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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Charlie Miller (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Gary Dayton
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Did Charlie Miller ever write a book on his work, or did anyone ever write a book about his work? I've come across some his work in Expert Card Technique (and a couple of other places) and really like his style, but haven't seen anything more.

Thanks
mike gallo
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Charlie had a small booklet out titled "An Evening With Charlie Miller".

Mike
John Pezzullo
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In 'Thaumaturgist #13' [January - March 1990], Jeff Busby wrote about:

"A 'hush-hush' project developed by L&L Publishing shortly after Charlie Miller's death a few months ago was intended to rush a book on the Miller magic into print".

Unfortunately the project was shut down.
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Paul Chosse
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Charlie was actually quite prolific. Magic Inc. published "An Evening With Charlie Miller, "Black Art Well Tricks", "Charlie Miller on the Card Index", "The Charlie Miller Lecture Notes", "Charlie Miller's Diminishing Cards", and "Charlie Miller on the Malini Egg Bag".

Ken Brooke published, along with props, "Ken Brooke and Friends on the Malini Egg Bag", which was Charlie's routine, as published by Magic Inc., with MUCH more detail, Sid Lorraine's illustrations, and tips from many folks who Charlie taught the routine to, and who worked on it and offered their subtleties. The Brooke manuscript was 14 pages of illustrations and another dozen or so of accompanying text - very detailed!

Charlie contributed material to several magazines, most often to Genii. In the early sixties he published his "Ring On Stick", and "A Handkerchief Penetration", in Genii.

In 1965 he began "Magicana", a monthly column that included his own material, as well as contributions from friends that he deemed worthy.

"Magicana" was the centerfold of Genii for two decades, and included the "Trick of the Month" followed by "Intermission", Charlie's soapbox. There was as much magic in the "Intermission" as there was in the trick section, some months' even more. And Charlie commented on the passing scene, magician's dress, language, ethics, presentation, reminisced about magicians' of yesteryear, etc. "Magicana" would be a fine book by itself!

He contributed to "Chap's Scrapbook", a magazine put out by Frank Chapman in the forties, and has had items in other books. His cup and ball move is in "The Dai Vernon Book of Magic", and his "Cups and Bills" is most readily available in Bruce Elliott's "Classic Secrets of Magic". He wrote the introduction and did the cover art for "Scotty York on Coins" and the "Scotty York Lecture Notes".

I'm sure I've left things out, since I'm not in my study, and am doing this from memory, but there is an abundance of material, as you can see, if you want to look for it.

Oh yeah - Charlie was a major influence on Fred Braue, and "Expert Card Technique" is full of Miller material, attributed and otherwise. It is suspect, though, since Charlie did not disclose methods to Braue in many instances. What Braue wrote was what he thought Charlie was doing. So some of the material is correct, and some of it is not - figuring that out is fun!

The other thing that is interesting to note - Charlie was MUCH closer to Malini than Vernon ever was - the Malini book is not even close to what it could have been had Charlie written it.

And, Faucett Ross was Charlie's "uncle". They shared many things. I have a copy of letters from Faucett to Charlie, and from Charlie to Faucett, that span about thirty years - all chock full of magic! In fact, the Faucett side of the correspondence forms the basis for the Lewis Ganson book "The Magic of Faucett Ross". It is one of the most practical books of magic to appear in the 20th century.

And then there are the gambling stories. I have a copy of Bill Woodfield's gambling notes - it looks like it was Charlie Miller who invented the "Beanshooter"! Also, Charlie was quite a Gin player, and developed some "advantage play" methods for Gin that I have never seen in print anywhere.

You might want to consider the people who consider themselves students of Charlie's too - Ricky Jay (He dedicated at least one of his books to Charlie...), Persi Diaconis, Larry Jennings, John Carney, John Thompson, Michael Webber, etc.

Charlie was also one of the ten "Living Card Stars of the U.S.A., and counted among his friends legends like Paul Rosini, Jack McMillen, Jay Ose, Rolland Hamblen, Carl Stenquist, Francis Carlyle, and of course all the New York guys - Sam Horowitz, Jacob Daley, Dai Vernon,
Arthur Finley, etc. Knew Bob Thomas, better known as "Manuel, Master of the Mighty Dollar", Downs (Yes, T. Nelson, that Downs), and of course Max Malini, as I mentioned before. Let's not forget his friends Jay and Frances Marshall, who had a "Charlie Miller Suite" in Chicago, so Charlie always had a place to stay, Bill Dodson, Bill Gusias, the underground man, who made the best gambling holdouts ever, along with beautiful leather goods. And Charlie was close to Clark "The Senator" Crandall, the Derman boys, the infamous Carmen D'amico, Ed Marlo (of course!), and all the Chicago crowd. Milt Kort, from Detroit, told me great stories about Charlie's exploits with Ron Bauer whenever he came to Detroit, and Charlie was no stranger to the European crowd.

I guess I know a lot more about Charlie than I thought I did! Well, hopefully that puts a face to the name, and gives you some things to look for. Read the old magazines, talk to old-timers, you'd be surprised how highly Charlie was considered. In fact, I've said it before, but it bears repeating:

Charlie was the great under-appreciated, unsung, underground magician of the 20th century. He really could do it all. For real. Close-up, stand-up, stage, illusions (He did them for the 1939 World's Fair in San Francisco!), gambling (Both exposes and the real deal - Charlie played cards for money - and got the money!)

Well that's about all for now - hope this has been helpful.

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
camador
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Thanks for that info Paul!!!

regards
Julie
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Paul,

Methinks it would be a wonderful "contribution" if you would spearhead a Charlie Miller (ala Stewart James) File. Smile
Kevin Ram
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That was interesting stuff.

its great finding out about the magicians of the past Smile
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Paul Chosse
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There are some people who would prefer that anything not already in print never appear. And they would as soon we all forgot about the things that are available. The private notes that I have (I referred to them above) are much coveted, and I've been "asked" not to mention them, or EVER make copies for anyone!

So, gathering support for a Charlie Miller project would be difficult, and some of the material that SHOULD be available will NEVER see print. There may even be some merit in the argument that Charlie was secretive throughout his life, and therefore, anything he didn't publish should remain unpublished. However, I think that the world of Magic would benefit greatly from a true account of Charlie's life and experiences, and his thoughts on performance, methods, ethics, etc.

The "hush-hush" project John mentioned above is one that I was involved in. It ground to a screeching halt when "important people" in the magic world made it clear to Louis that they would be VERY unhappy about it, that we didn't have authorization, etc.

Who knows, maybe the winds will shift and Charlie will get the tribute he deserves - I hope so...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
LeConte
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Here is a link for Miller's work on Macicana in Genii.
http://www.themagicfiles.com/contents.php?id=89
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Julie
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Isn't there a statue of limitations, similar to the locks on the Governments "Classified Files", that expires next month relative to the Charlie Miller material? Smile
bishthemagish
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Speaking only as one magician called me as - "A big, scary, pot-bellied, one-eyed, chip-toothed magic man!"

And.... "Glenn, you wouldn't know fast company if it passed you!"

And saying that I never met Charlie Miller!

I would like to add that there is some Charlie Miller Footage at my web site below...

Enjoy!
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VernonOnCoins
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I'd like to take those smug magicians who would be VERY unhappy with the release of Charlie Miller material, and smack 'em across the face
Larry Davidson
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I'll take the second slap. It's really a shame.
Gary Dayton
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Wow! Thanks for the terrific overview. I had a feeling that Charlie Miller was more than met the eye. Thanks for offering the clues to run down his material outside of ECT. I'm already at work trying to locate a copy of An Evening with Charlie Miller. I figure that's a good place to start. I hope someday his story will be told. Given all the people he influenced and the work he did, it seems a pretty big gap exists.

One question, though: Was there any reason why Charlie Miller didn't appear in the Stars of Magic? I gather he was a NY magician and was friends with Carlyle, Horowitz, Vernon, Daley, et al. I would just imagine that it would have been natural to have included him in that series? …Just a question …

Gary

Great video of Charlie Miller and others, Glen. Do you know about when those were shot?
bishthemagish
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Yes I do have a lot of other information on the video and other things that were happening at that time with my Father, Me, and our family magic shop that was at Old Chicago Amusement Park.

Perhaps I will tell the story when I get the time and materials together.

Or perhaps I may save it for my fifth book on magic...

I hope you enjoy the films.
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LP Parker
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I think Charlie was actually from the midwest if I'm not mistaken. I've always heard conflicting stories about how he felt about releasing his material. I wish they would reprint "An Evening with Charlie Miller", does anyone know who owns the rights to it?
bishthemagish
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Russ - here is a thread that may answer some of your questions...

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......4&19
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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John Pezzullo
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I can only base my comments on what Jeff Busby wrote in 'Thaumaturgist #13'.

One of the individuals involved in the shutting down of the proposed Charlie Miller book was Johnny Thompson, one of magic's contemporary masters, a true gentleman, and someone who was very close to Charlie Miller. Given this, the shutting down of the proposed book, whilst unfortunate, was apparently founded on a legitimate show of respect towards the late Charlie Miller.
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bishthemagish
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What I like about Charlie Miller is that he performed the classics. Was a great card man. And was a PERFORMER of magic that did shows.

He is the kind of a magician that could hold ten breaks with his fingers and two more with his knees. Magicians that were lucky enough to see his card work would most likely go wow.

But when booked for a show he did the Misers dream, Chinese sticks, Rice bowls... Entertaining magic.

That is what I like about - Charlie Miller - Charlie Miller - Charlie Miller.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Paul Chosse
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Quote:
On 2004-08-24 07:35, John Pezzullo wrote:
I can only base my comments on what Jeff Busby wrote in 'Thaumaturgist #13'.

One of the individuals involved in the shutting down of the proposed Charlie Miller book was Johnny Thompson, one of magic's contemporary masters, a true gentleman, and someone who was very close to Charlie Miller. Given this, the shutting down of the proposed book, whilst unfortunate, was apparently founded on a legitimate show of respect towards the late Charlie Miller.


Consider the source - BUSBY???...

Best, PSC

Right you are, Glenn!

Charlie was a discerning performer - an entertainer. He knew what worked for the masses, and what worked for the magicians - and he played to his audience!

If all magicians read Charlie's "Intermission" columns in Genii, and his "Magicana" columns, they would learn good magic, AND good deportment. Charlie was a real "Mad Dog" about ethics, behavior, language, dress, personal hygiene, about being an all-around good performer. Charlie RESPECTED his audience, and NEVER underestimated or insulted them, not even covertly...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
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