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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Appeal of the Chop Cup (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bill Palmer
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It's very difficult, if not impossible to discuss the chop cup without mentioning Don Alan. And once Don comes up, so does the rest of his baggage.

Regarding pinching other people's material, my opening line was pinched by a number of magicians, some famous, some infamous, some with no fame at all. That's why I trademarked it.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Andrew Zuber
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Wait, you're telling me I can't say "Hi everybody, I'm Bill Palmer" at the beginning of my routine???
Back to the drawing board....
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Tom Fenton
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Smart move that Bill.
"But there isn't a door"
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2011-02-14 12:00, Pete Biro wrote:
The Northern accent may have sounded like "CIRCUS" but what Ken did was "SUCKER SILK". Bish, your PM is not "ON" can you PM me with who Ken mentioned as the creator? I can't find my audio tapes.

Ken mentions him in the Ken Brooke book to - if I remember right. I think I sent my audio Brooke tape to David Charvet a few years ago. Now that you mention it I think it was sucker silk.

Cheers.

Posted: Feb 14, 2011 11:46pm
As I have said many - many times I knew Don Alan for many years. He was my Dads (Billy Bishop) friend for many years and later he became my friend. Over the years I have heard many stories about him not all of them good. As many are and were very jealous and envious of the success Don Alan had on television and in the business world as a performer.

In my opinion Don Alan added to just about every trick he performed. His adding to the chop cup was his style his routine - and in my opinion he took what was a stand up trick at the time and performed it at the close up table. I am not at all saying that he invented this idea. But he sure did it on TV in this way - on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to the Merv Griffin show, That’s incredible, Bozo's Circus and many more. And then there was also Don Alan's Magic Ranch.

No I do not think that Don Alan hung the moon. However lots of people say that so and so pinched some material or a line. And from my own experience some pinch much more. I have to say Don Alan never pinched anything from me - I have sessioned with him and he did like and want to use my ideas for the DieNamic Diamonds and my stack of coins. And I did make him up the sets and gave them to him back in the 80's.

As a side story on the Ken Brooke tape there is a story I think that Ken Brooke had about saying that the Chop cup would make a great cabaret trick. And how a lot of magicians laughed at him. Then he said that Paul Daniels was doing it in a show that night as a cabaret trick in his act.

I found that interesting because my dad - years ago told me that Chop Chop did it in his act "as a stand up trick".

Just a few more thoughts and perhaps opinion.

Cheers!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Bill Palmer
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Actually, Don did the chop cup standing up when he worked trade shows. He had a method for getting the loads that was quite simple. I saw him do it at least a half dozen times at the Offshore Technology Conference.

One of the problems tracing what Don did or didn't do is that the chronicling of his life in In a Class by Himself has a lot of misstatements in it. Some of this was complicated by Don's Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's was the one thing Don feared most. His father had it, and Don watched him turn into a raging madman. Don told me that his father attacked him with a knife one time. That's bad news.

One of these days, I'll put the real story of "Clyde" on the forum here. It's interesting, and it involves a bunch of Don's friends. It is NOTHING like what is in the above mentioned book. I know this one for certain, because I'm the guy who showed him the trick, and I made the deck he used on "That's Incredible!"
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
David French
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Hi Bill,

Seems this thread has turned into a Don Alan one. Very interesting stuff. May I ask a question? I would imagine when Don Alan did his chop cup standing his loads came from his table. I see that he used a "box on a tripod" from the Stevens tape.

If you are at liberty, can you confirm this? I ask as I do the same thing...again stealing from the master.

thanks,

David
bishthemagish
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Actually, Don Alan did the chop cup sitting down at a table - at more shows that I can remember - seeing him do it when he performed, as I was there. He may have performed standing up at a trade show for small groups - but performing standing up at a trade show close up - is "very" different than performing it "stand up" as an encore trick in a night club as my dad saw Chop Chop do many years ago.

I have performed my chop cup standing up for most of my life - malls - street magic - trade shows - restaurants - however I have only used it in my stand up act a few times.

Just a few thoughts and opinion.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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David French
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Bish,

Exactly. I was refereing to trade show work. I noticed on the Stevens tape that he is working a trade show with a "box on a tripod" I imagine that is where he kept his loads. On the same tape is a picture of him on the Ed Sullivan show, working behind a podium of sorts. Again, I imagine, his loads were in the podium.

Just curious about this.

Thanks for the thoughts, I love these stories.

David
bishthemagish
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Yes I remember the "box on a tripod" well. Don Alan was a pro so he worked it out where he could still do a lot of his material standing up with a crowd around him. When doing a trade show I think that it is better and easier to gather the crowd (barking) if the performer is standing. Standing performers are more visible to the audience.

On occasion he did use the "box on a tripod" at hospitality room shows (sort of like trade shows) but most often he would sit at a card table like table and do magic. Don Alan did not like to "walk around and do walk around magic". I remember doing a show with him on the boat the "Star of Chicago" with Terry Veckey. I walked around - he sat down at a table like card table and let the audience come to him.

He liked to load from the lap and the box - not his pockets. When he sat down he carried the loads and bowl and hat in a small black bag (like a Doctors bag) and set it between his legs so he could bring the load to his lap when he reached for the props - under cover.

His lump of coal - later the big nut - ball barring were way to bulky and heavy for pocket loading. And I talked about this with him at great length - he also did not like the bulky feeling of the loads in the pockets and thought that it made many performers look like their suit did not fit right.

When I was working on the timing of loading for my first cups and balls routine - He helped me work out the timing.

By the way my dad saw Chop Chop do the chop cup in a "Night Club" as an encore to his night club act.

Just a few more thoughts as I remember them.

Cheers!

Posted: Feb 15, 2011 10:29am
By the way the Ed Sullivan show was a vaudeville style show. My dad was on it when it was called toast of the town. According to the story I was told they did not know about close up magic or how to tape or film or broadcast close up magic. If I remember right the "sitting down" performer doing magic while sitting at a table - and staging it that way came a few years later - if I remember right.

These were the years the older magicians called "club television" and shows like Playboy after dark were on.

I remember talking to Don Alan and my Dad and Jay Marshall about how the staging of magic changed over the years for close up magic on television as television became more intimate. Jay Marshall talked about Al Goshman appearing on the "Tonight show" with Steve Alan.

It is interesting how the staging changed in those years.

Cheers.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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David French
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THANKS Bish...great stuff.
BCS
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Thanks for sharing all the DA background stories… I find it very interesting… it’s kind of like the History Channel for Magic.

Bruce
HerbLarry
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History Channel for Magic, there's a good idea.
You know why don't act naive.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2011-02-15 10:42, David French wrote:
THANKS Bish...great stuff.

Your welcome. My dad did two spots on the Sullivan show called Toast of the town. Marlo Lewis was the producer of that show. His first appearance was doing the rope tie escape (his trademark trick) with the boxer called "raging bull" (they made a movie about him years ago - the boxer Jake LaMotta I think - the movie was called raging bull) and some tennis pro - that tied him up and covered his hands with a sport coat.

The second he did the dove pan as a lead in to the closing dance routine performed by the Radio city music hall dancers - he produced a cake - it was the Toast of the town anniversary show - the camera cut to the cake close up - then they cut to anther camera - bigger cake - but it looked the same because of the close up - then the dancers jumped out one by one and did a closing number.

This was all done "live" as it was live TV in those days.

My dad came up with most of this as a bit - I remember he talked about this in a meeting he had with Sullivan and Marlo Lewis. After the meeting he went out to Tannens to buy a dove pan for the show that night. The magician behind the magic counter that sold him that dove pan was a very young - I kid you not - Frank Garcia.

My family and I have been trying to get tape of this for years.

Cheers!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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David French
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Thanks again,

Speaking of tapes. I have all (that I know of) tape and DVD of Don Alan.

any ideas where to get footage of his Merv Griffin and Tonight show apperances?
\
bishthemagish
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Maybe a magician somewhere made a copy when it was on TV at the time. These things are hard to find.

Cheers!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Pete Biro
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Andrew Solt, in Los Angeles, a production company, owns all the Ed Sullivan shows.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
bishthemagish
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About 10 years ago the Solt production company contaced our family for permission to use my dads footage he did on this first aniversary show. However nothing became of it - I have contacted them about getting a copy just for personal reasons however - One day we hope to get footage of his two appearances on that program.

Cheers!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
kentfgunn
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Don't know when Don Alan was on the various TV shows. If it was prior to 1975, nobody had VCRs. (Could be off of the dates, that's when I remember first seeing one.) Would've been hard to copy what was going on, onscreen back then.

KG
Bill Palmer
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Some of the guys got hold of kinescopes of the shows, but that was a rare occurrence. Others simply memorized what they saw him do or taped the audio segments.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Andrew Zuber
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JVC released the VCR in 1976. By 1982 there were 80 million homes with televisions in the U.S., yet only 26.6 percent of those homes had VCRs at the time. In the UK, 100,000 homes had VCRS, thought 70% of them were only renting the units. Part of my dissertation research. See Kent? I TOLD you I was being productive...I didn't even have to Google that.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
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