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Topic: The hard pea
Message: Posted by: kryptonite76 (Oct 28, 2003 10:11AM)
I was just wondering how those of you who do the 3 shell game switch in the hard pea at the end?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 28, 2003 12:15PM)
Why would you need to? :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: kryptonite76 (Oct 28, 2003 01:46PM)
Why not?
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 28, 2003 02:27PM)
Never bothered, never saw the need to switch in a hard pea.

I don't understand why you would want to.
Message: Posted by: sleightly (Oct 28, 2003 04:21PM)
I am firmly convinced that in most performances of the shell game that there is no need to use a hard pea at all. Those who do use a hard pea use it at the beginning of a routine during an "examination" phase where they let audience members handle the props, then switch it out for the working pea.

Personally, I find audience examinations unnecessary and, even more detrimental, disruptive to the flow of a performance.

Exude mastery and confidence in yourself and your material and no one will ask to see your equipment. The props are only tools and shouldn't require explanation.


Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Oct 28, 2003 04:47PM)
There are times when the hard pea comes in handy. When I am doing trade shows, the sales reps of my company see me doing the shell game over and over during the course of the day. They almost always at some point will ask if they can "try it"--manipulate the shells.

To avoid this, I usually leave the hard pea and the shells in a shot glass on my table between shows. If someone picks them up to play with them, they will be even more confused than ever. When working the WC Fields Bar at the Magic Castle, I do the same thing.

Johnny Thompson showed me a nice switch for the pea that he uses. He starts off by letting the spectators examine the shells and then he brings out a pea and puts it under a shell. He lets the spectators push the shells around a little bit, and then asks if they want to examine the pea. Using the bit from Bob Kohler's routine, he pretends to hand them the pea but it disappears when it reaches the spectator's hand. "They never let you examine the pea!" the operator says. "Luckily, I have another one right here." The operator reaches into his coat pocket, ditching the hard pea, and pulling out a working pea. I really like this idea better, letting the spectators play with the shells with a hard pea, but never actually touching the pea itself. That way, if they later pick up a rubber pea, they do not notice a difference in feel.

Rich Marotta told me that he showed a street hustler-- doing the shell game with plastic soda bottle caps-- both the Perfect working pea and the hard pea, and the guy went off over how great they were. He switched back and forth between the two peas indetectably using the plastic caps.

So there are some uses for the hard pea, it depends on the routine, and the situation. I like having the option, so we always include a couple of hard peas with our set of five "Perfect" working peas.
Message: Posted by: Bob Kohler (Oct 29, 2003 04:56AM)
To me the hard matching pea is a godsend. Trade shows, hospitality suites or any event where you need to do repeat performances scream for routines like the Shell Game.

There's nothing like using the ideas mentioned in Whit's comments above when you get "that guy" who keeps bringing people over to you so that he can have another chance at busting you.

If you don't already do the Shell Game start...
If you do the Shell Game and don't use the Perfect Pea set get it...
One day you'll thank Whit after you burn the wise guys and are smiling the "Thousand Smiles."
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 29, 2003 06:04AM)
OK, OK, there it is! Right from the keyboard of two acknowledged masters of the game! Iíll rethink my entire approach to this little gem of a trick.
Message: Posted by: kryptonite76 (Oct 29, 2003 09:49AM)
Thanks, guys! I love the idea of letting them try the pea out without ever touching it. And by the way Whit, I recently purchased a set of your street shells and I love them!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 29, 2003 12:55PM)
Nice ideas... :cyclops: :approve: which is the hard one?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Oct 29, 2003 06:32PM)

The one that doesn't crawl out of the shell...

You silly man.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 29, 2003 07:51PM)
I hear Gazzo will be at Castle "hangin' out" Thursday night... :bawl:
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Jan 15, 2004 06:18PM)
Great tips from some great pros.


I agree with AJP --that in most situations a hard pea is unecessary. But as Whit and Bob pointed out, at trade shows and in other repeat venue situations it's certainly good business to leave the hard pea out on the table for the curious client that hired you, and now wants to see if he can do what you do, when your back is turned, when you've left your booth to use the facilities, or to grab quick bite between sets.

I enjoy using La Maggiore Shells. They're larger than the standard set, easy to move (and to see) and beautifully crafted.

I first saw these larger shells in action when Bob Sheets came to town for a lecture. I was swept away by his hilarious and very personable presentation... I seem to recall that Sheets incorporated the hard pea in his routine at some point --probably at the point when the roomful of magicians rushed up to his table during the intermission and grabbed the shells and pea to try it out for themselves (with Bob's encouragement of course!).

I've heard that The School For Scoundrel's shells and peas are also of excellent quality and allow for great handling and great results.

In addition to the Maggiore, I also have a wonderful set of shells from Camirand's Academy, and I recommend them highly to anyone that enjoys using real shells that are standard size, and have an extra non-glare protective coat to maintain their natural look and feel.
Message: Posted by: jbohn (Feb 13, 2004 10:09AM)
I've been wanting to put together a 3 shell routine for a while now, but haven't had the time (or equipment). Looks like I'll have to save up for set of those Street Shells everyone's talking about.

Message: Posted by: Erik Anderson (Feb 13, 2004 03:25PM)
Ditto what Whit and Bob said.

Jbohn, Give serious consideration to learning Bob Kohler's Golden shells routine as a place to start. You'll avoid picking up bad habits that you would have to unlearn later.
Message: Posted by: jbohn (Mar 19, 2004 03:18PM)

I'll have a look at Mr. Kohler's routine. Everyone I've talked to has recommended his Golden Shells as the place to start. Thanks!

Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 3, 2004 08:14PM)
I have been doing the three shell game since about 1975. When I started I used the old Adams set and sold a lot in my fathers magic shop.

Then I got a Vernet set and I still ise it. I have a set that is brass... And a larger plastic set that I use most often that I got From Bob Rath from WI.

I have never used a hard pea. I do it on a close up mat and I use a small sponge pea that is cut from the old adams sponge rabbits or a sponge ball.

I like the bright colored sponge pea because it can be seen from a great distance away. But if you do it outside you have to watch out for the wind as you have to do with any card trick.

You can see video of me doing the shells at my web site http://www.mrhypnotist.org

The video is of me doing the shells on a TV show about 20 years ago.

Best ahead,

Glenn Bishop