Books of the Month: The Vernon Inner Card Trilogy

This forum is an ongoing, and evolving, discussion. Genii Forum members discuss opinions and trade notes on current and past magic books.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/10/03 03:01 PM

In 1994, Dan Jenkins, the famous sportswriter and novelist, prefaced a collection of his golf writings with the words, "Jack Nicklaus, comma." For a twenty five year period it was the line he, and just about every other sportswriter, used the most and, frankly, it was all that need be written, such was the greatness of Nicklaus. Today, the writers are typing, "Tiger Woods, comma." Here in our little world of magic, a handful of people have reached such a level of greatness (fewer still outside of our world). Needless to say, Dai Vernon is one of those who, within our little world, surpassed legend and attained the level of deity. As Lloyd Jones wrote in 1968, "there is something of a Vernon cult forming."

In 1958, Vernon traveled to England to begin work on what was to be a four-book series on his card magic. In fairly quick succession, Henry Stanley's Unique Magic Studios (London, England) would publish three books of Vernon's material (as well as some from a few select Vernon associates). Written and photographed by Lewis Ganson, Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic was released in the Fall of 1959 and was followed quickly in the Spring of 1960 by More Inner Secrets of Card Magic. Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic followed a little over a year later. A fourth book was planned and, in fact, published. However, Dai Vernon's Ultimate Card Secrets did not appear until late 1967. A fire in the same building as Stanley's Unique Magic Studio resulted in the manuscript being destroyed by water and health issues further delayed Ganson's work on the project. This near seven year lapse, and perhaps the fact that the word "Inner" does not appear in the book's title, resulted in the magic world embracing only the first three books as the Vernon Inner Card Trilogy. And so it is this Trilogy on which we will focus our (hopefully!) discussion.

Originally published as a paperback volume (and then later in cloth as well), Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card magic features nine chapters and 33 items in its scant 76 pages. The mainstream reviewers of the time heaped lavish praise on the book. It was, after all, Dai Vernon's material. "Something for everyone" and "a must for card men" were common phrases bandied about. Such praise, however, was not universal.

In the pages of P. Howard Lyons' Ibidem #20 (May, 1960) there appeared excerpts from a letter from Lin Searles in which he lambastes the author (going so far as to referring to Ganson as a "jackass") on his selection of material as well as his writing skills. He also questions the provenance of the "Elastic Touch," which (as Ganson wrote) Vernon attributes to a "wily old gambler" (there's little question that Vernon was a raconteur with a tendency for embellishment). In a separate letter, Neil Elias questions the technique provided in the book for making impromptu strippers. After relating these comments, Lyons praises the just released second book of the Trilogy calling it "as good as the first was disappointing." Given just how good More Inner Secrets of Card Magic truly is, this is a scathing comment. While there is no doubt that the second book is the jewel of the series, Inner Secrets is not without merit. "Emotional Reaction" is a lesson in the cunning use of a key card and "Matching the Cards" is a nice effect using an interesting force. "Dai Vernon's Colour Changing Pack" provides the reader with the proper (and subtle) motivation for the use of the Hindu Shuffle in showing the back color of the deck. There is also some notable work on color changes, though there is also an item I wouldn't do on a dare (and one or two I couldn't do on one).

Published in both paper and cloth boards, More Inner Secrets of Card Magic may have more quality, and seminal, card magic in it than in any other 87-page stretch in magic literature. More Inner Secrets boasts 12 chapters and 39 items including such classic plots as "Twisting the Aces," "Out of Sight--Out of Mind," "McDonald's $100 Routine," and "The Trick that Cannot be Explained" (perhaps the ultimate example of true "jazz magic"). Also found within these pages is Vernon's work on riffle shuffle technique (including his handling of the Zarrow and pull-through shuffles), crimps, forcing and several other "Vernon Touches." Also, for the first time in a publication, is a description of Alex Elmsley's "Four as Four Count." We know it better simply as the "Elmsley Count." This, of course, is found within the description of "Twisting the Aces" which probably has had more variations published and also sold as a single trick than just about any other plot in card magic.

Because the second book followed so closely on the heels of the first, the yearlong (plus) wait for the third must have seemed like an eternity for the members of the burgeoning "Vernon Cult." Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic is not the abundant gold mine More Inner Secrets is, but within its 72 pages (12 chapters, 29 items) are certainly many wonderful nuggets. Vernon's work on the Three Card Monte is required studying (even if only for the "Optical Move"). A chapter on palming is also required reading primarily for the work on the top palm. Vernon's second deal is well covered in "Dealing Seconds," which also includes a one-handed second and the "New Theory" stud second. At the end of this chapter is "A Quick Trick" that uses what, it seems to me, is more of a spread technique, though it is also worth more than just a cursory look. An in depth look at the top change kicks off the eleventh chapter of the book which includes three other change techniques.

There are, of course, plenty of tricks in the book, and of particular note (at least to me) is "Larry Grey's Cards Across." Throughout the series, when Vernon would serve up someone else's work, for the most part it would include what is now commonly referred to as "The Vernon Touch." This effect, however, Vernon didn't "touch" at all. There's a reason for that and, I think, it's a significant point about the trick.

"Another Larry Grey Trick" has "potential showpiece" written all over it for those who perform standup/parlor style magic. "The Card Puzzle" isn't a puzzle at all, but a great (and fairly easy) trick to do for people who play cards. "Blindfold Poker Deal," in my opinion, isn't as much a poker deal as it is a "control" demonstration using selected cards, but in the right situation it should prove most effective. There are several other effects and more of the ever-present "Vernon Touches."

In all, the Trilogy encompasses 235 pages, 33 chapters (though some of these are single tricks or techniques) with 101 individual items. In the 1970s, Supreme Magic reissued the books (over several printings) and in 1996 L&L reprinted them in a single volume. Dai Vernon's complete bibliography (comprised of manuscripts, books, lecture notes and articles) is scattered among several publishers and magazines, starting with Secrets (1923), a small book for the general public, and his self-published Twenty Dollar Manuscript, his first work specifically for magicians. So far, the L&L published four volume Vernon Chronicles series (the first three written by Stephen Minch, the fourth--an autobiography of sorts--edited by Bruce Cervon and Keith Burns) is the most recent Vernon work to be published. But the magic world awaits the Vernon biography from David Ben and the collection of "Vernon Touch" articles from the pages of Genii to be published by The Genii Corporation. And who knows what treasures Bruce Cervon may still be holding back in his collection of notes taken over more than two decades of working with The Professor? The Vernon Cult remains alive and well, and with more to come to satisfy them, the reviewers and columnists will be typing, "Dai Vernon, comma."

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Postby Matthew Field » 08/11/03 07:40 AM

Truth be told, "More Inner secrets" started me on two royal roads -- my love of card magic and my love of magic books.

I was at Tannen's when I was about 28 and John Mueller performed "Twisting the Aces," and that was it. I HAD to know how to perform that trick, by far the most magical thing I had ever witnessed. It was John explained, in a book, not inexpensive, imported from England.

There was lots in the book that was beyond me, as a rank beginner, so I asked Tony Spina where to find out how to do the other sleights mentioned in the book and he recommended "Royal Road."

From "More Inner Secrets" I went back to purchase the first book, then the other Ganson/Vernon books, and there you go.

The Inner Secrets trilogy, along with the "Dai Vernon Book of Magic" are absolute essentials for the card lover. I then went on to the other Supreme books (those were the editions for sale) and learned of Malini and Leipzig, but "More Inner Secrets" started the ball rolling.

If "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" is not a near-perfect trick, I don't know what is.

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Postby Guest » 08/11/03 10:22 AM

Just a quick question concerning these books. Were the three original single volume books republished because the fourth book was being republished? I am just asking since L&L published the first three all together in a single volume.

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Alton Thrash
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Postby Philippe Noël » 08/11/03 10:31 AM

If "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" is not a near-perfect trick, I don't know what is
Isn't there however a little weakness in the usual presentation of this trick by the fact that you have to ask the name of the card?
If we could read minds we would not ask for the name of the card, we would TELL the name of the card.
Personally, to end the trick, I use what I think is a Dingle strategy: I put the x of y on the table, face down and ask the spectator if his card was the z of w. If he is actually thinking of the z of w, I have a miracle because I have read his mind. If he tells me that his card was not the z of w but the x of y, I ask him to turn the presumably z of w on the table and once more, miracle, it is the x of y. If however he is thinking of the third possible card, I palm it as he tells me the name of his card and produce it from my pocket. Neither a perfect trick but a chance on three to give the impression that you have read one's mind.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/11/03 11:14 AM

Originally posted by AltonThrash:
Just a quick question concerning these books. Were the three original single volume books republished because the fourth book was being republished?
Alton,

That's a question only Louis Falanga can answer, though I can make an educated presumption: They (L&L) had the Chronicles project, so in order to take full advantage of the "Vernon franchise" they purchased the rights for all of the (by then) Supreme owned Ganson/Vernon books (these would include the Dai Vernon Book of Magic; Ultimate Card Secrets; Malini and His Magic; and Vernon's Tribute to Leipzig and of course the Trilogy itself). This simply makes very good business sense given the power of the name.

But I could also be wrong.

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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/11/03 11:54 AM

Originally posted by Matthew Field:
If "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" is not a near-perfect trick, I don't know what is.
Yea Brother! I read it, thought: "another one of those really devious methods.", yawned and turned the page.

Years later I'm watching Mike Ammar on "Easy To Master freakin' Card Miracles volume God knows what" and it slapped me silly.

It should have stayed hidden in the damn boring book where lazy punks like me would never find out how good it is...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/11/03 05:13 PM

Vernon's handling for "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" that was published in the December 2001 issue of Genii (now out of print) is the best handling published to date. It was Vernon's preferred handling.
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Postby Guest » 08/12/03 11:15 PM

Dustin,
Marvelous review and historical reconstruction. Evaluating #2 as the better of the group makes me want to go and re-visit it
Marty K
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Postby Steve Bryant » 08/13/03 06:06 AM

In the pages of P. Howard Lyons' Ibidem #20 (May, 1960) there appeared excerpts from a letter from Lin Searles in which he lambastes the author (going so far as to referring to Ganson as a "jackass") on his selection of material as well as his writing skills.
Nice intro, Dustin.

When I was first married, my bride wanted to surprise me with a magic book or books for Christmas. We were living in Pasadena, and she went to Lin Searles for help. He recommended the Vernon trilogy, and I have enjoyed them ever since.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/13/03 02:00 PM

My favorite hidden gem in these books is Vernon's handling of the Erdnase color change. For some reason, this is not well-known among magicians...every time I show it to someone, they want to know where it came from.

No obvious outjogging of the card, relaxed handling...the Professor strikes again!

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Postby Guest » 08/14/03 11:06 AM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
...And who knows what treasures Bruce Cervon may still be holding back in his collection of notes taken over more than two decades of working with The Professor?...."

Dustin Stinett
Bruce tells me that he's holding back a lot.
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Postby El Mystico » 08/23/03 12:52 PM

"Bruce is holding back a lot..." - for what? And when????
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Postby Guest » 08/23/03 05:47 PM

Originally posted by Dom:
"Bruce is holding back a lot..." - for what? And when????
That would be my question. At this point it seems to me that Vernon's work now belongs to posterity, not to any one individual. If Mr. Cervon (who I respect) is sitting on an appreciable amount of the Professor's work, I'd think it behooves him to either publish it or hand it to someone who will.

Does anyone know whether Mr. Cervon is actively working on publishing this material?

Best,

Geoff
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Postby Guest » 08/23/03 06:15 PM

Here's a simple shuffle sequence for "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" that I've been using since about 1988. It's much simpler than the previously published overhand or riffle shuffle sequences, and is nice for those of us who prefer to Zarrow most of the time.

Have the deck shuffled by the spectator, and as you take it back, pinky count three cards and kill the top of the deck slightly as you crimp those cards upwards slightly at the lower right corner (just roll your thumb down the deck and push up with your little finger). Now do the display of nine cards, and put them back on the deck. Put the deck on the table in riffle shuffle position so that the crimp is at the inner left corner and get a break under the three cards as you square up to shuffle. Split the deck, taking the bottom half to the right and slap it on top, allowing it to coalesce with the cards above the break. Now take all of those cards to the right, Zarrow in under the top three cards of the left half, maintaining a break between the halves, and cut the cards above the break forward onto the table. Complete the cut but leave a step between halves. Pick up the deck (maintaining the step) and place it face up in your left hand. Acquire a break at the step and you're set to go. Three of the cards will be on the face, three at the center (above the break), three will be at the back.

Some will want to double or triple undercut the three cards to the bottom, rather than just single cut them as I have described, but I don't think that's necessary, though there's nothing wrong with it.

One easy shuffle and cut, that can be done with no hesitation, if you have a decent Zarrow. Enjoy.

Best,

Geoff
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Postby Guest » 08/23/03 07:45 PM

Ooh, that's nice. I've seen this trick with the overhand stock shuffle, but this brings it to a new level.
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Postby Guest » 08/24/03 10:20 AM

Thanks. There have been riffle shuffle versions (in The Vernon Chronicles #2 and, I think, the Vernon issue of Genii) but I found them to be somewhat cumbersome. Lots of complex interleaving of the cards that I thought would be difficult to do with an even rhythm or used more than one shuffle. This is just more comfortable for me.

Best,

Geoff
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/24/03 11:10 AM

There are several groups of unpublished Vernon material.
One group is the material that was excised from Revelations prior to its publication.
Another group is the material currently in the possession of Bruce Cervon, who has reputedly held back all of the material of Vernon's related to gambling moves and routines for a particular book. To my knowledge no progress has been made toward publishing this book.
Another group is the material Larry Jennings had taken extensive notes on.
And, there are other individuals with even more material of Vernon's.
There's a lot out there. :)
Oh ... thanks Geoff!
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Postby Guest » 08/24/03 04:52 PM

So, all the claims that "Revelations" was not expurgated (a claim that I have heard from people you ought to be able to believe) aren't true after all. What a big surprise.

Makes sense. The idea that that tiny (but valuable, nevertheless) annotation was all Vernon had on Erdnase always seemed utterly ridiculous to me. Anyone know when Revelations (the real one, that is) might be published?

Or does the entire magic world have to wait until four or five guys (who seem to think that this material is their personal property, instead of the Professor's legacy to the art he loved and tried ceaselessly to improve) drop dead, so that the work of the greatest artist in close up magic can be available to all earnest students, not just those who happened to be living in California at the right time?

Or am I being too harsh again?

Best,

Geoff
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Postby David Regal » 08/24/03 05:11 PM

Geoff -

What makes you think the material will become available after those few people kick? My guess is they'll have their own ashes mingled with The Professor's notes, and all will be scattered to the wind...so long as the wind is blowing out to sea and not into the path of any students of sleight of hand who might want to piece it all back together.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/24/03 05:45 PM

Geoff; you? Harsh? Never!

I'm not sure if those who are the suspected keepers of the complete Revelations believe this material to be theirs as much as they feel that they are protecting it from those deemed less than worthy. In other words, guys like me. The irony is that they are defying the wishes of Vernon.

I don't know what the complete deal is with Bruce. But in casual conversations with him about the material, he has told me that he doesn't know what his plans are. Note that this material is Bruce's. Unlike the alleged expurgation of the Professor's Revelations manuscript, Bruce took these notes. And a lot of it, as I understand, is based on challenges the Professor gave Cervon (and Jennings as well) and the work they would do together in working through the solutions Cervon came up with. I have no doubt Cervon also has material that is strictly from the mind of Vernon, but again, it is in a form that is the personal property of Bruce Cervon.

All that being said, I'll bet that the general magic community sees Cervon's Vernon material well before magic sees Vernons material that is in "protective custody."

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Postby Guest » 08/24/03 05:47 PM

It's my understanding that the stuff Cervon is reputedly "holding back" are his notes from hanging out with Vernon all those years. Are there other items?

First scenario:
If that is correct, I don't necessarily believe Cervon has any sort of historical debt; his notes, his rules.

Second scenario:
That is, of course unless it was Vernon's desire and understanding that Cervon would one day be the scribe and executor of his legacy, and wanted future generations to share the knowledge entrusted to Cervon.

Anybody got any answers?

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 08/25/03 07:46 AM

I made a huge mistake many years ago. So did a friend of mine, Jack McMillen. Jack was allowed to read the original Revelations Manuscript, and during the time that he had it, I read it too. We considered making copies, but out of respect for the wishes of the party who entrusted the material to Jack, he decided not to. I can tell you that there was a lot of material, much of it gambling related advances, that never made it to the published version. The claims have been that this was not original Vernon Material, and therefore not relevant to his revision of, and commentary on, Erdnase. However, it seems clear that Vernon thought it relevant, else why would he include it in that specific manuscript? After the publication of Revelations I asked Vernon about the expurgated material and he was clearly uncomfortable discussing it, giving me vague answers to the question of omissions. Ther is a lot we may never know about pressures that were brought to bear on Vernon, etc.

Regarding Bruce: he has done a great service to magic in keeping, organizing and publishing all the material in Chronicles, and I'm sure that he will continue to honor Vernons' wishes as best he can. Bruce has always been forthright and honorable in his handling of the Vernon material and I know the Professor was very happy with the appearance of the Chronicles and the path that Bruce decided on in making that material available to the magic fraternity.

Best, PSC
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/25/03 09:06 AM

I think it's necessary to remind everyone yet again that the idea of taking notes on Vernon's material was Larry Jennings'. When Cervon first came to LA (a while AFTER Jennings), Vernon couldn't stand him. So, after Vernon showed Larry material, Larry would dictate it to Bruce, who wrote it down. This is how the Castle Notebooks were born. Since Jennings didn't write well (and didn't like writing) he also dictated his own material to Bruce. Thus the Castle Notebooks contain material belonging not just to Vernon.
It took years for Larry to coax Bruce into giving him a copy of the notebooks that HE was responsible for!
After a while Cervon did become friendly with Vernon, and starting writing down material which was shown to him.
The question of who owns the material is simple: while Bruce may have possession of the notes he made, and he owns those notebooks, he does NOT own the material. The material is owned by the estate of Dai Vernon and cannot be published without its consent and control.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/25/03 09:54 AM

Thank you sir! May I have another?

(Being publicly spanked by Richard is one of the few pleasures I can call my own.)

Yes, I recall you saying that, and I should have been clearer, having only referred to Jennings in a passing manner. I would never purposely downplay the importance of Larry Jennings' contribution in all this. (There's a reason the company was named L&L after all, but of course, there's a whole other side to that story, isn't there?)

It was at a LJ lecture I first heard the story (subsequently told by others through the years) of how the Professor would challenge Bruce and Larry, usually pitting one against the other (and taking great pleasure in doing so). Somewhere, in all my stuff, is a micro-cassette of that lecture. I gotta find that sucker!

To me, the truly incredible thing about this period is the fact that the Professor made these guys work out solutions to problems he already had answers for! He made these guys work for those answers, and in the mean time they created things of their own. Can you imagine someone doing that in today's climate of "information on demand"? I don't know: Maybe, just maybe, that's the ethic behind the material being held back. Just because we want it, and we can pay for it, does that mean we have earned it?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/25/03 06:23 PM

Dustin, poopsie, I wasn't spanking you! :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/25/03 06:32 PM

You're mistaking me with Latta. I'm "snookums."
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Postby Guest » 08/25/03 07:28 PM

They call me Mr. Poopsie....

Look, anything that Cervon and Jennings came up with is, of course, theirs to do with as they will. Mr. Cervon's notes are his as well. But Vernon's material, as well as what Revelations was meant by him to be, is another matter entirely.

I've heard again and again how Vernon wanted his work recorded for posterity, and I don't think that means having it sit in a drawer in Hollywood forever. It seems to me that to respect his wishes as well as his rights means publishing this work, complete, and in a timely fashion.

I understand what Dustin means about "protecting" the work, but there are deserving magicians out there who do not happen to be chummy with these few men. And, as far as it goes, Vernon gave immeasurably to them. They could give back by doing what he wanted them to do. And they'd be doing a service to magic in the bargain.

Best,

Geoff
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/25/03 08:17 PM

Well, Mr. Poopsie, I agree. For years I've imagined a multi-volume set of all of Vernon's material (published and unpublished) including a definitive biography. Sort of like a Great Books of the Western World except it would be all Vernon. It could have multiple authors and even multiple publishers (as long as everything was coordinated and the same printing house was used to ensure equal quality and look). Frankly, that's the kind of legacy that this very special man deserves. But that's the dreamer in me wriggling his way out of this cynical old body. I'm afraid that there's a cold, harsh truth we have to face.

Best,
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Postby Jeff Eline » 08/25/03 08:25 PM

In the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld.. "Who are these people?"

Do we know who these guys are? Are we allowed to say their names? Why does it seem to be such a big secret? Are they well know in the community?

Just a few questions before I rest my mouse for the evening. Good night! :p
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/25/03 08:48 PM

Since I don't have a reputation worth protecting, I'll try to answer that. But, I want to make it clear that this is 100% hearsay. I do not have firsthand knowledge of this, so this is the alleged group that I am aware of: Besides David Ben (who is publishing what he has) and Bruce Cervon (who, as I say, is a seemingly more willing participant in the publishing of the material he has), the other (alleged) keepers of Vernon material are Steve Freeman, Percy Diaconis and Ricky Jay. I accuse them of nothing more than protecting material that they feel should not be released to the general magic community. Furthermore, all I am saying is that I respectfully disagree with this belief, should they be the ones who have control of this material and that is the reason for withholding it.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/25/03 08:50 PM

Oh, Snookums, you've done it now!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/25/03 09:00 PM

Is it too late to delete it?!? I thought I covered my ass pretty well.

(I notice no one has said I'm wrong yet...)
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Postby Guest » 08/29/03 11:43 AM

Dustin,

As I was digging out and reading my various "Inner Secrets" books, I couldn't help thinking that I would like to have read them before this thread started, more like an off-line book-of-the-month club.

On another thread ("Strong Magic"), you had asked some of us not to get ahead mentioning other books. In contrast, I would ask you to think about posting a schedule of upcoming books so we could be better prepared to participate.

For me, I would first like to get (and read) the book(s) if it is not yet in my library (and I can think of no better recommendation than its inclusion hear). As importantly, I would like to try the concepts, practice and perform the effects, etc. to get a visceral feel for the material and potentially useful feedback for this forum. Lastly, it would also be possible to peruse related material by the author or others that would be relevant to the discussion.

Just some thoughts. You're doing a great job.

:cool:
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/29/03 03:21 PM

Mr. Drummer (or may I call you Warlock?),

You are not the only person to pass on the sentiment and I am beginning to see the light. From this here day forward, I will let everyone know what the next book is in the "Announcement" section (which will prevent premature discussion since only Modulators and Adblamistrators may post there).

Thanks for the input and the kind words as well.

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Postby Kim » 09/01/03 08:35 PM

I'm only posting this here because I cant post a new topic. I dont think the postings should be locked,what about those of us that have only recently stumbled onto this section? I feel these should be continuing threads that can continue to grow.
Just my 2 cents worth.
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Postby Guest » 09/01/03 10:32 PM

I agree with Kim. As magic history grows, why shouldn't the interpretation of it do the same?

BTW, did anyone try my OOSOOM shuffle handling, and is there any feedback? FWIW, critical responses are more valuable to me than positive ones, as I never learned anything from those who agree with me.

Best,

Geoff
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Postby Guest » 09/02/03 01:35 AM

Well I had a few issues with the shuffle but they were personal issues. For the record I use Roberto Giobbi's version of the shuffle, MUCH easier to remember than the vernon shuffle.It's in Card college five,"Mind and Sightless".I think my main problem with using the riffle shuffle is that if I'm performing and I do a tabled riffle shuffle I invariably hear things such as, wow you really know how to handle a deck of cards and I wouldn't want to play cards with you. This reaction might be my fault but I do not hear this kind of thing when I am doing an overhand shuffle. Also, I try to avoid table based routines and sleights whenever possible.I think that to use a zarrow shuffle to control 9 cards is a bit of a waste a bit like killing a fly with a... I'm sure you know the rest. But as I said these are personal issues. On a positive note this shuffle would be great if used with a stacked deck.It might be a bit of a pain to get the cards back but you've kept most of your stack intact.I'm sure it's worked nicely for you Mr. Latta otherwise you wouldn't have used it for the past 5 years.
Noah Levine
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Postby Guest » 09/02/03 06:48 AM

Noah,

Interesting response. Myself, I tend to avoid overhand shuffles like the plague because they can be tracked, or followed to some extent while riffle shuffles generally cannot. Personal taste, I guess.

As for the Zarrow being overkill to control nine cards, I'm not sure it's overkill any more than the more complex strip-out handlings in print (although perhaps they're overkill as well). It reminds me of the notion that the pass is overkill to control a selection to the top of the pack; when you can do it as effortlessly as breathing, it doesn't feel like overkill, though it may be so in a technical sense.

Best,

Geoff

p.s., It occurs to me that the Zarrow in this context allows you to three groups of three cards each to three different positions in the deck in one fair looking shuffle. Seems less like overkill to me from that point of view. Good point about maintaining a stack; I'd be inclined to have several groups of cards (as opposed to a full deck stack) ready for other effects as the shuffle wouldn't disturb them. You could do a number of effects that required multi-card setups that way.

-G-
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Postby Philippe Noël » 09/02/03 07:13 AM

Geoff,

The only criticism I could find:
After your shuffle, the three first cards the spectator has seen end at the bottom. In Vernon shuffle the three first cards end at the top. I think many people memorize one of the three first cards(from my experience). When you show the two first parts of the deck after a Vernon shuffle, chances are then that they say that they have not seen their card yet, in that case, I do not show the end of the deck but end the trick knowing that their card is one of the top three of the deck.
That beeing said your shuffle is great except that I do not understand why you have to crimp the three first cards.
Philippe Noël
 
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Postby Guest » 09/02/03 07:26 AM

Philippe,

Never thought of that. As to the crimp, you don't have to, and sometimes I'll just jog the third card slightly as I count and maintain the jog as I replace them on the deck. The idea is to eliminate any hesitation that picking up the three cards might engender as you begin the shuffle sequence. The whole point of this sequence is to eliminate hesitation, not have to do more than glance at the deck during the shuffles, etc.

Best,

Geoff
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