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Topic: Best Sponge Ball Vanish for Bowl Routine
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Aug 11, 2011 05:18PM)
Hi All,

I have been trying to do the Benson Bowl routine correctly for years, but can't decide the best way to do a retention vanish.

And now with the help of the Internet we can see that NOBODY agrees on the best method!

Please check out these videos and let me know what you think the best practices should be...


1) Fingers outside hand (index finger holds ball)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xonZoodldbI

2) Fingers inside hand (middle fingers fold ball)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShbcqSfc3kI

3) The finger pluck (requires nice suit)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjdQC7Qqt6o

4) Fingers in palm (all fingers on ball)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8BOXWAy82k

5) Thumb clip (with waving hand)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-8mBnS-eIw

6) Upside down retention (from Germany)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy5xArLktV4

7) Fast slap (two fingers hold ball)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coo6GOyOH_0
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 11, 2011 06:13PM)
I doubt there is one right way to do it, although there are probably a sundry of wrong ways. Find a copy of Bill Elliott's "Classic Secrets of Magic". It explains very well the action needed for this. Mostly it has to do with the timing and the taking of the wand.
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Aug 11, 2011 07:03PM)
Clip number 1 was pretty sweet........

Nice wand spin, too!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 11, 2011 10:34PM)
You don't need tricky moves. Just pick up a ball in one hand and PLACE IT IN THE OTHER HAND, because the first hand needed to pick up your wand.

OK, SEE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

DO A FALSE TRANSFER THAT LOOKS THE SAME.

HERE'S MINE.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn2tyhLRrvs&feature=related
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 12, 2011 12:13AM)
I have used all sorts of ways to do this, but I always have kept them simple. Pete is right - use a false transfer that looks the same as it would if you were actually doing what you are pretending to do.

Michael lists a great reference, and I will add BOWLing With the Stars from none other than Mr. Biro as another excellent resource. Also, check out the work by Frank Garcia on this particular routine.
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Aug 12, 2011 09:46AM)
Great video Pete! I ordered Pete's book a few days ago, and just ordered Bruce Elliot's book on Amazon. I am digging up my original Don Alan instructions as well.

I have video (that I can't share) for the Garcia Master Move on the Sponge Ball Encyclopedia. This move starts out holding the ball with the index finger and thumb, and then retaining ball with the lower three fingers under the cover of the cupped hand. There are literally five phases to this, and I have spent more then 20 hours practicing, but this move seems to require microsecond timing to work properly.

Watching Eric Jones and Jeff McBride do a sponge ball retention, they employ a very fast plucking motion. And while these guys have more magic in their little finger than I do in my entire closeup kit, I have a problem with this method. Shouldn't a RETENTION have a split second stop in the movement, where the ball is frozen on the palm? How can there be a visual retention if everything is done in one smooth fast motion? Look at the deceptive millisecond freeze and peek at the ball on clip one above to see what I mean.

With this sleight, small changes in handling or timing seem to result in large changes from an audience perspective, and obviously some of the people doing this on the video clips above have ended up deriving their own handling. So I am interested in not just what is the best way to do this, but also what is the most historically authentic way, if there is one. Can anyone point to Roy Benson's handling, or a good write up of his original retention vanish?

Best, Bill
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Aug 12, 2011 10:09AM)
It's best to listen to Pete. You'll want a vanish that looks natural for you. Of course the Garcia move requires precise timing - any vanish will require that.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 12, 2011 10:22AM)
[b]Too much information. MOST OF IT WRONG OR NOT NATURAL OR BENSON-LIKE.

Look, try this. Have a ball on the table with your wand under your left arm. Hold your left hand open palm up, relaxed. Look at ball, pick it up with right hand in natural way, rotated right hand SLIGHTLY palm up, AS TO SHOW IT TO VIEWERS for a fraction of a second.

NOW (and this timing is for study)... PLACE BALL ONTO OPEN LEFT HAND... stop... you see the ball... pause about ONE SECOND.

As Ken Brooke used to teach "DON'T MAKE A MOVE OF IT."

SIMULTANEOUSLY close left hand and rotate it clockwise.... RIGHT HAND JUST REACHES UP TO GRIP WAND. DO NOT DO ANY DOPEY MOVES WITH RIGHT HAND IT WILL CLOSE ON ITS OWN FOR A FRACTION OF A SECOND AND RE-OPEN TO GRASP WAND.

See illustrations in my book from Benson't lecture notes.[/b]
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 12, 2011 02:18PM)
The way Pete describes it is exactly the way I usually do it. It is also one of the cleanest ways. Alan was right - any vanish will require precise timing. Some much more than others, but they all require it. Follow what Pete said exactly the way he wrote it.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 12, 2011 02:48PM)
[b]IF[/b] this helps...

There should be some motivation for any action. If you were really going to make a ball disappear, you'd just make it disappear. To do so with a bit of the unknown attached, you'd close the ball in your hand first.

Now... there is absolutely [b]NO[/b] reason for placing the ball in the other hand... [b]EXCEPT[/b]...

you have to grab the wand. Conveniently for you, that wand is only accessible to one hand. But, the ball is in that same hand. Therefore you must put the ball somewhere else in order to grab the wand. Placing it into the other hand is as good a place as any.

The motivation for the action is not (or should not be) placing the ball into your hand for the purpose of vanishing it. That is of course the ultimate goal, but the reason you place it into your hand, is so you can grab the wand most efficiently.

If your silent script (that which is running inside your head) includes that bit of info, your mental attitude and bodily actions will contain subtle nuances that will convey to the audience. It will give you a foundation upon which to build your sequence of actions.

At the very instant that the ball is placed into your hand, all your focus should be on going for the wand. Asking the audience to burn your hand at the very moment you do the dirty work is poor timing.

Small detail, big difference. ;)
Message: Posted by: Martock (Aug 12, 2011 03:59PM)
Great advise Michael. I had never seen this effect until last night. I watched three or four of the videos OP was kind enough to link to. Within 10 minutes or so of watching them I showed my wife (who too had never seen it) and it fooled her. The fact that it fooled her is really saying something because if any one is going to bust me on something its going to be her. I was pretty confident that I could do it because sponges are my favorite magic to perform. One of the first things my mentor drove into me with a sledge hammer was to show every one your intent and be able to justify that intent. As Michael pointed out so very well is your intent is to take the wand into your hand, not to make the ball disappear. I don't think that there is a "correct" way to make the ball vanish, but (like I read some where else on this forum) there are so many wrong ways to do it. Which ever vanish you choose, perfect it.

Just my 2 cents worth.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 12, 2011 11:25PM)
Just commenting on the clips here: Is it just me or did anyone else thing that the technique in #2 was just horrible? I did like the German video (#6) - very deceptive and well played. The first clip was very nice too, but the part I do not care for is the fail. That is just me though.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 13, 2011 02:20AM)
IMHO the best routine, to date has been Johnny Thompson's. But now Jeff McBride has brought the Rezvani routine up to date.
Message: Posted by: Paul Reed (Aug 13, 2011 05:26AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-12 11:22, Pete Biro wrote:
As Ken Brooke used to teach "DON'T MAKE A MOVE OF IT."
[/quote]

I couldn't agree more, I have been learning a cups and balls routine and found myself hitting a brick wall when it came to vanishes. So much advice in books etc is very old school and all look like a flourish, after much research watching performance (not instruction) I found the way Gazzo does it to be the most convincing.

He just describes his as a rhythm vanish, nothing flash - basically the same movement as a normal transfer.
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Aug 13, 2011 06:30AM)
Pete Biro:

I met Johnny Thompson at Schulien's on Irving Park Road in Chicago in 1965........I'll see Johnny Thompson in three weeks here:

http://www.houdiniclubofwisconsin.com/Houdini-Convention.html

Marshall Brodien always attends, too.......saw Marshall at Abbott'sa couple of weeks ago...he drove in with Ken Mate...

For those magicians who don't know......Marshall Brodien and Johnny Thompson pretty much opened up the field of Trade Show Magio.....and both of them are a treasure trove of magic knowledge and experience........and boy.....what great stories they tell.

I should tell Johnny about your quote about the Benson Bowl.....he will enjoy that......what a great guy he is.....

For those who've never read Marshall Brodien's Book.......GET IT!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 13, 2011 10:08AM)
Rainbowguy.... agreed they are two of the most knowledgeable, nicest guys anywhere.

Posted: Aug 13, 2011 11:10am
Paul Reed: check the video of my cups and balls "vanishes" at http://www.petebiro.com and click on Pete's on TV and scroll down to cups and balls.
Message: Posted by: Paul Reed (Aug 13, 2011 02:03PM)
Lovely Pete, I just wanna do the routine half as well and I'll be happy. I just need to work on those vanishes!
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Aug 16, 2011 11:50AM)
I received a signed copy of Pete's excellent book "BOWLing with the Stars" yesterday and highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in the different bowl routines. This is a "must have" resource.

[quote]
Now... there is absolutely [b]NO[/b] reason for placing the ball in the other hand... [b]EXCEPT[/b]... you have to grab the wand. Conveniently for you, that wand is only accessible to one hand. But, the ball is in that same hand. Therefore you must put the ball somewhere else in order to grab the wand. Placing it into the other hand is as good a place as any.
[/quote]

And Michael, this is the best advice, focus on the wand. But depending on the routine you might need to repeat the wand grab three or four times, which can reduce the spontaneous nature of the movement. So I am looking at routines which introduce some variations on this, or break up the repetitive aspects of the move, the Nutty Surprise for example does this pretty nicely.

I'm going to try to film some of the different vanishes from the classic Benson to the Garcia to the one I use, back later with that...
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 16, 2011 02:38PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-16 12:50, billappleton wrote:
And Michael, this is the best advice, focus on the wand. But depending on the routine you might need to repeat the wand grab three or four times, which can reduce the spontaneous nature of the movement. So I am looking at routines which introduce some variations on this, or break up the repetitive aspects of the move, the Nutty Surprise for example does this pretty nicely.
[/quote]

Nutty surprise does make a good use of that idea, but instead of looking for more routines with the variations on the move that are already there, make up your own that work for you. You might even do it once or twice without the wand.
Message: Posted by: bowers (Sep 4, 2011 07:14PM)
Patrick page has a spongeball dvd
that has a great routein with a bowl
Message: Posted by: Powermagic (Apr 22, 2014 10:37AM)
Is the wand vanish Tom Stone does published?
Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Apr 22, 2014 03:08PM)
[quote]On Apr 22, 2014, Powermagic wrote:
Is the wand vanish Tom Stone does published? [/quote]

It is in his book Vortex. It is a book I recommend every magician own. There is some great magic in it.
Message: Posted by: Powermagic (Apr 23, 2014 08:43AM)
Is it his move or is it published elsewhere? Is it a good move?
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 23, 2014 10:24AM)
I especially like the timing on the final load that Werner does in #1. Very well thought out IMO.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 23, 2014 11:49AM)
AS Ken Brooke used to say, "Don't make a move out of it."
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 24, 2014 01:28PM)
Spent yesterday working with Jeff McBride to help him with a Rezvani vanish. Both of us did practically the same false transfer... only our timing was slightly different. The main thing, neither looked like a move. Just pick up ball, put in other hand so you can pick up the wand. He's using my Tambourine bowl idea in his act now. [b]"Thanks Jeff."[/b]
Message: Posted by: TStone (Apr 24, 2014 03:59PM)
[quote]On Apr 23, 2014, Powermagic wrote:
Is it his move or is it published elsewhere? Is it a good move? [/quote]
It's mine. :-)
It can be found in my book Vortex, or on the EMC 2012 dvd set.
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Apr 25, 2014 05:01AM)
In my personal opinion, Jeff McBride's new sponge ball/bowl routine, done in character, with mask and squeekers, as an escamoteur, and with two spectators, male and female onstage assisiting him, is the single finest and most entertaining "Benson Bowl" routine presentation I have ever seen in my life.

Wish I had a link to it to show you.........Jeff goes WAY, WAY beyond technique and transforms this very simple bit into a masterpiece of magical entertainment......
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 25, 2014 01:03PM)
Jeff's handling of the Rezvani Routine is (I believe) on one of his videos. (In my book [i]Bowling withe the Stars[/i] you can learn the Rezvani routine.)
Message: Posted by: JordanB (Apr 25, 2014 08:36PM)
Lance pierce has one of the best routines around. He used it when he worked at Bill Malone's magic bar in Florida. Even if you don't do the bowl routine it's worth double the price for the sponge ball vanish. It's a real winner of a routine and a shame it's not talked about more.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Apr 26, 2014 10:59AM)
The Pinch Vanish I find is the most deceptive and fairly easy to learn. I learned it from Al Stevenson about 50 years ago. I've modified it a bit. It's taught in each of my last three books with different routines and also taught on the companion DVDs.

Kingdom of the Red: The Magic Lesson Ch. 13 (also DVD)
The Book of Destiny: Sponge-worthy Sleights and The World's Greatest One Ball Trick, Ch. 35-36 (also DVD)
Counting On Deception: Glass, Tube, and Bag Mystery, Ch 44

Larry :readingbook:
Message: Posted by: Kbuck54 (Apr 26, 2014 11:55AM)
All very good books, by the way. I'm just saying.
Keith
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 1, 2014 01:59AM)
The solution to this problem has everything to do with attitude, timing and directing the attention of your audience.
It has nothing to do with which move you choose to do.

1. Make sure every move is motivated.
2. Look at the audience when you do the false xfer and say something coherent.
3. Change the moment - The ball is long gone before you make it "disappear".


The end!