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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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Whit Haydn
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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 some was stolen, but 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 and significant contributions to the art of magic.

It is impertinent and presumptuous to use such language, and I know that none of the people mentioned so far would appreciate being nominated for such a "title."
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2005-08-01 00:53, Whit Haydn wrote:
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... 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.

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."


Maybe silly to ask, but I have the answer. If you were Shirley Maclaine in a past life, Whit, then I AM THE CURRENT HOUDINI ! Smile
Bruce Springsteen does remind me of Bob Dylan. But it's just a superficial similarity. No one is the new someone else. Impossible. And who wants to be, anyway? I agree with you once again, Mr. Haydn. The question is dismissive of the original Mr. Vernon and those who have been nominated to fill his shoes. We're talking about real people, real lives. They deserve more than a superficial comparison to someone else.
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
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Lee Darrow
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Y'know, it's amazing when I hear someone say something like "everyone knows that Vernon's theories are always someone else's, right?" or other dis statements. Most of the people who say that either only saw The Professor when he ws in his 90's and unable to perform or never saw him perform at all, other than maybe on the Videonics tapes.

I was AT the $1,000 lecture in Chicago on a very hot summer's night and watched the Professor blow away the best posted, most educated magicians in the country with some of the FINEST sleight of hand material I have EVER witnessed, anywhere.

Period.

He sat there for a good 20 minutes, talking about history, theories and people he knew. He then stood up and did the 3 Coins to Champaign Glass and blew EVERYBODY away with it. I was sitting next to Terry Vekey, one of the best close up magicians I know. Terry looked at me on the break and said, in awe, "Where did he get the coins? I never saw him load up!"

I knew the answer, as I had re-read Vernon's Book the night before and said, simply, "He had them in his hand before he ever walked on stage. You have to learn to hide and hold."

From behind me, I heard that patented chuckle and a hand landed on my shoulder. "Here's a boy who actually READ what I wrote!" and the Professor was standing there, grinning at me. I was never more flattered.

His lecture contained NOTHING but PURE GOLD. And no one left unhappy. In fact, I will go on record, right now, as saying that the Vernon lecture, out of all the lectures I have been to in over 36 years in this business, was THE best lecture that I have ever attended.

Those who did not see him back in the 70's, when I did, missed a True Master at his craft. No question about it.

But now, today, the fashion is to deconstruct the "greats." To put them "in their place," and to make them less than they really were. Well, folks, I was there. If you weren't, then you can't really speak to how good he really was.

I can. He was.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Nik_Mikas
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Lee:

Since that was clearly directed at me, I shall respond.

Where did I say Vernon was not good at sleight-of-hand? I would never say such a thing (and that is clearly the underlying point of your post). But I still stand with the mentality I have. That is: repeating what others have said and putting them to good use does not make you their inventor. It makes you a wonderful exponent of previous teachings, but not the creator of them.

People saying things like "Vernon says to be natural" and "Vernon says the effect matters, not the means" clearly do not realize that Vernon learned all that from other sources. He was no doubt the most influential magician of the last century, and although I never got to see him, I do not find it hard to believe that he was the greatest exponent of sleight-of-hand ever. But he did not invent the notion of being natural, or of using you head, or the numerous other thoughts and sayings he is credited for. That is all.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2005-08-01 23:58, Nik_Mikas wrote:
People saying things like "Vernon says to be natural" and "Vernon says the effect matters, not the means" clearly do not realize that Vernon learned all that from other sources.

Since this is clearly directed toward me I will respond. I saw Dai Vernon lecture in Davenport Iowa. It was a three hour lecture after he spent the entire day at the convention, telling stories, helping young magicians with moves, signing autographs etc.

Statements like "clearly do not realize" are a little out there from someone that perhaps may not have met or seen Dai Vernon lecture or perform. When any performer does a show or a lecture on magic what they are giving us is their ideas. The ideas may have been inspired by "those who have come before us" but certainly Dai Vernon gave magic a real treat in his writings - video - performing - lecturing of his magic point of view about magic.

I agree with Lee and feel Dai Vernon IS THE LEGEND!
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Richard Shippy
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I wish I would have had the opportunity to see Vernon perform. It is fascinating to hear all of the wonderful stories about the man. It must have been amazing to see him perform live when he was in his prime. I would have loved to have gone to one of his lectures. Thank you for sharing.

Sincerely,
Rich
"They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds." ~ Winston Churchill
love2laugh
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O.k., based off the replies to this post I think we can say with confidence that there will NEVER be another Dai Vernon. I am getting the feeling that he was a one of a kind who came into magic at a time that is much different than today.

However, is there any magician alive today who we hold in as high a regard as was Vernon in his day?

This is a different question than I originally posted since my views have changed after reading your replies.

What do you think? Is this a more appropriate question? Can any magician today be as highly regarded as Vernon or have our times changed soo greatly with media and internet exposure that magicians can never achieve this status within our community?

I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

~L2L
Whit Haydn
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I think just about any brilliant, totally dedicated performer around today, who has had more than 75 years experience in magic and knew Houdini, Malini, Cardini, Leipzig, Paul Le Paul, Faucett Ross, Russell Swan, Thurston, and every other great magician in this country and around the world, and who studied and read just about everything ever written on card magic and sought out and met with many gamblers and card cheats all over the country and was friend and confident of just about every magician who lived in the entire last century, and who created and refined both new methods and approaches to classic magic and card tricks, and invented many, many tricks still in use by others would be a good candidate.

Love2laugh: It is still an inappropriate question. You are making a comparison where none should exist, and making a title or position where none exists or can exist.

Who is the modern Shakespeare? Who is the contemporary Einstein?

You act as if Vernon lived a long time ago. There are many, many people on this board who knew him well. To try to make false comparisons between the work of one great performer to another is just wrong.

Vernon was not the greatest magician who ever lived, nor the most important. But he was certainly one of the greats. He lived a very long time, and had a very powerful and lasting influence that has marked every magician who has come along since.

You can easily ask who are some of the most important writers, creators and performers of magic alive today.

So, why must you turn it into a comparison? You can not compare contributions that are so different in breadth and scope and subject. It is a case of apples and oranges.
love2laugh
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Whit, I must admit you completely changed my mind! I am embarrassed to admit that your reply uncovers my ignorance on this topic. I completely agree with you and think the last question I posed is really irrelevant. I must admit that it is wonderful discussing Vernon and I really do see this topic in a completely different light. I have not seen many magicians here on the Café admit they were wrong about something but I'd like to go on the record to say I was wrong in posting such a question since I really thought an answer did exhist. I am glad I did post this question since I was sincere in my intent and I did end up learning a lot. For this I am thankful and quite humbled.

~L2L
Richard Shippy
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Wow, fantastic reply Whit!!! You hit the nail on the head.

It is alright love2laugh, I also learned a lot from the replies within your post. The debate has been very interesting and I like hearing about Vernon.

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
Steranko
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I guess that's put that one to bed!

PS - I've heard a lot or rumours about Persi Diaconis, how does he rate on the "Be-Like-Vernon" meter? Smile
Alewishus
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Doesn't Diaconis relate a story about Vernon egging him on to drink?


A.
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Whit Haydn
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Diaconis is a huge talent, and he would despise anyone who tried to make such a stupid comparison. I think this has been a good topic, not because I like the question, but because it does offer a chance to discuss these issues.

Let's look at people's individual contributions rather than trying to fit them into some kind of ranking or comparison of their value to magic.
Pete Biro
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Well, uh, Diaconis IS a professor Smile And... he lived and travelled with Vernon for quite some time. He also created most of Himber's effects, most notably the linking finger rings, and he was heavily into the gambling side and as far as my personal experience, I have never seen anyone as good as he with the cards.
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Reis O'Brien
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Me.

;)
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saxmangeoff
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Quote:
On 2005-08-01 15:10, Whit Haydn wrote:
Who is today's Al Jolson? Who is the new Louis Armstrong? Is Springsteen still the new Bob Dylan?


Absolutely right!

There's a country song, by George Jones, called "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?" It asks, essentially, who will fill the shoes of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, etc. The chorus goes:

Quote:
Who's gonna fill their shoes
Who's gonna stand that tall
Who's gonna play the Opry
And the Wabash Cannonball
Who's gonna give their heart and soul
To get to me and you
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes


The answer is, well, let's see, Trace Adkins, George Strait, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride...... Dierks Bently has a lot of potential. I think Buddy Jewell is "the real deal." Ultimately, time will tell who the "greats" are. Another line in the song is "there'll never be another red-headed stranger" (Willie Nelson). That's true, but there WILL be other musicians with the ability to stand out from the crowd over the course of a long career.

So, there'll never be another Dai Vernon, but that's ok, because there will be a Tamariz, or Wonder, or Roth, or.....

Geoff
"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
Uggla
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Wasnt richard turner and vernon pretty close???
What I can remeber from turners dvd is a vernon interview , were vernon say that "Richard turner can do things whith cards that no one else can do , it doesn't mather if he comes from china or france no body can do things like him"
Lukas
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I agree with Whit Haydn everyone has there own style of magic and everyone is good at magic in there own way.

Lukas
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Magicmaven
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Not everyone is good at magic.
OiNutter
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I would like to say thank you to love2laugh for asking this question, however wrong it was as due to the replies given I have learnt much more about Dai Vernon. Being fairly new to magic I only knew of Vernon by reputation and from the sleights of his in Bobo's book. Listening to what many of you has said about him leads me to my next question. Which of Vernon's books would you recommend as a good place to start for anyone interested in learning some (although I would hope I could learn all) of his techniques?
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