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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Thimble magic - comparative degree of difficulty (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

fortasse
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.....just beginning to dabble in this now but I'm finding it immensely more difficult than the initial learning curve for Cups & Balls. Was that the experience for most of you as well? The two-handed co-ordination that's required and the various basic sleights are really something else (your fingers need to be contortionists for some of these moves)! On top of that, getting the right angles for close-up performance would seem to be a major challenge.

Fortasse
malaki
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I realize that his is a very old thread, but Fortasse never got a response. So... better late than never...

This is why I thimbles as a beginner effect for new apprentices. If they learn how to manipulate a thimble without getting frustrated and quitting, then the chances are that they will have the stick-to-it-ivness to learn to become a performing magician, which is my goal. I have had many quit, but those who didn't usually ended up winning competitions.

The thimbles, though convenient, will challenge a beginner - but that is the point.
Thimbles teach many of the various palms, transfers, vanishes, equitments and appearances that are used in so many other areas of this field. By learning the thimbles you are laying a foundation for manipulation that will serve you well. Unfortunately, few magicians seem to perform it any more.

The hardest vanish to learn is the take away vanish, where the thimble is on the index finger of the dominate hand, placed into the other palm and vanished as the palm closes. Timing is of the essence, for too soon, the trick is tipped, too late and the thimble will not stay on the finger. Practice in front of a mirror is key, and lots of it!
Less dependent upon timing is the fist vanish, though just as convincing.

The hardest venue for thimbles is street performance. Kids have no compunction about trying to look around your covering hand, so be flexible. I have been known to pivot my cover hand just enough to thwart the kids getting a view, but you must really know your angles to accomplish it.

The best thing for learning thimbles is a jacket or smock with pockets. When working in a hospital, I was required to wear a smock. I would practice my manipulations within the pockets so that when (not if) I dropped the thimble, I would not have to chase it down the corridor. This is how I learned how to back palm a thimble. Also using this technique, I taught myself to go from a back palm directly into a thumb palm. Quite a nice maneuver to know! Changes from one palm to another will help you with thimbles more than it does with coins.

If you intend to go the way of David Devant, then cover the thimbles with flat backed, glass rhinestones. Epoxy holds them in place quite well, especially on the "slip-stop" thimbles. Do the rim in larger, colored stones, the tip in as large of a stone that will fit the crown, and cover the rest with small, clear glass rhinestones. Sparkles nicely in sunlight or on stage, without making it more difficult to make vanish.

If you have questions, feel free to PM me.
Dick Oslund
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My old pal, Karrell Fox, published HIS "super thimple routine" in one of his many books. If you can th*mb p*lm a thimble, you can do it! Too many "manipulators" "need" to show that they can do every move that exists. People don't really care how long it took to acquire the "infinite number" of moves. They just want to be entertained!
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malaki
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Which of his books was that? I would like to add it to the collection.
malaki
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Believe me, I don't use all of the moves, just several of them - enough to do a routine that lasts a few minutes. The T Palm will get you far. Learning to do it while angling the thimble's opening is even more convincing (the rhinestones help with this as well). Adding to it a finger palm, and an assisted classic palm (the thimble is not large enough to classic without a finger assist).
The back palm was learned, more to prove to myself that it wasn't a myth, than anything else, for I had never actually seen someone do it. In the right circumstances, I will use it, but it is not part of my normal routine, due to slightly restrictive angles.

I may have sounded a bit rigid in my post, I apologize. I use the thimble to both test the apprentice, to make sure that he/she is not just looking for answers, and to teach them actual palming that will serve them throughout their magical career. If I am to take on the mantle of mentor, I want to make sure that they are willing to do the work required toward actually performing in front of a crowd. That is what was required for me, I feel that it isn't too hard for my apprentices either.
It's not like I have them carry my bag for me or anything... (my magic bag can weigh in at 80 lbs. when fully loaded for the weekend). That would be cruel.

Do you remember in which Karrell Fox book that routine was found? I do not believe that I have any of his writings (blasphemy, I know...).
fortasse
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Thanks for your response, Malaki. Almost 8 years for someone to answer my question! LOL. I'd even forgotten I asked it. Bless you!

Fortasse
Harry Murphy
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Malaki Fox published several bits, gags and a couple of short routines over several of his book. I'm not sure which routine Dick is speaking about. IN "My Next Book" he published Triple Thimble Vanish" a routine. In "Another book" he published "Finger flinger" a short thimble routine with a gag finish. There may be others.

The "Conjuring Archives" list most of his books with table of contents and short description of what each chapter contains.
https://www.conjuringarchive.com/books/author/175
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
boxjumper
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Jeff McBride's Manipulation DVDs have great sleights and routines with thimbles.

BJ
drmolarmagic
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Quote:
On Apr 19, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:
My old pal, Karrell Fox, published HIS "super thimple routine" in one of his many books. If you can th*mb p*lm a thimble, you can do it! Too many "manipulators" "need" to show that they can do every move that exists. People don't really care how long it took to acquire the "infinite number" of moves. They just want to be entertained!

I agree with this 100% just because the moves exist doesn't mean they need to be in a routine. I've recently gotten back into thimbles (boy its a tight fit) and I also recommend the McBride Manipulation series, they have great moves that one can use to put together a nice routine.
Bob G
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Steve Beam (of the Semi-Automatic Card series) has a book about the thimble manipulations of Joe Mogar. I've only done a bit of skimming so far, but if the book is at the level of the card books, it's going to have high quality teaching.


I had no idea thimbles were so hard! Can anyone recommend an *easy(ish)* branch of magic? I most do card stuff but would love to branch out into thimbles, sponges, paddles, and the ball-and vase. Maybe silks. I don't suppose any of it is actually easy...



Bob
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I started thimbles with Brad Burt's DVD on thimbles and multiplying balls. Excellent DVD, by the way. I like the no-nonsense, single camera approach. More magic dvds could be this way and it would be a good thing.

Anyway, my big issue was that my skin tends to be really dry so I had a hard time hanging onto the thimble, either in the p*lm or on the finger. I started using a better grade of hand lotion (Neutrogena) and that problem cleared up.

Bob, I have to say that the tricks that would be easiest to learn are the tricks you enjoy doing. I know that sounds all pseudo-zen, but it is true. One of my favorites is the 3 Ball Trick. I've seen a lot of versions of it. I've bought DVDs just so I can see someone else doing it. I practice it because I love that trick. If I put half that time into cards, I'd be a fairly good card magician, but I'm pretty mediocre with cards, actually. I just don't enjoy doing card tricks (but I love watching them).

Is there a trick that inspires you? Learn that. It can be a totally self-working trick. But you have to feel the beauty and elegance of the magic and love what you are doing for this to be a trick that you will use and love.

Suggestion: Learn a couple of the classics. Most of the really good tricks out there have been around for a while. Pick a couple that you like and learn them well.

There are some sleight-free routines with cups and balls. Learn one. Practice a couple of simple sleights that will expand your skill set a bit. Chop cup is another option.

Cut and restored rope is one that does involve a move, but it isn't a hard one.

Sponge balls. Learn a sponge ball routine. It can be fairly simple.

Thimbles. Yeah, you just said you are having trouble with them. I mentioned my issue because I think I'm not the only one to have that particular issue. You might also play with different kinds of thimbles. I love the look of wooden thimbles, but the set I have doesn't really work well for me. I plan to eventually try other wooden thimbles and see what I can do. But a couple of plastic thimbles will make the process so much simpler.

But once you have learned the mechanics of a trick you like, how are you going to entertain with it? That's the vital question. What are you going to do to make it something other than hidden juggling?

So, for example, can you do a perpetual thimbles routine (keep apparently taking it with one hand, putting it in the pocket, only to show it back on the finger of the other hand) in which you are not demonstrating a skill? Maybe you put it on to push a needle into a wad of cloth (make up your own reason, because mine is pretty far-fetched) and now you need to put it away. But you can't. How will you climax it? Maybe a giant thimble?

My favorite chop cup routine (I personally detest the usual "let's play a game where I'm always right and you're always wrong" routines) is by Tim Dowd. He tells it as a story. A man is cheating people out of their money with a one-cup version of a 3 shell game. Someone puts a curse on him and now he always loses because every time he sneaks the ball away, it appears back under the cup. Look for his routine. Worth seeing.

Cups and balls - see the Rub a Dub Dub cups and balls performed by Bill Malone. I don't do this routine, but it is a great example of using the trick to illustrate a story. There are sleights, but they are not formidable.

Instead of sponge balls, get sponge bunnies. You brought two, of course, but the third has to stay home because he's always causing trouble. He shows up in your participant's hand! You put him away, he comes back! Etc. The personality of the bunnies is what it is all about, not your skill.

I used to do a C&R rope that was a story about how my mom taught me to tie a knot.

It is fairly common to play with the "magician in trouble" plot where the magic happens to you instead of because of you. It is a very good way to present a trick if you do it well. Both the sponge bunny plot and the thimbles I outlined above fall into this category.

If you love the presentation, perhaps you will love learning the trick so you can present it the way you want.

-Patrick
Bob G
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Hi Patrick,


Thanks for taking the time to write at length. Lots of good ideas here. One thing that I got out of your words -- something I hadn't thought of before -- is the idea that rather than comparing the relative difficulty of different branches of magic, it makes more sense to compare individual tricks.



I totally agree with you in disliking the "I'm right you're wrong" style of presentation, and in enjoying stories. One thing that I like about Color Monte (one of the two tricks I can more or less perform) is its story -- though I've changed the ending to suit my own tastes. The other also involves a story: it's Nick Trost's sub-trunk mystery, which simulates the stage effect where the magician traps his assistant and, almost instantly, the assistant is free and the the magician is trapped. I've changed the story: a 14-year-old girl on a long journey finds loses her way and enters the domain of an evil Wizard, whose assistants throw her in the dungeon of his castle. By uttering a magic spell, she escapes, leaving the wizard trapped in the same cell where she had been.


I like your premise for the C&R rope. It sparked an idea: Aren't there tricks where lengths of rope keep coming out with uneven lengths? If so, I could imagine a story about my grandma teaching me to tie a shoe: No matter what I tried, one end (or the other) would dangle out past the shoe.


I haven't tried thimbles myself; I was reacting to fortasse's post. Thimbles really appeal to me. I need to use my hand lotion more often!


I'll look into the tricks and DVD's you suggested.



By the way, I think my difficulty is the opposite of what you might have expected: There are so many tricks that I truly want to learn that it's hard to stay focused. Matrix, Faulty Followers (with a story similar to one you mentioned -- a mischievous joker keeps coming back despite the spectator's and magician's best efforts), Chicago Opener... Besides coveting too many tricks, there are certain sleights I'm afraid to do in public. Mainly the DL. I actually have a pretty good strike DL at this point, but it isn't as consistent as I'd like. That makes it difficult to contemplate doing Chicago Opener. And I *love* practicing sleights.



You mentioned sleight-free cups and balls -- I had no idea there was such a thing. Do you have a reference you could give me?


"Hidden juggling" -- apt phrase.


I'm going to have fun mulling over your thoughts, Patrick. Thanks again.


Bob
Mr. Woolery
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Bob, here's an example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g4Fjm4aGnU

I don't know if you can still get any of the Colombini material on DVDs, but this was Rachel's routine. No sleights, but there is careful routining. I saw this first on the Farewell Lecture Tour set. I don't really care for the vanish of the two balls at the end, but that's personal. I think if the cups started out wrapped in the handkerchief, then it is folded and put on the table, then brought back into play for the vanish, I might like it better.

Thimbles are worth playing with, if nothing else, just because they are so portable.

-Patrick
Bob G
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I look forward to watching this, Patrick. I'm a fan of the Colombinis. Quite a few of their disks are now available at lybrary.com.



You're right about thimbles -- I nearly always carry a deck of cards with me to practice at odd moments, so why not a few thimbles.



Bob
equivoque
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I found a source for wooden, chopped Benson bowls. These are beautiful and sold for $60 shipped in CONUS or Western Europe. For $75 he will include a matching wand. No balls are included, but I would use rings n things adjustable boards, because the craftsman is not a magician and you never know about polarity. The rings n things 1 & 1/8 balls are perfect for this for this bowl. These are made of Limewood which is quite light. Extras would include a dimple on the top of the bowl (I wish I had thought of that), A heavier wood or special stain. He will make up some sets with heavy wood, a dark purple stain on the inside of the bowl, a dimple and a matching wand for $100 shipped! I do not have the patience required to post pictures here, but PM me with your email and I will send them to you. I should note that I am not associated with this company and do not profit from the sales. To contact the craftsman email crazylegskev@msn.com
equivoque
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I found a source for wooden, chopped Benson bowls. These are beautiful and sold for $60 shipped in CONUS or Western Europe. For $75 he will include a matching wand. No balls are included, but I would use rings n things adjustable boards, because the craftsman is not a magician and you never know about polarity. The rings n things 1 & 1/8 balls are perfect for this for this bowl. These are made of Limewood which is quite light. Extras would include a dimple on the top of the bowl (I wish I had thought of that), A heavier wood or special stain. He will make up some sets with heavy wood, a dark purple stain on the inside of the bowl, a dimple and a matching wand for $100 shipped! I do not have the patience required to post pictures here, but PM me with your email and I will send them to you. I should note that I am not associated with this company and do not profit from the sales. To contact the craftsman email crazylegskev@msn.com
Bob G
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Patrick,


I'm late in getting back to you about the link you supplied to Rachel Colombini's Tri-Color cups and balls. I watched it and really enjoyed it. There's an art, which Colombini has clearly mastered, to performing an easy-to-follow trick without saying a word. The explanation is available on Lybrary.com, but I haven't quite decided to buy it yet.


Also, you recommended Brad Burt's DVD on balls & thimbles, and I'm looking forward to watching that.


Bob


Bob
Mr. Woolery
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Brad Burt has a lot of videos. I only have the billiards and thimbles one. The teaching is great. He just has a camera, his notes, and the props. No attempts to make it edgy or crazy camera effects. He shows the magic, then explains it in detail. Not exactly cheap, but I wish more videos were done like this. The Colombini videos were like this. If you can find their Farewell Lecture dvd, it has the cups and balls routine taught by Rachel. Not sure if that’s on disk 1 or 2.

I admit that I’m always tempted by the wonders I haven’t learned and neglect the things I have started learning. I can recommend a magic club for helping create accountability. I used to be part of a Skype meeting every week and that helped me stay focused on my goals with mentalism a lot.

Patrick
Bob G
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I took a quick look at the balls and thimbles video and liked it. It's good to know that Burt has other good, no-nonsense videos.


The Colombini's are great, though sometimes I find the explanations too short. And ya gotta love both of them, they both have such great (and very different) performing personalities.


I have the same temptation. I'm taking magic lessons this summer, which is helping me stay focused -- but sometimes it also inflames my interest! I'm beginning to be more realistic about which tricks I'm capable of learning at my current level of skill, which I hope will help tamp down my desire to buy every cool thing I see.


There's a real, physical magic shop about an hour from where I live that, believe it or not, seems to be thriving. It's the meeting place of their local IBM and SAM. In a couple of years when I'm retired I plan to hang out there on Saturdays.


Bob
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