ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby John Bodine » 03/19/03 01:05 PM

Regarding the illustrations, isn't it probably that Erdnase had already penned the majority if not entire contents of hte book and was seeking illustrations to clarify or strengthen certain points? If you agree that this was the case, isn't it possible that the description of a sleight or move could have been given to Smith for reference while he was illustrating. Alternatively, Smith could have done quick sketches and later inked them in. Upon receiving the final illustrations Erdnase accepted the work but then while laying up the art noticed that the illustrations did not exactly match the accompanying text. It wouldn't have been too difficult for him to trace an existing image with only minor adjustments.

This might explain why some of the images don't seem quite right while others are very perfect. It may also provide some clue as to why some images contain copyright statements while others do not.

Fantastic thread - thank you all.

John Bodine

P.S. Richard, I know I still owe you some pictures of potential residences for Edwin Sumner. I'll put the activity a bit higher on my list.
John Bodine
 
Posts: 101
Joined: 07/23/08 03:50 PM

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/20/03 08:00 AM

Originally posted by John Bodine:
P.S. Richard, I know I still owe you some pictures of potential residences for Edwin Sumner. I'll put the activity a bit higher on my list.
Thanks, John. Looking forward to it. With luck this may allow us to get a better grip on E. S. Andrews' height, should the one known photograph show him in front of a residence that still exists. It's a longshot, but you never know. (Clearly he is "short" relative to the rest of his family in the photo, including his two adolescent children...)

Is anyone interested in a post about Martin Gardner's pursuit of "James Andrews"? His correspondence with the Library of Congress on this topic in early 1947 has at least one surprising "revelation"...
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Frank Yuen » 03/20/03 09:54 AM

Yes, please post it. This thread has probably been the one that I've enjoyed the most.

Frank Yuen
Frank Yuen
 
Posts: 544
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Winfield, IL

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/20/03 11:53 AM

I'll try to dig out Gardner's correspondence later today and post this, rather than work from memory and get things wrong...
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/25/03 02:11 PM

On December 10, 1946, Martin Gardner in Chicago wrote letters to Marshall D. Smith, Richard W. Hood (son of and successor to Edwin C. Hood, founder of H. C. Evans & Company, the Chicago based gambling supplier since 1892) and the Canadian Copyright office, asking all of them specific questions about S. W. Erdnase and his book. All responded promptly and only the Canadian copyright office yielded no information, other than the fact that they could find no record of copyright there. Smith responded just two days later and in his reply letter he wrote: I did the drawings for Mr. Erdnase whose name I had forgotten. When Gardner met Smith the very next day, Gardners notes tell us: Before I [Gardner] mentioned Andrews as the name, he said that Erdnase didnt sound right, and he recalled it as a name with a W. When I said Andrews his face lighted up and he was sure that was it. Does not recall first name or initials. I think it worth noting that Smith did not independently recall the name as Andrews, though he strongly supported Gardners suggestion. Gardners interview with Smith and his subsequent correspondence yielded quite a bit of specific information regarding the books author, including a detailed physical description and the fact that he was somehow related to Louis Dalrymple, the famous political cartoonist of the period. He also recalled that he made pencil sketches of the authors hands, then took them home to ink them in after the author had OKd each sketch. He thought the job took him about two weeks, though he had specific memories of only their initial meeting
Just a month later, on July 16th, 1947, Gardner wrote the Librarian of Congress for the first time about the book. In that letter he says: The authors real name was James Andrews. He obtained the pseudonym of S. W. Erdnase by spelling his real name backwards, including the last two letters of James.
In his reply some two months later (March 17th, 1947), Robert C. Gooch, Chief of the General Reference and Bibliography Division, after supplying the bibliographic information Gardner requested, writes: We are very interested to note that you have discovered evidence that this authors real name is James Andrews. Our Processing Department would be pleased to learn in what source this information may be found, in order to complete its records. In his detailed response of March 20, 1947, Gardner writes: Regarding the authors real name: In my research on Erdnase I located M. D. Smith, the artist who did the illustrations. He lives in Chicago, a hale and hearty man of about 80 [in fact, he 74 at the time -rh]. He remembered Erdnases real name (I.e. James Andrews). With this as a lead, I found a magazine article by James Andrews in Harpers Weekly, June 26, 1909, titled Confessions of a Fakir, which contains intrinsic material that establishes it beyond doubt as by the same author as the book on gambling methods. This article was reprinted in Conjurers Magazine in August 1949. Just two months later, in October 1949, Gardner found articles from 1905 detailing the lurid life and death of card cheat Milton Franklin Andrews, who had been described to him as Erdnase (without revealing his name) by Philadelphia magician, E. L. Pratt. Within a short period of time, Gardner abandoned the James Andrews theory in favor of Milton Franklin Andrews.
What surprised me in Gardners correspondence was the claim that he was led to the James Andrews theory by Marshall Smiths recollection. He met Smith in December 1946 and makes this claim in March 1947, though mentions the James Andrews name just one month after meeting Smith. He made no mention of James Andrews in his article THE MYSTERY OF ERDNASE published in the SAM Convention program in May 1947. James Andrews is mentioned in Vincent Starretts weekly Books Alive column in the Chicago Sunday Tribune of June 15th, 1947: For nearly half a century the identity of Erdnase remained a mystery; then the ingenious Mr. Gardner read the name backwards and produced E. S. Andrews. But who was E. S. Andrews? A later discovery by Mr. Gardner revealed him as James Andrews; the initials obtained by spelling the name in reverse were the last two letters of James. This final revelation came too late for inclusion in Mr. Gardners article, The Mystery of Erdnase, and were revealed to me in a letter supplementing the printed revelation The same article mentions Smith, but without crediting him with this revelation. It does credit Smith with the Louis Dalrymple clue, noting that Dalrymple was then [1902] a cartoonist and comic artist for the Chicago Tribune. (Incidentally, Smith acknowledged receiving a copy of the Tribune article from Gardner in his letter of June 24, 1947).
Alas, Gardners own recollection of this episode is now pretty dim (he is more than a decade older than Smith was back then and it was 55 years ago!). He now thinks it likely that he first found the article in Harpers Weekly, then asked Smith about the name James Andrews and got some kind of encouragement, though this is, of course, not what Gardner wrote to the Library of Congress at the time. And why did he omit the reference to James in the SAM Program? Surely not, as the Tribune article states, because he obtained it too late for inclusion. He had the information in January, the convention wasnt till May
Some of you may recall that I was once enthusiastic about a James Andrews candidate myself, specifically, James DeWitt Andrews, a Chicago attorney and writer of legal treatises. I remain interested in James DeWitt Andrews, but in trying to link him to Dalrymple, I stumbled across Edwin Sumner Andrews, whom I consider a more likely fit on circumstantial grounds. The most intriguing response to the MAGIC article (December 1999) I wrote on this topic (which included considerable information on James DeWitt Andrews) came from reader Michael DeMarco. He found the circumstantial case I made for JDA sufficiently compelling to search the first edition title page (which seems to be the Rosetta stone of this mystery) for the other missing letters of his name. Sure enough, there they are: the first letters of each line of the inverted pyramid subtitle are JAM DEWTT, missing only the letter I (no, they are not in that order!).
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/25/03 04:32 PM

If, as Dick suggests, the first edition title page is the Rosetta stone of this mystery, can someone post a link to a scan of this page?
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2076
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/25/03 10:47 PM

Michael Canick includes an image of the first edition titlepage in his write up of his facsimile edition:
http://www.canick.com/erdnase.html
The second line of the title:

"Ruse And Subterfuge"

has been the source of much speculation. Steve Burton, Thomas Sawyer and more recently David Alexander have all considered it significant that reversing the first two words yields "And Ruse" = Andrews. Sawyer (and possibly Burton) pointed out that the first and last letters of "Subterfuge", when also reversed yield "E. S."
David Alexander's reading of the titlepage "clues" is given in his excellent cover story feature in the January 2000 GENII.
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Nathan » 03/25/03 11:48 PM

Since I have access to a University library, I couldn't resist the temptation to look up the article by James Andrews in Harper's Weekly.

There are some interesting circumstantial similarities between Erdnase and James Andrews. They both seem to be interested in making money and they both have little sympathy for the victims. Also they both wrote literature exposing the detailed workings of their artifice. There is also a brief mention of card sharps in James Andrew's article which is either an indication of his lack of knowledge of card cheating or as a tease to all those card workers who might have tried to find Erdnase.

Somehow I doubt the card expert ended up as a fakir on Coney Island, but one thing is sort of intriguing. James Andrews claims to have made between $150 and $200 per night telling fortunes. I'm not sure what Erdnase would have been able to make in a card game in one night in those days, but I wonder if it might have been comparable money. It certainly involves significantly less risk. Might Erdnase have lost his nerve and turned towards a safer and equally profitable profession?
Nathan
 
Posts: 29
Joined: 10/14/08 08:23 PM

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/26/03 07:55 AM

Nathan, thanks for looking this up! Is the original a single oversized page? I assume Harper's does not include an "about the authors" page! In the CONJURORS' MAGAZINE reprint (August 1949), it is a single page, spread sideways across two of the magazine's 8.5x11 pages. Gardner's one page introductory piece accompanying the reprint points out that the James Andrews in the article described himself as a "blonde, blue-eyed, thin nervous American" which agreed with Marshall Smith's description. James Andrews also says "the spur of poverty drove me into prophecy" which agrees with Erdnase's "need for money" motivation for publishing THE EXPERT. Gardner says the writing style of the James Andrews story is "somewhat different" from THE EXPERT, but points out that this could be explained by the different audience being addressed or the possibility that THE EXPERT was ghostwritten. He does note the mention of the cardsharp and that both use the terms "patter" and "chicanery", and the device of a question mark in parenthesis. Gardner found a James J. Andrews listed as a clairvoyant in the 1909 New York directory, but no way of determining whether he was the author of the Harper's story. I would add that we don't know if the Harper's story was written as fact or fiction, or whether its author's true name is James Andrews. I personally don't think the story sounds anything like Erdnase.
Gardner also says in his introductory remarks that, while Marshall Smith "confirmed" that Erdnase's real name was Andrews, "Smith does not, however, recall Andrews' real name." This, of course, directly contradicts what he wrote to the Library of Congress just four months after meeting Smith.
If Smith did indeed independently recall the author's first name as "James", I would consider that extremely significant. Gardner would then have recognized that it explained the "E. S." and begun his search, leading to the Harper's article as claimed in the letter to the Library of Congress. But other than that letter, there is no suggestion that Smith did so. If Gardner was simply led to look for a James because the name ends in "ES", then one should also look for candidates named Charles, Wes, Les, Soames, Ames, etc. The same logic could extend the search to middle names ending in those letters, leading to an impossibly large field of candidates.
Based on the US population of the time, the artist's description, the frequency of the last name Andrews, the popularity of male first names beginning with E (these statistics can be found online associated with the 1900 census) and an assumption regarding the frequency of middle names beginning with S, I at one time estimated there were no more than 24 white adult males named E. S. Andrews at the time of the book's publication. I have found a half dozen of them by searching census records. That one of them is the age and size (approximate) remembered by the author, possibly related to Dalrymple (which is how I found him), moved to Chicago late in 1901, left in February 1903 and was living just 9 blocks south of Atlas Novelty Co. which began distributing first edition copies at half price in February 1903 strikes me as rather remarkable if it is just a coincidence (as it may, indeed, be).
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Richard Hatch » 03/26/03 10:12 PM

If anyone wants a piece of original artwork by Erdnase's "relative" Louis Dalrymple, there is currently a drawing of his from Puck on ebay at the following link:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 70138&rd=1
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Guest » 03/27/03 03:18 PM

For you hunters the 1880 US Census, which was, I believe, the first showing names, jobs, family members, etc. is on line. The British census from around the same time is also on line.
Steve V
Guest
 

Postby Nathan » 03/27/03 11:02 PM

Richard,
To answer your question, the Harper's Weekly that I looked at was an enormous poster size. It is being stored in the library's special collections so I had to have a librarian go back and pull it up for me. She was quite out breath when she lugged the bound 1909 volume back with her! I felt a little guilty when she then showed me how I could just pull it up online.
Nathan
 
Posts: 29
Joined: 10/14/08 08:23 PM

Postby Todd Karr » 03/29/03 06:39 PM

Richard Hatch was kind enough to send a copy of the Harper's article to me and so far I see no significant similarity of style or usage that would indicate that Erdnase wrote it. As Gardner noted, though, this could simply mean that his article was heavily edited by the Harper's editors.
Todd Karr
 
Posts: 280
Joined: 03/13/08 09:03 AM

Postby Richard Hatch » 04/10/03 11:25 PM

I was searching the web for uses of the expression "mealymouthed pretensions" and only came up with two matches, both Erdnase's preface. But one of them is on a site that describes itself as "a collection of primary texts of american anti-authoritarianism" and includes links to quotes by Mencken, Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, Abby Hoffman, Tecumsah, etc. I was surprised to see Erdnase in their company!
Here's the site:
http://www.crispinsartwell.com/americanliberties.htm
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/10/03 11:49 PM

That is a fascinating view of Erdnase's words. Obviously he was not a fan of those behind the reform movement of the late 19th & early 20th centuries (whose design, for those of you out there not familiar with the movement, was to rid cities of the evils of gambling and the other vices normally associated with it) but to call that single sentence a "primary text" of anti-authoritarianism is quite a stretch indeed.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5752
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Guest » 04/13/03 06:22 PM

Wow, to be mentioned in the same sentence as any of the abovementioned social activists would be quite an honor for most people. Abby Hoffman was one of my heros during the early 70's, and tecumseh makes one heck of an engine (just kidding about that last one)
Guest
 

Postby Nathan » 04/22/03 12:01 AM

At the risk of polluting this thread with another "crazy theory", I want to suggest the following research tactic that to my knowledge has not yet been attempted. Regardless of how insane you think my idea is, the saving grace is the fact that it is completely testable by someone who has access to the appropriate resources (which I unfortunately do not).

Suppose for a moment that Erdnase's motive for disguising his identity was because he wanted to pull off the greatest trick in magic/gambling publishing history, but he wanted to eventually be discovered. Perhaps this is why he revealed the illustrator's real name. Maybe there is another clue that leads to additional information. Another really cryptic thing in the book is the copyright "Entered at Stationer's Hall, London..." According to what I've read in "Annotated Erdnase", the book was never copyrighted there so it seems strange to cite this copyright since the book actually was copyrighted in the US.

Perhaps, and I know this is pretty crazy, Erdnase wrote some autobiographical material and copyrighted it in England but never published it with the hopes that it would be discovered after "The Expert at the Card Table" reached its present day mysterious status. Thus, the thing to search for in Stationer's Hall is a book that was copyrighted in 1902 but never actually published. The US copyright office apparently received a couple of copies of Expert (at least according to what I've read in Annotated Erdnase), so presumably the office in London would have received a preprint of whatever informational book Erdnase might have submitted. Clearly Erdnase would not copyright such autobiographical material under the name S.W. Erdnase because he wouldn't want someone to accidentally stumble on it without solving the copyright page puzzle (if such a puzzle exists).
Nathan
 
Posts: 29
Joined: 10/14/08 08:23 PM

Postby Temperance » 04/30/03 04:00 PM

Originally posted by R P Wilson:

That said, I would like to point out that almost no one I have seen has performed the shift correctly - as described in the book. Everyone (including Steve Freeman on the Vernon tapes) has made some sort of adjustment and almost everyone STARTS IN THE WRONG POSITION.
This is true, however as so much of the explanations in Erdnase have errors and a lot of the descriptions are somewhat ambiguous, who is to say that the method given for the S.W.E shift is actually correct?

Just a thought.

--Euan
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Leonard Hevia » 05/11/03 09:03 PM

This is a wonderful thread worthy of repeated study. I just received my copy of Expert at the Card Tablefrom Michael Canick and will compare the information from these postings with my facsimile copy.

I believe only a serious historian of this text can answer Lance's question. I'm currently wondering if Mike Caveney will republish Vernon's Revelations. Since Mr. Caveney is reviving out of print books from his catalog--and since this year is the 100th anniversary of this wonderful text-well-it's just a thought. :)
Leonard Hevia
 
Posts: 861
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Silver Spring, Md.

Postby Guest » 05/12/03 01:39 PM

Uh Oh, it looks like Erdnase is catching up with the five page three fly thread!
Guest
 

Postby Charlie Chang » 05/12/03 03:39 PM

I would like to correct Euan's above post. There are VERY FEW errors or ommissions in the Erdnase text. It is my experience that everything is both well described and VERY WELL thought out.

While the descriptions are "economic" they include everything needed by the serious student to learn the moves.

As Dai Vernon wrote in his introduction to Revelations:

"Erdnase is at once logical and practical. Surely no one, before or since, has written so lucidly on the subject of card table artifice."

As someone once observed, students of Erdnase usually blame their difficulties on the text, rather than their inability to understand it.
Charlie Chang
 
Posts: 163
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Temperance » 05/12/03 04:04 PM

Very few? Hrmm.

The slip cut is wrong, completely. Interestingly the same wrong technique is described in more card manipulations. Actually it's just the image in more card manipulations but it's still wrong.

There are several errors in the bottom deal description in that he changes which finger are meant to be doing the push out several times.

The over hand shuffle cull descriptions are ambiguous as to which cards are meant to be jogged.

The open shift is less than clear.

The first method for top palming is clearly wrong. Does anyone do this move with the left pinky in the position described in the text? ( ie against the middle of the inner short edge ).

That's just off the top of my head.

However I still think it's a brilliant book and well worth studying. In fact next to Roy Walton, Alex Elmsley and Bob Hummers works it's my favourite book.

--Euan
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Charlie Chang » 05/12/03 05:17 PM

Euan,
I'm trying not to slam you here but what follows may read that way. I figure it's best to just say it and be done. Just my opinion on a subject close to my heart.

To begin with, you are correct about the bottom deal - partly. There is ONE error which mentions the second finger pushing out the bottom card instead of the third. Vernon mentions another paragraph earlier in the description which states that the second finger and thumb "do the work". Vernon believed that Erdnase meant to say "third finger and thumb", assuming he referred to the dealing action. The sentence immediately before this one, however, talks about the little finger and it's part in HOLDING the deck. I believe that he goes on to say that the second finger and thumb do all the work with regards to supporting the pack, NOT the dealing action. This is moot but either way it does not detract from the excellent description of the sleight. Hardly "several" errors as you suggest.

The Open Shift is VERY clear. You simply haven't read it clearly. To quote Vernon again:"This is an exceedingly difficult pass but its acquisition can be greatly facilitated by following Erdnase's EXACT instructions". I learned it from the book. It wasn't easy but the work is all there.

I have no problem with the overhand shuffle culls. They're complex but correct. Better methods have since appeared but I learned all of these for completeness. Never, ever, used them.

Erdnase's Top Palm (version one) is a perfect sleight. It is rarely used and has been varied to death but the original is still extremely well described and thought out. Mechanically, it's brilliant. Just because people don't do it, doesn't make it any less perfect.

The Slip Cut is completely CORRECT. The illustration exaggerates the middle part of the sleight but, in doing so, correctly conveys the action. Carrying the lower half forward under the top card is a DIFFERENT tabled slip cut. I have used the Erdnase cut for many years with no difficulty. In Revelations, Vernon mentions a complete blind that is worth looking up (also correctly described). He also discusses the now standard version of the tabled slip-cut (where the lower packet is carried forward).

Euan, you need to understand that, when I first started visiting Roy Walton in his shop (almost twenty years ago) , I took his advice and bought a paperback of Erdnase, had it trimmed to the edge of the text and have carried it in my pocket ever since. I have lived with this book, studied it, loved it, hated it and devoured it.

I still dont understand it like Roy Walton does. Or Gordon Bruce. Or Bruce Cervon. Or Howie Schwarzman (who I could spend hours discussing the book with). But I keep reading and keep getting rewarded.

Thinking the text is wrong simply because it is either alien (like the top palm) or difficult (like the open shift) suggests you need to reconsider whether it is really a favourite book after all.
Charlie Chang
 
Posts: 163
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Temperance » 05/12/03 05:41 PM

Hi Paul

Your post didn't come across as slamming me, just so's you know.

You really think the slip cut is correct? In the text you are told to hold the deck off the table by the ends. Slip the top card to the left as your right hand takes the top half to the right then drop the left portion on the table followed by the right. At least in the Dover reprint, perhaps it is different in the original text?

I've never seen anyone handle a slip cut this way.

Usually you have the deck on the table the bottom half is moved forward onto which the top card is slipped using the right index finger (if you're right handed). then the right hand comes back and picks up the remaining half and slaps it on top of the other half.

Or am I missing something?

I'm not trying to attack you or Erdnase here I'm just trying to point out that as there are some errors in the text. There is a distinct possibility that the description of the SWE shift is perhaps incorrect.

--Euan

PS Vernon also said that you shouldn't treat sleight descriptions as biblical but that you should try to understand what is going on and then adapt the technique so that it fits how you handle cards (all hand sizes are different etc). I'm paraphrasing but you get the idea.
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Charlie Chang » 05/12/03 07:15 PM

Euan,
the slip cut is a different action - follow the text and perform it with a distinct slapping action. straight to the table, no forward action.
Charlie Chang
 
Posts: 163
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Matthew Field » 05/13/03 04:37 AM

Originally posted by R P Wilson:
when I first started visiting Roy Walton in his shop (almost twenty years ago) , I took his advice and bought a paperback of Erdnase, had it trimmed to the edge of the text and have carried it in my pocket ever since. I have lived with this book, studied it, loved it, hated it and devoured it.
This thread is wonderful, and the small quote above from Paul Wilson is well worthy of any serious student's consideration.

Along with Michael Canick's new facsimile of Erdnase, and among other versions of the book in my library, I have two copies of the inexpensive Dover paperback edition. One looks nice and neat. The other looks like it's been in the washing machine.

That's the copy I fold in half and stuff in the back pocket of my jeans when I'm going somewhere like a beach outing. While I find it difficult to actually work with a deck of cards on the beach, reading Erdnase is something I very much enjoy.

So reading that Roy Walton had suggested something like this to Paul, who took it to heart, resonated within me, and I post this to stir some students out there to do likewise.

Thanks, Paul.

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2455
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby CHRIS » 05/13/03 08:06 AM

Originally posted by Matthew Field:
That's the copy I fold in half and stuff in the back pocket of my jeans when I'm going somewhere like a beach outing.
Another idea is to get the electronic version and print it out in small fonts. With a little tool like ClickBook one can even print out a small booklet (4 or 8 pages per sheet). And when it's torn up, just print out another one. Or print chapters separately. Then it might fit in your breast pocket.

I don't need to tell you where to get the electronic version ;)

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Dave Egleston » 05/13/03 03:19 PM

Except you can't read it on the beach!!!!!!! Too much glare!!

Dave
Dave Egleston
 
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Postby CHRIS » 05/13/03 03:46 PM

Originally posted by Dave Egleston:
Except you can't read it on the beach!!!!!!! Too much glare!!
Dave, I wrote 'print out'. When you print the ebook there is no glare. ;)

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Temperance » 05/14/03 07:26 PM

Originally posted by R P Wilson:
Euan,
the slip cut is a different action - follow the text and perform it with a distinct slapping action. straight to the table, no forward action.
Yes it's bad technique though. You do that in a game and you're liable to get your kneecaps blown off.

Re the open shift. Can anyone actually do this? There doesn't seem to be any conceivable angle from which it can be viewed to make it even remotely deceptive.

--Euan
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Charlie Chang » 05/15/03 04:06 AM

I have no idea how to reply to this. I'm stunned.

Euan clearly thinks he knows more about it than the rest of us - including Erdnase.

Personally, I feel like I just tried to explain quantum mechanics to my dog.

For the record, I think the slip cut is excellent and the Open Shift is an excellent lesson in shift mechanics.
Charlie Chang
 
Posts: 163
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Temperance » 05/15/03 06:40 AM

Paul, the fact that I have an opinion outside of your own does not warrant your personal attacks. I would very much appreciate it if you did not refer to me as a 'dog' again. Thank you!

The open shift is impractical and unnatural in handling. There is no conceivable reason to hold the deck in the manner needed to execute it. Out of interest, how do you justify the unnatural grip when you perform this? Also where is the focus of viewing; perhaps from the right side using the back of the right hand as cover?

--Euan
Temperance
 
Posts: 195
Joined: 05/23/09 04:58 AM

Postby Guest » 05/15/03 09:53 AM

Euan, come on, man, Mr. Wilson didn't refer to you as a dog.

Teaching quantum physics to a dog would be a very frustrating experience. Mr. Wilson was simply using an analogy to voice his frustrations. Have a nice day! :)
Guest
 

Postby Earle Oakes » 06/09/03 03:36 PM

Regarding the illustrations of THE EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE.Because there are so many intricate finger positions and specific breaks in the deck,I believe M.D.Smith must have worked over photographs and not from life as I understand the term.While purely conjecture, Erdnase,in stating on the title page that the drawings were done "from life",I believe he could have been referring to photographs that were taken for Smith's use.

No matter, whether from life or photos the outstanding feature of Smith's drawings is that the hands and fingers express the action as well as the proper finger positions to accomplish the sleight described. Fig.5, riffle shuffling and Fig.10, squaring up the deck are just two handsome examples of Smith's accurate and expressive drawings. I don't mean style or technique.

The original drawings had to have been done at least 60% larger than the published work. All the cards have rounded corners and the lined card indications on the sides of the talons and deck are all there and accurately drawn which could only have been done at a much larger size than shown in the book.

To do 101 drawings (over photos) with the clean accurate detail that the Smith drawings have in less than 20 minutes per drawing would be difficult.I think working 8 hours a day for four days would be a reasonable estimate as to the time it would havetaken Smith to do that number of drawings.

Technique aside, Smith, did wonderful expressive drawings for Erdnase. To draw hands so that they show the grace of the fingers and the beauty of the sleight is always the challenge to the illustrator of magic. M.D.Smith did an admirable job, no matter the time it may have taken to do the work or whether he worked from life or photographs.

This has been one of the most interesting threads to make the Forum.

Earle
Earle Oakes
 
Posts: 87
Joined: 03/11/08 07:14 PM
Location: Philadelphia,PA USA

Postby Richard Hatch » 09/16/03 10:42 PM

I have recently been encouraged to post publicly some previously unpublished critiques of THE MAN WHO WAS ERDNASE (TMWWE). Let me begin by saying that I truly consider TMWWE to be a fantastic book which every student of Erdnase should own and study. This discussion assumes you have the book and can look up the references in it. It may make little sense if you do not have access to a copy. The good news is that it is still in print and available at a reasonable price from several dealers including the publisher.

TMWWE is basically a chronicle of the life of Milton Franklin Andrews (MFA, 1872-1905) and a history of Erdnase (the book and the author), arguing persuasively that MFA was Erdnase. This theory was first published by Martin Gardner, who developed information supplied to him by Edgar Pratt, a magician originally from Providence, Rhode Island, but living in Philadelphia when Gardner corresponded with him (at the suggestion of Walter Gibson) beginning in 1947. Gardner later met him several times. Gardners evidence (on this and other Erdnase theories) was further developed by Jeff Busby and then Bart Whaley. Thus the book is credited to Bart Whaley (who did most of the writing and much of the background research) with Jeff Busby and Martin Gardner. In addition to his research, Gardner contributed a foreword and Busby, who published the book in 1991, contributed not only research but several important chapters.

Let me begin with one of the very first artifacts presented in the book: a frontispiece photo opposite the title page of a handsome young man from the turn of the century. The photo is captioned Milton Franklin Andrews. When Martin Gardner received his first copy of the book, he was struck by the photo, which he had never seen. His initial response was Thats not Milton! as it was so unlike the photos of MFA with which he was familiar. Indeed, Thomas Sawyer in his critique ERDNASE: ANOTHER VIEW (possibly still available from Aladdin Books in Fullerton California) makes the same point. The morgue photo of MFA (p. 37) is clearly not the same man shown in the frontispiece photo (compare the shape of the noses: one is convex, one is concave, check the relative distances between the chin and lips, lips and eyes etc. Not the same man.). If the frontispiece photo is not MFA, who is it? One of the wonderful things about TMWWE is the extensive endnoting of source material. The first endnote in the book (p. 383) tells us that this photo, now in the collection of Howard Flint, is unique and still in the original photographers studio frame (Rose & Sands of Providence RI and NY) and that pencilled lightly on the back, likely in Edgar Pratts handwriting, it says Age 24 [corrected from 23], August 7, 1900. The photograph was purchased by Flint from Bob Little, who obtained it from Philadelphia magic dealer Mitchell (Mike) Kanter, who had obtained it, along with several other materials supposedly relating to MFA and Erdnase, from Pratt.

The first thing worth noting is that the photo is not unique. This was pointed out in T. A. Waters review of TMWWE in GENII, as he knew of the existence of at least one other copy. Flint had sold that copy to a well known magic personality and close friend of Waters, and Waters review implies that Busby/Whaley had knowledge of this. Bob Little did not know that he had sold Flint two photos stuck together, and it is likely that neither Kanter nor Pratt realized it as well. Since MFA was 27 on the date pencilled in on the photo, Whaley conjectures that it is likely a photo of MFA at age 24, given to Pratt when MFA was 27. Now Pratts correspondence and interviews with Gardner never claim that he knew MFA well, only that MFA was on friendly terms with Pratts childhood friends, the Taylor brothers and that what MFA showed them, the Taylor boys would share with Pratt (Pratts 4 letters to Gardner are reprinted in Darwin Ortizs wonderful ANNOTATED ERDNASE, also still in print and highly recommended to all interested in this topic). Why would Pratt even have a photo of MFA, whom he barely knew, and why would he keep it for nearly 50 years? Intrigued by this mystery, I went through the Providence city directories (available on microfilm at the Family History Library of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City) covering a period of about 30 years researching Pratt, the Taylor brothers and, relevant to the case at hand, the Rose & Sands photography studio. Philip Rose founded the studio in the 1870s, at which time it was simply The Rose Studio. For one year, and one year only --1900-- he partnered with an ex-employee named Sands who had moved to NY and together they operated under the name Rose & Sands. By 1901, the partnership had broken up and The Rose Studio was back in business (Sands eventually moved back to Providence and opened a competing studio under his own name). This allows us to date the photos frame with some certainty as from 1900, and it seems most reasonable that the photo itself also dates from that period, as indicated by the pencilled notation. So who is it?

As it turns out, Edgar Pratt had an older brother William Pratt who turned 24 (from 23!) on August 6, 1900. I cannot prove, but would be willing to bet that the frontispiece photo of TMWWE is a photo of William Pratt, taken to commerate his 24th birthday. Pratt told Gardner that his brother died a few years later, and it makes sense to me that he would both have and hold onto a photo of his deceased brother for many years, selling it to Kanter only when poverty forced him to do so (Gardner tells us that Pratt was living in empoverished circumstances when they met).

One of the things Pratt sold Kanter, apparently on the same occasion (along with two letters from Gardner) was the copy of the AMERICAN WEEKLY article, THE MALTED MILK MURDERER published on May 20, 1945. This is reproduced on page 264 of TMWWE. Even with a strong magnifying glass, the article (which is missing several pieces) is difficult to read, but I have since been able to purchase several copies online. Everything Pratt told Gardner about MFA that can be verified is in that article, as are several things he told Gardner about MFA that are incorrect. Pratt, at that time, would not tell Gardner who Erdnase was. Later, when Gardner found the MFA murder/suicide story by following up on Pratts leads, and told Pratt that MFAs story had seen print several times (Pratt claimed to be protecting his friends identity to avoid scandalizing the Andrews family), Pratt claimed he did not know anything had ever been published on this topic--this just a few years after THE MALTED MILK MURDERER article. It is my belief that Pratt, whatever his relationship with MFA (I am inclinded to believe he did not know him at all, from the many mistatements he made regarding him), knew about the Andrews=Erdnases real name theory (which was published in THE SPHINX by Leo Rullman in February 1929 as though it was already well known at that time) and conjectured that MFA was Erdnase based on the MALTED MILK MURDERER article. And perhaps he was correct in doing so: MFA remains the only candidate named Andrews who is known to have had some of the skills required of the books author (knowledge of card cheating methods and card tricks). The fact that he died in 1905 conveniently explains why the author who clearly took pride in his work never came forward to identify himself, once the book became a commercial success.

Gardner, even after cracking the MFA theory, remained skeptical because of Pratts strange behavior. But he followed up Pratts lead that James Harto had collaborated with the author and found independent evidence of this, which he found compelling. I have done considerable research on Harto, as well as on Hugh Johnston and Del Aldephia, who, along with Albertie Minkley, MFAs sister-in-law, are cited in TMWWE in support of the MFA theory. Should there be sufficient interest, I would be happy to post some of my findings on this board as time permits.
User avatar
Richard Hatch
 
Posts: 1584
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Logan, Utah

Postby Dave Egleston » 09/16/03 11:22 PM

Thanks Mr Hatch,

This is the stuff that fascinates - I don't believe there will ever be a time when this isn't interesting.

I'm ready for you to put out a book - I'll be one of the first to buy it

Dave
Dave Egleston
 
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Postby Bob Coyne » 09/17/03 06:20 AM

Yes, thanks to Richard Hatch!! This is fascinating information and research. I'd always wondered about the veracity of Pratt's claims that he knew Erdnase and that Erdnase = MFA. If Pratt's statements are suspect (as RH reserach indicates), then the whole MFA theory becomes less credible. I'd love to hear about the new research on Harto (the hypothesized writer of the magic section).
Bob Coyne
 
Posts: 242
Joined: 01/26/08 01:00 PM
Location: Montclair, NJ

Postby Chris Gillett » 09/17/03 04:18 PM

It is especially nice of Dick to say that "I truly consider TMWWE to be a fantastic book which every student of Erdnase should own and study" considering the things that Busby has been saying about Dick in his occasional e-mail screed. It demonstrates what a gentleman Dick is. BTW, I like TMWWE too.


This post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Genii Magazine or Richard Hatch.
Chris Gillett
 
Posts: 22
Joined: 01/24/08 01:00 PM
Location: USA

Postby Guest » 09/18/03 04:28 PM

Hatch strikes again......thanks.
Guest
 

Postby Brad Henderson » 09/18/03 06:11 PM

Wow, amazing stuff. Thanks for the post.

Brad "speaks without moving his lips" Henderson
Brad Henderson
 
Posts: 2394
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: austin, tx

PreviousNext

Return to General