Cups Balls

STAND-UP CUPS & BALLS

INTRODUCTION

Few routines in the history of magic have endured as have the Cups and Balls. Even the walls of ancient pyramids record its performances. Since that time, it's been in the repertoire of virtually every sleight-of-hand performer. In fact, many old-timers recall when a magician's ability was judged by his performance of the Cups and Balls. *

As a result, I feel a strong responsibility as 1 write this routine for the magic world. It is difficult to break new ground for this effect, of course, without losing sight of the things that make it a classic. However, I do feel it is possible to keep the basic effect, while adding new dimensions through innovative routining and presentation.

We will look at this innovative routine closely. This is the routine I use professionally. I used this in the show which won me Close-up Magician of the Year at the Magic Castle, and I also chose to feature it on the Merv Griffin and Will Shriner TV shows. I sincerely hope that I am able to teach you this routine. I will be explaining things as clearly and completely as possible. Not only will we cover the Hows, but also the important Whys.

To facilitate your learning, I wanted the moves to be very clearly illustrated. This is where Greg Manwaring came in. With his rare talent, Greg worked with me for over a year and a half preparing these illustrations. Greg is a professional animator having recently worked on the innovative movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

The Dai Vernon Spin, when correctly performed, is absolutely beautiful. However, you rarely see this move performed. It's not just because it is a difficult move to execute; but it's difficult to teach. (Things weren't helped by Ganson's unclear, partially incorrect description in THE DAI VERNON BOOK OF MAGIC.) For this reason I have taken the extra effort to try and correctly teach this move. With these extra words and illustrations, if you ever wanted to do this move, you can learn it here.

BACKGROUND

The Cups and Balls, by close-up standards, involves -a lot of props. It is a relatively long routine. It lasts almost five minutes, requiring three cups, four small balls, a wand, and four large final loads.

Fortunately, the routine has a strong impact when it has a solid, yet simple structure. When properly developed, it seems impossible to reconstruct and the display at the end is both interesting and unexpected. This makes it an excellent closer.

I have always thought the opening sequences of a cups and balls routine should be able to stand

The Magic of M icftad A rttma r on its own; however, its REAL purpose is to "set up" the strongest ending possible. I believe this because the climax, when properly led into, can completely captivate the mind of the spectator so that it might be all that is remembered.

made me take a hard look at opening sequences. As a general rule opening sequences are designed more to please the performer than to serve the meaningful and worthwhile purpose of setting up the strongest ending possible. Often the phases are repetitious and confusing.

1 developed the body of my routine through a process I call backward thinking. I looked at the ending and its impact, then I tried to think the thoughts the spectators might think. Most people try to solve the mystery by figuring out where those final loads come from. Were they there all along? Did the performer sneak them in? When could it have been done? Where did the performer get them from?

This routine is intentionally structured to convince people the cups are absolutely empty until the instant before the revelation of the final loads. The wording, actions and progression of events are all dedicated to that purpose.

I worry that unless time misdirection is properly applied, the w ■ i ^ n and the where of the final loads might be linked together by a perceptive viewer. For example, several trips to the pocket or lap are made immediately before revealing the final loads, where the loads come from, and when they are made can become obvious. At best, that only leaves'you with the audience appreciating the skill required to do this, and I don't think appreciation is nearly as strong of a response as amazement.

With this thought in mind, I decided to separate the loading of the cups from the revelations by the widest gap possible. Meanwhile, I searched for the most interesting sequences to go between the loads and revelations. I didn't want the opening segments to be dead time. I wanted them to be interesting and entertaining in their own right.

Along the way, I hit upon the idea of eliminating a cup between each opening segment, and loading the cups as they were set aside. I thought this was clever and I was proud of myself! Since then, however, I found that other performers have had the same idea. In fact, it was probably done before I was born. Pat Page, for example, does a routine where he eliminates cups as he goes along. This disappointed me at first, since I love to be original. But then I remembered my primary goal. This routine was not designed to be "new." It was conceived and routined for performing. The bottom line for me was to develop the strongest, most logical sequence of events possible for the cups and balls, with impact, entertainment and practicality being the goals.

EFFECT: While ending,, with no coat on, three cups and a wand are shown. Three balls are then magically produced. The balls vanish one at a time and then reappear under the cups. Two more short phases are performed, with both a cup and a ball being eliminated between each phase. At the end, the cups are lifted to reveal four pieces of fruitwhich completely fill the previously empty cups.

COMMENTS: Personally, I use fruit for the final loads. Fruit are the right size and unexpected; also, there is something humorous about the sight of the fruit. Of course, there are lots of funny, unexpected things that will fit inside the cups, and your personality may indicate that something else would be better than fruit for an ending when you perform.

In most cases, the cups and balls are more deceptive when performed while sUruiuig,so I originally constructed this routine to be done standing. (1 don't always do it with no coat on, but I will explain it that way here, because shifting it to be done out of the coat pockets will be easier than to shift it from coat work to pants pocket work.) There are exceptions, of course, but standing seems to eliminate some of the potential sources for the final loads. So just where is the best place to secretly conceal four large pieces of fruit?

The coat pockets conceal them, but in most cases they create a distracting lump, and might be a clue to the source. Trying to hide the fruit in the front pants pockets can create an even more questionable bulge.

I have decided the best place to conceal the loads is in the back pants pocket You will rarely walk up to a table backwards, so for the most part the pieces of fruit are well concealed. Your coat will also cover the fruit nicely.

The next point to deal with is immediate access to the fruit. If your pockets are stuffed, you will have an unnatural struggle when you remove your supposedly empty hand. It is crucial for the hand to enter and leave the pocket smoothly with the secret load. Remember, your covering action is the simple placement of a small ball into a large pocket Putting something into a pocket takes only an instant, and the hand usually exits easier than it enters. However, when taking something from the pocket, there is naturally a delay and extra movement For the steal to be deceptive, the hand must follow the timing and actions of a hand putting something into the pocket, with no delay or extra movements.

To solve this problem, I had to enlarge the back pocket to almost twice its normal si2e. Again, while this thought was original with me, Roger Klause informs me that Paul Fox used, but never printed, this same idea decades ago. At first, I formed one large pocket of the two pockets, like old pajamas with the trap door. But this gave me more room than I needed, and it made the pants look strange. Now I widen the back right pocket by about two inches. My right hand can then easily scoop out a piece of fruit.

By the way, with the proper misdirection, you can use either hand and either pocket for the loads. Minor changes in the flow of this routine will be necessary if you change hands, but it shouldn't be a problem.

SET UP: When possible, I try to use a turnip, a lemon, an onion, and a potato for the loads. These are solid enough to withstand a crowded pocket, and they are the right size. Also, as we will see later, these particular objects set us up for some interesting tag lines for our ending. Place the potato into the lower far comer of the pocket, with the other pieces of fruit placed around it. This way, the potato will be the last item revealed.

The cups themselves are covered by a cloth bag. With the cups, mouth up, the bottom two cups each secretly conceal a single ball. The top cup is empty. Place the cloth bag over the cups, and pull the draw string tight, but don't tie it. The two remaining balls are sniffed into the top of the cups, where the bag helps to hold and conceal them. This is similar to the way Scotty York transports one of his final loads (FIG. 1). Have your wand handy, and keep the mouths of the cups facing away from the audience. You can now do the routine at any time during your show.

The three cups are nested in the bag, with one ball secretly hidden between the first and second cups, and one between the second and third cups. Two other balls are stuffedse-cretly into the top of the first cup.

OPENING DELIVERY: Since this is my closer, I try to lead into it with a certain attitude. I try and verbally tie in this closing effect with whatever effect preceded it The transition from a card trick to the cups, for example, must be bridged in such a way that the separate effects in your performance seem unified.

"Of course, 1 know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself, I'll bet hejust switched those cards out of his sleeves. The truth is that magicians have not used their coats to cheat for generations.

"But since my time is almost up, just to prove a point, I will actually remove my coat, and : it work only with the simplest props. AH that will be involved here, besides ten steel spring fingers, are three brass cups and a wand.

"These cups are solid brass, and they are all absolutely identical... especially this one."

This opening delivery sets the stage. Removing the coat at the beginning will emphasize the impossibility of the ending.

PROCEDURES: Show your hands are empty as you mention your "Ten steel spring fingers." Due to our set up, we are actually four balls ahead, giving the impression of unusual fairness.

As you remove the cups from the bag, you will steal the two hidden balls from the top of the bag. As FIG. 2 shows, the lefthand pushes the cups up from the bottom. The bag opens as the cups move up, automatically pushing the balls into the right hand finger palm. The right hand then continues to help the left hand remove the bag from around the cups.

The left hand holds the cups mouth up as the right hand sets the bag to the right without going out of sight. If your hand goes out of sight, you might create suspicion and ruin the effectiveness of the secret steal of the balls.

The right hand swings back, taking the bottom cup. This is placed mouth down at the far right position (FIGS. 3 and 4). The hidden ball will stay in the cup due to inertia. Repeat the same actions with the other two cups. The last cup, which is empty, is on the left end. You want the audience to believe that the cups are empty, but since they aren't, we must be very subtle. This is where the line, "the cups are identical, especially this one... "comes into play. As you say this, casually pick up the far left cup. The audience will see the cup is empty, and the casual nature of the gag should convince them you could have picked up any of the cups.

I use another process to get the point across, but it may involve a unique property of my cups. When tapped with a wand one of my cups gives a different sound than the other two. If your cups all sound the same when you tap them with the wand, you can make one make one sound different by tapping it in a different spot. After setting the cups down I tap them with the wand as I deliver the line about the cups being identical. There is something humorous about saying the cups are identical just as the obviously different note sounds. It's a sure laugh when the timing is right. In addition, it sets the next line up, making it seem more spur of the moment.

PRODUCING THE BALLS: "So we have a pretty simple situation, three cups and a wand. All I do now is tap the left hand with the wand, and two things happen. First, a little red bruise appears on the hand...Second, TPC grt a little red ball. Actually, it is a round piece :>/ cork with a tight red sweater, kind o< like a disco cherry.

"That is for this cup right here. For the next cup, all I do is spin and tap, and we get yet another ball."

As the right hand takes the wand, move one of the balls so it is held at the heel of the hand by the tips of the fingers (FIG. 5.) FIG. 6 shows the audience view of the hand holding the two balls along with the wand. This first move is actually the reverse of David Williamson's striking vanish. The

Stand-up Cups &BiiUs

The left hand pushes the cups into the right hand, the Cups opening out the top of the bag. As this is done, the two balls move secretly into the right hand.

The left hand pushes the cups into the right hand, the Cups opening out the top of the bag. As this is done, the two balls move secretly into the right hand.

The left hand holds the cups from above, while the right hand, still concealing the two balls, takes the bottom cup from the Black.

The bottom cup is placed mouth down on the table in such a way that the concealed ball stays inside due inertia. The right hand still two another ball is be tween the two cups in the left hand.

The left hand holds the cups from above, while the right hand, still concealing the two balls, takes the bottom cup from the Black.

The bottom cup is placed mouth down on the table in such a way that the concealed ball stays inside due inertia. The right hand still two another ball is be tween the two cups in the left hand.

The right hand takes the wand so one ball is still firmly held in the Utjiii. while the oiriftris barely held against the base of the hand by the first and second fingers.

swing of the wand is used to load a ball secretly into the left hand. Normally I don't like fast movements, but this one produces a ball in a hand just sRown empty, and also sets up the Bob Read gag about the bruise.

Show the left hand empty during a gesture (FIG. 7). Turn the left hand palm down as the right hand swings up with the wand (FIG. 8). The right hand releases the ball, and the closing left hand catches it The hands come deceptively close together, just for an instant. If properly timed, the ball will be invisibly tossed into the closing left hand.

The right hand places the wand under the left arm as the left hand displays the ball at the fingertips. Itis just in sight a moment, because the right hand, on its trip back down the left arm (now free of the wand), seems to take the ball. Actually, you perform the French Drop. The visible ball falls behind the left fingers as the right hand appears to take it. The right hand continues down, placing the other ball, which was concealed, onto the cup to your right.

Without missing a beat, the right hand retakes the wand and executes the spinning portion of the Vernon Wand Spin. That is the great part about this move. The spin itself is easy to do, and beauti-fulto watch. It provides misdirection strong enough forboth vanishes and productions. Ill describe the technique of the spin at the end of the routine, but for now, as the right hand is spinning the wand, the left hand (under the cover of the spin) is secretly moving its ball to the fingertips.

Coordinating the movements of both hands to arrive in the right spot at the right time is not really tough, but it will take some practice. The far end of the spinning wand will strike the balljust as it appears at the left fingertips. It should seem as if you waved the wand and tapped the left fingers causing a ball to appear by magic (FIG. 9).

Again, the right hand places the wand under the left arm, and comes down to take the ball from the left hand. Duplicate the same actions as before, when you did the French Drop, but really take the ball and place it onto the middle cup.

Continue to project the attitude that you will produce a third ball, but then seem to get another idea. Gesture, showing both hands empty, asyou say, "There are lots of things wecoulddo. For example, just a touch, and this ball can pass straight through the top 01 the cup. A reneiruuou of solid brass! But

Hand Facing Downwards Holding Steel
i.v.-. where the left hand will catch it as it turns palm-down.
Hand Tapping

The palm-up Icit hand turns palm-down, catching the ball tossed by the right hand as it closes. The right hand continues upward as the left hand closes, then comes back down to tap the left hand with the wand.

The left hand moves the ball it concealed to the tips of its ii':«!?, timing it so si. arrives at the lips at the same moment the right hand completes ih-- Wand i'piiv

for the last ball we use, I need to spin twice. And tap!"

In order to have access to the third h^ii, you will do the Charlie Miller penetration with the center ball and cup. Place the wand under the left arm, as you bend slightly at the waist The left hand holds the center cup, as the right hand takes the ball from the top of the cup. The right closes into a fist on top of the cup, positioning the ball on top of the fist (FIG. 10). Now two things must happen at the same instant The right hand opens, allowing the visible ball to drop inside of the fist as the left hand lifts the cup to reveal the previously concealed ball (FIG. 11).

IMPORTANT: The "real work" on the Charlie Miller Move is to slightly tap the revealed ball with the cup as it is lifted. This way, the ball is not stationary, but moving forward, as if it still had momentum from passing through the cup.

There is, of course, a flow to this sequence, as the cup is returned to the table slightly forward from its original position. The left hand picks up the visible ball in the French Drop position, and once again the ball is retained in the left hand as the right hand apparently places it on top of the center cup.

Now, you have a ball concealed in the left hand, a ball secretly under the cup to your far right There is a visible ball on top of the center and far right cup. The center cup is slightly forward of the other two cups, setting you up for the surprise appearance of the third ball. (Let me pause for an interesting point. Notice the balls are exchanged with the French Drop almost immediately after they have registered their appearance. This is the best moment to execute the move because attention drops slightly the instant after an effect has taken place.)

The third ball makes a surprise appearance which, while technically easy, requires some acting

There is abaJi concealed under the cup. The lefthqnd holds on to the cup, as the right fist, with ball on top, hoven two to three inches above Uic cup.

There is abaJi concealed under the cup. The lefthqnd holds on to the cup, as the right fist, with ball on top, hoven two to three inches above Uic cup.

As the right fist taps the top of the cup, it opens just enough la allow the ivjji to fall inside. At the Mine moment, the left hand flicks the mouth of the cup outward, so that the inside rim taps against the ball underneath, causing it to . from under the cup.

ability. You will need to employ noticeable shifts in your own attention. "For the last ball we will need, I will have to spin twice. Andatap."

Again, we will use the Vernon Spin for our misdirection. Your body (and attention) is shifted to the upper right for the execution of the spin (FIG. 12). As you do this, you seem to notice for the first time the center cup out of line. While calling no verbal attention to it, both hands take an instant to straighten the situation before shifting back to the upper right for the spin (FIG. 13). The right hand straightens the right cup, and the left hand pulls back the center one. The right hand finishes before the left, and moves to the upper right for the spin (FIG. 14).

The energy is toward the upper right, as the right hand begins to spin the wand, and the left hand conceals the third ball in fingerpalm position. Notice that the middle cup is out of line with the others.

The energy is toward the upper right, as the right hand begins to spin the wand, and the left hand conceals the third ball in fingerpalm position. Notice that the middle cup is out of line with the others.

This straightening action actually serves the purpose of putting the left hand close to the far left cup, so there won't be a noticeable move in that direction for the secret placement of the ball on top of the cup. As soon as the right hand starts the spin, the left hand moves the couple of inches necessary to place its ball on top of the third cup (FIG. 15). Your head and eyes should be on the right hand spinning the wand as this is done.

The wand spin is so compelling to watch that is serves as perfect misdirection for placing the ball onto the cup. You will need to do the spin twice in order to have enough time to place the ball without having to rush it.

As soon as the ball is on top of the cup, the wand should be completing its second spin. The left hand now moves up from its secret loading, where it is tapped by the wand (FIG. 16). Act startled whenyoufindnoball there. "Well, sometimes wedon't need the wandto make the magic take place!Now thatwe have all we need, we 'llstartthemagic..."

Look surprised at first that no ball appears at the fingertips, then direct attention back to the cups. This final production, with the ball appearing on top of the cup, always gets an excellent reaction.

In introducing the props, we were open and fair, yet we progressively routined each of the three productions, with the last one being quite startling.

PHASEONE: "Threebalts andthreecups. Theplotthickens.Forthefirstball,allIdoispushthe wand

It is during this sequence that I wanted to eliminate two of the most common errors you will see

with the Cups and Balls. The first trap involves secretly loading a ball under a cup as the ball resting on top of the cup is tipped off onto the other hand. This is an important move in many routines, so we will look very closely at the proper method for doing this while standing.

The second goal was to eliminate the hand-to-hand-to-hand transfers, so common in some routines. Let me ask you, is it natural for a ball in the left hand to be taken by the right hand, just so the right hand can place it back into the left hand? Nope. Yet you will see this in ninety percent of all the cups and balls routines performed, and the sole reason is to allow the performer to do a fake transfer for the vanish.

The right hand spins the wand a second time, ending up tapping the left palm, aitf expecting to produce the third ball.

The right hand spins the wand a second time, ending up tapping the left palm, aitf expecting to produce the third ball.

doses into a over the ball, and as it does, it moves the ball to the back of the hand, where it will be clipped by the tips of the fingers. The right holding the wand by one end, pushes the opposite end through the thumb opening of the left hand.

The as pects were solved by careful arrangement of move and sequences. Here, the balls are all fairly placed into the left hand, and they are obviously there until they vanish.

Start by picking up the ball from the top of the far right cup with the left hand, and slowly close the hand around it. The left hand is turned palm-down, with the thumb side of the hand facing the right. The tip of the wand is pushed into this side of the hand for half of its length. As this is done, the left hand works the ball out of the back of the hand, where the fingers lightly hold it (FIG. 17).

The right hand will now travel under the left hand toward the tip of the wand that was first pushed through the hand (which is protruding from the little finger side of the left hand) (FIG. 18).

doses into a over the ball, and as it does, it moves the ball to the back of the hand, where it will be clipped by the tips of the fingers. The right holding the wand by one end, pushes the opposite end through the thumb opening of the left hand.

As the right hand passes under the left, the left hand begins to turn palm-up. When the hands pass closest together, the ball is dropped into the right hand (FIG. 19).

The left hand continues palm-up as the right hand takes the end of the wand originally pushed into the left. The wand is pulled from the left hand, and swings up to tap the left hand, which opens to reveal the vanish (FIG. 20).

The right hand moves under the left hand, toward the end of the wand just pushed through the fist.

Hand Tapping
Just v. '..bs right hand is underneath the left, the left hand begins to turn palm-up. At ttus the left fingers allow the ball to fall into the right hand through the opening between the tfiutnb and first finger.

The right hand moves under the left hand, toward the end of the wand just pushed through the fist.

Now we must vanish the second ball, and at the same time secretly load the ball hidden in the right hand underneath the middle cup. Typically, this would involve the "tip-over" load, and it is here we run into one of my pet peeves with most cups and balls routines.

(Let me explain. The left hand wants the ball. Does it make sense to move the left hand past the ball it wants on the cup, moving down until the back of the hand is flat on the table? Instead of plucking the ball off the cup, the entire body leans over and involves both hands in the process? The right hand being needed to tilt the cup over, so the ball on top tumbles into the left hand? Nope. Making matters worse, most performers then follow this illogical action with the hand-to-hand games we talked about earlier. Not exactly economy of motion!)

Doing this move when sitting down isn't quite as bad because both hands are right there with the cups. However, if you follow the same technique when you are standing up, it just isn't natural!

V>.i Magic of MichaelAmmar

Beyond the aspect of naturalness, there is another reason why a slightly altered handling will be vastly superior. I've always felt it is best not to "throw a spotlight" on the move as it is taking place. The tip-over move, as described above, focuses all the non-verbal cues to the "action area" where the

The left hand luming palm-up moves the end of the wand just pushed through it into the right hand. The right hand pulls the wand free from the hand, swings the wand up, then downward to tap the left palm when it opens to reveal the vanish.

Body language is upward and outward, as the right hand, the ball, moves down to the cup with the ball resting on it. The left hand is palm-up, waiting for the ball on top of the cup.

Body language is upward and outward, as the right hand, the ball, moves down to the cup with the ball resting on it. The left hand is palm-up, waiting for the ball on top of the cup.

move is taking place. You are looking there, your arms are pointing there, and your energy is focused there. This total attention on the action area means the technique must be flawless to escape detection. And more - just because a move can be done under scrutiny is no reason that it should be.

HCS 21,22, 23, and 24 give a clear picture of the slight technical variation for this loading sequence. More important than minor technical changes are the thoughts and attitudes you convey. Rather than drawing attention to the cup and ball as the move is done, your focus is up and out toward the audience. The body is naturally erect, with the left hand palm up as if gesturing (FIG. 21). The right hand, with the ball finger palmed as in FIG. 22, picks up the cup with

it as it does.
The Ball Hand

the ball on it, and brings the cup and ball to the left hand, where it is tossed (FIG. 23). As the cup is returned to the table the little finger moves the ball under the cup (FIG. 24). Notice it is secretly loaded while attention is on the visible ball resting on the left palm.

As the cup is being set down you are looking at and commenting on the ball in the left hand. I realize I seem to have made an issue over something that appears minor, but I think it is very important to direct attention away from these secret moves, as opposed to spotlighting them as I mentioned earlier.

One other piece of finesse: As the cup is returned to the table, it should be placed flat onto the table. It is more natural to set a cup down flat than it is to set it down with the front edge first, followed by the rest of the cup. This makes the move slightly more difficult, but it is more natural.

The second disappearance makes use of the Dai Vernon Wand Spin Vanish.

Notice the energy is still up and outward, with less attention focused on the cup than on the ball in the left hand, or the dialogue taking place with the audience.

"'t J Uptime you know exactly what to fori All j is tap the hand, and the second ball vanishes. That leaves you with one last chance to look closely. There is now only one ball left, and to make it eveJl easier, I'll do it visibly!"

Tap the left hand with the wand as you reveal the second vanish. Again place the wand under the left arm, so the right hand can load the concealed ball into the far left cup. As before, keep your attention up and out as the tip-over load is done. This leaves you with all three cups loaded, and the left hand palm up, with a ball visibly resting on it

For the third vanish we will use David Williamson's Striking Vanish. Since David first released this in ENCOREII, it has received well-deserved attention. For those who are unfamiliar with the move, let me assure you it is one of the truly great moves that can fit into almost any cups and balls routine. In effect,a ball thatis on the open palm is struck with the wand, causing it to visibly vanish.

Basically, the left hand shows the ball on its palm as the right hand holds the wand by the very end. The wand should not actually extend down into the hand more than the width of the first finger, since you will need the fingerpalm position free to catch the ball which will be tossed into it As you say you will do it visibly, the right hand swings the wand up, pivoting at the wrist; the arm should not move at all. As the right hand raises the wand, the left palm moves toward the right hand. Just as the right arm reaches the peak of its upward swing, the left hand should have given enough momentum to the ball on the palm to cause it to travel up and into the bottom of the right hand, which is now deceptively close to the left palm. When the wand comes back down, the left hand moves quickly back to the left, and the right fingers grab the ball in mid-air, smacking the open left hand with the far end of the wand in the same motion.

FIG. 25 shows the position you will be in at the end of the "strike" in the striking vanish. A nice follow-up movement after the vanish will imply both hands are empty, while getting rid of the wand in a flourish. The action continues in FIGS. 26,27, and 28, as the leftpalm immediately pushes the wand back along the right hand. The weight of the wand will cause the wand to swing forward (using the thumb and index finger as the axis), around, and back under the left arm. It is really one fluid movement after the striking vanish, ending as in FIG. 28.

FIG. 25 shows the position you will be in at the end of the "strike" in the striking vanish. A nice follow-up movement after the vanish will imply both hands are empty, while getting rid of the wand in a flourish. The action continues in FIGS. 26,27, and 28, as the leftpalm immediately pushes the wand back along the right hand. The weight of the wand will cause the wand to swing forward (using the thumb and index finger as the axis), around, and back under the left arm. It is really one fluid movement after the striking vanish, ending as in FIG. 28.

"Just by tapping the ball it completely disappears. However, the balls don't actually vanish, what they do is travel. They travel invisibly, from the hand into their respective cups. Thisball made it, as did this one, and this one."

PHASE TWO: This is a natural time to expect applause, and as the spectators react, you nest together the two cups on the right. As you do so, secretly load the right hand's ball between the cups as in FIG. 29. The left hand places these cups to one side.

Th € Magic ofMicha elAmmar

The continuous left hand action is to push the wand back through the first finger and thumb the right hand.

The wand has swung back and behind you where it is in place under the left arm.

The continuous left hand action is to push the wand back through the first finger and thumb the right hand.

Once the wand has been pushed through the right hand, the causes the wand to pivot around and away from you, eventually pointing the far back behind you.

The wand has swung back and behind you where it is in place under the left arm.

The left hand holds its cup mouth-up, and the right hand moves to nest its cup with it As it does, the right hand secretly loads its hidden ball between the two cups.

"But all this might be too confusing so i 1/ make it easier for you to follow. I'll actually eliminate one of the balls. That will make it easier. Not only that, I'll eliminate the wand, and I'll even eliminate one of the cups! Now we just have two cups two balls to follow."

The right hand takes one of the balls, placing it into the back right pocket. As it leaves the pocket, take out the lemon, cupped in the right hand. You must carefully time what you say and when you say it, because the right hand must meet the left hand in a prearranged and rehearsed position. The left hand must transfer the cup to the right in such a way that the fruit is loaded into the cup without being exposed to any front angle. FIG. 30 shows the left hand placing the cup over the fruit, just as it will be done for each of the other large loads. This must perfectly correspond to the wording, "I'll eliminate one of the cups!" Tt usually an extra beat to come around with the fruit, so pace your wording accordingly.

The cup is setjust to the right of the working surface, on its side as in FIG. 31. Of course, if you set it mouth down, your angles are much better, and you don't have to worry about the cups spinning around or rolling. However, I like to distinguish it from the cups in play as much as possible, so when I can, I set the cups on their side.

PHASE THREE: This segment is the short phase using just the two cups and the two balls. Only one thing happens in this phase. Apparently there will be a ball placed in each cup. One ball vanishes from one of the cups to join the ball in the other cup. Then one more cup and ball is eliminated in preparation for the final phase.

Two balls rest on the table, while one is secretly nested between the two remaining cups. Picking up both cups with the left hand, the right hand places the bottom cup, containing the extra ball, mouth down over the left ball. This cup now has two balls underneath it.

You will now secretly steal the next ball into the right hand as the second cup is placed over it with a move taught to me by David Williamson. It is the most direct method for achieving a single-handed replacement of the cup, while stealing the ball, that 1 have ever seen.

The left hand holds its cup mouth-up, and the right hand moves to nest its cup with it As it does, the right hand secretly loads its hidden ball between the two cups.

Cups And Ball LoadsSleight Hand

The cup, secretly loaded with the lemon, is placed on its side to right, theoretically out

30 ) ''ight hand comes around from the back packet with the lemon concealed in the loosely curled right fingers. The left hand, moving up from the table with the cup. meet« the right hand with the of the cup going right over the secret load. The right little and third fingers hold the fruit in the cup. aa the thumb. first, and second fingers hold onto the cup.

The cup, secretly loaded with the lemon, is placed on its side to right, theoretically out

and second fingers, the third can reach under the cup, contacting the ball.

The cup is placed on the table, but the right third finger has rtokn the ball secretly into the right hand.

The cup is placed on the table, but the right third finger has rtokn the ball secretly into the right hand.

In FIG. 32 the right hand is shown placing the cup onto the table. Notice the cup is held by only the right thumb, first and second fingers. This leaves the ring finger free to reach under the cup, just in front of the ball. Also notice that in this case, the front edge of the cup touches the table first, providing the necessary cover for the move. In FIG. 33 the third finger has pulled the ball from under the cup and secretly into the right hand.

There are now two balls under the cup on the left, none under the right cup, and the extra ball is in a right fingerpalm.

"Some of you may think I have to actually put the balls into my for them to disappear. This isn't true. With each ball securely inside its own cup, all I do is snap my fingers, and this ball vanishes, only to travel invisibly across and into this cup. But I'm an optimist. I'm going to assume those blank stares are looks of amazed confusion! So to make it even simpler, I'll eliminate one more ball. And in order to preserve symmetry, one more cup."

I use a flourish of sorts to reveal the balls under the cups, which looks nice, while displaying the otherwise empty nature of the cups. It is very simple, but can only be done on a padded surface, such as a close-up mat. A hard table covered with a cloth won't let the cups roll over correctly.

The whole picture is clearly displayed in FIG. 34, the only difference between this sequence figure and this point in the routine is the fact that the right hand conceals a ball in fingerpalm, which is loaded into the cup at the end of the roll over.

"Some of you may think I have to actually put the balls into my for them to disappear. This isn't true. With each ball securely inside its own cup, all I do is snap my fingers, and this ball vanishes, only to travel invisibly across and into this cup. But I'm an optimist. I'm going to assume those blank stares are looks of amazed confusion! So to make it even simpler, I'll eliminate one more ball. And in order to preserve symmetry, one more cup."

Thecupii given a slight tip backwards, where it wilt flip over as a result of its own weight. This requires a •oflsurface for a smooth roll, and the right hand, if fingerpalming a ball, could easily load it secretly after the roll is completed.

Thecupii given a slight tip backwards, where it wilt flip over as a result of its own weight. This requires a •oflsurface for a smooth roll, and the right hand, if fingerpalming a ball, could easily load it secretly after the roll is completed.

A cup which is mouth down can be rolled over backwards, using the weight of the cup to keep it in motion. The hand just flicks the cup backwards, and it will roll all the way around, so that the mouth now faces the performer.

The right hand rolls its cup back first, to reveal the vanish of the ball. Then the left hand rolls its cup back to show that two balls are now underneath it

Both cups are now mouth down again, with the extra ball under the right rap, and two balls are on the table in front of them. Both hands are clearly seen empty.

The right hand now picks up one of the two bails, and places it into the back pocket As you do this, remove the onion from the pocket The patter and timing continues as you also eliminate one of the cups. The left hand picks up the left cup, and places it into the right hand (and over the fruit, as before) which places the cup to one side.

One particular aspect of timing that I refer to here involves the nature of taking something from the left hand into the right There should be a definite joining of the hands. The hand returning from behind the body should never have to pause or wait in what seems to be a specific position. Therefore, if there is an ideal meeting point for the hands, the movements and patter should be timed so both hands arrive there at the same time, with no hesitancy on the part of either hand. Your words should properly follow your actions in such a way that the right hand doesn't have to wait behind the back with the fruit for you to eliminate the cup. Also, your steal should be smooth enough so the left hand, and your patter, is not held up waiting for the right hand to come back around to take the cup.

After the cup is loaded, place it to the right, behind the first cup you loaded and eliminated (FIG. 35).

PHASE FOUR: This phase, of course, involves just one cup and one ball. For the first time, we will execute the basic effect of this phase more than one time. But the repetitive aspect of it is done crisply, actually adding to the effect by the quickly repeating effect of the ball reappearing under the cup. In effect, if s somewhat of a summary of what has been taking place all along. One cup is mouth down, and one ball is on the table in front of the cup. The hands are empty.

'^¿GWthaiuu-hir^vnlyoiiehillaiiiioni' cup, everything is easier. ■ A: ■■-.>; on the table, '-re ho:; in left hand. AH I have to do is blow into the hand... and the ball will disappear!"

At this point you will use a wonderful timed perfectly in the routine to get a good laugh, relieve some of the tension caused by the previous deceptions, and to cover the only hand-to-hand transfer of the routine.

The second loaded cup ifi placed behind the fifsL Since both <>., ps are loaded, there is no effort to nest the cups.

The ball is clearly taken into the left hand, which comes up to the mouth to allow you to blow into the hand. The left thumb and index finger are directly against the mouth, and as you blow into the hand, you take a bit longer than necessary for a simple blow. Also, wiggle the fingers in a slightly suspicious way. This is done during the slight pause between the words. "Blow into the hand... and the ball will disappear!"

As you say, "... and the ball will disappear," the left hand moves away from the mouth, and the tongue is pressed into the cheek, as if you slipped the ball into your mouth! Of course, the last five words are spoken a bit garbled to emphasize the humor of the situation.

JrNuw, that VJQS just a joke! I'll do it for real, and I'll even keep my hand way over here. All I Have to do is blow, and the ball wilt disappear, only to reappear inside the cup!"

During the laugh, open the hand, and take the ball with the right hand and display it as you say,"... itwas justajoke!"Then immediately do a fake transfer, retaining the ball in the right hand. The left hand closes, moving arm's length away from the body. Don't rush the move, but do try to execute the patter and fake transfer before the laughter has died down.

Blow toward the left hand, which is held away from the body, and open the hand to show the ball is gone. The left hand now comes down to the cup, tilting it back to show the ball has appeared inside. You will now use a move from David Roth's Chop Cup routine, printed in his lecture notes.

This move is clearly shown in FIGS. x'r and 38. With the extra ball concealed in the right hand, the left hand tilts the cup back to show the other ball underneath. The right hand approaches the ball from the front, and instead of picking the ball up with the fingertips, it flicks the visible ball back underneath the cup, which the left hand returns to a mouth-down-position. The cup covers the original ball, as the right hand moves away, displaying the concealed ball, as if it were the one just underneath the cup. This bold move is absolutely deceptive; enough so that we will use it twice more in rapid succession.

could put it into this pocket, and it would return back to the cup. I could put it into this pocket and it would return. In fact, no matter where I put it, the bftll will return...Because, well, because it's magic!"

We pick up the pace here, as the right hand does a fake transfer into the left hand, actually retaining the ball in right-hand fingerpalm. The left hand pretends to place the ball into the left pocket, then comes back out to tilt the cup back, as before, to show the ball has returned.

Once again execute the Roth move; this time very openly place the ball with the right hand into the right front pants pocket. Actually leave it there, bringing the hand out obviously empty. The left hand tilts the cup back to show the ball under the cup, and again the right hand moves down as if to take the ball. However, you will once again do the Roth move, only this time the right hand does a complete fake, moving away with nothing, but holding the fingers as if it picked the ball up.

At this pointyou are saying, JVo matterwherel putit, theball will return... "as the empty right hand moves to apparently place the ball into the back right pocket. The hand is empty at this point so the steal of the turnip is executed as quickly as possible. Not actually having a ball to place aside can help you obtain the secret load quickly.

The lines, "Because... well, because it's magic," willget a small laugh, and relaxes the audience a bit as the third load is being made. The left hand actually picks the cup up to reveal the ball, and places it into the right hand, which should now be naturally swinging from around the back with the turnip. The right hand is actually taking the cup so the left hand can pick the ball up from the table to display it. The right hand then places the cup back onto the center of the table, mouth down, as the left hand places the ball onto the top of the cup.

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The left hand tips back the cup to reveal the ball underneath, as the right hand approaches f rom the front A ball is palmed in the right hand.

In closing, the right fingers give the visible ball a slight kick backwards, just as the left hand starts to return the cup to the table. At this moment, the right hand allows the ball it was palming to fall to the tips of the

Just as the Jcfthand completely covers the ball with the cup, tine right hand turns palm-up with its ball. When timed right, there is the perfect illusion of the right hand picking up the ball that the left hand revealed under the cup.

"You have been a wonderful audience, and 1 want to thank you for your attention. In return, I would like to surprise you, just one more time. To do this, I'll reintroduce the first two cups, giving us three cups, Utld just one ball. A situation like the three shells and the pea game. Would it surprise you if I could make this ball completely disappear, and return to any cup you named?"

The last attempt to set up the final loads as a complete surprise comes in the delivery of the lines above. The first sentence is delivered as if the show is completely over. (This gives you a chance to thank them, while leaving them time for applause after the final display.) But the important idea behind the above delivery was the result of a conversation with one of my favorite magicians and friends, John Carney.

It seems most magicians, at the end of their routine, just say, "..Andnow, where did these come from!?" ox something to that effect The final impact, the ending, should have some sort of lead-in, and some sort of meaning. Asking people if your final move, however, would be a surprise to them, will almost automatically result in a "no!" they have just seen you do so many wonderful things, that your simple offer shouldn't surprise them. Whenyouhear the "NO "oractually, whatever you hear, stop, look contemplative, and act as if youjust thought of something else that might be more surprising.

"I guess that wouldn't be that surprising HmmniTTim... / know This time I'll put the ball into my pocket AUdjust wave my hand. And when I wave my hand, you never can tell what might turn Up. Get it? Turn-ip?"

As you deliver the above lines, the right the ball from the top of the center cup, and places it into the back pocket, this time taking out the final load, which is the potato. As the right hand is stealing the potato, the left hand waves over the cups, then as you say, "What might turn up..." you lift the center cup to reveal the turnip. The pun helps turn the surprise into laughter and reactions, as the left hand places the cup into the right hand for the final load. This cup is now placed to the far right.

"Of course, we can't forget the onion, or the lemon! And, since you ' ' wonderful, this spud's for you!"

The left hand picks uo the far left cup as the right hand is setting down the cup with the potato in it, to reveal the onion. The right hand then immediately moves to lift the cup which has the lemon in it. To close, both hands nest their cups onto the far right cup, and you lift all three together to reveal the potato just as you deliver the spud line. This one line has worked wonderfully for me, and always insures the routine will end on an entertaining, positive note.

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Responses

  • mehret
    How to introduce fruit into cups in the cups and balls?
    4 years ago

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