Neil Lester

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Geno Munari
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Neil Lester

Postby Geno Munari » September 16th, 2009, 11:28 pm

I am so sorry to report this news. Neil Lester, Cards by Martin, has passed. May he rest in peace. He was a dear close friend. I will miss him.


His son Curtis Martin called me this evening and wants to let everyone know that if they had orders pending, that they will be delivered.
His number is 661-8029295

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby El Mystico » September 17th, 2009, 1:53 am

That's sad. I never knew him, but his service was superb.

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby mrgoat » September 17th, 2009, 4:05 am

Oh damn. He was brilliant.

Never had such good gaffs from anyone.

I was lucky enough to meet him at the Castle last year. He did some coin work for me, and although his hands were a little shakey with age, he still absolutely fried me. Was wonderful.

Sad day.

:(

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby JFox » September 17th, 2009, 4:10 am

I'm very sad to hear of Neil's passing.

He was always my "go-to-man" for such obscure items as handmade "Psychomatic", "Telomatic", and "Mene-Tekel" decks...and many other gaffed classic decks - that modern retail magic dealers don't carry, nor even heard of before.

Neil was my "secret weapon".

With a smile, he once told me that customers would say to him: "Neil, if you ever die...I'll kill you!"

That shows how much they relied on Neil's skill & expertise at making custom-gaffed playing cards & decks.

Aloha, Neil.
RIP

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Terrence » September 17th, 2009, 9:28 am

Goodbye Neil.

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Ray Eden » September 17th, 2009, 12:02 pm

Sad to hear... he had made up several coin gimmicks using euro coins for me before they were more readily available. Another magickal great leaves the scene. Farewell.

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby benrl » September 17th, 2009, 2:08 pm

In addition to being a master craftsman, Neil was also a psychologist. He wrote a slim volume on child psychology that had some simple techniques that helped me be a more effective parent. I thanked him years ago and remain grateful.

He will be missed and my sympathies go out to his family.

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Mark Collier » September 17th, 2009, 2:14 pm

Neil was very generous with his time.

Once, in the mid 1990's, I asked him a question at the Magic Castle Friday lunch about card splitting for an effect I was working on. He sat me down and gave me a 20 minute hands on one-on-one lesson. He made sure I understood all of the little tips that make it easier and more reliable.

I once went to a lecture he gave at the Magic Castle and he held nothing back. He stayed for a longtime afterwards answering questions and giving hands on instruction.

He was a good guy.

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Darren Lawbuary
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Darren Lawbuary » September 17th, 2009, 2:45 pm

Just heard the news. What a loss. I spent a wonderful weekend at the Castle in September 2005 in the company of such denizens as Milt Larsen, Jim Patton, Dean Dill and the wonderful Neil Lester.
As a customer, and communicating regularly prior to meeting him, Neil was aware that it was my birthday and brought along a 'goodie' bag full of his wares. What a legend. He seemed frightfully chuffed with the Royal Navy polo shirt I presented to him as a token thank you. He changed into it there and then and we continued our imbibement in the Owl Bar.
Neil, a true loss. Remembered with affection.
Your English Royal Navy buddy.
Darren
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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 17th, 2009, 2:59 pm

This is sad news indeed. He was a wonderful guy and a terrific artisan. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby magicking » September 17th, 2009, 10:21 pm

I recently received a Monte Cristo Deck from him and he emailed me instructions and was always available by phone to field questions...
My condolences to his family and friends during this most difficult time
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 17th, 2009, 11:17 pm

He handmade a Monte=Cristo deck for you? Yikes! That's a hell of a lot of work.
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John M. Dale
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby John M. Dale » September 17th, 2009, 11:52 pm

Wow, I placed my first & only order with Neil last Friday and he replied Sunday that he'd mail the order Monday.

RIP Neil & my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

JMD

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Matthew Field
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Matthew Field » September 18th, 2009, 5:53 am

The name most-often associated with excellence in a hidden aspect of magic -- the gaffed card. Neil Lester's work was excellent -- he was a true crafsman. I was fortunate to have ordered his handiworks and to have used them with great success.

Another legend gone.

Matt Field

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Tom Gilbert » September 18th, 2009, 8:13 am

I just had received a deck mentioned in David Britland's take on
ACAAN. It had been bantered about just before I ordered it. Neil sent an email saying it must have been a hell of a DVD as he said he's been making a lot of them. I'm sure everytime a new DVD was released that used a gimmicked card, he knew. Great guy.

Tom

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby merenkov2 » September 18th, 2009, 11:00 am

nice fellow.....sorry to hear of this.

condolences to his family

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Anthony Blake
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Anthony Blake » September 18th, 2009, 5:04 pm

Sad to hear about Neil, he was a fantastic artisan...

I've had Neil make tons of gaffs for me over the years, I first met him in the early 80's.

I always looked for Neil's "signature" touch whenever a package arrived from him. He was a constant smoker and whenever I received something I had ordered from him there would always be some resident ash on the item (it always made me smile)... gonna miss both him, his work -- and the ash... :-)

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby magicking » September 18th, 2009, 9:09 pm

Well he said it handmade it..it did come from him and he emailed me the instructions..
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 18th, 2009, 9:29 pm

I don't doubt he handmade the Monte=Cristo deck--there's no other way to obtain one. It was first printed for its inventor Henry Hardin by Theodore DeLand about 100 years ago.
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magicking
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby magicking » September 18th, 2009, 10:48 pm

Ok I understand Richard. I just took a look at the description. Factory printed and I love mine.


MONTE CRISTO DECK (The "Perfect" force deck): A real "Bicycle deck" of all the same card (example 3/D)) When fanned or spread from one end, it shows a full, normal 52 card deck. When faned from the other end they are all the same card... 3/D are avalible available now, 1/11/09: 1 Blue Bicycle 3/D, 10 Red blue Bicycle and 1 Red 3/S. poker size $47.50...[color:#FF0000]The next run, about mid 2009, will be 3/C and Ace of Hearts.
[/color]
I have the red bicycle 3s
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Matthew Field
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Matthew Field » September 19th, 2009, 5:18 am

Wasn't a version of this marketed by Chris Kenworthy as the Master Mind Deck? I paid $25 a millon years ago for it. Then someone told me they bought one (without the Master Mind name) for about five bucks at the Disneyland Magic Shop.

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Matthew Field
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Matthew Field » September 19th, 2009, 5:19 am

I also recall reading about the deck in Annemann's "202 Methods of Forcing."

Matt Field

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AJM
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby AJM » September 19th, 2009, 12:19 pm

Bernd Maucksch in Germany used to offer his Cardmaker deck which I understand used the same principle.

magicatcardmaker.com

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Andrew
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby JFox » September 19th, 2009, 5:34 pm

Neil's Bicycle Monte Cristo Decks were factory-made.

He charged about $50 for them..I bought several different force versions...the cleanest force deck ever made, IMHO.

Do a legit riffle-shuffle, show all different, etc.

Neil, was compiling ideas & routines from his customers for this deck.

Yes, the above "Master Mind Deck" was a generic low-quality version of the MC deck.

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby BlueEyed Videot » September 19th, 2009, 5:56 pm

Goodbye Neil, magic has lost another great. You were a true technician in every sense of the word. I am lucky enough to have several fine examples of your work which I will treasure always. Thanks for everything!

With great appreciation,

Richard Hart

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby CardMaker » September 20th, 2009, 4:47 am

AJM wrote:Bernd Maucksch in Germany used to offer his Cardmaker deck which I understand used the same principle.

corrected: magicbycardmaker.com

Cheers

Andrew


Yes I shared some of these Monte Cristo Decks with Neil (although mine were called "CardMaker Deck"). They were printed!

I had some 200s of them - unfortunately they are all sold out.

Neil's passing hit me hardly: we had a lot of email contacts the past years and he was the one who encouraged me to start my business. I am sure, Neil will live forever - in my thoughts!

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Robert McDaniel » September 20th, 2009, 9:25 am

I've been ordering gaffed cards from Neil for over 30 years. He had all the hard to find stuff - Jerrys, Golden Nugget, etc. It was a pleasure knowing him. A truly great guy.

Robert

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby MartinKaplan » September 21st, 2009, 5:29 am

Like others, I was saddened to hear the news of Neil's passing. I met Neil some 25 years ago at The Magic Castle. We usually caught up at Friday lunch. He probably had the best "Purse Palm" I have ever seen. He had practiced it so much that he had worn two grooves into his fingers and he could keep his hand totally flat on a surface with no hint whatsoever that he had a coin concealed.

I recall that once, when sitting at the bar, I needed to cut a thread that was dangling from my tie. I asked him if he happened to have a scissors. He reached into his pocket and took out a coin purse and proceeded to extract a scissors that had a 20 inch blade. It left me speechless.

When Sam Lombardo left the employ of The Castle, he was replaced by a series of younger bartenders - many of them female. That coupled with a significant rise in the price of a beer put an end to Neil's weekly visits to The Castle. We would catch up with each other via e-mail and the occasional phone call.

His craftsmanship was legendary and he was always willing to do whatever it took to satisfy his customers. I know that I and many others will miss him dearly.

-Marty

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John M. Dale
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby John M. Dale » September 24th, 2009, 2:17 am

Many of you may already know this but just in case any of you don't, I received the following info by way of Neil's son today:

This is Curtis Martin, Neil's son. I am holding an impromptu gathering at the Magic Castle on Friday, Sept 26th for Castle members.If you can come, please do. Just look for the picture of Neil in the foyer, and another either in the Irma room, or main bar area. I will try and stand by to greet and thank each of you personally for supporting my father all of these years. I am also working on a deal that will keep this website and all of it's wonderful gaffed cards available for future generations of magicians. I also hope to be able to get Neil's book published in the neaar future. There is nothing more important than keeping my fathers legacy to the world of magic alive, that he may live on through your performances. I will keep you posted on how this proceeds. Neil produced the finest gaffed cards in the world, and I will accept nothing less to be the case in the future. Once everything is back in production, a portion of all proceeds from the website will go to support the "Old Magicians Fund" at the Magic Castle. God bless you all. I look forward to seeing you at the Castle. Curtis Martin Son of "Cards by Martin"

JMD

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Mark Collier » September 24th, 2009, 2:23 am

I am assuming this is to be at the Friday lunch. Can you confirm this? Thanks.

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John M. Dale
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby John M. Dale » September 24th, 2009, 11:14 am

Curtis sent a second email with more details of Friday's Magic Castle gathering:


First of all, I want to thank all of my fathers loyal customers for their kindness and compassion regarding Neil's passing. You have all been very supportive. I also know that you are located all over the world, but there are few in the So Cal area. For anyone that can attend, there will be an impromptu gethering at the Magic Castle this coming Friday, the 26th starting at 6pm. Please look for me, Curtis Martin, along with Tom Laquidara a dear friend of Neil's) in the Irma room. Look for the large picture of Neil. I will try and stay close by so that I may meet and thank each of you personally. In memory of my father I am working on a deal that will keep Cards by Martin alive. If this works out, I will be publishing his book sometime in the forseeable future, where he tells all of his secrets, and keeping his website open for business and all of his catalogue available to his customers. A portion of all site sales would be donated to the "Old Magicians Fund" at the Magic Castle. As I said, this is something that is being worked on, and something I take very seriously. I want my fathers name to go on, and his wonderful gift to the magic community to survive. Thank you all so much, God bless you, and I hope to see you on 9-26-09 at the Castle. Curtis Martin Son of Cards by Martin

JMD

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby JFox » September 24th, 2009, 2:07 pm

"gathering at the Magic Castle this coming Friday, the 26th starting at 6pm"
_________________________________________________________________


The 26th is a SATURDAY, not Friday.

Please clarify---will this event be this FRIDAY or SATURDAY?

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Re: Neil Lester

Postby JFox » September 24th, 2009, 8:43 pm

I just heard from Curtis Martin, the gathering at the Castle is:

FRIDAY, Sept. 25. 7PM

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John M. Dale
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby John M. Dale » September 24th, 2009, 8:45 pm

Sorry for any confusion. I'm not in a position to attend, so I didn't read Curtis's email that closely. I'll email him back and try to clarify the situation.

BTW, just to keep thing transparent, I've never met Curtis. He contacted me because he thought I was a lawyer (I'm still not sure where he got that impression) but we both work in aspects of environmental issues and have been trading emails because of that.

I'll do my best to get the correct info and post it.

JMD

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John M. Dale
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby John M. Dale » September 24th, 2009, 8:55 pm

I just spoke to Curtis and the gathering in on FRIDAY, SEPT. 25.

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Darren Lawbuary
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Re: Neil Lester

Postby Darren Lawbuary » September 30th, 2009, 4:57 am

I trust a fitting evening was had by all attendees?
Curtis, my apologies for my non-attendance. Geographical boundaries precluded me from celebrating your father's life with you.
Anyone care to write a few words about the gathering, please?
Respectfully,
Darren.
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