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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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There is a perfectly good trick, the Cone and Ball that avoids the fussing with small balls entirely. Why not just do that trick and start clean?

There is another trick, where three walnuts appear inside an glass on the table that offers the 'all under the cup' assembly facet of the traditional cups trick. Here is a trick where a surprise of some kind during a repeat phase might play well. In this case finding a giant walnut or cup full of shelled walnuts might play well.

In both cases the basic premise and construction of the routine allow for a dramatic progression and internal consistency in the effect. IE the STORY of the trick leads the audience towards the climax.

There is a traditional effect called the cornucopia where bigger and bigger stuff is produced from something. This too has its merits.

The fact that all these tricks COULD be performed with the same props does not suggest that they SHOULD be performed as such or combined into one routine.
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bishthemagish
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History wise... The cups and balls and the shellgame are linked... In both effects I don't think that it really matters what you use. A great set of Ross Bertram cups from Magic Inc. Or a set of three plastic cups from wallmart.

Use rolled up dollar bills, balls, corks for the balls. ETC...

Use glasses covered in paper, plastic cups from wallmart or a nice magic set from a magic shop for cups.

Load big balls, little balls, Pool balls, streamers, live chicks for the load.

The props are not as importsnt as the routine and the magician that is performing them. You sort of have to play the cups like you would play a guitar or a base tuba.

The cups and balls is like a great piece of music. I think that this is why the cups and balls have stood the test of time so well.

Best ahead,

Glenn Bishop
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Ron Giesecke
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Tommy wonder covers a pool ball load in the most interesting of ways--a noisless load into a metal cup. Check his material for how. The DVD's have a brief explnantion as well as his books.

Tommy's two-cup routine actually finds a medium between the large load, and an empty finish. His production of the pom pom, along with the previously-attached bag, provides an organic--and really amazingly different sort of ending. To my mind, it is one of the most well-thought-our routines ever created.

His reasoning for avoiding the large loads, however, had nothing originally to do with a doctrinal aversion to them. He worked this up in the 1970's, when Angel Flight suits were all the rage (Imagine John Travolta's Saturday Night fever character trying to hide three lemons in those pants), and thus worked on another place to store them.

This is how his routine evolved, but he does indicate that magicians should strive for something outside the usual elements of shock and surprise. At the same time, he does not in anyway malign this technique, it's just that Mother Necessity shined the light to a different corridor for him.
Bill Hegbli
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The final loads is what blows the laypeople away. Not the hopping and penetrating balls.

If you are working for non-magician, ordinary people, then you will see the value of the final loads.
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Stuart Hooper
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Dear me. It fails to sink in, doesn't it?
Jonathan Townsend
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The Tommy Wonder idea of working in the Bag and Pom-Pom is just ONE way of making the two aspects of the traditional trick work together.

If you took the premise of the Tommy Wonder trick and started with ONE cup or cone, used the pom pom openly a few times and then had the bag appear... you would be quite organic and have the impact desired. Making the pom-pom change color or having a different colored pom-pom appear would work quite well. As would making the bag change color. Such are options AFTER the basic premise of routine is established.
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wisdom
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I really do think you need the final loads to get the maximum from this effect.
Mind you I wouldn't neglect the other stuff in the routine. Some of it, if you do it right without too much confusion can be very powerful and entertaining indeed.
As a magic pitchman I have sold thousands of the little plastic cups and balls. There are no large loads but the reaction is still great. They part with their money and in some ways that is the ultimate test.
MJ Marrs
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The question really shouldn't be: Are final loads necessary? Because one could still have a good routine without them.

Rather, the question should be: Do final loads make a good routine better?

I would be willing to bet that MOST professional magicians (making money from the art and craft of magic) would answer "Yes".
Ron Giesecke
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Quote:
On 2004-04-11 16:13, wmhegbli wrote:
The final loads is what blows the laypeople away. Not the hopping and penetrating balls.


Where's my Cynaide tablets?
Curtis Kam
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Give it up, Ron, the final loads are necessary. Bloor said so. That should be good enough for anyone.

Funny how Wonder, Skinner, Bertram and Ramasay all seemd to miss it.
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Steve Brooks
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Had the pleasure of spending quality time with Michael Skinner - smart man and really knew what made magic work. Smile

Using a final load appears to be a personal preference I would think, much like deciding whether to use eight Linking Rings as opposed to three.
If the routine is structured well, is magical and entertains the audience, then who really cares? Just a thought... Smile
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wisdom
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Eliminating the final load would certainly be more convenient.Carrying all that extra stuff around can be a hassle. Perhaps I will investigate although I do think that the final load impact is too strong to leave out.

Perhaps a suitable compromise is the one suggested by Harry Blackstone Jr in his book of "Magic and Illusion"
That is to just produce one lemon or big load only. Just the one item. The cups are all stacked and lifted to reveal the one big load. Less to carry about. Just a thought.

Mind you, I don't think I agree with my own thought. It is hard to get away from the 3 load thing because it is so effective.

I will say that I have experimented with double loads. In other words, produce 6 items. It doesn't seem to be as effective as 3. It seems that less is indeed more.

Oh, maybe I will try the Blackstone thing after all.
Ron Giesecke
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Okay, I have a feeling I'm starting to sound like an anti-loading advocate. I am not. I do it.

Steve Brooks has seen my routine, which I happen to think is very good.

All I have contended for is a focus on the handling of the small ball sequences, which can be very magical in and of themselves. That is why you hear gasps throughout Ricky Jay's routine in his "52 Assistants" performance--way prior to the final loads, and then a crescendo at the loads themselves. Ricky did a wonderful buildup to them that has that "based on three" feeling of completeness--like a musical chord.

In my routine, I use a similar, musically-charged method. If you go to the piano, put your finger on middle C, and play it and the next seven white keys to the right, in an even tempo, you will have played an incomplete C Major scale.

I had a teacher once that would do this on purpose, and then walk away from the piano, knowing that someone would absolutely need to resolve this by playing the final note of completion--otherwise there is unresolved tension, that can really annoy even those who have no musical knowledge.

Hence my approach to the cups and balls. My final loads (which consist of fruit, sometimes congruous, and sometimes varied, depending upon my mood) appear at the end of my routine, but as a part of this completed scale.

If you played an extra ninth note on the piano (a D), it would seem like some fractured musical phrase, with far less purpose. This is also a bad place to put your final loads.

I believe that words and speech are musical, and thus there is a compositional approach that can be taken to make a routine better.

Maybe that sounds fringe. But I know I believe it.

Cheers,

Ron
Pete Biro
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The last word.

Just do what you want.

If it plays well, fine.

If not, try something else.

Think "INSIDE THE CUP."

:kermit:
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KirkG
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I think an excellent suggestion has gotten lost in the mix.

Try, as an exercise to develop a cups and balls routine with the intention of not having large loads. See what changes you would make to the routine to make it the strongest magic you can. Would you do more or less than you do now? Would you do the same sequences in the same order you do now. Would you go faster or slower, etc.? This is akin to performing the balls in the net routine that Curtis suggested.

Now, again without the large loads, think of an ending or other climax for the routine. What could it be? One example might be vanishing the cups.

I think the "finger flinging and dump" comment refers to weak early segments just so you can get to the final loads. I think we all agree that is a disrepectful way of dimmissing one of the great classics of magic. I would hope all here would give it the practice and respect it deserves and have it throughly ready before going out and butchering it in front of audiences.

I know I get gasps throughout my routine(from laymen, not magicians, although occasionally magicians too) and I end with 4 solid loads. I think six is overdoing it.

I have another routine that use only 1 final load. They both get excellent responses at the end. The 4 version has a double ending so it gets a second "ending" response, so technically more, but the initial surprise of the "final" loads is the same.

And finally after introducing the cups, produce the final loads and then do the small ball work, ending with the strongest segment you know. See how that works. Interestingly enough, I think Jason Latimer's final loads to be the weakest point in his routine. It gets no where near the response of his intermediary sequences.

Kirk G
TheAmbitiousCard
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I agree with this as well...
Quote:
On 2004-04-12 13:05, KirkG wrote:
I think an excellent suggestion has gotten lost in the mix.

Try, as an exercise to develop a cups and balls routine with the intention of not having large loads. See what changes you would make to the routine to make it the strongest magic you can.
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MJ Marrs
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I tried this experiment:

After running the results through a supercomputer, I find that within a 3.75% margin of error, the final loads have more impact. The results were 89% to 11% in favor of the loads. You can't aruge with science!
Jonathan Townsend
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Simpler argument here folks.

If you took a cup, tabled it mouth down, and produced one load after another...

versus doing the same with a short 'little ball appears under the cup a few times' type routine...

You would find that...

And for that reason I posted above that the routine with the small balls that most folks do has such little merit that it almost only serves to kill a couple of minutes in the show before the loads start.

Some of the cups folks are using could almost hold a botania. Perhaps someone will offer cup load botanias for this purpose... nothing like producing a BIG when you can. What do you think of silk flowers? of A pile of cash? A pile of coins?

Again, I argue that the trick CAN be all about the loads. Is that the BEST way to do the trick?
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cajuninms
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Thanks everyone...this helps me alot.
I will probably do a golf ball with different colored balls.
MJ Marrs
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I have just invented a cups and balls routine with NO little balls OR final loads. Also, I figure that three cups, or even two cups or one cup, are unnecessary, so I'll be doing my routine with no cups as well. The only prop you'll need is a magic wand and a table.

Come to think of it, you don't even need the table. It's called "The Cups and Balls Without the Cups,Balls or the Final Loads." I'll have a detailed DVD titled "The Minimalist's Approach to a Classic" on sale in about a month or so. Wand sold separately!
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