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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Step right up! » » Svengali Pitch (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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constantine
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Memphi, on the Mighty Muddy
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Historian: I sold most of four gross of decks I made up myself+two dozen Fox Lakes,over one Summer and fall,local flees,daytime street festivals and at school.This was a sideline,I had bought all the Paul-sons that jobber had<and coulden't find a comperably priced card.I used Walt aalees' British style pitch from the martin Breese tape Word for word"Have you ever seen a deck of cards where every card is the same card....."
In"Oketo on Magic" Bamburg tells about sending adeck to his father in Holland,he's upset to learn his father started using it in his act.
Constatine 49%er
“The way of the transgressor is hard—to quit.”
—Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith
wisdom
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I am quite familiar with pitching Svengali decks. I have done a fair bit of it.
The way to take real money with it is to offer a "lump up"
In other words give away a few slum items with it and sell it for $10 instead of $5.
I would suggest a 3 card monte, a little magic book and one more slum item of some kind.
This is far superior to selling the deck only for a measly $5. By following this procedure you sell just as many units but double the money you take in.

I also recommend working the mouse or the worm in conjunction with the cards. These items will often take in more money than the Svengali deck.
John Cass
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There's a guy in Canada named Mark Lewis who sells a lot of them. Maybe you ought to contact him.
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2003-11-09 23:03, Todd Robbins wrote:
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.


Joe was quite precocious, but I don't think he was that much of a prodigy.

BTW, saw you on Letterman the other night. Nobody can eat a bug like Todd Robbins! You did quite well, sir!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Bram Charles
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I used to pitch these for Mark Lewis in flea markets and at the Eaton's centre in Toronto. Now that's going way back. Mark taught me personally.
A.G.
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Vancouver Canada
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There is a guy in my city that still does the pitch.he is 60 years old and great at it
Matthew the Magnificent
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Quote:
On 2003-09-12 19:16, Brett Cantrell wrote:
Don Drake says in his book "How to Make Money With a Svengali Deck," that Joe Berg wrote the first pitch.... Anybody know Don Drake and care to give him a call or an email?

Brett, I don't know Don, but I USED to know Joe. He's a great guy. He invented a LOT of card stuff. I would go into his shop and get basically any kind of card gimmick made to order. He had these specially made 'paper cutters' for making long cards, short cards, strippers, belly's, you name it, plus another set for rounding all the corners on shortened ones, and so on.

Joe died many years ago, so I am not exactly willing to contact him. Ahh, but the spirit IS willing, the flesh is waiting for the weekend when my local clairvoyant will make the connection. Smile
Many years & Many experiences in Magic and Related Arts
cardtricks
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Joe Berg mentions in his book a pitchman called Seewald who used to make a living selling nothing but De Land decks.

I really love the De Land deck (marked cards) and have always been fascinated with it. Nobody else seems to be.

The De Land deck not only tells you what the top card is; it will also tell you what the bottom one is! Also the 15th card! Or the 24th card! In fact any card at any position.
OK. You still have to use a Si Stebbins stack, but I am nevertheless fascinated.

I do know pitchmen in the past have sold marked cards by stacking the deck first. They never bother reading the backs but use the stack instead to identify cards.

Has anyone ever seen the De Land deck being pitched or know anything about this character Seewald?

It seems that he kept the Adams people in business with this one item. In fact he would show up broke at the Adams office, according to Berg, and not only would get stock on credit but he would also get a financial advance.

I would love to hear more about Seewald and the De Land deck. Anyone know anything?
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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Quote:
On 2003-09-05 23:48, DonDriver wrote:
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.

Shame Mark Lewis can't behave himself. This is where he would shine. (At least to hear him tell it!)
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
DonDriver
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Hi Again,
Well I found David Walker again(its been over 10 years)
Looks like Historian was right on.Micky McDougall was the one that broke David Walker in.David was about 19 at the time(he is now in his 70's)
And Todd Robbins was also right,its wasn't Joe Berg that came up with the first Svengali pitch.No one is sure about this as Historian stated.
Not sure where Don Drake got his info but it looks like he was mistaken.
David and I are off to Milwaukee to work the Wisconsin state fair Aug 5th-15th.We will be set up under the grandstand,so if anybody plans to visit this fair,please stop by and say hello.
See you at the fair, Don
ScottL
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Hi Don,

Haven't talked to you in a long time. I hope all has been well with you. Hopefully, I'll be at the Wisconsin State Fair on Saturday the 7th. I'll try to find you under the stands so I can finally meet you in person. I'll try to remember the video camera!

Scott Lowry
Todd Robbins
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Don,
If you happen to be around in Milwaukee for a few more days, I'm opening my show Carnival Knowledge at the Miramar Theatre on Aug. 19th. I'm working on getting in early to do a promo for the show at the fair. We'll see.
Bill Palmer
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According to the information in Burling Hull's book The Edison of Magic and his Incredible Creations, he was 12 years old when he invented what came to be known as the Svengali Deck. He copyrighted it in 1909 (there is a photo of the copyright papers in the book). Since he was born in 1889, that would put the invention date of the Svengali as 1901.

The book I am referring to was published by Burling Hull in 1977.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
DrNorth
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North Starr Entertainment, Harrisburg PA
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So, who sells these decks enmasse?
Smile
"For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which it that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell"
~Galadriel

"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes."
RiffRaff
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No study of the Svengali deck is complete without having read Mark Lewis' book.
Sammy Haydn
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If you say so. Personally I think that no study of the Svengali deck would be complete WITHOUT mention of this irritant's name.

INCIDENTALLY I saw a copy of this book in a magic club auction sale and I looked at it. I couldn't see one word on how to pitch the deck.
Frankly I don't see what the big deal is.


Posted: Sep 5, 2004 4:46am
---------------------------------
I have had some private e-mails telling me that the book has a fantastic routine and the stories are pretty good.
I am reluctantly beginning to wonder if have misjudged this book.
Does anybody have any comment that actually owns it? I would also like to know which dealers stock it?
Todd Robbins
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D. Robbins in Brooklyn,NY has several kinds of decks sold in bulk. A number of pitchmen would make up their own stock by taking a bunch of regular cheap decks to a printer and have them cut short. They would lay these out, matching up the cards. If they started with one hundred decks, they would then have stacks of one hundred ace of spades, one hundred two of spades, one hundred three of spades, etc. They would then take twenty five of these matching cards and add to them twenty five random card, alternating the matching and random. You then have a Svengali deck. To stretch it further, many of the decks only have forty eight cards. It's a lot of work, but it saves money. And money is what pitching is all about.
DonDriver
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Guys,
The subject was "svengali pitch" The pitch has nothing to do with the Svengali deck used by magicians. Mark Lewis book is good for learning effects with the deck. It has nothing to do with pitching the deck to layman.
Todd,I hope all went well for you in Milwaukee. I sent you a PM went I got back. Sorry I missed meeting you.
Anybody wanting to learn the "svengali pitch" check out my web site,its on my profile.
Later,Don
raymond
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I promised on another thread that I might let out a little information on this subject. I still haven't made up my mind about that yet.

However I have been working those *** cards for decades and a little advice to those who want to try it may not go amiss.

I am not going to tell you right now how to sell them. I think it might be more sensible to tell you how not to go crazy selling them!

As Don will no doubt confirm this is a tough, tough business. Hard work in sometimes difficult conditions. Can you stand for hours in the blazing sun? Can you deal with people driving you nuts all day? And they will.

Despite what you sometimes hear you can go for several hours without selling much on a few occasions. Do you have the stamina and determination to keep on going when this happens? Can you handle noise and distractions? Unfriendly neighbouring vendors? People demanding their money back? People saying they can't do the trick and demanding you give them magic lessons?

Amateur magicians hanging around wasting your time when you are trying to work? The sheer grind of doing the same trick hour after hour?
Rain?
Wind?
Cold?

Department stores taking months to pay you? People on the outside of your crowd having private conversations and you have to somehow shift them because they are a distraction?

Constant travel and uncertain income? Sometimes you will make a lot of money but sometimes you won't. Nobody tells you that.

There are indeed benefits to the business. You are never out of work unless you want to be. Generally speaking you make a good income. You get to see places that other people only dream of. You get to meet many many interesting people. You become a better magician. You become a philosopher albeit in a cynical way. You learn things as a pitchman that will stand you in good stead in other fields.

Yet it is a tough business. Let no one kid you that it isn't. If some of you are still interested then I can give you a few hints to stop it driving you nuts. The Svengali business can burn you out very quickly if you don't know how to handle it.

If this post scares some of you off that is a very good thing. Only those who have the mental toughness for such a life should be the ones to try it.

There. Now how do you all feel about it?
MagicalPirate
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Can't be any more difficult than 6 years of selling children's toys and novelties at fairs and festivals. I found that most places look the same as the other places you have been and the road between stops can be long and tedious while your better half sits in the passenger seat and sleeps. Its not all glamour and the money can get eaten up in travel, living and eating expenses quickly. Don't forget the rent for your space and the cost of your stock. Can be great fun and a real bear to put up with all at the same time. If vending is your thing go for it. This year I'm working on getting booked for entertainment, tired of the up and down income. You can take over my spot.

Martin Smile
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http://www.thehypnoguy.com/HYPNORESOURCES
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