Inspired by a routine published in the Genii a few years back by Larry Jennings the variations, on his theme should appeal to those who found the original routine of interest.
The following properties will be required. One cup — four small balls — two potatoes — a handkerchief.
Prepare by putting two balls in the right coat pocket — two balls and a potato in the left coat pocket — a potato in the cup which should be on the table mouth upwards with the handkerchief folded once draped over it, folded edge towards you. The effect being designed to be performed seated you will also require a chair.
Commence by picking up the cup with the left hand, the thumb going outside and the fingers inside pressing the handkerchief a little way into the mouth of the cup (1). The right hand takes the cup and puts it mouth downwards onto the table leaving both the handkerchief and potato in the left hand. The left hand turns as the right hand takes the cup in order to keep the potato hidden, and casually places the handkerchief onto the table, left of centre, with the potato concealed beneath it. It is important that your eyes should be kept on the cup during the above actions which the audience will regard as being preliminary to starting the trick, providing their attention is directed to the cup and away from the handkerchief. The move is a Jennings idea.
Remarking that you now require some 'magic dust' both hands go into the coat pockets in search of it, and are removed each containing two balls classic palmed. Right hand sprinkle some of this magical dust on the table and the same hand mimes the action of gathering some of this 'dust' with the finger tips, as the second finger tip pulls one of the balls from the palm. This ball is now produced at the finger tips of the right hand which places it on the table and then moves back towards the edge of the table, where it rests in a natural position with the ball beneath it.
The left hand now picks up the exposed ball adding it to the two concealed in the hand which closes around all three into a loose fist. Two of these are produced singly by squeezing them out of the top of the fist (2) and letting them fall onto the table.
The right hand now picks up one of the two balls from the table adding it to the one palmed and closing the hand into a loose fist and produces them by squeezing them out of the fist in the same way used when producing the two from the left hand. There are now three balls on the table and one palmed in the left hand.
The left hand now picks up the three balls from the table one at a time placing them singly on the open palm of the right hand. The shuttle move is now performed tossing two of the balls from the right hand into the left to join the one already there, retaining one in the classic palm. Display the three balls on the open left hand.
Pick up the cup with the right hand and replace it onto the table loading the ball it holds beneath it as you do so, and slide it to a position on the table a few inches to the right of centre, and let the three balls on the left palm roll slowly onto the table. Line up the three balls in a row at the same time letting it be seen that the hands are otherwise empty.
Close the left hand into a loose fist as the right picks up one of the balls which it places on top as shown in (3). When picking up this b^ll between the thumb and fingers, the latter should cover it from the spectator's view until it is on the top of the left fist. The extended forefinger now pushes the ball down into the fist.
A second ball is picked up in exactly the same way, but this time when the point is reached where the ball is apparently placed on top of the left fist, the ball within that hand is squeezed up creating the illusion that it is the one just picked up. This latter is actually retained in the right hand hidden behind the fingers. This sleight is basic to the 'Three Ball Transposition', an effect which can be found in that fine book written by Lewis Ganson 'The Dai Vernon Book of Magic' and it is to this book the reader should refer for a detailed explanation of the move. \
The extended right forefinger now pushes the ball on top of the left fist into the hand as before.
As the right hand moves away and picks up the third ball the retained ball is classic palmed. This third ball is also apparently placed on top of the left fist as the ball in the left hand is squeezed out to the top of the fist repeating the previous move. The ball retained behind the fingers of the right hand is pushed into the classic palm with the second and third finger tips to join the one already there as the index finger is extended and pushes the ball on top of the left fist into the hand.
The position now is that there is one ball in the left fist, the audience believing there to be three — and unknown to them you have two palmed in the right hand and one under the cup.
You are now about to achieve the effect of causing the three balls to pass magically, one at a time, from the left hand and appear under the cup.
Holding the left hand closed with its back towards the audience make a pass over the closed left hand with the right and towards the cup. Right hand now lifts up the cup to reveal the first ball, during which action the two balls have been let fall from the classic palm position onto the curled fingers. Replace the cup over the ball at the same time loading one of the two balls from the right hand. The remaining ball is pushed back into the classic palm, using the tips of the second and third fingers.
Repeat the magical gesture with the right hand over the left and towards the cup which is then raised revealing two balls. During this action the ball in the palm is allowed to fall from the classic palm into the curled fingers and loaded under the cup as it is replaced over the two.
. The left hand is now opened to show that it contains one ball. Re-close the hand around the ball and secretly work it outside the fist between the knuckles and the fleshy part at the base of the thumb as shown in (4). The left fist must, of course, be held with its back towards the audience keeping the ball hidden from them.
Make a gesture again over the left fist with the right hand and under cover of the right hand the left turns bringing the ball it holds into contact with the right palm in the correct position for this hand to palm it away as it continues the gesture towards the cup. Assistance can be given when palming the ball by pressing it into the palm with the backs of the second and third fingers i.e. the nail side. A worm's eye view is shown in (5) which gives the relative positions of both hands as the ball is being stolen.
Once facility has been obtained with the above steal the precise action necessary for its achievement should be noted, and effort should be made to duplicate them as exactly as possible when making the two previous gestures in which no steal takes place.
The left hand is slowly opened and shown to be empty, and the right hand putting its first and second fingers on the bottom of the cup, tilts it backwards letting it fall onto the fingers of the left hand revealing the arrival of the third ball. Replace the cup over the three balls.
The next phase consists of magically extracting the three balls from under the cup.
Commence by stroking up the sides of the cup with the finger tips (taking care not to expose the palmed ball in the right hand) bringing the palms together as they clear the top (bottom) of the cup. Work the ball to the tips of the fingers where it is displayed holding it with the tips of the thumb and fingers of both hands. Still holding it with' both hands lower it down to the bottom of the cup (6). As the hands move away they are seen to be empty.
The right hand now grasps the cup around its rim between the thumb and forefinger, and tilts it forward tipping the ball into the waiting left hand (7). As the cup is tilted it is also pushed forward a couple of inches so that one of the three balls is beneath the right palm and in the correct position for the right hand to steal it directly into the classic palm by pressing lightly down on it. The cup is now lifted to reveal only two balls and the one in the left hand is displayed for a moment and placed onto the table. The cup is then placed over the two balls.
Repeat the stroking action up the sides of the cup and produce the ball palmed in the right hand at the finger tips and lower it onto the bottom of the cup. Continue as explained in the previous paragraph, tilting the cup and stealing a ball — this time one of two — and finally placing the cup over the remaining ball.
Once again repeat to produce the third ball which is placed on the bottom of the cup. Procede as before stealing the remaining ball from under the cup as it is tilted tipping the ball into the left hand which puts it onto the table. The right hand (with ball palmed) lifts up the cup and after showing it to be empty place it mouth downwards onto the table close to the right side of the handkerchief. As it is being placed down the left hand raises the right side of the handkerchief and the right hand still holding the cup slides it under the edge of the handkerchief, tilting it slightly loads the potato under it a la Jennings. The demeanour of the performer should appear to the spectators as though the cup is finished with (which is true) and he is about to continue using the handkerchief.
Display the handkerchief holding two adjacent corners one in each hand. Loose the corner held with the left hand, which is then formed into a fist. Right hand now drapes the handkerchief over the left fist and poking it with the second finger forms a depression, or well in the top of the fist at the same time loading the classic palmed ball inside.
Right hand now picks up one of the three balls and puts it on top of fist letting it rest in that position for a moment on display before pushing it into the well on top of the one secretly loaded there. Repeat with the second ball. The third ball is also placed on top of the fist for a moment before removing it and putting in the right coat pocket.
The three balls are now squeezed out of the well appearing at the top of the fist. As each ball comes into view it is removed with the right hand and placed onto the table. The effect being that the ball placed into the pocket has returned to the left hand.
You next pick up one ball from the table, (taking it with the fingers in front in the same way as earlier in the routine when putting the balls on top of the bare fist) and put it on top of the handkerchief covered fist. Push it into the well with the right forefinger.
Pick up a second ball in the same manner and appear to place it on top of the left fist, but this time retain it in the right, fingers squeezing up the ball in the well to the top of the fist as in the method described earlier. The ball concealed in the right hand is moved into the classic palm position and its forefinger extended and used to push the visible ball back into the well.
The ball remaining on the table is now picked up with the right hand which contains a ball classic palmed and again the fake move is performed, retaining this third ball in the fingers as the one in the well is squeezed out to the top of the fist. As this ball is displayed for a moment the tips of the right second and third fingers push the ball retained into the classic palm position. There are now two balls palmed in the right hand and one on top of the left fist.
The right hand new removes the ball from the top of the left fist and puts it into the right coat pocket at the same time leaving the two palmed balls in the pocket before removing the hand. At this point the audience believe there to be two balls in the well of the handkerchief and one in the pocket and expect to see a repeat of what happened before. There is considerable surprise when after making a magical pass the handkerchief is pulled away and all three balls have disappeared.
You now fold up the handkerchief and put it away in the left coat pocket at the same time the right hand moves the cup forward and towards the centre of the table. Make a pass over it with the right hand which then lifts it up to reveal the potato. Simultaneously the left hand is removed from the pocket with the potato palmed. The right hand passes the cup to the left hand which loads the potato into the cup in the standard manner. The right hand picks up the potato from the table and puts it in the right coat pocket as the left puts the loaded cup mouth downwards on to the table.
The right hand now makes a magical gesture over the cup, and then slowly lifts it up to reveal the appearance of the second potato, which concludes the routine.
There is only one move which may be a problem — the one in which a ball is classic palmed directly from the table surface. It may be solved by using a thick sorbo mat or by using balls with a rough textured surface which tend to 'cling' to the palm. Balls with a smooth surface, or are too small may be the cause of any difficulty experienced when perfecting the sleight.
bob read lecture
On April 6th some fifty magicians gathered at the Paisley Magic Circle headquarters for the magical extravaganza known as the Bob Read Lecture or 'Props by Oxfam'.
Bob performed, lectured and gagged his way through his 'bits and pieces' for three hours. In the first he performed the act as described in his book 'Thanks to Pepys' (copies still available) featuring his routines for Knife through Coat — the Incredible Bottle Production — Coins Across — Vanishing Comb — All Backs — and Hats and Corks.
A brief break to catch our breath, and he was off again. This time with sit-down material. Coins through Table — Knife Grinding and loads of gags and bits of business (check your early Pabulars). The hall keeper was knocking on the door as he was performing his Transpo Tumbler (a few copies left).
We barricaded ourselves in as he went through his never to be forgotten Cups and Balls routine which finished the show and most of the magicians. Bob worked long and hard and the well earned applause at the end left him in no doubt how well his efforts were appreciated.
Later in the pub Bob kept going with stories and anecdotes of his experiences with customs officers and at spirit seances. This man must be one of the best in Britain, and anywhere else for that matter.
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