ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Bill Mullins » 06/29/04 07:48 AM

Burton Sperber's privately published periodical, A Real Miracle, reprints "The Story of Erdnase" by Wilford Hutchison and mentions "S. W. Erdnase, Another View" by someone named Sawyer. Who is Sawyer? Is either the original of the Hutchison book or the Sawyer book readily available? Is there any real new info in the Sawyer book?

I am not wholly persuaded that M.F. Andrews was Erdnase. But (at least according to Whaley/Busby/Gardner) some of his relatives (who were laypeople in magic/gambling) and others (some of whom recognized the significance of "Expert") believed he had published a book. If that book wasn't "Expert", what was it? Since "The Man Who Was Erdnase" lays out the case that Erdnase was Andrews, it doesn't really pursue this line of inquiry -- has anyone else?
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Postby Todd Karr » 06/29/04 09:48 AM

Hi, everyone. I've been waiting for court documents from the man I'm checking out. The wheels of research turn slowly sometimes.
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Postby Richard Lane » 06/29/04 04:30 PM

Bill:

S.W. Erdnase: Another View, copyright 1991 by Thomas A. Sawyer.

Self-published, 67 pages, card covers, plastic spine. Addresses the conclusions of The Man Who Was Erdnase and the Andrews data from The Annotated Erdnase. I've seen it priced between $25 and $75. Aladdin Books used to stock it. They still have his other works.

From the introduction.
"If the present book does nothing more than encourage such further discussion on this matter, then it will have served a useful purpose"

More an open letter than a monograph, Mr. Sawyer details any inconsistencies or syllogisms he divines from those texts. He doesn't proffer counter arguments, but sensibly cautions against assumptions and leaps of faith.

The only new material is some wider context for the publishing efforts of the Frederick J. Drake company and bibliographic aid to dating early editions.

To borrow a phrase, food for thought and ground for further research, but it noticeably predates the readily available work of Richard Hatch, (Magic December 1999) David Alexander, (Genii January 2000) and the contributions to this forum.

Considering the price to content ratio, I suggest only the truly hardcore track it down.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 06/30/04 11:15 AM

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
Burton Sperber's privately published periodical, A Real Miracle, reprints "The Story of Erdnase" by Wilford Hutchison and mentions "S. W. Erdnase, Another View" by someone named Sawyer. Who is Sawyer? Is either the original of the Hutchison book or the Sawyer book readily available? Is there any real new info in the Sawyer book?

I am not wholly persuaded that M.F. Andrews was Erdnase. But (at least according to Whaley/Busby/Gardner) some of his relatives (who were laypeople in magic/gambling) and others (some of whom recognized the significance of "Expert") believed he had published a book. If that book wasn't "Expert", what was it? Since "The Man Who Was Erdnase" lays out the case that Erdnase was Andrews, it doesn't really pursue this line of inquiry -- has anyone else?
The Sperber reprint was done because the originals are so scarce. I believe there were only 12 copies of the original (I dont have my copy of the Sperber reprint handy, but it gives the bibliographic details and lists the whereabouts of known copies). The information in it is merely a summary of Martin Gardners Milton Franklin Andrews (MFA) theory, as detailed in TRUE magazine in January 1958. The Sawyer monograph questions that theory, based on the evidence presented in Busbys THE MAN WHO WAS ERDNASE (TMWWE) and Ortizs ANNOTATED ERDNASE. Sawyer, a lawyer and conjuring bibliophile, concludes that the MFA theory, though plausible, remains unproved. He does not examine competing theories, asat the timethere were none. Sawyer was first to point out that the frontispiece photo of MFA in TMWWE is not the same person shown in the morgue photo of MFA and that the photos of MFA on pages 10, 20, 21, 119, 129, and 144 of TMWWE are all versions (some touched up to show him clean shaven and with a goatee) of the same photo, not independent images. He also questions the testimony of Albertie Minkley, MFAs sister-in-law. TMWWE makes much of her recollections, in Chapter 15, A Case of Identity" (an imaginary cross examination of the principle players in the identity issue), where Whaley has her say: When that nice Mr. Jay Marshall showed me his copy of THE EXPERT I recognized it right away! Just like the ones in the big pile of copies of dear Miltons own brand new book that he kept in his room back in ought three [1903]. Keep in mind, this is an invented testimony, not an actual statement made by Mrs. Minkley. If accurate, it would constitute compelling evidence of MFAs authorship of the book. The actual facts are somewhat different:

In early May 1956 Jay Marshall, after appearing on the annual Boston Magicale show, visited his parents in Chicopee, Massachusetts and took that opportunity to go to nearby Holyoke to see what he could dig up about MFA, who lived there with his in-laws for several years at the turn of the century. His visited the office of the HOLYOKE TRANSCRIPT-TELEGRAM and got the editors son interested in the story. A small notice appeared in the paper on May 10, 1956, Local Magician On Ed Sullivans TV Hour Sunday, and the article mentioned that Jay was trying to contact the family of MFA, a reputed card shark who may have written a book, a belief the truth of which Marshall is attempting to ascertain. As a result of the newspaper story, two family members got in touch. One, a niece of MFA, provided some information about what happened to his wife and daughter, but no information about his authorship. The other was Mrs. Oscar W. Minkley (Albertie Walsh), sister of MFAs wife. Donald Dwight, the editors son, wrote Jay on May 12, 1956, having spoken with Albertie. In addition to relating some family information, he says that Mrs. Minkley knew nothing about the book, but did say he was a college graduate (which turns out to be untrue) and did write books or pamphlets and gave magic exhibitions in the area. Before going to the next stage, keep in mind that Mrs. Minkley, age 71 in 1956, was attempting to recall events from more than 50 years earlier, prompted by a newspaper article that specifically solicited information linking MFA to a book popular among magicians and gamblers. Immediately after appearing on the Ed Sullivan show on May 13th, Jay Marshall called her, but made no notes of his initial conversation. However, after returning to Chicago, he did call Martin Gardner, whose typewritten notes (misdated May 11, 1956) indicate Mrs. Minkleys memory had improved somewhat since speaking with the editors son, as she apparently confirmed that Andrews wrote the book and said that he also wrote sev. Pamphlets, privately printed, sold to gamblers for large sums. Jay returned to the east coast to perform on Gary Moores television show (his recollection of this in a letter written in December 1956 was that this was about a month later, but the Holyoke newspaper article indicates he was to appear on Moore's show on Monday, May 21st. Of course, it could have been postponed or a later appearance) and took that opportunity to travel to Holyoke to interview Mrs. Minkley. He did take notes of that conversation, and called Gardner afterwards. Gardners typewritten notes (misdated March 20, 1956) say that the mss. he sold were probably typewritten by him, not printed. She looked at book [a copy of Erdnase Jay brought with him], recalled pictures, but remembered book as being thicker than it was. Recalled that he had many copies of it on hand. She repeated that she thought he had been to college. Jay transcribed his notes of the interview in a letter to Gardner dated December 12, 1956. Unfortunately, the surviving transcription in Gardners collection may be missing a second page or second letter (the one page letter says continued at the bottom). Jay Marshall probably has his original notes, which would be interesting to see, as the surviving transcription makes no mention of the book or the manuscripts. It does say She insists he was a college grad which we know now to be inaccurate. That is the extent of the documentation I have seen of Mrs. Minkleys testimony on this subject (she does report anecdotes about his card tricks and other family information, all given in TMWWE). There are a couple of very curious features of her reaction to the copy of the book Jay showed her: She apparently recognized the illustrations, but misremembered his book as being thicker. If Jay showed her a first edition copy (as Gardner reports in an essay in THE ANNOTATED ERDNASE), this memory could be explained by the passage of time, we tend to misremember things we saw as a child as larger than they were. But in a 1990 phone interview with Bart Whaley (see footnote 15 to page 303 of TMWWE), Jay recalled that hed shown her the Fleming edition, surely the very thickest of all editions (Perhaps in light of this, TMWWE interprets Gardners notes cited aboveas that she thought the edition Jay had was thicker than the books MFA had. That was not Gardners understanding, as shown by his essay, and his assumption that Jay had shown her a first edition. The notes are open to either interpretation). Since she claimed to recognize the illustrations, she must have looked at an open copy, indicating more than passing acquaintance with the book. Does it strike anyone else as strange that she wouldnt have looked at the title page and asked her brother-in-law who Erdnase was? The name "ERDNASE" is clearly printed on the spine of the first edition as well. The authors strange name, especially if MFA claimed to her to have written the book (she never says he did), would surely have left an impression, I would think As Sawyer points out, MFA may have had stacks of books, but were they THE EXPERT? Were they books he wrote? Perhaps she saw a copy of MODERN MAGIC. To a laymansome fifty years laterhands manipulating cards might strike a memory chord, even if drawn in very different styles (Curiously, Marshall D. Smith, the named illustrator of the book, did NOT recognize the illustrations when Gardner first showed him a copy of the book! Some take this as evidence that he did not do them)

Heres how I see the Minkley testimony: She learns of Jay Marshalls interest in the Holyoke newspaper and contacts the paper. The first person who speaks to her about it reports that she knows nothing about the book, though she does confirm MFAs interest in magic, and that he wrote some manuscripts. She receives a long distance call (quite an exciting event for many in the 1950s!) from Jay Marshall, immediately after hed performed on ED SULLIVANS popular Sunday night television show, which shed likely watched, having read about it in the paper. That must have been quite exciting for her too, and she now confirms that her brother-in-law, MFA, wrote the book. When celebrity Jay Marshall takes a special trip from New York to Holyoke to interview her after appearing on the Gary Moore show, she does not disappoint him, claiming to recognize the books illustrations, if not its physical features, and offering numerous anecdotes about MFA. How seriously should this testimony that MFA actually wrote THE EXPERT be taken?

I personally find the non-affirmation of MFAs older brother Alvin much more troubling for the MFA theory. He was only too happy to meet with Gardner in the fall of 1949. Gardners notes do not show Alvin had ever heard about the book, though he knew quite a lot about MFAs gambling activites. Their relationship was so close that it was Alvin who advised MFA to go to Australia to avoid the police charges of murdering several people (Alvin did not believe him guilty). Gardner conjectures that MFA did not tell his family about the book because it might embarrass them. This would seem to fly in the face of the authors clear pride of accomplishment and strong sense of worth as expressed in the book (not to mention its conflict with the recollection of Albertie Minkley, cited above. If she is to be believed, he had no qualms about letting his in-laws know about the book). Would a known card cheat and pool hustler and an accused multiple murderer be embarrassed to tell his family about a book hed written? Gardner sent Alvin Andrews a copy of THE EXPERT with a lengthy letter dated November 7, 1949. Gardner says he is anxious to know if you think the writing sounds like Milton. He received no reply. Now, if someone sent me a copy of a book written by my late brother, whom the world believes to have been a serial killer, but whose book shows had a redeeming side, Id have surely acknowledged its receipt and commented on its voice! We dont know why Alvin didnt bother to respond (he didnt die for several more years), but possibly he wasnt convinced that MFA had anything to do with the book, and regarded Gardner as a bit of a crank for thinking so Admittedly, that is pure conjecture on my part.

A final note: I sent Gardner a copy of Sawyers book (the second, revised and enlarged 87 page edition of 1997) and in his letter to me, dated 31 August 1999, he says: Thanks for your letter and the copy of the Sawyer book which I did not even know existed. He raises good points, and I admit that the identity of Erdnase is still an open question, lacking in any positive documentary evidence that MF Andrews was the man. I would estimate my belief at about 80 percent. Pratt is the major link. I dont believe he lied. He was very reluctant to give me information about Andrews because he said it would be hard on his brother My views on Pratts reliability and motives can be found earlier in this thread.
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Postby Richard Lane » 06/30/04 03:47 PM

Pratt & photographs: A curiosity.

The footnote to the nicest photograph of Andrews in the frontispiece to The Man Who Was Erdnase, mentions the rear notation, "Rose & Sands- Providence, R.I./ 234 5th Avenue." A bolster to the claim that Providence resident Ed Pratt received the photograph from Andrews.

Here's another fine example from the Rose & Sands studio.

http://www.gabrielleray.150m.com/Archiv ... quest.html

Interesting to note that the NY studio at 234 5th Avenue, was a block and a half from the Madison Square Club at 22 W. 26th. A short hop down to John Morrisey's place at 5 W. 24th and not much further to the House With The Bronze Door at 33 W. 23rd. At least 2 other gambling joints existed in less than a five block radius, but those were by far the spiffiest, bar a carriage ride down to 818 Broadway.

In 1910, outside 234 5th Avenue, heiress Dorothy Arnold vanished into thin air, creating another infamous unsolved mystery. That place was jinxed.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 06/30/04 04:40 PM

Originally posted by Richard Lane:
Pratt & photographs: A curiosity.

The footnote to the nicest photograph of Andrews in the frontispiece to The Man Who Was Erdnase, mentions the rear notation, "Rose & Sands- Providence, R.I./ 234 5th Avenue." A bolster to the claim that Providence resident Ed Pratt received the photograph from Andrews.
On page 4 of this thread will be found my earlier posting on Pratt and the frontispiece photograph. As noted there, the Rose & Sands studio was only in existance for one year, allowing us to date the photo (or at least, its frame!) with some certainty to 1900. Based on the notation (apparently in Pratt's handwriting) on the back of the photo ("Age 24 [Corrected from 23], August 7, 1900"), I am convinced this is a photo of Pratt's brother William, who turned 24 the day before (coincidence?). Andrews, whose 2 other known photos differ markedly from this one, would have been 27 on that day. In my opinion, there is no credible evidence that Pratt even knew Andrews, since everything he told Gardner that was accurate (and some things that were not) were in the "Malted Milk Murderer" article in Pratt's possession (unbeknowst to Gardner).
I've been able to purchase several photos from this studio on eBay (though none of Andrews!).
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/30/04 06:33 PM

Are you going to publish all these posts?
Stay tooned.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 09/09/04 08:08 PM

This is the best thread that I have read in a long time.

I do not feel that Erdnase was a card shark I feel that he was a magician. I have met card sharks in the past and they seem to know only a few moves...

These moves they do very well - but magicians seem to want to know more moves than a card shark. And card sharks really do not need to know a lot of moves just WHEN to do them in a game.

Expert at the card table is filled with moves. It is ground breaking and there has not been a book since that has done what Erdnase has done with his book.

Another thing in the magic section is that in the routines Erdnase has all sorts of bits of business in the routines. When he palms cards... Vernon points these little bits of business out in Revelations...

These bits of business can only be developed by performing the magic effects for people. In real time and under fire. This suggests to me that Erdnase was a performer.

As with his twelve card stock or fancy stock. It makes a great demonstration of fake card cheating but no real card cheat would ever cheat like that.

In the first few pages of the book he also talkes about how saloons used look outs. He could have been a look out for a saloon. And could have been around card players and card cheats for a long time.

Why would he write a book? I feel that it was promo and Erdnase was his stage name. Magicians use stage names but he was also re-inventing himself to become this other person that was the expert at the card table...

Micky McDoogle called himself "The Card Dective" and that was part of his promo. And so were the books he wrote.

My other feeling is that if Erdnase was a card cheat why would he need the money and write a book to get money?

If he was the card cheat of card cheats finding a game in 1902 would have not have been a hard thing to do. And I feel that if he needed the money he could have found someone to back him with a steak... If he was indeed the card cheat of card cheats that is.

He could also do three card monte. Three card monte is the fastest way to make a buck as far as con games go.

I learned Three card monte by reading Erdnase. And I also got tips later from Buddy Farnan and Dai Vernon himself.

Looking at the research that Whit Haydn has done on three card monte. And knowing about the game and watching people play it on the streets in Chicago. The MOB is an important part of the swindle.

Back in 1902 they used a mob and a script... Yet reading the three card monte routine in Erdnase there is no mention of using a Mob at all.

And that suggests to me that may have never done it on the streets. But the way that he writes about it it would make a great demonstration for an entertainer/card shark/magician to do to entertain during a show.

The book suggests to me that he was a magician and he was inventing a persona... As the expert at the card table. And the book could have been part of the promo.

Magicians write books and invent persona's to get publicity and to set themselves up as experts in a field. Scarne, McDoogle, Ortiz, Forte have all used books and video for this reason.

Selling the books and tapes makes a profit but not as much of a profit as a booking - being an expert in a field can get a lot more money because it sets them appart from the average magician that can do a few card tricks.

This is just a guess but in the first few pages of the book he talks about people that were employed by saloons to watch for card cheats. Could this book be part of him trying to set this up as a performing/consulting market?

And the add in the Sphinx for magician a second market and an attempt at quick cash?
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Postby Todd Karr » 09/10/04 11:04 AM

Quick update: I've obtained copies of the original court docket sheets for the case of con man E.S. Andrews and there's not much more there than the basic information I have already...not even a first or middle name! I may be posting some of my info on the Web soon, so stay tuned!
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 09/10/04 11:12 AM

Thank you Todd Karr. I have found your posts very interesting reading...

I look forward to reading more...
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Postby Richard Hatch » 09/30/04 11:41 PM

Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:

Back in 1902 they used a mob and a script... Yet reading the three card monte routine in Erdnase there is no mention of using a Mob at all.
Glenn, this is not quite accurate. On page 121 of the standard editions Erdnase writes about Monte: "In a confidence game, the corner of the Ace is turned by a "capper," who seizes an opportunity when the careless (?) dealer turns to expectorate, or on any pretext neglects his game for a moment." This seems a clear reference to the mob aspect of the "confidence" version of Monte. Erdnase does not advocate that one do this, merely states it as a matter of fact. Indeed, the entire Monte section seems out of place in the "card table artifice" section of the book, since he seems to be clearly presenting it as entertainment, commending it to the amateur as a source of much amusement. In that context, it seems more suited to the "Legerdemain" section though perhaps he is merely acknowledging its gambling origins by including it in the former section. In any case, I can find no instance of Erdnase recommending any sleight or move as something that has earned him money, but on several occasions he makes references to having been the victim of card cheats. Indeed, he admits in the introductory section that his interest in card manipulation stemmed from an awareness of having been cheated. As I read it, his passion for play was transformed into a passion for manipulation, i.e., his study of the latter cured him of his compulsion for the former. But that is strictly conjecture on my part. He makes fun of reformed gamblers in his famous preface ("The hypocritical cant of reformed (?) gamblers...") so it seems unlikely that he regarded himself as one. As you point out (and as does Darwin Ortiz in his ANNOTATED ERDNASE), if he were an unreformed gambler who needed money, he wouldn't write a book, he'd find a game... Tony Giorgio has pointed out numerous other instances in the text that argue against the author having been a practicing card cheat. This leads many to believe he was a magician, but his tone in the legerdemain section is that of an outsider: he's read books on magic and studied the performances of magicians and wonders why they use the pass instead of blind shuffles, for example. The fact that book came off the press in early March 1902 and was not advertised in THE SPHINX (which was published in the same city as the book) until November of that year (it received a brief mention in the September issue) would suggest that he was not aware of how to reach that particular market for his book initially (the ad was placed by the Vernelos, publishers of the SPHINX, not by the author). So my best guess is that he was a student of both branches of card manipulation, but just an armchair practictioner of both. Perhaps he suffered from the failure of nerve he refers to on page 23. I expect most of these questions will be answered when we find out (if we do!) the author's true identity...
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 10/08/04 10:11 AM

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:
[b]
Back in 1902 they used a mob and a script... Yet reading the three card monte routine in Erdnase there is no mention of using a Mob at all.
Glenn, this is not quite accurate. On page 121 of the standard editions Erdnase writes about Monte: "In a confidence game, the corner of the Ace is turned by a "capper," who seizes an opportunity when the careless (?) dealer turns to expectorate, or on any pretext neglects his game for a moment." This seems a clear reference to the mob aspect of the "confidence" version of Monte. [/b]
A capper, shill, or a stooge does not equil a monte mob or the way that a monte mob works to get the money. After seeing real monte mobs in action in Chicago and doing three card monte as a demo since before 1975...

The way Erdnase writes about the monte in his book is a great demo for a magician doing it but it is not the way that the monte is done on the streets today. Nor was it the way they did it back in 1900's...

Monte in the streets was done by a mob with each mob member was playing a part. Almost like a play and often the mob would hit one mark at a time.

I remember Ricky Jay doing this on TV and Steve Martin turned up the bent corner like a capper or the shill or a stooge....

I still look at Erdnase as a great book on magic not card cheating...

Thank you for posting Richard I have enjoyed reading the work you have done on the mystery of one of the great card books in magic.
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Postby Guest » 10/08/04 10:00 PM

Just wanted to clarify something that Glenn alluded to: Steve Forte is not a magician who invented a persona for his act; Steve would be the first to tell you that he's not an entertainer and has never tried to be. He has moves out the ying-yang but he's never considered himself a magician.

He is, however, the best cardshark I've ever met.
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Postby Guest » 10/09/04 12:22 AM

Glenn Bishop is wrong about Erdnase and monte. Watching mobs in Chicago in the 1970's is interesting but not contemporaneous with Erdnase's experience. I would suggest Glenn reads "40 Year a Gambler on the Mississippi" by George Devol before he makes assessments regarding Erdnase's accuracy.

Hope this helps.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 10/09/04 09:08 AM

Buster Brown... To me it is not about being right or wrong when talking about the mystery of Erdnase. Richard has done some fantastic work on this subject. He is like someong digging at some tomb or old world dig - digging up the past and the mystery. Each bit of theory or idea that is uncovered is another step toward getting to the mystery.

I suggest you get Whit Haydn's three card monte DVD from the School Of Scoundrels. This is the first DVD that shows how the mob works. And back in the 1900's they did it this way.

There was open monte and closed monte.

Erdnase text on three card monte was one of the more interesting things that I found in the book. I feel by reading it that he did it as a demo. The same reason that he did the twelve card stack. A great demo. But I do not feel (Having played cards) that a card shark would do it that way.

I am not interested in being right or wrong. I am only interested in what we can bring to the table and try to find clue's.

I think that Richard has done a fantastic job.

I have also posted in other threads on this subjects and If Erdnase was a card shark he may have used three card monte as an after game. To be done after the poker game was breaking up.

I have seen people cut to the high card as an after game. If a card shark could do this he could win back some lost money. Or use this to cheat and not have to cheat during the game.

But my thoughts on three card monte are that if you know three card monte it is one of the fastest money makeing games or cons that there ever was. Only cons like the thimble rig or the shell game do as well.

In fact it is often said about three card monte that it will make more money for the con man faster than any other game...

If Erdnase could do three card monte why would he need to cheat at the card table and "Need the Money" as the book said?

Again... It is not about being right or wrong it is about exploring the mystery and bringing ideas to the table to talk about!
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 10/09/04 09:31 AM

Originally posted by emeprod:
Just wanted to clarify something that Glenn alluded to: Steve Forte is not a magician who invented a persona for his act; Steve would be the first to tell you that he's not an entertainer and has never tried to be. He has moves out the ying-yang but he's never considered himself a magician.

He is, however, the best cardshark I've ever met.
I have seen Steves work on video and I think that he is the best of the best. I don't know Steve Forte... And I have no idea how he makes his money. But he did make money on the video's that he did as John Scarne made money on the books that he wrote. And Darwin Ortiz makes money on the books and video's that he produces.

Darwin is also one ot the best and gets a good fee for a demo of card sharping expo as well as doing magic.

I have no idea if Steve Forte does demo of card sharp methods but if he does I would think that he is also getting top money for doing it...

To me a demo of card sharp methods is a show like a speaker. People work hard in these markets to show that they are the at the top and they do this today by writing books and doing video's...

Perhaps this was the reason Erdnase wrote the book... Perhaps not but it is a theory and just another thing to look at in the mystery of Erdnase.
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Postby Guest » 10/09/04 09:42 AM

I have great respect for Whit Haydn. Whit's a friend of mine. I haven't seen the DVD, but I have his book on monte, which is excellent. If the DVD shows a large mob, then that's fine. But I do think you need to read Devol's book which contains numerous accounts of working monte with one or two partners and sometimes alone.

I know Richard too, and I'm not sure why you kept mentioning him. For what it's worth, Richard and I corresponded on Erdnase in the late nineties, and I think his scholarship is excellent.

I agree, monte is lucrative. And you don't even have to be that good at it. Paul Wilson and I both witnessed a tourist lose $1400 cash outside Caesar's Palace about three years ago, and I have watched (and photographed) monte mobs all over the world.

cheers
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Postby Guest » 10/09/04 11:23 AM

Well, I just got done reading this thread, it has been quite interesting. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Defintately given me some things to think about with regards to magicians/gambling, etc. Also, I just love reading history, or even speculation about history (but ssshhhh, don't tell my friends).

One thing about the last post got me, however. The tourist losing $1400! Funny, one of the things I'm studying/working on in magic the most is the phsycological processes that go into everything, but one I haven't been able to understand is gambling. It's one of those tests Mithrandir refers too. For the last year now, I've been puzzled over gambling. You see, I got into a Casino for the first time when I was 17 years old, with nearly $700 bucks in my pocket. I played until I got kind of bored and left, down twenty bucks. Since then I've returned a few times, trying various Casino's, etc with over a grand on me, just in case I got that bug . I mean I wanted to feel it, find it, understand it. No luck.

But hell, free booze, and shows, lol...

Seriously though, there is something there I'm having difficulty pinpointing, but I think it may be important to what we do, and maybe to the way this crazy world works...thoughts? I'll let you know if I scrape up anything cogent...
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 10/09/04 11:46 AM

Originally posted by Buster Brown:
I have great respect for Whit Haydn. Whit's a friend of mine. I haven't seen the DVD, but I have his book on monte, which is excellent. If the DVD shows a large mob, then that's fine.

I agree, monte is lucrative. And you don't even have to be that good at it. Paul Wilson and I both witnessed a tourist lose $1400 cash outside Caesar's Palace about three years ago, and I have watched (and photographed) monte mobs all over the world. cheers
Ask Whit Haydn about it. I talked with him about Erdnase and three card monte in the close up Gallery at the Magic Castle...

And what we talked about - is why I feel this way about Erdnase and three card monte. It is just a guess but it is just another guess or theory that we bring to the table.

By the way the book you mention is on my list...
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Postby Robert Allen » 10/09/04 11:51 AM

I'm sure there are different reasons people enjoy gambling, just as there are different reasons people take recreational drugs. From my limited experience I will note that winning in a casino and winning in the stockmarket give you (or at least, me) precisely the same feeling of euphoria. Conversely, loosing at either gives a feeling of depression.

While I enjoyed gambling when I did it, being a relative cheapskate I would only play at games which gave me some chance of winning, or at least breaking even. For me gambling was a sort of role playing; getting comped, flashing the wad of money I never intended to actually gamble to the pit bosses, not to mention as you note the drinking, eating, etc. I got to play the role of someone who's respected because of their wealth and gambling skill. I think that's what a lot of people get out of it - role playing. Before going to Reno or Vegas (and even after coming back) I'd watch _Casino_ on DVD :) .
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Postby Guest » 10/09/04 12:09 PM

That is very interesting sir. I must admit that amongst my peers, and ranging out to a few years older, (not too sure about the older demographics, on this one), there is an increasing trend to "re-invent" onself, whenever one feels like it, and a seeming lack of any notion that this might not be an ideal concept.

So, beyond "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", you're saying that people actually are expeiriencing a sort of real virtual reality or the chance to be someone, or at least play the part of someone they're not?

Looking at the money Casino's make, the idea that people desperately wish to not merely be entertained, but to shroud themselves in a cloak of fantasy if you will, well, I'd say it bodes well for our business. :D And is yet another proponent of creating an entire magical environment for someone, like a seperate little demension when we perform, instead of being mere tricks, or a puzzle. As they tell me Slydini did with his pins, where others failed...

Sorry for going off topic, and sorry if some of this stuff seems like stating the obvious. Sometimes little gliches in my thinking appear, and it is important to capitilze on them, (I think) in whatever area they were spawned from.

After all, I believe Erdnase tells us, "THE finished card expert considers nothing too trivial that in any way contributes to his success", though personally I picked that concept from the writings of Mr. Paul Chosse.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 10/09/04 12:39 PM

As Richard mentions, on P.121 Erdnase uses the word "expectorate". This is the exact same word the Devol uses in "Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi".

The coincicence seems to great for Erdnase to have been writing from his own Monte experience.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/09/04 01:04 PM

Originally posted by Larry Horowitz:
As Richard mentions, on P.121 Erdnase uses the word "expectorate". This is the exact same word the Devol uses in "Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi".

The coincicence seems to great for Erdnase to have been writing from his own Monte experience.
Larry, that's most interesting!

Since several people have mentioned Devol's book (I believe Peter Studebaker even included it on his "top ten" list in one of his lecture notes), I thought I might point out that this 1887 classic is available as a 300 page paperback reprint from numerous sources for just $12.95 plus shipping (including H & R Magic Books www.magicbookshop.com
Do a search on "Devol" and it will show up.)
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Postby John Bodine » 10/09/04 01:31 PM

I might add that it appears as though the value of a second edition of "The Expert at the Card Table" is approximately $760. It's just such a shame that mid bid of $72 didn't win the auction. :)

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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/09/04 10:15 PM

Originally posted by John Bodine:
I might add that it appears as though the value of a second edition of "The Expert at the Card Table" is approximately $760. It's just such a shame that mid bid of $72 didn't win the auction. :)

johnbodine
It should be noted that if either Jason England (the winning bidder) or I (the underbidder) had not tried to "spike" this in the last few seconds, one of us would have gotten it for just $107.50. Had neither of us bid, it would have sold for just $72...
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Postby CHRIS » 10/10/04 07:57 PM

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
Since several people have mentioned Devol's book (I believe Peter Studebaker even included it on his "top ten" list in one of his lecture notes), I thought I might point out that this 1887 classic is available as a 300 page paperback reprint from numerous sources for just $12.95 plus shipping.
"Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi" can also be had electronically from Lybrary.com http://www.lybrary.com/index.html?goto= ... mbler.html

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Postby Guest » 10/10/04 08:30 PM

Stuart,
Your question about understanding gambling/gamblers, is best discussed in another thread or elsewhere.
But you may want to read the works of Dr. Robert Custer and others who worked with compulsive/addictive gamblers.
I knew a number of those who worked in Vegas, who threw their salaries away each week, who would call you, a "normie"...someone who couldn't,(thankfully) understand the wishfull, delusional, magical thinking, that the reality of math, would somehow, stop for them. I knew high-ranking casino executives, whose business was to know how much revenue, the "games" would generate by the hour, but still took THEIR salaries and blow it each week, at the same games at the casino next door!
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Postby Todd Karr » 11/14/04 10:57 AM

Hi, everyone

I have decided to share my Erdnase research with the magic community in the hope that we all can join forces to pursue some of these leads I've uncovered on con man E. S. Andrews.

Go to www.illusionata.com (this is the new Magical Past-Times site, which I'm now editing) to read about Andrews, see the news articles, and check the list of potential research topics that interested historians can try to chase.

As always, I'll stress that this may not be the man we're looking for. We haven't found a deck of cards in his hands. But at least we may eliminate one more candidate if this proves to be yet another false lead.

I'll welcome emails from anyone making progress on these leads!

Thank you and best wishes,
Todd
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Postby Bill Mullins » 11/14/04 05:07 PM

Todd's new info is very interesting, and it's great that he's sharing it (as well as picking up Magic Past Times).

To follow up on one of his leads:
This site:
http://www.cdpheritage.org/newspapers/index.html
has a number of scanned Colorado newspapers. No reference to Charles Brandon was found. There are too many references to "Andrews" (1600+ between 1900 and 1910) to say yet if any of them are relevant.
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Postby Todd Karr » 11/15/04 06:42 PM

Thanks, Bill. The Colorado newspaper index is a promising resource...this is exactly the kind of pooling of efforts that I think will prove productive in tracking down Erdnase.
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Postby Don » 11/15/04 08:03 PM

Todd, that was very, very interesting to read. Great research, it sounds a lot like it actually could be S W Andrews.

Gook luck.
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Postby Don » 11/15/04 08:06 PM

oops, i mean E S Andrews.
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Postby Todd Karr » 11/16/04 08:32 AM

Thanks, Rage
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/16/04 10:55 AM

Todd -- Phenominal! Many thanks for posting the results of your research, and for taking over the "Magical Past-Times" site.

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Postby Todd Karr » 11/16/04 01:54 PM

Matt, thanks. I hope this all helps advance the Erdnase search so we can give credit due to this unsung but outstanding author. As for MPT, I hope to honor Gary Hunt's legacy and do a good job with it, including other intriguing material soon.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 11/16/04 11:41 PM

Todd, Very interesting material. Keep up the good work!
By the way, how is the Mickey MacDougall book coming along?
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Postby Tommy » 11/17/04 12:08 AM

Mr Karr

Thank you.
A fine piece of work and very exciting theory. I hope you will get all the help you need.

Just thinking of the cuff. The gent was convicted so unless he won an appeal later he would have a criminal record. Did they not take photos and fingerprints in those days?
I think it unlikely that he would have been given a jail term if it was his first offence, but if he had then what prison would he most likely have gone to from the court where he was convicted? Prisons often keep very good records.
I do not suppose the gent was connected to Denver by any chance. I only ask that because a lot of pro con men were at that time.
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Postby Todd Karr » 11/17/04 10:26 AM

Brad: Thanks, and I don't have plans for a MacDougall book right now, although the card detective would definitely be fascinating.

Mr. Cooper: The surviving court records are scant from that period, and while I had hoped to get more from the Wisconsin police files, the docket sheets are all I was provided with. This is where we need someone to go there and check the records in person and see what actually still exists. I also agree that prison records might be helpful, and I hope some of our Wisconsin friends can help check this out.

You're right about a Denver connection. Check my article again at www.illusionata.com where the press states Andrews' company is incorporated in Colorado. I hope business records still exist from that period!
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Postby Tommy » 11/17/04 12:33 PM

Re Denver. This was a guess from me. I am from the UK and do not know my geography of the USA very well. However, Because of the Denver connection, your man might well have been a member of the Blonger mob. See here for a run down of these guys.
http://www.blongerbros.com/gang/cast/underworld.asp



Your man describes himself as Businesslike and I cannot think of a word that could better describe the Erdnase work itself.
Businesslike
Definitions:
Exhibiting methodical and systematic characteristics that would be useful in business
Not distracted by anything unrelated to the goal
Synonyms: earnest, efficient, purposeful
In the manner of one transacting business wisely and by right
methods. ; practical and efficient.
Serious and purposeful.

Regards
COOPER
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Postby Todd Karr » 11/17/04 09:00 PM

Cooper:

Exactly. And the Denver gang info is very interesting.
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