Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

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Joe Mckay
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Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Joe Mckay » April 29th, 2018, 2:02 pm

Paul Curry was one of the great creators of magic. And the trick of his that has always interested me the most is his Sliding Knot routine.

I think the Sliding Knot is a great plot. And Paul Curry's version always felt like one of those mythical tricks that I would never get to see or perform.

Paul Curry's version is one of the most impossible tricks in magic. You can find the method in 'Worlds Beyond' that Hermetic Press published a few years ago. I always had trouble visualizing the effect and how the method achieves it. As such I really really wanted to find some footage of the trick.

Happily - I have found a clip of the trick. The effect is probably Paul Curry's best idea in magic. And it deserves more attention.

Check out the 9mins 35secs mark in the link below:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1570so

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erdnasephile
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby erdnasephile » April 29th, 2018, 5:13 pm

Great trick! (and it's kind of cool how Henning and Landon had matching hair).

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 29th, 2018, 5:41 pm

There have been improved versions since then.
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Jack Shalom
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Jack Shalom » April 29th, 2018, 6:30 pm

stooge?

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erdnasephile
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby erdnasephile » April 29th, 2018, 6:45 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:stooge?


Wasn't that the original Curry two assistant version on the video? If so, I'm pretty sure that doesn't require a stooge.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Joe Mckay » April 29th, 2018, 8:17 pm

The lady used for the trick is pretty astonished. You can see it on her face. And she is not a stooge. No stooge is needed for this trick.

The version in the Paul Curry book is an updated handling of the trick by Doug Henning. But it is essentially the same trick.

I disagree with Richard that improved versions of this trick have come out since the Paul Curry one. There are lots of versions of this trick - and they all better in terms of practicality. But at the cost of weakening the effect some what.

Stephen Minch makes the same point in the Paul Curry book as well.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Mr. Charming » April 30th, 2018, 1:34 am

Great effect, thanks

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 30th, 2018, 1:56 pm

If the difference (in terms of practicality) is doing the effect or not, which is what it boils down to for most people, then the more practical methods are better. Simple logic.
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Chas Nigh
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Chas Nigh » May 1st, 2018, 10:53 am

I believe RK is correct. This is not a method for an average magician. I have the book. Reread it.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby erdnasephile » May 1st, 2018, 1:59 pm

One of the most practical I've read seems to be the Steinmeyer version, but I have never seen it done. Have any of you used this?

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Pete McCabe » May 1st, 2018, 3:56 pm

I recently bought Knot Unexpected 2.0, Tony Clark's (authorized) version of the Steinmeyer trick. It's very nearly as perfect as the Curry method, and requires no assistants (other than spectators to hold the rope).

Haven't tried it out, but I am planning on doing at least one thing differently than the Henning performance: The knot will move very slowly. My goal is for the audience to first think that the knot is not, in fact moving, then to wonder, is it moving, then to realize it is moving, then finally to see that it is definitely moving. Now, I am performing for my students in the classroom, so I can take as long as I want. But I really believe that just grabbing it and moving it is leaving a lot of the strength of the reaction on the table, as it were. I am looking forward to finding out.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Curtis Kam » May 1st, 2018, 4:56 pm

I have loved this effect ever since seeing Doug Henning do it on television. There’s power in the simplicity of the thing, and with such modest props, the performer might actually get some credit for the magic. In that, I prefer this to, say, a card trick done on camera.

In the ms for this effect, there’s a handling that allows you to toss the rope out to the audience for examination at the end. Has anyone ever performed that version?

Also, I’ve read that Doug Henning used the Steinmeyer handling eventually. A nod to practicality, to be sure, but there’s something lost.

As far as practicality goes, I’ve always thought the Curry method could be engineered to work solo, with the ends of the rope tied onto two mic stands.


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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 1st, 2018, 5:50 pm

"mic stands" .... um... with a weight inside each perhaps?
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Curtis Kam » May 1st, 2018, 5:57 pm

Yes, “weights” that’s what they are.


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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Joe Mckay » May 1st, 2018, 6:56 pm

Due to the mechanics of the method - I would imagine Doug was forced to move the knot quickly across the stage.

If you want practicality. You can go for the Steinmeyer method. Or - even more practical - the John Cornelius method.

Of course - the Steinmeyer method allows for a stage effect. If that is what you want. Whereas the John Cornelius method is just a rope trick. So feels more like a close-up effect.

I think the beauty of the Paul Curry effect is allowing the spectator to cut the rope, tie the knot and then untie the knot after it moves across the stage. It is a true hands-off miracle. We all wear different hats in magic depending on our mood. But at the moment - I am really intrigued by the miracle nature of the original Paul Curry effect. It is a pretty practical method. Particularly when you consider the effect produced.

I have always been intrigued by Paul Curry's trick. And finally being able to see Doug Henning perform it has made me excited about it again. It is a wonderful effect.

Often magicians drone on about practicality when in fact it is just laziness that is driving their decisions. We have all being guilty of this. Myself included.

Ironically - it was Jim Steinmeyer who expressed this point most eloquently. He talks about seeing a magician bring a suitcase on to the stage, before pulling out the props needed for the trick. At the end he returned them to the suit case before carrying it off at the end.

With that trick - Steinmeyer felt that the need to be able to fit everything back into the suitcase at the end was the main factor behind the choice of material. And there is something quite sad about that.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 1st, 2018, 7:23 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:... I think the beauty of the Paul Curry effect is allowing the spectator to cut the rope, tie the knot and then untie the knot after it moves across the stage...
Curtis may have a viable update in mind. Guessing he'd start with the rope coiled, tie the ends to the stands and then move them apart.
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Curtis Kam
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Curtis Kam » May 1st, 2018, 10:46 pm

Yes, that would be optimal, but it’s much easier if you start with the rope already apparently tied to each mic stand, and you start by separating them.


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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Ian Kendall » May 2nd, 2018, 3:13 am

I'm pretty sure there's a similar routine in Abbott's; I know I did it in my first ever street shows but I don't have the book any more, so I can't check.

My recollection is that the rope is cut, the knot slides to the centre of the rope, where it is snipped down until it vanishes and the rope is restored (so slightly different). I managed to cut my finder in one show, and it bled like a demon...

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Joe Mckay » May 2nd, 2018, 4:26 am

Hey Ian,

Maybe this is the trick you had in mind?

https://www.abbottmagic.com/Walking-Knot-Large-22980.htm?categoryId=-1

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Tom Stone
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Tom Stone » May 2nd, 2018, 4:50 am

Curtis Kam wrote:Yes, “weights” that’s what they are.

I think Jon might have meant á la Chinese Sticks.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Curtis Kam » May 2nd, 2018, 5:24 am

Oh, possibly. But that wouldn’t give you much movement for the knot. On the other hand, it might make for an amusing version of the sticks.


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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Ian Kendall » May 2nd, 2018, 7:03 am

Joe - I don't think so. I was talking about Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Magic, not the dealer :)

If memory serves, the method involved cutting the rope about a foot from the end and switching one end for the short piece as usual. This was tied around the long rope, and then slid to the centre of the rope, where it was trimmed repeatedly until the small amount left was stolen away. Nothing too fancy, and impromptu (as long as you had ten feet of rope, natch).

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Pete McCabe » May 2nd, 2018, 11:25 am

You could always do the standard C&R rope where you pull up the middle, switch it for near the end, and cut that. Tie it, move the knot near the end, and untie it there. This is by far the most practical method (of the original sliding knot effect).

I wonder how many people in the audience could tell the difference between that version and the "cleaner" versions by Steinmeyer and Curry.

Joe McKay: The Curry version is not stronger than the Steinmeyer in my eyes. In the Steinmeyer version two audience members hold the rope, which can be examined before and after the trick. I think that's a big plus.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby erdnasephile » May 2nd, 2018, 12:12 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:I'm pretty sure there's a similar routine in Abbott's; I know I did it in my first ever street shows but I don't have the book any more, so I can't check.

My recollection is that the rope is cut, the knot slides to the centre of the rope, where it is snipped down until it vanishes and the rope is restored (so slightly different). I managed to cut my finder in one show, and it bled like a demon...


Didn't Copperfield do a similar version of the "Finger Chopper"?

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Ian Kendall » May 2nd, 2018, 12:46 pm

I snipped my index finger, just inside the first joint. It's astonishing how much a finger cut can bleed...

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erdnasephile
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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby erdnasephile » May 2nd, 2018, 12:55 pm

Yep...the fingers have a generous blood supply--it's not trivial to make them stop bleeding sometimes. I'm glad you suffered no permanent damage (hopefully).

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Noel Britten » May 3rd, 2018, 5:25 am

A couple of things in relation to this

Siegfried and Roy in their Mirage Show performed a great version of the Sliding Knot which shouldn't go unrecorded. It used both the original Paul Curry method AND an additional cut with (I believe) Steinmeyer's method, which meant there were TWO sliding knots on the rope. Consequently both their relative spacing, and their actual position on the rope, could be changed with the Curry version allowing the rope to be untied, and the cut showing to have travelled too.

I don't believe this routine ever appeared on any of their broadcasted material, due mainly to the nature of the routine (it was based on a 'one-off aren't-we-lucky-to-see-it-when-THAT-happened' series of events that actually happened every show). The regularity of the 'mistake' would have been revealed if ever broadcast. If it was never recorded it was a great shame as it was a real funny routine and a stand out moment in what was the most spectacular magic show I have ever seen.


The other point of interest is relation to Curry's trick concerns Paul Daniels. A layman, who had seen the Doug Henning TV show, described the effect to Paul (who hadn't seen it). Paul worked out a possible (different) way to recreate the effect, purely from the description, and performed it on TV in one of his earlier broadcasts (Be My Guest, an ITV series which he hosted before being signed up for the BBC and his own better known eponymous BBC TV series). It was exactly the same method that Pavel came up with independently, performed as Pavel's Super Walking Knot and with which Pavel won the FISM Invention Award. There was some correspondence in Abracadabra about it, and what necessitated 'Invention' if the same trick and method could have be demonstrated (using the TV clip) to have been independently invented earlier. Yet another indication of how the dispute of 'ownership' of magical inventions is a regular occurrence in magical history.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Joe Mckay » May 3rd, 2018, 7:48 am

Thanks for that, Noel. That was fascinating.

Joe

PS I really love your act. Once of the funniest people I have ever seen.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Bob Farmer » May 3rd, 2018, 8:45 am

As to the issue of what is an, "invention," there is a principle in patent law that says if something would have occurred to any skilled person in a particular field it can't be an invention. It doesn't become an "invention" just because it's new.

So here, we have two skilled magicians, Daniels and Pavel: they see a problem and they solve it in the same way. What they came up with would not be considered inventions under patent law.

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Re: Paul Curry - The Sliding Knot

Postby Joe Mckay » May 3rd, 2018, 9:08 am

Recently I came across an interesting story to do with patent law and prior art involving Donald Duck.

https://www.futilitycloset.com/2018/01/24/prior-art-2/


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