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Topic: Fox Jackson
Message: Posted by: Rindfleisch (Jun 3, 2006 09:28PM)
I was reading through an old January 1942 Linking Ring when I came across an article by TJ Crawford on the gambling skills of Fox Jackson. He mentions in his article Mr. Jackson’s flawless execution of the bottom, second, center and also sleeving. It goes on to say replacing "deadwood" is a move so natural that suspected irregularity never enters the mind of the most skeptical. He cites he never got caught sleeving. Very Intriguing! At the time Mr. Jackson was retired and lived a total opposite life he lived before hustling for over 30 years. Does anyone have anymore information on this guy or on his techniques?

Joe Rindfleisch
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 4, 2006 04:27PM)
Fox Jackson, no never heard that name before but then I never heard of TJ Crawford either, I don't think, so can you tell us a little about Mr Crawford.
Message: Posted by: ronfour (Jun 4, 2006 04:51PM)
What does "replacing 'deadwood'" mean?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 4, 2006 05:37PM)
Well I guess a card no longer legally playable, a mucked card, is dead and replacing 'deadwood' is bringing it back into play some way like topping the deck.
Message: Posted by: ronfour (Jun 4, 2006 07:12PM)

In other words you don't know. Me either.
Message: Posted by: Rindfleisch (Jun 4, 2006 07:48PM)
TJ Crawford Was a columnist in the Linking Ring for many many years. His column was called, "Have A Card".

Here is his article:
January 1942 Linking Ring Pg.21,22

The Fox is still Foxy with cards
By T.J. Crawford

On a small farm in middle Tennessee, 12 years ago, with his wife, W.O. (Fox) Jackson retired to quiet and unostentatious living, half hopping to forget the period during which he was outstanding in certain circles as the individual with the marvelous hands.

Just how Jim Grigsby found him, and how long he labored to persuade him to demonstrate some of the amazing sleights which had become factors in his being, is a long story. In fact, the story is a fitting climax to the many incidents in his career of the former gambler, which he calmly recites with keen memoryof detail.

Fox Jackson is a wonder worker, not because of his abilityto do that which is beyond the attainment of other men, but for the reason that his uncanny feats of dexterity are presented faultlessly. Perfection is the word which correctly labels the quality of his work. The keenest observers admit that everything is, apparently, on the level, even after Jackson has statedjust what he is going to do. All card men, perhapsknow what he is doing, but their eyes refuse to reveal his methods.

HIs bottom dealing is the acme of perfection; his false cutdoes not disturb a card in the pack, and is accepted as perfectly legitimate; he disclaims the ability to deal "seconds", and yet a dozens experts pronounced him the peer of any second dealers they had seen. It is not possible for the most alert to discover that he had dealt himself 10 cards instead of the usual five. "Sleeving the cards", Mr. Jackson claims is one of his accomplishments which was never "caught" during his 30 odd years of card playing. Replacing "deadwood" is a move so natural that suspected irregularity never entered the minds of the most skeptical. HIs deal from the center of the pack is a feat for which the experts appear to have no theory to advance.

Although Mr. Jackson has no knowledge whatever of the valued faculty which the magician knows as "misdirection", he makes use of that element to an extreme degree, and the effect is miraculously surprising. He is not wise to any of the principles involved in magic, and the rankest amateur, with the simplest piece of mechanical equipment could entertain and mystify him. Mixing with conjurers has convinced Mr. Jackson that he, obviously, possessed something which made a strong appeal to those with keen interest in card magic. . . the outstandingmiracle workers found themselves completely bewildered.

When Fox Jackson seats himself at a table to make a demonstration, unlike many of us modern manipulators, he is not handicapped by disasterous self-consciousness; he has no thought of possible failure in the perfect presentation of each of his sleights. Through time, patience, and perseverance they have becomenatural movements. The magician possibly has that self-conscious feeling because of the mistake of attempting to present half-rehearsed items. Think of Mr. Jackson or any of his colleagues using one of those vital card table sleights as soon as the mechanics of it have been explained! Just another form of suicide. An experienced magician, advising the neophyte,would probably have said: "Practice every item incessantly until the apparatus is worn out, then buy the same piece again to use in your act."

During the years of his activity, Mr. Jackson carefully avaided publicity, and now that he is in retirement, he is certainly not seeking to broadcast his accomplishments of former days.

Mr. Jackson's mode of living for a dozen years has been so vastly different from the period when his remarkable handswere being trained that this becomes a kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde story. While he has vivid recollections of those days, he has a comforting contrast in his present environment and association, along with the full realization that there can be no return to that former existence.

Expressions from a few men who have watched Mr. Jackson work follows:

Russ Walsh: "Both psychologically and dextrously, he is far ahead of anyone I have seen work. I'm not alwyas sure that he did what he started out to do. When you add it all up, I'm just plain bewildered."

Bill Larsen: "Fox Jackson is something to see, admire, and talk about."

John Mullholland: "Jackson does things with a pack of cards wholly unbelievable, even when you see them."

Jack Chanin: "If I went in for that kind of work, I would be insane on the subject. After watching Jackson with all eyes I have, I don't know what he was doing."

In the following month, in the, "Have A Card" colunm T.J. Crawford writes:

The Fox Jackson Story in the January Linking Ring has brought many expressions of appreciation. Some criticised me for writing a too conservative statement of the appearently immpossible which Mr. Jackson is able to put over with a pack of cards.

Mr. Jackson is now confined in the Veterans' Hospital, Memphis, Tenn., and we sincerely trust that he is on the road to recovery.

So based upon the above articles we know he just started gambling around the same time "Expert At The Card Table" was first published.

It was 1942 12 years in retirment and 30 odd years of gambling. That brings his entry to the scene around 1899 or 1900.

Also, We know he served in the military since he was in the Veterans Hospital.

I haven't been able to find any more information on this guy, but I did reach out to Denny from "Denny and Lees" magic shop and he was intrigued also! He told me he would do some checking. so I'll let you know what I find out.
I wonder though if there is any surviving relatives of W.O. Jackson that may have some of his stuff in an old attic somewhere, or maybe track down a relative of Jeff Grigsby, wouldn't that be nice.

Joe Rindfleisch
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 5, 2006 06:22AM)
Cool! Thanks for showing us this. I am not sure there is any link to Erdnase as Mr Crawford or others would have made the connection back then, me thinks.
Replacing Deadwood must have been a well-understood term back then or Crawford would have elaborated. There are terms used today that I do not know but the moves turn out to be well know when the detail is explained. Cheats and crooks often just make a term up to keep it in the family so to speak. Not all cheats are into magic and know any terms that are used in magic but know the moves by other names.
Message: Posted by: Rindfleisch (Jun 5, 2006 06:48AM)
I don't think anyone is making a link to Erdnase, just stating an interesting fact. Now I'm sure he probably read it. However in the "The Fox is still Foxy with Cards" article Mr. Crawford mentions sleights that are not found in Erdnase.

In the article it mentions that he perfected these vital slieghts so I'm sure he was doing these moves well before the "Expert At The Card" Table came out.

Joe Rindfleisch
Message: Posted by: T. Joseph O'Malley (Jun 5, 2006 09:21AM)
Deadwood, at least in Gin Rummy, refers to the cards in your hand that are not part of any meld or run. They count against you if you're caught with them in your hand after your opponent knocks or goes Gin. I have also heard people refer to the discard pile in other games as deadwood - cards that are no longer in play - but I'm not sure if this is a correct useage of the word, although it seems like it could be - but I won't speculate either way.
Message: Posted by: Rindfleisch (Jun 5, 2006 10:01AM)
I will add another snipet from page 21

Editor's Note: The IBM's Jim Grigsby, of Nashville, Tenn., (who incidentlly will stay up all night to learn a new card trick) along with others produced W.O.Jackson at the Cincinnati convention. It was the pleasure of a select number to see this man work, while others heard about him via the grapvine. The Linking ring herewith presents a sketchy yarnabout Mr. Jackson, although devoid of much of the glamour which certainly must be attached to our character in his chosen field of endeavor.

Joe Rindfleisch
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 6, 2006 03:08PM)
I do not think I have ever made a move at the card table that relied on misdirection as I understand it. What card table move does? I can not think of one but I am tired.
Message: Posted by: sodman12 (Jun 6, 2006 08:03PM)
Dead wood is mentioned in darwin ortiz at the card table.

it is used when your playing heavy and you need to show down your hand so the extra card or cards is considered the deadwood and needs to be disposed of
Message: Posted by: ronfour (Jun 6, 2006 09:07PM)

I know what deadwood is. What does it mean to replace it?


Don't all moves need misdirection at times? And aren't there times when even misdirection won't help? Thanks.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 8, 2006 05:07AM)
"There is a vast difference between the methods employed by the card conjurer in mystifying or amusing his audience; and those practiced at the card table by the professional, as in this case the entire conduct must be in perfect harmony with the usual procedure of the game. The slightest action that appears irregular, the least effort to distract attention, or the first unnatural movement, will create suspicion;"


In card magic sure you can use misdirection but at the table it is not so easy to do without creating suspicion. What you do must fit in with procedures. You can't change the procedure to use misdirection, if you follow what mean. You can pick a spot in the procedure, the right moment in the procedure to make a move but that's timming which is important but I don't think you can create misdirection like a magician does. I don't know, it is just how it seems to me. I am not a magician as such and I am not sure about how magicians use the word as it seems to cover a lot of things when they say it.
Message: Posted by: Rindfleisch (Jun 8, 2006 08:48AM)
Doc has a clip up on the internet:

Midway theres a guy with a coat and he does a deck switch, that would be considered misdirection.

any thoughts.

Joe Rindfleisch
Message: Posted by: ronfour (Jun 8, 2006 08:51AM)
That is a nice theory.
Message: Posted by: Rindfleisch (Jun 8, 2006 08:53AM)
Well it's actually a towel but he's he does it with a coat.

Joe Rindfleisch