I met Dai Vernon in New York City in 1958. I was introduced to him by his close friend Ed Balducci. Balducci told Vernon that I was a young man who did some very original coin work that he wanted him to see. The three of us sat down at a table in the cafeteria on 42nd Street that the magicians who visited Tannen's on Saturdays frequented after the shop closed. After doing a number of my coin routines, Vernon, to my delight, showered me with compliments about my approach to coin magic and literally stunned me when he told Balducci that I had the most original ideas with coins that he had seen since Ross Bertram. He then spent the next two hours demonstrating and teaching me many of his then unpublished coin tricks and sleights. His execution of these wonderful tricks and moves was flawless. From that time on, I spent a great deal of time with him until he moved out to California.
I could tell many stories about this legendary magician. However, the following is a rather humorous one that I have thought about many times over the years.
In 1969, I attended a Mid-West convention with Mike Skinner. Vernon was there and invited me to visit him in his hotel room in the early evening. When I knocked on his door, he opened it and to my surprise, was wearing only an undershirt and boxer shorts and had shaving cream on his face. I excused myself for coming at what seemed to be an inopportune time. He insisted that I come in and immediately picked up a silk and demonstrated his superb handling of the Berg knot. Never having seen it before, I was totally fooled. He did it for me a number of time and finally told me he was going to teach it to me. For the next two hours, still in his underwear, and with shaving cream on his face, taught me the Berg knot until I did it to his satisfaction. The man was a great teacher.
When Karl Fulves was working on the four Vernon Pallbearers Review Folios, I supplied him with many of the tricks and sleights contained in the issues. I taught Karl the Vernon handling of the Berg knot which is described in one of the Vernon Folios. It is the only printed source of this great trick. Since I learned it, the Vernon handling of the Berg knot has been one of my favorite closeup tricks. :)
[ November 13, 2001: Message edited by: Harvey Rosenthal ]