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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Rings, strings & things » » Ring On Stick (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Zombie Magic
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Michael Skinner had said Ring On Stick is the greatest magic trick ever created. He'd put it up against anything else.

Interesting.
volto
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It's simple, it's personal, it's very magical and it's extremely practical. It's worth carrying a wand for, on its own. Mr. Skinner's version is excellent.

The big question is, ring on string, or ring on stick? They share a lot of advantages. I think ring on string has more opportunity for the audience to be involved (holding or knotting the string, or even 'doing' a penetration themselves in Leveridge's finale). You can do a few other effects with string, too. But there's a lot of bits of business and other general effects that you can use a wand for that you can't do with string, e.g. silk through wand, flipstick, wand vanishes e.g. Vernon/Mora spin, strike, push through etc. And that's before even considering the advantages of going to your pocket for a wand.

He's probably right. Smile
NikolajSkou
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Where should I learn it? Skinner?
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On 2012-02-28 11:31, NikolajSkou wrote:
Where should I learn it? Skinner?


Where should you learn it?
In the privacy of your dwelling or home.

Skinner?
As everyone knows or should know, this refers to Michael Skinner a famous magician.

This also refers to making a purchase, as it is not available otherwise.
One such place you can purchse the DVD that teaches this routine is here:
http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S4308

------------------------------------------------------------

Ring on stick is not a trick you put together and run out and do for people. You have to learn it of couse, but it requires a lot of practice before being presented to an audience. To make it a great trick, requires timing and perfect handling.

Although a person with little knowledge of magic can do it, it is something altogether different to perform this effect. Knowing how to handle the spectators and what to say and when to say it is the critical parts of this trick. Smooth handling with a desire to create magic is necessary as well.
Harry Murphy
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There are probably 50 or more different references I could list for this one trick. I think every magician of note has a pet version and at least half of them put it out there.

Skinner's is a nice routine. it is pretty straightforward but it is not the cleanest to my way of thinking. it requires an extra something to pull off.

Frankly, I would advise checking out Ron Bauer's "The Cursed Ring". it is a ring on stick (OK, ring on pencil) that requires nothing extra and is multi-phase. Ron's manuscript gives you a script, the handling, bits of business, and presentation advice. You get so much more than just the basic handling of the trick.

You can check it out at:
http://www.thinklikeaconjurer.com/all24rbps/cursed/index.htm

Bill is right, this is a performance piece that requires practice, rehearsal, and then performance before some real people to get down pat. The "moves" are fairly elementary and well within the scope of the rank beginner but the trick is a choreography of movement and timing. Ron's little booklet will walk you through it clearly.
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Charlie Miller, Charlie Miller, Charlie Miller.
(and maybe the Bev Bergeron take on the Charlie Miller routine.)

So straightforward, so magical, so entertaining, so clean.

I first saw him do it when I was ten, he taught it in a lecture when I was 15,
I used it for years and years as a reputation maker.

That's my bet on Ring on Stick anyway.
Magicallly,
Walt
Harry Murphy
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Charlie Miller's routine is really a version of Bev's Routine. The subtleties that Charlie used and taught were developed by Bev. Bev and Charlie roomed together in the 50s and Bev showed the routine to Charlie and they both worked at cleaning it up. Frankly I don't know how easy either is to find. Bergeron put his (including the history) on a video tape called "Bev Bergeron on Tape". it is one old video that should be re-released on DVD.

I know the Skinner version is easily found as is the Ron Bauer version. Ron's is still cleaner than Skinner's. Ron Bauer's is a version based on the Bergeron/Miller routine.

I remember that Don Bowles used to say that he could hit any town with nothing but a 10 spot in his pocket and the suit on his back and get work as a magician picking some stuff out of dust bins and from he five and dime. He said give him a coffee can and 6 half dollars (misers Dream), a pencil or dowel and a borrowed ring (ring on stick), a hank of clothesline (used to be cotton rope at 50-cents for 50 feet at the five and dime back then) for the cut and restored and Prof. Cheers (with a a pair of scissors), and a man's white handkerchief and he could do 30 minutes of solid, entertaining magic. He said that every magician should know a ring on stick routine.

One of the versions that Don performed that was very open looking and clean used a small "Ellis" ring. Now there is a little remembered prop.

Bottom line is that any of the versions mentioned are good in terms of handling. I'd say find one, learn it, and turn it into a great piece of magic and maybe even into your signature piece. It has that potential.
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Hi Harry!

<grin> Bev swears it is HIS and he taught Charlie. Charlie swore it was HIS and he taught it to Bev. I’ve heard it from both of them face to face. We'll never know, but the final result is genius.

Yep, Bev's video is now on DVD, and Charlie had a complete handing in the Magic, Inc. Lecture Notes (when he was living on their sofa.) Charlie *may* have taught it on one of Steven's tapes, but I can't quite recall.

I saw Charlie do it with the cardboard tube off a wire coat hanger taken from a motel, tale about on the spot magic!

I've not seen the Bowles, would love too!

Magically, Walt
Sealegs
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I'm a huge fan of Mike Skinner and think he was one of the greatest close up performers I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. (albeit unfortunately a very short time)

It's rather odd then that this effect that has never done anything for me and indeed I think has some inherent weaknesses.

The appearance of the ring on the stick/wand can't help but include a moment which has the participating spectators thinking that the ring was simply being covered by the magicians hand. Of course this doesn't explain how the ring got on the stick but that doesn't really matter. It's the kind of thing that a spectator feels is a partial solution to the mystery of the effect and this inevitably undermines it.

Another thing I don't like about the effect is that during it the magicians hands tend to be tied up with holding onto the stick usually in an unnatural way. For example while the spectator grasps the ends of the stick. If the spectator has hold of the ends of the stick why does the magician still need to hold onto it? The answer is they don't... or at least they shouldn't have to.... but because they do have to it looks suspect. Those suspicions are given validity at the moment the ring 'appears' on the stick.

So a suspiciously held wand/stick has a ring appear where it was being held suspiciously. This cannot be ideal.

Like I said... it leaves me cold.

I'd be genuinely interested to know what is was/is about this effect that had Mike Skinner saying that he thought it the greatest magic trick ever created.
Neal Austin

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Harry Murphy
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Walt,

Yep that is the story I got from both. LOL!! I've seen Charlie do the cardboard tube on the coat hanger thing too. It was at a lecture in California.

I'll have to search for the notes and the DVD.

Don Bowles version was more like Skinner's.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Bill Hegbli
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The late Scottish magician Ron Wilson also did this effect with a natural wood dowel and a finger ring. I seen a video of his performance, I believe, at a magic convention. Very well received.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Sealegs!

I WISH you could have seen Charlie Miller do this.

He looked like (and was not) a clumsy pawed man, this deceit worked so much to his advantage with slights!

He also was a master at looking innocent, nonchalant, and casual, and maybe a tad distracted.
All this times I saw this for lay and magi, never once would those teeny (to his performance) be an issue.

And his off the cuff humor would distract people at questionable moments… always.

Magically,
Walt
Harry Murphy
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@Sealegs, Skinner believed that the ring on stick was an anytime, anywhere, type of trick. He thought it could be done entirely impromptu if needed. He also believed that it always created mystery and was a good vehicle for entertaining an audience.

It is one of those tricks in the right hands. Bev Bergeron's handling does not come across as having an awkward placement of the hand and if fact his patter/chatter/banter and quickness of doing each phase of his routine distracted one from feeling that his hand was there for more than a second as the ends of the stick were being grabbed by spectators. The couple of times I saw Miller do it was about the same. There were no pauses in the routine that would have pointed out the hand placement. It seemed that you grabbed the ends as he was removing his hand.

I never saw Skinner in his prime. The few times I saw him was after his illness and he was not as sharp (reportedly). His video tapes unfortunately were made after his prime and his illness and, as good as they are, they do not reflect him as good as he was. But at least we have a record of some of his work.

This trick, like all tricks, thankfully doesn't suit everyone. it is another case of horses for courses.
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Quote:
On 2012-02-29 14:22, Sealegs wrote:

The appearance of the ring on the stick/wand can't help but include a moment which has the participating spectators thinking that the ring was simply being covered by the magicians hand. Of course this doesn't explain how the ring got on the stick but that doesn't really matter. It's the kind of thing that a spectator feels is a partial solution to the mystery of the effect and this inevitably undermines it.

Another thing I don't like about the effect is that during it the magicians hands tend to be tied up with holding onto the stick usually in an unnatural way. For example while the spectator grasps the ends of the stick. If the spectator has hold of the ends of the stick why does the magician still need to hold onto it? The answer is they don't... or at least they shouldn't have to.... but because they do have to it looks suspect. Those suspicions are given validity at the moment the ring 'appears' on the stick.


All this is quite true when your timing's off. In actuality, your hand holds the stick by its center, the ring is apparently in your other hand. You extend the stick for the spectator to take the ends, but even before they get that action completed, your attention has shifted to the other hand, and you're displaying the ring there. So, it's not a matter of, "Why is the magician still holding onto the stick?" but more that he simply never quite moves his hand away, and since it's not important in the least, no one notices, because the ring in the other hand has the focus now. It's also vital that this hand isn't wrapped around the stick as if grasping it still, but the fingertips are just resting on the stick, as though the hand is simply in repose, and the wrist is broken with the hand completely relaxed.

I've seen Michael do the trick numerous times, but always with a straw. This impromptu feel give the trick great power. Of the various times I saw him do it, it never once failed to get a scream. Not just a good reaction, but an actual scream.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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WHY IS CHARLIE AN ALL BUT INVISIBLE GREAT IN MAGIC?
WHY A PERPETUALLY UNSUNG HERO IN OUR CRAFT?

Here are some good possible sources for
Charlie Miller’s phamlets, leactue notes, and articles:

--Byron Walker's Magic Books
POB 3186
San Leandro, CA 94578
byron.walker@comcast.net
510-276-1854
http://www.byronwalkermagicbooks.com

--Aladdin Books
406 E Commonwealth Ave
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 738-6115

--H & R Magic Books
http://www.magicbookshop.com

--AND From a Café Search — read the WHOLE thread.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=134

Paul Chosse / Posted: Aug 22, 2004

Charlie was actually quite prolific. Magic Inc. published "An Evening With Charlie Miller, "Black Art Well Tricks", "Charlie Miller on the Card Index", "The Charlie Miller Lecture Notes", "Charlie Miller's Diminishing Cards", and "Charlie Miller on the Malini Egg Bag".

Ken Brooke published, along with props, "Ken Brooke and Friends on the Malini Egg Bag", which was Charlie's routine, as published by Magic Inc., with MUCH more detail, Sid Lorraine's illustrations, and tips from many folks who Charlie taught the routine to, and who worked on it and offered their subtleties. The Brooke manuscript was 14 pages of illustrations and another dozen or so of accompanying text - very detailed!

Charlie contributed material to several magazines, most often to Genii. In the early sixties he published his "Ring On Stick", and "A Handkerchief Penetration", in Genii.

In 1965 he began "Magicana", a monthly column that included his own material, as well as contributions from friends that he deemed worthy.

"Magicana" was the centerfold of Genii for two decades, and included the "Trick of the Month" followed by "Intermission", Charlie's soapbox. There was as much magic in the "Intermission" as there was in the trick section, some months' even more. And Charlie commented on the passing scene, magician's dress, language, ethics, presentation, reminisced about magicians' of yesteryear, etc. "Magicana" would be a fine book by itself!

He contributed to "Chap's Scrapbook", a magazine put out by Frank Chapman in the forties, and has had items in other books. His cup and ball move is in "The Dai Vernon Book of Magic", and his "Cups and Bills" is most readily available in Bruce Elliott's "Classic Secrets of Magic". He wrote the introduction and did the cover art for "Scotty York on Coins" and the "Scotty York Lecture Notes".

I'm sure I've left things out, since I'm not in my study, and am doing this from memory, but there is an abundance of material, as you can see, if you want to look for it.

Oh yeah - Charlie was a major influence on Fred Braue, and "Expert Card Technique" is full of Miller material, attributed and otherwise. It is suspect, though, since Charlie did not disclose methods to Braue in many instances. What Braue wrote was what he thought Charlie was doing. So some of the material is correct, and some of it is not - figuring that out is fun!

The other thing that is interesting to note - Charlie was MUCH closer to Malini than Vernon ever was - the Malini book is not even close to what it could have been had Charlie written it.

And, Faucett Ross was Charlie's "uncle". They shared many things. I have a copy of letters from Faucett to Charlie, and from Charlie to Faucett, that span about thirty years - all chock full of magic! In fact, the Faucett side of the correspondence forms the basis for the Lewis Ganson book "The Magic of Faucett Ross". It is one of the most practical books of magic to appear in the 20th century.

And then there are the gambling stories. I have a copy of Bill Woodfield's gambling notes - it looks like it was Charlie Miller who invented the "Beanshooter"! Also, Charlie was quite a Gin player, and developed some "advantage play" methods for Gin that I have never seen in print anywhere.

You might want to consider the people who consider themselves students of Charlie's too - Ricky Jay (He dedicated at least one of his books to Charlie...), Persi Diaconis, Larry Jennings, John Carney, John Thompson, Michael Webber, etc.

Charlie was also one of the ten "Living Card Stars of the U.S.A., and counted among his friends legends like Paul Rosini, Jack McMillen, Jay Ose, Rolland Hamblen, Carl Stenquist, Francis Carlyle, and of course all the New York guys - Sam Horowitz, Jacob Daley, Dai Vernon,
Arthur Finley, etc. Knew Bob Thomas, better known as "Manuel, Master of the Mighty Dollar", Downs (Yes, T. Nelson, that Downs), and of course Max Malini, as I mentioned before. Let's not forget his friends Jay and Frances Marshall, who had a "Charlie Miller Suite" in Chicago, so Charlie always had a place to stay, Bill Dodson, Bill Gusias, the underground man, who made the best gambling holdouts ever, along with beautiful leather goods. And Charlie was close to Clark "The Senator" Crandall, the Derman boys, the infamous Carmen D'amico, Ed Marlo (of course!), and all the Chicago crowd. Milt Kort, from Detroit, told me great stories about Charlie's exploits with Ron Bauer whenever he came to Detroit, and Charlie was no stranger to the European crowd.

I guess I know a lot more about Charlie than I thought I did! Well, hopefully that puts a face to the name, and gives you some things to look for. Read the old magazines, talk to old-timers, you'd be surprised how highly Charlie was considered. In fact, I've said it before, but it bears repeating:

Charlie was the great under-appreciated, unsung, underground magician of the 20th century. He really could do it all. For real. Close-up, stand-up, stage, illusions (He did them for the 1939 World's Fair in San Francisco!), gambling (Both exposes and the real deal - Charlie played cards for money - and got the money!)

Well that's about all for now - hope this has been helpful.
Best, PSC
motown
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If you have access iGenii, you can find Charlie's routine in the September 1961 issue of Genii.

Personally, I've always preferred Jim Ryan's Ring on Rope to Pencil. It just seems even more amazing.
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Harry Murphy
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Jim's Ring on Rope is a great routine as are any number of the Ray Grismer Ring on rope routines. Still the Ring on stick is something that can be done totally impromptu in many venues. Borrow a ring, borrow a pencil, pen or drinking straw and you have a minor miracle.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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I only vaguely recall seeing Bev's routine in print... I think from a lecture note... but I have seen him perform it on youtube. A quick search will turn it up. It gives you the pacing and style for a great routine.

I use ring on/off wand with the help of an extra gaff and sometimes with a rope ala Darrell.

Lynn Fox
Harry Murphy
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Walt great bio of Charlie. He is a legend to us old timers. I met him a number of times and actually saw him perform in Jaurez, Mexico in a night club (my dad took me) in the late 50s.
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motown
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In addition to what Walt mentioned, years ago Steven's Magic put out a couple of video's of Charlie's material as part of the Greater Magic Video Library. If your interested, there available on DVD. His Ring on Pencil can be found on GMVL Impromptu #1, along with several other excellent effects from a who's who of magic.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
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