Thursday, May 2, 2013

Episode 5 "The Gorilla Grip Balls"

More Review

The classic of the multiplying balls. Think about it, it is actually a wonderful looking trick. Balls appear out of nowhere and vanish the same way. The ball is a symbol of play and naturally most routines come across as playful.

In fact most of these routines are hard to do. The moves have to be choreographed, the face, the body language... all has to look like the most easy thing in the world. And there lies the crutch that we have to rely on. Props that work. In this case balls that don't slip out of the fingers. Ball that easily slip out of the shell. And shells that stick to the balls.

The Gorilla Grip Balls promise that reliability. And they fail. I assume a gorilla grips things very lightly. And a gorilla probably drops stuff all the time.

As I said in the video, the balls do what they promise in the first few weeks. Then the material that these balls are made of changes. It may be the humidity, the dryness or the sun's UV-rays. I really don't know. All I can says is that I don't want to buy a new set every few weeks.

The white balls are terrible. They got a yellow tint after only a few days. The shell doesn't match anymore and suddenly you have an unusable product.

I have performed and created my fair share of ball routines. Some use shells and some don't. So I wanna close this review on a positive note. Any Silk and Ball routine needs the balls to be slightly slippery. In this case the Gorilla Grip Balls might be the thing to use. A white ball, a red ball and the red shell. With a green silk this could actually be something to explore. You can have the white ball penetrating the cloth, vanish and reappear. You could then put away the white ball, which would come back. Then the ball could change to red and so on.

This however would not be part of the initial instruction and would require some basic routine construction that lots of magicians seems to lack.

Here is an attempt of what I'm talking about:

I did that routine for years, in my humble days of busking. I can tell you at least one thing. It plays well. The fact that it is not a card trick may play a big part in this. The bit using the Gozinta Box, the Para Box, the Inner Outer Box or the Lubor Fiedler Box is not part of the original routine. I included this to offer yet another magic way to introduce the ball. The gag that nicely foreshadows the effect of the inner box becoming the outer box is by Tom Mullica.

The actual routine consists of three parts. The first one is the penetration of the ball through the silk, which ends with the vanish of the ball. There a tons of methods out there. The most practical I found was in Jochen Zmeck's Handbuch der Magie, the German magic bible. At page 173 it starts. Following that is a pretty classic repeated appearance of the ball. The basic handling for that you'll find in Frank Garcias sponge ball book. That phase finishes with the appearance of the mandarin. Fruit always plays well. In the past I used one of the lemons I would use anyway for the Cups and Ball. So I got less props and you have a nice little element that strings the show together.

The third phase is a reprise of the first one. But this time the premise is extended to the part where the penetration can be seen half way. This is what got people. And it is necessary to have a spectator take out the ball. The thought of MAGNET is just there. You must not ignore that and need to prove that magnets are not the modus operandi.

In order to do that last phase you have to experiment a little bit. The thickness of the cloth is key. The Gorilla Grip Balls can actually work, but I would be scared to do so, as the balls are heavy. And heavy balls make it much more scary to pull of. The balls in the video are the "Multiplying Golf Balls" a great product by the way.  (just 10 bucks)


  1. Question! are these multiplying golf balls the ones you're referring to?

    Great routine!

  2. Yeah those seem to be the same ones. Glad to see that they make 'em in white now.

  3. I have the yellow ones and I find the shell is noticeably shinier than the ball. Is that something you've found a way to deal with or is it something layfolk just don't notice?
    (Have to admit I picked em up when I was working my way through a basic understanding of the classics and I have never actually performed with them...)