Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

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Mark.Lewis
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Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Mark.Lewis » January 21st, 2010, 2:30 pm

I have a historical question for those of you who know about this stuff. There seems to be a contradiction between something that is in the Dai Vernon Book of Magic by Ganson and the description of Silent Mora's classic ball routine in this month's Linking Ring.

In the Vernon book Ganson states that Dai was the one who suggested the net idea to Mora who used it from that moment forth. But yet in the Linking Ring Mora claims that he got the idea from a comedian named Jack Davis. Does anybody know the truth to this? Was Vernon spinning a yarn or was it Silent Mora?

Incidentally the front cover features a lady magician named Shirley Ray. And there is an article about her in the magazine. I nearly passed it by but found to my astonishment that she was the daughter of my old rival the late Johnny Neptune. Johnny was a svengali pitchman and I used to fight like hell with him. It is ironic that I have immortalised his name in my Long and the Short of it book.He is also mentioned in my Marmaduke the Wonder Mouse book. He was the master of the Spooky Pencil trick and I have adapted his routine to the mouse demonstration. I have replaced the standard cigarette stunt with Johnny's Spooky Pencil.

Actually I think the pencil routine was actually invented by Sam Hughes but I may be wrong. Johnny did the trick more than anyone else though.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 21st, 2010, 2:58 pm

I recall there being some question about who created or suggested what regarding Mora's Balls in the Net.
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Silly Walter
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Silly Walter » January 21st, 2010, 6:28 pm

Vernon had some great influences coming up. Silent Mora and Edward Victor come to mind.
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Mark.Lewis
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Mark.Lewis » January 21st, 2010, 10:01 pm

Well the Vernon book says that Vernon gave him the net idea and Mora himself says that it was Jack Davis. Not that I care either way. I am just curious.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Mark.Lewis » January 22nd, 2010, 7:38 am

I am also quite surprised that Silent Mora featured this as a stage trick actually performed in theatres. Even with the net and good lighting I am surprised that anyone could see what was going on. He must have been quite a showman.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby espermachine » January 25th, 2010, 11:23 am

Interviewed for the Revelations tapes, Vernon similarly claims originating the net (actually his wife's veil) specifically because he needed a trick that could be performed for several hundred children. Vernon used nine balls and said it proved a great success.

Vernon goes on to say he told Silent Mora about the net a week later and Mora thought it was a "great idea", immediately adopting it himself. If Mora later contradicted this statement then perhaps we'll never know.

Mora sounds like an interesting character. In The Vernon Touch, Vernon mentions that Mora - one of his original idols in magic - was "highly opinionated" and could have been an even greater success had he not a reputation for falling into arguments with theatre owners when touring.

It's interesting to note the number of performers Vernon lists who used the smallest of items on stage yet managed to cause a sensation; Malini, Jarrow, Leipzig, Larry Grey "the greatest card performer who ever lived" according to Vernon ... and others. It sounds as if the vast majority had one common trait, personality aside - lots of humour in their presentations. Perhaps, if their audiences were laughing so much, they forgot about not being able to see smaller apparatus? I have no doubt the practice of inviting spectators on stage - sometimes four or more - to act as a "committee" and be the eyes and ears of the audience helped greatly.

By the way, if anybody hasn't purchased The Vernon Touch - consider doing so! A superb volume with many, many great insights into some of magics past greats.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby John Carney » January 25th, 2010, 12:27 pm

I did this routine years ago, then didn't touch it again for a very long time. I started doing it again a couple years ago and really love it.

From what I remember hearing, Mora had the idea to use a handkerchief to do his updated version of the Chinese Ball Trick (Sach's Sleight of Hand has a version). I saw Mora's routine written up somewhere recently, but can't recall where. Vernon thought the idea of a handkerchief was great, and eventually changed it to the net. He then told the net idea to Mora who used it from then on.

The problem I have had with the net is that the spectators holding the net often have to be constantly reminded to hold it level so the balls don't roll off, and if there are any people seated on the extreme sides, their view is blocked by those holding the net.

All in all though, the trick (well done, of course) has a lot of bang for the buck. Nice reactions all the way through and a big surprise at the finish.

Most people I have seen do the "pop up" move, emphasize the wrong moment. The count "three" as they draw attention to their hand doing the move on the third placement. Instead, do the move, THEN raise the hand with the ball into view, as you count "three". Changing the moment.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 25th, 2010, 12:32 pm

espermachine wrote:... Vernon used nine balls and said it proved a great success...


Nine balls?

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby NCMarsh » January 25th, 2010, 12:33 pm

Instead, do the move, THEN raise the hand with the ball into view, as you count "three".


There's gold in them hills...thank you, John.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 25th, 2010, 12:36 pm

John Carney wrote:... Instead, do the move, THEN raise the hand with the ball into view, as you count "three". Changing the moment.


This brings focus to the ball on top of the fist right before it starts sinking down?

David Alexander
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby David Alexander » January 25th, 2010, 12:46 pm

I've been doing the Balls and Net for over 50 years. Senor Maldo taught it to me when I was a kid at the 1957 PCAM convention at the Disneyland Hotel.

It's been part of my close-up work since I went pro a long time ago. It's terrific for two or three people, a table, or a small room if the angles are right, as John mentioned.

I've only read one book that actually described the basic move properly and clearly - a small long-out-of-print tome by Frank Garcia that came out in the mid-1970s. For a long while there were very few people doing the trick because it was difficult to learn from the Ganson description in the Vernon book.

I've used roulette balls but found I like the crochet-covered cork balls the best. Properly done it looks like real magic. I did it five years ago when I worked the Parlor at the Castle. For narrow venues like the Castle's Parlor it works well. At the Castle I had my old friend the famous explorer John Goddard up holding the net. It's even better when the spectators are close.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 25th, 2010, 12:53 pm

David, how are the balls from old style PC mice for the trick?

Also, do you use the Pladic move?
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Joe Pecore » January 25th, 2010, 1:04 pm

As another reference, here are some snippets from the article "Silent Mora -- Magician-of-the-month" by Leslie P. Guest in the February 1959 issue of MUM:

... Here is the development of Mora's famous "Four Balls and Net Trick." The idea came to him after seeing Kellar, Blackstone, Leipzig, Malini and others perform with rolled-up cigarette papers and other small items. Mora adapted the same trick, but presented it with four one inch solid white rubber balls, which could be seen at a distance. For the transposition from hand to hand, a new key move was needed. This, Mora adapted from "The Chinese Marble Trick," described in Sach's "Sleight of Hand," and which he saw Ching Ling Foo perform in Clyde Powers Magic Shop (about 1912).

Then, either Frank Shepard or Manuel Thomas suggested the final vanishment of all four balls, a climax which Mora quickly accepted. Now he had a small stage effect which he put into his vaudeville act. About 1930, he was discussing the trick with his friend Jack Davis, a popular Jewish Comedian. Jack said, "The trick is all right, but there is something lacking. When you reach into that black velvet bag to pick up the balls, people cannot see your hands. Why don't you use mosquito net?" This was just what Mora needed, and soon the mesh bag was replaced by an open net, held at the corners by spectators. Mora sold the routine to Jim Swoger (Regow), who copyrighted it in 1949.
...
For much of the foregoing material we are indebted to Ed Whitford (of Rhode Island and New Jersey), who made copious notes while visiting Mora at the Long Island Hospital in Boston. By the time this article appears, we sincerely hope that Mora will be restored to health, and once again delighting magicians and laymen alike with his "Mora Magic."
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David Alexander
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby David Alexander » January 25th, 2010, 1:32 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:David, how are the balls from old style PC mice for the trick?

Also, do you use the Pladic move?


Never used them but they might work if not too heavy which I suspect they might be.

I have no idea what the Pladic move is.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Ian Kendall » January 25th, 2010, 1:36 pm

Mice balls are excellent for the three ball trick (I'm sure I've mentioned that here before). The weight makes certain moves (like the switch from bottom to top of fist) nice and smooth. Also, the rubber coating gives a good level of grip for the Pladek move.

David - the Pladek move is the two ball roll up, as described in Pallbearer's.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby espermachine » January 25th, 2010, 2:48 pm

A very nice tip from John Carney regarding timing. In addition, Johnny Thompson has a good explanation of the pop-up move on one of the Commercial Classics volumes and goes into detail regarding one of the inherent "trickier" moments often found in effects of this type. Then there's the additional production of a small fruit as a finale - also mentioned in the Ganson book. I think Vernon produced a lemon. I suppose it depends on whether you feel the trick really needs to end with a production of some sort.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby David Alexander » January 25th, 2010, 3:33 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:Mice balls are excellent for the three ball trick (I'm sure I've mentioned that here before). The weight makes certain moves (like the switch from bottom to top of fist) nice and smooth. Also, the rubber coating gives a good level of grip for the Pladek move.

David - the Pladek move is the two ball roll up, as described in Pallbearer's.

Take care, Ian


Thank you, Ian. I saw that in Thompson's DVD and never liked it. I don't use it. I'll have to try old mouse balls if I can find enough old mice.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Ian Kendall » January 25th, 2010, 3:40 pm

I didn't like it at first, but then I tried it and yada yada. It means you can do a nice three balls across with only three balls, which I'll sometimes do at the start of a cups and balls.

In fact, if interested, you can see it at this link:

www.virtualmagicshow.com/githa

Take care, Ian

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 25th, 2010, 5:49 pm

Frank Garcia did a whole book on routines with three small balls--including balls in net, one in the hand two in the pocket, and so on. I know because I illustrated it! "The Real Secrets of The Three Ball Routines" was published in 1978.
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby David Alexander » January 25th, 2010, 7:03 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Frank Garcia did a whole book on routines with three small balls--including balls in net, one in the hand two in the pocket, and so on. I know because I illustrated it! "The Real Secrets of The Three Ball Routines" was published in 1978.


Yes, that's the book I was referencing.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Kent Gunn » January 25th, 2010, 9:54 pm

Mr.Kendall,

The cups . . . very, very nice. Thanks for putting that up.

KG

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby David Alexander » January 26th, 2010, 12:53 am

Ian Kendall wrote:I didn't like it at first, but then I tried it and yada yada. It means you can do a nice three balls across with only three balls, which I'll sometimes do at the start of a cups and balls.

In fact, if interested, you can see it at this link:

www.virtualmagicshow.com/githa

Take care, Ian


I enjoyed that Ian. Thank you. And gratulations to the young lady who did the voice over. Nicely done, too.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Edward » January 26th, 2010, 3:52 pm

David, you might want to go to a golf course. There you can buy used golf balls very cheap. They will usually have a bucket to two by the check counter. What you can do is cut the outer and middle layers of the golf balls(the middle layer is just tightly wound elasitc, kind of like rubber bands). This will leave you with a small rubber ball. They are about the size of the mouse balls.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 26th, 2010, 4:06 pm

Get all the mouse balls you want, cheap:

http://www.google.com/search?q=mouse+ba ... d=ie7&rlz=

No need to chop away at a golf ball.
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby erdnasephile » January 26th, 2010, 5:27 pm

Fakini balls would work as well (or better). David Roth released a set for the 3 ball routine also. The grey color of the mouseballs seem a little drab to me.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 26th, 2010, 5:31 pm

Just buy a can of that rubberized stuff you dunk the handles of pliers and screwdrivers in. Dip the balls and let them dry. You can have your choice of colors and a finish that handles well.
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Pete McCabe » January 26th, 2010, 6:18 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Just buy a can of that rubberized stuff you dunk the handles of pliers and screwdrivers in.

This is called Plasti-Dip and works great.

Richard Kaufman wrote:Dip the balls and let them dry.

Another entry for the thread of things magicians should never say to an audience.

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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 26th, 2010, 7:19 pm

I don't know about you, Pete, but I Plasti-Dipped my balls years ago and they've worked great since.
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Jim Maloney » January 26th, 2010, 8:13 pm

Alrighty then. Also, this.

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Joe Pecore
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Joe Pecore » January 26th, 2010, 8:47 pm

And if you ever need to clean your dirty balls http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0AlcVU-de4
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 26th, 2010, 9:29 pm

okay, who's gonna post a link to the SNL skit with Alec Baldwin and his balls?
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Re: Vernon, Silent Mora and the Linking Ring

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 26th, 2010, 10:58 pm

Enough about balls--I wrote a book on the subject 33 years ago. Put 'em in your pocket and move on.
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