Ross Bertram presenting the Cups and Balls

Don Hudson, who would mentor such renowned directors such as Norman Campbell, Harry Rasky and Norman Jewison, was producing the Wayne and Schuster television show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Wayne and Schuster were internationally acclaimed comedians, based in Toronto, but who would eventually make over twenty-five appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show

Hudson approached Ross Bertram, a Toronto-based magician, about creating and presenting some visually startling close up magic that would be intermixed with live interactive dance sequences. Bertram went on to create a superb magical sequence—surreal at times—using virtuoso cup and ball technique to make balls appear, multiple, vanish and reappear beneath cups coupled with a faux explanation in which miniature dancers appeared to move the objects around.

Learn more about Ross Bertram.

playlist 6 videos

The Oldest Trick in the Book

For this playlist, we have selected five of the many cup and ball routines that reside in The Screening Room.

We have included an elegant, minimalist solution by RENÉ LAVAND, who presents a one cup version called Three Breadcrumbs. How about a hilarious two-cup version by the wild and whacky DAVID WILLIAMSON? We also have a classic three cup and three ball routine, but this one uses steel ball bearings, and is presented by PAUL GERTNER.

To offer variety of the classic version, we also include a famous version, which uses famous voices, presented by magic legend JOHNNY THOMPSON. To round out the set, we have a version where ROSS BERTRAM combines his exceptional sleight-of-hand handling, with television wizardry, as he presents a slightly surreal version—and even a possible solution to the age old question: How does he do it?

Even More

Now, if you are really interested in this particular subject, visit our online exhibition, an immersive and interactive exhibition that explores the history and the magic behind this mystifying mystery. 

And, we have more! There is also this in-depth Take Two essay, by Jamy Ian Swiss, where Mr. Swiss gives you an intense overview and analysis of this beloved magic trick.