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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Step right up! » » Svengali and wonder pitch at 1939 N.Y.Worlds Fair. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DonDriver
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I found this at another fourm.Its the German Emil Seibold pitching the "Wonder Mouse" and Jimmy Lobaugh pitching the Svengali deck.I understand the mouse was .15 cents and the deck was $1.00 back than.Retail of course.

http://books.google.com/books?id=zkEEAAA......&f=false

Enjoy,Don
sethb
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Very neat, Don -- thanks for posting this!

I was not aware of the terms "high pitch" and "low pitch" before, if in fact they are accurate. Also liked the way the Svengali pitchman spreads those key cards for the kicker finish -- very impressive! That's not easy to do with 100% accuracy all the time. (I know, because I've tried!)

From what I understand, the Svengali Deck was first sold as a pitch item at the 1933 World's Fair (in Chicago?) by Mickey O'Malley. Of course, it had been around long before that in magic dealers' catalogs; I think Burling Hull claimed to have invented it around 1910 or so. And the "short card" had been around a long time before the Svengali Deck (but only as one in a deck). Thurston supposedly fooled Houdini using a short card as a locator, maybe even just a corner short. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Rod Pringle
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Thanks for posting this Don. I enjoyed it.

ROD
DonDriver
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Seth,

David Walker told me Micky McDougal,known as "The card detective" first came up with a pitch for a Svengali deck.It was first shown at the 1933 San Diego Expo. It was a 20 minute pitch and they sold for $1.00.( back in 1933 people had a lot more time than money)

Later,Don
sethb
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I stand corrected, you are right, it was Mickey McDougal. I was close, but no cigar! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
willhunter
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Wonderful piece of history!

"Axiomatic", what a great word!

Does anyone know if the 110k parachute ride mentioned is the one that ended up in Coney?
aka Billy Boston
drhackenbush
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My 1939 New York World's Fair Wonder Mouse is one of the ones Emile pitched - it's a solid wax mouse with the grey rubber band tail and it's in the Trylon & Perisphere Seibold box. One of my treasuers.
The Cardfather
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Did you notice the photo shows the pitchman beginning to scoop the deck after spreading them? Was he using a Mirage deck for pitching but selling less expensive Svengalis? Bait and switch? Or did he use a riffle spread with regular Svengali deck?
Regardless, should a riffle spread be used for a finlie to the pitch? A strong closer but should one stay with moves the tip can do right out of the box?

Rick
DonDriver
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There wasn't even a "Mirage deck" back in 1939.Besides a Mirage deck just gets in the way and aren't good for the demo.Its really easy to do a spread like in the photo,just try it.

You ask if you should do a riffle spread or stay with moves the tip can do right out of the box.Rick the TIP can't do anything you do in the pitch.They are all brain dead.Bottom line...do what ever it takes to sell the deck!You're a pitchman not a Sunday school teacher.

Later,Don
The Cardfather
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Understood. Reason I ask is your DVD is a result of trimming the fat and perfecting a pitch that dates back to the depression era. A 20 minute pitch reduced to 5 minutes. If the riffle spread was dropped from the original pitch I figured there must be a reason. I thought you may say it was "over selling" the product. Tip won't believe they can do it. Riffle spread is too complicated to do without flashing a card from time to time. Or something like that.
I think the problem I'm having is the riffle spread is impressive to me but to the tip the regular way of showing all cards alike is probably just as powerful. Probably will have no difference in sales with or without.
sethb
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I like the tabled spread, mainly because it is very visible to more people. The problem is that, at least for me, it is not 100% reliable. Maybe I'm just clumsy, but I find that I have good days and bad days with it. One show I can do ten perfect spreads in a row, the next show I have regular cards popping up all over the place -- and using a fresh deck doesn't always solve the problem. The other trouble with a tabled spread is that the cards are momentarily out of your hands and therefore out of your control. You have to be very careful that somebody doesn't reach out to touch a card. When I do a tabled spread, I don't leave them on the table for more than 10-15 seconds, just long enough for the effect to register.

The standard riffle is much more reliable, and the cards never leave your hands. If you slowly turn as do it, most of the people can see what's happening. It's just not as showy as the tabled spread.

I agree with Don, the tip already thinks they can't do anything with the deck, and that it will be too hard for them to handle no matter what. That's why I keep telling them that "the cards do ALL the work." SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
The Cardfather
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I agree with both of you.
sescarny
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Don - sometimes I wonder if we just come from an old carnival mentality when it comes to pitching. Smile

Ses

ps - who cares what they can do out of the box, as long as directions are there...
Louis.P.M
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It's funny. I have a first edition copy of "Card Mastery" by Michael McDougall the "Card Detective" and am also a Svengali pitch amateur without ever knowing the link. Coincidences Smile
DonDriver
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Louis,

New pitchman aren't called amateur.The correct term is "J.C.L." ( Johnny Come Lately)But than to,you being a J.C.L. how would you know the term.
(talk about a catch 22...)

Don
Freak Prodigy
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Don, didn't I give you one of those old german mice?
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julieannjohnson
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Sethb wrote, "I was not aware of the terms "high pitch" and "low pitch" before, if in fact they are accurate."

The term "high pitch" appears in Bob Nelson's "Encyclopedia of mentalism" from 1944, in reference to the one-man horoscope pitch. See the thread on the scope pitch for more on this.
rossmacrae
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Well, I thought I knew something ... when I was making my "The Carnival's Been and Gone" DVD with its large 1939 NY World's Fair chapter (culled in large part from 6 hours of wonderful footage from the Internet Archive) I thought I was being very very perceptive when I noticed this:

the home-movie photographer back then had caught just a few seconds (5 or 6) of a crowd gathered around a top-hatted guy, obviously a pitchman, and you could just barely read the sign "Wonder Mouse".

Of course I had to include it, and thought I was such a bbright lad for recognizing it.

You guys have given me the full background - wonderful! Thanks!
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