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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » The Three Shells Game (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kjellstrom
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Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
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This text is from another post:

"I have these Magnetic Street Shells and they are fantastic. I also use "Magnetic" Elohim Ring to pick & drop invisible the peas under my hand, easialy.

I have found that this works fine for me:
HOW TO UNLOAD A PEA FROM A SHELL:
I just slide the shell to the left on the table and the pea rolls out and picks up of the magnetic ring.
HOW TO LOAD A PEA INTO A SHELL:
I load the shells with pea when I have turned them upside down: I pick the outer two shells with my both hands and drops the pea into a shell and it snaps to the magnet in the shell, then i rotate them and put them on the table.

When you have the pea attach to the ring you can show your hands very freely...
Very easy to palm: slide the hand to the right and the pea is rolling off and you can palm it between two fingers, easialy.

Its very fun to play with the spectators.
One great thing you can do with these shells is to put a shell with a pea inside on a spectators hand and they will never feel or notice the pea in the shell. When you later produce the pea from the shell in the hand they will almost freak out. I have shown these shells for my very sceptical friends and they almost tried to "kill" me after the routine...hehe.
Why? I put a big banknote and told them to bet and they lost...! Be careful if you play with money I think you must let them win occasionally.

When you get the feel for this fantastic Magnetic Street Shells yo can fool anyone on this planet. This is one of my favourite props,
looks innocent but they are devilish smart.
This is a dream prop they are very useful for anyone that like this kind of trick. This is a "knock em dead" effect.

No problems has occured when I use the magnetic peas, no sceptical questions etc.
I have asked several friends and they had no clue how it was done. It up to yo what choise yo do. I love these shell.

I bought these shells from Hokus Pokus Online Shop! "
thimblerig
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Bellevue, WA
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I have about 100 or more different Shell Game props, routines, notes, etc. that I have been collecting over the years with the idea of writing up an annotated review of the various items. Haven't got to write a word yet, but from that perspective, here are my thoughts.

First, Bob Sheets' video is excellent. You can also see him perform his routine on the Travel Channel close up magic show when/if it airs again. Bob is an outstanding performer and he has come up with a deceptive new way of working the shells. At least in all my research I have not seen it described previously. (And I have gone back as far as the 1850's although those descriptions are sparse at best). This tape is a good investment.

As far as props, it depends on the type of presentation you wish to make and a whole lot of other factors. The Golden Shells are beautiful and Bob Kohler's routine is excellent and well documented. Everything Bob does turns to "gold" performance wise and it was in a private session at a friends house years ago that Bob got me interested in starting my collection - long before the Golden Shells video/props were available. Bob's Video is well worth the investment.
That being said, the working shells from Chef Anton and La Maggiore are truly outstanding. I like the La Maggiore for their size and wish they had the Chanin dip as do the Working Shells from School for scoundrels and the Golden Shells, as then they would clearly be the best of the composite shells in my humble opinion. I was disappointed to pay so much for the La Maggiore and then have them not have this feature, with an offhand comment about how they could be sanded to incorporate the feature if desired. That having been said, they work great without the dip; it is just my opinion. Not being a great craftsman, I am reluctant to take these props and sand them only to probably screw them up.
It is hard to be good natural shells for authenticity, but they require some time and effort to make well, will eventually crack or split, and it is difficult to find nice big ones.
Al Cohen's thimbles for thimble rigging work well an add patter and routining possibilites. However the bigger the thimble, the more apparent the move can be. (Think of the top of the thimble being a flag waving as the pea moves in/out.) I have a set of Porper Thimbles, which while pretty, are fairly small, thus resulting in potential for visibility problems depending on venue and audience size. If they can't clearly see what is happening, interest will wane and the magic effect will lessen.

The other nice thing about the Golden Shells and other metal shells (usually pewter with some sort of plating or not, although I have a sterling set also) is their weight. The weight is helpful, I think, in performing the moves. The weight of composite shells is less. Natural shells can be gaffed to be heavier and that is what I have done with mine.
There are several sets of tiny inverted cup/bowl shaped props out there, and I have one hindu cup style set. These work well, but aren't traditional if that matters to you or your routine.
As far as magnetic shells, I have several sets, including magnetic real shells. To me it isn't worth the effort. Most shell game routines should last about 3 minutes or so as it can be pretty repetitive. You can get a lot of entertainment out of the shells with just the regular moves. For repeat performances, smart alecks (other magicians) you might work something up with them to throw them off, but even then the "chop" principle is so widely known I'm not sure it's worth it.
Oh, and the Black Fox composite shells are pretty good, should last awhile and give you additional patter possibilities.
For routines and moves I would recommend the tapes mentioned above, Garcia's "All in a Nutshell," Chanin's, "Hello Sucker," and the Tom Osborne book. The last three can usually be found on eBay. The Pat Page combo of shells/bag/video is not a bad source of info. Personally, I would not recommend the Phil Cass video as I believe the routine is a little too "in your face," for me. However he seems to make money at it...

Just some thoughts, hope you find them useful.

Cordially,
tr

Smile
magicday
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I don't like the Golden Shells because they are too slippery. Can't hold all three in one hand.
Poindexter
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Wisconsin USA
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magicday--

I think of all my shell sets, the Scoundrels' Antique Copper Shells are my favorites.

I also had a problem with three-in-the-hand, solved it by placing a TINY bit of rubber cement on the sides of each shell.

Works great, doesn't interfere with any other moves, and, on the coppers, anyway, it is invisible; and nobody's ever mentioned it when examining the shells.

I don't own the goldens, so YMMV.
magicday
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Poindexter,

Thanks, I'll try to find out.
Whit Haydn
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I'd like to add a little bit to this discussion. First off, the type of routine and the performing situation determine for the most part what sort of shells should be used.

I have used all of the shells mentioned in this thread, and find them all to be handsome, well-made, and practical for use in performance.

I prefer the Magnetic Street Shells to all the others, because they are small, they work on any surface, and they have the magnets that allow for a great ending without carrying a another piece such as a shotglass, or other cover. This suits my way of working for the most part, because I like to throw the three shells and a few peas into my right jacket pocket and I am ready to perform. Since I don't need a close-up mat, but can perform just as well on a bar, coffee table, or any available surface, I can perform without carrying anything with me that doesn't come out of my pockets.

The Golden Shells, the magnetic Golden Shells, the Street Shells, and the magnetic Street Shells were all designed by myself, and I like all of them. The Golden Shells are heavy, and as has been noted, have advantages for certain moves, such as the kick steal. They also draw the interest of spectators and passersby at a tradeshow, as Bob Kohler noted. Their weight, however, makes them unsuited to carry in the pocket.

All of my shells have the Chanin Dip, which is a very nice feature that allows the shells, when used with my Perfect Pea, to work very smoothly on any surface, without the "click-click" sound that is sometimes produced on a hard surface by shells that don't have this feature. This feature is subtle, but requires quite a bit of cutting of the shell to get right. I don't recommend trying to sand the La Maggiore shells to obtain it, as it would require cutting off about an eighth of the shell, and it would be easy to ruin the shells in the process.

The smaller size shell that was used in the production of my shells, makes many of the more complicated turnovers and acquitments easier, and makes picking up all three shells in one hand very simple.

Remember that the pea is the star, not the shells. The shells can be too big, and thus dwarf and minimize the pea.

However, some people find that their hands are too big to comfortably work with small shells. For these people, the La Maggiore and the Black Fox shells might be better.

These sets also are more comfortable for moves like the Bob Sheets acquitment, and perhaps a little awkward for some moves like the Escobar or three shells in one hand move. They are a little bulkier to carry in the pockets, and they work better on a mat than without.

So everything depends on how you plan to use the shells, and what sort of moves you like to use, and under what performing conditions. I think they are all very good products, and have used all of them with great success.

Hope this helps.
Michele
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Taiwan
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Hi Haydn,

Thank you for your information about your Shells. I've bought your Golden Shells I like it . It's a very good props.
Whit Haydn
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By the way, it is the scarcity of shell sets over the years, and great variety in appearance, materials, and workmanship that make them a very good collectible.

I suggest that anyone who does the shells should start his own little collection of shells. You will learn a lot over time just by handling and playing with the many different peas and shells available. There will be times when one set will be better than another for just one venue.

I did the shell game on Jay Leno using hand-made walnut shells, because that is what they wanted.

I know that for twenty years, finding a decent set of shells, (like the cups and balls) was nearly impossible.

That time may come again, so take advantage of this period when the interest is high. I suspect that in a few years, you will find both the info and props much harder to obtain.
hkmagician
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Mr.Haydan,

I only seen green peas. is there any other colours ? when can I order them ? Thanks
Whit Haydn
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The School for Scoundrels Perfect Pea only comes in "pea green" at present. Peas in many different colors are available from other places, however.

Black Fox has many different colored peas. These peas are not the same in texture and material as the perfect pea, since they are handmade, not injection-molded, but they are very good, and can come in different colors and sizes.

Karl Norman produces latex-covered foam rubber peas. These are beautifully made, and of course, are much softer than the hard rubber peas. However, they do wear out eventually, and need to be used on the right surface.
hkmagician
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Mr. Haydn ,

Thank you for your information.
vinsmagic
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sleeping with the fishes...
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It's nice to know what are the best shells out there . and I already said the the golden shells are awsome.
However the point i'm trying to make is who is the best operator of the shells? Well I grew up in the streets of NYC hells kitchen, and the best mechanics of the shell game came off the streeets,
Now in my opinion one of the best routines from a Magician was Frank Garcia's You can catch some odf his handling on the stars of maagic video.
vinny
vinny
Come check out my magic.

http://www.vinnymarini.com
Whit Haydn
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I knew Frank Garcia very well, and he was very good and very entertaining with the shells. However, Jack Chanin was the best I ever saw with the shells. He knew all the real stuff, and added a lot of his own. I don't think anyone I have seen since comes even close.

Most everything in print today on the shells is based on either Chanin, Eddie Joseph, or Tom Osborne.
hkmagician
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Is there any video of Jack Chanin about the Three Shells Game ? Thanks
Whit Haydn
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I do not know of any movies or video available on Chanin's shell game. I would love to find something. If anyone knows of anything, please contact me.
NLewis
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In China, the game was played with ornaments. In other places, the game was placed with cheap tin. Fred Kaps used "Gold Plated Chromium" (lol) and Ricky Jay uses "Cups of spun copper". Lennart Green even uses Alphonzo, Julia, and 2 other names I can't remember off hand. My suggestion is to use whatever you want -- it's the creativity that counts in magic.

With regards to balls / peas -- again, use whatever you want Smile I've seen it done with BB's, real peas, gold, bottle caps, foam balls, and even apricots!
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