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DonDriver
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Well we had a good thread on the "Magic Mouse" how about one on the Svengali "Pitch" not the deck but the PITCH. For as long as I've been pitching them I should know more but I don't.

I know Burling Hull came up with them when he was 16 as a forcing deck for magicians but WHO first came up with the pitch for layman? David Walker said he first saw the pitch at the 1939 New York World's Fair when he was a kid. The Tommy Winsor Svengali pitch book has been around as long as I can remember, but I think the pitch was before his book.

Anybody know anything?

Thanks...
Don
Slim Price
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I wish I had an answer. I used to work the "Eureka Deck". Good results, lots of fun.

Slim
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drhackenbush
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Ah, yes, the Svengali Mouse... He ran the career of Sarah Bernhardt, but was way too controlling... Oh, the Svengali Deck... That's different. Never mind.

I got mine years and years ago and I think it was the Three of Hearts. On one birthday, my elementary school classmates got me what turned out to be another one, under the guise of "TV Magic Cards". I did actually use the decks (more the Fox Lake one than the "TV Magic" since the TV Magic one said that on the back, which even at my young age seemed to yell out, "I'm a trick deck!"

I think I put mine aside when my brother introduced me to Harry Loryne's book "Close Up Card Magic.", but the Svengali deck still holds a sentimental place in my heart.

OK, I'll admit didn't have much info about the pitch in my previous post, but I would be interested in knowing its history, too... Smile
Brett Cantrell
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Okay,

In trying to piece some of this together, I have somewhere (besides in my fuddled brain)the date of Burling Hull's invention of the Svengali Deck as 1908.

Mark Lewis mentions Joe Stuthard's book "Stuthard's Svengali Subtleties" as 1938. That's my earliest reference but I don't know if it covered a pitch per se.

(By the way, I still use a Svengali Deck, even if I'm not pitching it.) Repeat that, and I'll deny it!

Regards,
Brett
jlibby
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Quote:
On 2003-09-06 09:37, folksingmagic wrote:
On one birthday, my elementary school classmates got me what turned out to be another one, under the guise of "TV Magic Cards". I did actually use the decks (more the Fox Lake one than the "TV Magic" since the TV Magic one said that on the back, which even at my young age seemed to yell out, "I'm a trick deck!"

Believe it or not, I still have my deck of TV Magic Cards (mine was the AS... I'll bet yours was too!). And yes, the box was pretty obvious, but otherwise that was a pretty well made trick deck.

I'm rather surprised that my deck is still in such good condition. I wish I aged that well.

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Joe L.

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Slim Price
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One of the old really bad decks I used to sell was the Deland deck... A side story, I used to have as a regular customer a fortune teller who used them! <G>
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Brett Cantrell
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Another note:

Don Drake says in his book "How to Make Money With a Svengali Deck," that Joe Berg wrote the first pitch. Doesn't attribute a date or anything. Anybody know Don Drake and care to give him a call or an email?

Regards,
Brett
DonDriver
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Brett,

Is Don Drake the black art guy? If so, I know someone that knows him that I can call, and did Joe Berg have a magic shop in Hollywood Ca. ?
Thanks,Don
Brett Cantrell
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Hey Don,

Yep, that's Don Drake the Black Art guy. Don't know about Joe Berg though. Have your friend send up a help flag to Don (Drake) and see if he can't turn some more info.

Oh, keep us posted on what you find out. Okay?

Best Regards,
Brett
hackmonkey
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I pitched Svengali cards for nearly two years when I was about 17, while working for 'Marvins Magic' as a demonstrator. The amount of 'Svens' as we called them that we would sell in a day was amazing! Sometimes I feel like I shold stop doing close-up and buy a box load of Svengalis and become a 'pitch man'. I had so much fun and learnt so much about magic. We all did roughly the same pitch that was taught to us when we started by a magician named Bruce, he knew some top guys, so I will check if this 'pitch' came form anywhere in particular.
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DonDriver
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Hey Guys,

I got a hold of Gary Darwin.For thoses that don't know him, he lives in Vegas and has "7000" magic books. He did several books on the TT.

Gary said he would do some research on the Svengali pitch and get back to me in a few day. I'll be sure to post all he finds out.

Later Don
Brett Cantrell
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Hey Don,

Thanks for digging in with the research stuff. I'll be interested to hear what Gary digs up.

Brett

Hi all,

I received a brief email from Mark Lewis today saying that he had posted a history of the Svengali Deck on Alt.Magic. For those of you that can access that discussion group you might be interested in taking a look. I tried to email Mark back, but had the email returned.

By the by, I can't seem to access Alt.Magic myself. Anybody that can send me a copy of his post I would be indebted to.

Regards,
Brett
Hayze
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Brett:

Click Here!

You can access it via google, hope it helps.
DonDriver
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Hey Guys,
Gary got back to me...with seven books on the Svengali deck and pitch nothing was said as "who" was the first to do the pitch.Gary gave me Don Drake's phone number so I called him.Don said without question Burling Hull invented the deck in "1904" not 1908 like many books say,and Joe Berg came up with the pitch in 1905 making Joe the very first one to pitch the Svengali.Don said their is nothing in print about this,but he pitched them back in the 60's and was told this by several old Svengali workers back than that knew the story.(if so,I'm sure Burling was not a happy camper...I've heard stories about Burling) hehehe...
that's it...I should have my Svengali pitch tape ready in about two weeks,I'll keep everyone updated.
Have a Good One,
Don
Brett Cantrell
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Hi Don,

Thanks for the post. . . and a real nice job doing your homework. I'll add that information to my notes.

Thanks again for your work and research, and I'm really looking forward to your pitch tape. (Yep, I'm still holding out my wallet.)

Regards,
Brett
irossall
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In answer to DonDriver, Joe Berg had a Magic shop in the Los Angeles area, may have been in Hollywood. I met Joe Berg and his wife at an T.A.O.M convention in 1973 but have never been to his shop. He was a very brilliant and genuine nice guy.
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DavidEscapes
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Hi all

There are reviews of Don Driver's "No Frills, short, to the point, proven, easy to learn, homemade, cheap, money making Svengali Pitch" at the below thread.

Click Here!

Enjoy

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Todd Robbins
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There's something very wrong about the whole origin of the Svengali Pitch story. Joe Berg was born in 1902! Unless he was a truly gifted three year old, he probably didn't create the pitch. Of course it could have been a different Joe Berg, but if Don Drake is referring to the Joe Berg that was a well known dealer and inventor, then this is wrong.
constantine
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I have made a good living pitching Svengalis in flee markets useing Walt Lees' pitch. It's not an easy pitch,but you can learn it by rote from his tapr. Martin Breese is going to put this out as a CD.You can"t make money buying the decks wholesale,make youn own.I used Paul-son cards from a gambling supply house. I wrote my own instruction sheet based on a couple of the Million tricks with a swengali books around,letterpress printed on a full sheet of good paper.The same printer trimed the decks for me before I began assembly: Seperate 52 decks,faro 52 more decks,take half a shuffed deck and faro into half seperated deck,put them back in the casesand wrap with the instructions.
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Constantine, how many decks did you sell and how much did you sell them for?

Since this thread is about the history of the deck I will cut and paste the article from alt.magic with certain edits.
Give me a few moments.

Here is the history as requested.This is the alt.magic message referred to. I have edited out certain parts of the article.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Regarding the Svengali pitch. The deck was invented in the early 20th
century by Burling Hull. A few people think he didn't invent it and in
fact he was often known as Hurling Bull. I am however quite sure that
he did invent it. Someone on the magic Café said that Joe Berg invented
the pitch. He didn't. Joe Berg was a magic dealer and never pitched
svengalis in his life even though he was quite an inventor.

The deck soon came into the hands of carnival people and street
pitchmen. I consider the deck to be NOT the property of magicians
since they know virtually nothing about it. It is the property of
pitchmen since they know more about the deck than magicians do. Some of
the finest Svengali pitchman know nothing whatever about magic.

Nobody can say who did the first pitch. This is lost in antiquity.
However, Mickey Mc'Dougall is the first fellow in North America who
was known for the thing. Dave Walker learned the pitch from Mc'Dougall
and has spawned various people all over America doing it his way.
Walker shortened the Mc'Dougall pitch from 20 minutes to about 12
minutes. Any book you see published in America describes the Walker
pitch. Even the Tommy Windsor book was the Walker pitch. I heard a
story (which I believe) that Walker was upset that Windsor came to see
him work for several hours and then went home to write a book on his
pitch.

However, the pitch developed quite differently in the United Kingdom.
A Canadian named Joe Stuthard travelled the world selling Svengalis.
He did not use the Walker pitch. I think a lot of the moves he
developed were original to him although I am not sure. Certainly the
pitch was different. He did the thing in England and connected with
Harry Baron the well known magician and author. Harry and Joe started
the Kaymar Magic company (which I believe is still going. The "Kay"
part was Joe Stuthard's wife and the "Mar" part was an abbreviation
for Harry's wife Margaret.

Harry was involved with Ron Macmillan of International Magic in the
early days. Somehow Ron got involved in pitching Svengalis. I am not
sure if he knew Joe Stuthard. He certainly knew Harry Baron.

Ron did things essentially the Stuthard way with his own variations.
He then spawned a whole pile of people who pitched the cards.Mark Lewis became the most prominent one. He trained many people to work
his way and when he came to Canada he also trained people here to do it
His way. Not the Walker way. His way which is entirely different.

He also trained some of Marvin's Magic demonstrators but didn't give
the whole story on the deck to all of them. However, quite a bit
seeped through. That is why I am amused that a young man on the Magic
Cafe said he worked for Marvin at one time and he would investigate
where the pitch came from.
Anyway, THAT is the history of the pitch.

Incidentally, Dave Walker is still around even though his health is not good, I hear. Apparently he still works cards at weekends and my source says "He tries to work as if he is still a young man. He still thinks he is 16 years old"
He must be around 80 I imagine. I saw an old photo of him with Harry Lorayne and he looked considerably older than Harry. And Harry is 75 now.
Walker helps out during the week in the office of a pitch company.
I won't say who or where since pitchmen sometimes don't want other people to know where they are. I am not saying that this is the case here but you never know.
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