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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » The Cups and Balls: A Practical Approach by Bob White (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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dallas, tx
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Profile of JordanB
Bob White has just released his new DVD on the Cups and Balls. I have seen Bob do the routine several times, and he is a master. He has been doing the trick for 45 years and has been fortunate enough to learn from people such as Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller.

First, I would like to give kudo's to Jared Kopf and Mike Squires. The DVD is nicely authored, well shot, and well put together. Another excellent job from Scapegrace Pictures...Now on to the contents..

Opening Remarks
Cups-Talks about different kinds of cups (pro's, con's, etc)
Balls-Talks about different kinds of balls (size, color, etc)
Wand-Talks about management and use of the wand in a cups and balls routine.
Ball Vanish-To me this is worth the cost of the DVD.
Loads-Talks about the final loads (where to keep them, size of the loads, etc)
Loading Sequences-3 different loading sequences
Routine(with any cups)-This routine includes many aspects of the Vernon routine and can be done with any cups. Several of these sequences can be incorporated into your existing routine.
Miscellaneous-includes tips on Galloping Post move and the "Charlie Miller Move"
Loading Standing and Final Remarks-Talks about doing loads from while standing and a few closing remarks.
Bonus Routine-Dai Vernon's Single Cup and Ball routine

The routine shown on this DVD can be done as is or parts of it can be incorporated into your existing cups and balls routine. Bob talks a lot about management of the routine and explains how to make your actions look natural. The ball vanish is worth the cost of the DVD IMHO. I have seen Bob do this ball vanish hundreds and hundreds of times and have been fortunate enough to learn it. It is a simple vanish; however, it is not easy to do. Bob goes into great detail about how to do the vanish and more importantly what not to do. I've seen Bob do this from ten inches away and I can not tell the slightest difference from when he puts the ball in his hand and when he does not. In many places Bob talks about what NOT to do and I believe this is another great aspect to the DVD. There are no new or exotic moves or sequences on the DVD, but there are several things taught with tips and advice that Bob has accumulated in performing this trick thousands of times over the last 45 years. I recommend this to anone studying the cups and balls. The DVD is $50 and is available from Bob or your favorite dealer (available thru Murphy's Magic Supply). You can reach Bob at if you want to get a copy from him. I'm interested to hear what others think once they get the DVD.

PS-On the Books/lecture notes review area I will be posting a review of Bob's lecture notes "It's a Matter of Style".
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Profile of JordanB
One thing I neglected to mention in my previous review is that this DVD does NOT teach a bunch of different vanishes, and a whole bunch of moves. I saw the Michael Ammar tapes years ago and one of the most frustrating things was trying to decide which vanish to learn, which sequence to use, etc. This DVD takes the guesswork out and only teaches those moves and sequences that are natural looking and practical.
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Profile of Starromeo
Thank you, will check that out
Jeff Corn
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Bob's videos on Palming and his handling of the T&R Tissue were both really well informed. There were a few production things that I didn't like, but the material is solid. I may have to check this one out.
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Marc DeSouza
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Profile of Marc DeSouza
This is one of the finest pieces published in any format on performing the Cups and Balls. Bob's work on the vanish of a single ball and the proper way to load a regular size ball under a cup is worth many times more than the price of the DVD. This is a must see and study DVD if you currently or wish to perform this classic of classics.
Richard Evans
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Profile of Richard Evans
Great DVD. As the title suggests, the emphasis is on the practical aspects of the cups and balls. It's not an encyclopedia of moves; there are no reverse angles or slo-mo practice points - just solid advice based on years of experience.

Although the DVD isn't encyclopedic in scope, there are a couple of very nice moves on this DVD that I haven't seen presented anywhere else. This is a 'must have' for anyone interested in the cups & balls.
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Bill Palmer
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I just got my copy of this DVD today.

It is not like an ordinary teaching video. It is more like being at a discussion of the cups and balls with Bob. Bob's knowledge of the reasoning behind the cups and balls and the various aspects thereof is encyclopedic. In a way, it's a lot like watching Vernon discuss a subject. In fact, I would say that this is as close to being able to watch Vernon discuss the cups and balls or Charlie Miller discuss the trick. Bob's knowledge comes in a large part from those two sources.

He will be discussing one aspect of the cups and balls, and will suddenly be reminded of something that is relevant. He discusses whatever he was reminded of, then gets right back on track and finishes the topic.

Bob emphasizes natural, motivated movement. This adds to the overall impact of the way he performs the cups and balls.

In that way, it is very much like watching Vernon.

This DVD would be an excellent companion to the Ammar material.
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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
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Portland, Oregon, USA
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Profile of cfrye
I watched Bob White's cups and balls DVD yesterday as well, and found it to be an excellent complement to Gazzo's material. Gazzo focuses on the cups and balls as a street or platform trick; White focuses on the cups and balls as a close-up trick. I agree with Jordan, Marc, and Bill that White's DVD is a wonderful resource for the cups and balls worker.
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Profile of Nick-V.
I'm so excited about Bob's seminar coming up in June.
Hanging out with Bob ALL DAY is going to be great!!!
Peace on the Magical Streets
~Nick V.~
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Concord, CA
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Profile of lint
This DVD is fantastic and a wonderful addition to the Cups and Balls teaching material. HIGHLY recommended.

"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
Andy the cardician
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A recommendation from Bill . . . where is my credit card?
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Profile of sethb
Having viewed Ammar’s “Complete Cups & Balls” as well as the Greater Magic “Cups & Balls Teach-In,” I would say that this DVD is probably best for the intermediate to advanced C&B worker. This isn’t because there is anything complicated or difficult here, but because I think you really need a good familiarity with basic C&B moves and routines to fully appreciate the information being provided.

Mr. White provides practical advice and tips based upon years of performing experience, which can in turn save you from spending years trying to learn the same things. For example, he says that the C&B should be performed for the audience, not for the magician. In his view, too many performers simply run through the moves and don’t fully involve the audience in the trick, which is a shame, because it is a perfect close-up effect where you have a good opportunity to interact with the audience. Bob also explains several ways in which you can do this. This is a good point and very valuable information for the performer who seeks to entertain, not just “fool” people (or himself).

He also gives good advice for selecting the proper size and color of balls to use, and how to effectively display them during the routine. Some of this may seem to be nothing more than common sense, but as we all know, “common sense” is often quite uncommon. Bob mentions things that should be obvious to most performers, but may not be. After listening to some of his points, I said “Why didn’t I think of that?”

The section on loading small balls was very good – better, in my opinion, than the Ammar or Miller explanations as far as clarity goes. The discussion on the tip-over load was excellent, and included a fine idea that I have not seen discussed anywhere else, and which results in a very smooth and indetectible load. Additionally, Bob covers a number of things that you should NOT do when loading; these points were also quite good and helped me focus on more natural moves and proper technique. The final load section was also very good, once again the equal or better of Ammar. I was never really sure what to do with my thumb, which always seemed to be in the way of the load; after watching Bob, I now see what Michael was doing, and what I should be doing. As Mr. White says, none of this is difficult to learn, but it is not simple to do correctly.

Bob’s routine is based upon the Vernon routine, but contains his own touches. I really liked some of his moves and ideas, which will hopefully spur me on to incorporate some of my own touches in my routine.

His ball vanish is good, and I do agree that a “put” vanish seems to be more convincing than a “take” vanish like the French drop. But in my own very humble opinion, there’s still just too much back-and-forthing going on. As Bob would say, “Who would actually handle a ball that way, it’s not natural?” So I would suggest that you watch Bob, Ammar, Mike Rogers, Al Schneider, and your other favorite C&B workers of choice, and try to work out your own false transfer that works for you. That’s my plan, we’ll see how it works.

The production values on this DVD are very good; the picture is clear at all times and close-ups are provided where necessary. Sound is also good and everything said is clear and understandable, even though Bob has a tendency to speak a little too quickly at times. The DVD is well laid out, with natural divisions among the sections, and it’s easy to navigate.

In summary, the DVD is in my opinion well worth the somewhat high $50 asking price, because of the good information contained in it and the way it's presented. But I wouldn’t suggest it for beginners; it’s really more appropriate for more advanced workers who already have a good understanding of the fundamentals, may have acquired some bad habits along the way, and want to polish their handling to a higher and more professional level. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
John Cass
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I will be the lone voice of dissent. I watched the DVD closely. The material is definitely practical, but it is not well presented. Mr. White seemed to be disorganized. He also missed on many of the historical references. For example, he had Hoffmann in the 1700's. He missed by 100 years.

I think Bob sat down in front of the camera and winged it. He should have used a script.

It will do the experienced cups and balls man some good, but it isn't going to help a beginner much.
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Profile of JordanB
Some may say that I am biased toward Bob's DVDs, and that may be, so you are certainly welcome to take my opinion with a (large)grain of salt. I'm also not knocking anyone else's opinion.

I think that the production of this DVD parallels production of the other three DVD's. I would certainly say that it is a "no frills" production; however, I don't think that this detracts from the quality. Bob has told me that he wanted it to feel like he was sitting across the table teaching you the cups and balls or palming or whatnot. Having sat across from Bob and learned all of these tricks in real life, I can objectively say that he accomplished this. Furthermore, on this DVD he did a more realistic job than on some previous ones. For example, in the past if there was a move or something he didn't like he would dismiss it as "foolishness". On the C&B DVD he comes out and says "this looks bad" or "nobody does it this way." Having sat across from Bob on many, many occasions, I can say that the DVD is very true to learning it from Bob "one on one".

As far as Bob winging it, I know for a fact that he worked from a very detailed outline/script. I saw the preliminary script for the ball vanish section and it was several pages long. As far as historical references go, only Bob could say for sure. My best guess is that he was sidetracked and just mispoke. He did go off on tangents; however, I agree with Bill Palmer that they were relevant to the topic and then he got right back on track.

Someone mentioned in another thread that Bob is part of the Texas "underground" magic scene. As far as the whole Texas "underground", I still have not met one person or seen one thing to make me believe that it is true. I have never met one magician from around here who has been rude or arrogant to me. All of the guys that I've heard associated with the "underground" have always been nice, open, and helpful to me (even before I knew Bob). While I do agree that there are some talented magicians in Texas, I just don't think the reputation as "underground" or "elitist" is warranted.

Again, I may be biased, so you are all welome to take my opinions with a grain of salt. And John, I'm not knocking your opinion of the DVD. I realize that not everyone is going to like it, I just wanted to address a few things. As far as the Texas "underground" goes, I think it is just a myth.
Thread Cooler
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To this day, I've never understood why people like to classify things as Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced/Professional. I won't call myself a beginner, but I will say I'm not as well-versed/well-read as some people on this board seem to be. I can't imagine why I'd want to learn to do something that would make me look like a beginner. Why not learn the best way first?

This whole B,I,A thing seems like a load to me. Yes, some moves in magic are easy. Yes, some are hard. The audience shouldn't know.

Am I discouraged that a piece of historical fact was mistated on the video? No. I don't really care. If I wonder about some piece of history in magic, I don't have to go to a video to have it resolved. I can come to you people and have myself corrected. Or maybe I can just look for a list of "Who were the best magicians (stage or close-up) of the 1700's?" and then find Professor Hoffman's name isn't included.

I saw the video, too. I would buy it just for the chapter on the ball vanish. It can be used in other tricks. It's not often that you get fooled by a trick when you know how it works. And this ball vanihs will fool you from the exposed angle.

And the philosophy imparted is fantastic. "Don't do things that don't look normal". Seems simple, but it is an idea that is violated on almost every other C&B DVD out there. I'd rather have only purchased DVD's like these early on and fewer with "Super Practice Sessions" loops.

And fewer that treated me like a beginner or wanted to learn easier/watered down things. Why would I want to do that? Or settle for that?
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Profile of ursusminor
On 2007-05-08 13:38, John Cass wrote:
He also missed on many of the historical references. For example, he had Hoffmann in the 1700's. He missed by 100 years.

I think Bob sat down in front of the camera and winged it. He should have used a script.

Yeah, I cringed at the "Late seventeenth century" bit too, but I overcame it... because, the ball vanish alone justified the price.

He probably winged it, yes, that's the charm...

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
- Winston Churchill"
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