Charlie Miller

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 03/05/03 09:37 AM

I have enjoyed reading the anecdots about Kaps and Vernon and I think it would be very nice to get to know more informations about Charlie Miller. From what I have heard he was great performer and a great master of slight of hand, who sometimes practised twenty houers in a row.I think it would be very interesting to learn a bit more about this outstanding magician.
Thanks in advance

Yours Felix
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Postby Guest » 03/05/03 10:24 AM

Me too. I always want to know more about Charlie Miller and John Scarne, two giants in close-up magic history but are written so little about in the last decade.

Could someone in this forum share with us any anecdotes of these two gentlemen?
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Postby Rick Schulz » 03/05/03 11:31 AM

Better still - how about another in depth set of articles like the ones on Ross Bertram! :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/05/03 12:03 PM

Let's see, Byron Walker (book dealer) has a life size photo of Charlie Miller Charlie Miller Charlie Miller (Chuckles like to have his name repeated three times) that he go off the door to Lloyd E. Jones' "chicken coupe" -- Charlie loved working cruises because... HE LOVED TO DANCE.

What is commonly known as the Malini Egg bag, was really designed by Miller, with help from Harry Riser and Persi Diaconis. Did it while living at the Riser home in Indianapolis.

Charlie did get in trouble with the feds crossing line between California and Nevada with gaffed gambling apparatus.

Owen Magic has, in the back room, a gaffed poker table Charlie designed, but they never finished making it.

Charlie was an incredible man with the cards, and knew probably more gambling moves, etc. than ALL the so-called experts combined.

He did, however, disappoint the British magicians when he lectured for Ken Brooke. They travelled from every corner of the country to see the amazing card man they had all heard about... and what did he lecture on?

Chinese Sticks, Rice Bowls... all standard stuff (sure he had touches) but he didn't TIP any of what they really came to see.

Charlie was dong the Miser's Dream (his published routine in Genii is FABULOUS) at the Magic Castle one time, producing real half dollars... a kid in the front row said, "Can I have the coin?" (He had just produced it from behind the kid's ear).

Charlie said, "Sure." Gave the kid the coin... then the whole audience shouted, "I want one.. I want one..."

Poor Charlie, as he produced each coin he had to give it away... He lost money that show! :eek:
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Postby Guest » 03/05/03 12:25 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Charlie was dong the Miser's Dream (his published routine in Genii is FABULOUS) at the Magic Castle one time, producing real half dollars... a kid in the front row said, "Can I have the coin?" (He had just produced it from behind the kid's ear).

Charlie said, "Sure." Gave the kid the coin... then the whole audience shouted, "I want one.. I want one..."

Poor Charlie, as he produced each coin he had to give it away... He lost money that show! :eek:
That's a funny story. Thanks, Pete. (Any Scarne's stories to share?)

So how did the Miller Egg Bag ended up as Malini Egg Bag ? Was that a marketing gimmick? Has this been discussed before in this forum?
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Postby Guest » 03/05/03 02:15 PM

Back in February, 1960, Charlie Miller came to Detroit to lecture to IBM Ring #22. Harry Riser had made all the arrangements for the lecture. Harry had also promised my friend and me a session with Charlie.

My friend and I arrived at Harry's apartment at 7:00 PM, not knowing that Charlie had no idea that we were there to session. Harry introduced us to Charlie and then he and his wife, Margie, left for the evening.

Charlie sat across the table from us, handed me a deck of cards, and said, "Fool me." I was so nervous, even though I was doing a relatively easy effect, that the cards literally squirted out of my hands onto the table and floor. I was so embarrassed! I picked up the cards. Charlie reassured me that he would not "bite". Then, he told me to try it again. This time it was successful.

I passed the deck to my friend who performed an effect for Charlie. He passed the deck back to me. We did this a couple more times. You get the picture. We now both had pretty much gone through our respective repertoires. I sheepishly pushed the deck across the table toward Charlie saying, "OK, Mr. Miller, Fool us!" And, boy, oh boy, did he ever!

I can still clearly remember that his opening effect was "Triumph". You must remember that at that time the Zarrow Shuffle was little known. So, when Charlie performed "Triumph", we had absolutely no clue as to the method he employed. Frankly, it was a few days later when I realized just how bad Charlie had fooled me. It dawned on me that I had no clue as to how he controlled the card, let alone, how he accomplished the effect.

Charlie did so many things for us that night. Much of it is now blurred from age. What a wonderful man Charlie was. He treated my friend and I very well. We had the time of our lives, even though we met him, for the first time, that evening.

John Luka
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Postby Guest » 03/10/03 07:55 AM

As I started the topic, I want to thank you all for the interesting stories,you posted so far. But I am sure, there must be more great stories about such a great magician, so please share them.Thanks in advance.

Yours Felix
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/10/03 10:52 AM

Maybe, in addition to the Book of the Month thread, we should pick a great magician from the past each month and invite everyone to share their stories.

I'd second the nomination of John Scarne. I remember reading The Odds Against Me as a teenager and being awed by the whole thing. I'd love to hear more about him from people who were there, as it were.
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