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Tilman
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Just to provide full details: the Vernon routine is in 'The Vernon Chronicles', Volume 2 (Stephen Minch, 1988), pp. 80-86.

Posted: Mar 29, 2005 6:59pm
"The evidence would indicate that Bartelomeo Bosco was responsible for the popularisation of our present usage of both the palm and ball size that we enjoy today. His name adorns the palm we presently use afterall. I suppose the other one (suitable for the smaller "muscade" size) could be referred to as the "Roman Palm" instead of the plain "small ball palm"."

I just saw that a confirmation for the above quote from Eric Evans can be found in Robert-Houdin's 'Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie' (1868) (my source being the English translation by Angelo Lewis - 'The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic', London (Routledge) 1878), where, in the chapter on the cups and balls, Bosco is credited with the introduction of larger balls and of the pinky palm.

As an aside, I found it interesting to see that one of the patters Houdin gives for the trick is almost a word-for-word rendering of the patter in 'Modern Magic' (1876) (I do not have a copy of 'Modern Magic' with me at present, so I can't check how far exactly the similarity goes). So there arises the interesting question of whether
(a) this was a standard patter used all over Europe to accompany the cups and balls,
(b) Prof. Hoffmann (Angelo Lewis) used a translation of a Robert-Houdin patter from 'Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie' in 'Modern Magic', without crediting his source, before publishing the translation of the patter in the wider context of his translation of the whole Houdin-book,
(c) Prof. Hoffmann took the liberty of adding his patter from 'Modern Magic' to his translation of the 'Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie' without indicating that the patter was not in the French original (Hoffmann announces in the introduction of the translation that he is going to translate freely and that he is going to make additions).

As an owner of the English translation of Houdin's book, but without any possibility of accessing the French original in the very near future, I am especially interested in option (c), for it might give an indication as to how true Prof. Hoffmann's translation is to the French text, after all.
Anybody out there who has both a French and an English edition of 'Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie' and who would care to compare the texts?

Best regards, Tilman
Bill Palmer
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I just got through comparing the patter in Modern Magic to the patter in Secrets of Conjuring and Magic. They are not identical, but there are strong similarities. Some sections are paraphrased, others are the same. The order of the sections of the patter are different.

Since the two books were published one after the other -- Modern Magic in 1876 and Secrets of Conjuring and Magic in 1878 -- I believe that Lewis may have already translated a good portion of Secrets before he finished Modern Magic. He calls the patter in Modern Magic a "burlesque." This would indicate to me that it would not be used by anyone other than a performer who was trying to create the impression of a tongue in cheek pseudoscientist. If he already had his notes for the translation ready at that point, it would make sense to use it. However, I do not have the French version, so I have no way of determining whether this is correct.

Posted: Mar 31, 2005 10:20pm
I've got someone who is French and a magician to compare the patter in Modern Magic with the original French patter. This will tell us what we need to know.
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Tilman
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Bill,

Thanks a lot. I am curious.

Cheers, Tilman
Bill Palmer
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So am I.

Posted: Apr 2, 2005 1:09am
Okay. Here's the real skivvy on the routines in question. Philippe Billot, who is a member of another forum sent me the cups and balls patter from "Les Secrets" along with a translation into English. Judging from the translation which he sent me, the patter in Modern Magic was based upon the patter in "Les Secrets." As I surmised, evidently Hoffmann had planned the publication of the translation for some time. He probably had the patter already translated at the time that he wrote Modern Magic. He just rearranged a few paragraphs and used it in that book.

The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic has slightly different patter in it, as I have pointed out.

A big thank you to Philippe for his help.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Tilman
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And many thanks to you, Bill. Very interesting information.
Bill Palmer
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Glad to be of help. We all learned something this time around.

Posted: Aug 10, 2005 12:02am
Well, I have posted a new page of balls and loads at the cups and balls museum. It gives a basic history of the development of the ball from the round stone pebble to the woven covered leather balls that Eric Evans has been so heavily involved in.

When you go to the cups and bals museum, just click on the button that says "Balls," and there you will be.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Curtis Kam
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Anyone have any luck pegging that Hofsziner quote about Bosco and the "animated shadow" of a ball? Sounds like it might play a part in the development of the retention pass.
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Jonathan Townsend
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I've been looking for that thing about the shadow for a while. Does not seem to be in the books I have. Puzzled here.
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Curtis Kam
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Jon,

I found the Hofszinser quote about the "animated Shadow". It's in a review he wrote of Bosco's cups and balls routine. There's some detail there, and since Hofszinser wrote a number of reviews of Bosco, it might be worthwhile to read a few. If you have Dick's book, it's in the introduction or preface.
Is THAT a PALMS OF STEEL 5 Banner I see? YARRRRGH! Please visit The Magic Bakery
Jonathan Townsend
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Curtis, I'm still looking for a copy of that book. I recall someting about a black circle on a thread that the performer strung across his vest. Or perhaps on the table. It's one of those things I read over twenty years ago and Smile ... well when you speed read the stuff might not sink all the way into proper memory.

Anyone got a copy of the book or a description of Bosco's work?
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2005-01-20 08:45, Tilman wrote:
Bill,

Thank you very much. This is very interesting information. I know the Joro book, but have only run over its pages during a conference once. Thanks for reminding me that this may be a valuable purchase.
By the way, your posts led me to conjecture the following, completely implausible, tongue-in-cheek history which accounts for all pieces of information given in your two above posts, plus one extra piece:
While cork balls were used long before Bosco (cf. Hocus Pocus Junior and Natürliches Zauberbuch), Bosco was the first to blacken them over a candle. He did so in order to facilitate his shrewd strategy for simulating the presence of a ball in his hand after a fake transfer: according to Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, Bosco was able to create a small animated shadow in his hand so that you were actually able to see the ball before it dissolved into 'nothingness' - a lot easier, of course, when the balls are of the same colour as the shadow, black. If I could only remember where this Hofzinser quote is to be found...

Cheers, Tilman



Maybe the blackened cork balls are older than we thought. There is a reference to them in Decremps, which came out about the time Bosco was born.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Mark R. Williams
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I kind of thought that the Blackening of the cork was done very early on and a result of wanting uniformity of appearance of the balls.

After all even cork has inconsistencies of color and texture that would be well covered by blackening.

Paint or natural dyes would probably not work well with cork even if available in early times..................................

M
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Bill Palmer
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I've found an even earlier reference than Decremps during the last week. It is also in Ozanam.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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