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Topic: How did you choose your final load?
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 21, 2010 01:58AM)
I've become oddly fascinated with the various final loads I'm seeing people use in their cups and balls routine, and am wondering what thoughts are on the objects used? I enjoy both story magic (i.e. Suzanne's parable) as well as magic for the sake of being magical (Ammar's routine is one of my favorites!) However I'm struggling with the idea of the random final loads I sometimes see being used, seemingly just because they're larger than the balls that have been used prior to the finale. For instance, I LOVE Ricky Jay's routine - it's beautifully scripted and performed, yet to me it loses something at the end when the final loads seem to have very little to do with an otherwise spectacular performance. It could be that I've seen so many cup and ball routines that I'm simply jaded at this point...if I were viewing the routine as a lay person I'm sure the finale would have a different effect on me. I love the idea of the final loads being the punchline to a joke, or the moral to a story, or even something as simple as three large red balls appearing where three small ones have been throughout the routine. For some reason, the appearance of random fruits and vegetables just isn't doing it for me if they aren't somehow connected to the patter or the routine. Even something as simple as Ammar's scripting ("turn up" leading to a turnip) I find to be great motivation for the other random items to appear.

I'm curious what other folks use for the loads and why? Again, I'm well aware that I may indeed be jaded by viewing so many different performances, so I'd be interested to hear other opinions on final loads and the reasoning behind them. (I also hope I'm not showing my ignorance as far as Ricky Jay's history lesson...perhaps his final loads have something more to do with the theme than I'm aware? If so, forgive my stupidity...it creeps up on me frequently!)
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Mar 21, 2010 04:44AM)
Non congruent loads are usually used simply for impact as they increase audience reaction.

You'll need to base your decisions on final loads on many things and not just the biggest thing that the cup will take.

Where you are loading from, what you are wearing (both in terms of loading space and also visibility), Contrast with the cups (for instance I always load lemons with my Cocobolo cups as they are so dark), the type of reaction you are looking for, if you are gigging constantly or performing a one off (fruit will always need replacing so if you want to use fruit then Fab Fruit is probably a good option) etc etc.

If you want to create a classy finish and are interested in aesthetics then larger balls that are congruent to your working balls will probably be in order. For impact non congruent loads such as fruit or clockwork cigar smoking nun's weilding shotguns might just be memorable. For a themed presentation, well only you know what your theme is but everything above will still need to be taken into consideration.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Mar 21, 2010 05:51AM)
If you are sports person and can make your theme current, then the mini baseballs are a good choice, they also have larger baseballs for the cups at Stevens Magic.

Nothing dictates it must be a ball or round object at all. In Ken Brooke Book he suggest using figurines. These can be any that fits your theme. As far as ideas look at cake decorations at the local cake bakery shop. They have all kinds of themes that would work for a final load.

One time when alka-seltzer was advertised on television, I found the little man made form the fizz tablet in the store as a toy. I used it for a while and the tag like was something along the lines, "I all this action upsets your stomach, here is 'Speedy' Alka-seltzer to come you down."

Paul Gertner was inspired by the town he lived in, it was a steel manufacturing town and this lead to his working out of using all ball bearings.

The original idea of fruit was used mainly because of convenience. They were readily available and if necessary could be used as an impromptu showing of the Cups and Balls as depicted in 'The Stares of Magic' Book, Dai Vernon's Impromptu routine.

There are not many stores anymore that sell nick knack things for the home, but I once found a paper weight with pennies in cased in a plexi dome. It was interesting and heavy and something no one would expect to be under a cup.

Go shopping and look around with the unusual in mind. Maybe you can find something no one else uses. Have fun in your search.
Message: Posted by: HerbLarry (Mar 21, 2010 10:19AM)
Some say start with the load and work backwards and that's what I did.
The "how to get the load" dictated the load and the routine dictated the motivation for the getting. The result is original and satisfying.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 21, 2010 10:26AM)
I've seen the fruit that Michael Ammar sells and must say it's incredibly well made. He was selling it at a lecture here in L.A. and I truly wouldn't have known the difference if I wasn't already aware that it was fake.

It's funny that you mention little figurines; I was at a thrift store this week and saw some small figures for a Christmas tree and thought they would make great final loads. I'm currently working on several presentations using different finales, so it all depends what ends up working the best for me overall. I just know that with my routine, I don't want the final loads to be something that was convenient, but rather something that fits with the presentation while still being just as unexpected as fruit and veggies.
Message: Posted by: Sir Richard (Mar 21, 2010 10:40AM)
With me it's all about what I'm trying to do. The final loads are obviously meant to surprise your audience with the unexpected "different" loads. I get a great reaction with the foam rubber golf-balls I bought from my local target store when I do the Rub-A-Dub-Dub routine; yet you couldn't say that they're a very spectacular final load, just unexpected. I've used La Crosse balls for their size & have recently bought some cheap rubber baseballs that are smaller than a regular baseball at my local dollar tree for a buck apiece. Coupled with my Mike Rodgers mini-baseballs they are pretty congruent. I've also got a set of mini-tennis balls that I will use later on with regular tennis balls as a F.L.. The idea here, being that I like to change things up to keep 'em surprised. This summer I'm going to be doing some busking at our local Farmer's Market, & to keep on the good side of the vendors I plan on buying some produce from them to use as the F.L.s; then, after revealing them I'm going to give the vendors a plug.

Sir Richard.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 21, 2010 11:33AM)
I like the produce idea! Always good to tie it in with the people paying you.
I handled the Mike Rogers baseballs at Ammar's lecture and really liked the size and feel of them...the full sized baseball Ammar has works great with those also.
Message: Posted by: Mobius303 (Mar 21, 2010 12:24PM)
I use one lager ball and two or three small stuffed bunnies.
I have also used various things like Apples, limes and lemons.

I have also used the Baseballs but they didn't get the reaction that the bunnies always get.

I recenty did a show where I produced a Med scanner (the spining thing) From Star Trek the original series.

You should have fun like your audience when you produce something.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 21, 2010 06:35PM)
I think Ken Brooke got the idea for using the figurine as a chop cup load when he had a chance to purchase a bunch of them for very little money.

At one time, I believe Steve Spill was using wind-up toys.

At the Renaissance festivals I used a billiard ball, a cue ball and an eight ball as the final loads in my chop cup routine. I stopped using them until recently, because they were not easy to do without a pouch. Now I have a new method, and it works like a champ. I get three 2 1/8 inch billiard balls as described above without having to go to my pockets.
Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Mar 21, 2010 10:02PM)
Greetings and Salutations,

Although I perform at a number of renfests, I use mini-baseballs that I got from Gary Animal. I do not remark on the fact that the balls look like mini-baseballs, they're just props. And I use four baseballs as final loads, with my line being: "my secret to the cups and balls is I use four balls, I just make them bigger so you can see them easier." Magicians in the audience "get it," but the audience is simply amazed that after revealing the first baseball, I produce three more.

It seemed to make sense, to me, that the loads would be the same as the workers, only bigger, because of the last line, above, before I dive into my final hat line. So, that's why I use baseballs.

Just my $.02 (USD) worth. YMMV

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
Message: Posted by: magiclimber (Mar 21, 2010 11:56PM)
I'm currently reading "Magic and Showmanship" and one idea Nelms keeps coming back to is providing a meaning to the magic.

In my opinion, one of the best routines I've ever seen is Ammar's but he doesn't really provide a meaning other than, hey, I'm super good at this!

Thinking about it now, many cups routines I've seen, and the routine I do (basically Vernon) doesn't really have much meaning.

With the final loads, its seems many of us magicians just show them, because we know they will surprise a spectator. The line about using a "fourth ball that's bigger" is pretty common, and making the final loads match the small balls seems to provide some meaning. Also, "finishing big" give some good meaning to the final loads. Thinking while I'm typing this: It seems that the final loads have significantly more meaning than the earlier phases.

I really like the idea of using a fruit as a final load and tying in a bill to limon. Now there's a purpose to produce some fruit. Thinking about fruit as a final load is so random, but maybe this adds to the element of surprise, and creates a sense of impromptu-ness that was previously discussed.

those are some of my thoughts...
Message: Posted by: Arkadia (Mar 22, 2010 05:28AM)
In risk of troling down this forum as well. I just have to post my strip about it.

http://www.bitstrips.com/user/106453/read.php?comic_id=493463&subsection=1

Comic relief...
Message: Posted by: sethb (Mar 22, 2010 06:51AM)
Based on an old Al Cohen idea, I use a "D" battery as an incongruent load.

After a deliberately failed ball penetration, I lift up the stack of cups and reveal the battery, saying "Oh, so that's why it didn't work -- the battery's dead!". Then I tip over the battery itself, which lands with a nice thud -- so it's obviously heavy, solid and real. This load always gets a good laugh and plenty of wide eyes.

With old-fashioned tapered cups that are taller than they are wide (Bosco style), you can load an alkaline "D" cell battery, and the cup will hold it in an upright position on the table until the load is produced. The battery is easy and very quiet to load; they are also readily available, durable and cheap.

While congruent loads may be more logical, I find that the incongruent loads always get a better reaction. Seems like the less sense it makes, the better. SETH
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 22, 2010 10:27AM)
Sometimes the meaning of the routine is "Hey! This is a very old trick, and I would like to show it to you." Sometimes the meaning of the routine is the patter, not the trick, itself.

Take a look at Ron Bauer's work. http://www.thinklikeaconjurer.com . Also, get [i]The Penultimate Cups and Balls[/i] by Bob Read.

The meaning of a routine or a trick does not need to be extremely deep. Look at Nelms' strongman presentation of the cut and restored string, for example.
Message: Posted by: magiclimber (Mar 22, 2010 01:39PM)
Good point Bill.

I guess the primary motive to present the cups and balls could easily be: It's the oldest trick in magic.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 22, 2010 02:55PM)
That's one reason, of course. It's the excuse I use!

Punx had an interesting idea for a presentation. He told the story of Bartolomeo Bosco, who had been a soldier in the Crimean War. He told of Bosco's great skill as a sleight of hand artist and how he had gotten wounded at the Battle of Borodino. The Russian troops were going among the bodies, looting them of all their possessions and giving the coup de grace to the ones that were still alive. Bosco played dead while a Russian soldier searched his body.

(the action up until this point is a fairly standard cups and balls routine that is presented as the magician talks about Bosco's abilities)

Little did the Russian know that Bosco had picked his pockets while he was looting Bosco's "corpse." And Bosco had stolen the Russian's purse, which contained enough money to keep him clothed and sheltered, his compass, which kept him from getting lost, and an apple, which provided Bosco with some food. (At this point, the final loads, a small bag of coins, a compass and an apple are revealed.)

I have Punx's final load props.
Message: Posted by: magiclimber (Mar 22, 2010 11:23PM)
[quote]

I have Punx's final load props.
[/quote]

No surprise here!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 23, 2010 03:00AM)
The strange thing was the way I came by them. I was at Borodin's house in Aschaffenburg a few years ago. He said, "Here is something I think you might be able to find a use for." And he gave me the props.

He did that later with the nest of seven boxes that are shown in the presentation of Saladin the Thief in Sheherazade.
Message: Posted by: topchange52 (Mar 23, 2010 03:49AM)
I use 2 final loads for my chop cup routine a lime and an orange, I find that fruit seems to get the best reaction for me, one tip for those that use real fruit have them examined at the end to show they're real. I never used to do this until someone grabbed one thinking they were somehow faked (collapasable or maybe sponge)I then realised that other people may have been thinking the same thing so now I always dispel that theory by letting someone hold/examine them.
Message: Posted by: J.G. the magnificent (Apr 5, 2010 07:51PM)
This post got my brain jogging and I love the battery idea. As for my own thoughts though the traditional fruit only a fruit containing a card for a later card in fruit during a card effect, russian nesting dolls, sponge bananna, slinky, character that is well known such as pikachu, one of those toys on a suction cup and spring that pop up, light up ball of a sort, appearing pencil or other appearing item, perhaps even your next effect such as one shell under each cup for the three shell game. However I am not sure if that would work because it is a weaker effect and a totally different area. Also a small baggy filled with candy or popcorn that spills out.
Message: Posted by: magicbenyoung (May 9, 2010 02:02PM)
I use four final loads. 3 are small rubber bouncy balls (not much bigger than the normal ones I use) but one is a soccer ball, one is a baseball, and one is a basketball. Then the final-final load is a large blue basketball.

The way I present them is I ask how many balls under the center cup. They say "one" and I show them they are correct, but it is obvious that it is a different ball. Then I say, "well it's an extra ball. And I have another one here, and another one here(lifting up the other two cups as I speak) "But in case I lose them, I always keep one more extra ball" (lift up middle cup to show the large ball."

I feel they are relevant enough because I essentially act like they are exactly the same as the small red ones I used throughout the routine. I just continue referring to them as balls...which they are.

Just my 2 cents.
Ben
Message: Posted by: gaddy (May 9, 2010 03:24PM)
Bright yellow lemons contrast nicely with my dark chocolate patina'd cups and pool-table green velveteen tabletop. The visual impact, contrast and incongruity is all I care about for the loads.
Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (May 9, 2010 03:32PM)
Very nice! I always use lemons (fab ones) with my cocobolo cups, the picture towards the end shows the contrast really well: http://www.cupsandballsmagic.com/Joe-Porper-Cocobolo-Cups.html

Bri
Message: Posted by: gaddy (May 9, 2010 04:33PM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-09 16:32, mindyourmagic wrote:
Very nice! I always use lemons (fab ones) with my cocobolo cups, the picture towards the end shows the contrast really well: http://www.cupsandballsmagic.com/Joe-Porper-Cocobolo-Cups.html

Bri
[/quote]

DUDE! we both used the word "incongruous". That's the word of the day!
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (May 12, 2010 08:36AM)
To answer the question of the thread, I choose them carefully!

Then following David Devant, Ken Brook, Dai Vernon, etc... objects of a different nature with bright colors to enhance the surprise. Now if these can be chosen according to the audience, so much the better.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 12, 2010 09:02AM)
[quote]
On 2010-03-22 14:39, magiclimber wrote:
Good point Bill.

I guess the primary motive to present the cups and balls could easily be: It's the oldest trick in magic.
[/quote]

That's reason enough.
Message: Posted by: Payne (May 12, 2010 01:25PM)
[quote]
On 2010-03-21 23:02, MagiUlysses wrote:
Greetings and Salutations,

Although I perform at a number of renfests, I use mini-baseballs that I got from Gary Animal. I do not remark on the fact that the balls look like mini-baseballs, they're just props. And I use four baseballs as final loads, with my line being: "my secret to the cups and balls is I use four balls, I just make them bigger so you can see them easier." Magicians in the audience "get it," but the audience is simply amazed that after revealing the first baseball, I produce three more.

It seemed to make sense, to me, that the loads would be the same as the workers, only bigger, because of the last line, above, before I dive into my final hat line. So, that's why I use baseballs.

Just my $.02 (USD) worth. YMMV

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
[/quote]

Being a renfaire performer as well I wanted something that didn't read as modern as baseballs do. I decided to go with cricket balls as they are quite unfamiliar to American audiences and the lacquered red leather and odd lacing gives them a rich and unique look. I produce three of them as well as a large silver orb, a lemon, a purse of monies, and a mechanical chick.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (May 13, 2010 12:01PM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-12 14:25, Payne wrote:
[quote]
On 2010-03-21 23:02, MagiUlysses wrote:
Greetings and Salutations,

Although I perform at a number of renfests, I use mini-baseballs that I got from Gary Animal. I do not remark on the fact that the balls look like mini-baseballs, they're just props. And I use four baseballs as final loads, with my line being: "my secret to the cups and balls is I use four balls, I just make them bigger so you can see them easier." Magicians in the audience "get it," but the audience is simply amazed that after revealing the first baseball, I produce three more.

It seemed to make sense, to me, that the loads would be the same as the workers, only bigger, because of the last line, above, before I dive into my final hat line. So, that's why I use baseballs.

Just my $.02 (USD) worth. YMMV

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
[/quote]

Being a renfaire performer as well I wanted something that didn't read as modern as baseballs do. I decided to go with cricket balls as they are quite unfamiliar to American audiences and the lacquered red leather and odd lacing gives them a rich and unique look. I produce three of them as well as a large silver orb, a lemon, a purse of monies, and a mechanical chick.
[/quote]

You cannot say what follows so I'll say it for you: "these loads come at the end of one of the most superbly entertaining routine"
Message: Posted by: Hansel (May 19, 2010 12:55AM)
I choose it by popularity and best reactions.
In my regular chop cup routine I try any type of load that you can imagine, buy all the type, colors and shapes of balls, eggs, little coconut palms...you name it!
But lemons...Lemons are Lemons!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 19, 2010 01:01AM)
I load whatever I find in my pocket... :kermit:
Seriously? For 3 cups routines, I use Fab Fruit, Lemon, Turnip, Potato and Tomato.
Once for an impromptu bowl routine I loaded a handfull of mashed potatoes I grabbed from the plate to my left (under serious misdirection).
Message: Posted by: Hansel (May 19, 2010 01:38AM)
LOL! Mashed potatoes...THAT HILARIOUS!
Message: Posted by: pepka (May 20, 2010 11:50PM)
[quote]
On 2010-03-23 00:23, magiclimber wrote:
[quote]

I have Punx's final load props.
[/quote]

No surprise here!
[/quote]
Yeah, he has everything.

My thought is for a 2 cup routine, 3 loads, for a 3 cup routine, 4. It makes it so much more impossible, and the extra one is sort of a freebie since there is so much misdirection when loading the 4th one. I normally have 1 load match my small loads, usually the last one revealed, and I stall as much as possible after revealing 3 pieces of fruit. If I can't get ahold of fruit, I have 3 different colored balls that fill in. I did have Fab Fruit at one time, but they disappeared, need to reorder.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 21, 2010 01:32AM)
No. I missed out on the Pop Krieger cups, and I didn't know that Larry Jennings' widow was going to sell the Vernon cups.

But I can still hope!!!!
Message: Posted by: J.G. the magnificent (Sep 14, 2011 05:23PM)
Another surprising one is a ball that jumps all of a sudden unexpectedly. This is simply a lightweight styrofoam ball with a hole on the bottom. In this hole one of those toys with a suction cup on a spring attached. It suctions down to a plastic foot and after a short while it pops up. The timing takes a while to get the hand of but is a nice little bit for kids.
Message: Posted by: HiraseMagic (Sep 19, 2011 02:48AM)
Not sure if that is a bit off-topic, but I am thinking of using some paper cups to do the routine and then finally load a cup of hot coffee ( by doing a switch + lapping).

Thanks,
Hirase
Message: Posted by: volto (Sep 19, 2011 04:42AM)
Hot coffee + lapping may end badly :)
Message: Posted by: HiraseMagic (Sep 19, 2011 05:43AM)
Volto,

No, I mean lap the empty paper cup and switch it with a hot coffee.

Believe that you are just joking me anyway ^^

Hirase
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 19, 2011 03:42PM)
[b] Get your audience loaded, then it won't matter what you do. [/b] :kermit: