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Topic: Vernon-broken arms?
Message: Posted by: kcg5 (Mar 18, 2009 02:27PM)
I recently heard a story about Vernon and how he broke both his arms working the "docks" in his early days. Any one know anything about this?
Message: Posted by: jackstevens (Mar 18, 2009 02:30PM)
Construction site. Check the Ben biography.
Message: Posted by: Steven Youell (Mar 18, 2009 02:43PM)
I think it's also in the Final Volume of The Vernon Chronicles...

SEY
Message: Posted by: Chris SD (Mar 18, 2009 05:14PM)
Or try "The Spirit of Magic", the documentary that aired on Canadian television.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 18, 2009 06:22PM)
There is some specualtion as to the veracity of that story (not by me, mind you), but it does appear in the sources mentioned above.
Message: Posted by: Chris SD (Mar 18, 2009 06:46PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-18 19:22, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
There is some specualtion as to the veracity of that story (not by me, mind you), but it does appear in the sources mentioned above.
[/quote]

Out of curiosity, what's their argument?

There's a rather convincing photograph of Vernon in a hospital bed (with one arm in a cast and the other in a sling) performing a hands off card effect for a cute nurse.
Message: Posted by: redeagle (Mar 18, 2009 07:22PM)
So what's the point, we all know it wasn't sleight of hand....he did REAL magic!
Message: Posted by: rhomes (Mar 18, 2009 08:02PM)
The Ben biography starts and ends with this. Says he was hired as a Supervisor of the construction project in New York. Went to help a worker carry a heavy bucket, the board he was walking on broke, and he fell six stories down into the water. Since his arms were broken, he couldn't grab the lifelines people threw him, finally hooked a loop of a line around a foot and got dragged ashore. Doctors wanted him to sign a waiver allowing them to amputate one of his arms which they were thinking of doing. He refused. He was 41 years old. The construction job was the first "real" job he ever had!! His wife made him take it. I guess she and he both learned their lesson!
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 18, 2009 08:06PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-18 19:46, Chris SD wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-03-18 19:22, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
There is some specualtion as to the veracity of that story (not by me, mind you), but it does appear in the sources mentioned above.
[/quote]

Out of curiosity, what's their argument?

There's a rather convincing photograph of Vernon in a hospital bed (with one arm in a cast and the other in a sling) performing a hands off card effect for a cute nurse.
[/quote]

Their argument is not that his arms were broken, but rather whether the tale of HOW they were broken is accurate. I have no trouble believing the story as related in the above sources, as no one has ever offered enough proof to make me think otherwise.

There has, however, been more than a little specualtion from a number of "name" guys in magic (I'll let them make themselves known, should they choose to do so). These people find the story of the wheelbarrow/bucket and fall, shall we say, a bit thin and convenient, as Vernon was widely known for his distaste of physical labor. These folks (I am NOT one of them!), suggest that it is more likely that he tried to see if some of his sleights would go unnoticed under fire in actual gambling. They believe that Vernon was "caught out" by some very tough characters, who decided to teach him a lesson and broke both of his arms. To avoid embarrassment, so say these speculators, he made up the story of the fall at the construction site.

Again, I for one have no reason to subscribe to this theory. But I know some heavy hitters who do.

As to his wife "making" Vernon take the job, well, if you're familiar with the story of "the long sleep" it seems unlikely she was able to "make" him do anything.
Message: Posted by: MickeyPainless (Mar 18, 2009 08:17PM)
The gambling story sounds cooler!
Message: Posted by: kcg5 (Mar 18, 2009 08:31PM)
Scott, that is exactly why I was asking. I also know nothing first hand of course, but have heard odd things.
Message: Posted by: Chris SD (Mar 18, 2009 08:32PM)
Scott, that seems plausible. Thanks for the info.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Mar 19, 2009 12:10AM)
How to get a life with an old deck: By Dia Vernon

Take an old deck write on the faces a present simple verb followed by a noun or noun phrase. For example:

Card 1: eat octopus
Card 2: play tennis
Card 3: travel to Russia
Card 4: climb a mountain
Card 5: break your arms
Card 6: see a UFO
Card 7: meet a movie star
Card 8: catch a fish
Card 9: win the lottery
Card 10: see a ghost
Card 11: keep a secret
Card 12: fly a kite
Etc till you have filled in 52

Now shuffle and cut the deck and do what it says.

:)
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 19, 2009 12:15AM)
Ask Derek Vernon about it.

Speaking of broken things I asked Marty Nash if he felt he had any physical attributes that helped him with his amazing skills with cards. He told me he didn't think so but he did break all his fingers when he worked lumber, cool huh? I can't remember what it is now but Vernon said there was some benefit that he gained in some aspect from the broken arms, he also said that the docs wanted to amputate and he vetod the idea.
Message: Posted by: Ben Train (Mar 19, 2009 05:35AM)
Coincidence?

I was playing basketball last night and injured myself pretty bad. I'm struggling right now to move my right arm (I injured my shoulder and neck) and the pain is so bad I couldn't sleep (yes, I'm posting this for sympathy. Ladies?)

The real question is though:

Vernon reincarnate (or this guy- http://www.fugly.com/media/IMAGES/Random/cute_little_guy_with_broken_arm.jpg )?

Don't answer that.

Ben "going to TFD in a few days, and you should too" Train
Message: Posted by: skillzilla (Mar 19, 2009 05:48AM)
Whats the story of the long sleep?
Message: Posted by: Ben Train (Mar 19, 2009 05:53AM)
Hey Skill,

first, grab Ben's biography on Vernon. It's not only got the full story, but it's an AMAZING read (might be one of the finest books on magic history ever written).

So, as far as I remember, Vernon jammed all day and night (possibly with Cliff Green) for a couple of days, and then took a nap... that lasted something like 3 straight days.

I'll let someone who remembers the story a little better fill in the details (or correct me).

Ben
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Mar 19, 2009 09:27AM)
No, not quite. Vernon had made arrangements with Faucett Ross to go traveling. Jeanne didn't want him to leave; he spent little enough time home as it was. Faucett came to pick Vernon up, Jeanne became very upset and told him he couldn't leave, and Vernon said that if he stayed, he would do nothing but go into his room and sleep. And for the next three days, that's apparently what he did. Every time Jeanne checked on him, he was in bed, apparently asleep. He didn't get up to eat or anything else. When Faucett returned at the end of his trip, Jeanne told him that he'd not been up. Faucett went into Vernon's room and woke him up. Vernon got up, stretched and was apparently ready to start his day.

I've heard two plausible explanations for this tale. One close associate of Vernon's told me that Neepie brought him food and Jeanne never knew about it. Vernon was able to fool her for three straight days and was never caught getting up and about or practicing, as he most assuredly did all day long.

The other is that Jeanne was actually in on it, and it was a ruse to fool Faucett. Vernon and Faucett loved playing jokes on each other, and this may have been just another one.

[quote]Ask Derek Vernon about it.[/quote]

His name is actually Derek Verner, if anyone cares to look him up.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Mar 19, 2009 11:44AM)
[quote]On 2009-03-19 06:35, Ben Train wrote:
Coincidence?

I was playing basketball last night and injured myself pretty bad. I'm struggling right now to move my right arm (I injured my shoulder and neck) and the pain is so bad I couldn't sleep (yes, I'm posting this for sympathy. Ladies?)[/quote]
Have a doctor check it. A competent one.

I did something similar about 20 years ago and when I had our HMO-assigned doctor check it he said it was just a strain. Years later when I had my second ACL replaced the surgeon looked at me and asked, "When did you tear your rotator cuff?" He x-rayed it and showed me where it had been torn. It's too late now to repair it, and it's still bothersome.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Smith (Mar 19, 2009 11:54AM)
One of the best accounts of the broken arm story and other Vernon escapades is in The Magician and the Card Sharp by Karl Johnson available in bookstores and amazon.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 19, 2009 01:46PM)
You may want to talk to Derek, he uses the name Vernon when ever I run across him.
Message: Posted by: jackstevens (Mar 19, 2009 02:17PM)
MagicSanta are you saying the Johnson book is inaccurate?
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Mar 19, 2009 03:16PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-19 14:46, MagicSanta wrote:
You may want to talk to Derek, he uses the name Vernon when ever I run across him.
[/quote]

He will answer to the name because a lot of magicians aren't smart enough to know the difference, but on the magic boards on which he's participated, he's clearly gone by Derek Verner; for the articles he's written for model railroads and other subjects, his byline is D. Derek Verner; in the television special [i]The Spirit of Magic[/i], he went by Verner; and Verner is his given name.

According to the canon, Vernon didn't even choose the name Vernon. It was just easier to go with it in the face of the repeated misprints of his name in the media. Oddly, the name Marlo came about in a similar way, since he originally chose the name "Marko," and a misprint forced him to go with the name we know now.
Message: Posted by: Gary Plants (Mar 19, 2009 03:26PM)
The "Long Sleep" story is told in the "Magic of Faucett Ross" book.
Message: Posted by: Ben Train (Mar 19, 2009 06:14PM)
Yup, that's the story.

Sorry, I had completely forgotten this yarn! Should think a little harder before I post...

Ben
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 19, 2009 07:32PM)
If you wish to discuss Vernon I can do so just as well as the next guy. I'm aware of Vernons real name, how it came about, all that good stuff. I'm also telling you the amazingly cranky Derek often uses the name Vernon, not legally, but he certainly has pride in who his father was...depending on when you catch him. One thing, those that do not know Vernons last name was Verner has nothing to do with their being 'smart', there isn't an inherent knowledge of Dai Vernon, it just means they have not read up on the man.

Jack, I'm not sure what you are asking, accurate about what? From what I understand, if you mean how he broke his arms, he got a job an an inspector at construction sites and the scaffling collapsed and he ended up breaking both arms.
Message: Posted by: rhomes (Mar 19, 2009 07:46PM)
[quote]
There has, however, been more than a little specualtion from a number of "name" guys in magic (I'll let them make themselves known, should they choose to do so). These people find the story of the wheelbarrow/bucket and fall, shall we say, a bit thin and convenient, as Vernon was widely known for his distaste of physical labor. These folks (I am NOT one of them!), suggest that it is more likely that he tried to see if some of his sleights would go unnoticed under fire in actual gambling. They believe that Vernon was "caught out" by some very tough characters, who decided to teach him a lesson and broke both of his arms. To avoid embarrassment, so say these speculators, he made up the story of the fall at the construction site.
Again, I for one have no reason to subscribe to this theory. But I know some heavy hitters who do.

As to his wife "making" Vernon take the job, well, if you're familiar with the story of "the long sleep" it seems unlikely she was able to "make" him do anything.
[/quote]

Well, that sure beats the h*** out of the Ben biography's main talking point! But I still like the idea that Vernon refused to allow them to amputate.... if that's true....
Message: Posted by: jackstevens (Mar 19, 2009 08:17PM)
MagicSanta I misunderstood your post, I thought you were refering me to Derek because the construction site story perhaps wasn't true. Anyway, same as you, true or not, that's the story I've always heard.
Message: Posted by: Chamberlain (Mar 19, 2009 08:39PM)
The gamblers breaking his arms story is a hell of a lot more interesting than him falling working construction, which seems strange considering you'd think for someone who was a pro at silhouette cutting he'd want to keep his hands in good condition.

Daniel Madison used that whole "an ex card cheat who got caught and put into hospital" bs which I've never bought. If it is true, show me the money baby, SHOW ME THE MONEY.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 19, 2009 08:53PM)
If you read Vernons column from Genii he (I think released as The Vernon Touch in book form) he says how he broke his arms and you can see his comments.

I refer to Derek because he has an interesting perspective of many events that is different that anyone else. I love the old guy, cranky he may be.
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Mar 20, 2009 01:14AM)
[quote]If you wish to discuss Vernon I can do so just as well as the next guy. I'm aware of Vernons real name, how it came about, all that good stuff. I'm also telling you the amazingly cranky Derek often uses the name Vernon, not legally, but he certainly has pride in who his father was...depending on when you catch him. One thing, those that do not know Vernons last name was Verner has nothing to do with their being 'smart', there isn't an inherent knowledge of Dai Vernon, it just means they have not read up on the man. [/quote]

I'm not lecturing you. I just know that we're not the only two people on this board, so I put things out there for the benefit of others as well.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 20, 2009 01:24AM)
Good man....they should all know about Vernon any way. Over the years I keep noticing how he effected my view on magic.
Message: Posted by: edh (Mar 20, 2009 07:19PM)
[quote]According to the canon, Vernon didn't even choose the name Vernon. It was just easier to go with it in the face of the repeated misprints of his name in the media. Oddly, the name Marlo came about in a similar way, since he originally chose the name "Marko," and a misprint forced him to go with the name we know now. [/quote]

OpenT, if Marlo originally chose "Marko" then what was Marlo's real name?

Serious question.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 20, 2009 08:58PM)
Ed "The Hit Man" Mawlowski (spelling may be off).
Message: Posted by: Steven Youell (Mar 20, 2009 09:25PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-20 02:14, Open Traveller wrote:
I'm not lecturing you. I just know that we're not the only two people on this board, so I put things out there for the benefit of others as well.[/quote]

Is it just me or are people on the Café getting really cranky?

SEY
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 20, 2009 10:00PM)
Open Traveller Open Traveller....second deal?
Message: Posted by: dai_vernon (Mar 20, 2009 11:08PM)
Ok that was funny....lol
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Mar 20, 2009 11:18PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-20 23:00, MagicSanta wrote:
Open Traveller Open Traveller....second deal?
[/quote]

Sorry, I don't get it.

edh, his original name was Edward Malikowski.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 21, 2009 12:15AM)
See, good thing I questioned my spelling. Shall I notify Wikapedia, the magic directory, and other on line sources that they spelled his name wrong or shall ye?
Message: Posted by: joseph (Mar 21, 2009 05:04AM)
If you have the Johnny Thompson video set (You should.), Johnny mentions Vernon's construction accident ...
Message: Posted by: edh (Mar 21, 2009 11:32AM)
Thanks for the info guys.
Message: Posted by: voe (Mar 23, 2009 11:49PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-19 12:54, Jonathan Smith wrote:
One of the best accounts of the broken arm story and other Vernon escapades is in The Magician and the Card Sharp by Karl Johnson available in bookstores and amazon.
[/quote]

Why is this book not mentioned more, it is one of my favorite books of all time.
Message: Posted by: rhomes (Mar 23, 2009 11:59PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-19 21:53, MagicSanta wrote:
If you read Vernons column from Genii he (I think released as The Vernon Touch in book form) he says how he broke his arms and you can see his comments.
[/quote]

I have the Vernon Touch book, it is a collection of his Genii columns, it is a surprisingly big book. He wrote a column a month from the 60's to the 90's!! Worst thing about it -- no index!! Thus, no easy way to find his comments about broken arms, or anything else he wrote. What a shame....
Message: Posted by: rhomes (Mar 24, 2009 04:52AM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-24 00:59, rhomes wrote:

I have the Vernon Touch book, it is a collection of his Genii columns, it is a surprisingly big book. He wrote a column a month from the 60's to the 90's!! Worst thing about it -- no index!! Thus, no easy way to find his comments about broken arms, or anything else he wrote. What a shame....
[/quote]

Well, this is embarassing, but my statement about no index was flat wrong! I just checked the book and it does have one. I must have been thinking about a different book. Anyway, the index is still lacking a lot of potential entries, it mainly lists names of people and effects. There were no entries for "arms", "amputation", "accident", "construction", "job", "hospital", etc. So, still couldn't find any comments on the broken arms story.
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Mar 24, 2009 10:09AM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-21 01:15, MagicSanta wrote:
See, good thing I questioned my spelling. Shall I notify Wikapedia, the magic directory, and other on line sources that they spelled his name wrong or shall ye?
[/quote]

I did put an extra "i" in there, didn't I? I could just say it's one of Marlo's variants. He actually had 20 methods for it.

So, shall I notify Wikipedia, Google, and other online sources that they spelled "Wikapedia" wrong or shall ye?
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 24, 2009 04:22PM)
It gets worse, I was going to change David Maliks name to David Mawl.

You can notify wikapedia or who ever they are, and tell them next time to pick a better name.
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Mar 24, 2009 05:24PM)
Malek.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 24, 2009 05:56PM)
Malik is the balloon guy out of Boston.....

*** them and their names!
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Mar 25, 2009 02:57AM)
It is clear that Dai Vernon really claimed to have injured his arms on a construction site. We can keep on searching on every written account we will just find the version that the Professor may have told his own wife and children.

The doubt that some magicians claim here makes sense however. This working on a construction site is not consistent at all with Dai Vernon's entire life style and tastes. Actually it's the sort of life he worked hard to escape from. Furthermore as reported on one of the posts here about Faucett Ross, he had no problem supplying tales to his wife when he wanted to satisfy strong desires that she would not agree with. Thus chances are that the version, true or false, will have naturally been transmitted to his children.

If someone asks Mr Derek Verner, he should present his question in a complete form and not just ask if he heard that version but also if he has ever doubted it on the account of this being inconsistent with his father's life. Derek Verner may be kindly requested to search around the medical aspects of the wounds: what were they exactly; what was the nature of the rest of the lighter wounds; could they have been made by beating, would a medical doctor confirm this... If the person asking is not raising sufficient interest with Mr Derek Verner into doing a search, we will just get the official version repeated (and it may be true: unexpected and inconsistent is not that surprising in a magician's life).

Even though I was one of Ben's credited sources for his biography with proven information that were unique and ignored, I have no way to confirm or contest any of the versions. I'd love to have the doubt waived one way or the other as none of the version alters the Professor's image: as I stated elsewhere in the café, I think that Dai Vernon has been as important to magic in the XXth century that Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin has been in the XIXth. Let's not be superficial about our search with such important people.

Who will take up the stick in the XXIst century is an even more interesting question: I'd love to meet with that person, a legend in the making, which we should detect and support with personal pride aside.
Message: Posted by: Douglas Lippert (Mar 25, 2009 04:42PM)
[quote]
On 2009-03-24 05:52, rhomes wrote:
There were no entries "amputation".
[/quote]

Should there have been? LOL.

Doug L.
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Mar 31, 2009 09:33AM)
The construction job story is the one Vernon told everyone, so it has become the "official" story. As far as I know, the "gamblers' revenge" story, while unquestionably a much more sensational and romantic story, is based only on rumor and speculation. Both stories seem plausible to me. I can picture Vernon being faced with an irate wife, fed up with his shenanigans, putting her foot down, and Vernon taking a "straight" job to get her off his back, almost certainly with an eye to quitting as soon as he got his wife calmed down. The gambler story is also a good fit with what we already know about Vernon.

I can't help but wonder why David Ben chose to tell the construction story in his definitive biography of Vernon. Did he have access to documents that persuaded him it was the genuine story, or was this simply a courtesy to Vernon's memory and his family?

I'd love to see any documentary evidence either way, as speculating here is just talk, and as we all know, talk is cheap.