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Golden Shells Review

Official Review

December 29th, 2002 11:31pm
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
These are very elegant and beautiful shells. They scream of quality, however they may not be your cup of tea.

The shells are VERY heavy, and you might not care for that. I personally enjoy the heft and find it works well with my style of handling. It is very difficult to pick up all three shells simultaneously between the fingers for either display or for the one handed switch. But if you don't mind that, then these are great.

Regardless of how well the shells are made, it really is the peas that steal the show. You can't make these little buggers stay under the shell, I don't care what surface one which you are working. They are perfect for any surface you can imagine.

Having said that, I would still advise staying away from hard surfaces. Why? Well, with a soft surface the weight of the shell pushes the pea down and it pops out silently. On hard surfaces the pea will lift the back of the shell ever so slightly and you will get a little "thunk" as the shell hits the table.

Is this a bad thing? Depends on where you are planning to do this.

Also, these peas require that you know your routine cold; or have spent a lot of time with the shells and can improvise moves like a master. You see, the pea WILL pop out, so you have to know where it is and where you want it to be. If you push the wrong shell at the wrong time, you and your audience will have a surprise on your hands.

Is this a good thing? Well, if you know your act, it's no problem. Personally I prefer the reliability of these consistent peas and think a little work to memorize a routine is a worthy sacrifice on several accounts.

One little secret. Try to buy the shells in person. Lay them on a table cloth and rub them back and forth. The plating occasionally produces little burrs that will catch the cloth. If you get a bad set, ask for a different. Tiny burrs will wear down over use.

So, how do you rate a set of shells. After all, in some ways they are a blank canvas, it's what YOU do with them. But then again a neutral 3 doesn't capture the beauty of these props. Quality wise, impression wise, outfit wise they easily deserve 5 stars...if you like heavy shells.

So, since so many reviews tend to skew to the upper rating I'll give a happy 4 1/2 stars. They really are a thing of beauty and a worker's dream. If you desire to work with only the finest for tools, as far as shells goes, these may be them.

Product info for Golden Shells

Author: Haydn, Whit
Publisher: School for Scoundrels
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $100.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

The shell design of this shell game set was crafted by Whit Haydn to perfectly augment the use of the Perfect Peas. Perfect Peas are based on the hard rubber peas used by grifters since the 1860's. These hard peas are superior to the foam, latex, and latex-covered foam peas favored by magicians during the last 50 years since they never wear out or lose their friction and can be used on any performing surface including glass, wood, or marble. Whit's shell design incorporates all of the little-known features of the street artist which make the use of the shells easier and more deceptive. They include the Chanin Dip; a slight curve of the bottom of the shell that is barely noticeable. When the forefinger pushes down on the front of the shell the back lifts slightly making the exit of the pea smooth and effortless. The outside back of each shell is rounded at a specific height that causes the pea to be pulled under the shell when the shell is moved back into contact. The inside back of each shell has a deep, flat, nearly perpendicular wall that prevents the shell from rolling on the pea when it is loaded and released. At the back of the shell is a slight indentation that looks like the spot at which the twig would have been connected. This indentation gives the pea a little more room to exit the shell. The front of the shells interior is angled so that the pea can be easily felt and controlled for moves like the roll flash. The Golden Shells are cast of pewter and heavily (QVC quality) gold plated. The extra weight of these shells is an asset in moves such as the Kick-Steal and the expensive look and feel makes them perfect for the most elegant of performing situations. Top trade-show magician and underground legend Bob Kohler notes that the gold-plated shells resemble expensive Godiva Chocolates wrapped in gold foil. At his trade shows, the ladies tend to come up to the shells and pick them up thinking they are premiums or "give-aways." "What are these?" they ask. Bob says, "Let me show you..." and the show is off to a start. The Golden Shells have been used by such well known performers as Johnny Thompson, Lennart Green, Bob Sheets, Rich Marotta, Phil Cass, Paul Green, Gazzo and many others. All shell sets come with a suede carrying bag, a shot glass that fits correctly over a shell, and a set of Perfect Peas.

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