Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

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Guest

Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Guest » August 28th, 2007, 9:40 pm

I am interested in any photos, stories, videos, or anything else anyone may have regarding the late Ernie Bryan. From what I hear, he was quite the magician, although I cannot say from personal experience because I never met him. I've never even seen a photo of him. I would love to learn anything anyone knows about him though. Why? He was my biological great-grandfather. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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Pete Biro
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Pete Biro » August 28th, 2007, 10:38 pm

If you look in the August Genii you will see Ernie presenting me with a trophy. He was a funny guy, great MC and did a lot of close up based on Gambling. I believe there was a book he published on a poker deal.
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Guest » August 28th, 2007, 10:40 pm

Just this August?

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Pete Biro
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Pete Biro » August 28th, 2007, 10:45 pm

Yes this month (August 2007 Genii)
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Guest » August 28th, 2007, 10:50 pm

Thank you for that information. I will be ordering a copy of it as soon as I cash my paycheck tomorrow. Did you know Ernie well?

George Olson
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby George Olson » August 29th, 2007, 8:11 am

Contact me privately for a list of folks here in PDX that knew him personaly. We were talking about him at the Tuesday Luncheon at the Elks in Beaverton. Duane Duvall has tons of Ernie memorabilia.

GO

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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Guest » August 29th, 2007, 9:02 am

Thank you so much for coming forward George. I have sent you an email.

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Steve Bryant
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Steve Bryant » August 29th, 2007, 9:25 am

Log onto the Genii archives and you can find mentions of Ernie Bryan in many of the issues from 1947 through the sixties. Ernie was on the cover of Genii in the June 1968 issue as P.C.A.M. President Ernie Bryan, and there is a one-page bio of him in that issue.

Guest

Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Guest » August 29th, 2007, 3:40 pm

Steve, thank you. I have signed up for the Genii archives, just waiting to hear back on that. I really appreciated everyone's willingness to help. It really does mean a lot to me.

George Olson
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby George Olson » August 29th, 2007, 7:54 pm

No e-mail yet Travesty

GO

Guest

Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Guest » August 29th, 2007, 8:31 pm

George,

I apparently had a typo in the email address. The email has been resent.

Guest

Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Guest » September 6th, 2007, 1:39 pm

I have all of the history of the Portland Society of Magicians. I am out of town for a while but when I get back in mid Oct, I will look to see what I have. You may feel free to contact me at any time to discuss. I may have video as well, when did he stop performing?

lucyblue
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby lucyblue » May 14th, 2015, 4:42 pm

Guest wrote:I am interested in any photos, stories, videos, or anything else anyone may have regarding the late Ernie Bryan. From what I hear, he was quite the magician, although I cannot say from personal experience because I never met him. I've never even seen a photo of him. I would love to learn anything anyone knows about him though. Why? He was my biological great-grandfather. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.


Hi.I know this post is old but I'd love to speak to you. Ernie was my great uncle. My grandfather was his brother William "Bill" Bryan. Our family history was that Bill was the only one to have had biological children out of those siblings. I'd love to find out more information so we could correct the family history.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby Brad Jeffers » June 26th, 2017, 1:10 am

Slip King – Sleight of Hand Master
By Brenda DeVore

The 1969 Seymour High School Yearbook, The Tomahawk, was dedicated to
Ernie Bryan also known as Slip King. The dedication referred to Bryan as
Seymour’s number one booster. Ernie graduated from Seymour about 1936 and
never forgot his hometown, even while living in Oregon over 50 years.

Slip King, as most Seymourites knew him, made his living as a representative
of women’s fashion companies, selling merchandise to high end department
stores and boutiques. But he was probably best known among magicians as one of
the country’s best card handlers. More on that later.

Born February 8, 1917 in Seymour to Thomas & Lillie Bryan, Earnest Carl
Bryan had three brothers and a sister. His father died a few months before Ernie’s
fourth birthday in 1921.

A widow with several small children, Lillie probably had a difficult time. A
woman alone in that era had few options for support or income. In 1922 Lillie
married Victor Lee King in a small ceremony, presided over by Mayor W.S.
Merritt, at her home on West Main Street.

Lee King operated a pool hall in Seymour on the north side of the square. He
was also known to play cards for money. Ernie Bryan learned a great deal about playing cards from his stepfather. He
also learned con game techniques from the carnival workers his parents would board during the off season.

At age nine, Ernie saw Howard Thurston, a renowned magician and master of card tricks, at the Iowa State Fair.
During his magic show, Thurston invited the young Ernie on stage to assist. That probably gave Ernie his first taste of
entertaining that became a lifelong passion.

Maurice Stamps, Seymour’s resident historian, recalled that Ernie was a freshman when he was a senior at Seymour
High School. They were both on the football team together.

In those days a country kid attending high school had to find his or her own way to
town. The father of classmates Leonard & Ray Noel had a building in the south part of
town for his sons and others to stay at night so they didn’t have to drive back and forth
from home each day. As a country boy, Maurice Stamps sometimes stayed the night with
the Noel boys. Ernie Bryan would drop by to visit the upper classmen at night and practice
his card tricks.

When World War II broke out Lillie King’s four sons all joined the service. Oldest son
Guy joined the army, his brothers William, Victor, and Ernest all joined the navy. His fellow sailors
nicknamed Ernie Mandrake the Magician after the well-known comic strip of that time.
Ernie never forgot his time in the Navy and performed magic shows for thousands of troops
over the years.

After leaving the Navy, Ernie Bryan moved to Portland, Oregon. He graduated from
Utah State College in Logan, Utah, where he wrote a paper on “The History of Cards.”

Ernie’s day job took him all over the western United States selling women’s clothing. As a top notch salesman Ernie’s
ability to entertain was usually an asset. If he couldn’t get an order, Ernie would do a magic show and quite often the
customer would soften and buy merchandise.

Ernie Bryan was a nationally recognized authority on counterfeiting devices and sleight of hand. He worked with
numerous law enforcement agencies and many of the major casinos in Nevada exposing cheating methods. He taught
classes to police departments and businesses on how to recognize con game techniques. Ernie was on the security board
of Harold’s Club in Las Vegas for several years. He was past president of the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians and
of the Portland Society of Magicians. Ernie was also an active member of Society of American Magicians and
International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Genii News, a magazine for magicians, featured Ernie Bryan several times and he graced the cover in June 1968.

One thing Ernie Bryan never did was gamble for money. He told friends it just wouldn’t be fair.

He returned to Seymour many times and became Slip King again as he entertained students at Seymour School
assemblies, homes of friends and celebrations. There are many fond memories of time spent in his hometown as you can
see from the following comments by students and friends of Ernie (Slip King) Bryan.

Richard Joiner, in 1992, wrote a touching tribute to his friend and mentor that was published in the Seymour Herald:

The past week I lost a friend who changed my whole life (in a sense) and maybe the lives of a lot of others. I met Ernie
like a lot of others, at the school in the gym after one of his magic shows that he put on for the school. I helped him with
his tricks along with someone else. I became interested in the rope tricks and asked to see how they were done. Well, he
said, he would show me if I would show him where to catch catfish. So we went fishing, I never did learn the tricks but
know how they are done.

In 1954 I drove him on his spring run selling ladies clothes to Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. I was
introduced to a lot of people as Ernie did his magic to entertain when we weren’t working.

He loved putting on a show. I met a man in Laketown, Utah, I liked and he offered me a job the next summer so I went
back. Ernie had me drive him till the middle of May and then I went to work for Parnell Johnson in Laketown, Utah. I
stayed in the west for 36 years and was privileged to become acquainted with a lot of Ernie’s friends, who became my
friends. I never met anyone who didn’t like him. He overwhelmed them with his showmanship and personality. Ernie was
the best salesman I ever knew.

One of the things he always told me was to respect people for what they are and always be presentable. He dressed
impeccably. His magic shows opened a lot of doors for him and thrilled thousands from governors, senators, CEO’s,
cowboys, ranchers, loggers, truck drivers and others.

Ernie Bryan filled a room when he walked in with his personality and his girth. He had a great dislike for flying
because of his size and cramped quarters in an airplane. For this reason he would hire young people, many Seymour
grads, to drive him on his sales route through the northwest. Ken Davis, Seymour graduate and son of longtime Seymour
Herald publisher Wayne Davis was one of those chauffeurs.

In the summer of 1968, Kenneth Davis had just finished his master’s
degree and would be reporting for Army duty in August. Ernie Bryan
asked if Ken would drive for him that summer over his sales territory,
which was everything approximately north and west of Denver. Ken
agreed, and recalls that as being one of the greatest summers of his life.

A highlight for Ken was flying to Edmonton, Alberta to help Ernie
serve as security for the Canadian Mounted Police, who were running a
casino for charity during Klondike Days (similar to Iowa State Fair).

A favorite Ernie story recalled by Ken Davis: While in Edmonton,
Alberta, he and I were walking along the midway and stopped to watch
a young man do card tricks, then sell “magic” decks. The deck was what’s called a Svengali deck: 26 cards were normal,
but the other 26 were identical to each other and trimmed about 1/16” shorter than the others. The deck is set up with
every other card being a special one. So when you riffled the deck, all the cards looked different, but when you cut it, or
stuck your finger in it while it’s ruffling, you always get the same card, say the 8 of clubs.

This kid on the midway did 8 or 10 different tricks with the deck, with spectators always selecting the 8 of clubs.

That evening, Ernie and I were having supper with two plainclothes Mounties at a Chinese restaurant. Across the room,
we saw the kid from the midway, with some friends. So Ernie got up, walked over to the kid’s table, and with his best
southern Iowa drawl, said, “I was just telling my friends about how great you are. If I bought you a drink would you come
over and do some tricks for us?” “Sure,” the kid said. So he came to our table, sat down, and proceeded to do his routine,
8 or 10 tricks which all came up with the 8 of clubs.

Ernie watched admiringly, and then said, “Do you suppose I could learn to do card tricks like that?” “Sure,” he said,
“I’d be glad to sell you this deck.”

Ernie said, “But I wonder if I could learn to do them with a regular deck.” He
asked me for a new deck (I always carried his cards for him: he said they made
him look bulgy.”) Ernie opened the seal on the deck, gave it to one of us to shuffle
and cut, and proceeded to duplicate the kid’s routine, trick by trick, always
coming up with the 8 of clubs. Then he turned the cards face up and fanned them,
saying, “But mine are all different.”

The kid’s jaw dropped. Then he looked at Ernie, and the kid was just enough of
a magician to know there was only one man that size in the world who could do
what Ernie had just done. He said,” You’re Ernie Bryan,” Ernie said, “Yes, I
am.”

The kid said, “Sir, it’s an honor being had by you.” In more ways than one, it
was like seeing a young pool hustler realize that he’d just been hustled by
Minnesota Fats.

When Ernie (Slip King) Bryan performed at Seymour School he also brought
along examples of the ladies fashions he sold. Women of the community and high school girls (now adults) recall
modeling the beautiful clothing.

Ernie Bryan died December 27, 1991 from complications of diabetes at age 74. Left to morn was his wife Jean, sons
Douglas & Robert Bryan, granddaughter Alanna Bryan and a large group of friends who still remember him fondly.

Ernie (Slip King) Bryan was cremated and his ashes scatter over his favorite fishing spot, the Seymour Reservoir.

lucyblue
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Re: Does anyone remember Ernie Bryan?

Postby lucyblue » July 5th, 2017, 5:14 pm

This is great. I'm not sure even my grandmother has a copy of this. She also grew up in Seymour across the street from the Bryans (her last name is Sharp) and married William "Bill" Bryan, Ernie's brother. We did recently learn that Ernie did have one biological child, a daughter. I'm not sure if that was because of all the recent DNA testing taking place or through correspondence. My grandparents talk to a lot of people for their genealogical research. Is there a hard copy of this that I could get a scan of?


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