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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Return Of The (not so) Youthful Curmudgeon! - by Paul Chosse » » Truth or legend (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dorian Rhodell
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San Francisco, CA.
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Question:

Who has ever heard of a legendary card man? A card man whose exploits cannot by believed -- a magician whom the legends about have served to fuel your progress and ambitions, about what you might accomplish with a pack of cards? There are many I've encountered, and some of those myths are partially responsible for my progress.

Who knows what I'm talking about. This gets to some of the most interesting facets of card magic. Where does truth end, and mystery begin....



Paul's response:

It sounds like you are talking about stories or people who have fueled your imagination or made you question things. I've always wondered about Carmen D'amico, been intrigued by the stories of Jack McMillen, Old Man Martin, Jay Bedsworth, Charlie Millers' mostly unknown gambling exploits. What was Elliott really like? The untold Malini cons, Larry Grey, the Irish Wizard. Why did Maskelyne and Devant write Our Magic? And what did Devant leave out?

Someone once asked "What's the scenario for a trick in Scot's Discovery like "to make ink come from the inside of a walnut to a mans' mouth"? How would that joke get set up?" How must Robert-Houdin have seemed to his contemporaries? Trying to imagine or reconstruct these things HAS helped...

Erdnase is a never ending source, pondered and discussed at length by many people over the last century - my notes on conversations about this one book would make another book - reminiscences of talks with Vernon, Miller, Marlo, Skinner, Jennings, Cervon, McMillen, even Don Alan. Anecdotes about thier theories and attempts to verify them, or to put into practice various suppositions and extrapolations, are often comical and frequently revealing - certainly the stuff of legends, and fuel for the creative process - I'm rambling - good topic though, Thanks, PSC


Question # 2

Paul. Thanks for posting. Who were your mentors?



Paul's response:

Who were my mentors? - Art Lyle, Silent Mora, Vic Kirk, Jack McMillen, Ron Bauer, Marlo, Vernon, Miller, Bedsworth... Who were my contemporaries may be a better question. We learn from the masters and as students we teach each other. I grew up in a golden age. The close-up masters surrounded us, and were accessible. They were in thier prime, or had aged gracefully and could impart thier wisdom with style and panache. Hanging with Jennings, Klause, Cervon, Freeman, seeing Diaconis and talking with him (though he never really performed anything, he often demonstrated or discussed technique), and doing all this in and around people like Marlo, Vernon, Miller, McMillen (that is, by the way, my favorite foursome)Slydini, Don Alan, etc., seeing thier relationships and interaction, was fun, fascinating, educational, just indescribable in short form here!

Who else was there?
The Detroit crew, Milt Kort, Bob Stencil, Bill Kalush, John Luka. And how ABOUT Don Alan, arguably the most influential man in close-up performance in the 20th century? The list is long, and after almost 40 years doing magic, I'm sure I am leaving influences out in this short post.

Rod the Hop? - I have known Rod for over 25 years and ran with him when he was in the Navy just so he could hustle at sea (captive suckers!) Ask him if he can still snap a rag - you'll see the most amazing blues from the most unlikely objects. Or get him to tell you about 3 card monte, "yankees and southerners, senators and governors..."

As for Forte, someone posted to the effect that he is not a magician - nothing could be further from the truth - ask one of HIS mentors, Ray Goulet...

The stories are many, the experiences continue, the magic never dies, it just evolves. As I think about "those days" I am reminded of this quote

"Don't regret that it is over, be grateful that it happened..."

We middle-agers, blessed with the gifts of the just-past masters, will pass them on to another generation, and so it goes, ad infinitum(I hope!)... Best, PSC
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