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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Multiplying Balls from Italy? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Tony Thomas
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So I bought a new set of manipulation balls from Bob Little, two sets actually. He got them from Italy, but couldn't remember the maker. I saw them over the weekend in the dealer room at Magic at the Beach - Myrtle Beach, SC. By the time I went to buy them, he had sold out (he only brought one set with him), and so he is shipping two sets to me tomorrow. Has anyone seen this set?

They are made from rubber, and have a metal shell. They only come in two sizes (that I am aware of). One that is about 1.75" and the other is about 2" maybe 2 & 1/8th. They were hollow, and lighter than Fakini's. Very grippy though, they actually had a great feel. Even when they got out to the very ends of my fingers they didn't fall, they just stuck (it was amazing). Probably the main downside is that they don't bounce. Anyway, if you know the set I am referring to, I would love to hear.

The one's I saw came with 5 balls and a sh**l in the 2" size for $80. Four were white, one was red for a color change, and then the white metal sh**l. They were also displayed in a nice wooden box. Any ideas?
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jay leslie
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I have the smaller Italian set. Silicone is silicone (given that the hardness is the same formula) and they handle great for strolling (without the S) I paid 115 for the set and like them. Sometimes I'll do a color-change move, making the ball smaller (starting with the fakini) then it vanishes.... by my favourite method
Tony Thomas
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Oh, so these are made from silicone also? Jay where did you buy yours? Do you know the manufacturer? I'm glad you like them. BTW, Charlie Frye has a set also. He said he likes them. He uses Fakinis on stage because he bounces the balls alot, but he said he loves them.
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bojanbarisic
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I like them too. I have 7 balls and 3 shells for my routine. I wish shells were covered with rubber as well since it is hard to perform double or triple shell techniques with metal shells but not impossible. Jupiter from Hungary should be the dealer to contact. Even though balls are produced in Italy it is him who sells them in sets for magicians and makes shells. I don`t think there is any other place where you can order those balls by number and any number of shells you need.

Regards,
Bojan
Levent
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Bojan:

Thanks for this information. I was racking my brain trying to remember the dealer who sold these balls to Bob Little for Tony. I saw this dealer at least twice in Europe last year. First at the Colombe d'Or in Juan-des-pins, France and at the CMI in Abano Terme, Italy (where Bob Little got them) and I was looking for the convention programs to find the dealer list. I knew that the man was not Italian and by his accent he was certainly Eastern European.

I just checked out his site: http://www.magiccenterhungary.com/
And from his photo I am 100% certain that Mr. Jupiter is the seller of these balls and shells. I believe at one time this man used to do an act with his wife under the name: "Duo Jupiter"

Best regards,
Levent
http://www.LeventMagic.com
JamesinLA
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I like that they are lightweight. I have found that the weight of my 2 inch fakinis do affect my handling and my steals.
On the subject of shells, a semi-magician friend watched me perform the other night and he noticed something in my routine I wish he hadn't. No palm flashes or anything. BUT he described to me that he saw "a line" across one of the balls. This was me showing a she**ed ball front and back. I realized that this is the result of the thickness of the fakini she**s. I wish the edge of the she** could be tappered like a wooden she**.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Tony Thomas
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Thanks for the tip Bojan and the web site Levent. They didn't have the balls posted on their site. I was hoping to find some product information, but in time maybe I will call them and get them to send me something.

Anyway - good observations about the shells. I suppose each set has their advantages and disadvantage. The metal shells don't handle quite as nice, but they are thin and certainly better than sets with plastic shells. The silicone covered shells feel better, but they are thicker.

Now I'm going to be tortured as I wait for my sets to arrive.
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Tony Thomas

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Tony Thomas
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They arrived quicker than I expected. Here they are, see attached. Upon closer inspection, they appear to be inflated. I would guess that the wall thickness of the rubber is about 1/8" thick. Each ball has what appears to be a needle hole (like for an inflation needle). The color change ball is a beautiful red, and the shell is a nice snug fit. I wish I new more about the balls, but as I suspected, there was no supporting information or markings on the boxes.

Click here to view attached image.
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sam2452
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The ball look beautiful. where can I buy that set?
Tony Thomas
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Thanks Sam - I got mine from Bob Little, Hatboro, Pa. 215-672-3344. Super nice guy, but I don't know how many more sets he has.
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JamesinLA
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Did you say they don't bounce?

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Tony Thomas
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They don't bounce high, like a solid silicone ball. If you drop them from about 5 feet on a hardwood floor, they bounce about 18 inches. Not very high.
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Bapu
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Tony

You've had the Italian balls a little over a month now.

(I hope you're still following this thread by the way.)

Now that you've presumably spent some quality time with them, can you give us a follow up as to how you like them versus other balls you have used.

How about the metal gimmick. Is that working out ok? Is the gimmick overly slippery making "that certain move" more difficult or have you gained confidence with it.

I would love to hear more about these new balls from you or anyone else who has used them.

Thanks in advance!
Bapu practices law and conjuring in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
Tony Thomas
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Hey Luckysizes-

Good questions and I am glad you are interested. I would descibe the difference between these new balls and Fakini's as filled with advantages / disadvantages. First of all, if I had to state which is the higher quality ball... I would say the solid silicone Fakini balls are better quality. That really should be obvious based on the price. I received my Itally Balls at a discount being that it was a dealer room and I was willing to buy two sets, but I received 10 2" balls for $150. The equivalent Fakini's would be more than $600.

As far as a review of the Italian Balls - here goes:
Overall, I like them and I am very happy with the purchase. The inflatable nature of the balls are interesting. They can compress more than a solid silicone ball, which has a few advantages. They more easily will fit in your hand because of the slight compression (with pressure probably 1/4 of an inch). The disadvantage of the inflatable nature... well maybe they would feel "cheap" to some by comparison. Also there is a hole that may annoy some. The hole is the size of an infation needle. The Italian balls are lighter than solid silicone which has some advantages and some disadvantages. The weight makes them less likely to drop out of your fingers, even if they are working themselves toward the end of the finger. A heaver ball will drop easier. The disadvantage with the weight seems to come into play with the roll under move. I can still work it, but I notice it isn't as reliable as with the heavier ball. As far as the gimmick, as mentioned it is metal. I have found working with it easy. I can't say I like it better than one covered in silicone, but it hasn't given me any problems and I will say again advantages / disadvantages. The advantage of the metal is that it is thin. I can confidently show the gimmick from both sides without the edge showing. With the silicone covered gimmick I never did that with confidence. The reality is that the metal gimmick is a bit slipperier than the silicone covered, but so far I haven't had a problem manipulating it. Lastly I would say the tackyness of the rubber in the Italian balls is slightly different but just as effective as the tackyness with the solid silicone ball. Finally, there is the bounce issue. I think the Fakini balls high bounce quality offers some interesting advantages. The low bounce nature of the Italian balls doesn't offer any advantage that I can really see.

I give this product a great review given the price. If you want the absolute best, go with Fakini. If you want a great product that is reasonably priced, consider these Italian babies.

Posted: Feb 23, 2011 7:24am
I just realized that I overshot the current price of Fakini's. The last set I bought happened right after Frank had passed away and the prices were higher. I'm glad to see the prices have come back down. The equivalent Fakini's would cost a little more than $450 that is two sets and 4 extra balls (two of which are for color changes).
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Bapu
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Wow, what a comprehensive and detailed response Tony. I really appreciate your taking the time to put that much thought into it. It was very helpful. By the way, I live in Sevierville, TN, just "over the hills" from NC. Do you ever perform in Asheville or other Western NC areas? If so, drop me a line...I'd love to see you do your stuff. Thanks again.
Bapu practices law and conjuring in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
Tony Thomas
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You are welcome. So far I haven't performed outside of Raleigh. But maybe we will run into each other at some Southeastern Magic Convention.

BTW - as for the detailed response. I have come to appreciate that a uniqueness of magicians is that we care about details of which most are not even aware. On some level you could even define magic by an awareness of details unknown to the world. Like a bouncy ball. Who would have thought that there was that much to say about a ball, but to a ball manipulator... oh, the details matter. It cracks me up how much silly information about wierd details that are basically of no use in life that I am beginning to amount. All I can say is that we magicians earn and rightfully deserve our "nerd" stereotype. I'm beginning to more fully embrace my inner magician.

Blessings,
Tony
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Tony Thomas

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jasper23
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I'm currently writing a few thought on the different types of billiard balls I own, but I did want to mention the Italian balls are ever so slightly larger than the equivalent size Fakinis.
I wouldn't have even noticed because of the compressive quality, until I tried to put them into my home made dropper I made for my 2'' Fakinis.
Mark Ross
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I picked up a set of these at FFFF this past week. Both Bob Little & Hank Morehouse had them. I was looking for a set of 4 the same color plus a shell, so ended up with a red set from Hank. I recently picked up a used copy of "The Magic of Alan Wakeling" and have done some work on that routine. I have been working with 1 3/4" Fakinis and these will definitely force me to stretch those fingers. The slight compressability is a bit of a help when I have a handful of balls. I do like the feel, though I will agree that the feel is a different kind of tacky than the Fakinis.

I'll keep you posted.

Mark
Peter Pitchford
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Philly
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I have a set that I bought from Bob. The only colors I have seen are red and white. Anyone come across any other colors?
bojanbarisic
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Yellow, green and blue
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