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C.W.G.
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Hi Guys,

I'm hoping that you can help me out with something that has been bugging me for ages... Just what is the fuss about Dai Vernon??

I have never seen or read any of his work (which is why I'm asking this) because since I became a magician, I've always looked to modern day magicians to see the latest techniques and ideas are. I always presumed that anything Vernon (or Marlo or Jennings) had to say, would be passed on by now and that all the useful stuff would be fairly common knowledge at this stage.

Am I wrong in this (I feel that I must be, otherwise why would people still rejoice at his name?).

And secondly, Was Dai just a card guy or did his talents stretch to close up sleight of hand? I was thinking of getting one of his DVDs bit I wouldn't if it was all cards as I have a million DVDs on cards.

I'd really appreciate the history lesson here Magi's.
MagiClyde
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You're right! There WILL be many replies to this, so let me be the first.

I will admit right off the top that I haven't really done much reading of/from/about Dai Vernon, but I can tell you that he did far more than just card magic. One of his big routines concerned the Cups & Balls and he did write at least one book on magic in general as well as a trio of books that have now been combined into one on the art of card magic.

Unfortunately, I don't know much about his DVD series other than the fact that there are 8 of them and they were originally put out on vhs tape. They're still made by L&L publishing, so you can check out the contents of each one online. The website is http://www.llpub.com . Just put "Dai Vernon" into the search bar and a whole list of things will show up.

Good luck finding the answers you seek.
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mtpascoe
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If you want to learn more about Dai Vernon, read Magician And The Cardsharp by Karl Johnson. You will a lot about him in this interesting book.

By the by, Vernon was responsible for the modern school of manipulation where apparently no moves are made. Things seem to happen by their own accord. This came from his gambling background where it was dire that no one suspected that sleight of hand was used.

This approach makes for better magic because the audience doesn’t know how to backtrack because they don’t see anything. It’s not good on the ego to practice a sleight that no one will see, but it’s better in the long run.
KapBoy77
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Yeah Magician and the Cardsharp is a good book. I'm halfway through it right now. I like the bit about when he made his wife believe he was sleeping for 3 whole days without even getting up to eat or go to the washroom. And the fact that he's from Ottawa I find pretty cool.

Dre
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MentalistCreationLab
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Finny Wrights "Just what is the fuss about Dai Vernon??" 1st let me start by saying that Dai Vernon took magic underground and reworked the idea of what was magic therefore creating modern magic in a sort of way. With out his work magic would not be nearly as interesting.Veron, as well as other reworked most of the handling of many effects. The chance you have seen some of his work, preformed by other at least in the handling is about 95%. Most study his work or speak of him because of what he did for magic. Read his stuff.
Steve Burton
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Vernon said himself that his great contribution was not just what he knew but what he had learned from the other great magicians he had met. If there was a well known magician of the 20th century, the chances are was acquainted with them (and in most cases fooled the heck out of them) learned their secrets and wisdom and then passed it on to us. The short list would include Houdini, T. Nelson Downs, Al Baker, Fred Kaps, and a whole host of lessor lights that inhabited the gambling and entertainment world.
C.W.G.
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I guess what I'm wondering now is that, I realise that he has been a huge influence on the magicians of our time and in the past, but can I really learn anything new from getting his DVD set or books?

Does he teach things that we simply don't get from modern day magi's?

Damon was very kind to send me on an interesting history of Dai's life and times, but what I really need to know is... Is it worth investing in his teachings or are there better sources nowadays?
DStachowiak
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Definitely stay away from Dai Vernon and all of his work. There is nothing you can learn from him.
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Banester
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Why are people giving him a history lesson and/or being sacrastic?

Yes, you can benefit from Dai's work. While others teach a lot of his moves he was the originator and I think still shows them off better.

You also get a bonus of "how to be a magician". He can at times be quite frank and blunt. I think I would have asked him to step outside a few times hahah, but he will make you a better magician.

I have most of his books and a video or two. Most of what he does is cards, but his cup and balls are terrific! A quick search on youtube for Dai Vernon will bring up some of his performances so you can get an idea of his material.

I think it would be well worth the purchase. And if you like history or other magic chatter then you will be plenty entertained!
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
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-Doug Henning-
DStachowiak
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Quote:
On 2007-12-05 08:06, DStachowiak wrote:
Definitely stay away from Dai Vernon and all of his work. There is nothing you can learn from him.
Hey, can someone help me get my tongue out of my cheek?

I meant my earlier comment only to tease, not to persecute. Vernon's contribution to modern magic is without parallel. Sure, practically everything Vernon published is available at second hand elsewhere, but why not get it from the horse's mouth? That's not to say that nothing has been improved over the years, of course there are a lot of new contributions which either improve DV's methods, or use them in new and exciting ways, but for myself, the more I learn about the incredible amount of material he contributed to the fraternity, (most of it with no compensation and a great deal without credit at the time)the more grateful I am, and the more fascinated I am with this complex (and not always admirable) man.
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C.W.G.
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Thanks Banester, I'll check him out on you tube and then I think I'll buy some of the volumes from the L&L set as that does look interesting.

Cheers to everyone who took the time to add to the topic although I must admit I was expecting a lot of people saying I was taking the lords name in vain and I'm not fit to a magician since I don't know everything there is to know about magic yadda yadda.

Just to give you guys a bit of background on myself, I'm a close up magician who has been performing professionally for a few years now, the main guys I've been studying and influenced by are Micheal Ammar, Jay Sankey, Greg Wilson, David Stone, Luke Jermay, Kenton Knepper, Derren Brown (if you don't have anything by this man BUY IT!!!), Larry Jennings, John Bourne.... I could go on. The main point I wanted to make is that I am not a newbie, merely someone who's not afraid to ask about things that I don't know.
Pete Biro
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Almost all the new stuff is based on what Vernon, Marlo and others created.

SO, I SAY STUDY VERNON TO GAIN KNOWLEDGE AND A BASE TO START FROM AND CREATE YOUR OWN MATERIAL. SKIP THE OTHER PEOPLE'S NEW STUFF.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
MagiClyde
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Don't forget, too, that Ammar was a disciple at the Professor's feet! Darth Vader's line in Star Wars comes to mind: "When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the Master!"
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Bill Palmer
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You will get more out of Vernon's books than you will out of the DVD's if you are just beginning to study him.

Take some of the methods in The Dai Vernon Book of Magic with a grain of salt. Lewis Ganson was a wonderful photographer, but not very good at describing the moves Vernon did with clarity. In one specific case, he refused to describe a move as Vernon told him to. This resulted in confusion as to how the move was done. I refer to the Ball, Cone and Handkerchief.

Once you have read the fundamental material, watch the DVD's. The video is not extremely clear on these things. They were transcribed from videotape. They aren't bad, but they aren't up to today's standards for, say, broadcast video.

But you will see some amazing things there, such as Michael Ammar with hair!

If you just go into the DVD's without really knowing what you will see, you may be confused by some of the things that are said.
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mtpascoe
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Take the wand spin. Many of us learned it from the Ganson book and was confused. It wasn't until Ammar tagutht it correctly that I was able to do the darn thing.
criverstamu09
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I have all of Vernon's Revelations DVD's, and I have to say that watching them you get so much information. You get more than just tricks, you get a whole new mentality of how magic should be and what you need to work on to become a great magician.

Also, some of his stories are just hilarious.
"Who you are moment to moment is just a story."
Bill Palmer
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Michael Ammar's wand spin is actually different from Vernon's. The difference is quite minor, but it is there. Also, it is very difficult for a person with normal arms to do Vernon's spin precisely as he did it. Remember Vernon's arms were both broken and reset incorrectly.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
RS1963
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I agree with all on here study Vernon, Marlo, on and on. There is a lot to learn from those in the past.

I feel if you don't study magic history and the works of the past masters you are doing yourself and your audience a disservice.

Randy
Eric Fry
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I think the original poster asks a good question, although it's startling at first. It's like a musician asking what all the fuss is about this old guy Mozart.

But what he seems to be asking is this: "Aren't the best techniques/tricks from the past incorporated into the best modern work? If so, why should I take the time to read the old masters?" A fair question to ask, if I'm interpreting it correctly.

I'd say that among the answers are these:

1. You won't know what you're missing unless you read the older books. You won't know what you're missing if you learn only from DVDs and not books too.

2. You may find Vernon techniques and tricks that you like but which aren't the ones that everyone does. I like his technique for the glide, for instance, which I've never seen repeated outside of his Inner Secrets books. I like his techniques for causing a thought-of card to vanish from one packet of cards and appear in another packet, ostensibly while the packets are held by spectators.

3. You might find earlier, cleaner versions of tricks that have gained accretions of supposed improvements over the years. You might prefer the earlier versions. You might not. But at least you'll be making a knowledgeable choice.

4. Every artist/crafstman should have some natural, innate interest in the history of what he does. It's inherent in finding the art/craft interesting in the first place. If you enjoy watching what modern magicians do, why wouldn't you wonder what past magicians did?

For example, the Vernon/Ganson book on Nate Leipzig purports to give Leipzig's patter word for word. Well, that's a fascinating glimpse of a vaudeville master. It's interesting how plain and unadorned Leipzig's patter is. Could we learn from that? Maybe. At least it's a perspective you don't get from a modern magician. Why wouldn't we want the option of thinking about that?
Bill Palmer
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It's also interesting that some of the influences you mention, such as Ammar and Jennings learned much directly from Vernon. They went their own ways, though.

If you go back to what Vernon did, as Eric just mentioned, you will see things that have been changed to fit the personalities and/or performance styles of the people you learned them from.

If you were to go to a university to get a degree in music, you would be required to learn to compose and think in styles that are not used much today. But many of the things that are done in music are derived from those styles. They provide the basis for the way we think and hear. They also provide a measuring stick and a reference, so we know what has been done before. We learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

Many people learned from Vernon's less than total success of trying to work with a monkey in his act! I know that I will never try to throw a coconut up in the air and have it change into a monkey!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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