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Vaclav
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It is already September, but I have just opened the Magic magazine from June of this year. And on the page 64 I have found article about Claude Alexander Conlin aka. Alexander The man Who Knows by David Charvet. And after reading the article I decided to write this post.
In 2000 my good friend and mentor John D. Pomeroy was trying to finish his book about Alexander he was working on for last 15 years. At that time he was fighting his battle with cancer and was dictating the last parts of the book to his wife Mitsy who was typing it on their computer. Knowing he would not be able to do the final editing (he died few months later) he contacted Steven Minch, but since Steve was very busy with his many project he mentioned David Charvet may be good then one to do the edits and prepare the book for publishing. So John contacted him and David did came over and John gave him the manuscript with many of photographs and all the research he had. It was a couple of boxes worth.
I do believe the original title of the book supposed to be “The life and legend of Alexander Colin” . And originally John planed on two volumes and footnotes.
Although I do not know the details of the agreement between John Pomeroy and David Charvet, I was very surprised when the book came out in one small volume since there was huge amount of information, (later I was told that Mr Charvet wanted to use only hard facts and not the “legends” like money being stashed in the walls, for the book) and also that the authors name on the cover was “ David Charvet and John Pomeroy”. I have thought, that it supposed to be John Pomeroys book.
But as I said I do not know the agreement between them and do not really want to ask his wife since it is very painful subject. (Also I do believe she have received only couple of copies of the book.) And also I don’t believe she ever got any of the materials back.
So while reading Mr. Charvet article I could not believe my eyes when he wrote
(Quote: “ MY biography of Claude Alexander Conlin was released in 2004 by Mike Caveney Magic Words. In the introduction I wrote, “ I wish that I could say this is the definite biography of Alexander. It is not. But it is probably the closest we will get at this late date.
Boy I was wrong. Following the publication of that book, a mountain of new material appeared as if by magic.” End Quote.)
“MY BIOGRAPHY ?” I thought it was John Pomeroys book. In the original book and also article in 2002 he at least gave John credit, but now he is the only writer? And as for additional material appearing as by magic, what have happened all the material he got from John Pomeroy? I do recognize some of the photographs and the stories in this July article from John’s manuscript.
Although I do believe that Mr. Charvet did research, but I also do believe he is using John Pomeroys research and work with out giving him any credit.
And dead people do not usually rise up to give an argument right?
I would like to apologize for this post, but I just could not sit and watch this happening.
John was my mentor and great friend and I just could not sit and watch this happening to his work. Also I would like to ask if anyone has any questions about this matter, I will be more then happy to answer, but please do not contact John’s wife, since she went thru a lot over this already I it is not my intension to cost her any more grief over this.

Vaclav
Soapy Smith
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I had numerous phone and letter communiques with Pomeroy in the 1990s regarding Conlin's supposed connection to my great grandfather, Soapy Smith. I would love to see Pomeroy's notes on the silly story that is published in Charvet's book about Conlin supposedly shooting Soapy. Pomeroy never mentioned that information to me. Even though Charvet and I talked about the facts regarding Soapy's death I was very surprised to see that Charvet once again included the fictional story in his latest edition.
Vaclav
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I will be going back to Seattle in a week or so and hoping Mytsi still has the copy of the manuscript in her computer, so I can read it.( I hope she does. I have allready asked her about it some time ago, but had not have time to do so. So far I have seen only little bit when John was finishing it and let me read couple of pages. But he wanted me to wait until it's finished. LOL
If he only knew...
Slim King
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What's the story on this? I'm more interested in Alexander now than ever before. I don't want to support something that isn't rightfully someone's to sell and take credit for. I will be in Seattle on Tuesday evening.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Bill Palmer
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I've known David Charvet for a long time, and I have never known him to be dishonest in his dealings with people. If the material in his book is available without having to use the Pomeroy material, then there should be no question about his honesty.

David has very high standards for the material he uses and/or publishes. If he can't find support for an unusual statement he won't publish it.

I am surprised, though, that he included the Soapy Smith story in his book.
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VaclavH
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Magic Magazine May 2001
Excerpt from article John Pomeroy – Renaissance Man by David Charvet pg.63

Outside the shop John was busy at the typewriter. He had previously written” Dove, Silk, and Flower magic; Basic Makeup for Magician; ad Mentology all published by Mickey Hades. Since 1959, he had been researching the life of Claude Alexander Conlin, who performed in vaudeville as ‘Alexander the Man Who Knows” Although in 1993, haphazard book was released on mythical entertainer, it was Johns goal to ultimately produce the definitive volume on Alexander.
By 1999, the book project was nearing completion. But increased back pain was plaguing John. Sometimes the pain was so intense that he was immobilized for weeks at time. Doctors were consulted and tests were conducted. A malignant tumor was discovered near the base of the spine. It was cancer.
Last spring John called me (knowing I as a cancer survivor) to ask what his best course of treatment would be. We chatted and he promised to keep me posted regarding his progress, both with the disease, and the Alexander book. Then early in June, I have received another call informing me that the cancer had spread and John had less than six months to live. Just few weeks later on July 27,2000 he died.
In my last conversation with John, he expressed his wish to see the Alexander book to completion. Friend, Stephen Minch had already promised that it would be published.
But at that time, Stephen also knew that the last portion of the manuscript was still in John’s head and not yet on paper. I phoned John and volunteered to help transcribe his mental notes. But he assured me that he dictated the remaining information to his wife Mitsy. She had learned to use the computer to transform the massive accumulation of notes and interviews, as well as the dictated material in to manuscript form.
And to augment the exhaustive text, there were hundreds of photos, clippings and drawings from John’s four decades of painstaking research.
Only a Renaissance man such as John David Pomeroy could have persisted with a project such as this.
He unearths priceless historic gems on Alexander’s secretive life that eluded the others.
The book will stand as testament to the endurance of a true practitioner of magic, who throughout his life never compromised his love of art.

David Charvet is currently editing and preparing John Pomeroy’s book, The Life and Legends of the Celebrated C.Alexander, The Man Who Knows, for publication by Hermetic Press. Many items from the Gem the Gem Magic line will continue to be produced by the Viking Magic Company

If not anything else: in 2001 Dave Charvet is editing John Pomeroy’s book
in 2007 Dave Chavet is writing in the Magic Magazine
“ MY biography of Claude Alexander Conlin was released in 2004 by Mike Caveney Magic Words.”

So 2001 -John Pomeroy’s
2007 -it became Dave Charvet’s
Dave Charvet’s own words. I rest my case.
And as for the Soapy Smith’s story. I did not see the computer analysis, (and as a matter of fact almost nothing from Johns manuscript except for 2 or 3 pages)
, But is it possible that it was intended in the book as one of the legends?

All I can say that the book is nothing John had in mind.
Vaclav
silverking
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Computer analysis of a poor quality full body picture?
Here's some questions not answered to date:

Who did the analysis?
Where was it done?
What software did they use?
What was the track record of the company offering this service?
How long had they been in business?
What was the training or certification of the operator who pronounced them "the same people"?
Who on earth was this mystery photo analysis company?

Without any questions answered, there's no choice but to drop the premise entirely that this "comparison" had, or has any validity whatsoever.

Oh, and dropping the premise in no way says that John wasn't a fine man.

An important question might be, in the complete and utter void that would be answers to any of the above questions....why on earth did Charvet publish this as if it was fact?
Soapy Smith
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Bill Palmer wrote about David Charvet, "I am surprised, though, that he included the Soapy Smith story in his book."

Including my words, out of context in the first edition was foolish, but I am sure he never dreamed it would backfire. ...Printing The same without editing for the second edition is a crime against history, especially after all the communication.
VaclavH
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While talking today with Soapy Smith on the phone I have recalled one more thing.
When I have asked (and I'm not sure at this point who he was)why the book ( John Pomeroy's)is so slim and so much information is missing I was told that Dave Charvet wanted to publish only the actual facts and none of the stories or "legends"
And if that is so, I hope he can provide the evidence backing it up.
But the way as it is now, he is not only damaging his reputation, but also John's.
And John can not defend himself.

So if he has the documents. Show it.
And if he does not? Why he included in the book if he wanted to have only the facts?
David Charvet
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All -

I just stumbled upon this thread and if anyone would take the time to read my introduction in the Alexander book (both the first and second edition) you will see all of the facts regarding how it came to be.

In short:
The material I received from John Pomeroy consisted of photos, notes and part of a manuscript. John envisioned a three volume book set, which was to include the Alexander story in one volume, photos in volume 2 and a history of vaudeville magicians in Seattle as volume 3. Upon checking the 50 page Alexander portion of the manuscript (yes, just 50 pages related directly to Alexander) I found many errors and spent an additional two years researching and writing an entirely new and expanded book, just about Alexander, which was published in 2004. It is MY book. Still, I gave credit to John for his intial research. In addition, when the first edition was published, Conlin family members (including Alexander's 90 year old son, John) came forward with more information which they gave to me for the second edition, which after three more years of additional research was published in 2007. By that point, there was very little of John Pomeroy's material left in the book, and that which is, is acknowledged. The book is also dedicated to John, in appreciation for starting me on the quest to learn more about Alexander. Still, it is MY book and I take credit for the facts (and errors) contained therein.

Regarding the Soapy Smith/Alexander connection. No one has ever put forth a more plausible theory at this point. Although Jeff Smth tells me he knows who shot Soapy, he is apparently waiting for his own book to be publshed to reveal that theory. And, I emphasize the word "theory." 110 years after the fact, with all of the conflicting information regarding Smith's death in the ensuing years I don't know if anyone will ever really know exactly what happened. I don't claim to know. In the Alexander book, I say (page 36) "...It is PROBABLE that Claude Alexander Conlin shot and killed Soapy Smith." This is based upon Alexander's own statements (and boasts) to friends, which were told to John Pomeroy. Also the statements made by Alexander Pantages. You will notice I did not publish the photo that Pomeroy believed to be Alexander and Soapy, because I don't believe it's Alexander. Alexander was 6'5" tall. The man in the photo is not. Its that simple. No "computer analysis" needed! Again, if anyone would take the time to read the Alexander book, you will see that everything is documented. If anyone has more documented facts, I'd love to know.

Please contact me directly if you have further questions or information.
Or, better yet, just read the book!
David Charvet
silverking
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The Queen of England shot Soapy Smith......it's a fact because.......well, just because.
David Charvet
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Also, I neglecetd to mention above, Mike Caveney (the publisher) and I paid Mitsy Pomeroy for the rights to use the photos and material that John had collected and were used in the book. Nothing was used without permission.
David Charvet
silverking
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..........."but the Queen of England was in London at the time Soapy was murdered says I"

"It doesn't matter where she was, all will be revealed in time!"
Soapy Smith
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Mr. Charvet-

(Note: I have not seen the second edition of Charvet's book. I am getting my information from a third party who owns the second edition).

It irritates the hell out of me that apparently in your second edition you included my letter to Pomeroy which is once again "taken of of context." You and I have talked about this several times and you printing the letter once again tells me either you just didn't care about taking it out, or you did not believe I would know why I wrote that letter to Pomeroy. Either way I find it very insulting. I don't mind that you believe Conlin killed Soapy. You have the right to do so. What I do mind is that you continue to use my words out of context to add strength to a theory that I do not believe is even plausible.

You wrote,
"Regarding the Soapy Smith/Alexander connection. No one has ever put forth a more plausible theory at this point. Although Jeff Smith tells me he knows who shot Soapy, he is apparently waiting for his own book to be published to reveal that theory. And, I emphasize the word "theory." 110 years after the fact, with all of the conflicting information regarding Smith's death in the ensuing years I don't know if anyone will ever really know exactly what happened."

Understandably, you were not aware that I released the killers name and story in a publicity campaign for my book, including on this forum on May 16 under the post title, "News Release: Soapy Smith Was Murdered." http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=188

Jeff Smith
David Charvet
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Jeff -

FYI, the story of the Conlin/Soapy connection was proffered by Pomeroy, not me. He heard the story from Harry Louine Miller, a vaudeville coin manipulator who was an old friend of Conlin's who lived in Seattle. Conlin told the story to Miller. This is mentioned in the footnotes in the book. I did not "invent" the story. Pomeroy, Miller, Conlin and Soapy are all dead, so it is a little hard to corroborate anything further at this point.

Also, in the material I received from Pomeroy (actually his wife, Mitzy), he had an edited copy of your letter to him which inferred that it was corroborating his story about the Soapy/Conlin shooting (not the supposed "computer analysis" of the photo that we now know never happened.) I did not include that copy of your letter in the book, as John would have.I also did not include the photo that John believed was Conlin and Soapy together. We know it was not Conlin. John did like to appear to be the "expert" at times, but he was far from being a thorough historian. John still claimed to the end that you agreed with his research.

The bulk of the items from John that I used in the book were the interviews he had done through the years with Conlin's friends and contemporaries - Miller among them, who died in 1972. Usually people in an interview of that type when reflecting on a friend have no reason to lie. That's not to say the story that Conlin told everybody was a lie. But, the Pantages connection does add fuel to the fire in favor of Conlin. There was motive, and there was opportunity for Conlin to be involved. The fact that he received a $100,000 contract for 20 weeks on the Pantages circuit in 1922 (payola for a past favor?), plus Pantages' quote: "I owe my life to Alexander" and Conlin's brother was Pantages' defense attorney in the second Pantages rape trial in 1932 - and got Pantages acquitted - shows that the Conlins and Pantages were indeed good friends. It's all grist for the mill.

I look forward to reading your book, and rest assured that in the next edition of my book I will eliminate any reference to you, or your agreement in regard to the Conlin/Soapy story.

I'd appreciate you posting this on your website to clarify the matter.

Thanks -
David Charvet
Soapy Smith
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Mr. Charvet-

John Pomeroy never said one word to me about any belief he had that Conlin may have killed my great grandfather. How could I have "agreed" with a theory I did not even know about? The very first I learned of it was in your book.

As much as I would love to say Conlin was a member of the Soap Gang there is no evidence he was even in Skagway, Alaska in 1897-98.

You wrote,
"the material I received from Pomeroy (actually his wife, Mitzy), he had an edited copy of your letter to him which inferred that it was corroborating his story about the Soapy/Conlin shooting (not the supposed "computer analysis" of the photo that we now know never happened.)"

Which are you calling me, a liar? or an idiot? Your comments are absolutely not true. I was the one who wrote the letters to Pomeroy and I think I ought to know what I was writing about. If you go to my website page, "A Wrong Undone" http://www.soapysmith.net/page25.html you will see the letter and xerox photographs that Pomeroy sent me and I responded to. It is all about the photograph comparisons he supposedly performed. NOTHING in his letter or my congratulatory response makes reference to Soapy's death, let alone at the hand of Conlin. The fact that you say it does refer to Soapy's death is indeed "INVENTED."

As I have said before Pomeroy never said a word to me about any theory he may have had about Conlin killing Soapy. As I have stated numerous times the Smith family already knew who killed Soapy. Why in the world would I congratulate Pomeroy on a shooting theory based on no evidence that I would not even remotely consider plausible.

Jeff Smith
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Jeff -

I am neither calling you a "liar or an idiot." In the material I received from the Pomeroys was John's conclusion that Conlin was part of the Smith gang (on the fringe) and claimed to have shot Soapy. While John may have never mentioned it to you, he had every intention of including this revelation/theory in his book. He also intended to include an edited copy of the letter you sent to him regarding the photo analysis as "proof" that you agreed to his theory. Just reading the letter from you (at least the edited version that John wanted to include) it is not clear that you are referring to the photo research, simply congratulating him on his research in general regarding Conlin/Soapy. It was John's intention to use your letter, out of context, to bolster his theory. I do not know what John's motvation was for this. As you know, I did not use the letter, or the supposed photo of Soapy and "Conlin" in my book. The fact that I mentioned your name in the book as being in agreement with Pomeroy's theory is my error. As mentioned above, it will be corrected in subsequent editions.

Jeff, I have no axe to grind with you. I look forward to reading your book.

Thanks -
David Charvet
silverking
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Quote:
The fact that I mentioned your name in the book as being in agreement with Pomeroy's theory is my error. As mentioned above, it will be corrected in subsequent editions.
David Charvet

Considering that Jeff is quite alive, and easily contacted in order to confirm or deny this piece of information, that an error like this could get through is rather surprising.......I wonder how many other errors there might be?
Soapy Smith
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Quote:
The fact that I mentioned your name in the book as being in agreement with Pomeroy's theory is my error. As mentioned above, it will be corrected in subsequent editions.


David Charvet-

Since 2005 I have been telling you the truth...Thank you for finally believing me. That you used my words out of context in your first edition was unprofessional and historically foolish. Recently publishing it again in your second addition is a crime against history.

Because of your use of sensationalism to sell books, my family and Soapy Smith historians everywhere will have to deal with your published "mistakes" for decades to come. I find that hard to forgive.

"Generally, I suppose there are at least three types: sentimental pap (which I find stomach turning), unfounded speculative filler (much different from reasonable and logical editorial attempts at interpretation), and false filler. The last for me is not just a supreme disservice but a crime against history." -Art Petersen, publisher, historian (6/20/2007)

Jeff Smith
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