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Steve Martin
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OK - here's a question.
Dai Vernon became a legend in magic. He is said to be very widely respected and is known as "the Professor." I never met him, and I have not read very many of his writings. I have not watched him on video. (As I said, I am rather ignorant of him, really).

How good a magician and innovator was he really? Can we sum up what he did for magic (in particular card magic)? Did he break new ground in totally astonishing ways? Was he very "old school" and therefore not very relevant, or was he revolutionary and timeless?

It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and say "Vernon was a great" (even I do it!) - but sometimes it is good to examine what we mean by this. I would be really interested to hear your views.
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Review King
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I think this is quite a good and relevant question.

I've seen him on video when he was younger and he was so full of charm and charisma.I have his stars of magic booklets and his Ambitious Card and Spellbound routines show what a thinker he was.

I bet Randy Wakeman, if he's around, can share some great insight on Vernon's genius.
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the saddest are, "It might have been"

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Jonathan Townsend
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Most students of card magic have read the books on Dai Vernon's magic and the many magazine articles which have appeared over the last sixty years.

Those who have taken a deeper interest in the man's work have sought out peers with some level of knowledge of the field. Dai Vernon had several students who are well know in the field today.

You might make some significant inroads on your ignorance by using a search engine like 'Google' to seek citations of 'Dai Vernon Magic.'

PS, I have posted elsewhere on the Café of my introduction to the man.
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Oz Fan
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I don't know much about Dai Vernon. All I know is that he fooled Houdini.
Blake S.
ABlair36
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All I know is that he was a funny/rude person. I heard that once, he saw a card magician performing and told him to stop performing card magic forever. Vernon followed him through the lobby of his hotel and told him to stop performing. About an hour later, he showed up at the guy's hotel room and told him to stop performing card magic.

He would also always speak poorly of other magicians saying things like, "That was good, if you were supposed to flash," and "Maybe you'd be better if you weren't the worst card magician ever." He was also known for borrowing decks of people who were annoying him and he just threw the deck and ignored the guy who gave him the deck for the rest of the night.

As for his magic, he invented some very good card tricks (Twisting the Aces) and very classic routines for things like cups and balls. He was a very good magic writer and was very smart.
Stanyon
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Here's one for you:

http://www.magicdirectory.com/vernon

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

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Hideo Kato
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As I have spent 2 weeks with Dai Vernon as his interpreter while he was lecturing in Japan, I know he was not that rude person mentioned in one of above posts.

Hideo Kato
Steve Friedberg
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Blake, there's an incredible amount of information available about Dai Vernon from a tremendous range of resources, including here on the Internet.

May I suggest that you Google his name and see what you find? The more you discover about the man, the more you'll understand that he changed the face and nature of what we consider to be good close-up magic. His work was exemplary, and every single magician who is worth his/her salt needs to study not only Vernon's tricks, but his thinking as well.
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Randy Sager
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I agree with Steve's post that every magician worth his/her salt should study Vernon.

There seems to be an unfortunate feeling amongst a lot of newer magicians that it is unimportant to study the magic past. That it is even a complete waste of time. This in my opinion can be a fatal flaw to a magician.
Bill Palmer
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I met the Professor on several different occasions. He was always cordial, friendly even, and generous with his time and information to me. There were some things he said to me that I could have interpreted as rude if I had been super sensitive. One of them concerns a story about a swami gimmick that I posted elsewhere. But I took it with good humor and learned from it. The next day, he encouraged me to go into the magic business as a performer, so I couldn't have been THAT bad!

Sometimes people approached the Professor without any kind of respect. Some came to prove to him that they were the best card men in the world. Most weren't. He had little patience with them, but I never saw him being rude to them. But to those who were respectful, he was quite willing to share and help.

There were many things he could do that were almost impossible for others to do, because they simply would not put in enough practice.

He was an excellent magician and card man. And I'm glad I knew him.
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wsduncan
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Quote:
On 2004-02-29 18:10, Steve Martin wrote:Was he very "old school" and therefore not very relevant...

I think you'd be less than impressed with Vernon. He spent his entire life studying and recommending a book that was written in 1902: The Expert At The Card Table.

He wasn't "old school" he WAS the school.
Tony Noice
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I knew Vernon when he came regularly to the Caféteria in New York. In those days he prounounced his first name to rhyme with day. He was the opposite of rude, downright kindly. I was just out of my teens when he taught me his switch for snowstorm in china using a couple of the Caféteria napkins. I had the honor of appearing on the tribute to him at the NY symposium, and never met anyone who didn't regard him as a true gentleman.
NeoMagic
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ABlair36's earlier post was way over the top. You only have to watch the Revelations series to see Vernon laud praise on magician after magician. Read Cy Enfield's and Ken Brookes' introductions to the Inner Card Trilogy series to get a feel for what his peers thought of him.

As a teacher he's judged on the quality of his students. I'll name three: Larry Jennings, Michael Ammar, and Michael Skinner!

I'd say Vernon's contribution to magic is unsurpassed.
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Tom G
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NeoMagic forgot John Carney, Doug Henning, and Bruce Cervon as the professor's students. He was once quoted as saying, "if you don't like to practice, take up stamp collecting."
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Also, perhaps some of the more knowledgeable members can mention a few of the many sleights and effects that Vernon invented. Here's my modest contribution (please correct me if I'm wrong):

Sleights: Double Undercut, Tilt (also attributed to Marlo?), Multiple Shift, Dai Vernon Double Lift.

Effects & Routines: Brainwave Deck, Triumph, Twisting The Aces, The Trick That Can't Be Explained, Spellbound (coins), Cutting The Aces, Slow Motion Aces, Five-Card Mental Force.

... to name but a few.
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Jatt
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Well I'm being drawn to a lot of Vernon's effects.
All I can say is awesome.
I must get some of his books.
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ursusminor
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On 2004-02-29 18:10, Steve Martin wrote:
Was he very "old school" and therefore not very relevant...[/quote]The "Old school" is irrelevant? OK, let's just forget everything that happened before David Blaine! Especially books, who needs them? We have videos & DVDs now! A book from 1902? Can't be anything of value there!

Seriously:
Do you want to know about Vernon the magician? Read his books.
The Inner Card Secret Trilogy,
Ultimate Card Secrets,
Dai Vernon Book of Magic,
The Vernon Chronicles 1-3,
Select Secrets,
The $20 manuscript,
There are probably more...

Do you want to know about Vernon, the man?
Read The Vernon Chronicles vol.4
There was also a Canadian TV- bio of him, that was very interresting. It's available on video.

He was also behind the books on Malini & Leipzig, but since these two was active ca. 1900 - 1940 they were probably very "Old School" and therefore not relevant...

Oh, and you might consider browsing through Erdnase. There is divided opinions on the gambling-stuff, but Ricky Jay (another Vernon-protegè, I think) actually opened his off-Broadway show "Ricky Jay & his 52 assistants" with a routine from Erdnase. At least the presentation was from Erdnase, word for word.

Bjørn
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pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
- Winston Churchill"
NeoMagic
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The following thread over at Genii might also be of interest:

http://geniimagazine.com/forum/cgi-bin/u......t=001441
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Steve Martin
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Bjørn,

Yep - my phrase "old school and therefore not very relevant" was not good. Apologies. Of course, I know that "old" is not the same as "irrelevant".

My original post is really to provoke some views and opinions on Vernon and his magic.

Thanks for the reading list etc. - very helpful.
Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
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NeoMagic
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A couple of short video clips from 'Dai Vernon, The Spirit of Magic' here:

http://www.michelehozer.com/daivernon.html
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