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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Which magician alive today best emulates Dai Vernon? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Alewishus
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I think Vernon may have been wrong in thinking that Ammar was his "predecessor".
Did Vernon know Shirley Maclaine by any chance?


A.
Sack subs, ok Ross?
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Pete Biro
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In his later years Vernon was "too nice" telling people how wonderful they were. Sadly, many believed him.

I agree, having known all under discussion for many many years... Pat Page, Johnny Thompson and Bill McComb rolled into one would be the likely successor... but who needs another anybody?

Just being their own and wonderful selves is enough.

You can add Carney, Cervon, Jay, Freeman and Diaconis to those that know more of Vernon's material and thinking than anyone else.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Whit Haydn
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That's a coincidence--I was Shirley Maclaine in a past life...

Asking who the modern day Vernon or the current Houdini is--is, well, silly. It is the kind of question only asked by those who knew none of the names in question.

Who is today's Al Jolson? Who is the new Louis Armstrong? Is Springsteen still the new Bob Dylan?

Vernon was one of a kind. What he did does not need to be done again. He was not the new Hofsinzer or the new Erdnase. He was Vernon--a fascinating and difficult man who made a huge contribution to the art of magic.

Like Prometheus, he brought us fire from the gods--magic that would not be still here with us today had Vernon not existed. Much of it was original, much was learned from the masters of the Golden Age, and everything had his thought, touch, and imprint on it.

Billy McComb, Johnny Thompson and the others mentioned here are giants in their own right, and not just "the closest thing to Vernon."

They have made their own unique contributions to the art of magic.

It is impertinent and presumptuous to use such language, and I sincerely doubt that any of the people mentioned so far would appreciate being nominated for such a "title."
DNshade
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Quote:
On 2005-07-31 20:43, love2laugh wrote:
I'm sorry everyone for being critical on your choices. I just have a very strong opinion that Michael Ammar is a modern day Dai Vernon.

Can anyone provide any evidence against my selection of Michael Ammar? He has been the most prolific publisher of magic videos and was even on Dai Vernon's Revelations videos. Dai Vernon said himself how amazing a magician Michael Ammar was on his tapes. I think Dai Vernon even thought of Michael Ammar as his predecessor.


So, who do you think surpasses Michael Ammar? Who is a modern day Dai Vernon? Please provide some evidence for your claims.

Thank you,
L2L

You have got to be kidding me...These statements alone reflect how little you know about the history and field you are talking about. How Ammar has usurped this position is beyond me. You do realize that Michael was not even supposed to be on the Revelation videotape series right? He was a last minute replacement for Earl Nelson when Earl had to step aside becuase of an actual paying gig (that's right - the Professor never got paid anything for those tapes...) And Ammar was brought in by the "producers". And it is a shame that the full - unedited tapes are not availible. The many, many minutes of footage from the original tapes that has been mysteriously edited out where the Professor chastises and corrects Michael many times - are filled with very good insights and information that all should see.

You want to talk about people who carry on the spirit of the Professor, John Carney, Earl Nelson, Steve Freeman, Johnny Thompson, Ricky Jay etc.. are the names we should be talking about.

And I am quite sure that the Professor never thought of Ammar as his "predecessor" as you put it - for many reasons, but mainly because I'm sure Vernon knew what the definition of the word "predecessor" meant.
Steranko
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I personally think Mr. Chosse could be a good candidate, but we really don't need a replacement!
Vraagaard
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I agree - we don't need a replacement. Dai Vernon is a stand out - Holy Grail. He invented loads of small natural looking moves to enhance routines to perfection. He contributed a lot in terms of routining. I never saw him really perform except in his old days (on DVD), so I can’t tell if he was charismatic to a lay audience – but I believe he was a gentleman and a charming character. He is surely the professor.

However - we need to separate between how people perform and if people invent and contributes great effects. That’s why I think people are laughing of the Ammar suggestion – but honestly hardly anyone perform their magic with such flowing motions and grace. You might not like his verbal presentation and the fact that he didn’t invent a bunch of stuff – but he surely handles his magic gracefully and I would be proud to have Ammar’s skills and have made his contributions. I think most of you would too.

A magician that comes close in terms of natural moves, ingenuity, simplicity and who has great drama and acting skills is to me: Tommy Wonder - surely charismatic, gracefull and a gentleman performer - he is among the greatest. If more lay audiences experienced Tommy Wonder then our proffession would be looked at with very different eyes by the public - to the benefit of all of us.
Hideo Kato
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Magicians can not be compared by what and how they perform. I believe Dai Vernon established the foundation of Clode-up Magic of today. Nobody can compete in this regard.

You are not understanding how Dai Vernon is great!

Hideo Kato
tommy
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I think one of the great gifts Dai Vernon had was a great imagination, incidentally, I have just noticed the word Magi in that word. Imagination is above all other things what makes a magician great, in fact I think it is what makes all great men great. In that respect Lennart Green springs to my mind.

Regards

Tommy
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magicalec
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I don't think you can comment unless you,ve seen these guys live...here in the uk, the best sleight of hand magic I've seen is gerry sadowitz...regards
Vraagaard
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Quote:
On 2005-08-01 04:40, Hideo Kato wrote:
Magicians can not be compared by what and how they perform. I believe Dai Vernon established the foundation of Clode-up Magic of today. Nobody can compete in this regard.

You are not understanding how Dai Vernon is great!

Hideo Kato


Hi Hideo,

We would sure love to understand then. Maybe you could throw in your take on what made Dai Vernon great(est).
Euangelion
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The new Professor its hard to say when no definition is provided. Depending on the approach it is like ten blind men with an elephant. Other the other hand we know who the new Soapy Smith is and he is an abolute scoundrel.
Bill Esborn

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ASW
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Quote:
On 2005-07-31 21:42, Paul Chosse wrote:
Jamie Ian Swiss has some of the Vernon qualities. He can be cantankerous, argumentative, opinionated. But he knows his magic. He can do "the work". He's a likeable, charismatic fellow. He polarizes people. Not particularly inventive, but he has good taste. Is HE the next "Professor"?


[/lurk]

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[lurk]
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love2laugh
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Wow, I must say I have learned a lot from reading your replies. I wanted to include a quote from some of the good replies but there were too many. Hmmmmmmm.... I am now thinking I was incorrect in stating Michael Ammar is a modern day Dai Vernon. I got caught up in the fact that Ammar has been sooooo prolific in publishing magic videos and I have taken his appearances on these videos in too high of a regard. It seemed that Ammar was collaborating in almost every video and I thought it was only due to the amount of respect given by the community. I was totally unaware that Earle Nelson was the first choice for the Revelations video series. Earle Nelson is amazing! I guess I got caught up in the contribution aspect of Michael Ammar and Vernon. I looked at Vernon as a man who contributed greatly to our craft. This was why I naturally thought Ammar fit the bill. However, I am now thinking about originality and someone who takes our craft to the next level. I don't know of many effects which are novel with Ammar. He does seem to collaborate and get other magicians to agree to letting him show their creations, as on the ETMCM videos. I also got taken in on Michael Ammar's Cups and Balls book and videos where he talks often of Vernon and provides one of the best resources for Cups and Balls ever. His book in incredible. Anyway, I think this thread contains a lot of excellent information and it is nice to put Vernon in such high regard and keep his name in the spotlight. I think we can all learn more about Vernon and it is fun debating if another Vernon will come along. There have been some excellent names discussed in this thread and it is good for us to give them the accolades they deserve. I was originally very confident that Ammar was a modern day Vernon and I must admit your replies have helped me to see things differently and become more open minded and objective.

The Magic Café is certainly a wonderful place to have a coffee and debate. Smile

Thank you,
~L2L
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2005-08-01 04:40, Hideo Kato wrote:
Magicians can not be compared by what and how they perform. I believe Dai Vernon established the foundation of Clode-up Magic of today. Nobody can compete in this regard....

The worship of card moves from a book most cannot read much less understand? The emphasis on nerdy fussing as opposed to magic? Half routines started in the middle? Fooling Houdini with a trivial card trick?

Yes, the guy had an impact. Pretty much right between the eyes for most magicians. For those who can get past the glamour and find the guy who had great taste in magic and made a life's goal of seeking the best in closeup sleight of hand magic... good. It takes a while to enjoy Vernon's work, especially in context of what else was going on in his time. He connected with Ganson and made sure the works of Leipzig, Malini, Ramsay and others were made accessible. He also helped a generation of magicians get over the "don't forget to point" problem that followed our art from the age of silent movies.

With any luck there are enough who learned from Vernon. As to the next long term progressive person in our culture of magic? Perhaps Paul Harris or (if he chooses to go public) Michael Weber. Tommy Wonder comes to mind in a different context. His do-it-yourself problem solving attitude is a different lesson we could all do to learn. He probably already has his place in our history and sets a great example.
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bishthemagish
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Great post Jonathan Townsend Dai Vernon gave a lot to magic in both great routines but he also gave much more. He gave himself and a lot of great philosophy about how to perform magic is written up in his genii column and other places.

Vernon talks about the magical effect being more important than the moves.

Vernon talks about being natural and not putting in movement or body language that isn't needed.

With that in mind I answer this question "Which magician alive today best emulates Dai Vernon? The answer is NO ONE!

And yet perhaps Everyone!

Who can feel Vernon's magical spirit. In the writings and in the little video footage that can be seen and give us a glimpse as to how really great Dai Vernon the legend was. And how he inspires and teaches the young and old of today’s magic world through his published works.
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Nik_Mikas
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So, everyone here realizes that "Vernon's" theories and philosophies are usually other peoples, right?
Richard Shippy
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Excellent replies Johnathan Townsend and Glenn Bishop! Smile

I don't think I can add anything new to this thread but I'd like to put in some support for Tommy Wonder. His name has been mentioned in this thread and I do think he holds a special place in magic. He is a man of amazing creativity and dedication. A true genius.

This post is very interesting and I love the replies.

Take care,
Rich
"They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds." ~ Winston Churchill
Count Lustig
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Quote:
On 2005-08-01 11:03, love2laugh wrote:
Michael Ammar's Cups and Balls book and videos where he talks often of Vernon...

Ammar talks often of Vernon but Vernon did not talk often of Ammar.
Richard Shippy
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If we came up with a top 10 list of performers which are closest to emulating Dai Vernon would Michael Ammar be in this list? I'm not familiar enough with Michael Ammar's work to comment but I'd be interested to learn more about him.
"They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds." ~ Winston Churchill
Dean Noakes
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Modern day Vernon?

Ali Bongo? Maybe Joe Pasquale?

No, just kidding. Never got the opportunity to see Vernon perform, but - in terms of presence, grace and skill - is Rene Levand a contender for the title?
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