Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
HocoPoco
Posts: 32
Joined: March 30th, 2008, 6:36 pm

Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby HocoPoco » March 29th, 2017, 12:28 pm

My resurgence in all things Vernon has been at a peak recently. Thought this may be of interest to anyone who didn't have a chance to personally meet the Professor.

The following is from a recent John Carney email to me, in response to my inquiry as to the Professor's nature/character.

Your thoughts?

Vernon was a very private person, who didn't talk much about himself personally. He had to tolerate a lot of fools in his day, so I think when he got older, he saw that as his excuse to be more direct. But if someone was polite, sincere, and really invested in their magic (as few do), he was always very generous and helpful to them……. woe to those who were rude, tried to cut in line, or didn't treat magic with respect……. they got it with both barrels. He immediately disliked those who were insincere, dishonest, or phony…… he didn't like ceremony and pretension.

I don't think he wanted to do those (Videonics) videos, and... what was first a single video, turned into many hours of video under hot lights…. all against his will.

Bill Larsen wanted him to do it to have some historical record, but Videonics took advantage of it, and made a lot of money, very little of which went to Vernon.

If you want to understand him... he was an artist. That takes a lot of work, not just practice, but thinking things through, trying them out, making adjustments and trying again. It's not about sitting in an arm chair with a pipe, theorizing about magic…….. it's doing the work, with all the discipline, courage, and spirit of adventure that it entails.

Direct effects……. direct methods…….. clean, natural technique……. physical and mental misdirection and subtlety….. entertainment…… and being a gentleman presenting your magic.


Profound!

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23576
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 29th, 2017, 1:30 pm

Do you have permission to reproduce John's private email to you here?
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

HocoPoco
Posts: 32
Joined: March 30th, 2008, 6:36 pm

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby HocoPoco » March 29th, 2017, 2:20 pm

Yes. Would you like proof Richard? Or do you accede that I can act properly?

[RK: I accept your word. You'd be surprised how many people don't act properly.]

performer
Posts: 1982
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby performer » March 29th, 2017, 2:36 pm

Vernon had the great privilege of meeting me once. I rather liked him. I recognised immediately he was an old carnie. I have associated with people like that for my whole life. I had heard he was as well known in the siillhouette community as he was among magicians. I decided to test this out when I came across a silhouette artist somewhere or other. You don't see them around as much as you used to. I asked her if she had ever heard of Dai Vernon. She amused me greatly by saying, "Of course. Did you know he was a magician too?"

I knew Derek his son quite well but only online. I loved it when he was rude to everyone when he was drunk. I felt very honoured when he was only rude to me half the time and the other half he said he admired me very much. I had a mutual admiration of myself so we certainly saw eye to eye on that anyway. I often wondered what happened to him. I presume he passed away. I did hear he was in a fire but don't know if he survived.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1304
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 29th, 2017, 7:58 pm

performer wrote:I knew Derek his son quite well but only online. I loved it when he was rude to everyone when he was drunk. I felt very honoured when he was only rude to me half the time and the other half he said he admired me very much. I had a mutual admiration of myself so we certainly saw eye to eye on that anyway. I often wondered what happened to him. I presume he passed away. I did hear he was in a fire but don't know if he survived.


Yes, he passed away in 2016.

performer
Posts: 1982
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby performer » March 29th, 2017, 10:23 pm

I am very sorry to hear that. Thanks for letting me know.

User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 791
Joined: April 11th, 2008, 5:52 pm
Location: Savannah, GA

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 30th, 2017, 2:17 am

performer wrote:I am very sorry to hear that. Thanks for letting me know.
How quickly you forget.

performer
Posts: 1982
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby performer » March 30th, 2017, 6:37 am

Jeffers, old chap. I am a terribly busy and important person. You can't expect me to remember everything. I am not Harry Lorayne you know.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1304
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Leonard Hevia » May 7th, 2017, 9:44 pm

My copy of issue 192 of Magicol recently arrived with Vernon on the cover. In addition to all the other wonderful articles and columns Magicol includes in every issue, David Ben contributed two articles about the Professor that are must reads for students and aficionados of Vernon and his magic. There are also rare and unpublished photos of Vernon that I have never seen before.

Get it while it's still available. I still see people looking for the Erdnase issue of Magicol #180 that was published back in 2011. The time to obtain these publications is now--not 6 years henceforth.

User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 791
Joined: April 11th, 2008, 5:52 pm
Location: Savannah, GA

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Brad Jeffers » May 8th, 2017, 12:10 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:Get it while it's still available.

It looks like its already too late :(

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3241
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby erdnasephile » May 8th, 2017, 12:42 pm

In the issue of Magicol that Leonard cites, David Ben makes the case that Dai Vernon was the most influential magician of all time.

He also invites scholarly articles advocating others who might be candidates for this title. Any takers?

PS: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Leo has some really cool photos in that issue as well. :D

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7598
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 8th, 2017, 1:18 pm

influential for magic shop magicians? general public still knows Houdini.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3241
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby erdnasephile » May 8th, 2017, 1:27 pm

Another resource on Dai Vernon that crossed my desk recently is Steve Spill's wonderful, "I Lie for Money". As a close friend of Mr. Vernon, Mr. Spill offers some unique takes on what it was like growing up knowing and being mentored by the Professor.

Further, Larry Jennings was quoted in his tribute issue as saying if you want to know what it was like being with Mr. Vernon, "The Vernon Touch" columns are a good place to start. (I consider "The Vernon Touch" to be one of the BEST bargains in magic!)

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1304
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Leonard Hevia » May 8th, 2017, 7:33 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:Get it while it's still available.

It looks like its already too late :(


Are you sure Brad? It was just published. I can't believe that! There might be a second printing here.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7598
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 8th, 2017, 8:14 pm

HocoPoco wrote:...
Your thoughts?...

Spend some time around those who were around him and figure out if you want to know more about Vernon in context. And ask them nicely if you do. The longer you wait on this indirect research the more likely you'll wind up stuck in laymanland, with stories rather than useful expert knowledge. Vernon went and found out. He was aware of magicdom's culture of secrets. He got used to the bs and bluster associated with the market. Knowing that - what are you willing to invest into magic and expertise that might bring your work to the attention of others who value such things?

;)
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1304
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Leonard Hevia » May 8th, 2017, 9:55 pm

Seeking out those who actually did spend time with the Professor might be a prohibitive venture for many. A cost effective way to better understand Vernon is to read the 2nd chapter of The Dai Vernon Book of Magic: The Vernon Touch. The one thing noticeable in that chapter is how Vernon consistently praises the abilities and talents of other magicians such as Malini, Leipzig, Rosini, Carlyle, and Baker. Never promoting himself.

But that chapter is a signpost to the mother load of Vernon's persona: The Vernon Touch book.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3241
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby erdnasephile » May 8th, 2017, 10:08 pm

Michael Perovich's book is another worthy look at Vernon from the Castle's golden era.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23576
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Dai Vernon: For those of us who never met him

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 8th, 2017, 11:28 pm

Yes, we just published a second printing of the Vernon Touch book.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine


Return to “Magic History and Anecdotes”