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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Please help me with my 3 shell game (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Erik Anderson
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My mistake. It is a lazy habit I should watch more closely. Thanks.
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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The Chanin Dip, the twig opening, and other features that are carved into the Street and Golden Shell sets we (School for Scoundrels) put out are designed to work with the Perfect Pea. Together, these shells and pea make working on a hard surface such as Glass, polished wood, or marble very easy.

Using the Perfect Pea, any shell set can be made to work on a hard surface, but it takes practice and a deft touch to avoid making the give-away clicks as the pea goes in and out.

With our design, the shells are always silent as the pea enters and leaves. Our shells were designed from the outset to work well without a mat, and to be small enough to fit three comfortably between the fingers of one hand, and small enough to carry in the side coat pocket without bulging.

We also felt that the shells should be as small as possible relative to the size of the pea. The Pea is the star of the game, not the shells.

Also, the shorter the distance between the front of the shell and the rear of the shell, then the less distance the shell has to travel after "flashing" the pea at the front, and then moving it forward and then stealing the pea from the back. The shorter that this distance is, the more effective some of the street hustler's "flash" moves will be.

The idea was to make a set that is practical for normal walk-around situations--the performer can work on a bar, coffee-table, or dining table without a mat.

The shells were also designed for use with magnets from the outset--even the one's that don't have magnets built in.

The magnets are placed in my original design at the front of the softly "sloped" shells, so the pea can be picked up or left under the shell at the operator's discretion, or most importantly, appear under an "empty" shell held in the spectator's hand. This powerful ending makes the use of shot glasses and other bulky accoutrements unnecessary.

The Street Shells were designed to be the most practical working set of shells. They are designed to make both the easy moves and the more advanced moves (like the turnovers, roll-flashes, etc.) all work as smoothly and effortlessly as possible.

The choice of a set of shells is very personal, and size of hands, presentation, and performing situation will influence this decision.

However, the more advanced workers will find that the short travel distance for the pea from end to end of our shells, the carefully balanced shape of the shell for the turnover moves, the sloping of the front of the shell which provides contact and control of the pea for both front and roll flashes, and the other design features like the Chanin Dip make the Street and Golden Shells among the finest ever designed for advanced work with the shells.
Jkta99
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Ok I went to Sideshow today and I picked up this 58 page book by Ralph W. Read. It explains moves and such. Does anyone know how good this book is?

Thanks

James
Whit Haydn
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The book is the Three Shell Game by Tom Osbourne, edited by Ralph Read. The author's name has been removed from recent publications of the book for some reason, and Mitch Kanter's name substituted.

It is one of the most important and best books ever written on the shell game. It has the real work from the street workers, and is loaded with important info, ideas, and moves.

It is poorly written and illustrated, so it is difficult to get into, but it well-repays the effort.
Jkta99
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Well it was only $5 so I decided that I could only learn more from it, so I got it. You are right the illustrations are not very good but I am going to continue to look at it and learn what I can.

Thanks for everyone's input

James
sleightly
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As Whit indicates above, choosing a set of shells is a very personal matter. To make it a little easier, I spent quite a considerable amount of time developing a comprehensive list of attributes to help you determine which shells will work best for you. You can peruse my "Smart Guide to Shell Shopping" at:

http://threeshellgame.com/shopping.htm

Also, I have compiled a reasonably complete list of resources that are readily available. This list can be found at:

http://www.threeshellgame.com/resources.htm

If you have time, please browse the site, if you dig, you will find the earliest reference to Thimble-rigging found (by yours truly) to date (it predates the previous date by almost half a decade)!

Enjoy!

Andrew
Bill Fischer
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Quote:
On 2004-04-10 20:02, bishthemagish wrote:

It is not the props it is the routine that is important!

Glenn Bishop


Glenn,

You are partially correct in your statement. Routine, technique and ability are all important, however you need the right tools for the job!

What those tools are depends on who you are and the image you want your audience to come away with.

Bottle caps are fine if you are doing an impromptu routine or have some sort of presentation that revolves around that - maybe if you are a magic bartender - it would be consistent with the atmosphere you're in.

Why spend almost $70 for a set of shells? Or even $100? Because they are tools a pro is going to use over and over. They will work for you consistently.

Will a $10 set of Vernet shells work? Sure - but they look like a cheap plastic set of fake walnut shells. Why use fake shells? Well they can last forever. The best shells - La Maggiore and Scoundrel street shells look like real shells and have all the "real work" built into them. The don't look like cheap plastic shells.

What if you were an experienced carpenter and you were using a $20 jigsaw. Sure your technique is good, but wouldn't a $150 jigsaw be better and make your job easier? The metal casing, the precision line of vision, the durable multi-speed motor that will last you for years.

It's a balance - you can have the best set of shells and no skill and ruin the whole presentation. The opposite is true - having excellent technique, but looking cheap with an obviously fake set of toy walnut shells and ruin your image.

This holds true for any effect - if you are serious about the effect - you will buy every version available. Read all that is available and become your own expert!
Bill Fischer
Riley
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Quote:
On 2004-04-12 18:55, whithaydn wrote:

It is one of the most important and best books ever written on the shell game. It has the real work from the street workers, and is loaded with important info, ideas, and moves.

It is poorly written and illustrated, so it is difficult to get into, but it well-repays the effort.


Yes it's a very good book.
As an illustrator what can I say about the illustrations? Anyway, it's still a very good book Smile

Riley
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2004-04-12 21:26, Bill Fischer wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-04-10 20:02, bishthemagish wrote:

It is not the props it is the routine that is important!

Glenn Bishop


Glenn,

You are partially correct in your statement. Routine, technique and ability are all important, however you need the right tools for the job!

Will a $10 set of Vernet shells work? Sure - but they look like a cheap plastic set of fake walnut shells. Why use fake shells? Well they can last forever.


I have used a vernet set for years. Yes they are plastic and in the shellgame I feel it doesn't matter.

One of the things about magic is the more you spend on a prop the more magic-like or tricky it looks.

Thake the canvas cover box and the sub trunk. One looks like a packing crate and one looks like a magic prop.

Houdini did the packing crate on some of the finest stages in the world. My Dad (the late Billy Bishop) did the canvas covered box on some of the best stages in the USA including TV.

Sure they could both afford the shiney sub trunk but they used the one that look like wood box.

It is not the props it is the Magician/entertainer and their routine!

I have done the plastic vernet shells on TV in several states local and national...

Buy a nice set costing thousands if you want but I am happy with my set and routine...

Best ahead,

Glenn Bishop
http://www.mrhypnotist.org
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Bill Fischer
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Quote:
On 2004-04-10 20:02, bishthemagish wrote:

I have used a vernet set for years. Yes they are plastic and in the shellgame I feel it doesn't matter.

One of the things about magic is the more you spend on a prop the more magic-like or tricky it looks.



Glenn,

Again - it's about what you are trying to convey to the audience and your image. I'm not saying that the Vernet shells don't work - however they don't look like real shells. So if you wanted a set of shells that look like real shells, the La Maggorie or Scoundrel Street Shells are worth the money. The point is they look authentic.

When I do the Shell Game, just as I do with Three Card Monte, I want the audience to participate and get them involved with a real con game and not a magic trick. My mindset with both of these presentations is that it's not a magic trick, it's a con and I present it like a con. The last thing I want the spectators to suspect is that the shells are gimmicked. I want the best looking, natural shells.

Your quoted statement above says the more you spend on a prop the more magic-like or tricky it looks. In this case, the opposite is true. The Vernet shells look like a magic prop whereas the Scoundrel Street shells and the La Maggiore shells look like real shells.

If someone just starting out is not sure if they want to do the shell game and just want to work with it for a while - get a set of Vernet shells. When you've decided you want to do it, spend the money and get a set of shells that look like a set of shells.
Bill Fischer
bishthemagish
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Here we go again...

You can use a nice coin bucket made by Owen or a sand pail to catch the coins in a misers dream routine...

It is not the props it is the magician/entertainer and the routine that the choose use to entertain the audience...

Use whatever shells, bottle caps, sea shells, thimbles that you choose... The audience doesn't care... They only want to be entertained...

I have been using my Vernet set for over twenty years and I have other sets and I use them as well.

Find and use what you like...

Glenn Bishop
http://www.mrhypnotist.org
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Randy Sager
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Though you can use any type of shell you want to. I feel that if you use a cheap set such as Vernet, the audience is not going to think that highly of your routine no matter how good it is.

The props in cases like this it does matter. If your going to use an el cheapo set that what it looks like to the audience. It also gives off the impression that your don't care that there not even real shells.

Whereas if you use the SFS Or LM shells they do look like real shells up close and even sound like real shells.

Yes if a spectator picks them up and really examines them they realize that they are not real but had a lot of work put into them to make them look real. Why not use something that looks really nice and realistic instead of cheap and very fake looking?

The routine Glenn does looks good but to me the shells look more like mini motor cycle helmets then shells.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2004-04-15 14:08, Randy Sager wrote:
Though you can use any type of shell you want to. I feel that if you use a cheap set such as Vernet. the audience is not going to think that highly of your routine no matter how good it is.


The public has no idea that any of the shell game products are on the market to buy. They really don't care they just want to be entertained. If you are a nice entertainer and you do your routine in a nice and entertaining way it really doesn't matter.

I have several sets of different kinds and I use them all. But my Vernet set was one of the first sets I got and I still use it.

Over the years I have performed close up magic in the streets of Chicago at the State Street Mall to the Pump Room to the Palmer House. Oktoberfest in LaCross WI to the Boontown saloon in WI (strip club)...

On local and national TV. On the video at my web site I do the Vernet set on this TV show that was called weekdays KSTU Salt Lake City

Nice places and not so nice places.

I have never had a TV host or a person from the audience say - wow that would be a better routine if you didn't use that plastic Vernet shells...

Also to me the plastic shells do look like shells. Yes they are plastic. But they work and I have used them in shows of all kinds and never had a complaint from a client.

There are nicer props out there use them if you like. I use others too but I also use my plastic Vernet shells.

Another thing to think about when you are out there is that people steal. I have performed shows in very nice places and some not so nice places and I have had my close up case ripped off... Several times...

Vernet shells are easy to replace...

True there are nicer sets on the market now... Use what you like... And what works but it is not the props... It is the magician/routine and the entertainment.

Case in point... I can do my routine and use bottle caps, Vernet shells or the finest shells on the market. I can do it at a show using all the shell games at different times for different audiences...

And they would like it the same in all the shows.

Because it is the entertainment and the magician that makes the magic work not the props!

Entertainment is the market not the props. Props are only a tool that we decide to use at that moment as an entertainment tool.

But the skill and the entertainment and the routine is in the most important part of the show... It is in the magician!!!

Without the magician = skill = routine = entertainment... There is no entertainment or magic there is just a prop.

Best ahead,

Glenn Bishop
http://www.mrhypnotist.org
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Randy Sager
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This may be but even if they do not say anything don't be misled into believing there is not a question in their minds as to if you did the work or the strange looking fake shells did.
bishthemagish
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There is more to a show than just one effect like the shell game. Having great props is good because it shows to some that you have spent money on your act.

But the props are nothing without the skill of the magician. I have see magicians with slum equipment do a show and go over very well.

I have seen magicians with the best magic that anyone could ever buy and I have seen them bomb.

The vernet shells may not be anyone's shells of choice but when I started doing the shell game they were the best that you could buy. And they were hard to get.

Now there are new and very expensive shells on the market. And they are nice too.

And you can use real shells if you like.

But I have seen people with expensive sets do the shells and they don't do them that well. In fact they would not do any set of shells well.

What they need is a good routine!

Then they could do the expensive set well AND the not so expensive set well...

So when they are hired by a bar or a night club they can say to themselves... Do I want to bring my expensive set and perhaps lose it if my case gets ripped off?

Or bring and use the less expensive set for this show in a shady nightclub...

Use the nice sets when you are booked on a show and it is worth it to use the nice set.

The entertainment value is the same... Because the magic is in the magician/routine/entertainment!

I hope this helps...

Best ahead,

Glenn Bishop
http://www.mrhypnotist.org
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Craig Dickson
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I gave Bob Sheets a copy of a book I love. All In A Nut Shell by Frank Garcia. Bob's tape also on the shells is great stuff too. I believe Denny's Magic has the exclusive on it.
Riley
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Quote:
On 2004-04-15 15:03, crdickson wrote:
I gave Bob Sheets a copy of a book I love. All In A Nut Shell by Frank Garcia. Bob's tape also on the shells is great stuff too. I believe Dennys magic has the exclusive on it.


Haven't seen the book, but have heard good things about the tape - I take it you mean "Absolutely Nuts" and this is on its way to me from School for Scoundrels!
I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

Regards

Riley

BTW Glenn I love your routine!!
Whit Haydn
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Al Goshman always wore very out of fashion, rumpled, and food-stained clothes. It didn't change the performance value of his show at all. He was always just as funny, entertaining, and mystifying. It is the routine and performance that count.

On the other hand, I think he would have been more financially successful as a performer, and gotten a lot more shows had he presented himself better in his attire. I know this never concerned him, and he performed in some of the most prestigious places, but I personally know of several shows that he lost simply because the prospective client was put off by the way he dressed.

I think that bottle caps, for example, are a better choice for the shell game than the Vernet Shells, which to me scream children's toy or cheap "magic shop trick." It is a matter of taste, but the worst appearance for me in any performance is one that suggests the performer just went down to the magic shop and bought a trick.
bishthemagish
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I think that Whit is a great close up magician and I have learned more about the shells by reading his posts than I have from many of the magic books... I have seen his close up work on video and he is great!
He did a watch steal and it ended up inside a sealed envelope...

Very great close up magic...

Glenn Bishop
http://www.mehypnotist.org
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
KirkG
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Glenn,

You could always perform your show naked! But, you choose to dress it up. The same with shells. I perform at Renn Faires, so I choose either real shells or ones that look like it. If my character was visiting from Egypt, I might use the Scarab(sp) shells.

No one is saying the type of shells will make your act any more entertaining. No hope there. (JUST A JOKE!)

Just that dressing up your act to fit the location and your character is a good idea. Obviously plastic shells will add nothing to your act, so why not make the selection of something that will? You obviously have that ability due to the size of your collection.

As far as theft, I never set anything down that is not locked up. Rules to live by. I would hate to lose my Paul Fox cups, but they are there to be used, not looked at.

Kirk G.
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