The Professor

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David Ben
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Re: The Professor

Postby David Ben » July 9th, 2008, 6:31 pm

Without being hopefully too much of a self-promoter, I suggest that many of you might find my recent biography of Vernon to be helpful. You will learn that he was a professional magician, who influenced him, when and how, discover that Scarne basically copied MacDougall in the field of the card cheat authority, read reviews of Vernon's work and performances by his contemporaries and the press, discover that Vernon taught or served as the inspiration for many of the magicians on Glenn's list, including Paul Rosini, discover why Vernon was annoyed with Hugard long before the publication of Expert Card Technique, learn when Vernon shifted his interest more towards composition than pure performance, and so much more.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Professor

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 9th, 2008, 6:42 pm

David,

Im afraid I need to check the validity of your work for Glenn: Were you still practicing law (hence an amateur/hobbyist) when you were working on this fine book, or were you a fulltime magician by then? It appears to make a difference in his opinion. :)

Dustin

PS: I encourage capitalism on this site, so do not feel shy about self-promotion.

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Re: The Professor

Postby John LeBlanc » July 9th, 2008, 7:27 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:PS: I encourage capitalism on this site


Yes, but do you equally support proper punctuation? :)

John

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Professor

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 9th, 2008, 7:48 pm

Proper, punctuation ... is mandatory!
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Re: The Professor

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 9th, 2008, 8:51 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Proper, punctuation ... is mandatory!


...especially when trying to capture the nuance of a classic conjuring performance as rendered by Christopher Walken or William Shatner.

Pete McCabe
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Re: The Professor

Postby Pete McCabe » July 9th, 2008, 10:22 pm

Michael Caine
says two
words at
a time.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Professor

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 9th, 2008, 10:31 pm

And Jon Lovitz says screaming the last word in a line means youre ACTING!

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Re: The Professor

Postby Glenn Bishop » July 9th, 2008, 10:52 pm

David Ben wrote:Without being hopefully too much of a self-promoter, I suggest that many of you might find my recent biography of Vernon to be helpful. You will learn that he was a professional magician,

David if you are saying that Vernon was a professional magician I agree and have talked about and argued about it several times in this forum.

Other magicians have not agreed in my opinion that Vernon was a professional and have not agreed "very strongly".

Also my opinion of newspapers and the history of magic really has nothing to do with anyone in this forum - so please do not take it personally. In my opinion newspapers are an advertising medium that have been used by magicians and other entertainers for promotion reasons.

Just my opinion.

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Michael Kamen
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Re: The Professor

Postby Michael Kamen » July 9th, 2008, 10:59 pm

Glen,
I was afraid to mention that in the past you said emphatically that Vernon was a professional magician -- I could not find an example of it in the Genii search feature, probably my clumsiness. Why do you say in this thread that he was an amateur? By amateur did you mean he was a lover of magic as well as a professional? I am confused.
Michael Kamen

Bill Duncan
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Re: The Professor

Postby Bill Duncan » July 9th, 2008, 11:40 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:Not too bad for an amateur.

I have nothing more to add, nor do I need to.

Dustin
(Hobby Historian)

Well, to be fair Dustin, those quotes are just their opinions...

Thanks for posting them.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Professor

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 10th, 2008, 12:40 am

Bill Duncan wrote:...those quotes are just their opinions...


And that is a fact!

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Re: The Professor

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 10th, 2008, 9:50 am

Impressed you remember that bit from the Kids in the Hall show.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Don Stachowiak
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Re: The Professor

Postby Don Stachowiak » July 10th, 2008, 10:46 am

David Ben wrote:Without being hopefully too much of a self-promoter, I suggest that many of you might find my recent biography of Vernon to be helpful. You will learn that he was a professional magician, who influenced him, when and how, discover that Scarne basically copied MacDougall in the field of the card cheat authority, read reviews of Vernon's work and performances by his contemporaries and the press, discover that Vernon taught or served as the inspiration for many of the magicians on Glenn's list, including Paul Rosini, discover why Vernon was annoyed with Hugard long before the publication of Expert Card Technique, learn when Vernon shifted his interest more towards composition than pure performance, and so much more.

All of this, while also being one hell of a great read, as well. I'm waiting impatiently for the second volume!
Don

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Re: The Professor

Postby mrgoat » July 10th, 2008, 11:29 am

Glenn Bishop wrote:Also my opinion of newspapers and the history of magic really has nothing to do with anyone in this forum


Why do you keep posting your opinion on this if it has nothing to do with us?

Just my opinion.

Damian

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Professor

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 10th, 2008, 1:56 pm

Damian, while I disagree with Glenns position in this regard, please do not misrepresent what he is saying.

Im sorry to say that, because of something I wrote (but I will not change or take back), Glenn has told me that he wont be back. So, do not expect an answer from him.

I am telling you this only to say that Glenn is not ignoring you or being rude in any way. I sincerely hope that he will return. The simple fact is that everyone needs a break from this stuff once in a while.

Dustin

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Re: The Professor

Postby Roger M. » July 10th, 2008, 2:39 pm

Glenn leaving a magic forum in a big huff isn't something new.

If I left magic forums every time somebody called B.S. on something I SAID, or every time somebody didn't come around to my way of thinking just because I felt I knew more than they did, I'd have run out of magic forums to visit 5 years ago.

Trying to tie together "hobby or amateur" magicians as being lesser contributors to the performance and HISTORY of magic than "performing" magicians (which Glenn titled himself) was too transparent not to comment on.

The further attempt to steer RESPECT towards performing magicians and AWAY from amateurs and hobbyists was somewhat self-centered to say the least.

.........the thing about newspapers I didn't understand at all, and I suspect I wasn't alone.

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Re: The Professor

Postby El Mystico » July 10th, 2008, 3:37 pm

I've been a member of this forum for several years. I haven't said anything like this before, but - I'm not sorry to see Glenn go. I personally welcome alternative views - I think they often represent an opportunity to grow. And I think there are occasions when the views of a professional are particularly pertinent.
But I do think Glenn's ability to interact with the views of other magicians was below the standard set on this forum.
This thread in particular I have found interesting, particularly when the postings did not agree with my views. But, for me, Glenn's posting were, too often, too much of a distraction.

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Re: The Professor

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 10th, 2008, 3:53 pm

This Cartman style "i'm leaving and taking my marbles" is timely - there's also been much "drama" on the cafe of late.

Back on topic - Vernon did a dove production? He used, trained and kept doves? Impressive!
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: Cards and feathers - kewl!

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Professor

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 10th, 2008, 4:32 pm

I wouldnt characterize the way Glenn departed as in a huff. In fact, his note to me was quite cordial while my reply to him was less so, Im embarrassed to say.

But I do agree that I called him on something that was personally offensive to me, and I will not back down from my stance.

I fully understand Glenns point. And on some levels he is correct. There are amateurs/hobbyists who, just by their common interest in magic, feel that they are equal to those who devote their lives to the art; part of that being making their living from magic. That people like Michael Weber, Max Maven, and Glenn Bishop are somehow required to share secrets and even socialize with them based on this perceived common thread is unreasonable.

Personally, I think we amateurs and hobbyists must earn our way into these select circles and its their callnot ourswhen the door is opened. I recognize that a guy who has been doing magic for a year, thinks he has invented the double lift and produces a $25 DVD describing it, is not deserving of an invitation. In fact, I pretty much feel the same way about these folks as a professional might.

So it is my contention that it should not be amateur versus professional. It should be about devotee versus dabbler.

Someone who has devoted their life to magic, be it in part-time performance, the study of its history, chronicling any or all of its myriad subjectsbut perhaps earns his or her living via a real jobis not less relevant than someone who makes their living solely from the performance of magic (or publishing, marketing, etc.).

Frankly, I have seen many professionals who couldnt wipe my ass as far as Im concerned. But I choose not to make my living performing because I know that its a damn hard way to make a living. Besides everything else involved, traveling is not my thing. I had a job where I traveled about 35 weeks out of the year and that was enough to convince me that traveling sucks big time.

However, since the age of nine, I have devoted my life to magic. Only my family comes before it. And part of my obligation to my family is earning the money we need to have a decent standard of living. So here I am at real job (not doing my job at the momentbecause of this whole magic thing that constantly distracts me).

I feel like Ive earned my stripes. I have studied the craft and have some understanding of many of its levels, including its history. But I continue to be a student because I know that I dont know everything and never will (and I wouldnt have it any other wayI want to be a student of magic for the rest of my life). So when Glenn made his rather generalized statement, I was insulted. Not just for me, but for all the other amateurs and hobbyists who have devoted their lives to magic and have produced fantastic work.

Dai Vernon was a student of magic who cannot be pigeonholed into some label such as amateur or professional. He was perhaps the ultimate devotee of the craft. But David Alexander is correct: He was just a man, and a very flawed one at that. But its an undeniable factnot just an opinionthat Vernon influenced magic for the better. His routines for the Cups and Balls and the Linking Rings are the template and form the base for many (if not most) professionals routines (Michael Ammar and Paul Gertner come immediately to mind for the cups). And there isnt a card magician who hasnt been influenced by his work: The work he did refining old technique or creating new technique. To say otherwise is simply ignorance of the facts.

No; Vernon is not some kind of deity of magic. He was just a man: A man who had his share of foibles just like the rest of us. And perhaps his level of devotion to magicto the detriment of all elsemakes him a poor role model. But magic is better as a result of that flawed mans devotion.

I, for one, thank him.

Thanks for your time,
Dustin

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Re: The Professor

Postby AJM » July 10th, 2008, 5:22 pm

Another bundle of off-topic posts here that the D.P.Overlord can delete at his convenience.

Back to The Professor now perhaps?
Corner-boy Begrudger

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Re: The Professor

Postby castawaydave » July 10th, 2008, 9:57 pm

That's well put, Dustin.

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Michael Kamen
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Re: The Professor

Postby Michael Kamen » July 10th, 2008, 10:14 pm

Another angle to consider is that there may be a history of magic according to amateurs, and another according to professionals. The two are perhaps not synonymous, but have influenced each other. Players have been both amateurs and professionals at points in their lives. The history of professional magic of necessity unites widely with the history of show business, hence is Glen's obvious bias given his life experience.
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Re: The Professor

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 10th, 2008, 11:16 pm

Just one history... according to what? The very notion is wishful thinking IMHO - or perhaps dogmatic.

He had his own history. Some wish to proffer a his-story of their own. The career historians will bring their own perspectives - and his acquaintances will of course have the affect of the man in their lives - ie their own histories.

Then we have the myths and icon to manage as well in this community.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Professor

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 11th, 2008, 12:12 am

I just finished writing 10,000 words of material from my 1983 interview with Vernon for our August issue, which went to the printer today. I explained many details that he shared with me about The Diagonal Palm Shift, Erdnase Bottom Palm, French Shift, Skinning the Hand, The Spread, and much more, including lots of wisdom and opinions. There are details about all of these sleights that haven't been published previously. Now I'm going to bed.
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Re: The Professor

Postby El Mystico » July 11th, 2008, 2:06 am

Now that's going to be worth waiting for! Thank you Richard.

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Re: The Professor

Postby 000 » July 11th, 2008, 2:50 am

Vernon considered the Centre Deal to be a massive BIG DEAL.
I wonder, therefore, why it has failed to enter the pantheon of card magic?

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Re: The Professor

Postby Ian Kendall » July 11th, 2008, 3:53 am

Because it's fantastically difficult to do well, and can be replaced my many other, easier sleights?

Take care, Ian

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Re: The Professor

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 11th, 2008, 10:24 am

The Center Deal is indeed very difficult and, as Gene Maze discovered after spending years mastering it, there just aren't a lot of applications for it in magic. You can do a lot more with Bottom and Second Deals, and they're easier, too.
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Re: The Professor

Postby El Mystico » July 11th, 2008, 10:43 am

...But perfect for the card table if you can perfect it.

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Re: The Professor

Postby Dan Strange » July 11th, 2008, 11:18 am

I'm not sure how useful for the card table relative to the difficulty and other concerns necessary to pull it off. It really is more than just dealing a card from the middle and the Kennedy technique can leave clues if you aren't careful.

My opinion is that Vernon valued it as much for its elusiveness as he did its technique.

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Re: The Professor

Postby El Mystico » July 11th, 2008, 11:50 am

Yes, but didnt Vernon say that most cheats only make use of one or two techniques? So someone would only need to perfect that one technique...so they would have the practise to be careful.

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Re: The Professor

Postby Ian Kendall » July 11th, 2008, 12:28 pm

I think there's a confusion between card _magic_ (to which 000 alluded) and card _cheating_.

It didn't make a big splash in magic for the reasons stated.

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Re: The Professor

Postby amp » July 11th, 2008, 1:09 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY7tiENb-2s
Here's a great clip of Vernon.

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Re: The Professor

Postby 000 » July 11th, 2008, 1:33 pm

Of course it was a 'gambling move'
Did Vernon ever incorporate the Centre Deal in any card effect?

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Re: The Professor

Postby El Mystico » July 11th, 2008, 3:17 pm

The Mystic Craig film is the best I've seen of Vernon performing. As he says, he is out of practise, but I think you get some sense from this film of how spine tinglingly good he must have been in his prime.
The whole performance is on the DVD put out by the Miracle Factory, and gets a strong recommendation from me.
Is anyone aware of any early footage - apart from the slow motion card vanish?

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Re: The Professor

Postby David Ben » July 11th, 2008, 5:13 pm

I have to admit that the video brought tears to my eyes but for the wrong reasons. Most of the images, and the video clips were pulled illegally from our film, The Spirit of Magic. Many of the images of the family, for example, are from my collection, and were rescued digitally for our film. The hands only stuff is, as pointed out in the previous post, by Scarne. We slowed down the tempo of Scarne's hand movement during the production in order to give the handling more grace.

I suppose it is the new reality that people can just go and pull images, assemble them however they see fit, all under the guise of a "tribute", without even providing a tiny credit.

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Re: The Professor

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 11th, 2008, 5:26 pm

David, You can prove your copyright ownership and have the material pulled.
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Joe Naud
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Re: The Professor

Postby Joe Naud » July 11th, 2008, 6:55 pm

David, Is your movie available on DVD? Thanks.
Peace, Joe

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: The Professor

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 11th, 2008, 7:11 pm

The Cups & Balls clip that's from Mark Wilson's Magic Circus is on DVD at Mark's site (and the same DVDs have him doing the Rings, Jay Marshall with Lefty, and Shimada): http://www.markwilsonmagic.com/

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Re: The Professor

Postby David Ben » July 11th, 2008, 9:55 pm

My mistake Dustin. My fingers ended up on the four minute Life History of Dai Vernon clip, on the second page of the Youtube listing. That is the clip that pulled the images and videos from our film. It disturbs me not only because it has appropriated my personal material from the film, but it also used film footage that we paid licensing fees for to use. So, not only is my material and labour being lifted, but also the material that was assembled by various organizations that provide video clips to broadcasters. One of the reasons that the Slow Motion Card Vanish looks so good on this clip is because it has been digitally restored by professionals, professionals hired for our film to clean up such footage.

I suppose that I am particularly annoyed at this point in time because of my recent work organizing some of Sid Lorraine's material. Sid filmed, for example, Annemann catching the bullet. This film footage has been making the rounds. I recently acquired the original 16mm print that Sid shot and edited of the sequence from Sid's widow. I am in the process of having the film digitized, and cleaned up in the process, and I hope to eventually make it more publicly accessible. Sid shot some amazing footage including footage of John Ramsay in 1938 performing his coin work, including the Cylinder and Coins. One of my goals is to restore Sid's name to the work as both the filmmaker, and editor. (The film is still under copyright to the Lorraine Estate.) It costs time, and money, however, to do this and I wonder whether it is worth the effort given that people are not only quick to post and circulate things that do not belong to them, but that they also cut out any reference to the people who created the work in the first place. In the case of the film of the bullet catch, that would be Sid.

So, forgive me for jumping the gun. I did not mean to refer to the Mark Wilson footage, but to the other footage.

There are no plans at present to release the "Spirit of Magic" on DVD. Although I would like to see it released in this format, there have been several corporate take-overs in the intervening years that make the legal duplication of this film on DVD somewhat problematic.


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