Revised Chop Cup Routine

In 1977 David published his Chop Cup routine in his lecture notes. As with anything in the hands of an artist, with constant use, little improvements are made over the years that add polish and clarity to the piece. That is what David has done with his Chop Cup routine. David's routine has a number of features to its credit, not the least of which are its difference from most of the routines currently in use and its avoidance of the potentially awkward situation of asking a spectator to guess where the ball is. Notice also the smoothness of action and the lack of illogical procedures throughout.

The routine is done seated at a table. Two large load balls — each of which nearly fills the cup — are resting secretly in your lap. When placing these balls in the trough between the thighs, set them about six inches apart. Later in the routine you will be lapping smaller balls. This space between the load balls insures that the small balls will land safely in the lap and not roll off it.

The non-magnetic Chop Cup ball is sitting in the cup at the start. The matching magnetic ball is Finger Palmed in the right hand. A third ball of contrasting color is in the right jacket pocket. This ball is also magnetic. David uses a black pair of Chop Cup balls and a white ball as the third, so it will be described that way for simplicity's sake.

The routine begins when the right hand picks up the Chop Cup. It does so with the thumb, first and second fingers. The third and fourth fingers are Finger Palming the magnetic black ball and are curled naturally under the bottom of the cup. See Figure 1. This position shields the palmed ball from all angles. Tip the cup forward, rolling the black ball in it onto the table. As this is done the cup may be seen to be empty.

Pick up the black ball in the left hand and display it. Place it down again and take the cup in the left hand. Let the right hand with its Finger-Palmed magnetic ball drop in a loose fist to the table.

Tilt the cup mouth toward you, displaying its solid bottom to the audience. At the same time the left palm can be seen empty. These opening actions take but a few moments and are accompanied by the line, "A little trick with a small ball and a cup that is open at one end and closed at the other."

Pick up the black ball from the table in the right hand between the forefinger and thumb. The left hand turns the cup mouth-up and the right hand drops both the visible ball and the Finger-Palmed one into the cup. The backs of the right fingers completely cover the introduction of the second ball to the cup.

The right hand immediately grasps the cup at its bottom and turns it mouth-down, pouring the non-magnetic ball onto the table. Of course, the cup should be turned in such a manner that the magnetic ball is not exposed as it clings to the cup.

You explain, "The idea is to get the ball into the cup." Gently place the cup mouth-down on the table as the left hand picks up the black ball. "The hard part is to do it magically. I will do this by passing the ball through the bottom of the cup."

As this is said, transfer the ball from the left to the right hand. Lift the cup with the left hand to show nothing beneath it. Then replace it on the table, this time dislodging the magnetic ball from the cup.

Now perform any sort of convincing vanish wherein the visible ball is false-transferred to the left hand, but is actually retained in a right Finger Palm. Open the left hand to show the ball is gone — and lift the cup with the left hand to reveal the magnetic ball beneath it. You've done what was promised!

Replace the cup over the magnetic ball. Pause a moment, then tilt the cup back toward you a bit with the left hand. This once more reveals the magnetic ball sitting beneath it. The right hand travels in front of the cup to apparently remove the ball. In reality the Finger-Palmed ball is substituted for the magnetic ball behind the cover of the right fingers. The cup is lowered over the stationary magnetic ball and the right hand moves away from it, displaying the ordinary ball.

Once more perform a pass with the ball, secretly retaining it in right Finger Palm. Show the ball has gone from the left hand and lift the cup with that hand to show the ball has returned.

The left hand gives the cup a light toss and catches it mouth-up. The right hand picks up the magnetic ball and drops both it and the Finger-Palmed ball into the cup, just as was previously done. The right hand grasps the cup by its bottom and turns it over to let the non-magnetic ball roll out. The cup is placed gently mouth-down on the table.

A variation of Charlie Miller's Cup and Ball Penetration will now be performed. The right hand picks up the visible ball and maneuvers it to a position atop the right fist. The ball lies cradled on the curl of the closed forefinger and thumb. The left hand steadies the cup while the right fist is rested lightly on top. The left hand now raises the cup several inches from the table to show nothing is under it. The right fist with ball rides along as shown in Figure 2.

Now comes the penetration. The cup is brought sharply to the table, knocking the magnetic ball loose. Simultaneously, the right fist follows the cup as if attached to it — but the fingers open slightly to allow the black ball to fall inside the fist and into Finger-Palm position. Instantly raise the cup and fist again to show that the ball has passed through. Timing is crucial to this move. Properly done, the penetration is visual. Bad timing can make the move transparent.

Under cover of the surprise of this penetration, transfer the cup from the left hand to the right and load the Finger-Palmed ball beneath it as it is set on the table. Then pick up the magnetic ball in the right hand and display it as you say, "I don't always make the little ball disappear. Sometimes I just put it away."

Suiting action to words, place the black magnetic ball in your right jacket pocket and Finger Palm the white magnetic ball while you are there. The left hand lifts the cup to reveal the black ball beneath it just as the right hand is coming back from the pocket.

Toss the cup gently with the left hand and catch it mouth- up; then transfer the cup to the right hand while the right third and fourth fingers retain the palmed white ball (Figure 1 again).

The left hand picks up the black ball and displays it. It is replaced on the table and the cup is retaken in the left hand. The right hand picks up the black ball between the forefinger and the thumb and drops both black and white balls into the cup. It then takes the cup by its bottom and pours the black ball into the waiting left hand.

Set the cup gently mouth-down. "I will do it just once more." Lift the cup with the right hand to show nothing beneath it. Return it to the table with enough force to dislodge the white ball.

2

The right fingers claim the black ball from the left, display it and then do a false transfer. Lap the black ball from the right hand, allowing it to fall between the two large balls. Show the left hand empty, then the right. Lean back a moment into Rest Position, letting both hands drop to the lap. Pause a few beats to build the tension of the lifting of the cup.

The left hand now moves to lift the cup...and the white ball appears! As this is done the right hand quietly grasps the first large ball — the one farthest from your knees. The left hand brings the cup back to the edge of the table as all eyes are on the white ball. The right hand meets the left at table's edge and loads the large ball into the cup. The left hand then carries the loaded cup forward to table it as the right hand moves to pick up the white ball and displays it. The left little finger can aid in keeping the load ball in the cup as it is put down by bending in under the cup's mouth.

Vanish the white ball and lap it, letting it fall behind the second large ball to insure it doesn't roll from the lap. Show the hands empty and drop the right hand to the lap as the left hand lifts the cup to expose the first large ball.

Under the misdirection of this production, bring the cup back to the table's edge so that the right hand can load the second large ball into it. The right hand claims the loaded cup and sets it on the table as the left hand picks up the first large ball, lifts it a few inches and drops it to emphasize its solidity. Finally, draw attention to the cup once more and raise it to produce the second large ball.

Cup and ball routines always read dryly. If you will take the time to work through this routine several times you will be rewarded with the discovery of its magical quality and great beauty.

This is a stand-up torn and restored cigarette. The "tearing" of the cigarette is a pretty flourish, while the restoration is a visual masterpiece.

Preparation : Have a cigarette, filter side up, in a thumb tip in your right pocket. Since the cigarette is whole, some of it will be extending out of the tip.

When ready to perform, get the thumb tip on the right thumb, with the cigarette on the underside of the thumb — see Figure 1. The filter end of the cigarette extends out of the tip and along the underside of your thumb. You will find that this is not an awkward situation; if you keep your palm downward and your thumb behind your fingers, there are no bad angles.

Roll up your sleeves. Borrow a cigarette or get one of your own — this cigarette should match the cigarette in your thumb tip (see Notes at end of routine). During all of the following actions your right shoulder should be toward the audience, helping to take the heat off of the right hand.

Hold the cigarette in left hand "smoking position" — that is, between the forefinger (on top) and the thumb (below), holding the cigarette right at the point where the filter meets the cigarette — see Figure 2.

Now, position the pinky and third finger below the cigarette, and the first and second finger on top of the cigarette. Put the cigarette to your lips, and grip the end of the filter between your teeth, not just your lips — Figure 3.

You will now rip the cigarette into three pieces. This will be done as a flourish, and you actually make some impromptu "brass knuckles" out of the three cigarette pieces.

Jeff Mc Bride

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