(Close Window)
Topic: Dai Vernon's name
Message: Posted by: Emily Belleranti (Feb 3, 2003 09:54AM)
I've doing a lot of reading lately about the life of Dai Vernon, and it seems he had a very interesting and eventful life. But there is one thing I have a question about.

Around what time did Dai change his name from David to Dai? And when did he change his name from Verner to Vernon?

I'm thinking this is probably mentioned in The Vernon Chroncicles #4 (the book series, not the video series). Unfortunately, I don't own it, and I probably won't anytime soon.

If you can't give a date, you could tell me the time his name changed compared to the time other big things happened in his life. For example, did his name change before he got married, after he got married, etc.

Does anybody have an answer to my question? It would be much appreciated.
Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Feb 3, 2003 12:31PM)

Dai Vernon (David Frederick Wingfield Verner) was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on June 11, 1894. He got the nickname of "Dai" when a typo in a newspaper gave him Dai instead of David (I will have to dig deeper to find out the time frame for that aricle). His last name "Vernon" came from the dancer, Vernon Castle, who with his wife was a dancer in the 1920's (Can't remember what time frame this is early or mid 20's when Vernon Castle was very popular). While in New York, his name Vernon was carried over since most New Yorkers could not pronounce Verner correctly.

Hope this helps.
There are some sites you can search for on on any search engine by typing in "dai vernon".

Jim Molinari
Message: Posted by: Emily Belleranti (Feb 3, 2003 12:50PM)
Thanks for the response, jcards01.

I already knew how he got his names, but I am completely in the dark about when this took place.

I was planning on doing some further research about this on the Internet when I had the time. I decided to post the question here on the off chance that someone might just happen to have information on this.

Thank you for offering to look into this for me. That will be a great help.

Emily B.
Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Feb 3, 2003 01:59PM)

We can try and narrow it down some. As I remember, Vernon came to New York around 1913. It was in 1919 that the famous "fooled Houdini" stunt happened and at the time I believe he was already known as Dai Vernon. So the article had to have appeared pretty early in his US career.

Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Feb 3, 2003 08:35PM)
There's also the issue over the pronounciation of his name; "Day" versus "Die."

The generally accepted version has it that he switched pronounciation about the time he switched from the East Coast to the West Coast at the Castle.

One person who supposedly asked Vernon "Is it Day or Die?" was told "ee-ther, or eye-ther."
Message: Posted by: Emily Belleranti (Feb 4, 2003 01:50PM)
You're right that it is possible to narrow down the time frame that this happened. I've thought about that quite a bit, and I too, thought he had his new name when the incident with Houdini occured.

Right now my main source of information about his life is the first chapter in The Dai Vernon Book of Magic. I've read it over again and again, trying to piece together the answer to this. I suppose it will just take time.

Thanks to both of you for your help.

Emily B.
Message: Posted by: Kenguru (Feb 6, 2003 02:41AM)
Check this page: http://www.magicdirectory.com/vernon/
Message: Posted by: Chris Berry (Feb 17, 2003 03:10PM)
I read that article...interesting. But why did he speak negatively about Houdini?

That peaked my interest!

Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Feb 17, 2003 03:56PM)
He changed his first name to Dai because it means 'Great' in Chinese.
[ suppose he wanted to be another fake chinese magician. ]
Message: Posted by: sanskara (Feb 18, 2003 06:13AM)
It's funny you mention that. I always assumed that the "Dai" in Dai Vernon referred to the Asian idiogram representing "great" as well (ie. The Great Vernon.) Is it pronounced D-i-e in Chinese too? I know it is in Japanese, but I'd be really surprised if the character was pronounced the same in both languages.

The Japanese Buddhist tradition Tendai (note last three letters) uses the same character and its name is derived from the Chinese equivalent Tientai. So I'm pretty sure that Dai pronounced as D-i-e is Japanese and not Chinese. I know, who the Hell cares, right?
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Feb 18, 2003 06:22AM)
In the end it doesn't matter because japanese is pretty much the chinese culture.
Although, when he changed his name, Cantonese was the fluent dialect. Not Mandrin [like now]. So it's where you place the accent on the name. So at least there's a time line.
Message: Posted by: Chris Berry (Feb 18, 2003 07:20PM)
Ok..so anybody know why he didn't like Houdini?

Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Feb 18, 2003 10:28PM)
Probably because houdini is a egocentric maniac. Many magicians didn't like him becuase of that. Especially when swayed from doing magic to doing stunts.
Message: Posted by: calgarianpimp (Feb 19, 2003 06:29PM)
He fooled houdini with ambitious right or am I wrong
Message: Posted by: WilliamWHolcomb (Feb 20, 2003 05:12AM)
On 2003-02-18 23:28, Marshall Thornside wrote:
probably becuase houdini is a egocentric maniac. many magicians didn't like him becuase of that. especially when swayed from doing magic to doing stunts.

I've never met Houdini so I couldn't attest to his being a "egocentric maniac." Is that the impression he gave you when you met him?
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Feb 20, 2003 05:59AM)
. . . yes it is sir.