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Topic: Penguin Gold Shells
Message: Posted by: greengrass (May 28, 2004 08:22AM)
Hi All

Ive read a lot about these on Magic Café, people moaning that the bottoms of the shells are flat and they can't be used on a table or bar etc.
However..I can't recall having seen a post with someone stating how good these shells are when used with a close up mat.

That's my question, I'd be interested to know, as I guess others would.. How do you rate the Penguin Gold Shells when used with a close up mat ?

Thanks
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 28, 2004 01:35PM)
I think they'd probably be fine but there is a difference in "the move" that you would definitely notice.

A working shell dude could easily use the penguin shells but a beginner will have a harder time.


I would suggest getting the real thing.

For somewhat close to the same price you can get the La Maggiore shells which are beautiful and very realistic or the Golden or Street shells which are also nice.

One more thing... If you plan on even trying the Penguin shells on a hard surface.....NOT!!!!!

Frank
Message: Posted by: Highpockets (May 29, 2004 04:59PM)
I find them slippery and hard to grip.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 30, 2004 03:04AM)
I've had that problem with most shells. I found a solution but doubt you can find the same stuff unless you're a dancer or know one. It's a "floor grip" compound that they mop the Marly floors (heavy rolls of rubber used to cover wooden floors for ballet dancing) to kill the slipperiness. It comes in gallon jugs but I was able to borrow a small bottle of it. Called something creative like "No Skid" or something like that.

You can also try liquid or powdered rosin, also found in most dance shops.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 30, 2004 02:02PM)
I use the close up mat when I do the shellgame. The reason is that I am a magician doing the shellgame as an entertainment. Not as a street con man.

The close up mat is my performing stage when I do close up. I also use the sponge pea and on a good close up mat - it will work with almost any kind of shells. From thimbles to bottle caps without a grove.

But I feel that it is not the props the magic is in the magician and his ability to entertain. And having a good routine to perform.

You can see my shellgame that is just about to be released on my next DVD at my web site below.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 30, 2004 04:01PM)
Bish,
When is your DVD coming out? I'd love to add a variation of your finish to my routine, but not until I have purchased the effect, or obtained your permission first.

Basically I'm working on Bob Kohler's finish, but using Bob Sheets' "move" rather than going for the shell. I would like the finish to be like yours instead.

(I'm being purposefully vague. Anyone who has seen any of the above mentioned routines should know exactly what I mean)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 30, 2004 04:19PM)
I'm sure that the Penguin shells could be modified by someone who really understood how the shells were supposed to be constructed. If you can get a book on the shell game, most of them tell the way the shells should be made.

Regarding slipperiness, a little spray rosin should cure them.

Also if you have "real" roughing fluid -- NOT the spray on kind, that should do the trick as well.
Message: Posted by: pepijn (Jun 2, 2004 02:35AM)
I was wondering something

Mr. Starsini could you tell me what makes the La Maggiore shells better then the penguin shells and especially what makes them useable on a hard surface like a table.
and are there any shells that you can use on a table but without costing $$$ (since I have only just started with them and I only might be performing them in my first 'routine')

Thanks a lot
Pepijn
Message: Posted by: ursusminor (Jun 2, 2004 04:00PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-02 03:35, pepijn wrote:
I was wondering something

Mr. Starsini could you tell me what makes the La Maggiore shells better then the penguin shells and especially what makes them useable on a hard surface like a table.

Not great difference on a hard surface, exept for "the Perfect pea", THAT makes all the difference...

and are there any shells that you can use on a table but without costing $$$

The "Street shells"!!!

Bjørn
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Jun 2, 2004 04:43PM)
I personally am not a fan of "the perfect pea." However, I do not think you can find better sets of shells than that offered by the Scoundrel Store. I learned using bottle caps from my uncle when I was younger. Then I progressed to the Vernet set. :)
But when I received a set of Black Fox shells, WOW! They are smooth to work with... however, above posts bring up the important issue of performing surface. Make sure that you have a set way of performance in terms of either carrying a close up mat, or being familiar with performing it on common surfaces.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 2, 2004 05:34PM)
Pepijn, you want to learn the shell game without spending a lot of money on props. Well the absolute easiest way is to simply get some twist off bottle tops and a rubber pea and buy one of the reference books that you will find on the “School for Scoundrels” web site and work on a routine. Or go to a sewing shop and buy three large thimbles.

You can use them to learn the basic moves and construct a very basic routine. All at a very little cost to you. Grab a towel out of your bathroom and fold it up and use it as a close up pad and start to work!

Remember that there was a time when gamblers (con men) used hollowed potato halves or apple halves.

Or you could do what a lot of us have done and buy a bag of walnuts, find a couple that are about the same size and clean them out and make a few modifications (discussed in the books I mentioned) and have a very serviceable set that, with a modicum of care, will last for a long time.

I have the first set of walnuts I ever used. They have not cracked due to climate changes or humidity. Humidity and climate are often mentioned as reasons to not use real shells.

I did the necessary things to each shell to make them work. That is, I put in the Channin “rocker” and opened the stem end a bit. I also sanded and smoothed the inside and used a bit of wood putty (painted flat black).

I used a latex pea that was made by Karl Norman back in the day. The shells are small compared to the commercially available plastic and metal ones. They are not two inches long and are only about ¾ of an inch at their highest point from the table. But they work, cost next to nothing and are almost 20 years old.

Still, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by simply saving your money until you have enough to buy a decent set of shells that already have everything needed built in.

The Vernet (plastic) set is an OK starter set and run about $10.00 USD including a couple of black rubber peas. Black Fox (molded) shells are very good and with peas run about $36.00 USD. La Maggorie shells are excellent and cost about $70.00 a set with pea, and then there is Whit Haydn’s “Street Shells”, which are a best buy at $45.00 including several peas and a shot glass.

It truely doesn't take much to get started learning and performing a three shell game routine.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jun 2, 2004 06:14PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-02 03:35, pepijn wrote:
I was wondering something

Mr. Starsini could you tell me what makes the La Maggiore shells better then the penguin shells and especially what makes them useable on a hard surface like a table.
and are there any shells that you can use on a table but without costing $$$ (since I have only just started with them and I only might be performing them in my first 'routine')

Thanks a lot
Pepijn
[/quote]

The better shells do not have a flat surface on the bottom.

The penguin shells were clearly made as cheaply as possible because the did not take that into account.

In my opinion, they just wanted something that looked like the popular "golden shells" without taking the time to make them properly.

Honestly, you CAN get away with using anything but the "La Maggiore" , "Street", and "Golden" all have something in common that the Penguin shells do not. And for good reason.

I won't go into details here. If you're really interested, PM me.

I suggest you just get one of the better shells sets. They are not that much more money.


Frank
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 2, 2004 06:43PM)
Greengrass, now to address your question. I had the opportunity to handle a friend’s set of Penguin shells. I found that I could do most of the basic moves that I need to perform a very basic routine. That is I could perform the “basic” move, the so-called Escobar move, and the swivel move. I did need to use a fairly “soft” pad. My regular close-up pad seemed too stiff so I tried a folded bar towel (Guinness if you must know) and the shells worked fine.

I ran them through the standard Frank Garcia routine from his book “Tells it all in a NUTSHELL”. I made it with only one or two fumbles along the way. Those fumbles can be attributed to my not having the “feel” of the shells yet. By the third run through the routine went smoothly.

I tried to compare them to a Vernet set, a Black Fox set and my homemade, real walnut shells set (all sitting on my shelf) by running them all through the same routine. Plus I tried several different moves that are fairly standard using all sets.

Subjectively (very, very subjectively) my three sets performed marginally better than the Penguin set. I say marginally because they all of my sets performed better (smoother routine, less fumbling and re-gripping to find the sweet spot) than the Penguin.

However, in all fairness, I must say that this is probably more due to the fact that I don’t have the feel for the shells yet. My guess is that with a couple of days of playing with them that they will perform just as well as the sets I own.

They were very limited in performing some of the more complicated moves and steals (from under a glass, couldn’t get Penquin to work once and every other shell worked well. All shells being pushed by a handkerchief for a roll out, covered steal, didn’t work and all with Penquin but all the other shells worked fine. Etc.)

I also tested them against a set of brass thimbles that I bought from Al Cohen, and a set of brass Karl Norman, Collectors Workshop, shell game “cups” (look like little Hindu cups). Both the Cohen and Norman brass props are very flat and pose the same problem the flat Penquin shells pose and also require a soft mat to really maximize their effect. The Penguin felt and handled much smoother than either the Cohen or Norman prop.

I didn’t experience the Penguin shells as being overly slippery or overly heavy.

OK, so what does this mean? Well to answer you question, of “How do you rate the Penguin Gold Shells when used with a close up mat?” Given their price ($50.00), I rate them on the low end of what is available and on the low end for having the modifications typically found in manufactured shells today.

Frankly, for the same price Whit Hayden’s “Street Shells” are a much better value and are constructed with all necessary modifications.

I am not connected in any way to any magic shop or dealer. My opinions are my own (and remember I may be wrong!).

Did this answer your question?
Message: Posted by: greengrass (Jun 2, 2004 07:28PM)
Harry

Yes it does ;o)

Thanks very much for taking the time to test the penguin shells and answer my question.
Message: Posted by: pepijn (Jun 3, 2004 03:09AM)
Thanks all very much for the time

I really appreciate it!!

Pepijn

Mr. Starsini

I tried to PM you about the things that the penguin golden shells lack. but I was very unpleasantly suprised finding that your inbox was full ((smile) I didn't encounter that problem before!)

Maybe you could go into details. I would be very intrested.
Pepijn

pepijnhuizinga@hotmail.com
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 3, 2004 06:46AM)
Pepijn, the characteristics that Frank Starsini is alluding to in his post were outlined in my post where I discussed what I did to make my homemade, real walnut shells workable.

As Frank and I have stated, even a flat shell (thimble, bottle cap, Penguin shell) can be made to work given the right work surface and a degree of skill by the performer.

However, a good working shell has a slight modification at the back (stem area) of the shell to facilitate the basic move. A better shell has that modification to the stem area AND has the inside built/constructed to facilitate the basic move. The BEST shells have both those modification PLUS have a modification to the contact surface (lip?) of the shell itself. (AND believe it or not there is even a shell that is better than best by having even more modifications but that is a whole different discussion!)

The sets that Frank mentions all have the qualities of the best working shells.

At two of the sets that Frank mentions and which in my opinion are amongst the BEST working sets readily and easily available are less expensive than the Penguin set. Why then spend more money for a set that doesn’t make your life easier?
Message: Posted by: pepijn (Jun 3, 2004 07:13AM)
Thank you very much, but I am afraid that I allready have the penguin shells. so I was just wondering how the others were better (they were given to me as a present for my exams that two days ago!!!!)
But thank you very much for clarifying. and I am really sorry If I don't get something the first time, my english just isn't extremly good so I sometimes have to look up a word or so and I may miss a point. Sorry but the forums are probably making it better so if I give it time it'll grow I guess

Thanks very much and I'll try and fabricate some walnut shells aswell. I'll buy walnuts this afternoon. greetings!!

Thanks a lot Harry

Pepijn
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 3, 2004 11:46AM)
Pipijn, don’t give up on your Penguin shells. Play with them, find a soft close-up mat and work with them on it, and develop a routine with them. You already have them so work with them.

You might be able to make a slight modification or two to the Penguin shells. A small file taken to the stem/end of the shell will probably help you do the basic move.

Remember that many real con men have used any number of objects that were just as flat and cumbersome as the Penguin shells and still fooled the heck out of the spectators.

By the way, don’t worry about not clearly understanding something here at first. Some posts are not all that clear to begin with. I know that I can be overly wordy and obtuse (this sentence is an example!). If you don’t understand keep on asking!

After you play and work with your Penguin shells for a while how about you giving us your review of them. You may find that you have a different view of them. I will be interested in hearing your views on the subject.

And above all else, have fun!
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jun 3, 2004 03:17PM)
Sal in the Sal Piacante DVD uses the Penguin Shells.

I would not venture to say that those are the shells he prefers but they are the ones he is marketing on the DVD and clearly you can use them for a wonderful routine. He does.

I would suggest going to a magic store and test driving the other shells some time. You'll notice a difference. Whether that translates into you switching to a different set is all up to you and your routine.

Frank
Message: Posted by: pepijn (Jun 3, 2004 06:39PM)
Thanks I'll keep it in mind!
my only problem is, that magicshops are very, very rare in holland (actually I haven't found ONE yet) But I might be going to one in belgium or france within the next year so before that I'll try the penguin. get cracking...wallnuts and practice practice practice.

Thanks again for the help( I really can't thank enough)

Pepijn
Message: Posted by: greengrass (Jun 6, 2004 06:18AM)
Frank Starsini

I havent seen the Sal Piacante Shell Game dvd myself but are you saying that he actually uses the Penguin Gold Shells throughout the dvd ?
Ive seen the clip of the dvd at Penguin but they didn't look like gold shells that he was using in the clip from what I could see. ??

Thanks
Message: Posted by: el toro (Jun 6, 2004 01:05PM)
Actually, I don't think he uses the Penguin shells, but he shows these shells as an example of nice, golden shells.
By the way, I am interested in learning a "magic" routine with the shells, as compared to a betting, (con game)routine. Where can I find the best resourse for this ?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 6, 2004 04:43PM)
To learn make your own shells and use soft sponge to cut the peas.

Work out your own routines.
Message: Posted by: pepijn (Jun 6, 2004 06:08PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-06 14:05, el toro wrote:
Actually, I don't think he uses the Penguin shells, but he shows these shells as an example of nice, golden shells.
By the way, I am interested in learning a "magic" routine with the shells, as compared to a betting, (con game)routine. Where can I find the best resourse for this ?
[/quote]

I couldn't find any sources which teach 'magic' routines with the three shell game. so I am going for the aproach mentioned by Mr. Biro in the above post.

I have some sources which explain the moves used in the actual con game and I am putting my own routine together (I admit I find it quite a challenge but I am definitly enjoying myself with it, I hope you will to)
Good luck


greetings Pepijn
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Jun 6, 2004 06:37PM)
There was a post sometime back on another magic board about loading a green sponge ball into a shell, as a revelation at the end of the routine.
Patrick Page also has a video that goes over the game which contains, "magical" moments.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jun 7, 2004 05:09PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-06 19:08, pepijn wrote:
I couldn't find any sources which teach 'magic' routines with the three shell game. [/quote]

The best "magic" routine I've seen on video is Bob Kohler's "Golden Shells" routine.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jun 7, 2004 05:36PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-06 14:05, el toro wrote:
Actually, I don't think he uses the Penguin shells, but he shows these shells as an example of nice, golden shells.
By the way, I am interested in learning a "magic" routine with the shells, as compared to a betting, (con game)routine. Where can I find the best resourse for this ?
[/quote]

I'm mistaken. El Toro is correct. He mentions the MM Gold Shells as nice shells but he uses plain old plastic shells during performance.

Makes you wonder.
Message: Posted by: pepijn (Jun 8, 2004 03:05AM)
I believe Sal also explains why, To be sure I would have to look it up so please correct me if I am wrong but I believe he says that hustlers would never use the golden shells, only the bottle tops so when the police come they just throw it on the floor and there is nothing to find.

As I said before I am not sure but I believe this is what he says on one place in his three shell game dvd.

greetings!
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jun 8, 2004 03:16AM)
From a pure street hustler standpoint, I agree. The same goes as to why simple walnut shells were used. Or hollowed out potatoes, or a myriad of other throwaway items.

But we're "entertainers," right? We're justified in having nice shiny props. If you're doing a "Street Hustle" show, then use bottle caps. If you're working a corporate trade show, go for the flashy stuff. For me? In a Ren Faire setting? I have the Black Fox turtle shells.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jun 8, 2004 12:36PM)
Dave,
I'd like to see a set of those turtle shells.
Where?
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 8, 2004 02:26PM)
Frank you can check out a photo of them on Whit Hayden’s web site (School for Scoundrels).

Try:
http://www.chefanton.com/entertain/SSshellgame.htm
for photos of his shells, Scarabs, and turtle shells. They are nice looking.
Message: Posted by: pepijn (Jun 8, 2004 03:25PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-08 04:16, Dave VanVranken wrote:
From a pure street hustler standpoint, I agree. The same goes as to why simple walnut shells were used. Or hollowed out potatoes, or a myriad of other throwaway items.

But we're "entertainers," right? We're justified in having nice shiny props. If you're doing a "Street Hustle" show, then use bottle caps. If you're working a corporate trade show, go for the flashy stuff. For me? In a Ren Faire setting? I have the Black Fox turtle shells.
[/quote]

Totally agree with you. I am planning to perform this as a funny let the spectator guess wrong for ... amount of times and completly baffel them. and I think it would be fine to use 'shiny' shell whatever kind. Although I am also going to practice it with only the bottle tops and a piece of elastic band tied up as a pee. I kind of like the idear of being able to perform this kind of trick with stuff that people have in their houses or from a table. It's going to be different routines because the moves just aren't quite the same but the idear seems pretty nice.

oh well getting of track.
I have one more question about a post I have a question about the shells making a noise. Can anybody tell me what forum that should be in becuase the sleights might get mentioned what topic would be good to do this in.

thanks a lot

Pepijn
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jun 11, 2004 11:58AM)
Pepijn,
Nearly everything you ever want to know about the shell game has already been mentioned here. If you're worried about the specific details being exposed, now that you have over 50 posts, the "Secret Sessions" forum is the perfect place.