What accounts for the longevity of this classic? A recent survey has been touted that suggests that the public supposedly dislikes the classics of magic. The results of this survey mean—well, absolutely nothing to me, because the survey simply measures participants’ preconceived notions about magic. I, for one, have no interest in creating art based on random surveys or focus groups; I’ll leave that to lousy summer blockbuster movies.
Cups and Balls
Louis Tannen, the founder and original proprietor of Tannen’s Magic in Manhattan, was the first person to teach me sleight of hand. He taught me sponge balls when I was about ten or eleven years old, and later dice stacking, and the Chop Cup. By the time I was about 13 I was performing the Chop Cup for my parents’ friends at home cocktail parties, behind our four-stool home bar....
Paul Gertner performs his celebrated version of the classic "Cups and Balls" using steel ball bearings. Recorded by Larry Thornton in San Francisco, CA.
Johnny Ace Palmer performing the Cups and Balls at a private recording session in Los Angeles, CA in 1978. Later in his career, he would become known for performing the Cups using live baby chicks.
Filmed by Larry Thornton
Johnny Thompson performs the cups & balls on The Magic Palace.