I did not intend to offend anyone, nor diparage the memory of the Professor.
The above was a ham-handed stab at ironically portraying what some seem to be saying. Unfortunately, they can't all be comedy gems. I appologize if it doesn't come across.
Just off-hand though, a sit happens, I have taken a long look at the history of 20th century magic. While I freely (and often) admit I don't know everything, I HAVE learned at least a little after 30 years.
I have had a life-long respect for Dai Vernon. I learned long ago that magically, I will never be worthy of even carrying his jock (as the old saying goes). His magical insights will always stagger my mind. He is already going down in history as a legendary genius.
I have also learned quite a bit more about him this past year than I had known in my 20s and 30s. Mainly I believe that he (like every one of us) was fallable. He was by many accounts at least a neglectful father and husband, inveterate womanizer, and an abuser of alcohol. His move to the west coast definitely smacks to me of putting his old life and responsibilities in the rear-view mirror once and for all.
There are innumerable stories of all kinds of people having "patrons" or living for long periods "at the Manor": dude doesn't have much money, people who love him pay for whatever he needs. It's not the end of the world. I have no knowledge of what arrangements he had in his life, and wouldn't hold such things against him. He lived past 90--more power to ya, pal. The ends seem to have justified the means.
--We all know he was the straw that stirred the drink. There's no doubt that people flocked to him, and that his contribution to the atmosphere, the prestige, and the revenue at the Castle was beyond that which could be measured in mere dollars.
That so many were humble, generous, and grateful says much about those people as well.
I have nothing against the Professor but he wasn't perfect. Of course, that is certainly no reason to disrespectfully slam his memory.
I can't wait for Part 2 of Mr. Ben's Biography. I DO want to hear some of stories about the good old times that were had in L.A.--and find out what the real, big-picture story actually was.
P.S. Ellusionist is just across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Rafael. Don't disparage the local boys--it's not Oakland, but they might mess you up--even in Austria.
P.P.S. I don't like the magic cafe.