Charlie Miller Centenary

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

Postby Bill Mullins » 06/20/09 07:52 PM

If someone already mentioned this, I missed it -- but May 25, 2009 was the 100th anniversary of Charlie Miller's birth.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/20/09 11:39 PM

No mention that I can see or recall.

Wouldn't a comprehensive book on his life and material be a joy?
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Postby magicalt » 06/20/09 11:53 PM

I would love to see that one done. Hopefully someone will decide to take on the task.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/21/09 12:31 AM

It would be a joy, but Charlie wasn't much for publishing his items.
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Postby David Alexander » 06/21/09 10:14 AM

I was told that several of Charlie's "friends" stopped a book that was in the works some years ago.

Too bad as Charlie was a font of knowledge and fun to be around. He should be remembered and memorialized.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 06/21/09 10:57 AM

Old Genii readers get to enjoy Charlie's wonderful years at the helm of Magicana. The tricks were great, but the monthly comments from Charlie were always great fun to read.
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Postby erdnasephile » 06/21/09 02:31 PM

David Alexander wrote:I was told that several of Charlie's "friends" stopped a book that was in the works some years ago. . .


I remember reading about this as well--one side of the incident was mentioned in "Thaumaturgist #13"--January/March 1990, pg 1.

This report stated: ". . .Charlie didn't want to do a book no matter how much money was involved. Charlie Miller wanted his material destroyed. What he wanted passed on, he passed on himself. . ."

If this is true, perhaps those that put a stop to the proposed book were indeed acting as friends by representing Mr. Miller's wishes in the matter.

I have no first hand knowledge of this incident, nor of Mr. Miller's feelings on this issue. Therefore, I am not necessarily endorsing the veracity of the contents of the report. I'm merely noting the reference for those interested.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/21/09 03:58 PM

Bruce Cervon had started on the project with L&L Publishing before it was stopped.
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Postby David Alexander » 06/21/09 06:59 PM

I don't know if that quote came from Charlie or someone who had a lot of material from Charlie and didn't want it spread around.

It should be pointed out that Charlie did a video for Joe Stevens where he demonstrated some of his material, did a book for Magic, Inc and another book on the Card Index. A lot of the Faucett Ross book came out of correspondence between Charlie and Faucett as well as some material in Expert Card Technique. He did that famous "underground" film of a card expert and did a hand insert for Warren Hull in Chandu the Magician, performing the Cups and Balls with tea cups. Charlie's hands are easy to identify.

Charlie also lectured from time to time. Perhaps when he was older and sick he didn't want to bother doing a book as it would take too much effort.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/21/09 09:16 PM

While Charlie did publish material during his lifetime, as grew older he seemed to withdraw from that idea. He left his material to his closest friends and they will decide what, if anything, happens to it.
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Postby magicalt » 06/21/09 09:41 PM

Being from El Paso I have always wanted to know more about Charlie Miller but I have not been able to find out why he lived here for a time. I can only assume that he was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Bliss.
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Postby Jim Martin » 06/21/09 10:47 PM

magicalt wrote:Being from El Paso I have always wanted to know more about Charlie Miller but I have not been able to find out why he lived here for a time. I can only assume that he was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Bliss.


As he said: "I'm a dice man".
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Postby Terry » 06/22/09 07:13 AM

Try contacting Johnny Thompson. Since Charlie Miller lived with them for a time, maybe John would know.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 06/22/09 05:54 PM

Didn't he also live with Bev Bergeron? ... and a host of others too? The original Man Who Came To Dinner!
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Postby Mark Ratekin » 06/22/09 07:05 PM

Charlie Miller spent a lot of time with Harry Riser; Harry tips some of Charlie's methods in his second book, "Secrets of An Escamoteur." He also tells a number of stories about his experiences with Charlie.

It's a fun read, but I've been more fortunate in that I've been able to hear Harry tell the stories firsthand on a couple of occasions.

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Postby erdnasephile » 06/22/09 09:31 PM

Mr. Ratekin is really lucky to have spent time with Mr. Riser--I truly envy you!

For the rest of us: if you would like to actually hear some of Mr. Riser's stories about Mr. Miller (and other magic notables), please check out

http://www.sleightclubshow.com/episodes.html

and listen to the Harry Riser Podcasts, Parts 1 and 2. They are outstanding!

His account of what he did to prepare to meet Mr. Miller should be required listening in today's egregious push for magic egalitarianism.

There is so much wisdom in these 2 podcasts...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/22/09 10:18 PM

I can tell you this about Charlie Miller: he could do everything in Expert at the Card Table as well or better than anyone I've ever seen ... and just about any other damn thing you could ask him about. And he wasn't just a technician, but a great performer. It's a shame that the Steven's DVD is the only record of him performing for laymen. He was very funny and charming when there was an audience there for him to interact with and feed off of. He was a genuine delight at the second New York Magic Symposium.
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Postby David Alexander » 06/23/09 12:52 AM

When Charlie was out on the West Coast the first time I was too young to attend the show, but I read about it in Genii.

Charlie walked on stage, looked at the audience, smiled and said, "I know what you're thinking. Isn't he fat."

Who couldn't love him after that?

He was charming. Watching him present an old wheeze like the Rice Bowls with him providing his own musical accompaniment by whistling was very funny. Charlie had charm and a fine sense of presentation. He introduced me to his brother (Paul?) and his niece who I dated a few times.

I spent a lot of hours with him in the 60s. I didn't care about the gambling sleights so he would sit at a table or lounging on a day bed just dealing cards...tops, bottoms, seconds and like that. It all looked perfectly normal to me.

We talked about Malini and he taught me several things...material I still do today. I had ideas on the Malini Egg Bag that he appreciated. He liked the ones my mother made so I gave him one.

Charlie was one of a kind and a decent man, too.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/23/09 01:02 AM

David Alexander wrote:Charlie walked on stage, looked at the audience, smiled and said, "I know what you're thinking. Isn't he fat."

Now I know where I got that line.
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Postby John Carney » 06/23/09 12:52 PM

Charlie was the greatest.........one of the most charming and eccentric guys I've ever met. I agree with Richard.......the Stevens DVD doesn't really show how good a performer he was. There are usually just 5 or 6 people in the studio... a very artificial situation.

The general magic world is not as familiar with Charlie as they should be, considering how great he was. Charlie was always in Vernon's shadow, and he hid his light under a bushel. He was pretty secretive, so most people didn't realize how good he was.

I miss him......he was a sweet man.
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Postby Lee Almond » 06/23/09 08:39 PM

I'm so very lucky. I was one of the very few in the audience at Charlie's taping for papa Joe. After Charlie was very kind to speak to and have a laugh. Somewhere I remember reading he was sick of starving on the left coast and bought a pair of overalls and headed to the midwest (Kansas?) in search of a card game. I also remember reading where Charlie was the "eye in the sky" for a professional gambler. But hey I'm just a dice man. LOL! Rest in peace Charlie! :D :D :D :D
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