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sethb
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You are right, Svengali Decks were tremendously overexposed by the TV advertising for the "Magic Cards." However, I understand from material that S. David Walker has put out that the pitch was modified slightly at the time to include the DL and a few other things that the Magic Cards folks weren't doing. I'm sure Don could provide some more information on this. I also understand that the TV Magic Card craze basically saved the FUN, Inc. (Royal Magic) from going out of business -- they produced the decks for Mr. Brodien at a time when magic as a hobby was getting to be a very hard sell.

And I think the Magic Cards are still being sold; in fact, I happened to see a pile of decks in a toy store a couple years ago. But they were even smaller than bridge size cards, and they said "TV Magic Cards" on the back. While that might have been smart from a branding perspective, I thought it was certain death for anybody who actually wanted to do card tricks with them -- why advertise the fact that you are working with a trick deck? But on the other hand, Marshall Brodien is probably a millionaire and I'm not, so who cares what my opinion is!

And the good news is that regardless of how many billions of Svengali Decks have been sold, people are being born every day who have no idea what a Svengali Deck is. As they grow up, they will buy them -- and we will sell the decks to them! For every kid who tells me "I've already got that trick," there are five more kids whose jaws drop when all the cards in the deck magically change to the chosen card. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
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Hi DCB,

I got into the Svengali pitch business just after Marshall did the pitch on TV.David Walker was out there pitching at the same time.He told me that at the time the decks on TV were $1.98 in Walgreens and a few other store.Marshall didn't have a 800 number or a mail in to buy the decks,you just just went to the store.

David was pitching them at the same time for $2.00 and a free two card monte.He would crack to the tip."Just like the magic cards you see on TV and we give you a FREE extra trick and remember we don't charge sales tax"

So the Marshall TV add helped him.This was for about a year in the 70's not sure of the exact year.Everyone should buy Marshalls book,its really a great story.

Later,Don
deadcatbounce
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Don,Thanks for that. I'd never heard of Marshall Brodien till I read your post. I'm busy working my way through "Al Flosso, the Coney Island Fakir" which is also a good read.
I'll tag the Marshall Brodien one for my next read.

Regards,

DCB
"With every mistake - we must surely be learning..." George Harrison.
DonDriver
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Hey DCB,

That's funny but I've been meaning to pick up the Flosso book.I'm sure you read that Al pitchen at Coney Island and that he hires Budd Abbott as a stick for $8.00 a week.Thats an amazing story.

I spent a day with Al in his shop in NYC about 1974,and that was a most amazing day.

Later,Don
sethb
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I know Al pitched a Hoo Coin (hook coin) and some other stuff after his turns on the Dreamland sideshow at Coney. I don't know if he ever pitched Svengali Decks, though, I never asked him.

I was fortunate enough to know Al when I was a teenager, and he was quite helpful to me. He also always insisted that I buy at least one book every time I came into his shop for magic tricks, and he started me off with Hugard's "Modern Magic Manual" and Volume 1 of the Tarbell Course.

That was a good and a smart habit to get into, although I didn't realize it at the time. Now, I buy more magic books than tricks, and I fully appreciate Al's advice!! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
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Seth,
I said Al "pitched" at Coney Island,I didn't say what.I would guess he didn't pitch the Svengali deck but other magic.

( you have associated my name with the Svengali deck,but this is good)


Later,Don
sethb
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Don, now why would I associate your name with the Svengali Deck? Smile SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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