Vernon's picture, somone knows about the context ?

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

Postby Thomas Van Aken » 08/15/09 05:34 PM

Hello,

I came accross a Vernon'picture I did not saw before and I am curious if someone has details about it.
The picture show Vernon (I think 40' or early 50') in a swimming pool displaying two playing cards; the rest of the deck is floating on the water. Around the pool are nice ladies in swimming suits.
It remind me of a story of Vernon finding a chosen card by throwing the deck in the water and the chosen card being the only one face up but obviously this is not the same situation.
Someone already saw this picture or has informations on it ?

Thanks and regards

Thomas
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/15/09 08:45 PM

I think we've all seen the photo, but it's not the trick where the entire deck is double-backed except for the chosen cards (which are double-faced). How could it be?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/15/09 08:58 PM

I think Thomas knows that, the photo just reminded him of the story.

Thomas, the only thing I can tell you about the photo is that it was taken by Irving Desfor. While most of Mr. Desfor's photos that I've seen are taken "in action," I suspect this one was posed and there is no back-story (a specific trick).

Dustin

PS: That photo is property of the American Museum of Magic. Perhaps if you contact them through their site you can find out more:

http://www.americanmuseumofmagic.org/
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Postby David Ben » 08/16/09 04:19 PM

Sorry, Dustin, but I do not believe that the photo was taken by Iriving Desfor. The photo was taken by Life Magazine photographer Peter Stackpole and around May 1947.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/16/09 05:05 PM

Okay - you would know better (my source is The Vernon Touch which credits Desfor).

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Postby David Ben » 08/16/09 05:24 PM

Desfor is certainly a good guess as he took so many wonderful shots. Unfortunately, many of the photo captions in The Vernon Touch are inaccurate. (Michael Albright and I went through this many months after the publication.)

I only discovered that Peter Stackpole was the photographer by happenstance. I happen to have a large print of a photograph with a similar bevy of beauties in my collection. Harry Mendoza is performing the rings and Vernon is to the side. The photo was taken at the same party as the swimming pool shot and, fortunately, the photographer stamped the back of the photo, and also stamped the date.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/16/09 06:54 PM

How could the photographs from Desfor have been miscredited? I borrowed the entire Desfor file from the American Museum of Magic and Michael scanned all the images directly from the prints and negs.
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Postby Jim Klodzen » 08/16/09 08:09 PM

Hello Richard and David,
I'll have the photo checked for credits,discriptions,etc in the morning.

Please let me know if there is any others I should check.

jim
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Postby David Ben » 08/16/09 08:41 PM

Richard:

Assuming that the image was actually at the AMM - and I don't recall seeing it there but then again, there are so many there - I imagine that more than a few filing errors have crept in. Even so, as I mentioned before, there are lots of photo caption errors in the Vernon Touch. As for photo credits, ie who took the photo, there are probably errors there too.

David

Jim, I wouldn't spend too much time tracking the images as this point. Better to do that just before the book is reprinted!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/16/09 09:15 PM

Even though Im the one who stated that it was Desfors shot, I had my doubts (which I subtly made in my original post). Im going to wager that its not a Desfor photo. For whatever reason the possible misattribution occurred means nothing to me: What does is the photo.

Desfors style was to use a very shallow depth of field. His subjects were almost always in sharp focus while things just outside that field, including the performers own hands, would be outor just outof focus. An example of that style can be seen in a shot of Francis Carlyle that appears in Desfors book Great Magicians in Great Moments (1983). While Vernon is in the group of men watching (including Cardini, Rosini, and Loew), and it would have been very easy to have the entire group in sharp focus, Desfor didnt do it. Carlyle and Fred Kaps are crystal clear, but the rest are just (and I mean just) out of focus (see page 112).

The pool photo in question has a very deep depth of field. Even the plants and the window of the building behind the scene are in clear focus. The physical features and even the ripples in the water are sharp. To me, this makes the shot done in a style that Desfor didnt normally use. In his regular style, the girls would have been clear enough to recognize their beauty, but not ultra-sharp and the building behind them wouldnt be sharp at all. Its certainly possibleif Desfor is the photographerthat he composed the photo that way because it was what he was asked to do, but in my mind it just doesnt fit his style.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/16/09 10:05 PM

I don't think it's likely that The Vernon Touch will be reprinted.
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Postby Jim Klodzen » 08/16/09 10:44 PM

It's no problem to check.

As we all know after Bob passed Elaine would let people use the resources. Unlike Bob who had a special way of returning items and filing them, items may have been filed wrong. Lucky for us, Bob had the Desfor collection cataloged and next year the photos and negatives will be checked, scanned and housed properly.
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