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Topic: Origins of Dai Vernon's Cups & Balls Routine
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Jul 15, 2009 02:54PM)
Does anybody know when Vernon developed his C&B Routine (referring here to his standard C&B routine as described in detail by Lewis Ganson in his book "The Dai Vernon Book of Magic")? I'm also interested in finding out when the routine was first published. Ganson's book suggests that Harry Stanley published it in 1957. Also, Vernon's "Impromptu Balls" routine which incorporates many of the elements of the standard Vernon routine was published in "Stars of Magic" in 1949. Does anyone know of a published source (describing the routine in detail) earlier than this?

One other thing : it's usually said that Vernon's routine was based on Max Malini's. How do we know this for sure? Did Vernon himself say that his routine was based on Malini's? I know that Vernon said that he was influenced by Malini's novel method of loading from pockets rather than a servante but I'm not aware of any specific indication Vernon ever gave that the actual construction of his routine was based on Malini's (or Kreiger's, for that matter). As far as I know, Malini's routine was never published in any detail so it is not possible to do a proper comparison.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 15, 2009 03:04PM)
Good question. I bet Prof. Diaconis would know, or Ricky Jay... but they don't talk.
Message: Posted by: JordanB (Jul 15, 2009 04:08PM)
Part of the routine comes from Hoffman and I know part of the routine comes from Al Baker's routine. I believe there is also some Pops Krieger in there.

When getting ready for his cups and balls DVD Bob White told me that the only thing he couldn't find in print was the Vernon loading sequence. He thinks (and I agree) that portion is all Vernon.

I'm not very knowledgeable concerning the history of conjuring and am sure other's know more. .....I just thought I'd chime in with my 2c.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 15, 2009 05:47PM)
Look at the Stars of Magic. The version with the paper covered glasses has a number of the same bits in it. It was printed originally as one of the Stars of Magic individual lessons. The copyright date on the compilation is 1961, but the individual pieces came out much earlier than that.

I know he was doing it before 1955.
Message: Posted by: James Alan (Jul 15, 2009 06:20PM)
The Vernon Bio has a bit of information about where he performed early on. It wouldn't provide any specifics of which moves or sequences he was using.
Message: Posted by: snape (Jul 16, 2009 01:07AM)
Maybe David Ben knows more? Might be worthwhile sending him a mail.
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Jul 16, 2009 07:46AM)
The copyright on Vernon's routine in Stars of Magic is actually 1949 (series 5, no.1). In looking at this again last night, I noticed that in the introduction it says that the routine is there being explained for the very first time. Although it is the "Impromptu Cups & Balls routine", it's essentially the standard routine, right down to the patter for the "false explanation" during the loading sequence at the end.

Unless anyone knows of an earlier publication, it looks very much like the 1949 Stars of Magic article (in which Vernon appears as his own photographic model) can claim to be the earliest detailed description of what is clearly the most influential C&B routine of the modern era.

I'm still interested, however, in the supposed influence that Malini had in the development of the Vernon routine. Again, I have read nothing that supports such a claim apart from the fact that Vernon followed Malini's example in loading from pockets rather than a servante.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 16, 2009 09:43PM)
That coincides fairly well with what I found on Ask Alexander. The original copyright dates of the individual parts of the Stars of Magic series were not present in the 1961 combined edition.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Jul 16, 2009 10:02PM)
I'd ask Lawrence O.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 16, 2009 10:42PM)
Or Johnny Thompson.