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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Questions on the 3 Shell Game (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

JJP161
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Columbus, Ohio
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I've always greatly enjoyed the 3 shell game and for sometime a number of years ago I included the 3 shell game in my close-up repertoire. Recently I saw a performance with the Golden Shells which was very impressive and renewed my interest in this effect. In my experience most performers perform this with a gambling theme; my question is in the eyes of the audience is this viewed as a gambling demonstration or as a magic effect. Does the lay audience perceive this to be magic? Thank-you all in advance for your insights?

Joe
Clarioneer
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Both and the beauty of shells, fast and loose and 3 card monte is they are liked by people that don't like magic... they are instantly recognisable and can be done again and again to the same people unlike many magic tricks... you can also make up your own routine/moves almost as you go along...

They are also very visual but in the street watch out for the cops Smile

The only downside is they do require a little space although apparently 3 card monte used to be done on a newspaper balanced on a cardboard box...

For 3 shells - unless you get a decent set http://www.scoundrelsstore.com (see street shells) you might have issues with certain surfaces

I started out with 3 card monte - all you would need for this is Whits new DVD which includes the ultimate collection of notes on the game...
catch you later

Clarioneer
Shade
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It could be whatever you make it be. You are the performer, and they are your tools.
-Shade
Kent Wong
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I have a slightly different approach with the shells. In the act I developed, I use a running theme of how magic makes the ordinary, extraordinary. I then use the three shell game as an example of ordinary street gambling (this is more of a "demonstration" at this point, with some really good surprises built in). Then I go on to show what happens to the three shell game when a magician gets involved. This is when I introduce the cups and balls. I perform a personalized version of David Regal's routine. So, I guess for me, the trick is a demonstration, but the routine is magic.

I decided to use this approach because:

1. It allows me to use a common theme throughout the routine and throughout my entire act. I always believed that it was important to have some purpose for performing the magic; otherwise, I'm just another guy doing tricks;

2. By first providing a "demonstration", it allows the spectators to drop their defences a little bit so I can better connect with them. I am constantly amazed at how this simple connection increases the spectators involvement and appreciation of the the show;

3. The interest curve with the spectators continues to build higher and higher, until the final loads are magically produced. At that stage, the entire table is literally covered with cups and balls (a la Regal);

4. It gives history and meaning to the cups and balls effect (ie. by implying that the cups and balls is the magical derivative of the old three shell game). This was really important for me since magic without meaning is simply a trick. I always knew I loved the cups and balls, but I had a difficult time injecting any meaning into the effect (other than simply coming out and saying "And now for one of the oldest effects in Magic". This gave me a reason to perform the cups and balls and I think it makes the effect more memorable for the spectators.

Just some idle thoughts from a completely deranged mind. Smile
"Believing is Seeing"
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bishthemagish
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If you go to my web site you can download video I did on Chicago TV back in 1975. This has a lot of great stuff on the shell game and three card monte...

Also video of other great masters of magic.

Enjoy!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Jim Wilder
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Quote:
On 2004-08-25 17:07, JJP161 wrote:
Does the lay audience perceive this to be magic? Thank-you all in advance for your insights?

Joe


My contention is that it depends on the way you "pitch" your presentation. I have seen it done both ways. Debate would offer that some like it as a gambling demonstration and some like it as a magical presentation.

I would go so far as to say that the key difference in magic/gambling presentation is that the pea travels to not just to the shell not chosen but to an impossible(?) location.

Regardless, I would agree with a previous post in reference to people liking these effects even if they do not like magic. These effects appeal to people because they appear to be games that involve them on some emotional level, whether it is win/lose for pride or win/lose for money.
sleightly
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The impossible location is *not* perceived as magic, but rather as an extension of the con.

Magic only becomes involved when there is a transformation or production of items that are not part of the game. Step out of the game and you cross the line.

Best to have a compelling reason for doing so...

ajp
JJP161
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First I would like to thank everyone for there insights, you all made some very good points.

Clarioneer - I never looked at it that way but you made a very good point even people who don't like magic usually enjoy the 3 shell game or 3 card monte.

magicman845 - I really like your thoughts on the 3 shell game. I've personally have always tried to keep a theme running through my magic as well, I don't always succeed but I do work in that direction for the most part. Also as a new student to the Cups and Balls I must say I was already thinking along the lines of somehow incorporating the 2 effects into one routine. But I wasn't sure if it would be too redundant though. Again I never looked at this way before but I believe it would certainly help to start as a "demonstration" and allow the spectators to drop their defenses. I also like very much the way you use this effect to connect with the spectators and involve them in the show. I've always been a big advocate of audience participation and interaction. I agree that I don't want to be "just another guy doing tricks". I feel the entire show is by far more magical if you can involve the audience as much as possible.

Mr. Bishop - Thank-you very much for your insight as well, I really enjoyed your video and again it reminded me how magical you can make this journey.

jwilder - I think you hit the nail on the head these effects certainly do seem to involve people on an emotional level, and that is exactly what I want to do with my show.

I guess now I must choose which shells. So far I have been very impressed with the Golden Shells. I no many argue that they don't look like everyday objects and I guess that is one of the things I really like about them. I feel these have a more magical look to them if that makes sense. I like the approach of starting with a gambling demonstration but by the end of the routine want it to be very magical. I'm also leaning towards the magnetic shells, any pro and cons to going with the magnetic shells over the standard shells? Thanks again.

Joe

Hi sleightly,

I found your post very intriguing and was hoping you wouldn't mind elaborating on your thoughts some more.

"The impossible location is *not* perceived as magic, but rather as an extension of the con.

Magic only becomes involved when there is a transformation or production of items that are not part of the game. Step out of the game and you cross the line.

Best to have a compelling reason for doing so..."
Kjellstrom
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See a free online video with the Three Shell Game here: http://www.mastermagic.info [click on videos]
Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2004-08-25 23:58, sleightly wrote:
The impossible location is *not* perceived as magic, but rather as an extension of the con.

Magic only becomes involved when there is a transformation or production of items that are not part of the game. Step out of the game and you cross the line.

Best to have a compelling reason for doing so...

ajp


Andrew is absolutely correct here. Ending with a production of a pea under each shell, or a load of peas, while not in my opinion the best approach, does stay within the game's boundaries.

But to produce other loads from the shells, e.g. large peas--not normally associated with the street game--would definitely be a problematic choice.
Jim Wilder
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Quote:
On 2004-08-26 16:43, whithaydn wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-08-25 23:58, sleightly wrote:
The impossible location is *not* perceived as magic, but rather as an extension of the con.

Magic only becomes involved when there is a transformation or production of items that are not part of the game. Step out of the game and you cross the line.

Best to have a compelling reason for doing so...

ajp


Andrew is absolutely correct here. Ending with a production of a pea under each shell, or a load of peas, while not in my opinion the best approach, does stay within the game's boundaries.

But to produce other loads from the shells, e.g. large peas--not normally associated with the street game--would definitely be a problematic choice.


Gentlemen, I concede correction in statement. I see the extension of the con- the pea still is not where it is supposed to be, regardless of where it ends up.

To elaborate on my train of thought, I was thinking of routines such as Bob Sheets' or Phil Cass'.

It seems that I remember one of the routines makes some mention of "magician proofing" the shell with the pea by placing an opaque box over it, and leaving one shell definitely shown empty and covered with a transparent glass. And again, it seems as though I remember that the patter implies that the pea traveled by way of magic.

In this case, my posts would be better served by reviewing the routines before stating. Smile
JJP161
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Thank-you very much Mr. Haydn it is certainly a pleasure to have your input on the shells. I do believe I have a clear understanding of the direction you and sleightly are steering me now and I thank-you for that as well as I agree that will be the best way to procede. In a "nutshell" chose a routine that follows and stays in line with the gambling theme, and do not turn it into a magic trick by having sponge balls or silks or rabbits jumping out of the shells.

Mr. Kjellstrom thank-you for your input as well and I certainly enjoyed your video greatly. A very nice routine, the perfect length, it wasn't too much but left me wanting more.

Now can anyone offer any insights on the Golden Shells vs. the Magnetic Golden Shells. Thank-you.

Joe
bishthemagish
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Joe it is not what we like that is important. It is what you like. So if you like to use three shells three bottle caps three thimbles... It is up to you.

Personaly I do not like the Magnetic pea in the shellgame. I also do not like the combo cups with the single Magnetic cup.

But that is me.

I also like a soft sponge pea but others like the hard rubber pea. But you can use a spit ball if you like.

You have to work it out for YOU!

You have to sit down and work things out what is good for you. I like the brass thimbles and the copper shells from the school of scoundrels...

Find a set and a routine that works for you...

I hope this helps.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
JJP161
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Mr. Bishop,

Thank-you very much for your valuable insights. I agree that I definitely want to find what will fit me the best. I've narrowed it down to the Golden Shells for sure because they appeal the most to me and I think will fit my style the best as well. I just wasn't sure if the magnetic shells were really worth it. If they really added something amazing to the routine then they would be worth it to me I just do not know if they do as I don't have any experience with them.

I do so far like the soft sponge pea the best as well. That is what I currently use with a set of brass shells or chalice's I should say that I picked up at a lecture at the Magi-Fest years ago. I don't remember who the lecture was by but I bought the shells and a Merrill's Color Changing Knife, it was a great lecture and a couple of great items.

Thank-you again,
Joe
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2004-08-30 14:19, JJP161 wrote:
Mr. Bishop,

I just wasn't sure if the magnetic shells were really worth it. Joe


They are worth it if they work for YOU! There are a lot of roads to the entertainment you have to choose one and then work things out.

Finding out what works isn't a waist of time - I feel it is half the fun...
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
JJP161
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Mr. Bishop,

Thank-you again very much for your valuable insights as I have decided to go with the Magnetic Golden Shells. It's been awhile since I've worked with the shells but I am definitely looking foward to starting my journey with this set of beautiful shells. Thanks again,

Joe
ImpromptuBoy
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Good choice JJP161.
You can also go (IMO) with the regular SFS regular golden shells. you don't have to have magnetic.
Just my opinion.
Best of luck,
Michael
Whit Haydn
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You certainly don't need the magnetic set to do great things with the shells, but the magnetic shells are worth the extra investment, even if you only use them for putting the pea in the spectator's closed fist without him knowing it. Used judiciously, they can fry people, and can get you out of trouble in a pinch.
bishthemagish
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Your welcome Joe!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

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