Originally posted by dk the magician:
In my research for my article I have read references of him working, did he not fall of some scaffolding and damage his hand?
What was his performance and patter style like? Did anyone see him perform for Laymen?
No, he fell several floors and broke both arms. Doctors tried to persuade him to consent to having both amputated due to the threat of gangrene, but he would have none of it. According to Vernon, this was the first and only time he ever worked a regular job, and it was only half a day at that. Before moving to NY, he'd served in the Canadian Royal Air Force, and he later became known for his silhouette-cutting, but except for the one time, I don't know of any occasion where he was part of a hired workforce of any kind.
While in NY, Vernon did shows and worked gigs in restaurants (and even worked cruises), but this was to be relatively short-lived. To put it succinctly, he'd much rather practice than perform. As mentioned, he did experience stage fright from time to time, but with his debonair manner and dashing looks, he and his close-up magic were shoo-ins for the socialites, and Leipzig's wife once complained that Vernon was taking all the good engagements away from her husband. When it came down to it, though, it probably seemed like "work," and not something he fully enjoyed. Most of us accept that if he'd stayed with it, he would have been one of the most successful performing magicians who ever lived.
His performing style was, for the most part, expository. He seemed to give credit to the audience for being intelligent and talked to them as if they knew what was going on. In his cups and balls or linking ring routines, for instance, he admitted to certain ploys and acted as if it could be taken for granted that everybody knew about them, and in so-doing he would set them up for the next fooling moment. In this way, he was constantly complimenting his audience, implying that they're sharp enough to see through almost anything...anything except, of course, what he just fooled them with, and this made him a gentleman magician.