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Topic: Do you have any questions about Billiard Ball manipulation?
Message: Posted by: Levent (Oct 27, 2008 06:44PM)
Dear Fellow Magicians:

I have just begun pre-production work for a new instructional DVD set, which will be titled "The Ultimate Guide to Billiard Ball Manipulation". Those of you who have seen my previous DVDs ("The Potassy-Wave Deck", "Super Salt Pour Gimmick", "Manipulation Act" and "The Ultimate Guide to The MIser's Dream") are no doubt aware that I go through great lengths to fully explain the history and techniques of not only my versions of the trick, but many of the techniques of the master magicians of the distant past.

As before I will do my best to give this subject a very comprehensive treatment. In order to provide the magic community with the best possible educational resource, I would like to hear from magicians who have experienced problems with any technical aspect of the Billiard Balls, and your input on anything regarding billiard ball manipulation that you feel has not been fully explained in previous books or DVDs.

If all goes to plan, I should begin principal photography of the project in early 2009. Please feel free to post your replies on this thread at the Magic Café or if you choose you can send me a "Private Message" at the Magic Café or you can send me an e-mail through my website.

Needless to say if your comment or suggestion is one that I have not previously considered or one that I deem especially useful, I will be happy to include your name on the DVD credits and send you a complimentary copy of the video when the project is completed.

Best regards,
Message: Posted by: FunTimeAl (Oct 27, 2008 06:56PM)
Angles are my biggest concern. I'm forever fretting over bad angles.

I consider billiard ball manipulation to be my single greates joy as a magician, and my greatest source of frustration as well.

Would you consider (are you considering already?) a chapter devoted to using a pouch for billard ball manips? I don't use a ball dropper as I don't wear a coat. All of my steals (and ditches for that matter) come from (and go to) either a pouch or a pocket.

I'm also guessing that you'll give equal time to both routining with and without a sh*ll?

I really enjoyed your work on the miser's dream and am excited that you've chosen to focus on billard balls as well. THANK YOU for your contributions to our art!


Oh, yes...and...are you going to include anything on sponge balls in the scope of this project? Just curious. Perhaps that's covering too much in one project?!?!
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Oct 27, 2008 07:45PM)
Levent: I am glad someone is doing a new DVD on Billiard BallManipulation. I am also happy to see that you are reaching out to the magic community for ideas and suggestions. Afterall,that is what makes the DVd better. It should be about what we as magicians want tosee and what we seek and what we feel may not have been covered offon on other DVds of the same subject. I commend you for this.

As you may know I hava a passion for the manipulative arts and for creativity in magic. I would like to offer you some ideas and suggestions that are more food for thought then anything else. I hope they may be of help to you. Most may be things you have already thought of. If so, then perhaps this will serve asa way of knowing you are headed in the right direction. If there is something here that interest you,please let me know as I would be happy to go into more detailwith you.

First, I feel many previous DVds do a lot in showing you proper technique and moves. This is essential as it is the tools of the manipulative arts. You can not build a work of art without knowledge of the tools in which to do it. the problem is that many DVDs in the past cover off on moves mainly and fall short on other areas I feel could and are of importance to Billiard Ball manipulation.

- History: It would be wonderful to have a DVD highlighting just some of the history of billiard ball manipulation. Knowing the past helps the student of the future.

- Tools of the Trade: Cover off on the various types of billiard balls on the market and the pros and cons of each. But not only what is out on the market but what has been done and used in the past. How were early balls used etc.

- Care for your props: Cover off on the care and proper care of the props used. How to store them, prepthem and when is it time to get new ones.

- Preparing yourself: How do you physically prepare yourself before doing any billiard ball act. Keeping your hands warm vs. performing when they are cold. How to get a better grip or tack on your hands etc.

- Hand exercises: Teach and show exercises you can do and ways you can learn to get your hands used to being in the positions needed for the moves. The hands and fingers simply are not used to doing what they will be asked to do and you can do exercises in order to limber yourself up and to get your fingers and hands used to it.

- Holders and Gimmicks: Only in books do I really find more on this subject. Books Like, "It's easier then you think" have an entire section devoted to holders and gimmicks. It would be great sowing this on a DVD. Showing various types, what is out on the market, why they are used, how they should be used. This would be very useful and powerful information.

- Steals: This would also be a huge thing for a DVD on the subject. Talk about the proper and inproper ways in which to do steals. Various tyopesof steals from the body and from the table etc. Show visually stepby step how to work it and the proper usage of misdirection.

- Music: In this I simply mean how do you work with music and how can music integrate with a billiard ball act and not just be tacked on.

- Movement: This in part goes with the above concept. It can cover off on how one can move and should move based on the music and tempo being played and also cover off on proper movement during an act. How not to overextend. How to amke sure you are not blocking off certain sidesof the audience.

- Transitional effects: How can one learn to transition from one sequence or move into another. It can also show how to transition from the ball into a different object.. such as ball to silk.

- Usage of silks with balls: Show moves and techniques of incorporating billiard ball moves with silks and how some moves can be used in combination.

- Creativity: Talk about creativity vs. show of skill only. This is huge for me. We see way too many folks doing a billiard ball act simply as a means of skill and nothing more. How can one learn to take the billiard ball moves and envoke creative ideas in with it. This can stem from character to music to pacing, emtoional response and themes.

- Misc: Talk about the idea of when is it too much. Just because you know 100 moves does not mean you need to show the audience all 100 moves. How to take what you learn and know and use it sparingly to create what you are after.

- Costuming for the act: What to think about when looking at your costuming for the act? What works and what may not? What do you have to consider?

These are just a few ideas I have in my head. I hope they may be of interest to you. Let me know if I can go into more detailon any of them. If I think of anything else, I will add it here. My pleasure.

Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Oct 27, 2008 08:22PM)
Roy Benson's opinion (later espoused by Alan Walkeling) that the BBs are more magical when performed as a two-hander was an epiphany for me. I'd therefore be interested in comparing and contrasting that POV with those of other well-regarded BB performers.
Message: Posted by: Daveandrews (Oct 27, 2008 09:25PM)
Oh boy, another dvd that I am going to buy - if only for the historical part!

Best of luck with this, Levent, and if I can think of anything (not covered above by our Magic Café friend Kyle), I will surely put it up here.



ps to Kyle - hope you get to Kidabra next year, would love to say 'hello'.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Oct 27, 2008 09:28PM)
Thanks Dave. Much appreciated. Kelly and I are still trying to see where we are going next year and which trips we want to take. I will keep you posted.

Message: Posted by: Levent (Oct 27, 2008 10:45PM)
Hi Guys:

Thanks for the quick response!

I just flew home from a cruise ship gig late this afternoon and tomorrow morning I must fly out to Seoul, Korea to perform and lecture at the FISM ASIA 2008 Convention.

I am busy unpacking my cruise gear and repacking my stuff for the Asia trip!

For those of you that have posted, I will reply to your comments in depth next week when I return to the USA (because my schedule in Korea will be pretty hectic)!

Please keep the suggestions coming!

Bye for now and thanks to all of you!

Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Oct 27, 2008 11:42PM)

I am so happy someone is addressing this aspect of manipulation. I think the approach of just teaching moves and technique does not cover what billiard ball magic is all about. The moves are important but it does not cover motivation of what makes sense in the sequence of events. The "why" of the routine. Covering transitions, loads, loading and unloading, ball and silk techniques. balls to mouth. Openings and closings. Demos of the great masters; Neil Foster, Roy Benson, Alan Wakling. Staging, lighting, angles. Working a billiard routine into a manipulation act or into your regular act.

I know I have rambled on, but just throwing out ideas as they come to mind. I don't expect to get everything out of a DVD and not to do any work myself or have someone do my creating for me. It would just help to have more info on this branch of manipulation magic.

Sorry for my ramblings.

David W.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Oct 28, 2008 12:19AM)
If I could pick any DVD for you to do it would be THIS ONE! Unbelievable. I feel like I've once again hit the jackpot with you Levent!!! I started doing BB work when I thought that if you can do magic with coins, why not make it bigger, and more colorful and use billiard balls.

Your DVDs are among the best in the industry for many many reasons. I'm happy you're venturing into this.

p.s. Thanks for the Manipulation DVD.

Preliminary Notes:

- working with a shell without telegraphing that fact.
- a rainbow routine.
- how to do a routine without music and keep it entertaining
- the jacketless routine (chad mentioned this as well)
- an impromptue routine (no jacket, no pouch)
- an x-rated routine (you could do it naked)
- vaudville routine (comedy, silent, character)
- ideas on changes (balls to silk, silk to ball, ball to X, X to ball)
- footage of Benson, Wakeman, et al

Billiard balls are just beautiful to watch when done properly.
Message: Posted by: Matt101 (Oct 28, 2008 05:01AM)
Please include double shell technique, there are not many resources that covers this great technique.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Oct 28, 2008 08:06AM)
Right now I do basically charlie frye's routine. I like it because its funny. Id like to see some ideas for themeing like raymond crowe did with the 8-ball tango. I'm not clear on the history of this classic and id love to see if other performers have done similar things. I think this makes the routine interesting rather then the basic routines in many of the books that are producing balls for the sake of producing balls
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 29, 2008 03:14PM)
My biggest problem is gripping the balls. They slip a lot. I do much better with the sponges. Explain a procedure about gripping them in a better manner.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 29, 2008 03:43PM)
How about multiplying jumbo balls?
Message: Posted by: trashmanf (Oct 31, 2008 01:58PM)
YES! I am very very excited to hear you are working on a DVD Levent. I have been wanting to get into the ball manipulation and almost purchased the McBride DVD (well, I probably still will while waiting for yours).

I can not wait to hear when yours is released and I will definitely be purchasing them.

edit: just read through the thread and thought I would add, will there be flourishes included? When watching the old Cardini act it seemed he got the greatest amount of applause when he flourishes the billiard ball rapidly thru his fingers. Thank you Levent!
Message: Posted by: Levent (Nov 6, 2008 01:10PM)
Hi Guys:

Sorry it took so long to get back to you.


I won’t be covering steals from the classic cups and balls pouch. But I certainly will be covering steals from the pockets. Personally I do an 8 billiard ball routine and the balls are full billiard size (2 ¼ inch diameter) and I do not use any body loads whatsoever.

So I will be covering techniques that USE and DO NOT USE body loads. I think magicians should have a choice in such matters.

Also I will cover techniques that with and without shells. Since I am a professional perform, I will explain how to protect your angles.

I will not cover sponge balls per se, but I will certain explain the multiplying sponge ball trick (AKA Chicago Ball Trick).


As with all of my DVDs, I do not cover the technical moves in a vacuum. So I will teach the moves and ALSO more importantly how those moves work in concert with the over all routine.

As far as the history is concerned you will see the several routines from the 1800s, especially the very first routine by DeKolta. And I will cover how the trick progressed from DeKolta to Roterberg’s “Excelsior Ball Trick” (circa 1900).

If you have seen my Miser Dream DVD set, you will know that I will cover all the rest of the items that you suggested.


Being the author of “Roy Benson By Starlight”, I will no doubt cover his work and the work of his contemporaries.




I will certainly do my best to recreate some of the routines of the past masters. If not for the moves, such routines also offer insight into routining and motivation


I don’t have the rights to show footage of the previous masters, but as I said before I can certainly mimic those routines.


Yes I will cover double shell work, which by the way is a lot older than most people think. For instance I have a 102 - year old magic book, which has photos that teach double shell moves.


Yes I will cover some themes. But with the warning that if a magician gets too deep in such things it can confuse the audience and muddle the basic idea of a trick.


Yes, that will be part of the first disc.

James Tong:

I largest balls I use are 2 ¼ diameter. I probably won’t cover balls that are larger than I can palm.


Please purchase the McBride DVDs. All of Jeffrey’s DVDs are terrific and I don’t think of it as an either or proposition.

Everyone should study his (McBrides) work on the DVD. My DVDs are just an expression of my personally philosophy and is just a different point of view.

To All:

Please keep the suggestions coming!!

Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Nov 6, 2008 02:09PM)
I think something else that might be interesting is billiard balls in close-up. Harry Riser has such a routine, in feints and temps. done in front of you instead of to the side
Message: Posted by: Daveandrews (Nov 6, 2008 06:20PM)
Quote .... 'Dynamike:

Yes, that will be part of the first disc.'

More than one disc - yessssss, can't wait!

People, I can only say that Levent's dvd's are second to none and unique in their presentation. Quite refreshing, really. I would also agree with him in that you should buy other manip. type dvd's. Levent's compliment them oh so very well.

You will just have to buy, and see for yourself - words are simply not enough.

I think it is all in his approach and pres ... oh, just buy them and see for yourself (I'm not on commission, by the way!).


Message: Posted by: John T Cox (Nov 6, 2008 09:46PM)

Having played with and performed the cone and ball routine, I think it would be interesting to have some material on that prop or something similar in which balls appear, disappear, change colors, etc.

I think that the most magical thing that BBs do is to change color. I hope you cover some nice variations of that.


Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Nov 7, 2008 07:23AM)
That's one thing I look forward to seeing is color changes. iv not been able to find much in print. iv seen several performed though
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Nov 9, 2008 12:05PM)
I think a photogallery of performers who featured billiard balls in their act would be a great feature, along with a paragraph or two about the performers. Names like Cardini (natch), Baird, Rooklyn, Ross, Copper, Petrick come to mind off the top of my (top) hat. Plus a history of the development of the routine (was Buatier de Kolta the first, around 1875???) Walter B. Gibson writes in the billiard balls section of _The Complete Illustrated Guide to Close-up Magic_ (pp 85-195): "Magic with billiard balls was introduced nearly a century ago, utilising ivory balls of 2-inch diameters in contrast to the 4 1/4-inch type used on the billiard table."

Just for the sake of completeness, I would also hope for a detailed bibliography of books that feature good material on the billiard balls, both currently in print as well as out-of-print, such as Devant's _Our Magic_ Part III, Chapter II; Hull's _Expert Billiard Ball Manipulation_; Rooklyn's _Spherical Sorcery & Recollections of a Pro'_; Gibson's _Complete Illustrated Book of Close-up Magic_ (although why Walter considered the billiard balls close-up magic is a mystery to me--he even put the billiard balls on the front of the dustjacket!); Steinmeyer's _The Magic of Alan Wakeling_; Levent and Carr's _Benson by Starlight_; Fisher's _Cardini: The Suave Deceiver_; Buckingham's _It's Easier Than You Think_; Buckley's _Principles and Deceptions_; Kaufman's _BALLS! Lessons in Side-Arm Snookery_; Elliott's _Classic Secrets of Magic_; _Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume 2_; Ganson's _Routined Manipulation, Part 2_; Edward Victor's _Billiard Ball Manipulation in Seven Easy Lessons_; Macmillan's _Symphony of the Spheres_; Hull's _Expert Billiard Ball Manipulation_; and Frank Garcia had a billiard ball monograph as I recall; and then there's Finn Jon's excellent Multiplying Tennis Balls (if you've never seen this performed, you should try to at least contact Finn Jon about buying his video from him). Of course, the Potter Index might give an exhaustive list of what's in (and out of) print about the billiard balls. Some mention, too of course, of Ireland's multiplying golf balls, since the golf balls are golf ball size (whereas most magicians do not manipulate regulation-size billiard balls). Anverdi also had some ideas on ball manipulation in his lectures.
----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Levent (Nov 9, 2008 06:47PM)

I certainly won’t cover Mr. Risers routine and anyone interested in it should get his book. That said, many manipulative routines can be performed close-up if the magician knows which move to omit.


Once all the research and practice is done, I will record it all and only then will I know how many discs it will take for this project. There is no way I can possibly explain all of this on a single DVD. But as this point the total number of DVDs is unknown.

P.S. Thanks for your kind comment!!


I probably won’t be doing the ball and cone, because in my opinion it falls primarily into a handheld cup and ball or chop cup type of effect.


I love color changes and I’ll do my best to put some in.


Yes, there will be a ton of history and if you have ever seen any of my DVDs, you will know that there is always a pretty big bibliography at the end. The think the bibliography/credits at the end of the Misers Dream DVD set ran about 3 minutes long!

Please keep the comments coming!

Levent (flying out tomorrow to a gig)
Message: Posted by: travisb (Nov 24, 2008 02:21AM)
Thoughts on how to end a routine if not performing to music is something I'd like to see. In fact a survey of various presentational approaches would be interesting and useful.

One thing I liked in [i]Benson by Starlight[/i] was how you helped me to realize the essence of several classic tricks; you identify, in very specific, concrete ways, what makes certain tricks work. For example, in the Miser's Dream section, the importance of sound, of dumping out the coins, and various other bits that make the trick work well. Or the bit about the number of rings in a linking ring routine. Or the part about the right way to produce the balls in a billiard routine, and the importance of size. These things you describe, although perhaps not to be taken as dogma, can make a big impact on the performance. I personally have used many of the tips on the Miser's Dream, and have found they make the trick play better. So: what are the key elements that make this trick play for real audiences? What makes it succeed or fail? What do audiences like about this trick? Why do [i]you[/i] perform it? What makes it worth performing? I'd enjoy hearing your answers to those questions.


P.S. Thanks for writing [i]Benson by Starlight[/i], it's a treasure!
Message: Posted by: Levent (Nov 29, 2008 08:54AM)
Thanks Travis!

I am hoping that shooting the billiard ball DVD does hurt my fingers as much as miser's dream DVD did!

I am still quite a few months away from shooting this and am deep in the research phase.

Levent (on a plane to Antigua)
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Dec 10, 2008 03:06AM)
This is going to be great!

I agree with the other posts. As has been mentioned, a section on close-up routining would be nice. And of course, any insights into hiding the shell, since anyone who has any familiarity with magic at all knows about the shell gimmick and will be looking for it. That's one thing I liked about Mark Wilson's DVD on the multiplying balls - he does a phenomenal job of hiding the gimmick even when you're burning his hands.
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Dec 10, 2008 08:01AM)
On 2008-12-10 04:06, MaxfieldsMagic wrote:
That's one thing I liked about Mark Wilson's DVD on the multiplying balls - he does a phenomenal job of hiding the gimmick even when you're burning his hands.

Couldn't edit the previous post - I actually meant Tim Wright's DVD.
Message: Posted by: blueninja33 (Apr 28, 2009 02:33AM)
I have a $10 shell set that you can buy anywhere online and I am looking to expand my abilities. I remember when I was little and watching Worlds Greatest Magic on Television, Raymond Crowe's 8 Ball Tango simply blew my mind. I've always wanted to some day be able to do a routine like that. All I know is how to use a shell, and barely at that. I look forward to your DVD!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Oct 15, 2009 02:18AM)
Ordered the Miser Dream DVD set today do the announced price increase. Boy, did not think that a year and a half has passed already.

On November 1, 2009 the price will increase to $59.95 and be available from your favorite dealer as well. Get if from http://www.leventmagic.com

What a fair dealer, not found much in the Holmium now a days. Most dealers want to under price the very dealers they sell to. Not Levent! A fair and above board dealer/manufacturer, all other dealers who wholesale should take note of this man's integrity.

Take this opportunity to by both set!
Message: Posted by: Shutarou (Oct 20, 2009 08:45PM)
Could anyone teach?
Isn't there shop that sells a billiard ball of 2 inches or 1. 75 inches
that is not silicon?
Message: Posted by: Markymark (Oct 21, 2009 04:24AM)
Perhaps a toy shop,a pet shop or a shop that sells snooker and billiards equipment.

Very enjoyable dvd Levent,if you read this.I'm watching Roy Benson come alive again and again! Thank you.
Message: Posted by: Shutarou (Oct 21, 2009 05:06PM)
Thank you.
The snooker ball of a billiard shop seems to be good.
Message: Posted by: Levent (Oct 22, 2009 10:21AM)
On 2009-10-21 05:24, Markymark wrote:
Perhaps a toy shop,a pet shop or a shop that sells snooker and billiards equipment.

Very enjoyable dvd Levent,if you read this.I'm watching Roy Benson come alive again and again! Thank you.

HI MarkyMark:

Glad you liked my re-creation of the Benson 6-Ball routine!

Best regards,
Message: Posted by: Jakal (Oct 22, 2009 11:07AM)
I want to know a gimmick or sleight that produced four balls in one hand.
Suddenly, four more balls appear between the fingers of the other hand!
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (Oct 22, 2009 02:44PM)
On 2009-10-22 12:07, Jakal wrote:
I want to know a gimmick or sleight that produced four balls in one hand.
Suddenly, four more balls appear between the fingers of the other hand!

Watch Levent's new DVDs. He goes over the proper use of the flash four production.