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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » The Perfect Three Shell Game » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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KingStardog
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Well.....OK, realy I don't think the intention is to promote anything, just clarify questions and discuss the different aspects of different items and the question of using an identity that is not your own. What I'm trying to say I guess is this. People use names as an identifier for objects. A bananna is well a bannana. We would not call it an orange and talk about its crisp citrus taste if it was a bannana.

Confusion isn't magic, just as confusing customers doesn't borrow the market for a while. Why would anyone do anything to confuse a potential customer?
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
Kent Wong
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Steve,

Thank you for the clarification. I did not realize that you were simply trying to bring a new product to our attention. The repeated references to "we" made it sound like you were speaking on behalf of penguin, trying to market one of its products.

I guess I was confused because when people have generally posted new products on this site, all they usually do is provide a brief comment and then post the link.

It is certainly NOT my place to suggest how a forum should be conducted and that was NOT the intention of my question. I apologize if that is how it came across. Just that I know there are manufacturers and distributors from other major online sites as well, and I don't recall seeing this type of posting from them.
"Believing is Seeing"
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CamelotFX
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Quote:
On 2004-09-11 11:18, Pete Biro wrote:
Try making your own out of real walnuts.


Exactly what I did! My shells came from Black Diamond and each pair contained a free walnut! Good deal.
Burrich
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OK magicman845. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm 16 so I couldn't really speak on behalf of penguin Smile. Also I live in Ireland. I will probably just post a link from now on to prevent any further misunderstandings.Thanks for telling me.

Regards,

Steven.
Bill Palmer
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I hate to be an old fuddy-duddy about this, but the ease of shipping from the Penguin warehouse in Dublin is no excuse for buying knockoff products, especially those which are obviously inferior to the ones they have copied.

Penguin has a history of selling blatant knockoffs, from the Linking Lifesavers, which was originally manufactured in the UK to, now, the "street shells."

Each time they do this, they add to the confusion of who owns what, and who manufactures what. It's a pity, because with their massive distribution, they could sell the original merchandise without knocking it off, and make even more money.

If you live in the UK, get a Davenport's catalog. Look through it, and order some of the real stuff. Once you own a really well-made product from a truly great manufacturer, you will understand the difference between good merchandise and cheap knockoffs. The difference is great, and the merchandise is almost invariably worth the money.

And if you want to purchase on line, http://www.magicshop.co.uk has some of the better material. Their shipping costs are reasonable, and you will get your merchandise very quickly.

If you don't support the originators of magic, they won't sell it any more. That's a fact.
"The Swatter"

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Burrich
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A question how many people think that Ireland is a part of the UK? Because it isn't. Anyway that's off topic. Mr. Palmer thanks very much for your input. I have bought almost all my magic from penguin magic so there's no helping that but http://www.magicshop.co.uk... wow what a shop. I will not stop buying from penguin but I'll check magicshop before I buy the product to see if it's a copy. Thanks for the link.

Steven.

PS. Are the cups at http://www.magicshop.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=206
better than the aliminium cups at penguin? They look bigger. Also I don't really like knit balls with the cork inside. Is there anywhere I can get better balls for cheap?
Whit Haydn
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I received my set of "Perfect Shells" yesterday. They are identical in size and shape to the Vernet shells, though they have a slightly different pattern to their texture, and so do not seem to be molded from the Vernet shells themselves, at least the model that I have.

Except for this slight variation, they are a perfect copy of the Vernet shells. The plastic used does seem to be different, and has a little better color and look to it than the Vernet, although both sets seem to me to have a sort of cheap "toy" look, the only problem that I have with the Vernet set.

This is primarily due to the injection-molding plastic process which both use in production, as well as to the design. Neither set is molded from a real shell, and the markings are obviously sculpted, and not from casting a real "New England Walnut" shell as the Magic Maker advertisement says.

It appears to me, unless the Vernet has another model of shell I do not have that was copied outright, that an artist sculpted a new model from scratch using the Vernet shells as a guide rather than a real walnut. You have to look really closely to detect the slight variations between the two sets.

I did not notice, however, any discernible difference in grip and handling. The Vernet and Magic Maker shells both seemed to grip and move the same, and the "elastomeric resin" does not seem to have much different or more rubbery feel than the plastic used in the Vernet shells, and do not seem to have a better "feel" that I could notice, although the look of the Magic Maker shells is a little improved over the Vernet.

The cut out inverted "v" in the rear of the shells is more pronounced and obvious than in the Vernet shells, which already looked fairly arbitrary and unnatural--something added to the design, and not a natural part of the shape of the shell. Both shell sets have this fault, but the Magic Maker shells seem to have enhanced it.

The Perfect shells do not have any design elements that are not present in the Vernet shells. They do not have the "Chanin Dip" or any perceivable "rocking" quality that aids in doing the move with the spectator's finger on the shell, or in working smoothly on a hard surface. The instructions, in fact, suggest that they only be used on a mat.

Their "experts" who supposedly added to the design are not listed. If the design had been taken to the "top shell game magicians in the world" so that "secret design features" could be added, none are apparent to me. They must be very secret indeed.

The back of the shells does rise off the table in a rapid way to the "v," but not in any way that is helpful or causes a rocking motion when the front of the shell is pushed down as in the "Chanin Dip."

I can see no real improvement to the design and handling of the shells over the Vernet shells, although the look is somewhat improved with the less shiny plastic and better color.

The peas are workable, and not bad in handling. They have a strange, and to me, unnattractive very dark green color, with slight blemishes of other colors.

They are not very smooth and round, and I think that though they are more compressible, they are not nearly as nice looking as the peas which Magic Maker put out with their "Golden Shells" which were obviously based on the S4S "Perfect Pea."

Those peas had a much better color, and I would prefer them over the new ones that come with the "Perfect Shells."

The pea that came with Magic Maker's Golden Shells had only two faults--they were made with a material that was not quite compressible enough, and they had a pronounced mold ridge around the center. These have better handling, but are not as nice in appearance.

The instructions left me feeling very strange. They are a nice addition, and are more than adequate as a start in the basic moves. However, they are copied directly from Tom Osborne's "The Shell Game" and Frank Garcia's "All in a Nutshell" without credit.

The history section at the beginning includes research into the shells by Vernon, John Booth, and Frank Ducrot, all culled directly from the book by Osborne, and all uncredited. Most of this material is outdated, and simply wrong according to today's scholarship. But it is simply wrong to take the work of these men out of a book by Osborne, and not credit anyone.

To make it worse, the instructions are written as if the information was original: "Pesistent research has failed to unearth any great amoount of information regarding the shell games early history"/"The earliest mention of 'Thimble Rig' we have been able to locate," etc. These statements are directly taken from the above listed source, but made to sound as if Rob Stiff had done the work himself. He signs the instructions at the end.

The instructions themselves, and the accompanying illustrations are lifted directly from Frank Garcia's book, again without accreditation. The patter included with the trick is largely lifted from Garcia, including his signature "hey diddle diddle, its the one in the middle." This is totally uncalled for, and it seems to me, a violation of copyright.

Osborne's book is still in print, and Garcia's work is owned by Tannens, I believe.

To sum up this long review, the "Perfect Shells" are a slight improvement over the Vernet Shells, and at a similar price, a fair value.

I have recommended the Vernet shells as a low end value before on this board, and continue to recommend their fine product as a low-priced set of shells.

I can not recommend the Magic Maker shells, however. The company that produces them has obviously copied the Vernet product, has apparently made false advertising claims about their product, has seemingly purloined copyrighted material in the instructions without attribution, and has attempted to confuse the market place by associating the long-established names of the School for Scoundrels products with their own product.

The S4S "Street Shells" have been advertised for six years on the web and in national magazine advertisements. We have already had to ask that Magic Makers and their distributor Penguin Magic change the name of their metal shells away from our product's name "The Golden Shells" with which they first appeared for sale on Penguin.

Penguin can not claim ignorance of our products and product names. They are obviously intentionally trying to ride on the coattails of our good reputation, and confuse the market.

Therefore, I highly recommend that for the sake of fair play, that no one buy this product.

The Vernet shells have been around a long time, and are an excellent product at an excellent price.

The "Perfect Shells" are a copy, and though they have some good qualities, they should not be encouraged in this devious sort of manufacture and marketing.

I can not help but fear the next hot new product from Magic Makers will be a giant set of "Trade Show Shells."
TheAmbitiousCard
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The first ad sounds to me a lot like Andrew Pinard's La Maggiore shells.

Then I clicked on the link and even the photo LOOKS like Andrew Pinard's La Maggiore photo with similar fonts, background color, etc.

Originally their Golden Shells look an awful lot like Whit Hayden's Golden Shells with an awfully similar name.

Now they have the Perfect Shells that are advertised like La Maggiore and look just like either them or Whit's shells.

What is going on with this company and who is willing to buy things from them?????

Also... notice that the words "street shells" are used several times in the advertisment. Is this a coincidence? Of course not. Google and the other search engines don't know to bring up Whit's site and not this one. This is a sly marketing technique.

If I were selling taco shells and several times in my ad I put...
"These are not The Street Shells"
"We are not calling these The Street Shells"
"We were going to call the The Street Shells"
"You can learn these Street Shells"

What do you think the search engines are going to pick up on?????

The Penguin Shells.
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Whit Haydn
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"The Penguin Shells." What a creative and unique name. Wonder why they couldn't have thought of it.

By the way, I have posted my review above to the Penguin web site. I do not suspect that they will publish it.
Larry Davidson
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Quote:
On 2004-09-14 17:45, whithaydn wrote:
Penguin can not claim ignorance of our products and product names. They are obviously intentionally trying to ride on the coattails of our good reputation, and confuse the market.

Therefore, I highly recommend that for the sake of fair play, that no one buy this product.

I agree 100%. I can understand motivation to make money, but not at the expense of decency and fair play. Am I the only person disgusted by unethical (in my opinion) behavior? Do the right thing.
Riley
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[quote]On 2004-09-14 18:18, Larry Davidson wrote:
Quote:
Am I the only person disgusted by unethical (in my opinion) behavior?


No, Larry. You are not the only person. On the high seas they call it piracy!

A very fair and astute appraisal from Whit.

Riley
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2004-09-14 16:25, magical_steve wrote:
A question how many people think that Ireland is a part of the UK? Because it isn't. Anyway that's off topic. Mr. Palmer thanks very much for your input. I have bought almost all my magic from penguin magic so there's no helping that but http://www.magicshop.co.uk... wow what a shop. I will not stop buying from penguin but I'll check magicshop before I buy the product to see if it's a copy. Thanks for the link.

Steven.

PS. Are the cups at http://www.magicshop.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=206
better than the aliminium cups at penguin? They look bigger. Also I don't really like knit balls with the cork inside. Is there anywhere I can get better balls for cheap?


I should have realized that Ireland is not part of the UK. But it is in the neighborhood! Since Ireland is in the EU, there are even more places you can shop tariff-free.

The cups on the magicshop.co.uk are by Bazar de Magia. They are a bit larger than the ones on the Penguin site, which are by Uday of India. The magicshop cups are also a bit heavier, which is normally desirable. The balls that come with them are also a bit higher quality than the ones in the Uday cups.

Regarding the other balls available, there are a couple of words you need to get out of your vocabulary if you want better anything. Those two words are "for cheap."
Good products are not cheap. You will learn quickly when dealing with people who carry the Chinese knockoffs of legitimate merchandise that they are cheap in all of the meanings we have for the word in the US. They are low priced because they are of low quality.

Example: The Penguin/Magic Makers "Vanishing LifeSavors." This is a direct knockoff of Viking's Lifesaver trick. And it's a waste of money. I have a friend here in Houston who has a magic shop. He got numerous requests for the "Vanishing Lifesavors" when they were advertised in one of the big magazines. He had to send all of them back. If you shook the tube with the gaff in it after the vanish, you got a really nice production of a gaff that should have been very difficult to extract. So there was no savings. Just wasted money.

But back to the subject of better balls. Jedinat has really great ones. They are located in Germany. Theirs are like the Mike Rogers baseballs. They are €32 a set. Van Dokkum makes baseballs by hand for about € 25 each. They are worth it to a pro, but I don't think you are quite ready to drop € 100 for a set of balls yet.

You can usually get silicone balls in the toy stores. These work just fine. They come in lots of colors. Just don't drop them, because they bounce like crazy.

Also, if you know a place that sells computer surplus, the balls that you find in computer mice are really great for cups and balls.

If you want some really nice cups and balls for a relatively low price (not cheap, but reasonably low) check out Harries magic in Sweden.

And if you want to see what cups and balls sets are available, and some from the past, go to http://www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2004-09-14 20:33, Bill Palmer wrote:
Example: The Penguin/Magic Makers "Vanishing LifeSavors." This is a direct knockoff of Viking's Lifesaver trick.



Speaking of dealers my Dad was a dealer and owned two shops. Back when he was selling life insurance he had lunch with Rolland Hamblen who was one of the demonstraters for Thayer. And later Rolland owned a magic shop in Portland OR...

My father asked Rolland about ideas of magic effects he could tie in with life insurance. Later that year my Father got a package in the mail and it was one of the original Okito life saver effects.

Years go by and my father has a magic shop and we are doing business with Viking who manufacture magic in brass.

My Father sends them this Okito life saver effect and they come out with it. We sell it after it is made and people buy it.

They were suppose to return the original Okito Life saver trick that he got from Rolland Hamblen - and I would like to have it! But as has yet to be returned.

That is the true story of how Viking magic started to make this effect. I have no idea what my Father got out of it. Most likely nothing because he did good deeds like this all the time.

Percy Abbott came out with their slick tie after Percy saw my Dad wow an audience with his rope tie in Reno at the PCAM convention.

Percy I understand also pinched the Temple from Jack Gwynne without his permission - Ann Gwynne herself told me this.

Dealers and magic manufacturing business often pinch ideas. It isn't fare. I asked my Father about the life saver trick because it was prommised to me - after a conversation about dealers - He said Viking had it and had not sent it back yet.

And then he said - most dealers (Because of their shady way of doing business and pinching) are not going to make it into heaven...
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thimblerig
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Sadly, once again I am forced into the embarrasing position of publicly agreeing with Larry Davidson...oh the shame...

Seriously, though, shame on Mr. Stiff and his company and anyone who buys from them. It's easy to talk about ethics, and it may be more expensive to live by ethics in the short run, but in the long run it will pay untold dividends.

tr
ImpromptuBoy
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I'll be surprised if anyone will buy from them.
What do you think of penguin's golden shells?
Thanks.
All the best,
Michael
Larry Davidson
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Quote:
On 2004-09-14 20:58, thimblerig wrote:
Sadly, once again I am forced into the embarrasing position of publicly agreeing with Larry Davidson...oh the shame...


Okay tr you skunk, I must now outbid you on that book on Ebay. Smile
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2004-09-14 21:17, ImpromptuBoy wrote:
I'll be surprised if anyone will buy from them.
What do you think of penguin's golden shells?
Thanks.
All the best,
Michael


Man! You sure know how to hurt a guy, don't you! This was one of those cases of total misrepresentation. They are a very poor version of the shell game. They should not be confused with the product by School for Scoundrels. They don't even have the proper shape.
"The Swatter"

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Whit Haydn
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They changed the name of the "Golden Shells" to the "Golden 3 Shell Game" after complaints from customers and from my company.

The set they sell has none of the advantages that metal shells are known for--the heavier weight that makes certain moves like the "kick steal" work more smoothly, for example.

They have a low profile, so they are hard to pick up, and their bottom surface is flat making the shell bump quite a bit as the pea leaves and enters. They are too wide, making them difficult to do turnover moves. They are thin stamped metal, with a thin gold plate that is not waranteed.

The pea is copied from the School for Scoundrels "Perfect Pea," with a similar color and material. However, they are cheaply-made, so that they are not as compressible and are harder to pick up in a finger pinch, and, unlike our pea, they have a very noticeable mold ridge around the center.

I do not know where their design came from, but I have heard that it is a copy of Brad Burt's $25 shell set. I am not familiar with that set, but I believe them capable of doing such a thing.

I feel that these two companies are parasites that harm the magic community by stealing the ideas of the true creators of magic and intentionally confusing the marketplace by the use of deceptively similar names to those of the originators of tricks.

This process discourages original magic from being produced for the community by making the creation of original and quality magic much more difficult and much less worthwhile--thereby hurting the consumers as well.

Supporting either of these companies is a disservice to the entire magic community, and I suggest that anyone who believes that it is important for dealers and manufacturers to try to contribute to the buildup of the art rather than to take advantage of the magic consumer by producing cheap ripoffs of creative people's work, should avoid purchasing any products from these people.

There are many innocent beginners being fleeced by what I consider unscrupulous operators like these, and they do not know any better. But those who have read these posts do know better, and have no excuse for supporting this type of behavior.

There are Scoundrels who celebrate the cleverness of the conman or thief though not his ethics, and then there are just plain scoundrels.
Burrich
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Thanks for your comments Mr. Palmer. I have one question. What are silicone balls? Are they like ping pong balls?

Thanks,

Steven.
Bill Palmer
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No, they are like what we call "superballs" or high bounce balls over here. They are made of a silicone compound under pressure, and they come in various sizes. I don't know if you have the equivalent of "dollar stores" in Ireland, but they have cheap toys as well as cheap merchandise of other types. I have found all sorts of interesting small balls at these places.

The silicone balls have a slightly tacky feel to them, so they are very easy to manipulate.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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