From Penn & Teller's MasterClass

Sleight of Hand: The French Drop

Penn & Teller teach the French drop, one of the most fundamental sleight of hand methods. With students watching, they break down the steps of the trick and explain how it’s a building block for hundreds of other tricks.

Topics include: Trick: The French Drop • Sleight of Hand: Adding Grapes


Penn & Teller teach the French drop, one of the most fundamental sleight of hand methods. With students watching, they break down the steps of the trick and explain how it’s a building block for hundreds of other tricks.

Topics include: Trick: The French Drop • Sleight of Hand: Adding Grapes

Penn & Teller

Teach the Art of Magic

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[MUSIC PLAYING] - We're about to teach you the real backbone of magic, the most important move you could learn, the French Drop. We thought before we get some students together, we would show the way we use the French Drop and a few other moves. But mostly, this is all stuff we're going to be teaching. But this is our version of a trick that's known all over the world, perhaps the oldest trick in all of magic, the Cups and Balls. And we've seen this trick in India, Egypt, China. And they all have different props that they use. They use metal cups handed down generation to generation, hand-carved wooden cups, fancy little flocked balls. But we felt as we traveled around the world, we're representing the United States of America, so we used red plastic cups and aluminum foil balls. So this is the totally disposable Cups and Balls. And it goes like this, same way it does all around the world. Take the first ball, place it in our hand, vanish it, and it appears underneath the cup. All around the world to the second ball, put it in our hand, vanish it, and it appears underneath the cup. Take the third-- now here's a little variation that Teller came up with. He takes the ball, places it in his hand, then shows you underneath the cup, yet it still appears underneath the cup. Now we're all set for the next phase. We have three balls, three cups. Take the center ball. Place it under the cup. Take the two side balls. Put them away, but they rejoin in the center cup. I'm just going to take a moment and do a little bit of juggling for you. But then a giant ball is in the center cup, one more on either side, and of course for the finish, it's an American baseball because that's the American Cups and Balls. But after we'd done that for awhile, we thought we should do a more specific Penn and Teller version of the Cups and Balls. And we're known for breaking rules of magic so we thought we'd break a few rules of magic. Now the first rule of magic is you never do the same trick twice. So we're going to do the same trick twice. Second rule of magic is you never tell an audience how a trick is being done. So I'm going to tell you exactly how this trick is being done. The third rule of magic is you never let the audience see your secret preparation. They must not know what is hidden in which pocket. And the fourth rule of magic is unwritten but I believe any magician in the world would agree with us in a second-- that you never ever do the Cups and Balls with clear plastic cups. So here's the Penn and Teller version of the Cups and Balls. We take the first ball, pretend to place it in our hand, and I've already snuck it underneath the first cup. Then the second ball, simultaneously secrete it beneath the cup. Pretend to place it in our hand and show it. Take the third and final ball, pretend to place it in our hand, pretend to show you underneath the cup, but replace it in the cup, and then secretly secrete it and reveal it. Now...

Open your mind with magic

With more than 40 years performing together, Penn & Teller have sold out shows around the world, earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and created the longest-running headline act in Las Vegas. Now the legendary magicians are taking you behind the curtain. Learn fundamental magic tricks and the psychological tools that create amazement, at home or on stage. Expand your perception of the possible.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This class was such a pleasurable and fun time. I truly appreciated Penn and Teller's insider knowledge and candor about the world of magic. They respect the art form, their predecessors, and the audience and it shows in their performance. I'm glad I took this fun class.

Incredible insight into beginners magic, really helped me get a functional routine that was usable for me.

Loved this class. Never would have thought to take a magic class but I watched the preview of it and couldn't resist. I loved not only learning the magic tricks but also Penn and Teller's discussions of magic, particularly on the ethics of magic. Wonderful.

A rope trick, Cups and balls from a master. A lot about performance.


Brett G.

Was expecting MUCH more from this "pro" series, and for the price of admission, I should have gotten much more. It was OK for the most novice and beginner of folks who want to start learning how to preform magic tricks. I would not recommend this series to anyone who really wants to be a magician, since there are much better DVDs by other professional magicians who provide dozens of truly dazzling tricks along with all of the instructions on how to perform them.

Tracy R.

Making magic accessible in a fun and entertaining way. And is great to hear his voice!

Julie S.

Its really great, I think the new standard for Masterclasses... EXCEPT functionally when you pause the lesson the dialog box covers up what I need to see to practice Teller's move (which has been stated below) .

A fellow student

Who were the people there? Did they volunteer? Did they need to pay? Were they invited? How? Thanks!


It's so simple but it is a powerful trick. Did it with a coin since I have no tinfoil at the moment and the effect is much the same.

stephen A.

ive been a magician for 20 years. Normally doing street stuff and close up. This is so clearly taught and penn and teller are amazing guys. Met them both two weeks ago at the show here in san antonio and i knew right then and there i was buying this lesson

A fellow student

I got to practice these tricks on my family. I am now excited to show friends. - Martin, 9 years old.

A fellow student

It looks easy as pie... but for the first five or ten minutes, the French Drop can be a somewhat difficult slight to grasp. At first, it doesn't seem to feel right the way you use your thumbs. I'm personally ALL THUMBS when it comes to slights, and have always had issues... watching Teller explain this over and over the way he did helped me figure out what I'd been doing wrong for years and getting caught. It's all about the fingers... not the thumbs... lol Great Lesson! Watched it three times so far...

Shaugn D.

I teach High School Business Education and Computer Science. As we roll into the last week of the year, we are into snow make-up days and the Seniors have already graduated. There was very little in the way of motivation to learn on the part of my Juniors with half the class gone. After seeing a couple of trailers on YouTube, I've taken this series and integrated it into a week-long lesson on communicating to and working with groups and audiences. Penn & Teller's lessons in magic are the hook and the main thread. I'm learning a ton and my students are enthralled. We are all eager to learn the next element. Completely worth every nickel out of my pocket. This is going to become an annual feature for my classes. Thanks to both gentlemen for creating this resource.

Seti J.

I have zero interest in doing magic... I am here for the writing classes. Decided to stick my head in and see what was happening in here. 100% worth the subscription price...