Erdnase historical questions

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

Postby Nathan » 11/26/02 12:09 AM

I've become increasingly interested in historical aspects
of Erdnase. I have two questions.

1. Figure 101 clearly shows Erdnase using Bee cards.
Did Erdnase actually use Bee cards or did M.D. Smith
just grab a deck out of his junk drawer to use
as a model when he was filling in the sketches at
home? Hopefully someone asked Smith this question.

2. Did anyone ever seek out one of Erdnase's
students? On page 73 Erdnase says, "The highest tribute that can be paid to the
method is the fact that certain players whom we have instructed,
can execute the stock..." Since the Erdnase method
of stock shuffling was an innovation, anyone who
knew the method prior to 1902 must have been one
of Erdnase's students.
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Postby Guest » 11/27/02 07:08 AM

The S.W.E. Shift-" We have not dubbed the following process with our initials because we wish to appear "big on the bills," but merely to give it a name. Still, we must confess to some satisfaction in having originated what we believe to be the most rapid, and, for certain purposes, the most perfect shift devised."

Notice he used the words "we" and "our" not "I" and "my"..I know I'm not the first to have noticed this, but havent seen anyones theories on this yet....something to ponder...
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Postby Bob Coyne » 11/27/02 07:46 AM

Notice he used the words "we" and "our" not "I" and "my"..I know I'm not the first to have noticed this, but havent seen anyones theories on this yet....something to ponder...
I always wondered this too. It certainly helps enhance the feeling that you're being let in on exclusive secrets...the mystique of entering a secret fraternity of Erdnase and his confederate(s).

Marlo adopts this same voice, emulating Erdnase, in some of his early booklets. From Marlo in Spades... "The ease of handling makes for a very deceptive Ambitious Card Routine which has been a favorite of ours for a long time." "It is not the easiest to do but certainly the most deceptive as we have fooled many who know the basic idea." etc.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 11/27/02 08:27 AM

I always believed this was an "editorial we". Certainly it would be appropriate for this style of writing (somewhat formal and reserved) from this era.
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Postby Mike Rose » 11/27/02 05:19 PM

I would assume it was his writing style. I have heard this referred to as, "The Royal We." Used when kings would address themselves as "We."

Mike
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Postby David Alexander » 12/04/02 09:42 AM

Nathan Becker writes:

1. Figure 101 clearly shows Erdnase using Bee cards. Did Erdnase actually use Bee cards or did M.D. Smith just grab a deck out of his junk drawer to use as a model when he was filling in the sketches at home? Hopefully someone asked Smith this question.

2. Did anyone ever seek out one of Erdnase's
students? On page 73 Erdnase says, "The highest tribute that can be paid to the method is the fact that certain players whom we have instructed,
can execute the stock..." Since the Erdnase method
of stock shuffling was an innovation, anyone who
knew the method prior to 1902 must have been one
of Erdnase's students.

As I explained in my article in the January 2000 issue of Genii, an examination of the book's illustrations show that they are traced photographs. Both bridge and poker sized cards were used. Smith did not "draw them from life" because to do so would have involved a minimum of two weeks work, something Smith did not remember. He traced photos at his studio, the job taking little more than a day, if that.

Smith was not interviewed by experts in the art of vetting witnesses. Martin Gardner proclaimed him the "Dean of Magic Illustrators," and Smith, who probably recognized what he had done, kept quiet so he wouldn't disappoint. His other published work is quite different in style and quality.

Further, he was "discovered" by Martin Gardner some 45+ years after he did the job. Smith thought he had only done 30 or so illustrations and had never seen the final result. He was surprised when he saw the 101 pictures. His recollection of what he had done fitted with his earlier "memory," but not with what he had actually done: that is, trace photos.

The "we" is clearly an editorial device. Erdnase also talks in a condesending manner about those he's taught other moves to....that they can make the stocking shuffle work, but that they don't understand how.

His "pupils," if he actually had any, were card cheats who were taught something that gave them a big edge. They would have kept it very quiet.
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