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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Dai Vernon's Revelations Series... (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Mesquita
Hi, I did a search and I didn't find a review for this series by Dai Vernon. I'm thinking to buy all set, but I would like to know more about this videos. Any review will be appreciate. Thanks in advance, and I'm sorry for my english...Bye.
"Siempre somos tres me acompaña la luna y me sigue mi sombra" René Lavand
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Profile of JoshEarp
I was wondering the same thing.

I'll get the books before the videos though. But it would be nice to hear a review.
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Profile of zur
Don't know about a review, but its been highly recommended for everyone to get a taste of the professor himself. I heard that you don't really learn effects from the series, but its more of a entertainment series.
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Inner circle
Seattle, WA
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Profile of wsduncan
There are no "books" to match the videos.

The videos are pretty much unedited. I own two of the VHS version which I purchased at the old 1980's price of $70.00 each and one of the DVDs which contains three "tapes" worth of material.

I wouldn't suggest getting them to learn material. They're a very interesting historical document and you'll learn some very nice touches but I don't think they represent much value as a teaching tool.
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Hastings, East Sussex, England
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Profile of MField2000
Here's the review I wrote for the November 2003 Genii. It's long, so if you're not interested, skip the rest.

Matt Field


Dai Vernon: Revelations
L&L Publishing
8 DVDs, each containing two or three of the original, 17-volume set, about 114 mins. each.
$34.95 each, any 3 for $99.95, any 6 for $195, all 8 for $240 (includes US postage; $7.50 add’l overseas)

Considered by many to be the most important individual in magic in the last 100 years, Dai Vernon (1894-1992) was born in Canada but spent all his professional life in the U.S. Although he earned his living primarily as a cutter of silhouettes, he was totally consumed by magic of all sorts, and was an expert in the card and coin magic important to close-up, as well as in “Three Card Monte” and “Cups and Balls” which are stand-bys of platform, and in the “Linking Rings” and “Balls in Net” popular in stage work. “The Preofessor,” as he was lovingly called, took up residence in The Magic Castle in Hollywood and attracted students such as Larry Jennings and Bruce Cervon, and in later years Doug Henning, John Carney, Michael Ammar, Steve Freeman and others who traveled west to learn at the hands of a master. In 1982, Videonics, at the urging of Gary Ouellet, brought together Vernon, Michael Ammar and Steve Freeman for a marathon videotaping of Vernon at 88 years of age. With Ouellet as the host, the foursome, seated at a table, took on a very wide range of subjects dear to the Professor, with demonstrations of some of Vernon’s most noteworthy tricks, some performed by the great man himself.

We’ll get into the contents in a moment, but first it is important to note that there were 17 tapes issued in the original Videonics set, costing about $50 each, if memory serves. L&L issued the series in the combined form of eight tapes in 1999, receiving some flak for having edited out a mild rebuke Vernon aimed at Ammar. That has been restored as “missing footage,” and we see that Ammar was unfairly criticized (he was merely demonstrating “Triumph,” not giving a full performance) and Vernon goes to some lengths to praise Ammar’s skill. The DVDs, at $240 for the set, are thus less than a third the price of the originals. Are they worth it?

It is difficult to assess the value of some videos, especially those with a historical element, to younger magicians, who seem captivated by the latest, instantly downloadable piece of fluff that’s advertised on the Internet. These videos contain over 15 hours of material, and it is serious material for magicians willing to do something like (shudder) practice, with the goal of acquiring and honing skill. If you are a serious student of magic, these videos contain a wealth of material, including magic devoted to cards, coins and more, along with a section devoted to “Vernon the Man.”

In a bit more detail, the card material includes the aforementioned “Triumph,” the “Slow Motion Ace Assembly,” “The Travelers,” the “Ambitious Card,” plus in-depth discussions and demonstrations of various Double Lifts, false shuffles, Passes, false deals, false cuts, palming, crimps, and the Diagonal Palm Shift. There is a very useful segment on this last-mentioned sleight, including an excellent tip given by Vernon on how to make the move both more deceptive and easier to perform. Often these items are demonstrated by Ammar, Freeman, or Ouellet, but Vernon will on many occasions grab the deck and show his unbelievable skill, complaining all the while about “this *** thumb” which no longer functions exactly the way he wants it to. Other subjects that come in for intense discussion and demonstrations are the Cups and Balls, the Dye Tube, the “Spellbound” fingertip coin transformation, the “Ring and Wand,” “Cone and Ball,” and “Balls and Net.” In several instances, the gentlemen perform effects for a live audience, allowing you to see the magic done under real-world conditions, which is most valuable, Just looking over the list above you’ll see some of the classic tricks in all of magic, and Vernon and the others have valuable lessons to teach in connection with them. These effects are truly timeless – you might have to work on your presentation to make the tricks relevant in today’s society, but you can’t beat this magic.

The videos were re-mastered by L&L from the Videonics originals, and the quality is good. Originally, there was some suspicion voiced by conspiracy theorists that Steve Freeman had been included in the group to prevent any real clandestine information from being inadvertently spilled by Vernon. That seems unlikely to me, watching the proceedings again. Vernon is old, but he’s sharp as a tack, he can still do the Diagonal Palm Shift, quote Erdnase, or reminisce about that time in Kansas City. In one of my favorite sequences, he even cuts a silhouette of Freeman. He’s great to watch. The last three volumes, one and a half DVDs, are devoted to “Vernon the Man,” and they are most entertaining and informative. Vernon expounds at length about his past, and he loved to talk and tell stories.

I’ve saved the best for last. Louis Falanga has gone to the effort of providing full DVD menus for each volume, which tames the gargantuan size of the project. One of the drawbacks with the original videotapes was finding anything – you had to estimate where it might be, then go a-searching. Now it’s a snap. You might want to clip a copy of the L&L advertisement, which lists the entire contents, and place it in one of the boxes – the DVD menus cover only one volume at a time, although the backs of the boxes list everything. Watching the entire 15 hours is an experience you won’t soon forget; it’s like an immersion course in magic. The ability to pull out a particular sleight, trick, or even discussion topic from the contents makes the DVD set an encyclopedia of 20th century magic, and as such, it is an invaluable resource. If your kids need braces, the car needs brakes, or your wife needs to eat once in a while, you might not be able to afford all eight DVDs at once. It is possible to buy these in sets of three for under $100, and by examining the L&L ad and choosing the material you’re most interested in, the complete set can be purchased on what might be considered the installment plan.

But if you’re serious about magic, especially card magic – and I mean serious – these are DVDs you will probably want to own, view … and view again and again.
T. Joseph O'Malley
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Profile of T. Joseph O'Malley
On 2004-12-28 23:34, wsduncan wrote:
There are no "books" to match the videos.

...sort of. Certainly there were no books created in tandem with the videos, to "match" them, but a lot of the material covered in the videos appears in the books written on Vernon. I found this to be pretty true with the Vernon Chronicles - at least with the first volume. Having read many books on Vernon, I found that I recognized a lot of what was mentioned on the Revelatins videos. All I'm saying is that if you have the books on Vernon, you'll recognize most of what pops up in the series.

The actual book "Revelations" is simply Vernon's (sparse) annotations on "the Expert at the Card Table". It's good but again, not as "full" as one might hope - though the few annotations in the book are very insightful and interesting.

Personally, I recommend buying them. I watch mine quite regularly. They're entertaining, educational and historically important. It's too bad that the technology did not exist to have done this same project with Vernon in his prime though...don't expect to see him dazzling you repeatedly with technique, etc, sadly his age had caught up with him on these videos. Please do not take this as a sign of any disrespect from my end. He just didn't have hands capable of performing complex sleights anymore. But to paraphrase him, he may not have been able to do it anymore, but he could still teach it. And he does have several good moments where he'll baffle you and mystify. These videos are great.
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Daupin PA
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Profile of Cpontz
Thanks for all the info. Vernon was great and I've been thinking of buying these for a while.
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Columbus OH
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Profile of hanosek
The videos changed my life - opening my eyes to what the Vernon touch really is.
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Profile of Mesquita
More opinions?? Thanks all!!! Smile Smile Smile
"Siempre somos tres me acompaña la luna y me sigue mi sombra" René Lavand
Tom G
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Profile of Tom G
I really liked the third paragraph of Matt's review. I thought there was plenty to get out of these dvd's.
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Profile of JoaoPedro
Absolutely recommended! I own about five of them but I'd love to have the complete colection. Dai Vernon is truly a genius and you must have this remarkable collection that runs through the main work from Dai Vernon - the best close-up magcian of all times!
Valeu cara, boa escolha Smile!
João Pedro
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Profile of Mesquita
Valeu João Pedro, pela sua mensagem em português. Um abraço! Smile Smile Smile
"Siempre somos tres me acompaña la luna y me sigue mi sombra" René Lavand
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Profile of juggle
The Revelation videos are pretty old by now. Ebay is a good source to pick them up...
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Profile of Belanos
This is an old discussion, but since I just acquired these DVDs, I thought I would throw my two cents in...(and then change them into Chinese coins.)

Firstly, everything that falls out of Dai Vernon's mouth is pure gold. Granted, he is 88 at the time and repeats phrases..a LOT! But hey, sometimes that is helpful with the learning process. If it's not a wise performance tip, it's an interesting magic history story. Is there any famous magician he hasn't met? (He's known to have fooled Houdini) These DVDs will be watched over and over and over. The amount of information is well worth the price. Do I recommend that you get them? Hell-to-the-yeah!!

Now here are the negatives. This was taped in 1982 I believe, and the technology is certainly not what it is today. The direction/production is lacking. They don't seem to be prepared to tape a program that demonstrates close-up magic. When a trick is demonstrated, the camera-person struggles to zoom in, get a good angle and focus. Editing was not a high priority either, for example, when Dai Vernon drops something on the floor, we are treated to 30 seconds of the top of his gray head as he searches for the item.
Michael Ammar, Gary Oulette and Steve Freeman are the hosts and they are all amazing magicians, but they are not good talk-show hosts. Perhaps what they were going for was a free-form, relaxed magic-jam style as opposed to a structured interview. If so, they were successful. I would have directed them to stop looking at the monitors all the time though. Regardless, it is fun to watch the whole interaction between the king and 3 men who are obviously very honored and humbled to be there. Bottom line, this is definitely a must-have, and I love my Wife for buying them for me!!

P.S. If you are a fan of Jerry's Nugget playing might be hard for you to watch The Professor mangle a couple of them. ;-)
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Profile of Magic-Daniel
Absolutely one of my most favorite dvd's of all time!
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Profile of shomemagic
I have had this set for a very long time, my motivation for purchasing this set was that I had read so much material by him and about him and his column in Genii for years but had never really seen him perform. I was not disappointed, he lived up and beyond the reputation and legend I had heard of. So glad, I go back from time to time and watch them all again and I get the same warm feeling when I watched them first time.

Mike King - Sho-Me Magic

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