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Topic: Tommy Wonder cup routine
Message: Posted by: Donnie (Mar 9, 2004 07:33PM)
I've heard so much about Tommy wonder's two cup routine, I was just wondering if someone could give me a play by play of the effect. I've just ordered tommy's videos and am looking forward to seeing it. Thanx.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 9, 2004 08:07PM)
He takes two cups out of a bag and the surprises begin.

You would not be happy about any spoilers on this routine. Enjoy!!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Mar 9, 2004 08:19PM)
Watch the performance several times [b]before[/b] you go to the "how to" part. Enjoy the Magic.
Message: Posted by: DreamBig (Mar 9, 2004 08:49PM)
Play by play?! Good things come to those who wait.
Message: Posted by: twistedace (Mar 10, 2004 04:23PM)
I agree with Pete. I had the DvD for about a month before I even tried to watch the explanation. It was a true "magic moment" that I don't get too often anymore. Amazing.
Message: Posted by: JeremiahZuo (Mar 10, 2004 04:38PM)
The Dvd doesn't even come close to capturing it in a live performance, but nontheless it is still an amazing. It remains to this day my favorite piece in magic.

Although you may never perform the actual routine, the ideas and techinques throughout it are gold. He really is a modern genius.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Mar 10, 2004 08:19PM)
I recently watched Tommy do it, live, while being taped for a Japanese TV show. And, because it was a taping, they had him do it several times so they could shoot different angles.

It was great fun to watch the first couple of times the camera crew had NO IDEA where the loads came from.
Message: Posted by: alex cahill (Mar 11, 2004 04:23AM)
Loving it. been doing it ages. fantasic
Message: Posted by: Randy Sager (Mar 11, 2004 06:50PM)
Tommy's routine is one of the very best.

It is good to see that no one has given a description of the routine here as that would realy ruin the supprize of it plus no one could do it justice by describing it here anyhow. The best writter in the world couldn't even do that.
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Mar 12, 2004 02:20AM)
Oh yeah, I was also there watching Wonder do it live in the first row.

The amazing thing was on the second and third take, you were still fooled!!!!

You knew what to expect, but the misdirection and his handling make it invisible.

I also managed to see the stage show where Wonder Performed, and his stage cups and balls were REALLY good imho too.

Tommy Wonder is a great performer... if you got the tape with the cups and balls, be sure to check out the tamed card routine, wild card plot. It was really amazing to see it close-up and have no idea how all of it was done.
Message: Posted by: DanHarlan (Mar 12, 2004 02:08PM)
I had the most magical experience of my life watching Tommy Wonder perform this routine. Here's why:
I had read his complete description, including the methods and moments, in detail just a few months prior. From the written word, I knew what was supposed to happen and when. To be perfectly honest, I didn't believe it would work! I just didn't think he could get away with it! The first item, maybe, but both (you know what I'm talking about)! Impossible! I knew I'd see it. I knew exactly what to look for.
You know what? He fooled me, completely! I never saw him do anything out of the ordinary. The items were just where they were supposed to be and I had no idea how they got there! I may actually have used a naughty word when he started to reveal them! Tommy Wonder is a master of timing, misdirection, and naturalness.
--Dan Harlan
Message: Posted by: davidmagic (Mar 15, 2004 02:57PM)
Has anyone reading this ever tried to make the balls he describes in his book? I did and could not get the ball right. I see no reason a m rope gimmick (or a m earring from wal-mart) wouldn't work with another type of a tassel. Anyway, the real work is the incredible misdirection. I though M. Ammar was incredible with his third ball appearing on top of the cup-but Tommy Wonder's entire routine is a lesson in directing audience attention where you want it.
David Lewis
Message: Posted by: doug brewer (Mar 16, 2004 10:45AM)
I'm still convinced that this is truly a "magician's routine" and not as strong for lay audiences. I performed this for quite a while before I realized this. The audience in the DVD reacted very strongly to this routine exactly because they have seen so much magic (their eyes must bleed double-lifts). That said, it is a very cool routine. I have the necessary props for this made up (and yes, this will be difficult to do - I suggest going direct to a seamstress-type person who can whip this out in no time). I am convinced by watching the "explanation" on the DVD that there is no way you could learn this without reading the book (the best way, in my opinion). Tommy mostly explains the misdirection in the routine (on the DVD) more than the actual mechanics of the trick. Also, he breezes by the construction of the bag, ball and tassel ball. This is the kind of trick where you must go to the book, and that's a good thing.
Message: Posted by: twistedace (Mar 19, 2004 12:15PM)
Still, is there any other close up routine in magic that is as talked about or revered? Honestly. The cups and balls is the one trick that is a classic and everyone laymen and magicians alike have seen some version. Tommy Wonder takes the premise and he literally beats you over the head with it many times in a row and you love him for it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 19, 2004 12:23PM)
Okay, did Donnie see the routine?
Have folks gone to town with the bag and pom pop?
Message: Posted by: Dan LeFay (Mar 21, 2004 04:48PM)
Funny , I can say I did learn the routine from his first book Tommy Wonder Entertains. The misdirection part is a little bit like learning a watchsteal. You have to do it with real live spectators to get it right. Getting away with it is like getting into a new kind of "awareness" in magic. It's unbelievable.

To second Dan Harlan's story. I actually performed the trick (though years ago) when Tommy lectured last year at our club he choose me as a spectator for the C & B. I still remember my collegues roaring with laughter when I missed the moments...

I doubt a magnetic fastener will work right. The pompom is detached in advance to make the steal easier when time comes. A magnetic fastener can not be detached without popping back or leaving a wide space between string and pompom.

Pete, where exactly did you see the performance for the japanese TV?
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Mar 21, 2004 05:16PM)
This year at the Teen Weekend at the WMS.


Max Maven, Eugene Burger and Tommy Wonder all did some effects for japanese TV at Jeff McBride's Magic Dome(Correct Name?) at his place in Las Vegas.

Was very cool!!!
Message: Posted by: Automark (Mar 22, 2004 02:14AM)
I was sitting in the volunteers seat when I first seen it. It was also my first Convention experience. It is also my fondest memory. And the Final load .... ****ed me off! It was awesome! I have issues with some of Tommmy's stuff but nothing with his Cups ... great stuff.
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (May 13, 2004 02:01PM)
The really beautiful aspects of Tommy Wonder's routine (as with many of his effects) is that it is very difficult to imitate. A lot of work will have to be invested in creating the props necessary to make the routine work As a result, the routine can be appreciated by many but imitated by only a few.

The real Art, however, comes in Tommy Wonder's ability to manage the spectator's attention. There is a real sense of maturity and understanding being displayed in this routine. I have his routine on Visions of Wonder and I never get tired of watching it!
Message: Posted by: twistedace (May 13, 2004 08:03PM)
So has Donnie seen this yet? I can't wait to find out!
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 13, 2004 08:38PM)
Dan my man... yes at the Teen event at WMS... as mentioned above.

Frankly, I would never want to do that routine. It is HIS. That's why I do my own routine. It is MINE.

I know he teaches and sells it, but again, it isn't something I do... other people's routines.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (May 14, 2004 11:45AM)
[quote]
On 2004-03-15 15:57, davidmagic wrote:
Has anyone reading this ever tried to make the balls he describes in his book? I did and could not get the ball right. I see no reason a m rope gimmick (or a m earring from wal-mart) wouldn't work with another type of a tassel. Anyway, the real work is the incredible misdirection. I though M. Ammar was incredible with his third ball appearing on top of the cup-but Tommy Wonder's entire routine is a lesson in directing audience attention where you want it.
David Lewis
[/quote]

David,

I have made everything. It's a bit trepidatious, but It can be done. I have performed the routine as a learning excercise, and I also use it for particular groups who have already seen mine, and want me to perform it again. This gives me a point of departure.

I would not recommend merely using the routine solely as it is, as it is so very much Tommy's. I [i]would[/i], however encourage anyone to learn it, as it provides even more lessons in construction.

A year ago, I used this for a group of grade-school girls. It was obvious from their relationship to my performance that they truly appreciated everything they saw (not a standard hallmark of kid shows).

I decided, at the last minute, to switch to Tommy's routine, and I couldn't have made a better decision. The appearance of the first load was hilarious to them (I do not perform it the same way, patter-wise). They spontaneously went ballistic with the ending.

Tommy contends that this routine is not best suited to a chaotic atmosphere, because his loads demand a certain appreciation for nuance.
Message: Posted by: Dan LeFay (May 15, 2004 10:01AM)
I completely second Pete's and Ron's comments.
The only two factors in my own cups and balls that resemble Tommy's are the fact that I use two cups and a lot of audience involvement.
Learning his routine was as important to me as learning Vernon's.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (May 15, 2004 03:55PM)
[quote]
On 2004-05-15 11:01, Dan LeFay wrote:

Learning his routine was as important to me as learning Vernon's.

[/quote]

I second that one.
Message: Posted by: Roland B (May 17, 2004 03:19AM)
At this time I am working very hard on Tommy Wonder's Two Cups Routine. Making the props correcty is very hard in itself, then I have to do it again and again... But I think the hardest thing will be to make this routine mine. I mean, this is a routine made by Tommy Wonder, for himself, with his text and attitude, his style, and everything, I do not want to clone him, that's one of the reasons why after having bought the DVD, I also got the books. I fear it will be a very, very long time before I can do the routine correctly.

This is one of my very favourite routine in magic.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (May 17, 2004 06:49PM)
[quote]
But I think the hardest thing will be to make this routine mine. I mean, this is a routine made by Tommy Wonder, for himself, with his text and attitude, his style, and everything, I do not want to clone him, that's one of the reasons why after having bought the DVD, I also got the books.
This is one of my very favourite routine in magic.
[/quote]

This shows what I believe to be a maturity on your part(not that I am setting myself up as a judge or anything).

Here's what's cool about the structural integrity of a routine: Take Vernon's. With minor exceptions, Paul Gertner, Lance Burton, Johnny Ace Palmer, and Bob Read have routines that, when stripped down to their bare essntial moves, are very similar to Vernon's. Gertner's steel ball bearings with Paul Fox Cups makes it entirely a different routine. Burton uses coffee mugs, lemons and a mouse. Palmer uses baby chicks. And God help Bob Read--Monty Python skin streched over a Vernon-esque skeleton.

It is definitely worth it to study as many cups and balls routines as possible--if for nothing more than to try to break them down into their respective phases, and understand them in the same way a composer can see a song in the Intro/verse/Chorus/Bridge/Coda structure.

It will help you more than the material sleights involved in any particular routine ever will.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 17, 2004 07:08PM)
Re: "And God help Bob Read--Monty Python skin streched over a Vernon-esque skeleton. "

Such is exactly why I deconstructed the thing and asked the difficult questions. Somewhere between Vernon and Ramsay is a better way.

What are the cups? And what are the balls? And why do we ask them to care?

Somewhere back in antiquity, someone had a good reason for doing the trick. All have are the moves and have lost the premise, motivation and patter... and a vague belief that the trick is 'traditional'.
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (May 17, 2004 08:09PM)
Jonathan:

I'm interested to hear your answers to your "difficult questions." Can you comment more on all this for us?

Terry
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 17, 2004 08:26PM)
My view.

I prefer the Indian Jadoowalla cups... I have a premise, a reason for what I do that transcends the magic trick part. My version is "handed down from generation to generation... and I will show you how it was taught to me by a true Indian Jadoowalla..."

Which is true.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (May 18, 2004 08:20AM)
Now that Johnathan has quoted me, I now realize that I misspelled "stretched." Makes me insane, not being able to edit my own post after thirty minutes. . .
Message: Posted by: RiffRaff (Aug 3, 2006 09:39AM)
Is the Tommy Wonder STAGE version of the cups and balls in print?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 3, 2006 01:55PM)
[quote]
On 2004-03-21 17:48, Dan LeFay wrote:
Funny , I can say I did learn the routine from his first book Tommy Wonder Entertains.
[/quote]

Actually, it appeared in print in his "first" first book. Well, his lecture notes, which were called [i]Jos Bema - Lecture[/i]. There is a different method for making the big pom-pon come off the string. He does not detail the construction of the balls, but the main elements of the routine are here.

If you wonder how much of an effect this has on laymen, think of this. I didn't get to go to his lecture when he came through Houston. I was working as a musician, and I couldn't get off for the lecture. However, my wife, who is not a magician, went and picked up the notes for me. She told me how amazing and wonderful the cups and balls routine was.

And she tires of classics that are not performed well.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 3, 2006 03:51PM)
Bill you have the routines mixed up. The bloke above was asking about the STAGE version, which I do not think is in print.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 3, 2006 06:05PM)
No. I was replying to Dan LeFay's post, not the one about the stage cups and balls. That's why I quoted part of Dan's original post.
Message: Posted by: pepka (Aug 4, 2006 05:39AM)
With Tommy's passing, do you guys think anything else of his will be published? In a way, there's something very cool about taking secrets with you. Not everything was available for sale.

On a side note, I recently found out that a member here bought one of my favorite of Tommy's effects from him right before he passed away. The ultimate watch in nest of boxes. Here's the really funny part. The guy lives less than 2 hours from me. You can rest assured that I invited myself over. I have a friend that would like to tackle that project and we're bothing dying to see a working model.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 4, 2006 10:53AM)
One never knows what will be published posthumously. All of Hofzinser's props were supposed to have been destroyed upon his death. They weren't. What has survived, technique-wise, may or may not be exactly the way he actually did it.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 4, 2006 12:29PM)
Pepka.... you look "green with envy" :kermit:
Message: Posted by: pepka (Aug 6, 2006 08:27AM)
If someone who lived so close to you had such a treasure, wouldn't you be?
Message: Posted by: bill7 (Aug 18, 2006 06:41PM)
ANYbody out there know somone who can put the balls together? I cant find anyone?
suggestions ?
Thanks fellas
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 18, 2006 06:53PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-18 19:41, bill7 wrote:
ANYbody out there know somone who can put the balls together? I cant find anyone?
suggestions ?
Thanks fellas
[/quote]

The Books of Wonder and his earlier book shows how to do it. It is not hard, but it is very time-consuming. They will probably cost you dearly to have someone make them.

~michael
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 18, 2006 07:00PM)
Suggestion. Get the cardboard rings and the wool, and go for it while you are watching television.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 18, 2006 07:40PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-18 20:00, Bill Palmer wrote:
Suggestion. Get the cardboard rings and the wool, and go for it while you are watching television.


[/quote]

Second that.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 18, 2006 09:52PM)
That's one of the best times there is to make props that require tedious work. Just don't use too sharp a needle and thrust it thrice three thousand times through the thick of your thumb.

Try saying that while you are sober.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 18, 2006 11:14PM)
The most tedious part of making these things is that you don't really know how much yarn it will take until you are done. So, what you have to do is start with a lot of it, and each time you pass the end through the rings, you have to pull the entire length through to the other side.

If anyone has found a simpler way, I'd like to know.

~michael
Message: Posted by: MoonBeam (Aug 19, 2006 08:25AM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-19 00:14, Michael Baker wrote:
The most tedious part of making these things is that you don't really know how much yarn it will take until you are done. So, what you have to do is start with a lot of it, and each time you pass the end through the rings, you have to pull the entire length through to the other side.

If anyone has found a simpler way, I'd like to know.

~michael


Hi Michael,

I have found it possible to use about six foot lengths. You will be trimming the ball at the end anyway. ...and it does take a few lengths! :)

MoonBeam
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 19, 2006 08:55AM)
(the sound of Michael slapping his forehead...)
Message: Posted by: MoonBeam (Aug 19, 2006 11:08AM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-19 09:55, Michael Baker wrote:
(the sound of Michael slapping his forehead...)
[/quote]

...too funny...I was doing the same thing Michael, when one broke...that is how I stumbled upon the idea! Also, Pringles potato chip lids make perfect rings to use instead of the cardboard.

MoonBeam
Message: Posted by: Ronnie Ramin (Aug 19, 2006 12:31PM)
At cloth stores they sell plastic Pom Pom rings. These work real well and they won't collapse. I remember making about six ball before I got it right.

I used a dress sock for the bag.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 19, 2006 01:03PM)
Off topic -- what kind of banjer is that you got in the pitcher?
Message: Posted by: MoonBeam (Aug 19, 2006 01:26PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-19 13:31, Ronnie Ramin wrote:
At cloth stores they sell plastic Pom Pom rings. These work real well and they won't collapse. I remember making about six ball before I got it right.

I used a dress sock for the bag.
[/quote]

Hi Ronnie,

What size Pom Pom rings to you buy? ... and what size balls do they end up being?

MoonBeam
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 19, 2006 03:14PM)
[quote]
On 2006-08-19 14:26, MoonBeam wrote:

What size Pom Pom rings to you buy? ... and what size balls do they end up being?

[/quote]

That's one of the tricky parts. The finished ball will be somwhere between the outside diameter of the rings and the diameter of the hole in them. The closer you trim to the hole, the firmer and tighter the ball will be, but too far and you'll cut the tie that holds it all together. By the way, that thread that you tie it together with should be very strong, very tight, and very well knotted. You don't want normal use to cause the ball to fall apart.

The larger the hole in relationship to the outside diameter, the more yarn you can wrap... the more yarn you can wrap, the firmer the ball. They need to be much firmer than what we normally know as a pom-pom.

~michael
Message: Posted by: boboshempy (Aug 21, 2006 02:21PM)
This is why he got his name!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HFqLvPaQOsQ

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HuQynpAzyB8

Enjoy,

Nick