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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Practicing the shells. Getting proficient. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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John C
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I am a fairly competent magician. I work fairly consistently. I have never thought about 3 Shell Game in the past, it always sounded sort of esoteric and far out.

I just purchased Charlie Frye's Eccentricks II DVD and he performs a really cool shell routine. I just loved the patter. It fit me to a "T."

So, I purchased his shells and then today I just purchased the S4S shells. It is really an interesting routine and the props are rather interesting.

So, now I lay me down to "practice." It's not easy...is it? Charlie makes it look so easy but to talk the patter and move the shells is not a simple task. I remember what my friend Allan Hayden writes in his Fancy Ring Routine book about counting the rings:

"The passing back and forth and turning of the rings may seem confusing now, but just wait 'till you're on stage!"

This is the way I KNOW it's going to be with the shells.

So, waddya' say guys/gals is it just a matter of sticking with and practicing it over and over until it's written in memory?

Any other tips that would help me get up to speed with the shells? I don't really need to know about the different shells etc just the best way to get proficient at it?

Thanks to all!

John Cesta
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
drwilson
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I have been working on the shells also, and have to agree that it's not easy, but I think that I have dumb hands. It takes me a long time to get moves right. It sure looks easy when Bob Sheets does it on the video!

All I can offer is encouragement. Advice you'll have to get from someone who has mastered the shells.

Yours,

Paul
John C
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Quote:
On 2005-02-18 13:23, drwilson wrote:
It sure looks easy when Bob Sheets does it on the video!



It all looks easy when Bob Sheets does it!

Thanks

John
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Leeman
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When I was starting out with the shells I read a post here that said to practice the steal and load while watching tv. This really helped me get the individual sleights down. As for remembering the sequence of the moves and the patter I am sure that you will get it down soon enough. With practice of course.
mota
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I am a total hack when it comes to shells, but love them. What I do is begin the mix, keeping track of where it is supposed to be in my mind. That way my body language is consistent with where the pea should be. Then at the end I pick one of the other positions and make sure the pea ends there. During the mix, I just do so randomly.

Once in a while someone will start to guess anywhere but where it isn't. In that case, just make sure that once or twice it ends up where it should...at that point they glaze over and you can do just about anything.

In the unlikely event you don't know, School for Scoundrels has a shell game DVD coming out soon. Don Driver, who is in, loved it...I too, anxiously await the day. It would probably be a good thing for you, also.
BerkleyJL
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I was always under the impression that the location of the pea was not determined until AFTER the spectator had made a guess...

or maybe I attribute too much skill to Harry Anderson.
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Magicmaven
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All I have about the shells are the SFS street shells, and Tom Osborne's book. That book is great. Within literally minutes I could the steals and loads fairly easily, and competently. Keep at it. And practice a lot. The TV idea is nice, I do it a lot. But make sure that you are doing it correctly as you practice. You don't want to imprint bad habbits into your mind.


I can't wait for Whit Haydn, and Bob Sheet's new film, it is supposed to be great.

IMHO
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drwilson
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Joe,

That's one way. Remember, though, that if you have thoroughly convincing the mark...I mean, the audience...that there is only one pea, there might be peas under two shells. The mark says, "This one," you show the pea somewhere else and steal from where he guessed to show that empty. This makes sense in some routines as one of the methods to keep the mark off balance. It looks so fair as you lift the wrong shell to show it there. You couldn't have put it there as you lifted the shell, and in fact you did not.

Yours,

Paul
BobSheets
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Practice is fun, theraputic and Zen like when you're in the zone. Just start pushing them around and you won't believe the ideas that will just come to you.

When I workshop the shells I have them do just 3 sequences over and over again. Drilling the shells is what you have to do so you know where everything is.

The new DVD Whit and I just finished has the routine I teach for begginers and if you drill that sequence you'll have a beginning routine and one to use for one on one when you expand your routine to a more advanced set.

Leave the shells out and push them around when you walk by. It's still fun for me and hopefully it will be for you.

Bob.
roguemagic
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Bob,

When is the new DVD being released? I literally, just purchased "Absolutely Nuts" from you, via the internet, a few minutes ago.

Take care,
Craig
John C
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How about the "perfect pea" vs a simple sponge pea. I haven't been at this long enough. What is the consensus? They do seem like totally different "feels."

And as far as practicing does it make a difference in the long run whether I trade off between the two?

Thanks,

John
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Dave V
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It's like a C&B routine with sponge balls instead of tennis balls. To me, once they see that it's something highly compressible, in their mind the secret is exposed.

It's traditionally a "pea under the shell" game. They expect to see a pea, not a little spongey thing.


Some will argue for sponges. Glen Bishop has used them for years, but so far from what I've read here he's nearly the only one.
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Whit Haydn
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It is simply a matter of choice. The sponge pea and the Perfect Pea (solid vinyl) both have advantages and disadvantages.

Glenn Bishop, an excellent shell game performer, prefers the sponge. The sponge pea of course, is more compressible, and therefore easier to pick up in the various pinch positions. It makes no visible movement of the shell as it comes in or out, and replacements are easily home-made. It requires a magician's mat to perform on.

The Perfect Pea looks like a real fresh pea, and looks much more solid. It shows up better from a distance. It is very visible and looks the way the spectators imagine a pea would look. It is more difficult for the spectator to imagine that it can come out from under the shell without making a movement of the shell.

The Perfect Pea works on any surface, even glass or marble, without a mat. It takes a little more practice to learn to grasp in the various pinch positions, but once the knack is obtained, I think it is easier to feel and control.

Finally, the Perfect Pea is available in a hard plastic pea called the Straight Pea that will not go in and out of the shells. This can be exchanged for the Working Pea and brought in or out of the game at will, or left on the table at the end so that the spectators can examine the pea or play with the pea and shells.

The Magnetic Pea is a third identical looking Perfect Pea that can be held out with magnetic holders (say behind a tie, under a table edge, in the back pocket) that enables a second pea to be held out and brought in at any time. With a magnet ring or magnet rigged shells like the Bruce Martyn Chopped Shells or our S4S Magnetic Street Shells, miracles can be accomplished.

I personally prefer the revolutionary Perfect Peas which Chef Anton and I designed and produce. These are the preferred pea of Bob Kohler, Bob Sheets, Eric De Camps and many other top pros. Many other pros prefer the sponge. It depends a lot on how and where you will be performing, and quite simply, what feels best to you.

I would not recommend going back and forth between the two types. You will do better to practice with one or the other so as not to confuse yourself--the right touch for one will be completely different from the other.

My bias is of course toward the pea that was designed for my own needs. Maybe Glenn Bishop can chime in with more of the advantages of the sponge pea which he prefers.
bishthemagish
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Whit I think your perfect peas are excellent. But they were not around when I started the shell game.

I think the sponge pea came about when magicians started to do the shell game as a magic effect.

I think the only pea that was available when I started the effect were the little black rubber peas that came with vernet shells. I think at the time this was the best set magicians could get to do the effect.

I feel that all magicians should choose the props, select the routine material they like, add their own way of doing things. and then get out and do it for people and let the audience reactions edit the routine down to a classic part of an entertaining show.

Sponge pea - hard pea it makes no difference to the audience.

As long as it was entertainment!
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Riley
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My grandfather used beer bottle caps and a small ball of silver paper from a cigarette pack . . it was beautiful to watch, and was my first taste of the shell game. Wonderful!!
John C
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Quote:

The Perfect Pea works on any surface, even glass or marble, without a mat. It takes a little more practice to learn to grasp in the various pinch positions, but once the knack is obtained, I think it is easier to feel and control.



Great I want to be able to work on any surface so I guess the PP is the way to go.

I notice when I am moving the shell that has the pea there is a slight hesitaion in the time it takes to do the dirty work. Is that because I am moving the shell to quick or is that going to be the norm? Or, should it be a smooth action?

Thanks,

John
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2005-03-08 13:20, johncesta wrote:

I notice when I am moving the shell that has the pea there is a slight hesitaion in the time it takes to do the dirty work. Is that because I am moving the shell to quick or is that going to be the norm? Or, should it be a smooth action?



It should be one smooth action. Just takes practice. I still have that problem on rare occasions when my hands are sweaty--like under hot video lights or working outside. In that situation, just try to make the other moves look the same.
JR Russell
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I am a huge S4S fan and have the shells and just ordered the video. I also have Bob Sheets absolutey nuts video and when I saw the scarab beetle shell, I knew I had to have that also. My shells sit on either side of my computer with a mouse pad on either side. So when I am sitting at my coumpter, I just fiddle with the shells/moves etc. You can practice on the mouse pad or slide it on to the desk and work off a smooth surface.

I would love to see/hear the patter that Bob Sheets uses with the scarab shells!

"JR"
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Whit Haydn
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The patter Sheets uses with the Scarab Shells--"Discovered by Philistinian slaves under the watchful eyes of the Pharoah..."--was created by Doug Bush and first published in a pamphlet credited to Dr. Beaumont. This routine is contained on our DVD Introduction to the Shell Game.
Bill Palmer
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I just got through viewing the S4S DVD on the shell game. This is a great piece of work. I recommend it very highly.

I can't wait to get into the Three Card Monte DVD set.

I should add that there is a lot more included on the DVD. If you have a DVD player built into your computer, then you can not only watch it on your computer, but you will have access to some PDF files that have lots of goodies!!!!
"The Swatter"

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