Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
magicfish
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby magicfish » January 25th, 2019, 11:58 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:I don't perform the Cups & Balls, but I still have a recommendation.

You see - I am a big fan of Peter Kane. And as part of my study of his work I discovered a very clever cups & balls sequence he put together. The construction is sneaky. Tommy Wonder was a big fan of it as well and he teaches the sequence in volume 2 of the Books of Wonder.

It is worth checking out.

I'm a fan of Peter Kane through his Combined Card Sessions. Thanks for the recommendation.

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 26th, 2019, 12:20 am

magicfish wrote:Does anyone have a suggestion for a routine I could start with? Something to ease me in?


Yes--get a copy of Bob White's cups and balls DVD. The routine he performs and teaches will get you going. Pay close attention to the reactions from the young couple sitting across the table from Bob. It is priceless the way they say nothing while shaking their heads in disbelief. White's self-deprecating patter about all this magic nonsense and foolishness with the cups while executing flawless moves is beautiful dissonance.

White also goes into a discussion about his false transfer and about the cups. He discusses their distinctive features and how that might affect your routine. This DVD represents real value for the money.

pabloin us
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby pabloin us » January 26th, 2019, 8:52 am

Magicfish, I like very much John Mendoza's take on Vernon's routine. He eliminated the ball going from hand to hand to be vanished and the false explanation used by Vernon. In his DVDs "My best" the Vernon routine is on DVD 2 and also in that DVD there is another very quick routine, his Combo cups routine is in DVD 1.
Also these DVDs have a Chop cup and a Bowl cup routines, as well as a bunch of other close ups things.

You can see the routines in youtube

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 27th, 2019, 5:51 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:
magicfish wrote:Does anyone have a suggestion for a routine I could start with? Something to ease me in?


...It is priceless the way they say nothing while shaking their heads in disbelief. White's self-deprecating patter about all this magic nonsense and foolishness with the cups while executing flawless moves is beautiful dissonance...


And that is beautifully written prose, Leo.

Yes, White is a real pro, smooth as silk.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. It has really gotten my creative juices flowing, and led to some significant innovations and improvements in my own routine.

Tom Gilbert
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Tom Gilbert » January 27th, 2019, 7:44 am

Speaking of the false explanation. It was at the first Genii Bash where Bob was a performer and taking court in the lobby. One of the TX guys got me into a discussion of the cups and balls, and I mentioned I didn't care for the false explanation. I'm not sure if it was Gary or Jared, but they suggested I mention that to Bob. So I walked over to talk to Bob about it, boy, did I get a lesson in how important the false explanation was. My hair was standing up. Bob did say that Charlie Miller told him the Vernon routine was as perfect as it could get.

Joe Mckay
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Joe Mckay » January 27th, 2019, 8:43 am

What is the logic behind the false explanation?

Can somebody give me a quick run though?

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » January 27th, 2019, 8:57 am

For me, it serves as a laugh point, gives a plausible but totally unrealistic possible method (which helps to draw attention away from the actual methods), and reminds people that I'm doing this for money (since my routine evolved on the streets).

One thing that I think is quite important - the technique used to demonstrate the false transfer, or French Drop (or whatever) needs to be shockingly bad; so obvious that when done for real, it will fly by.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 27th, 2019, 12:23 pm

I think the saying, different strokes for different blokes applies here, and there is no right or wrong. Whatever works for each individual is right. One thing I've learned, however, is that at least for me, nothing is set in granite and a routine can always be improved if one keeps an open mind. I don't believe that Vernon's routine is "perfect" just because Charlie Miller said it was. I don't think perfection really even exists (except that is not what I tell my girl friend). Sacrilegious as it may be to say it, even what the Professor has done can be improved upon.

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 27th, 2019, 1:32 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:And that is beautifully written prose, Leo.

Yes, White is a real pro, smooth as silk.


Thank you Alfred! That is very kind of you. I really believe every magician who does the cups and balls or contemplating this effect should own a copy of White's cups and balls DVD. If nothing else, just to have footage of a master performing this. His false transfers are absolutely convincing. White's DVD is worth getting just for his tutorial on this move.

Interesting Miller pointed that Vernon's routine was perfection since he went his own way when constructing his cups and balls routine. I like Miller's routine and have adopted segments from it to construct my own. Skinner also adopted parts of Miller's routine to construct his version. It should be remembered that Vernon designed his routine from segments used by previous masters like Bosco. That was part of Vernon's genius: His uncanny ability to spot the high points of magic effects he liked, and adopt/adapt them to his repertoire.

Vernon remained a student of magic his whole life and would have been the first to say that his routine could have been improved. He eventually incorporated Charlie Miller's "cup penetration" move into his routine. You can see him perform Miller's sequence on Mark Wilson's special. Miller credited this move to an unknown Mexican magician. Too bad he's been lost to history.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 27th, 2019, 3:01 pm

Leonard Hevia Wrote: "I really believe every magician who does the cups and balls or contemplating this effect should own a copy of White's cups and balls DVD. If nothing else, just to have footage of a master performing this. His false transfers are absolutely convincing. White's DVD is worth getting just for his tutorial on this move."

DONE. Just ordered it!

And interestingly, immediately after I placed my order, I surfed around looking for information about Bob White and in particular, his work on the cups and balls. When lo and behold, I came across this, which was written on this very Forum a dozen years ago, and which I never saw until today:

"Everybody, if you want the real work on the cups and balls this is it! Bob White spent one entire evening with me on the C&B and all I can say is 'WOW'! Even after years of being exposed to many routines I still learned more about the trick in one evening than I had ever known. If you ever get a chance to meet Bob in person you will find someone very special in this art we all love so dearly.

Bill Malone"

Quite an endorsement! Fitting that this would be written by my favorite magician and the master from whom I first learned a real cups and balls routine. I still have and cherish the set of cups and balls and 4 large different colored rubber balls Bill brought over to my apartment in Ft. Lauderdale over 20 years ago, as a gift, on the night he taught me the routine, which is the foundation for my routine today...

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 27th, 2019, 3:11 pm

There you go Alfred! From this DVD, you'll be learning from the man, who taught the man, who taught you how to do the cups and balls. A sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHJ6iFopmwU

Joe Mckay
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Joe Mckay » January 27th, 2019, 3:51 pm

Does the cups penetrating each other really fool people?

I have always doubted that.

Al Schneider
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Al Schneider » January 27th, 2019, 6:00 pm

A long time ago I was dating a very sophisticated lady. One day at a party I performed the cups and balls. I, of course, did the penetrating cups. She looked at me with beautiful eyes and said, "Al, that is beneath you." I have never done it since then.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 27th, 2019, 6:17 pm

Brian Watson has an interesting version of the cup thru cup move:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jN8mxjqWz6s

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 27th, 2019, 9:22 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:Does the cups penetrating each other really fool people?

I have always doubted that.


I don't think it really fools (at least most) people. But I don't think it was ever seriously intended as a fooler, but more as a playful gag. The question then becomes, is it something that adds something to the routine, if not mystification, then at least in terms of entertainment value, in the eyes of laymen? Now, if a performer has been doing the move all along as part of his/her routine, and getting a great or even good reaction, whether it's "oohs and ahhs," "Wows," "Oh my Gods," or even laughter, then it is working on some level, and is arguably a plus. Nothing succeeds like success. However, if there are lukewarm, stone-faced, or even negative reactions, such as the one Al received from the sophisticated lady, why would one want to keep doing it? Just because Vernon and Miller and pretty much everyone else did it, or does it? It's great to have heroes, but not so great to be a clone. I have been as guilty of it as anyone. It was Eugene Burger who really made me start thinking about it when I read The Performance of Close-Up Magic.

Oftentimes, I think we, as magicians (and I am generalizing here) have a tendency to do certain things or use certain lines (often corny ones) simply because we've seen magicians we admire doing it, or even because everyone else is. That can be a bad thing, IMHO, because it's not fair to ourselves, and it can be stifling to our own creativity and individuality. Nor is it giving the best of ourselves to our audiences. Other magicians can be quite helpful in terms of helping us advance as magicians, as Bob White was to Bill with the cups, and Bill was to me, but our audiences - they are our best teachers in terms of what is and what is not truly making an impact. Their reactions are the true barometer of how we're doing as performers.

Check out this video, particularly at 1:10. Watch how the cup through cup gag falls completely flat, the way a bad joke does for a comedian, and notice the comment the magician then makes in the wake of the complete and utter non-reaction he receives.
Last edited by MagicbyAlfred on January 27th, 2019, 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 27th, 2019, 9:27 pm


Leonard Hevia
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 27th, 2019, 10:27 pm

I don't think the cup thru cup move was ever meant to garner applause. Hannibal paused after this segment in an applause cue, bit it isn't strong enough for that. That's why it fell flat. The wand thru cup, and cup thru cup are humorous asides, nothing more. When Skinner did the wand thru cup move in that Legendary Repertoire home video, you can hear a lady chuckling.

These maneuvers are bits of lighthearted business, a preamble for what is to come in the routine. But the cup thru cup move can also serve a practical purpose. In a two cup routine, it's a nice way to prove that both cups are empty when they really aren't. It creates the illusion, albeit indirectly, and if done briskly, that the audience saw the interior both cups.

David Williamson's finesse for the wand thru cup move is a brilliant convincer. David Ben shares a few nice handling touches for the cup thru cup move taught to him by his mentor Ross Bertram in the March 2003 issue of Genii.

Jack Shalom
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Jack Shalom » January 27th, 2019, 10:59 pm

I had a different interpretation of what was happening.
The cup through cup was the first piece of magic occurring in the routine and the audience was not trained yet in how to respond. They were silent, not because it didn't affect them, but because this charming guy had just done something out of the ordinary and they didn't know how they should react.
They were silent again at the next magical moment--and then he teaches them how to applaud.
You can tell they are grateful for that direction because after that they are not shy anymore to give a response to strong magical moment.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 28th, 2019, 5:00 am

Jack Shalom wrote:I had a different interpretation of what was happening.
The cup through cup was the first piece of magic occurring in the routine and the audience was not trained yet in how to respond. They were silent, not because it didn't affect them, but because this charming guy had just done something out of the ordinary and they didn't know how they should react.
They were silent again at the next magical moment--and then he teaches them how to applaud.
You can tell they are grateful for that direction because after that they are not shy anymore to give a response to strong magical moment.


That is a good point, Jack. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I stopped doing the cup through cup move after I ponied up for set of Sherwood cups and started using those, even though the cups are of such high quality that maybe it would not actually damage or blemish them to do the move. But even when I was doing the move or, as Leonard pointed out, the light-hearted gag, it was in the middle of the routine, never in the beginning. It always seemed counter-intuitive to me to demonstrate or at least imply that the cups could be penetrated in such a profound way and then to do either the classic penetrations or the Charlie Miller move. I always had the feeling (valid or not) that it would cast unwarranted suspicion on the cups and undermine the magic to come in the mind of a layman if the cup though cup was done at or near the beginning, as it almost always seems to be done. Hannibal (who, in fairness, is a skilled pro) did have the cups examined in the beginning, but I never liked the idea of starting my C & B routine that way...

Al Schneider
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Al Schneider » January 28th, 2019, 9:51 am

While we are on the subject.
I personally have a feeling of loss that the cup through cup does not seem to go well for there is power in the move. One of the cups can hold a large ball while doing that move. One can show one of the cups MT then push a cup through it that has a large ball. After the sequence the same cup can be shown MT but it appears as the cup that was shoved through. I agree that it is not intended to demonstrate magic but just something like a flourish. Perhaps if there were a line delivered with the move would help suggesting that it is a gag like, "Here's a trick my 3 year old does and it baffles him." Or, "Here's a trick you can teach your kid, they'll love it." Hope you find that interesting.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Kent Gunn » January 28th, 2019, 11:17 am

https://youtu.be/wksAZSAccvQ

This routine has been trivialized, demonized and reviled by some pretty well known names in magic. I happen to like it, a lot.

I abhor the immense number of people that do Vernon's routine poorly and think it's their own.

Eight props, if you don't count final loads. Give a guy (girl) three or four minutes, there's an infinite number of routines possible. Al Schneider has an immense body of great work on the cups, why, in the hell don't more people do his stuff?

Bob White and Jared Kopf do Vernonesque routines beautifully. Neither is a slavish imitator. Why aren't there more like these two?

Why emulate Vernon? Probably because it's a great routine and he lectured when few lecturers were available.

As a young and foolish sailor, I learned and performed the Vernon routine. I had little discourse with other magicians over the twenty years I spent in the Navy. I had no idea how popular that routine I learned from a three dollar, orange pamphlet was. When I escaped the clutches of our military. I started to hang out with other magicians. Saw too many doing that routine.

I came up with the one above.

For me and Henry David;

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

KG
Last edited by Kent Gunn on January 28th, 2019, 11:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

Pete McCabe
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Pete McCabe » January 28th, 2019, 11:22 am

This past Wednesday, I saw Jared Kopf do a cups and balls routine in the close-up gallery at the Magic Castle. In that routine he did the cup-through-cup move.

It fooled every non-magician in the audience. There were several gasps of amazement.

So, maybe it has something to do with how well you perform the move, and how you arrange your routine.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby erdnasephile » January 28th, 2019, 12:44 pm

Here's Ricky Jay's version of the move (at 1:38)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwF1ec4Ji7Y

The thing about this move is that once you know what's going on, it's hard not to see it happening. (Kind of like the candlestick and the two faces optical illusion)

PS: Kent's routine kills me every time I see it. I've said it before: I'd love to see him on "Fool Us" because he most definitely would.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Joe Mckay » January 28th, 2019, 1:16 pm

The Japan Ingenious book has an interested magic trick (using gimmicked cups) based on the penetrating cup through cup flourish/optical illusion.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 28th, 2019, 2:31 pm

Kent,

That is a fabulous routine, very creative, and I can see why you are proud of it. I can't believe anyone has trivialized, demonized, or reviled it, but if they have, big names in magic or not, they are just flat out jealous. I noticed that precisely at the time you are pulling the wand out of your pocket and introducing it into the routine, you are saying the word, "wandering" as in wandering into the magic shop. I found myself wondering (as opposed to wandering) whether this was an intentional or unintentional pun, or whether you had even realized that it was a pun. I am not usually a big fan of puns, although I have been known to use them, but whether intentional or not, this turns out to be a good one, and may deserve some emphasis, although it could arguably detract from the tone of the engaging story - I'm not really sure.

Anyway, there is actually a new Broadway production that is receiving rave reviews. And it's actually called "PUN."
(It's a play on words).

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Bill Mullins » January 28th, 2019, 2:43 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:One thing that I think is quite important - the technique used to demonstrate the false transfer, or French Drop (or whatever) needs to be shockingly bad; so obvious that when done for real, it will fly by.


Ricky Jay agrees.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Joe Mckay » January 28th, 2019, 3:00 pm

I remember reading about a debate once between two famous magicians.

One was arguing that the final load had to be bigger than the cups themselves.

The other was arguing the size didn't matter. All that mattered was that the final load was something visually surprising such as a lemon.

The guy arguing that size did not matter went on to prove his point by finishing his routine with a really small piece of fruit. He still got a great reaction from the audience.

This is my memory of the conversation. So apologies if I have scrambled key details. But I would appreciate it if anyone can send me a pointer to the original conversation. I am sure I read it somewhere in a magic book.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 28th, 2019, 5:41 pm

I believe that size does matter because, in addition to the surprise of seeing a relatively big final load that is something totally different from the little balls and totally incongruous, such as fruit, appear, there is that additional layer of incredulity and astonishment that comes with the production of something that does not seem like it could even fit. Or that they believe could not have possibly escaped their scrutiny. I think it is John Mendoza who is a staunch advocate for the bigger is better theory and applies that to both his chop cup and his Benson Bowl routines. I believe he contrives to place one of the small balls into the chop cup after production of a big ball that just barely fits in the cup. In that manner, the big ball protrudes over and above the cup when it is placed back into the cup, conveying the image that it was impossible for it to fit in there in the first instance.

At the end of my chop cup routine, I take one of the lemons and place it in the cup. Then I take another lemon and kind of playfully hammer it down upon the one in the cup as if I am trying to force it in there with the other lemon, conveying the impression that both could nt possibly fit. Many times I have had people comment along the lines of, "How in the world did you get both of those lemons in that small cup?" Human psychology and perception can be fascinating. Each of those lemons was, of course, separately produced, but somehow they processed it as both were in the cup together at one point.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 28th, 2019, 8:27 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:I remember reading about a debate once between two famous magicians.

One was arguing that the final load had to be bigger than the cups themselves.

The other was arguing the size didn't matter. All that mattered was that the final load was something visually surprising such as a lemon.

The guy arguing that size did not matter went on to prove his point by finishing his routine with a really small piece of fruit. He still got a great reaction from the audience.

This is my memory of the conversation. So apologies if I have scrambled key details. But I would appreciate it if anyone can send me a pointer to the original conversation. I am sure I read it somewhere in a magic book.


Allow me refresh your memory Joe, it was a discussion between Ricky Jay and Ken Brooke. It's in Pete Biro's essay "The Magic Place" from the Stevens Magic Gemini Archives. It happened during a visit to Ken's Magic Place, and this is the part in Biro's essay:

On one trip to Ken’s Ricky Jay was with me. At that time Ricky was studying the cups and balls and was talking about how the Paul Fox cups were best because of the size/shape. “The final load balls look bigger than the cups,” Ricky said.

Ken disagreed. “Size doesn’t matter,” said Ken, “it’s the change. I’ll show you.” Ken grabbed his cups, closed the shop and we went to the market and got three very small lemons. We then went to the Dog and Duck Pub, Ken sized up a table (with 3 couples) and went over. He started to do the cups and balls (and believe me, next to Bob Read and maybe Gazzo I have never seen a more entertaining performance) and at the “Death” (Ken always called the climax, the Death), and Ken lifted the cups to reveal the three small lemons, the crowed roared. Ken turned to Ricky and said, “Y’see, size doesn’t matter.”

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » January 29th, 2019, 3:40 am

Final loads serve two purposes; on the first hand, they are a visual shock which is the main part of the magic effect. A secondary effect is that they would not fit into the cups.

I'm not a fan of the load being physically larger than the cup (for reasons best not started here), but it's impossible to reject the reactions to trying to fit two loads, which singly would fit into the cup, and visibly failing.

The loads do have to be _slightly_ larger than the balls, however, in order to amplify the initial change (or appearance), but I have no problem using limes if I'm loading from a pocket.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Joe Mckay » January 29th, 2019, 4:00 am

Cheers, Leo!

What a great story. Pete Biro was the best.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 29th, 2019, 2:16 pm

Pete McCabe wrote:This past Wednesday, I saw Jared Kopf do a cups and balls routine in the close-up gallery at the Magic Castle. In that routine he did the cup-through-cup move.

It fooled every non-magician in the audience. There were several gasps of amazement.

So, maybe it has something to do with how well you perform the move, and how you arrange your routine.


As much as we've discussed this on here, there was something I hadn't remembered until today:
The first time I saw the cup through cup move performed - and it Bill Malone - it fooled the pants off me! It made me really want to learn and perform the move. I am with Al Schneider when he says he is reluctant to give up on it. I contacted Brett Sherwood the other day as to whether I could safely do it and the wand through cup without fear of dinging or otherwise damaging the cups. (Mine happen to be the nickel-plated Sherwood cups, which are beautiful) He said he does both flourishes all the time, and that it would be no problem, as long as the moves are done with finesse and not roughly, and to catch the cup, rather than letting it hit the table. Although with a cushy close up pad and not holding them too high above, I wouldn't imagine there would be a problem.

I think I am going to reincorporate those flourishes back into my routine, but as I mentioned, not in the beginning but somewhere in the middle. Obviously I won't hope for or expect applause, but I will be quite attuned too see what the reactions are...

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby erdnasephile » January 29th, 2019, 2:33 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:Final loads serve two purposes; on the first hand, they are a visual shock which is the main part of the magic effect. A secondary effect is that they would not fit into the cups.

I'm not a fan of the load being physically larger than the cup (for reasons best not started here), but it's impossible to reject the reactions to trying to fit two loads, which singly would fit into the cup, and visibly failing.

The loads do have to be _slightly_ larger than the balls, however, in order to amplify the initial change (or appearance), but I have no problem using limes if I'm loading from a pocket.


I have a question: is there ever a time where a super large load (even one that fits in the container) loses the magic?

I know I'm committing heresy here, but Gazzo's seminal routine comes to mind. When that melon comes dropping out of the hat, is it not evident to the crowd where it came from? (or are they too busy laughing to care). I would have dismissed this as a one off, but some other greats also load from pouches, but doesn't the audience ever wonder why they are wearing a huge apron with pockets? I've even seen some really good performers strap on the pouches just before doing the cups. Does no one make that connection?

The super big production IS a great moment in theater, but it just seems not terribly magical. (I will readily admit: This may be a case of magician's logic and/or my myopia when it comes to looking at things from a layperson's perspective.).

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 29th, 2019, 3:50 pm

The only magician I've seen produce an object that was actually larger the cup it came out of is Paul Gertner.
In addition to the giant steel ball, he added a couple of more items for THIS PERFORMANCE.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » January 29th, 2019, 5:41 pm

I know I'm committing heresy here, but Gazzo's seminal routine comes to mind. When that melon comes dropping out of the hat, is it not evident to the crowd where it came from? (or are they too busy laughing to care). I would have dismissed this as a one off, but some other greats also load from pouches, but doesn't the audience ever wonder why they are wearing a huge apron with pockets? I've even seen some really good performers strap on the pouches just before doing the cups. Does no one make that connection?


The efficacy of the gibiciere has been debated many times. Without exception, the people who decry its use have never used one, and everyone who uses one will attest to its usefulness.

90% of the time these days I will use a gib when performing. I introduce it, explain its history, and then go into the routine. I see little or no difference in reactions when I work from a gib, or from my pockets. My experience (coupled with five or six hundred years' of use by others) is that the gib does not impinge on the surprises of the routine.

As for the hat load; I think this is slightly different to my point, since the melon (or whatever) clearly fits into the hat. Again, the efficacy has been proven time and time again in the real world, and the idea that a hat load is somehow 'unmagical' or detracts from the routine is patently absurd.

TL;DR - no, using the gib does not harm the routine at all.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » January 29th, 2019, 6:39 pm

I'm bored, so here's a wee compilation of pocket vs pouch loads. This is just the reactions to the first large load.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH8knZcN3vE

(Embedding seems not to be working on this. Sorry)

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby erdnasephile » January 29th, 2019, 7:59 pm

Thanks, Mr. Kendall, for your real world perspective on this! I appreciate this very much.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 29th, 2019, 9:49 pm

Gazzo's final loading sequence > 2:40 to 4:45.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxy8A2Yg75c

What do you think?

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby erdnasephile » January 30th, 2019, 8:14 am

I think it's what I've lost as a magician. Stuff like 4:20 (and the seemingly unmotivated reaching into the Gib to adjust the melon in preparation for the load) are what looks funny to me. If I were a layperson who sat down to think about this later, would I connect it to those actions? I can't say because of my aforementioned myopia and magicians thinking (which is my own deficit).

When I compare the loading sequence technique to Mr. Vernon's performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De2tyFK8WA0 (starts at 4:04) it just seems more natural and less sneaky looking to me. Everything just seems more motivated, but that may just be a matter of taste and what works in various performing circumstances.

However, there is no doubt that Mr. Gazzo wipes out people with this loading technique (and makes a bunch of money, freely given), so clearly an overwhelming percentage of these audience doesn't make this connection and are fooled badly. He's a great, iconic performer and this obviously has worked for him and others repeatedly, so I'll gladly defer to them and say I'm wrong on this one.

On a related note, which I would like to pose to Alfred, Mr. Kendall and other experienced performers: how can you tell the difference between actually fooling someone and them just being polite. I'm asking because I've witnessed non-magicians who have reacted rather enthusiastically to a tableside magician, then when the magician leaves, clearly describe everything the magician has done in graphic detail.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 30th, 2019, 10:10 am

Erdnasephile Wrote: "how can you tell the difference between actually fooling someone and them just being polite. I'm asking because I've witnessed non-magicians who have reacted rather enthusiastically to a tableside magician, then when the magician leaves, clearly describe everything the magician has done in graphic detail."

It is an interesting question to contemplate - and I never have considered it before. Based on what Erdnasephile has seen occur, maybe the answer is that you can't really differentiate. The reason I have never thought about this issue before is because I learned early on that to succeed as a performer, the reactions you get are extremely important, if not thee most important thing. If the owner, host or party planner sees or hears people overtly reacting with applause and/or laughter, they are happy and will want to use you again. This is because their primary focus is on the satisfaction and enjoyment of the patrons or guests. So as the saying goes, "Perception is reality." The person that hires you doesn't really care or probably even think about whether the enthusiastic reactions were "sincere" or not, just that they occurred. And, accordingly, they are very likely to hire you again based primarily upon the reactions. (Of course dress, grooming, personality, politeness and being on time or early are important factors, as well.)

One thing I have found interesting is that sometimes you will perform for an individual or group, and it will seem like the reaction was quite unspectacular - sometimes even feeling that you failed to make an impression at all - and come to find out, that individual or someone in the group ends up wanting to hire you. So, I guess that is the corollary to the conundrum Erdnasephile is referring to where they appear to be super enthused and impressed and yet, in reality, they were not. However, I would imagine that in the situation or situations to which Erdnasephile referred, the audience was highly entertained and/or really liked the performer, even if they did not feel like they were baffled by the magic. But, obviously, the way to attain the best of both worlds is to be personable and entertaining AND have your routines down so well that they will not be able figure out the secret or to describe what "the magician has done in graphic detail." I am my own harshest critic and that is why I never feel like I am "there" and continually strive to make my tricks and routines cleaner, smoother, more deceptive and more entertaining.


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