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

VoidedHider
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Hi, I was wondering if any of you guys can think of or know of a way that I could busk using the Three Shell Game without being a con? I would have to do it for free and then it would just be tips for the performance, but how could I let passers by know that it isn't a street con?
Whiterabbit
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I'd use Gary Ouellet's version which doesn't run as a con.

I'd also look at different shells.I'm just rehearsing it at the moment, but I intend to run it using the Black Fox turtle shells and sell it as a story about my Great Uncle who used to run a pearling operation and cheat the natives by putting a pearl under one of these shells and get them to bet pearls on the outcome.

However, one day he had a run-in with the local shaman... etc.

I don't know if the story is original; I suspect it's rather obvious given the props - but it does get away from the normal shell presentation and living in the Tropics next to the Coral Sea it's a jump off point for me.

There are some nice unusual looking shells out there and they all present good patter possibilities (haven't thought of one for the scarabs yet but I suspect you do a great bizarre magic presentation and sell it as an ancient ghost story).


Hope this helps. I can't ethically give you the plot of the Ouellet version, but it's a good version in my opinion and available from the Camirand Academy.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
Kondini
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The Super Shells when worked streetwise seem to curb the threat of a scam, have used these to mount funds for Comic Relief requesting a donation after the routine.
cstreet_1986
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White Rabbit,

This line of patter is somewhat similar to Gazzo's Street Cups and Balls Routine, where he says that his grandfather used to perform it as a street con, but he [Gazzo] felt uneasy doing this, so he presented it as a trick.

Chris
Pete Biro
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Get the giant-sized shells from the Scoundrel himself, W.H.


Posted: Oct 28, 2004 12:52pm
------------------------------------------
Remember the pitch act with the line, "Y'say it ain't enough, y'say ya' want more... tell yah what I'm gonna do."

Sid Stone?
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Danny Hustle
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I think doing the shell game on the street as well as the three card monte is a fast way to get the local police very interested in what you are doing.

But, better men than me have done it on the street so it can go over well and you won't necessarily be arrested.

As far as routines go for the street I would have to say that Charlie Frye's handling is one of the most entertaining, is delivered as an exposition, and the blow off fooled the hell out of me the first time I saw it.

Charlie's routine is on his DVD Eccentricks part 2 and is available directly from him at charliefrye.com.

Tell him Danny Hustle sent you.

As a matter of fact, for anybody that is having trouble stringing it all together on the street. Is having questions about performance, constructing routines, wondering what is funny or what will draw a crowd.

You should buy both of his DVDs. Charlie is a former busker and variety artist and is in my opinion one of the best and certainly most entertaining performers out there working.

Best,

Dan-
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Kozmo
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Don't do the shell game or anything that looks like it on the streets. You will go to jail.

Entertainment or not it's going to cause them to look.
Danny Hustle
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Koz,

I agree, but there have been guys who have done it and not had a problem.

I think a lot of it has to do with the pitch.

You would have to have a death wish to do it in New Orleans but I know guys who have done it in Key West.

I have always avoided it because I would hate to have to change my act to suit the venue. My goal has been to develop an act that can play anywhere with minimal trouble.

Watch steals, the three card monte, and the shell game will never be in my street act for that reason.

There are guys out there who have made all three fly though.

I still agree with Koz though personally. I would avoid it like the plague.

Best,

Dan-
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Can't you have a flyer or something that you could hand to a policeman that explains everything if one were to walk up? You could even have your drivers' license xeroxed onto it so they would know who you were and that you were not trying to be covert, etc.
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pikacrd
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I disagree with tedb on this issue I think that it can be used to great success on the street as a demonstration. I saw this being done in Central Park about 2 years ago by a street performer (sorry I do not remember his name) he had drawn a huge crowd and used oversized poker chips as a substitute for the bet. During his pitch he made it very clear that it was a demonstration even going as far as to invite a few of the police that were in the area to come over and watch. He killed the audience and made a killing when passing the hat. His routine was mostly original as I could tell and by far the most entertaining of all of the street performers that I witnessed on that trip to the city. His performance actually rekindled my interest in the shells as a performance piece.

I think that you should go for it just make it very clear that is a demonstration and do not use cash as a prop if you need to give the "mark" something to bet with to drive home your message that they can get scammed use something as a substitute but just don't make it look like cash. The police are smarter than some people give them credit for if they see you out on the street with a table and other props they are not going to automatically think you are running a hustle. People that are doing this as a hustle don’t carry around bags of props and a solid table. If you make it look like a hustle then you may have problems. The taskforces that are set up to hit on illegal gambling routines are very well versed in knowing the difference between a hustle and a demonstration as a matter of fact most of them know the games better than the operators and can do some of the hardest moves in there sleep. If you really think that it is going to give you a problem make sure that you do a few things to avoid the problem for example, if the town that you are performing in requires a permit to perform on the street make sure you get one. This will show the police that you are an entertainer and not someone out to hustle the crowd. If the town does not require a license and you are performing in an area that is patrolled by police go over and talk to them, tell them what you are doing. Police officers are not there to hassle you they are there to help protect the public and if they know that you are on the up and up you will have no problem you will probably get them to watch you and that will draw a crowd. I can say all of this from experience not as the performer but the police officer, I worked in law enforcement for several years and never had an issue with anyone who just came out and told me what they were doing. All in all you won’t have any issues with the police if you just make sure to take some simple steps to avoid problems.

Kris
“Indubitably, Magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics”. William S. Burroughs 1914-1997 American Writer
Danny Hustle
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Pikacard,

What you describe will work well on some pitches. Other places like New Orleans the police have a great dislike for street performers and will use any excuse legitimate or not to shut a performer down.

This is a subject that is very Dependant upon the situation and one school of thought is not more or less right than the other.

There is no "sure fire" way to insure that you will not have a problem with the police or even angry spectators.

I saw a guy get his props smashed right here in Cambridge doing the three card monte as an exhibition by a spectator who had been ripped off by the scam version.

If there is no guarantee I know I won't put the trick in my show. There are at least 50 million tricks in the world and many of them are as strong if not stronger than the shell game and the monte. On the street I will chose something else although I do both of these tricks at private shows.

Dice stacking is one that plays as big if not bigger than either of these tricks, is the same type of trick, and won't get you busted.

Best,

Dan-
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sleightly
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Having had personal experience getting busted just for rehearsing on the common at Dartmouth, I certainly suggest that you do your homework first and play later. The shells play gang-busters, but nothing hurts your hat more than having a member of the local constabulary break up your show in the middle...

As for the bust... I was actually doing maintenance rehearsal while I was waiting to perform at a private house party. Some college kids wandered over and I put on a brief show for them. No cards, no shells... The kids left excited. Not five minutes later I was approached by one of the local cops asking if I had a permit. He had heard that someone was running a card/con game... I explained what was up, even going so far as to bring out the shells and show him what I would really use if I wanted to con them. I was ready to pack up, when the kids came back with a few more friends and I proceeded to do ten minutes for them *and* the cop.

No harm done, but certainly shows how quick local police can respond if there is even a whiff of impropriety.

As Danny says, best to leave it out (although it certainly can be done, and very effectively so) when working a public pitch.

ajp
pikacrd
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Quote:
On 2004-10-29 11:12, Danny Hustle wrote:

Other places like New Orleans the police have a great dislike for street performers and will use any excuse legitimate or not to shut a performer down.

and

There is no "sure fire" way to insure that you will not have a problem with the police or even angry spectators.

I saw a guy get his props smashed right here in Cambridge doing the three card monte as an exhibition by a spectator who had been ripped off by the scam version.

If there is no guarantee I know I won't put the trick in my show. There are at least 50 million tricks in the world and many of them are as strong if not stronger than the shell game and the monte. On the street I will chose something else although I do both of these tricks at private shows.



Danny,
I can see your point the police department in New Orleans has had a reputation all over the world for having some of the most crooked and corrupt police in America in the past and that is unfortunate because it is one of the most beautiful cities in the country that does employ some very hard working officers. I believe I read an investigation into the department a few years ago turned up all sorts of illegal activities from the police including illegal gambling. I am not saying this as fact but it may have lead to reasons that some people have had issues with the police in that city. As I understand it and if I recall correctly if the police were not getting kickbacks they created problems. This is not how a police department should operate.

With all of that said I will add that the Majority of Law Enforcement Officers around the country are very hard working professionals who have a great amount of common sense and would understand the difference between a demonstration of skill and a hustle. I do know that for some reason all of the street performers that I know currently or have known through the years are very critical of the police and there always seems to be a feeling of mistrust between the two groups. I think that this may come from the fact that in some ways street performers have been branded with a negative image something like that of a gypsy in Law Enforcements eyes. I am sure that there is a historical link here I just do not have the evidence to back it up at the moment (Something new to research).

I will say this in response to this guy who got his props smashed it could have happened regardless of what he was doing. I did the straight jacket escape once and a guy came up and punched me in the stomach and asked if I was as tough as Houdini. (I assume that he has read some about Houdini and what some attribute to his death). I still do the Straight Jacket Escape and have never thought about taking it out of my act. You never know about anything that is going to happen so why not give it a chance. The shells are one of the best performance pieces that you can do to bring gambling down to the common level that is why it is so great. It was a common game played by the common sucker (uh man) people can relate to it is all that I am saying. If I were performing on the street I think that I would put it in the act and take my chances that my appearance and professionalism would speak loud enough to let anyone who questioned what I was doing know that I was on the up and up.

Regarding choices for other tricks to perform in the act of course there are hundreds of great effects out there. This is just one that I would add to my total act if I were on the street I never would do it as a stand alone effect or routine, as this as a stand alone act probably would bring the wrong type of attention even if only for a moment.

Best wishes,
Kris
“Indubitably, Magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics”. William S. Burroughs 1914-1997 American Writer
Danny Hustle
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Kris,

Good luck with it. Let us know how you make out. You should check out Charlie Frye's routine it rocks and the kicker is a stone killer for lay people.

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
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Dave V
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Danny,
Thanks for the tip on Charlie Frye. I never would have heard of it otherwise. Video is on it's way to me now.
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Danny Hustle
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I hope you told Charlie I sent you. Smile

You will Love it Dave. Just amazing, amazing, stuff for guys like us. I showed it to Gazzo and you could hear his jaw clonk when it hit the floor. He said something along the lines of, "If this is the stuff he is giving away watching his 'A' material would probably make a person's head explode."

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Pete Biro
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Frye is a really strong juggler too.
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Whiterabbit
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Yep, the Police can be a bummer. I'm lucky, I've established good relations with them. Oh, yep, C Street, the patter I'm using is a little Gazzo-esque and the trick ends with the magician losing so I think it'll be safe.

On the subject of the Police, I actually 'saw off' one of them the other day with a bit of psychology. I came in for some close attention and I started talking to the officer (he was a sergeant) saying how wonderful the police are and then I blew this huge purple and pink balloon flower and gave it to him as a token of my appreciation.

He walked away soooo fast and I still haven't seen him in a month. Mind you I worked for seven years in the police service as a public servant and knew what buttons to push.

Another type of police officer and I could have been in real trouble...
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
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