(Close Window)
Topic: Ed Marlo
Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Aug 20, 2004 09:00AM)
Circa April 1976, Chicago Illinois, the Palladium restaurant on North Lincoln Avenue near Magic Inc.

I was working at Mr. C’s Magic Lounge at the time when a co-worker, Randy Wakeman (whatever happened to him), asked me a question that I did not have a real good answer for. He asked me, “with your passion for cards, why is that you have never met Ed Marlo?” I was born and raised in Chicago and of course knew Ed was from Chicago because his address was in most of the small pamphlet books he produced through Magic Inc. I couldn’t answer the question. It had never dawned on me to try and meet him. I guess I never really understood the importance of the man only having seen some of his books that were generally available to the public and not all the other work that was sold privately by Ed to those students that were really interested in the ‘hardcore’ work.

So, on a cool Saturday afternoon, we took a trip to the restaurant where Ed met every weekend. We arrived a little before 12:00 and ordered lunch. It was Randy, Mr. C, Hugh Cosgrove the owner of the lounge, and myself. Approximately ten minutes later, in walked Ed and went to the other side of the restaurant and sat down. Ed always looked his best. He always dressed for lunch in a sport coat. The round table of the day was made up of many people but the most consistent people attending were Dave Solomon, Simon Aronson, and Steve Draun. I never met any of them but that was soon to change.

We finished lunch and nobody wanted to get up and go over and talk with Ed. We figured he didn’t know us and wouldn’t have the time of day. That was a misconception, as Ed really loved seeing anyone perform. We sat there and pulled out the cards and began practicing. All Ed had to do was hear cards riffling. He came over to our table and introduced himself and sat down. As luck would have it, none of the other round table members showed up that Saturday. Of course everybody stopped handling their cards when Ed sat down. We talked for a bit and someone said do something for Ed, Jim. And if I ever find out who that was…….Well, anyway, I did what I felt I was most comfortable with and that was cheating at Blackjack. Well, Ed loved it. I had been doing it so long that the moves were so well covered by natural movement that Ed was laughing as I was calling his hand and the next card he was going to get if he decided to hit. It made an impression on me that he would take the time to sit down and talk with us.

I came again the following Saturday and sat with Ed and that started a weekly routine that would last over five years. On my third visit, I met Dave, Simon, and Steve. I will be forever grateful to them also, as they have always freely shared ideas and knowledge over the years.

Ed always amazed me for the fact that no matter what you asked him, he would be more than willing to explain a move or effect until you understood it. He had a lot of patience when it came to explaining an effect or everything involved with the proper execution of a sleight.

Memory #1:
I remember one Saturday, I asked Ed about the pass as it was applied to an Ambitious Card routine I was performing. He asked to see the routine. When I did the pass for him, well let’s make a long story short and say I do the pass quite differently now. But it wasn’t the pass that intrigued me. Ed started talking about manipulation and magic. He said, it doesn’t matter if the spectator sees the move or not. If they think they saw something happen, then the essence of magic is lost. They may not see the pass, but some unnatural movement of the hands have told them that some manipulation has occurred. I learned a lesson that day that there was a big difference between ‘card tricks’ and ‘card magic’.

Memory #2:
One Saturday I asked Ed about a center deal. He said it was too crowded and that we should get together on a Sunday when it was just the two of us. I picked him up the following Sunday and of course we went to the Palladium Restaurant. He performed the deal for me and asked what bottom deal I was doing. I showed him and again like above, I do it differently today. He walked over behind me and placed the deck of cards into my hands. Placed my fingers into the correct grip and then went back around and said now do this. He dealt a few cards and I said, wow, I couldn’t do that. Ed said, “You are right you can’t do that”. I thought to myself, “gee thanks for the help, Ed”. But I learned lesson #2. What Ed was conveying was the fact that this deal was new and until your hands and fingers have the time to convey what they are trying to do to your brain, if you tell yourself you can’t do it, you won’t be able to do it! It took awhile but I eventually learned what I wanted to know. Of course, learning it from the author of “Seconds, Center, Bottoms”, really made a difference.

Memory #3:
What I really miss about those days is like being in school studying History. Whenever you asked Ed about a move, you not only witnessed the handling and of course several different methods, but you also learned about the history of the move. Where it originated from and who originated it, and who improved upon it. I really enjoyed that because I believe to be really good at something, it helps to know where it came from and who invented or added to it and sometimes why.

The other things I remember about Ed was that he was never satisfied with a solution. Even things he eventually put in print. Which is probably why in subsequent books you always see other solutions to problems that occurred in earlier books. His level of concentration was fantastic. If he was working on a problem, don’t bother to talk with him or try to show him anything, because he won’t remember the conversation or what occurred.

Ed always made me feel welcome and he made me feel like he enjoyed what I did. He brought several people to the lounge to see me perform and I always appreciated how he took the time to come and see me. He was sly though. He never wanted you to be nervous so he wouldn’t introduce me to his guest until after I performed. Some of the guests were, Jimmy Nuzzo, (a master of the peek), Howie Schwarzman, who I still see today at different conventions and continues to fool me, and imagine doing triumph using the Shank Shuffle to someone he introduced as Frank Shields and learning later that evening that his pen name was Frank Shank.

You hear stories over the years about how Ed was a magician’s magician and that his material was not for the lay audience but for magicians. Well, I made quite a career in Chicago and had quite a following doing a lot of Marlo material. Ed was quite entertaining. I remember eating at Schulien’s Restaurant in Chicago and if Ed happened to be there he would wonder over and sit for a while. People at the table were friends of mine and in most cases were non-magicians, but he would pick up a matchbook, spoon, and coins, whatever and perform for them. Never had any complaints and as usual, there was never any hint as to what happened.

He worked for years in a bar and also at a magic shop in downtown Chicago demonstrating tricks. In later years it was his choice not to perform. That wasn’t what he wanted to do. He wanted to invent and write and I appreciate the fact that he did.

You also hear how he didn’t get along with anyone. Well, when you reach the top or pinnacle of anything as Vernon and Marlo did, you are bound to make some enemies.
Rumors of how he and Vernon didn’t get along were probably spread around in those days by the inner core of people who surrounded them rather than by Vernon or Marlo themselves. In all my meetings with Ed and asking about Vernon, Ed always expressed positive responses and an admiration for him.

Well, there’s more but I think I have rambled on quite long as it is.
Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Aug 20, 2004 09:35AM)
For those interested and don't alredy know, visit http://www.chicagoroundtable.com for some very nostalgic photes and other things form an era gone by. Photo's of Ed and others and some nice stories from a family that knew him quite well.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 20, 2004 09:39AM)
Jimmy, thank you for writng this on Ed Marlo. It is one of the finest things that I have read in the Café...

It is great!

Thank you!
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ram (Aug 20, 2004 07:46PM)
I agree with Glenn

It was great.

I love the magicians of the past and hearing stories.

This is becoming my favourite area of the Café :)

Thanks, Jimmy.

Much appreciated.
Message: Posted by: foolsnobody (Aug 23, 2004 12:51AM)
I first met Ed Marlo in the early eighties after I had purchased a couple of his private manuscripts. I had written to ask him if I could meet him when I came to Chicago, and he said yes. So we met at Magic Inc. by arrangement and he was driving a rather large immaculate brown car, maybe a Mercury (I'm not sure) and offered me a ride to the restaurant on that particular Saturday. And he didn't even know me. All he knew was that I purchased something from him and did not go the xerox route.

I believe I met Jack Pyle that Saturday, and either then or later Simon and Dave. Maybe Art Altman? Either then or on a later visit Carl Sagan's son was sitting at the table with us. I wonder if his interest in card magic continued?

I never performed. I was too intimidated. I felt grateful and honored just to be sitting there. On one occasion as I was walking with Ed he said "You don't like to compete, do you?" Something like that. Like he zeroed in on what was going on with me psychologically. He was absolutely right.

When we were alone at the table in a different place, a greek restaurant, he did two effects for me: That's It! and Devilish Miracle. The latter I had asked him to do because I didn't understand the effect. He completely fooled me with those effects. Then he showed me what he was doing.

Later in the Magazines I read more sophisticated methods for getting into the position for DM. But he didn't use them. He used simpler methods (I believe) because he knew they would be sufficient to fool me. I always had the feeling that Ed Marlo knew exactly how hard he had to work to fool whatever audience he was dealing with...which in my case, was not very hard!

After I had bought a few volumes of the Magazine, I wrote him I was missing Volume I, which was out of print, and was there any way I could get it? Ed went and got an electroprint made of his own personal copy and sent it to me.

So I have a very warm spot in my heart for Ed Marlo. He was very kind to me.

Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Aug 23, 2004 01:55PM)
Ed was also sly sitting around the table on Saturdays. He knew what people appreciated and what they were into. For example, he knew I liked gambling moves especially the false deals so he would do stuff for me that utilized those moves. If you were asking about the Buckle, you can be sure that later on that day he would perform something for you that used a buckle of some sort.

What also fascinated me about Ed was the fact that if you asked him something about some trick of his or sleight, it might take him a minute but he would do it for you. We're not talking about someone who wrote one book with maybe 50 or 60 items in it either!
Message: Posted by: Krumb (Aug 25, 2004 01:42AM)
Great stories. I've been watching my Marlo videos lately and have been greatly enjoying them. Every time I watch them I get something new from them. Not only that, but they are extremely entertaining. Great to see the master at work.

By the way jcards, I saw the video of you culling the queens: it was astounding!
Message: Posted by: EMVT (Jul 31, 2006 08:41PM)
Hi guys I'm new to this magic Café forums I just signed up today what a great site, I am a big huge fan of Ed Marlo I wanted to know if anyone knows where I could find the Ed Marlo magazines volumes 1-6 I think they are out of print and hard to find.

Anyways I live in Toronto, Canada so if anyone has them that lives in Toronto or anywhere else and would be willing to part with them or even copy some material for me that would be great as I am willing to pay for these. I must have them "kidding" just that there's a wealth of great material from my favourite cardician that I would love to see and tackle any help regarding this would be great thank you guys for any help.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Aug 1, 2006 05:17PM)
Thanks for sharing your memories Jim.
It's a tribute to Marlo.
Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Aug 29, 2006 09:07AM)
I attended the Midwest Magic Jubilee in St. Louis last week and ran into an old friend and former round table member, Dave Solomon.

We spent many hours laughing and telling stories about Ed and Dave told me one that I heard for the first time. It concerned the "Great Tomsoni" or Johnny Thompson.

This has become one of my favorite stories because I can just imagine Ed delivering the punch line!

Anyone who plays with cards has sooner or later run into the old "Piano Card Trick". A very simple self-working, no-brainer card effect. Well, of course Ed put out a method (actually methods) on it whereas the "odd" card that is placed on one of the piles is actually the card that has gone over to the other pile.

Well, as the story goes, he was performing it for Johnny Thompson and when he asked Johnny "did he remember the name of the odd card", Johnny who had not paid any attention to it said, "NO!" Johnny said, "Ed, you can't tell me that that is the card I placed on the other pile".

Well, Ed said I'll do it again for you. Ed repeated the effect and when he counted the piles and showed the odd card was now on the other pile, he asked Johnny if he remembered the card. Johnny said, "Ed, if your telling me that this card is the 10 of diamonds, I'll $#!*!

Ed remarked as he turned the card over, "The restroom is over there"!
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Aug 29, 2006 09:47AM)
LOL, Great story and great line. Thanks for posting it.
Message: Posted by: EMVT (Aug 29, 2006 05:50PM)
Hey, that's a great story always very pleasurable to hear these stories of yours, I was also going to attend the Midwest magic Jubilee in St Louis but my flight got cancelled. Oh well too bad, as I would have loved to meet Dave Solomon and yourself Jimmy.

Next week I leave for Chicago my favorite city where many of the good card guys come from including my favorite cardician of all time Eddie Marlo, and Ill be sure to check out Midwest Magic for sure. Once again, thanks for the story Jimmy.

Message: Posted by: silverking (Aug 29, 2006 06:57PM)
My nightly reading for the last few weeks has been "The Vernon Touch".
In it whenever Vernon references Ed Marlo it's always with the greatest respect.
A common theme with Vernon when talking about Marlo is wishing he would come out to the west coast more often to session with Vernon and the boys at the Castle.

As with lots of Vernon's writings you often have to read between the lines, and in this case it's pretty clear that Vernon had nothing but admiration for Marlo and a sincere wish to spend time with him.

As an aside, I'm a big fan of the Bridge deal as performed by Jack Pyle that Glenn Bishop includes on his DVD. It's a pegged deck and uses the second deal a lot.
Marlo has a pegged deck bridge routine that he tips on "The Cardician" DVD. He points out the set up and then does two quick riffle shuffles and deals the perfect bridge hand.
His "two quick shuffles" are way more than just "two quick shuffles".
I've been trying to get it for a few weeks now and can NEVER get the distribution right.

After Marlo deals out the perfect hand, he shows how the rest of the high cards are perfectly distributed throughout the rest of the deck.

The guy was amazing and I love watching him perform, talk, and just kid around on the four or five DVD’s that are out now.
Marlo's demonstration on "The Cardician" of the quiet guy that wanted to show him some magic in his hotel room, only to "become" Slydini really shows his sense of humor. The rest of the table absolutely cracks up when he tells this story.

Ed was obviously held in very high regard by those who joined him for dinner. You can see it in their eyes when they talk and listen to him.

Magic was different back then, and seeing Ed Marlo and his friends on the DVD's goes a long way to proving that the picture in my imagination of what it was like really isn't that much different than what it really was like.

By the way Jimmy, I love reading your memories of Ed. They really are some of the warmest writing here on the Café.