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Bibliography & Reference Guide to Benson Bowl Style Routines

              Benson By Starlight
Image courtesy The Miracle Factory

Compiled by Doug Atkinson (email:

Last update: Mar 2015 - All new (transferred from the Chop Cup/Single Cup references, and new items added)

I used to combine the Benson Bowl style routines with the Chop Cup & Single Cup routines, but I think there are enough references to make a separate category. Also, the moves used in a Benson Bowl routine are usually quite different than most of the Chop Cup moves. The Benson Bowl routine was made famous by Roy Benson.

The following is a partial list of books, videos, and products for Benson Bowl style routines and products. Any prices listed are just estimates based on old and new references and are not likely to be accurate. They are provided only as a general benchmark.

Please note that none of these items are for sale from this website. This listing is provided for informational purposes only and many of these items listed here are likely to be no longer available.

Jump (on this page) to: BOOKS     VIDEOS     PRODUCTS


Alan, Don: Pretty Sneaky. 1956, softcover, Ireland Magic, 48 pages. Includes Bowl or Cup Load: a silk production ending for bowl or cups & balls routine using a paper napkin (originally designed for Don's Bowl routine)

Behnke, Leo: Magic City Library of Magic Volume 9 Sponge Balls. 1991, softcover, Magic City, 32 pages. Includes A Bowl Routine on page 12.

Benson, Roy: Benson on Magic. 1972, softcover, Benson, 23 pages. Lecture notes includes Roy Benson's Ball and Bowl Routine.

Biro, Pete: The Tomato Trick. As performed by Rezvani. Similar to Benson Bowl routine, using red sponge balls instead of tomatoes. Includes a reprint of Rezvani's routine with notes by Pete.

Biro, Pete: BOWLing With The Stars. Softcover. Ideas and routines with the Bowl, from Roy Benson, Johnny Thompson, Shigeo Takagi, Albert Goshman, Don Alan and Rezvani. Including a Johnny Thompson routine and Pete's version using a rubber Plumber's Helper.

Caveny, Mike: Magicomedy 1981, hardcover, Magical Publications, 171 pages. Includes Benson Plunger, a Benson Bowl routine using a toilet bowl plunger & sponge balls (I'd recommend not using a used plunger!)

Edwards, Doug: Nukes. Hardcover, 154 pages. Non card magic, includes a critical detail in Roy Benson's legendary "Benson Bowl" routine that has never been discussed publicly

Elliot, Bruce: Classic Secrets of Magic. This book contains lots of great instruction and includes a Benson Bowl routine. Also includes chapters on card revelations, water, paddle moves (knives), 4 Ace routines, Miser's Dream, Egg Bag, Chink-A-Chink, 2 billiard ball routines, ambitious cards, and cups & balls (simple through gimmicked), and more. 266 pages.

Ganson, Lewis: The Art of Close Up Volume 1. 1969, hardcover, L&L Publishing (reprint), 401 pages. Includes Chinese Chow (Fred Kaps): Inspired by the Roy Benson's Bowl routine and Senator Crandall's Cups and Balls (from Tarbell's course). A routine using a Chinese bowl, a chopstick wand, and four sponge balls, with a lemon and orange climax. And also: Rice Bowls and Balls (Phoa Yan Tong): Another Bowl and Sponge ball routine with rubber ball climax.

Harris, Paul: Paul Harris Reveals Some of His Most Intimate Secrets. 1976, softcover, Rainbow Magic Machine. Includes The Super Bowl by Patrick Snowden--A Benson Bowl style routine involving bowl, wand, four red sponge balls, one black, and one large load for the climax.

Jensen, Jon: Professional Sponge Ball Tricks Volume 2: 2000, softcover, Murphy's Magic. Contains 13 complete routines including: The Benson Bowl Routine.

Joro, Bruno Hennig: Joros Schwamm Ball Becher Spiel (In German). 1976 (circa), softcover, Joro, 3 pages. a spongeball Benson Bowl routine. (entry courtesy Dietrick Keller at

Kaps, Fred: It's So Simple. Magic Circle lecture on audio tape. Includes Coin and Glass Routine; Coins and Cup; Topit Vanisher; Palming Coins; Cigarette To Coin; The Hoo Coin; The Tie Topit; Secret Pockets; What's New; Sail Through A Crisis; Princess Card Trick; Three Jokers; Chinese Bowl and Chopstick Move; Ring Through Silk; Ring Off String; and more

Kaufman, Richard: Paul Gertner's Steel and Silver. 1994, hardcover, Kaufman & Greenberg, 213 pages. Many excellent routines including: Triple Die-lemma, a routine with dice which climaxes with progressively larger dice being produced (final load is four inches square). Based on Roy Benson Bowl Routine and includes "Two-in-the-hand, One-in-the-pocket" phase.

Levent and Todd Kar: Roy Benson by Starlight. 2006, hardcover, The Miracle Factory. This 800 page book contains over fifty incredible effects and sleights, including chapters on Cards, Coins, Balls, Close-Up, and Stage Magic. Routines include the Benson Bowl Routine, Ring on Stick, Long Salt Pour, Billiard Balls, Benson Linking Ring Routine, Benson Rice Bowls, The Hugard Newspaper Tear, and much. more. Also includes the complete text of two Benson books The Second Oldest Profession and Benson on Magic, a complete biography of Roy Benson, and a section on Benson's teacher, Nate Leipzig. The Miracle Factory

Lorayne, Harry: Apocalypse Volumes 11-15. 2001, hardcover, L&L Publishers, 719 pages. Includes Chopsticks and Sponges (Alexander De Cova): a sponge ball steal using chopsticks for use in a Benson Bowl routine (page 1755)

Marcom, Ralph A.: Marcom Presents Magic. 1979, softcover, Magic, Inc. Original routines with macabre themes. Includes Keeping Abreast - a Benson-Bowl and Four Sponges routine with an "adult" ending; The Lively Leprechaun - using a Dice-cup Chop cup and themed around leprechauns; The Life and Loves of Lucinda Ladybug and the Hallucinogenic Mushroom: a variation with a Chop cup resembling a mushroom, and ladybugs and a frog

Norton, Coe: Lecture Notes. 1972, softcover, Magic, Inc., 16 pages. The Bowl The Balls and the Wand: a sort-of multiplying balls with sponge balls (page 11)

Page, Patrick: Magic by Gosh: Life and Times of Albert Goshman. 1985, hardcover, Albert Goshman. Includes the A.G. Benson Bowl Routine, and much more.

Page, Patrick: Patrick's Pages of Magic. 1976, softcover, Magic, Inc., 33 pages. Includes Tambo Tambo: using a tamborine in a Benson Bowl routine (page 3)

Pierce, Lance: Magic of John Cornelius. 2001, hardcover, L&L Publishing, 181 pages. Includes John's The Ball, the Bowl, and the Big, Big, Cake - a Benson Bowl routine for the stage with a production finish.

Pierce, Lance: The World-Famous Bowl Routine. 2005, Lance Pierce, 89 pages. This routine begins as a Bill in Lemon routine, which segues into the Benson Bowl Routine with a lemon production finale (wherein the bill is found). Also includes "Sponge!" commercial sponge ball routine.

Poland, Ellison: Wonderful Routines of Magic. 1969, hardcover, Poland, 245 pages. Includes Black's Bowl Routine, a Benson Bowl style routine using sponges, a shallow brass bowl, and a final load.

Racherbaumer, Jon: In a Class By Himself, The Legacy of Don Alan. 2000, hardcover, L&L Publishing, 296 pages. A broad collection of the magic of Don Alan. Includes Lean Mean Chop Cup, and Benson Bowl.

Rix, Claude: Claude Rix Presents Original Close Up Routines. 1980s, softcover, I Saw That!, 30 pages. Includes Le Jeu Des Tomates (The Tomato Game): Benson bowl type routine with two bowls (page 22)

Stone, Tom: Vortex. 2010, hardcover, Hermetic Press, 270 Pages. Includes Benson Burner, which transforms "Benson's Bowl" into a striking stage piece with a visually stunning final production

Thompson, John: Polished Polish Prestidigitation 1981, softcover, Busby Magic. Includes Benson Bowl, Benson's Bowl, John Thompson's professional handling and presentation of Roy Benson's classic 'Bowl Routine'

Thompson, J.G.: Top Secrets of Magic. 1956, softcover, Tannen Magic, 125 pages. Includes a section on Cups & Balls with three routines, one using gimmicked paper cups and minimal sleights, one using standard cups, and some ending moves for the Benson Bowl routine

Tong, Dan: Dan Tong's Restaurant & Table Magic. 1970, softcover, Tong, 18 pages. Includes Bills & Bowl, A Benson Bowl style effect with wadded bills, a Chopstick, and a small bowl

Trickshop: Benson Bowl Routine. 2005, e-Book, Uses an ungimmicked bowl and sponges. Entire routine requires just one, easy-to-learn move (Roy Benson's "retention of vision" vanish). Manuscript includes Background, Overview of Roy Benson's Routine, Properties, The Benson Sponge Move, Set-up, Performance and more.  Willmarth, Phil: Trevor Lewis ESOLC (That's Close Up). 1981 softcover, Standridge Magic, 98 pages. Includes: Tervor's Benson Bowl Routine: with bowl, 4 sponges, and toy plastic dinner roll; and Commercial Chop Cup routine: A quick, straightforward non-insulting routine with double end load

Willmarth, Phil (editor): Trevor Lewis ESOLC (That's Close Up). 1981, softcover, Standridge Magic, 98 pages. Includes Tervor's Benson Bowl Routine: with bowl, 4 sponges, and toy plastic dinner roll. Three sponge balls appear beneath the bowl. The balls travel from hand to bowl, and eventually the roll is discovered.


Alan, Don: Greater Magic V28. Includes Chop Cup, rising cards, nickel on forehead, cigarette through quarter, invisible deck, little to big cards, big deal, 3 1/2 of clubs, card stab, Ranch bird, scotch & soda, Don Alan's bowl, Don Alan's big Nut production, Coat Hanger from Purse, Ring Flight, Fez Load (not all explained). Stevens Magic

Cornelius, John: Creative Magic. DVD. 85 minutes. Includes Sponge Bowl.

Daryl: Master Course Sponge Balls, Vol 3. DVD. Includes Benson Bowl Routine.

De Cova, Alexander: Treasures Vol 2: Blank Cheque Transpo, Chopstick Vanish (improvements on classic Benson bowl routine), and more. $25 Steven's Magic

Giobbi, Roberto
: Taped Live at the 7th British Close Up Magic Symposium. 112min. Wild Business, The Peek, Master Grip, Miracle Prediction, Card to Wallet, Sponge Ball and Bowl Routine, LePaul Envelope Nest $29.95

Goshman, Albert: Albert Goshman Live at the Kennedy DVD-R. From 1985. Performance only of: Salt Shaker, Sponge Balls, Coins Through Table, Chink-A-Chink, Nudist Deck, Benson Bowl, Rising Card. $45 Meir Yedid Magic

Mendoza, John: My Best Volume 2 DVD Bowl Routine (Roy Benson routine with an in the spectator's hands portion); Bendix Bombshell (2 signed cards to wallet; no palm routine good for strolling); Have You Ever Heard Of (three & four card Monte moving toward production of four Aces); Coins Thru the Table; Vernon Cups and Balls (Vernon's used as a starting point); Multiplying Bunnies (sponges); Automatic Deck (Ace production); Three Card Monte (ungimmicked cards); Translocation (four coins hand to hand); Barry Nelson's Flash Cups (a 20 second Cups and Balls routine). 1hr 58mins.

Page, Patrick
: Secret Seminars of Magic Volume 5: Sponge Balls DVD. Sponge ball vanishes, productions, color changes, Benson Bowl routine, Professional routine, and more. 12.50 L&L Publishing

Schneider, Al: Al Schneider Cups and Balls. DVD L&L Publishing. 1 Hour, 40 minutes. Includes 3X4 Bowl Routine - The goal of this experiment was to take single bowl routines not only to the next level but to the extreme. The name of the game is rapid repetition featuring just about every effect possible with sponge balls. They disappear, reappear, penetrate up and down...and they do it extremely fast. There are fourteen...yes, fourteen...separate magical occurrences in this one routine.

Thompson, Johnny:
Commercial Classics of Magic V1. Balls & Net, Coins through Table, Han Ping Chien Coin Trick, Winged Silver, Copper & Silver Transposition, Vanishing Glass, Benson's Bowl Routine, Matching the Cards, Automatic Aces $29.95 L&L Publishing

Tomosini, The Great: Greater Magic V21. Stage Act performance, Roy Benson Bowl Routine, Universal Card, Garbage Collector, Translation Deck, You're the Polish Magician, Dove production Steven's Magic

Tong, Danny: Dan Tong Finally Volume I includes: Card To Wallet (simple no palm approach); Bill Matrix (coin assembly); Sponge Balls with an in-the-spectator's hands portion; Ring Flight/Ring on Stick; an additional Matric routine; and Bill & Bowls (Benson bowl routine with borrowed bills and a sugar bowl)

Various: World's Greatest Magic Close Up Magic Volume 3. DVD. L&L Publishing. Includes John Mendoza's Bowl Routine and Larry Jennings' Single Cup and Ball


Note:  as the Benson Bowl is not typically gimmicked, you can usually pick up suitable bowls from kitchen gadget departments.

Benson Bowl & Spongeball Routine
(with DVD) $80. Comes with bowl, the "Growing Ball", (4) - 1.5 inch sponge balls, (1) - 34 inch multi-colored thumb tip streamer, purse frame, thumb tip, and DVD. Please note: The DVD in this package appears to be a DVD-R; it may not play in all machines.

Benson, Roy: Benson Bowl Routine. The classic effect using a bowl and sponges and a Chop stick, somewhat like a one cup routine.

Hansen, Eric: Birch Burl Benson Bowl. With Chop Cup feature.

RNT2: Benson Bowl. Available in 24kt Gold, Brass, Copper/Chrome, Copper/Nickel, Copper/Mirror. Each some with sponge balls, the Don Alan routine, and a Velour carrying bag.