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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Boxes, tubes & bags » » Cube A Libra (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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lebowski
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Check out Durhams Professional Secrets, also Bob Sheets has a very entertaining version he does at conventions.
nostrings
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Don't know, but the first I saw of it was in a published routine by CONRADI. It had to be in the 1920s and from Germany. Marvin "Buma" Burger marketed one of the first sets here in the USA. He named it Cube A Libre.

Then why is called silbit blocks by some and wouldn't that predate Conradi???
Pete Biro
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Selbit? Hmmm... that one slipped by me. Actually I don't know the timeline of CONRADI vs. SELBIT.
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JNeal
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According to info on this forum, Selbit came up with the blocks first (1906) (perhaps only using four blocks) and Conradi followed a year or so later. This has been corroborated by Geoffrey Durham in his wonderul book and detailed presentation.
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nostrings
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Ye I went back and reread Durham's book are there any other account of this trick that would put it in the 1800's??
sashain
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Pete Biro wrote: Marvin "Buma" Burger marketed one of the first sets here in the USA. He named it Cube A Libre.

This deserves correction/clarification. One of the first sets, but not the first.

Tom Dethlefsen (Golden Gate Magic Co of San Francisco) introduced the Conradi Magic Cubes at the 1948 P.C.A.M. convention under the name Cube-A-Libre. It was advertised extensively in the magic magazines and became very popular. The initial price was $22.50. By 1954 the price had risen to $25.00.

In the late 1950’s Golden Gate Magic was down to the last few Cube-A-Libres and uncertain as to whether any more would be available. A 1956 advertisement in the Linking Ring indicated “only three left”. In late 1959 Golden Gate Magic was closed. A year later, in December 1960, the business was sold. From that point on the business did not prosper and was closed.

However, in 1967, House of Magic (Marvin “Buma” Burger), also of San Francisco, again had Cube-A-Libre for sale. This set had 3” blocks versus the 2” blocks of the Golden Gate Magic Co. set. Otherwise the design was the same. The price now was $42.50.

As a youngster in the late 1940's early 1950's I hung out at Golden Gate Magic and would admire the Cube-A-Libre on the shelf. Nostalgia got to me recently and I purchased a vintage Golden Gate Magic Cube-A-Libre, including the original instructions by Tom Dethlefsen and patter by Dariel Fitzke.

Steve Shain
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Pete Biro
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Great trick and thanks for clarification. I never did get to Golden Gate too much, even tho' I lived in Oakland.
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CanadianMagicguy
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I have been doing some research on the "Cube A Libra" trick for the last few months as I am trying to put a version together myself, and managed to find a couple of articles in some old books (and now e-books)I have that originally date from the first half of the last century. It took a while because the name given it by other magicians was not necessarily "Cube A Libra" or the "Baffling Blocks", so I had to comb through many books and read anything that a reffered to using blocks to see if there were any similarities. I did find three that piqued my interest.
The earliest I could find was in a book written in 1905 by Robertson Keene titled "More Novel Notions for Magical Entertainers". The effect can be found on page 78 of the book under the section "Miscellaneous Tricks and Illusions", and is called "The New Mysterious Column of Bricks". His version is with 6 blocks and at the beginning of the article it is mentioned that it "is an improved version of the "Egyptian Bricks," which was invented and performed by that clever and versatile young genius yclept "Selbit"."
There is actually a copy of this book available on eBay right now.
The second article came from a book dated 1934 and titled "Magical Masterpieces", written by Louis Nikola. This book is available as a download from Lybrary.com
Nikola's version uses only four blocks and he calls it "Optical Delusion" (found on page 66)and makes reference to Selbit. Nikola also includes another block trick (page 70) called "The Power of Suggestion" using four alphabet blocks and a different type of gimmick. The last article I found is a book that is available on The Learned Pig site. I am not sure of the date of the book (50's maybe?), but it is titled "Magic Handbook", and the trick is called "The Baffling Blocks". This is a three block trick using only three blocks, but the method is somewhat the same as the Cube A Libra.
There you have it. I hope this will be of some use to someone else out there!
If there are any other articles that I should know about (except the one in Tarbell and those already mentioned), please let me know.

Bruce Hunt
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Carnac
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I have 2 different versions of the trick. I also have 2 very different routines. I have the Voit version that Steven's used to sell. (don't know if they still do). It's wonderful. And last year I got an original Peter Kersten version from the 70's. I loved the blocks as they appeared to be so normal. Just red childen's blocks. Perfect. But the tube that covers the blocks. UGGHH! It was covered with a silver glittery material, pretty tacky, but it may have been appropriate for the time. Personally, I prefer the "normalness" of props, so I wrapped the tube with some Wood Grain contact paper and it looks amazing now. On a personal preference note, I really like the look of Gimpy's product. I've never played with it, but have heard great things. 2 sets is enough for me! Actually I had a third, the Harries version, but didn't like it.
Bill Hegbli
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It seems U.F. Grant made a version way back when.

Click here to view attached image.
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Rainboguy
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This is really quite an astonishing trick for laymen and defies explanation.

I have the German-made version and it's impressive.
gimpy2
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Bill,

Thanks for posting the pic. I saw one like that on ebay a while back and was not sure what it was. Looks like that might be another method than others being made now or in the past. Thanks for all the great info you bring to the forum, you are a wealth of know how and information. If you have anymore info on the prop I would love to hear about it.

Gimpy
Bill Hegbli
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No more info on the old U.F. Grant version, found it on the Internet by accident. As most of the people that purchased Grant magic, he was never sneaky in his methods, but they all worked as described in his ads. I am sure it did not work as all the versions being made today.
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Harry Murphy
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The U. F. Grant called his version "1-2-3 Blocks" (surprise, surprise). It worked pretty much the same way some of the earliest versions worked. I think O'Dowd later put them out called "Gemini Blocks" (same methodology, same number of blocks, same trick).
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Pete Biro
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I think 3 blocks would be better than the stack of six.
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Harry Murphy
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The Grant version was very much a living room/parlor trick.

Jay Leslie has short stack versions (many different sizes) that work well in small venues.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
wwhokie1
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Bought gimpy's set last year. wonderful piece. best looking set I have seen. love the woodwork.
funsway
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Check out other threads on this effect.

The only thing wrong with this effect is the suggested patter line ..

when you get a story line that makes sense and fits your character it is a grand effect.

My set is from the 40's and works just fine
"there is real merit in the magician who tries to be creative – from such endeavors magic sustains its life energy." Harold Rice

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Rainboguy
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Shortly after I got my German-Made Cuba Lubre set from Hocus Pocus, I contacted my friend David Seebach who has done this routine for years and he graciously sent me his routine.

Granted, I have not seen every working magician's routine for this trick, but David's routine is simply outstanding. David uses an assistant for this trick, so the routine is designed and written that way and I work without an assistant, so I'm working through the logistics.

Based on my (somewhat limited) knowledge of the dynamics of this trick, there are probably two main considerations for what routine a magician will want to use:

1. The construction of the prop will dictate the mechanics of the trick, and thus, in turn, the "sequence" of "moves".
2. Once the decision is made on what specific Cube A Libra prop you want to buy, the next consideration would be whether or not you work with an assistant.

Once 1 and 2. above are decided on, THEN would be the starting point for the routine you would want to design for YOUR persona.

I honestly believe that this is a MAGNIFICENT magic trick.......and it deserves a MAGNIFICENT presentation.

If I'm lucky, based on my experience working with "new" props, I might to be able to present this for "the money" in a couple of years.

I just won't do a trick "out there" until I'm satisfied that I've got the right routine for ME and I know it like the back of my hand, and rehearse it A LOT.

Yesterday at lunch, this was one of THOSE tricks that Dick Oslund and I talked about.
Steven True
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I have heard of this illusion before but didn't really look into it. Saw the Gimpy's video of the effect and I fell in love with it. A little out of my price range right now but I know what I want for Christmas.
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