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Todd Robbins
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Quote:

"The Magic Kettle: Any Drink Called For" by Jeffery Atkins.

Published in 1972.

That's it.
Stuart Hooper
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Mithrandir
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Whats all this about the twenties, and Hoffman? As far as I know, it goes as far back as Robert Houdin!

Come friends, don´t tell me that somewhere in your mind you cannot see a theatre almost shaking with life, as a thousand of the ´rougher´ folks from Manchester (rougher than London or Paris) call out drinks to a rapidly pouring Robert Houdin?

I loved that scene.
Jonathan Townsend
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Water, water, water, mud, water, water, water, blood for you, water, mud, mud, okay who ordered the clean glass of water?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Bill Palmer
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I wish I had seen this post earlier, because I know some inside skivvy on this one. I got it from the horse's mouth. The main source for Hoffmann's act was a fellow who has often been equated with a different portion of the equine anatomy -- Burling Hull.

Although Robert-Houdin had done a similar effect, Burling had seen an opportunity for ongoing employment by taking advantage of a problem unique to the US -- Prohibition. He started importing "essences" from Schenley's in Canada, and these were the big secret of his act. His essences were of a concentration that would allow them to be placed into the bottom of a glass, and they would adhere, even when the glass was inverted. Then you could pour "the special formula," which people made in their bathtubs, into he glass, and it would taste very much like the drink requested.

This act was perfect for the audiences in nightclubs during Prohibition, because he was giving away free booze!!! They loved it!

Then he started selling the essences, along with the recipe as the Any Drink Called For act. One day he got a call from Charles Hoffmann (who Burling noted had changed his name from Karl because of the anti German sentiment after WW I). Charles said, "They never call out any of the drinks I have the essences for."

Burling replied, "Don't tell them to call out a drink. Tell them to think of a drink. Ask them who is thinking of a particular drink. You could call yourself 'Think of a Drink Hoffmann.' No, that doesn't scan well. Call yourself 'Think a Drink Hoffmann." And that's where the name came from.

Burling did two straight drinks, then a gag drink. He kept this up during the whole routine.

I got this information from him on May 1, 1980, as I was driving back home from working at the Florida Renaissance Festival in Largo. I paid him a visit on my way to Pensacola.

Here is a link to some previous material about this meeting.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/searc......=3831229
"The Swatter"

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peteyboston
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Bill,
Thank you for the imformation. It would seem the Burling Hull is/was quite a guy.
His inovation fooled a lot of people over the years. I understand people who considered themself experts on booze were fooled along with everyone else. He made "Think a Drink Hoffman" a famous act. I have heard Hoffman mentioned many times however this is the first time anyone has mentioned Burling Hull. Has he written anything about himself or his career?
Again thank you,
peteyboston
Bill Palmer
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The Blind Edison of Magic is his autobiography.

I should add that he wrote a series of pamphlets called The G.. D... Truth About Magic. He took all of the copyists to task. He also took Robert Nelson to task for selling things for fraudulent mediums (so he said.)

I only met him the one time. I had read his columns on showmanship that ran in The Linking Ring, and enjoyed some of his ideas.

He had a heck of a sense of humor. He was cordial with me. I figured that I would drop by his place, with permission, and spend about a half hour. Then I would ask him if he could autograph a playing card for me. I expected a dour, humorless old man. He was old, but neither dour nor humorless. He had a mind like a steel trap. He really understood the magic business, as well as magic, itself. That 30 minutes turned into three hours. He didn't want me to leave, and I didn't want to leave, either. But I had obligations I had to attend to.

He could be vicious, though. One magician crossed him, and Burling got some friends of his in the Mafia to put the guy's eye out. Ironically, a few years later, a waitress in a Roy Rogers Roast Beef shop accidentally hit him in the side of the head with a tray, which detached his retinas, blinding him almost completely.

Karma is a weird thing.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Pete Biro
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Who nicknamed him "Hurling Bull?" Merv Taylor sold a think a drink act with all the essences, which I got but never got around to doing it.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Bill Palmer
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I think Julian J. Proskauer was one of the first. It might have been Judge Dowd or Robert Nelson. Bev Bergeron would know.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
noriaki_kakyouin
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I know this topic is old, but I was wondering if anyone who "is in the know" thinks that one effect is better than the other?

I am working on a Mad Hatter Tea Party show and have been pondering over "Hospitality" but was advised that "Think-a-drink" might work too. I know it is cheaper, to be sure, but I do not know if it is "better".

What do you think might be a stronger effect?
Donal Chayce
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According to the Levante biography by Kent Blackmore, Levante did his own version of this routine in which he gave away the tea kettle at the conclusion. The method he used was exceedingly bold.
Mitch Schneiter
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Just came across this thread yesterday and have enjoyed reading it. When my Dad was in High School in San Francisco he worked at the Curran theater. "Think a Drink" Hoffman performed there and Dad got to meet him and even work for him (shoe polishing and stooging) during the engagement. I'm going to call him today and see if I can talk him into writing out his memories of Hoffman.
Bill Palmer
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It's not the effect that sells this. It's the presentation. That's the whole key. The Think-A-Drink act was based on a premise that most people forget -- PROHIBITION! People were not going to gripe about free booze when it was illegal to purchase it in the first place.

Getting the right essences for the trick will be the other problem. Think a Drink may be cheaper, but I'll bet you can't really find the right instructions for it, anyway. AFAIK, the real work has not been put into print.

So, what are you going to use for drinks at a Mad Hatter Tea Party? "Well, ahem, you see, here is a nice cup of Earl Grey ... one lump or two... And here is some excellent Darjeeling..."

Unless you plan to go into something other than tea, you will have a very limited situation.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Lawrence O
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Well you could tell the story about the Maltese water spouter and explain that due to modern hygienic regulations you now perorm the effect with a dark glass bottle, a tea pot, a terra cott jar...
If you don't know about the water spouter, ask Clay Shevlin.
Another silly idea is the one of a very well known French writer by the name of Boris Vian who wrote about a (fantasy) piano-cocktail: according to the keys the player was pressing it was composing original cocktails and drinks...: that could be the bsis of a plot as well
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Bill Palmer
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Those are both excellent ideas -- especially if you could perform the water spouting routine.

I'm kidding, of course.

When Burling Hull did it, his formula was two serious drinks, one comic drink, two serious drinks, one comic drink, etc.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Steve Knight
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Further to Bill's post about the 'Think a Drink' idea coming from Burling Hull. The following is from Jay Palmer's article 'From Keg to Kettle', The Sphinx, Dec 1951.

"Hoffmann's reason for adding the peculiar prefix "Think A Drink" to his name is the following. When he first introduced his bar act, he used to ask the spectators to call for any drinks they wanted. This, as always occurs in performances of similar nature, caused an uproar in the theatre, scores of thirsty individual's shouting their "orders". Hoffman did not like the pandemonium created, and Dr. Tarbell suggested that instead of getting drinks called for, he should ask the spectators to think of any cocktail they fancied. As the idea appealed to him, he immediately adopted it, and added the "Think A Drink" to his surname."

Whether Tarbell or Hull should really get the credit I've no idea.
Bill Palmer
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Since Burling Hull was the fellow who sold Hoffmann the items for the bar act, it would stand to reason that he was the one Hoffmann called to clear up the problem he was having.

If it had been a matter of "scores of people shouting their orders," Hoffmann would not have had to have more than one or two different essences anyway.

I think Jay missed on this one.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Simon17
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Does anyone know where to get this trick?
Bill Palmer
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Did you read the whole thread? If you did, you would have seen where I stated that the real work has not been put into print.

However, you can purchase Steinmeyer's "Hospitality" from any number of dealers. Paul Diamond has some of them for sale, I think.

Use google.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
wulfiesmith
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I can remember the British magician Paul Daniels performing this routine on the UK BBC channel a long time ago ...

I also wish to know more!!

respect to you Paul ...
WulfieSmith
magicgettogether
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Quote:
On 2005-10-19 22:57, Todd Robbins wrote:
Quote:
"The Magic Kettle: Any Drink Called For" by Jeffery Atkins.

Published in 1972.

That's it.

Abbotts still sells this book (its free with a tea kettle purchase). The cost is $10 plus shipping, I put a coupon code that will knock of $5 for magic-cafe members. Enter "themagiccafemember" and click apply coupon as you check out. With shipping it will still be over $10 unless you pick it up at the shop.

Coupon is good till Valentines Day 2010, hope this helps your research.

http://www.abbottmagic.com/Magic-Tea-Ket......book.htm
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