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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Was Vernon 'Really' anything special (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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T. Sebastian
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We should only judge ourselves.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
Bill Palmer
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I can only think that Elliot was stating his feelings from a point of ignorance. I believe that those of us who have responded may have given him enough information that he might be able to lift that veil of ignorance and get a peek at the real Vernon.

A couple of years ago, my wife gave me the Revelations DVD's for my birthday. I watched quite a bit of the material. It was interesting on several levels. For one thing, I got to see Michael Ammar the way he looked when he came through Houston during his first lecture tour.

I must admit that Vernon was getting on in years when the videos that the DVD's were made from were originally recorded. However, his mind was still there and his hands did most of the things he intended for them to do.

His mind was the most important part. He was still able to discuss with great clarity why things were good and why they were not so good.

There is gold on those DVD's. It's just up to us to mine the gold from them.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
pepka
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I never got to meet him. He passed away just as I was getting serious about the art. I love to hear the stories of my friends who knew him well. An illusionist friend of mine told me of his very first trip to the castle. He met Larry Jennings and was telling him how much he loved performing his chop cup routine. After dinner, during Larry's close-up set, he introduced him and the crowd gave a polite round of applause. He asked if he'd like to come up and perform a trick. Now he admittedly is NOT a close-up worker. He knows maybe 2 card tricks, scotch and soda and the chop cup routine. So, he comes forward and does a card trick. How does this relate to Vernon? He was sitting at the front, right next to the table, and during my friend's performance, began to snore! Yes, we've all heard that Vernon was a bit of a narcoleptic when he was older. Of course, my friend had a great bit of fun with this. He later tells this to young magicians that he has performed at the Castle, at the request of Jennings, and beside Vernon. That's my favorite Vernon story.

But other than that, he surely was one of the best magical thinkers ever. Pete was right, in the 20's and 30's he performed for millionaires in NYC and probably got paid a lot more then than most of us do now. He revolutionized close-up magic, and inspired generations of new workers. Many of his creations will live forever, most notably, the rings, the cups, and triumph, which I consider to be the most perfect card trick ever.
Banester
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I agree with you Bill, the Revelations set is awesome! He had incredible card skills for sure!
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
magicfish
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Quote:
On 2008-10-13 11:25, Elliott Hodges wrote:
Hi gang,

been wondering this for a while.

in my opinion, Vernon was NOT a good magician. it's pretty obvious that he did not know how to communicate with people.

from what I can see his tricks weren't really that good for lay people either. the difference is kinda obvious I think.
Slydini loved performing for lay people. Dai Vernon was a performer just for other magicians primarily.
now-what do you think is more entertaining for a lay audience?
triumph, or paper balls over the head?

Paper balls wins obviously. I can tell you that by having performed both to lay people several times. to be honest-if you have worked for lay people at all then you can work that out I think.

I imagine that I'll get a roasting for asking this question but I'm interested to know.

thanks


You need to read more.
Steve Yarosko
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I auditioned and was accepted in the Magic Castle as soon as I could when I was 21 years old. I remember being in the Magic Castle library and Dai Vernon was there sitting in a chair. At this point in his life he was in his eighties. The momemt seared into my memory is Vernon reaching for the Erdnase book on the library book shelf. As John Carney says in the "Book of Secrets," Vernon was a student of magic until the day he died. That image left an impression on me on how I approach learning magic as a student myself.

Steve
mtpascoe
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That says a lot about the man. Vernon knew Expert at the Card Table better than anyone and he still opened the book up. What does that say about us who feel we know it all? Was Vernon REALLY anything special? I guess this answers your question.
Terry Veckey
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Okidoki. Part 1
It was 1976 I was 29 and had been into magic for only 6 or 7 years. (Maybe 8).
I had been working at the New York Lounge (Chicago) for a year or two on weekends.
On Sat. afternoon I'd stop by Magic Inc. for lunch with our club (Association of Serious Sorceres) Founder and Pres. (My chief mentor) Ben Martin was always present. Other founding members (including myself) were Al James, Tim Felix, John Castaldo, Steve Sodaro, Ken Mate and Jasper Marshall (one of my other mentors). There was another group of wannabees that met down the street at the Three Bears Restaurant.
(Actually some of them were pretty good. So some Saturdays I would sneak over and join them (This is true.) because they always made me feel welcome.)
But this one Sat. was amazing. I got there early because the Professor was giving a lecture later in the afternoon and he asked me to come in early so he could better answer some questions I had brought up the night before. (Jay had brought him in to N.Y.L. to see me.) We worked on seconds, double lifts but the big one I wanted was "Diagonal Palm Shift". I've done embarassing things to myself before and continue to do so but this has to be among the top. You would have thought Jesus or Barack Himself was sitting at the table showing Sodaro and I card tricks. We fought over him like two kids in line to see Santa Clause. I tell ya, he held back nothing he repeated everything every time we asked. He was getting older and sometimes couldn't lift his arms up to get the angle we could see so we were crawling on the floor under the table to look-up. It was great. we worked on the wand spin. I can do it now and I'd fool you with it too but I still can't do it like him.(sigh)
His lecture was fantastic of course.
2b continued next post.
-The Lesser Known-
<BR>Terry Veckey
<BR>-"There is no place for laughter in magic." B.Martin-
Terry Veckey
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Part 2.

The next Sat. after Steve and I had both arrived. Ben walks over and sits in THE Chair Al James walks over sits on one of Ben's knees and Tim Felix comes from behind the counter and sits on the other. One says "Hello, I'm Terry!" the other says "And I'm Steve!" then in unison they say "Gee, Mr. Vernon Professor Sir, Would YOU Please, PPlease show us your palms one more time?" Ben answers "Why, Of course, because I see that you are each A Serious Sorcerer in your own ways."

P.S. I Did learn that shift pretty well though. (Heh, heh.)
Sorry for the length of this story. It's all true though.
-The Lesser Known-
<BR>Terry Veckey
<BR>-"There is no place for laughter in magic." B.Martin-
Bill Palmer
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One of the misstatements in the original post was that Vernon obviously did not know how to communicate with people.

Consider this: Vernon was famous for being able to chat with people and make a transition into a piece of magic so seamlessly that you couldn't tell where the chat left off and the routine began. As one friend of mine said, "He would be halfway into a trick before anyone had any idea he was about to fool them."

He took a real delight in fooling people, but not just fooling them, entertaining them so they didn't feel like idiots when he was through with his material.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
critter
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Exactly.

Quote:
On 2009-02-03 03:19, Bill Palmer wrote:
One of the misstatements in the original post was that Vernon obviously did not know how to communicate with people.

Consider this: Vernon was famous for being able to chat with people and make a transition into a piece of magic so seamlessly that you couldn't tell where the chat left off and the routine began. As one friend of mine said, "He would be halfway into a trick before anyone had any idea he was about to fool them."

He took a real delight in fooling people, but not just fooling them, entertaining them so they didn't feel like idiots when he was through with his material.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
spatlind
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Really enjoyed reading some of this thread. Great anecdotes. Thanks!
Actions lie louder than words - Carolyn Wells

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature - Frank Lloyd Wright.
Anatole
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I'm resurrecting this thread to make a comment in relation to and confirmation of what Bill Palmer said about Vernon. Bill wrote: "the amazing thing about Vernon was the way he could change a person's way of thinking."

Back in 2010 I posted on the Café a transcript of an interview conducted with Vernon by my friend Roger Sherman when Vernon was in Norfolk, Virginia on his Farewell Lecture Tour. Here's the relevant part of the interview that shows how Vernon changed magic history by changing a famous magician's thinking. Roger was asking about the best magicians that Vernon had ever seen.
-----quote-----
Sherman: How about stage? Who would you say was the best stage performer?
Vernon: Cardini had the best act when he was young and at the height of his fame. Incidentally, I influenced him a great deal because I made him stop talking... He would say "I taught this trick to the King of Siam. He said, 'Mr. Cardini, you are very clever.' 'Yes, I am.'" That was one of his gags, and I said, 'Listen, you do such beautiful stuff. What do you talk for? You make a !@#$%^& of yourself.'--He said, "Oh, I get my laughs." I said, "You don't get any laughs at all." Finally, when we were both working for Billy Rose, I told him: "Cut out the talking!" Billy Rose said, "Listen to what Vernon tells you. He's giving you good advice." After that, he became a great star. He never would have been a great star if he hadn't stopped talking. He had the finest, most perfect act that was ever created. Nobody ever approached him.
-----end quote-----

Considering Vernon's huge influence on the magician that many regard as having the perfect magic act, I'd say that one of Vernon's strengths definitely was "the way he could change a person's way of thinking." The anecdote about Billy Rose, one of the legends of entertainment history, is also insightful.

And let us not forget the impact that Vernon had on other magicians like Larry Jennings and Doug Henning. One might wonder if Doug Henning would have been the success he was if he hadn't gotten a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to study magic. He used the grant to study under both Dai Vernon and Slydini. If Doug had not studied with Vernon, I'd have to think that the history of magic in the latter part of the 20th century would have been a lot different.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Anatole
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And let us not forget Vernon's contributions via magic literature. He invented Brainwave and published it in _The Jinx_, albeit IIRC using wax rather than roughing fluid. And there would probably be no "Invisible Deck" if Vernon hadn't first invented "Brainwave." His tricks and routines published by Lewis Ganson in the _Inner Secrets_ series and _The Dai Vernon Book of Magic_ had a profound influence on modern magic.

----- Sonny
----- Sonny Narvaez
billmarq
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I have already told my story of sitting one seat over from Dai at a Hollywood bar and watching him perform a flawless cups and balls routine, so I won't repeat it. This was in 1973. For anyone to even suggest that Dai was not a good magician, and that he could not entertain laymen is pure rubbish. I could have sworn that the final loads materialized from nowhere, even though I knew better.
Honi soit quit mal y pense.
magicfish
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You'll notice the op never returned. Do you think he bothered to read all these responses?
Rainboguy
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I met Dai Vernon at the Faucett Ross Magic Fest in 1983......stayed up two nights in a row with him til about 5am in the morning.

I believe he must have been in his mid 80's at the time, and he still had it. When he did a pull-through shuffle for me, it was such a thing of beauty that I couldn't help but cry like a baby, he did it so beautifully.

As far as I'm concerned, Dai Vernon set the standard for 20th century Magic.

He was THAT special!!!
seraph127
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Quote:
On 2009-02-03 03:19, Bill Palmer wrote:

/snip

He took a real delight in fooling people, but not just fooling them, entertaining them so they didn't feel like idiots when he was through with his material.


I take it he learned this from Leipzig, whom he quoted as saying "Dai, people like to think they have been fooled by a gentleman."
There are many tricks, and many effects, but rarely a Grand Effect. There are many entertainers, but few real magicians. Many technicians, but few artists who use their art to explore their vision. - Derren Brown, Absolute Magic
Zombie Magic
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The original post was interesting. I think it's good to challenge and not just accept things. But, just a little research and he wouldn't have had to make the post.
Jiceh
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The few I can say is that Vernon was really one of a kind (just an impression from the books and video)
No doubt he could be great for lay people too (Take a look at his ACR which was the big inspiration for Tommy Wonder ACR).
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