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Vandy Grift
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Thanks to you, Steve Freeman and the Late Gary Ouellet for working on the Vernon "Revelations" video series.(and of course the Late Great Mr Vernon himself).

This is such an important documment for myself and countless others. It's just wonderful in so many ways. I'm proud to own it and refer to it often. I watch it for pure enjoyment and have also learned SO much from it.

At times it looks like you guys were tired and beat. It must have been grueling at times to make. But again, thanks so much for doing it. Because it's a treasure.

"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
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If I could just second Vandy's post, and I'm sure everyone else here will agree too. I was just about to post a separate question on Steve Freeman but I guess this is as good a place as any to ask...

We don't hear too much in the magic community nowadays (at least I don't) about Steve Freeman... is he still active in our field and do you still keep in touch with him?

Thanks in advance.
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Sherman Oaks
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Steve Freeman now lives in Santa Barbara, and he now tends to stay away from the magic community. After his mentor, Charlie Miller, died, he stopped being active in the community.
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Michael Ammar
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Thank you, Vandy!

I'll tell you how it all came about. In 1980 or 81, I had filmed a few things for Videonics, videos that went on to be re-released as EARLY Ammar. This was a good experience for me, and I began to help Hans Zahn line up other performers to film. At some point, during a visit to the Magic Castle, I mentioned to Bill Larson that someone should do a video documenting the magic of Dai Vernon. To some extent I was simply mentioning this in passing, because it was a pretty obvious idea, but I was surprised by how much interest he demonstrated.

So I told Hans there was strong interest in a possible shoot with Dai Vernon and gave him Bill Larson's phone number. A few days later, Hans calls with the good news -- Dai Vernon has agreed to appear on a video. That was the good news. The bad news was that he didn't really want to perform anything. So would I be willing to appear with him, in order to perform some of his material.

To make a long story short, it was decided that Gary Ouellet, Steve Freeman, and myself would appear on the video along with the Professor, to ask questions and perform some of the magic. Gary Ouellet was a good friend of Hans, and in fact, had been the one to recommend that he start a business filming magicians! Steve Freeman was a long time friend of the Professor, and was very accomplished in some of the heavy card work that I wasn't, so he was a good choice to fly out from Los Angeles to Newfoundland with the Professor.

In might interest you to know that not everyone thought this was a good idea. There were some students of Dai Vernon who didn't want this to happen. There are still people who feel that magic secrets simply should not be accessible, so they really didn't like the idea that cameras were going to be in the same room as the Professor.

Once the plans were set, I really began to study everything the Professor ever published, so that I would be able to help with the performances. As I began to consider how all this would work, I began to write out a series of questions as I would go through every book the Professor was associated with. I ended up with more than a dozen typed pages of questions to ask, and over the course of three days we went through every question on the list.

On the last day, we were filming into the night and I was supposed to leave on a midnight flight back to the states. When I left for the airport, everyone was still in the studio filming a last few personal stories. As the plane rolled down the runway in the dark, I remembered thinking to myself, "I don't care if this plane crashes -- I could die happy right now..." I'm glad it didn't crash, but it was true -- I felt like what I had just been part of may turn out to be the most important thing I would ever do.

On one hand, you could say it was too bad that the Professor hadn't been 20 years younger, but on the other hand, thank goodness it happened at all!
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On 2006-04-25 01:29, Michael Ammar wrote:
The bad news was that he didn't really want to perform anything.

From what I saw on the videos it appears that he kind of got into it after you all started perfoming. He seemed excited to share what he had learned and didn't seem shy about picking up a deck of cards. Am I right in these observations?

I really get a kick out of watching him do the shifts and palming work. It amazes me how at ease the cards are at in his hands, even at that age.
Steve Brooks
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Thanks for sharing that little bit of history with us. Smile
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Vandy Grift
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Yes, thanks for the background on the series. It certainly stands up and I believe it will for many, many years to come. It was an important undertaking and I'm glad you guys were able to make it happen.

You done good. Real good.

"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
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The greatest joy of the 'Revelations' video series for me, was seeing how much pleasure and excitement was in your faces when Vernon did show some of his ideas.

It was fantastic to see your amazed reactions to moves such as the gambling palm transfer !!

Kind regards,

ps. It was good to see you attend Blackpool this year. What did you think (honestly)?
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I, too, treasure "Revelations" and thank you for your pivotal role in that project.

Only one critique: I felt The Professor could have been more clear in his thoughts on center dealing. Perhaps you can clear it up for me...Is the Kennedy Center Deal good for consecutive centers or not?

Another mystery that you may be able to solve for me....what ever became of Steve Freeman? Do you still keep in touch?
Michael Ammar
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I wish I could speak with authority on the deals for you, but it just never caught my fancy for some reason. There are a few guys out there that really do some amazing deals, but when I want the real work on the heavy card stuff, I go to my long time friend Gary Plants. I was so happy to see Gary at the lecture in Houston about a week ago, where he demonstrated his wonderful false shuffle that I've heard about, but had not yet seen. It looks like the real deal to me, no pun intended!
Pete Biro
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Freeman is still around Los Angeles, and still "has it". He retired from his job as a Finance Officer at Kinko's. I spoke with him at the last Conference on Magic History.
Bill Palmer
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I must also add my thanks for making sure this series happened. I e-mailed you about it right after my wife gave me the DVD's for my birthday a couple of years ago. It was like seeing a bunch of old friends right in my living room.
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On 2006-04-25 01:29, Michael Ammar wrote: out from Los Angeles to Newfoundland with the Professor.

As a Newfoundlander, I've often wondered exactly where in St. John's this shoot took place. Maybe I should actually get around to contacting Hans Zahn to ask!
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