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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Dai Vernon - was he any good? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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RandyWakeman
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Dai Vernon was a great character, and these terrific "characters" are what we have lost in recent years.

The "Dai Vernon Book of Magic" remains a tremendous book on close-up: one of the best. Vernon had an eye for good magic, and for making things "work." Hence, the "Vernon Touch."
Lance Pierce
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The Canadian televison special, "Dai Vernon: The Spirit of Magic" sheds some light on what you guys are talking about here.


TCR
RandyWakeman
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The original "Card Stars Of the USA," as listed by J. N. Hilliard in "Greater Magic,"
gives an idea of the top of the league-- at least in Hilliard's eyes:

Theodore Annemann, Al Baker, Cardini, S. Leo Horowitz, Stewart Judah, Nate Leipzig, William H. McCaffrey, Paul Rosini, John Scarne, Dai Vernon.

So, to re-answer the original question . . . yes, "Dai Vernon was good." He was recognized as outstanding throughout the literature, and no one has ever stated that he was anything less than exceptional.
Dave Egleston
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You'll notice that J.N. Hilliard listed those magicians in alpabetical order - Not in the order of how he felt they ranked - Also when this was published - Dai Vernon hadn't reached the peak of his cardcraft - Wasn't this published in 1938 -
I'm sorry - I just can't help defending the guy - must be the west coast magic thing

Dave
RandyWakeman
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Shame on you Dave, for keeping this going. What year was it, specifically, when Vernon "peaked?" He was born in 1894.

Maybe Vernon was too young, Leipzig too old, and Annemann and Rosini never got that old.

"Greater Magic" was published posthumously. I believe J. N. Hilliard died in 1935.

I'm not sure of the "Card Stars" history. It was limited to 10 living members. Ed Marlo had a "Card Stars of the USA" plaque he was awarded hanging in his TV room.

Those fans of the late Mr. Vernon have little to fear from Hilliard's notes:
"Mr. Vernon is recognized as the most finished card expert in the States."
Scott F. Guinn
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Quote:
On 2002-08-09 22:47, Card expert wrote:
It clearly states that Vernon appeared at the Radio City Music Hall and he had trouble with the monkey in the Harlequin act.
This always amuses me. From what I understand the "problem" with "Compeer" the monkey was that he, shall we say, gratified himself regularly, including while on stage.

According to friends of Vernon's, the professor explained that he felt so embarrassed by this that he tried to slove the problem with an application of some foul and spicy salve applied to the "problem area." Unfortunately, like the financial standing of the Harlequin Act, this "preventative maintenence" also proved to be a flop, and Vernon got rid of little Compeer.
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Dave Egleston
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Sept 14, 1971
That was the date he started to reach the plateau - You know what's sad - I knew "Greater Magic" was published after Mr, Hilliards passing
I was just happy to know a date off the top of my head - I should have known two dates - I stand corrected and promise to not jump before doing the proper research - At least until next time

Dave
Peter Marucci
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We seem to have lost the point of the original thread here.
Ross Welford, in the initial post, asked: ". . . what was he (Vernon) like performing for non-magicians?"

And, like it or not, the answer has to be that he was probably a cut above average but nowhere near the legend that has grown up around him.

There's no denying that Vernon was a brilliant innovator and creator; but that doesn't necessarily translate into a great entertainer.

Just because someone is a fantastic hairdresser, doesn't mean that he would be equally good at taking out your appendix!

However, some will still insist that Vernon was perfect at everything he did; so have it your way (you will anyway!). Smile

cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Matt Graves
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I never saw him perform, of course, so I won't bother to try to judge the man. But I would be thrilled out of my mind if I could learn a good bit of the tricks he invented. It's high time I bought his books . . .
Lance Pierce
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Quote:
On 2002-08-10 07:34, Peter Marucci wrote:
We seem to have lost the point of the original thread here.
Ross Welford, in the initial post, asked: ". . . what was he (Vernon) like performing for non-magicians?"

And, like it or not, the answer has to be that he was probably a cut above average but nowhere near the legend that has grown up around him.

There's no denying that Vernon was a brilliant innovator and creator; but that doesn't necessarily translate into a great entertainer.

Just because someone is a fantastic hairdresser, doesn't mean that he would be equally good at taking out your appendix!

However, some will still insist that Vernon was perfect at everything he did; so have it your way (you will anyway!). Smile

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com



What Vernon was during those years was debonaire and suave and engaging, and all the ladies crooned over him at the Kit Kat Club and all the men admired him. As a close-up performer, he was immensely popular, and he was hired for the most expensive and ritzy gigs in town. The fact that he didn't enjoy performing as much as he enjoyed creating and studying is more responsible than anything for his not becoming a different kind of legend. Leipzig's wife used to complain that Vernon was taking the best shows from Nate. If he'd wanted to, he probably could have become the most successful private entertainer in history.


TCR
RandyWakeman
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By far the most successful public "card figure" of the day was John Scarne.

When it comes to the hoary "was he good" and "who was better" discussions, there is seldom consensus.

Blackstone was no slouch when it came it the pasteboards, that is seldom mentioned. Rosini was, by all accounts, a spectacular performer - - due as much to his force of personality, looks, and charm as much as anything else.

LePaul played the top circuits, and was exemplary in every way. Yet, he is most often remembered for a wallet he did not invent, and never used (Dick Washington).

Cardini had incredible skill and an act that most performers of the day (and this day) could only dream of. Yet, his performance was no overt "exhibition of skill" at all.

Slydini integrated his personality into in his magic at a level of integration that has yet to be surpassed.

Del Ray's close-up, in my opinion, is the greatest single act in the last 40 years.

Whatever your particular champion, we all have benefited from their efforts.

We all have to be careful when waxing enthusiastic . . . there is always the "nobody did it like the Babe" recollections. Always good to appreciate, study, and grow from the giants we stand on.

Yet, by now, we all know "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
Lance Pierce
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Indeed, Randy. What I was trying to convey was that Vernon could have been a success in that area not only because of his skill, but because of his charm and ability to handle social situations very well.


TCR
Thoughtreader
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Wakeman,
It's not like we don't have some of the leading magicians of our day and age here in the Magic Cafe, your company included! Modesty may prevent you from stating it, but I will for you. The Magic Cafe has many leading stars of magic and mentalism here, some post, some lurk, some use pseudonyms but they are here. Paul Hallas is another, P.B. Jones another as far as pasteboards go. In fact I know there are sevral other top stars but truthfully I am a little pressed for time and so their names escape me at present.

Needless to say, Vernon was NOT the only one that rated tops by any stretch of the imagination.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.stores.ebay.ca/abstagecraft
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
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RandyWakeman
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However, my psychic friend, he is the topic of this thread. You should have sensed that?
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Dai Vernon - was he any good? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes)
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