up hankies, etc, by tossing them over the heads of unsuspecting stooges. The procedure gets a laugh form the audience but, of course only fools the stooge himself.
Nevertheless it is a cute piece of buisiness , and real comedy if well handled.
No one performs the effect better than Tony Slydini of New York , who several years ago, contributed his version to the stars of magic series.
It Is also included in the book " The magic of Slydini" . to Appreciate Faucett's version of the trick, the uninitiated reader is urged to study the slydini version."

this introduction is followed by Faucett's improved handling of the effect , ending with the vanish of the paper ball inside the " stooges" hands!!.
(This is worth looking at by the way, i.m.h.o. it adds a finish that makes nobody look stupid, as the standard version has the habbit of doing in some hands.)
in using the words, " for years", it suggests that this effect was far from new when Ross used it. And as many of the stories and anecdotes date from the early 1900's, It must date from at least then.
As mentioned by Max.

Dale

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Guest » January 13th, 2003, 5:55 am

I don't know if the origin was Pinetti, but Horace Goldin or Fu Manch did the desaparition of a rolled handkerchief a la " Balls over head", was recovered by an assitant who attached it to a reel and after showing the kerchief to espectator dissapeared inside a column, and made people laugh more. The final was the reaparition of the kerchief attatched to a duck.

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » January 13th, 2003, 9:42 am

These germinal ideas are the kind that are difficult to track. Except for George Jason and Slydini, the bit was only a bit or device (part of a larger, unrelated routine)and not a COMPLETE ROUTINE...which is what Slydini created.

Dale Shrimpton
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Dale Shrimpton » March 18th, 2003, 4:25 am

As an update, there is a photo of Blackstone snr doing the balls over the head in David Charvets wonderful book on Jack Gwynne.
In fact its Gwynne, who is the volunteer, and judging by his expression, the effect was a new one to him at the time .
bearing in mind Jacks style, i cant help but wonder if he performed the effet as well.

Dale Shrimpton
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Dale Shrimpton » March 24th, 2003, 1:02 am

yet another find!!
In "Dunningers complete encyclopedia of magic," ( re- printed a few years ago ), he has the effect in there, and gives full credit for the performance he saw to Harry Kellar.
If you have a copy, its tucked under the description of the vanishing horse and rider. I forget the exact page.
Dale

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Ray Haddad » November 5th, 2003, 1:35 am

Originally posted by Dale Shrimpton:
"Dunningers complete encyclopedia of magic," ( re- printed a few years ago ), he has the effect in there, and gives full credit for the performance he saw to Harry Kellar.
If you have a copy, its tucked under the description of the vanishing horse and rider. I forget the exact page.
So, does that mean Harry Kellar did the "Horse and Rider Over the Head" routine?

Interesting... VERY interesting.

Ray
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opie
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby opie » November 5th, 2003, 6:02 am

I don't know about the over the head ruse, but we can be assured that the one-ahead principle used in the Two-In-Hand, One-in-Pocket predates everybody mentioned on this thread....The earliest witch doctor or Eastern/Oriental magician who did cups and balls did the earliest versions of TINOIP...Single bowl routines certainly utilized the principle. The Chinese Marble Trick and the Bean Trick basically use the principle....

Houdini, in his 1922 Paper Magic, provides a detailed instruction for the TIHOIP routine, and you know he did not invent too many sleight of hand effects....

If I had to wager, I would say that perhaps Pinetti and his contemporaries first used the overhead toss to set up a later reproduction of an object, and that probably was inspired by somebody's grandpa tossing something over a child's head....To further the wager, I would put my money on some Indian Fakir having developed or at least fine tuned earlier work in the area to come up with the basic TIHOIP skills for use in doing the Hindu Cups and Balls....

I too first saw Harry Blackstone Sr do the overhead in 1955, and he had been doing it a long time....

Sir Dale: Good to see you on the boards; come over to LP for a visit....

opie

David Alexander
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby David Alexander » November 5th, 2003, 11:32 pm

I watched Slydini do this in Los Angeles on a big stage show. As he was throwing the balls he kept telling the guy, "you don see 'cause you don watch," or some such thing, thinking it was funny. It wasn't. He finally looked at the guy and said, "You don't know where the balls are, do you?"

The guy turned in his seat and pointed to the stage behind him and said loudly enough to register on Slydini's lavalier mike, "Yeah, they're right over there."

The routine that I've used for decades was published, in of all places, an edition of M.U.M. from the early 1960s. You fool the guy sitting AND the audience with the routine. It never fails to score.

opie
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby opie » November 6th, 2003, 3:25 am

David....Is there any chance you have the Volume and issue number of the MUM magazine where the overhead routine is? I too dislike any routine which puts the spectator in an uncomfortable position.

In Slydini's defense, what once was acceptable spectator handling, is now thought of as incorrect. Imagine today pulling a pee-soaked rabbit from some doctor's thousand dollar suit!!!

Anyway, I would love a quick and dirty outline of the routine or the cited issue....Thanks...

opie

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Guest » November 18th, 2003, 7:47 am

If you'll rush to your shelves and pull-out V1 N1 of Goldston's "Magazine of Magic" (Oct. 1914 p.29) you'll find 'A Subtle Vanish for a Handker-chief' by Horace Goldin. Good explanation, and he intriguingly notes: "The inventor of this trick, a famous Chicago Magician, took into account the fact that a man cannot turn his eyes upwards unless he raised his head." As an old pal of George Johnstone's it'd be tempting to suggest...ah,no, Geo. ain't that old!

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Guest » November 18th, 2003, 11:30 am

Originally posted by Jim Alfredson:
... "The inventor of this trick, a famous Chicago Magician...
Was Harry Kellar a Chicago magician? Someone mentioned here that Dunninger credited his version back to Kellar. Is Kellar the inventor to whom Goldin was referring?

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Guest » November 18th, 2003, 5:46 pm

Nope. Harry Kellar was not a Chicago magician.

Michael Edwards
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Michael Edwards » November 21st, 2003, 5:13 am

Jim:

It is worth mentioning that in the Magazine of Magic discription, Goldin/Goldston emphasize that this is a trick intended to fool an audience of one. As the explanation begins: "This is a one-man trick; that is to say, a trick which can be done for one man and one man only." There is no indication that Horace Goldin had incorporated the approach into a routine in which an audience was let in on the secret. ;)

As for the "famous Chicago magician," I wouldn't take that too literally. There are indications that it may well have been Albini, who had been a mentor to Goldin and who had died in Chicago the previous year.

Michael

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Pete Biro
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Pete Biro » November 25th, 2003, 10:50 am

Watching Galli Galli (on the Sullivan show) he did the old bit where he appears to place a wadded up five dollar bill (borrowed from a volunteer) into his hand, but leaves it ON TOP OF HIS FEZ.... then, to bring it back he has the fellow hold his hands out cupped and by leaning his head forward the bill drops into the guy's hands... VERY EFFECTIVE in his routine.
Stay tooned.

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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Guest » November 25th, 2003, 11:04 am

I remember reading in some magic/joke book that the paper balls over the head started out as a clown circus gag routine.

Bill Mullins
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Bill Mullins » February 27th, 2014, 12:26 am

Ten years ago David Alexander mentioned a Paper Balls routine from M-U-M. It looks to have been "PAPER BALLS OVER THE HEAD" by Dr. James S. Taylor, M-U-M Mar 1962, p. 574.

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Marco Pusterla
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Marco Pusterla » March 1st, 2014, 10:10 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Ten years ago David Alexander mentioned a Paper Balls routine from M-U-M. It looks to have been "PAPER BALLS OVER THE HEAD" by Dr. James S. Taylor, M-U-M Mar 1962, p. 574.


It is in vol. 52, n. 10, March 1963.
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Q. Kumber
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Re: who invented the paper balls over the head?

Postby Q. Kumber » March 11th, 2014, 9:17 am

In the September, 1970 (Vol 35, issue 1) GENII, Vernon describes meeting Dunninger in the Clyde Powers magic shop on 42nd Street and seeing the over the head dodge for the first time.

Dunninger would hang his umbrella on the moulding on the wall, loosely open. Standing someone in front of it, Dunninger would toss the handkerchief and it would land and disappear into the umbrella.

Vernon also mentions that Houdini was badly fooled by a chap in Kansas City doing it.


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