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

Jonathan Rice
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Do they really enhance your routine or do they just distract people from the beauty of the shell game? just wondering....

Jon Smile
Leeman
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I don't have the shells so my opinion is based on what I have seen and what I think looks better. I really like the golden shells if you are showing the trick as a magical effect or a demonstration, but if you are showing it as a con then the real looking shells are a better fit. although even if you are demonstrating it as a con you could say that you made so much money that you plated the shells in gold.
I just like to look of the golden shells is what it comes down to with me. they are more appealing to the eye and look a bit more classy.
Roland Henning
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I like the silver shells , there are more visible than the golden shells.

mmG Roland
kihei kid
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I agree with Leeman, it adds a touch of class to it.
In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
Whit Haydn
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I am not sure what set of silver shells Roland is referring to, but I can talk about the School for Scoundrels Golden Shells and our Street Shells, both of which I created and both of which I have used extensively for several years.

I find that audiences accept both sets of shells without any question. They understand immediately the nature of the game and what is involved.

This should be obvious when one considers how many ways the game has been played by scam artists. Thimbles, soup bowls, brass caps, bottle tops, carved half-potatos, wood blocks (the "dinks"), small planting pots, walnut shells, and every other conceivable similar object have been used in the scam for hundreds of years.

If the guy on the street accepts the game as it is presented in all these various forms, the spectator at an exhibition performance will accept it the same way. The use of walnut shells as the "cups" for this effect is actually very rare today on the street. The walnut shells were popular in the period between 1850 and 1930. Before that, thimbles, brass cups the size of walnut shells, soup bowls, and of course, the cups and balls were used in the scam. Since the 1930's, easily disposable items like potato halves and bottle caps became more popular. They could be discarded when the law came around, and could not be used as evidence the way three carved and puttied walnut shells could.

I use both the Golden Shells and the Street Shells in my performances. I find that the audience accepts both just as easily, and without questions. In fact, I get the same reaction as I pull out the shells one by one from their little leather bag--regardless of which set I am using--and that is laughter. As soon as I pull out the second shell, the audience begins to chuckle with a "Here we go" attitude. They immediately recognize and are excited by the shells.

The Golden Shells are what I usually use for more formal magic performances and trade show exhibition. When these are sitting on the table, they draw a crowd almost by themselves. The audience likes their appearance and is intrigued by what they are going to see. Bob Kohler, whose wonderful trade show routine video, The Golden Shells was taped using our shells, says that many times women will come over to the booth just to look at the Golden Shells.

He says a lot of times they think they are a give-away, a fancy Godiva chocolate or something. When they pick them up, they ask "What are these for?" which enables Bob to go right into his performance, drawing a larger crowd as he works.

The Golden Shells are very heavy, and this is an aid in certain moves such as the "Kick-Steal" or the shell under a shot glass ruse. For other moves, the weight can be a hindrance, as in the "Escobar" move with three shells picked up between the fingers of one hand.

As long as the routine you plan to use does not make use of a lot of fancy acquitments and other sleights, the Golden Shells are great. Routines such as Bob Kohler's, Phil Cass's, and Gary Ouellette's all work extremely well with the Golden Shells.

If you plan to use a lot of more demanding sleights-- a requirement if you plan to perform the game on the street, or continuously at a station for a casino night, or to keep it going as long as necessary to draw a crowd at a trade show--you will want to use the plastic resin Street Shells. These are great for all the complicated sleights found in Tom Osbourne, Jack Chanin, and Eddie Joseph--the kind of moves and ruses Bob Sheets uses.

Both sets of shells are identical in design, and are molded from the same original walnut shell that I used in my routines. The design features the Chanin Dip, and many other subtleties that enable both sets of shells to be used on any surface, without a mat-- including even glass and marble.

The Street Shells were designed to be used for walk-around. The three shells and a few peas can be dropped into the side coat pocket and pulled out at the bar, a coffee table, or wherever, and used without a mat. They are small enough in size to not bulge out the pocket, and to handle easily even with all three between the fingers of one hand. They are light, so they don't weigh down the pocket like the Golden Shells would.

The Golden Shells do lend themselves to patter lines, and with some basis in fact. In the 1880's "Nutshell Jim" of Leadville, CO did perform the shells with a set cast of pure silver that he had won from the miners. He eventually lost his beautiful silver shells while going broke at the Faro tables.

In many ways, the Golden Shells and the Street Shells are more innocent in appearance than the "real" thing. I often had people pick up the original shells from which we cast these sets and comment on them. Why are they filled with putty and painted inside? They assumed, correctly, that the putty had something to do with the trick. I would always explain that the putty was there to keep the shells from cracking, but I sometimes felt that the spectators were not completely convinced. Also, I found that the real walnut shells just wouldn't last very long, and would crack or fall apart when taken from one humidity to another, or carried on a plane, etc. Considering the hours of work that go into carving and puttying just one shell, this made the genuine walnut shells impractical.

With the Golden Shells and the Street Shells, the spectators never have this problem. They are extremely innocent in appearance, and are apparently simple little molded cups without any gimmickry.

We also, of course, offer the magnetic versions of both sets of shells, which adds a number of very powerful ruses to the game.

There are now a number of great shells on the market in both metal and plastic. None of them are made with any of the important design elements like the Chanin Dip that went into the making of our sets and which make the handling of the shells so smooth and effortless on any surface.

Whatever set of shells you use, I highly recommend that you use our Perfect Peas with them. The Perfect Pea never wears out or loses it's friction, is washable, works on any surface without a mat, and has a bright "pea green" color that shows up well against almost any surface.

These are also available in the magnetic version, which is useful whether using the magnetic shells or not. This is because the magnetic peas are great to use with holders and droppers--a simple magnet glued under the edge of a table, placed in a tie or coat edge, becomes a great holdout for extra peas.
RiserMagic
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Whit goes on quite a bit about the "School's" shells and just barely mentions their peas.

In the 1960's I used to make my own peas from latex coated foam rubber. These were hand cut from sponge rubber and then covered with green colored liquid latex. This task was a real pain. Also, the peas wore out rather quickly and were far from "perfect". They did resemble wrinkled peas, though.

The "Perfect Peas" are truly that - perfect. Doing the shells is much simpler with a quality pea and these are the best that I have ever seen.

If you get the shells, be certain to buy several sets of peas - you might lose a few.
Jim
Renegade
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I think the golden shells add to the effect in terms of magical impact. For real street work, however, I think they work against you.
Steve Pellegrino
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I have seen Daniel Cros work with silver shells. Stevens' Magic Emporium sells Daniel's 25 years in Magic video which is a performance only video. It has his shell game routine on that video and you can see the shells are either silver or pewter and may have a tortoise shell design.
Erik Anderson
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I use the Golden Shells and love them. (Thanks Whit!) But they've presented me with a bit of an odd problem. You see, I learned on the Golden Shells. And I've used them SO much (and am so used to the way THEY handle) that I really have a hard time trying to use the Street Shells. They seem SO light in comparison and when I try to use them I seem to lack any grace whatsoever and end up dropping them or tipping them over, or worse. It ends up looking like somebody trying to type with mittens on.

Whit, do you have any advice for the Street Shell impaired? Smile
Erik "Aces" Anderson

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http://www.acesanderson.com
Whit Haydn
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Play for money.

You will get better fast... Smile

It is obviously just that you need to practice with them until you get more comfortable. Eventually, having worked with the heavier shells will be good for you. Your hands will be stronger and more sure of the moves. It just takes time to get used to the lighter feel of the shells, but once you do, I think you will really like them.

Quote:
On 2003-12-09 13:54, Renegade wrote:
For real street work, however, I think they work against you.


For real street work, you should not use any kind of walnut shells, whether real, plastic, or metal. They will be evidence against you.

Street workers should use disposable equipment that could be just trash from the street--bottle caps, match boxes, etc.
Jonathan Rice
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Thanks for the advice. I'm still not sure. I think I will wait awhile.
Dan LeFay
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Great insights here Whit. Thanks!
I've been using the Golden Shells a lot for my formal work and they always were admired by my audience. Especially when I allow someone to pick up a shell. Always surprised by it's weight.

I had a few problems with the goldplate though. On some surfaces (some close-up pads) the shells seem to be vulnarable to chipping because the surface acts like the soft side of velcro. I had them new goldplated after a year of intensive use, but the same happened. Someone told me that the difference between pewter and gold is so big that it makes cohesion (?) more difficult.
Because of that I switched to the StreetShells which do their job as good as the Goldies.

This is in no way a critisism Whit, only an observation. I also found out that if I use my Gold Shells on my Dean Dill pad (can it get more gorgeous to look at?;-), there's no chipping. Just beware of some cheaper close-up pads!
"Things need not have happened to be true.
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths,
that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes,
and forgot."
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Erik Anderson
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Thanks Whit,
I already knew that's what I needed to do. It's just been so much easier to grab my gold shells and wow them. Thus, I haven't put in the same time with the street sheels that I originally did with the golden shells. So, no more excuses. I guess I'm on record now so I better get to work.

Let me see, I need to spend some serious time with a routine I dearly love...you know, there are worse problems to have in life.

Anyway, I can't thank you enough for putting out such good equipment to work with. It is genuinely appreciated.
Erik "Aces" Anderson

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." ~ Mark Twain

http://www.acesanderson.com
Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2003-12-10 06:05, Dan LeFay wrote:

I had a few problems with the goldplate though. On some surfaces (some close-up pads) the shells seem to be vulnarable to chipping because the surface acts like the soft side of velcro. I had them new goldplated after a year of intensive use, but the same happened. Someone told me that the difference between pewter and gold is so big that it makes cohesion (?) more difficult.
Because of that I switched to the StreetShells which do their job as good as the Goldies.


I am sorry to hear that you had those problems with your golden shells. You do know, I hope, that the shells are guaranteed, and the School for Scoundrels will be happy to replace chipped or tarnished shells any time. Just send them back to us. We stand behind all our merchandise.

Glad you enjoy our shells.
KirkG
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Whit,

As always your comments are a treasure trove of experience. If you are at the Castle this Thursday I would love to pick up some perfect peas.

I will locate your email and contact you that way as well.

Kirk
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