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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Cups and balls; final loads, are they really necessary? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jonathan Townsend
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Re: "The final load again is a kicker ending to END the trick."

If you had a good routine, you would not need the non-sequitor to let folks know you are done. Instead you would have something that leads to a conclusion the audience understands and appreciates.

Sorry to read that some folk's cups and balls routines are just finger flinging followed by dumping loads on the table.

Does anybody feel the need to produce extra decks from their card case to signal the end of a card trick?

PS This is not a rant against producing stuff from the cups. There is a funny Dr Seuss story about a magic hat that kept appearing on a kid's head. Such might make a great plot for a chop-chop routine or cups routine. I'm suggesting that the routine is the thing, and the production of loads would connect to the routine if it were MOTIVATED within the routine and not just in the theatrical desires of the performer.
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RobertBloor
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JT:

It sounds to me like you're just arguing for the point of arguing.

You're examples are a stretch at best.
Quote:
JT: If you had a good routine, you would not need the non-sequitor to let folks know you are done. Instead you would have something that leads to a conclusion the audience understands and appreciates.

And could you be helpful to this discussion and provide an example of something that would "lead to a conclusion the audience would understand an appreciate?"

I'll admit, perhaps I'm misunderstanding where you're coming from.

That perhaps being the case, would you enlighten the rest of us as to how you handle a fun and exciting Cups and Balls routine without a final load?

Robert Bloor
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chrisrkline
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Quote:
On 2004-04-10 18:18, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Re: "The final load again is a kicker ending to END the trick."

If you had a good routine, you would not need the non-sequitor to let folks know you are done. Instead you would have something that leads to a conclusion the audience understands and appreciates.

Sorry to read that some folk's cups and balls routines are just finger flinging followed by dumping loads on the table.

Does anybody feel the need to produce extra decks from their card case to signal the end of a card trick?

PS This is not a rant against producing stuff from the cups. There is a funny Dr Seuss story about a magic hat that kept appearing on a kid's head. Such might make a great plot for a chop-chop routine or cups routine. I'm suggesting that the routine is the thing, and the production of loads would connect to the routine if it were MOTIVATED within the routine and not just in the theatrical desires of the performer.

Ah, so what is a beginner to all of this to think? I appreciate the admonishment to think outside the cups and to question why we do things in magic, but since the majority of Cups and Balls workers worldwide and historically have used final loads isn't it the job of the skeptic to expain their reasoning? I am not sure saying that If I have a good routine than I don't need final loads helps. I am working on the Vernon routine and maybe I will branch off into uncharted territory, but right now I am feeling blue because I am worried that I am using the final loads as a crutch. Smile

Right now, I guess I am doing more finger flicking and dumping than I should, but I am working at it.
Chris
RobertBloor
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Chris,

Fantastic buddy! You're in excellent company starting with Vernon's routine.

I personally did not start with his routine. I started with Michael Ammar's videos and put together a sequence that made sense to me and for me.

That said, Michael's great professor was THE professor, so naturally Michael has passed on much of the wisdom of Vernon's Cups & Balls routine.

As for the suggestion that those of us using final loads are just "finger flicking and dumping" hey, we shouldn't take it personally.

I'd rather finger flick and "dump" than just finger flick and put the cups away.

Don't get me wrong. you CAN do a Cups and Balls routine without final loads.

I just argue that it would be boring as heck.

CAJUN - where abouts in Mississippi are you?

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
chrisrkline
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Thanks, I was responding somewhat tongue in cheek. I am sticking to a known routine, but I try to add my own embelishments when possible. But I figure that I need to understand what C&Bs really mean before I start flying off the handle and reinventing the wheel, but making it square. I have had Ammar's book for a month (and saw him at out Ring meeting last week) so I have time.
Chris
Jonathan Townsend
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Help is on the way!

First... what specifically is the cup to you?

Till you have an answer for that... finger flinging and the worst of both ignorance and tradition are all you have. I can't give you YOUR reason.

Second... what specifically is the ball to you?

Again, till YOU have a reason for the thing it is just a prop and may as well be your coin purse, a pat of butter off the table or your pet mouse.

Three cups? Again, what does that mean to you? What would one mean to you? How about two or eight?

Please spare us all the blind defense of 'tradition' posts. Racism and bigotry are also traditional and we don't need to read posts in defense of those either.

In combining the props... again what does the idea of a ball under a cup mean to you? What if there were more than one cup?

This is where the trick becomes something more than a tame version of the three shell game. Here is where you as a magician can take the three shell game and make is something fun and special. There is a very nice little bit of this shown in the movie "Time Bandits", performed by no less than Sean Connery.

When you perform, people are affected by YOU and YOUR MAGIC. What do you want to bring to the table?
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Ron Giesecke
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Quote:
On 2004-04-10 19:08, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Please spare us all the blind defense of 'tradition' posts. Racism and bigotry are also traditional and we don't need to read posts in defense of those either.

John,

With all due respect, I don't think those arguing tradition about a piece of fruit are on the cusp of putting White-Out to the Emancipation Proclamation.
bishthemagish
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Of course you can do the cups and balls without the loads. I got into a serious conversation about the big loads in magic with Ed Marlo.

He talked about the loads being a distraction. And after the load is produced they forget about the routine that you just did for them.

I got into a serious conversation about the big coin ending I use in matrix one time in Chicago at the Top Hat Mini convention. With Al Schnider.

He asked why would I clutter up matrix with the big coin ending. And he gave me the same conversation as Ed Marlo did years earlier about the big loads being a distraction to the cool routine that the audience just saw.

I remarked that HE loaded big loads in the cups and balls. And he was selling his routine at the convention.

He said that the cups and balls routine could be done without the big loads...

I said again - yes it can be done without the big loads but YOU DO load the big loads in your cups and balls... Don't YOU?

He smiled and said Glenn it is OK with me If you close your matrix with big coins with a big smile on his face. I watched his stuff when he needed to get a bite to eat or take a break. My Dad had a dealers table next to his at that convention.

If you do decide on big loads don't use button quail...

Best ahead,

Glenn Bishop
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Ron Giesecke
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I happen to be of the opinion that a magician should resign his or herself to a routine devoid of large loads--for a period of time. Michael Skinner has said that he was surprised at the awful vanishes of the small balls that permeated magic. This is probably because so many have depended on the disproportionate effect to amend the weaknesses of the routine itself.

If all one had to go on was a set of cups with the requisite balls (sans loads), then there would be greater pressure to produce an excellent routine.

With regard to the loads, I do not make my loads a "kicker." I make them a legitimate part of the routine, and not something that "appears to happen" after the percieved end of the routine, during the spectator's relaxation phase. It could be argued that any inorganic props that arrive in a rotuine constitute a kicker, I guess.

As far as questions regarding why this approach is not taken with cards, to me this is simple. When you are dealing with cups, you are dealing with a presumably vacant vessel. Therefore it should not be considered odd to fill these voids with incrementally bigger things.
MJ Marrs
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Johhny Ace Palmer's cups and balls routine with the baby chicks as the final loads is a wonderful routine. In fact, even if he didn't have the final loads, I'd say that his routine would still be cool to watch. His first couple of phases have some really nice ball vanishes and reappearances.

However, I really don't think that his routine would be as memorable without the final loads.

Should ALL phases of a cups and balls routine be entertaining. Of course. Although, IF you think that folks are going to walk out of the close-up room of the Magic Castle and ask, "How did Johhny make those little yellow balls jump from cup to cup?" rather than, "Where did those little chicks come from?", THEN in my opinion you're overthinking things.

Just because many magicians find the cups and balls to be boring because they've been there and done that doesn't mean that we should stop performing this classic. Lots of laymen out there haven't seen a cups and balls routine.
chrisrkline
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Exactly. I am 43 and have done magic for only 15 months. I am not likely to ever do much more than some parties and maybe a restaurant once a week (If my wife lets me.) I can't give up my full time job, and the time I spend on this hobbie annoys my wife as it is. The point is that I don't have time to develop a radical new approach to C&Bs especially since I have worked it for a month (6 months if you count the time since I got the Carl Andrew's DVD.) I suspect that those who do develop the newer ideas did so from a solid foundation of the traditional cups and balls. And since most of them still do a final load, forgive my close mindedness.

I am open to new ideas and I am not welded to the traditional loads, but even if I do break from tradition it will be because I have seen some other magician perform it in a radically different way--a different tradition, perhaps?

I also know that failure to inovate and to be your own person and to use your own style is the death to any decent magician. I do inovate where I can and I do try to develope my own style.

But I am new. Give me time. Smile

P.S. There is only one thing more tiresome than a blind acceptance of tradition is someone who uses poor analogies. Besides, it was a rethinking of traditional ideas that led to the civil rights movements.
Chris
Curtis Kam
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Admittedly, they are few and far between, but here are some of the examples Mr. Bloor was seeking:

1. Completely entertaining and memorable cup and ball routine without final loads? Michael Skinner's "Rub a Dub Dub". Would a kicker ending add anything to that routine? I doubt it.

2. Routine where the final loads are thematically consistent, and indispensible to the piece? Tommy Wonder's two-cup routine. Here, rather than being nonsequiturs, these final productions are almost inevitable, and the only logical ending.

3. Routines where the smaller ball work is interesting and entertaining in its own right? Michael Ammar's (especially the opening production with the surprise third ball) Michael Skinner's large cup opening sequence where a single ball penetrates the cups and visibly splits, Tommy Wonder's, especially the ball appearing on the spectator's hand, Again, Skinner's charming "Rub a Dub Dub" since the small ball sequence is all there is, Jason Lattimer's small ball sequences, Gary Kurtz's sequence in which the balls all suddenly change color, and John Ramsay's routine, in which the reappearance of the small balls is one of the final surprises.

Are the small ball sequences worthy magic on their own? I submit that all the ones listed in paragraph 3, above, are. Would the audience be even more surpised and impressed if you did these sequences, and then popped out a final load? Probably. They would also probably fail to appreciate or remember the excellent material that had preceeded the big surprise. Worse, they would come away from your show believing that you think the small ball sequence is trivial, too.

Anyone wishing to explore these ideas can perform a simple experiment: learn the Vernon "balls in net" routine. Here's a routine that is just three small balls moving around. And yet, it was supposed to be one of the Professor's favorite routines. More importantly, you can end the routine either by vanishing all the balls, or a final load. Try it both ways. What works better for you? Is the final load essential? Please report back with results.

Just IMHO. What the heck, I'm a coin guy.
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RobertBloor
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Quote:
If all one had to go on was a set of cups with the requisite balls (sans loads), then there would be greater pressure to produce an excellent routine.


By whose standards are we applying excellence? Other magicians? Or lay people?

I've said it before, I'll say it again. I perform for lay people. Not magicians.

And probably no one should take my advice because I only care about what my audience thinks.

And speaking of what my audience thinks, I have performed cups and balls without a final load. Courtesy claps were abundant.

Then I created operation: shock and awe and slayed my audiences with final loads.

Quote:
Curtis: Would the audience be even more surpised and impressed if you did these sequences, and then popped out a final load? Probably.


What you're missing though is that several of those DID have final loads that popped out.
Different colored balls? Sure.
Balls finally RE appearing? Sure.

Take a second and read back over my posts. I've yet to say that a final load had to be a large object/ball/fruit etc.

Quote:
Curtis: They would also probably fail to appreciate or remember the excellent material that had preceeded the big surprise. Worse, they would come away from your show believing that you think the small ball sequence is trivial, too.


Hey, Celine Dion is known for unbelievably powerful notes towards the end of her songs.

Think anyone ever says, "Man, she hit that high note and it completely made the first two verses trivial."

I doubt it.

Robert Bloor
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Samuel Catoe
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Quote:
On 2004-04-09 23:34, cajuninms wrote:
I am a 14 year old guy who has really small hands(can't even palm a card) and I need to know...are the final loads really nessesary?? and if so wat small loads could I use?

Admittedly, I do not perform the Cups and Balls. I have performed a Kindergarten routine for some customers in the magic shop but that is it. However, I love to watch a C&B routine done well. If you are not comfortable with adding a final load, why not simply end with no balls under the cups at all. After all the little round balls could just be figments of the imagination.

Samuel
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Curtis Kam
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Hey, Celine Dion is known for unbelievably powerful notes towards the end of her songs.

Think anyone ever says, "Man, she hit that high note and it completely made the first two verses trivial."

I doubt it.

[/quote]

Well, since you also keep insisting that the final loads need not even be consistent, and in fact, should perhaps be as incongrous as possible, what you are really advocating is that Celine Dion (to use your example) end her song with a little rap. Or perhaps she could "stun" and "surprise" the audience by stripping at the end of her number?

What will they recall about the song, then? Do you still doubt that the surprising, out-of-place spectacle would overshadow the well-sung song?

Suppose Janet Jackson were to end a big number by having someone expose her b****t? Is there really any question what America would remember?

You see, if you will go back and read My post carefully, your Celine Dion example only proves my point. A strong finish that celebrates the range and power of the singer's voice is the perfect way to end a song that also emphasizes these same things. When each moment of the song enhances what follows, the ending is as much the natural result of what went before as Tommy Wonder's ending is in his cups and balls.

This is hardly the same as performing some forgettable tricks with the little balls, and then producing kumquats, just to lap up the yucks it produces.
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wsduncan
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I have a video of Ross Bertram performing an Egyptian themed Cups And Balls routine with a wooden wand carved to look like a snake. At the begining of the routine the balls are "squeezed" out of the snakes mouth. At the end they vanish. Full circle... no jumbo anything at the end. Just empty cups and that weird wand.

Alex Elmsley doing Cups And Balls. At the end, after a false explaination he says: "...but you must take everything a magican tells you with a grain of salt... Here's the salt." and proceeds to pour salt from one of the cups until all three cups are filled to overflowing.

I have a video of Tommy Wonder performing a routine in which the pompom from the bag the cups are carried in and eventually the bag itself end up in the cups. No jumbo anything there either...

I think those who maintain it's the change at the end that matters are correct. Size matters only in that it's the easiest way to get impact. If people see large objects they'll be suprised. But it's possible to get the same reaction or more by thinking about what's possible intead of simply doing what everyone else does.
Ron Giesecke
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Quote:

By whose standards are we applying excellence? Other magicians? Or lay people?

I've said it before, I'll say it again. I perform for lay people. Not magicians.

Good grief, man.

Robert, the layman will be the first to indicate that your routine sucks. I was merely saying that practicing your routine (sans loads) will perhaps balance the focus of the routine.

I remember the first time I saw Paul Gertner perform his routine (which is really a stylized Vernon adaptation). The final loads were awesome, but I distinctly remember being blown away the whole time--not defibrillated from a bad false transfer coma.
RobertBloor
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Quote:
Curtis: Well, since you also keep insisting that the final loads need not even be consistent, and in fact, should perhaps be as incongrous as possible, what you are really advocating is that Celine Dion (to use your example) end her song with a little rap. Or perhaps she could "stun" and "surprise" the audience by stripping at the end of her number?

Actually no.

What I'm advocating is that professionals would understand the importance of finishing cups and balls with final loads.

Cajuninms asked if they were necessary. I said yes they were. And they are.

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
bishthemagish
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One of the good points of the trick if you do final loads is that they are solid.

I have had spectators pick up the balls and try to squeeze them. And they marvel at the fact that they are solid and don't squish.

Terry Vecky used to load pool balls.

You can do the effect without the loads if you want to but I like doing the loads as an ending.

Glenn Bishop
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Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
chrisrkline
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I am loading bright red, yellow and blue lacross balls that are quite heavey. Seems to go well with the 6th and 7th graders I show it too. Especially since they spend a lot of time guessing how I do the routine.
Chris
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