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Topic: Charlie Miller Move
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 18, 2009 06:39PM)
I was watching some C&B routines recently and I was reminded of something that's been bugging me with regards to most people's execution of this move.

It has to do with the timing. Too many people raise the cup at the exact moment that they are letting the ball sink into the hand. This does not work.

The illusion has to be of the ball going through the cup, not of the ball instantly vanishing from on top of your fist and just as instantly appearing under the cup. Done like this, you can actually see both balls at the same time some times.

There has to be a brief delay from when the ball sinks into the hand to when the cup is lifted.

I imagine to many this may be stating the obvious, but I just watched a bunch of performances that would beg to differ, so I just wanted to get that out there,

Thanks
Glenn
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 18, 2009 08:45PM)
You're right. Also when the cup is lifted, the reveal ball should be moving slightly. :cups:
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 18, 2009 08:58PM)
Yes. I actually was just going through another thread on the move, discussing it in a different context mind you, and I watched a video involving doing the move with the final load. I forget the guys name, great work over all though, and he did the move nicely, except for getting the lower "ball" moving when revealed. That would have made his performance of the move.
Message: Posted by: konjurer (Jun 18, 2009 09:17PM)
I would agree with you. I've made that mistake before. One more little mistake I was making was to lift my hand off of the cup the second the ball dropped. The hand has to stay on the cup for the ball to drop through, right? The hand should stay in contact with the cup as it is being lifted, if only for a brief moment.
Message: Posted by: Chris SD (Jun 18, 2009 09:18PM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-18 21:58, gdw wrote:
Yes. I actually was just going through another thread on the move, discussing it in a different context mind you, and I watched a video involving doing the move with the final load. I forget the guys name, great work over all though, and he did the move nicely, except for getting the lower "ball" moving when revealed. That would have made his performance of the move.
[/quote]

That would be bebel.
Message: Posted by: walid ahumada (Jun 18, 2009 10:26PM)
For some reason this move never fooled me at all, it was to me like a gag (a cool one) but I never saw magic in it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2009 11:44PM)
Try actually dropping a ball from your closed fist and letting it land on the table. See how it moves when it hits the table. That's the way it should move when you lift the cup. If it moves too much, you overdid it.
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Jun 19, 2009 07:31AM)
These are the kind of tips I like to see.

When lifting the cup how do you get that ball moving?

Thanks,
Keith
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Jun 19, 2009 08:04AM)
Keith,
It's gently nudged with the back edge of the cup but then I do the CM move very differently.
Bri
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 19, 2009 08:45AM)
Oh, speaking of getting the ball moving, people need to do that as well when they fake a ball coming from under a cup. Especially when you are adding a ball to the ones already there.

Again, should be common knowledge, and it is always taught like this, but even Paul Gertener does this without kicking the ball rolling.

It is mostly when lifting to reveal three balls under a cup, but there was only really two, and the third is added from the hand. It is so often just set beside the cup, and it looks like exactly that. You need to kick it with the hand, at the same time kicking the balls under the cup, with the cup, as you lift teh cup.
Message: Posted by: Tilman (Jun 19, 2009 09:27AM)
I think David Williamson has come up with the best way of making the ball on the lower cup move when executing the Charlie Miller move: he tilts the whole stack of cups forward ever so slightly just before touching his fist onto the top cup. He does so by holding onto the top cup and tilting that cup forward. When the top cup is lifted from the lower cup, the lower cup rocks back into a vertical position, causing the ball on top of that cup to move.
The tilting motion can be justified as a minimal motion that is meant to bring the top of the cup closer to the hand holding the ball (but then I think the motion is so small that it is hardly ever perceived by the audience).
This, I think, is much better than trying to hit the ball with the edge of the cup. Depending on your cup design and size of the ball, you would need to move the top cup quite a bit forward in order to get in touch with the ball. The natural lifting motion would be straight up - as it is in the Williamson handling.

BTW, there is one more feature of Williamson's handling that makes it superiour to most that I've seen: the ball doesn't just sink into his fist, but goes into a full pinky palm, with the hand opening naturally as the ball travels to the pinky.
I think a hand that remains in a fist when it is removed from the cup never quite sells the move.

(This latter point refers to Williamson's handling of the Charlie Miller move proper, not to his variation for magician audiences, where the ball is allowed to drop from the hand it started in to the lower hand, holding the top cup of the stack.)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 19, 2009 10:50AM)
I think it is very important not to kick that ball too far. If it rolls more than 3 or 4 inches, that is, IMHO, way too much.

It's like the revelation of the ball under the chop cup just before the loading sequence. If you kick the ball too far, the misdirection is way too noticeable, and it doesn't work as well. Even Don Alan, who basically "originated" kicking that ball forward on the chop cup, thought that people who made that ball roll too far were chicken.
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Jun 19, 2009 11:27AM)
Bill, I agree about not kicking it too far which was why I was careful to use the word "nudge", also I believe it is important to prepare for the move ahead by making sure the cup is pushed a little forward way ahead of time which means the action of lifting the cup (back a little) does the nudging and you don't have to move it.
Message: Posted by: Tom Fenton (Jun 19, 2009 12:11PM)
Bill,

Wasn't there another word after "chicken"?

;)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 19, 2009 12:17PM)
Yes. I cleaned it up.
Message: Posted by: Tom Fenton (Jun 19, 2009 02:21PM)
Good man!
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 19, 2009 07:54PM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-19 10:27, Tilman wrote:
I think David Williamson has come up with the best way of making the ball on the lower cup move when executing the Charlie Miller move: he tilts the whole stack of cups forward ever so slightly just before touching his fist onto the top cup. He does so by holding onto the top cup and tilting that cup forward. When the top cup is lifted from the lower cup, the lower cup rocks back into a vertical position, causing the ball on top of that cup to move.
The tilting motion can be justified as a minimal motion that is meant to bring the top of the cup closer to the hand holding the ball (but then I think the motion is so small that it is hardly ever perceived by the audience).
This, I think, is much better than trying to hit the ball with the edge of the cup. Depending on your cup design and size of the ball, you would need to move the top cup quite a bit forward in order to get in touch with the ball. The natural lifting motion would be straight up - as it is in the Williamson handling.

BTW, there is one more feature of Williamson's handling that makes it superiour to most that I've seen: the ball doesn't just sink into his fist, but goes into a full pinky palm, with the hand opening naturally as the ball travels to the pinky.
I think a hand that remains in a fist when it is removed from the cup never quite sells the move.

(This latter point refers to Williamson's handling of the Charlie Miller move proper, not to his variation for magician audiences, where the ball is allowed to drop from the hand it started in to the lower hand, holding the top cup of the stack.)
[/quote]

Good notes on the Williamson handling for getting motion while doing it with stacked cups, however, referring to kicking the ball with the cup as it is lifted, this is specifically for when the doing the move with ONE cup, so the unnatural movement of the cup up then forward is non-existent as you do not need to clear a lower cup before kicking the ball.
Message: Posted by: Tilman (Jun 20, 2009 05:51AM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-19 20:54, gdw wrote:
Good notes on the Williamson handling for getting motion while doing it with stacked cups, however, referring to kicking the ball with the cup as it is lifted, this is specifically for when the doing the move with ONE cup, so the unnatural movement of the cup up then forward is non-existent as you do not need to clear a lower cup before kicking the ball.
[/quote]

If I remember correctly, using the edge of the cup to get the lower ball moving was the method described in the Dai Vernon Book of Magic for the stacked cups and the single cup handling.

I never liked the single cup handling for exactly the reason that the Williamson method of tilting the stack forward is not available when not using a stack of cups.
Even if you don't have to move upward (to clear the lower cup) before moving forward (to nudge the ball) - as in the original Miller handling for the stack - in the single cup handling you still have to move that cup forward. And I think that motion will never look good. With some performers it looks as if they try to lean on an object that rests on a slippery surface. And then that thing slips away...

I agree with mindyourmagic though that you can minimize that motion by preparing for the move (moving the cup forward ahead of time). That's a great tip. Maybe the performers I have in mind don't do that. Maybe I'm reading too many Al Schneider texts these days ;-)
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Jun 20, 2009 09:15AM)
Tilman, is there a book with Al Schneider about C&Bs? I would be very interested in this book hoping it would go with his C&Bs DVD.

I am Deaf and cannot hear what he is saying and if there is a book then hopefully it will help me out.

Thanks,
Keith
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Jun 20, 2009 11:49AM)
Tilman, thanks, Keith, Al Schneider on coins in my opinion is essential reading for all mages including who don't even do coins, there's a lot in there that translates to all forms of magic.

Bri
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Jun 20, 2009 12:10PM)
Keith,

Al Schneider put out at least two e-books on the cups and balls I'm aware of. He named them both with a bunch of letters to make acronyms. I have them both but their names escape me.

Al has a website you can order his stuff from. It's down at the moment but you can try it intermittantly.

http://www.worldmagiccenter.com/

Hopefully Al will be back up and running soon.

KG
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Jun 20, 2009 01:22PM)
I am confused here with this topic: gdw originally talks about the Charlie Miller move using a single cup and the right timing of lifting that cup, and all that made sense to me. Then somebody mentions tilting forward a stack of cups. Why are we talking about "Stacks of Cups" and what do you mean by "Tilting Forward"? If I tilted a cup or stack of cups forward, how in the world are is the audience going to see what's under the cup if the mouth ends up facing the performer? Would it be better if I tilted backwards so that the audience can see under the cup(s)?

***Thanks Kent Gun for the information on Al Schneider***** :)
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 20, 2009 02:13PM)
They are talking about doing the move with stacked cups, as is often done, and only SLIGHTLY tilting the cups forward so that when the top cup is lifted, the only cup you are actually touching, the stack will settle back causing just enough movement to wobble the ball now visible resting on the now top cup of the stack.

Hope that helps.
Message: Posted by: magicorik (Jun 20, 2009 02:39PM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-18 23:26, walid ahumada wrote:
For some reason this move never fooled me at all, it was to me like a gag (a cool one) but I never saw magic in it.
[/quote]
I have the same opinion.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Dial (Jun 20, 2009 11:05PM)
If the Charlie Miller move is a gag, then the audience must know of the existence of the lower ball before the move is executed.
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Jun 21, 2009 08:42AM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-21 00:05, Jeff Dial wrote:
If the Charlie Miller move is a gag, then the audience must know of the existence of the lower ball before the move is executed.
[/quote]

I don't agree with this at all.
Message: Posted by: Tilman (Jun 21, 2009 08:42AM)
Keith,

As Kent mentions above, Al Schneider has two e-books on the cups and balls (and also companion cds that show video clips of him executing the moves and routine).

The first cups and balls book he published is titled "Schneider Classic Cups TL MPL" and was published in 2006.
(The abbreviations stand for: T(weezers Steals)L(apping) M(ultiple)P(hase)L(oads).)
The other book, which deals with his street routine for the cups and balls, was published later. I don't have it and can't provide a complete reference right now.

BTW, none of Schneider's routines (as far as I am aware) makes use of the Charlie Miller move. However, Al Schneider always goes into a lot of detail regarding the EXACT way moves in his routines are to be executed if one wants the audience to make the desired assumptions. That was all I alluded to in my aside above. Sorry for any possible confusion (BTW, even if not bearing directly on this discussion, Al Schneider's work on the cups and balls is one of the greatest resources we have on this trick).
Message: Posted by: Keith Mitchell (Jun 21, 2009 08:46AM)
Al Schneider's web site is still under construction, so at this point I am not sure how to reach him. I do like his techniques on the DVD, especially the way his hands move. Can't wait to get my hands on his books!
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Jun 21, 2009 08:58AM)
You can always go to this whack-job's website and get his routine. I hear he's insane, but I know he relied heavily on Schneider's teachings to construct his routine.

http://www.funshopmagic.com
Message: Posted by: Tilman (Jun 21, 2009 09:12AM)
On the gag/no-gag question: I think the Charlie Miller move can be completely deceptive when executed well and in the right context (and, I would add, when executed with a stack of cups, with the ball appearing on one of the bottom cups of the stack...).

I remember, many years ago, showing the first David Williamson video to friends (only the performance section) and right after the Charlie Miller move and the wand through cup effect they commented on how incredible it was that a ball could travel through the cup and the wand be pushed through it and still the cup appeared to be solid. In fact, they were more willing to believe that these things had really happened than to agree that Williamson was using ungimmicked cups.

Now Williamson does have a solution to this problem. He shows the bottom of the cup very clearly after the penetration phase (something that I think did not register with my friends watching a video).

When first starting to perform Williamson's routine myself, I always left out that bit.
I thought that while my spectators would be unable to understand how ball and wand had seemingly passed through the cup, that phase of the routine would never seriously convince them that my cups had holes in them. Within a couple of months, several spectators commented that they were convinced (by that part of the routine) of exactly that. Since then, I have never ommitted showing the condition of the cups very clearly after the penetration phase of the routine.

Still, it is interesting to ask yourself why you should use the Miller move when a false transfer would allow you to show the hand that touches the ball to the cup empty after the penetration. I see more people using the Miller move for penetration phases than I see people doing false transfers. I would guess that depending on features of the routine/context one should be clearly preferable to the other...
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Jun 21, 2009 06:38PM)
If you ask Josh the superfluous, I created a move to replace the Charlie Miller's move (favorably in my opinion, and at least it was the intent).
Josh learned it and filmed it.
If you ask him, he may send you a copy.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 21, 2009 08:04PM)
I've seen him do it, and it is wonderful.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jun 25, 2009 09:38PM)
This got me thinking of another move which I often see performed in a manner, which I personally, consider, incorrect. I say "incorrect" as it simply looks transparent when I see it performed as it often is.

It is the "inside is deeper than the outside" display with the cups and the wand.

When removing the wand from the cup, well, that line in itself sums it up, the wand should be removed from the cup, as well as the cup from the wand. Though it is not necessary to move the cup. The problem comes when performers ONLY move the cup. Then the movement of the thumb becomes apparent. The movement of the thumb is covered only when the hand and wand also move.

Classic example of larger movement covering the smaller.

Vernon almost misses it the first time he does it on the Wilson show, but I would say nails it the second time. Ammar, however, makes the, what I consider, mistake mentioned above when performing the move during his demonstration of Vernon's routine on his C&B videos. No way a slight against Ammar, it is a tiny "complaint" of a small subtlety on what can be considered a gag in a much larger performance, however, I was just watching it, and it was what got me thinking about this in particular.

Any who . . . tll the next thing I think about nit picking.
Message: Posted by: bkp007 (Jun 27, 2009 11:04AM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-18 23:26, walid ahumada wrote:
For some reason this move never fooled me at all, it was to me like a gag (a cool one) but I never saw magic in it.
[/quote]

I also agree with this, and I choose not to use it very much. To me it seems to point to the fact that there is an extra ball.

However, many great magicians use this so it must not be that bad.

I guess it's just my opinion
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 28, 2009 01:46AM)
The mose is a nice link for a routine, you just do it and keep moving.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Jul 7, 2009 04:51AM)
I use the move in my metallic (copper as a tribute to Conus) balls routine. What is different about it is that I make fun of the people who think that the cups are tricked, stating "naturally the cups have about the same depth than their height" and I show it without the move, then I state, doing the move "How would a cup be deeper inside than it is outside? Ridiculous!" This script makes the effect much more puzzling than the traditional one which appeared in the very early 17 century books. The audience follows the patter (nodding in agreement at the evidence) and only realizes after it was presented and as we are already on to something else.

Now I agree with Pete Biro. Even in this form, it is just something to do and keep moving.
Message: Posted by: Jon Allen (Jul 8, 2009 06:56PM)
I had a move published in MAGIC a while ago. It was a way to visibly and audibly push the ball through the bottom of the cup with a flat palm. After pushing the ball down you can lift off the hand to show the ball has gone then lift up the cup to show it has penetrated through.

It's also described in my forthcoming book.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 8, 2009 10:41PM)
Lawrence O's new cups and metal balls routine breaks new ground. Can't believe how he came up with new ways to load!
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Jul 10, 2009 09:34PM)
Can't wait to see the new routine.

I'm also in agreement with the initial premise;
"For some reason this move never fooled me."
I've worked on it on and off since starting with Aldo Columbini's great routine.

but as always I thought I've just not seen it done properly. Then I watched Charlie Miller do it on tape and it really didn't look much better.

I think the tilting stack idea sounds great. Can't wait to try it. That should leave just the right amount of wobble on the ball while the cup and all is removed from the space.

P