Dai Vernon in Expert card Technique

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Justin Wheatley » 12/01/09 02:08 PM

One of the first serious books on magic I ever purchased was the fine Expert Card Technique, and I still revisit that book nearly every day. My copy is the Dover reproduction of the second edition. I always heard that corrections were made to credit Dai Vernon with his contributions to the book, but my edition does not include those. In fact, by my count, I believe he's only credited twice. Anyway, would anyone be so kind to shed some light on Vernon's contributions? (I would just buy a newer edition, but I wouldn't want to part with my copy, for sentimental reasons)
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Postby Richard Hatch » 12/01/09 02:18 PM

The Third edition (1950) has two additional chapters, one by Vernon and one by Dr. Daley. Plus the added credits. Alas, it is getting rather hard to locate copies of the third edition, which seem to fetch from $50 to $100 last I checked...
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Postby El Mystico » 12/01/09 02:33 PM

...But, as far as I know, there is as yet no list of what, in the original, was Vernon's.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/01/09 04:24 PM

No, there is no definitive list. Cervon claimed to know exactly what material was Vernon's and what was Charlie Miller's, but he merely teased everyone that he knew and never made the information available. I suspect that there are still a few folks who know, but for some reason no one is willing to put the list down in print.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 12/01/09 05:54 PM

When I spoke to Fred Braue's daughter some years ago (during the Busby Wars)she told me that she had an entire trunk of materials relating to Royal Road and ECT. The answers could be in there as Braue took very good notes.
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Postby Justin Wheatley » 12/01/09 06:10 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys. This is dire news.
There are instances in the text where you can tell Dai Vernon's hand must have in the development. For instance, the item "Five Card Quibble" in the Sundry Sleights chapter is a fine example of multiple outs that is reminiscent of Vernon thinking.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/01/09 06:31 PM

Vernon was not the only person working on multiple outs, so it's dangerous to make a leap of logic like that.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 12/01/09 06:35 PM

Justin--Roberto Giobbi's recent lecture notebook on Vernon reproduces that additional chapter of Vernon's card magic that the first and second edition didn't have. It's called Homage to Dai Vernon: A Practical Seminar 2nd Edition. You'll find Vernon's All Backs routine and his tips on the Top Change plus more that I can't remember right now. Andy Greget might have a copy of the 3rd editon of ECT. Mr. Hatch is correct (as usual), the 3rd editon won't come cheap.

The Dr. Daley material is not in the Giobbi book. If you're curious, Daley's contribution was work on the Side Steal and some variations.

I believe Richard Hatch might have copies of Giobbi's book left in stock. It's a nicely produced spiral bound text that is brimming with scholarly observations of Vernon's magic. And at $30.00, it's not expensive.

I wonder if Vernon originated the Psychological Stop trick in Expert Card Technique. Anyone interested in this effect might want to check out Ken Krenzel's beautiful contingent strategy in Ken Krenzel's Close-Up Impact should the spectator insist that you deal past 7 cards.
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Postby Justin Wheatley » 12/01/09 06:52 PM

Richard-- I was only inferring that the thinking was similar to some Vernon ideas. Specifically, the use of card values as locators (and not multiple outs in general). But you're right, with something like this it would be foolish to make assumptions.

Leonard-- That's fantastic. Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely look into that.
You know, I've often wondered about that Stop Trick. It's so damned interesting, and I've gotten years of use out of it. I haven't read the Krenzel approach. I will check that out. Speaking of Giobbi, he also has a great out if the trick were to fail. His thinking on the move is incredibly valuable.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 12/01/09 07:19 PM

I have a copy of the 3rd edition that was published in England by, I think Faber, so you might want to look there. There was also a cheap paperback edition published in Canada by Coles with the amusing title, "Easy Card Tricks."
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 12/01/09 07:25 PM

Is Giobbi's Out strategy in Card College? I'll have to check that out. Krenzel's version is devious and fits right in with the presentation of the effect. If you have to resort to it, it doesn't feel like you took a detour to end the trick successfully.

The used magic book guys here in the U.S. might have a copy of that 3rd edition. Since Mr. Hatch didn't mention it, he probably doesn't have one for sale.
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Postby Justin Wheatley » 12/01/09 08:04 PM

"Easy Card Tricks?" That's very funny. I'll look into that.
And yes, Leonard, it's in Card College, although I couldn't tell you which one... maybe 5?
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Postby Joe Mckay » 12/01/09 08:31 PM

Here is an idea belonging to George B. Anderson. If you miss on the Perfect Stop effect, just keep dealing cards and secretly count how many cards you are off by. When you eventually stop at a card, you turn it face up. You say you will use this card to help find the spectator's selection. Hold that card and your deck behind your back. Place the face-up card next to where the selection is. Cut the cards and bring the deck forward. Spread the cards on the table and show that the card next to the face-up card is the selection! A nice out for when you miss on the 'miracle' finish...

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Postby Justin Wheatley » 12/01/09 08:53 PM

A very good idea! I usually turn up the card stopped at, and try spelling or counting using that card to arrive at the selection. Not always possible, but a fun exercise nonetheless. I will definitely play with the Anderson idea.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/01/09 08:54 PM

The stop trick in Expert Card Technique is nowhere near as good as the one in Harry Lorayne's version in "My Favourite Card Tricks". It is called "Out of My Control" I have been doing it for years and years and years. The main advantage is that it happens in the spectators hands. The effect is a stunner.

On the rare occasion that the spectator goes past the number I simply do the pass. It seems to me that this is the common sense and most direct way of solving the problem.

And how do I get the break? Easy. The card is seventh from the bottom in your hands. I simply say "You could have stopped me anywhere. You could have stopped me here (I remove three cards) you could have stopped me here (I remove another three cards) or you could have stopped me here (I remove one card only. In fact you could have stopped me anywhere" I then replace the seven cards and hold a break. And then at the right time I do the pass.

Any other out is silly in comparison,

I usually only have to do this two out of ten times at the very most. If you do the trick just as described in Harry's book you will have the best version available.
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Postby Justin Wheatley » 12/01/09 09:36 PM

I am not familiar with Lorayne's version. Is it a variation of the stop trick in ECT?

I do enjoy performing the trick in the spectator's hands, so the Lorayne version would be of interest. Going back to Giobbi, he has some fine psychological points in dealing with the trick in the person's hands rather than your own.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/01/09 10:03 PM

Harry's version is great and even fools magicians. It is essentially the same method as the one in Expert Card Technique but the spectator does the dealing rather than the performer. It is quite superb. I am not so keen on the out that Harry describes if they go past the number. Just use the pass though and it will give you an excuse to learn it.

Incidentally I don't believe there is such a thing as an invisible pass. Even the ones that are claimed to be invisible give the game away by the demeanour and unnatural actions of the performer. Just kick the spectator in the shins and when he is distracted then do the pass. If you find this solution a little drastic then use some other method of misdirection. Don't whatever you do perform the pass under the delusion that nobody can see you do it.They can. They might not know what has happened but they know that something has happened.
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Postby Barefoot Boy » 12/02/09 12:34 AM

Mark, you are going to stir up a hornet's nest with THAT statement!
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Postby Denis Behr » 12/02/09 05:11 AM

Actually I believe Paul Chosse repeatedly mentioned that the trick is incorrectly described in ECT and that of course the spectator MUST do the dealing for the trick to be effective.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/02/09 09:33 AM

I have no idea what Paul Pacific is talking about. He knows perfectly well that there is no such thing as an invisble pass. And to prove it I shall ask him directly. Now watch him squirm and avoid answering directly. Tact is Paul's middle name. Except where the Evasons are concerned of course. I was most amused when he told Jeff to stick the Dunninger award up a place that a psychic reverend like myself is loath to mention.

Paul. Have YOU ever seen an invisble pass in your life? Of course not. If it were invisible you would't have seen it would you? Think about it before you go on to my next paragraph.

Again I shall ask Paul in another way. Have you ever seen ANYONE do an invisible pass without either a tiny flicker or unnatural movement? Even if the pass itself is invisible (rarely) they give the game away by going into unnatural contortions and strange body language.

Why they don't just use a bit of misdirection I shall never know. Kick the floor and say "damn cockroaches" or something and do the pass then.

Besides good magicians should know how to use misdirection instictively. They spend so much time learning the wrong things for their own amusement instead of learning how to manipulate the PEOPLE. Magic is PEOPLE not fiddling about with a pack of cards for your own introverted amusement.
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Postby mrgoat » 12/02/09 09:42 AM

Heheheheh.

Your trolling is usually MUCH better than this, Rev. Come on, make an effort.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/02/09 09:43 AM

Goat Pillock. I am NOT trolling. I actually mean every word of what I just said. There is no such thing as an invisible pass in actual performance. You MUST use misdirection.
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Postby Denis Behr » 12/02/09 09:50 AM

Denis Behr wrote:Actually I believe Paul Chosse repeatedly mentioned that the trick is incorrectly described in ECT and that of course the spectator MUST do the dealing for the trick to be effective.

See HERE for some inside information (esp. Chosse's second post).

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/02/09 10:08 AM

I can't see it. The Magic Cafe has installed anti-Mark Lewis software ever since I spread a rumour that I was going to buy the magic cafe and Brookenfuehrer welshed on the deal. What did Paul Chosse say?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/02/09 10:09 AM

Mark, such insights are a hallmark one can use to distinguish those who perform from those who dabble. The dabblers are going to $pend greatly on what amuses in the mirror while performers tend to want reliable results then get paid and recomendations for further work. Those tells of trickery seem (in my experience) to impede audience reactions.
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Postby Denis Behr » 12/02/09 10:09 AM

I'll send it to you via mail.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 12/02/09 10:49 AM

Thanks to Denis for the promised e-mail.
Jonathon. Magic is a PERFORMING art. It should therefore be performed. Now I don't necessarily say it has to be performed for money. By all means show your friends and use it in social situations. But it should be PERFORMED for real people to find out what it is really about. Your mirror won't heckle you and say "I think you did something". Mirrors indeed are useful but they can't heckle you.You need the human element.Magic is PEOPLE!

Technical tommyrot is all very well and I can do a great deal of it myself. However it is a means to an end with me not the end itself. The technique should be perfected certainly but the purpose of the technique is not to amuse yourself or your fellow magicians. It is to PERFORM.

Unlike other professional magicians who refuse to perform at the drop of a hat I feel differently. It is my DUTY to perform at the drop of a hat. I never force my work on people. I don't have to. They beg me because of my reputation and I give in to the begging. It is by performing costantly that you become good whether you do it for money or not. Amateur magicians would become better at what they do if they find people and situations where they can actually do their tricks to normal human beings. And money does not even have to be part of the equation.

You HAVE to do this. How can you possibly become any good if you don't?

I shall quote from Faucett Ross regarding this. He starts talking about T.Nelson Downs:

"In less time than it takes to tell Tommy had the coins out and put on a thirty minute act right on the street corner. Whatever it requires to do such a thing I definitely haven't got. However Paul Rosini had it and Blackstone has it. I think it is this: They never forgot, nor allowed anyone else to forget, that they were a magician. I think you have to be this way in order to be a great success. Alexander Hermann, I'm sure was the same way"
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Postby mrgoat » 12/02/09 11:09 AM

Mark.Lewis wrote:Goat Pillock. I am NOT trolling. I actually mean every word of what I just said. There is no such thing as an invisible pass in actual performance. You MUST use misdirection.


I never said you didn't have to use misdirection. I said you were trolling.

And usually it's just slightly more clever than this.
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Postby El Mystico » 12/02/09 12:03 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote: I don't believe there is such a thing as an invisible pass.


And I thought you'd seen Fred Robinson work?
Maybe you didn't see his Invisible Pass.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/02/09 12:18 PM

I've certainly seen folks do an invisible Pass in performance, but Mark hasn't seen them. It's as simple as that. There are actually quite a few cardmen who can do an invisible Pass right now.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/02/09 12:52 PM

Mark.Lewis wrote:Magic is PEOPLE!


Amateur magicians would become better at what they do if they find people and situations where they can actually do their tricks to normal human beings. And money does not even have to be part of the equation.

You HAVE to do this. How can you possibly become any good if you don't?


Standing Ovation Mark.

Magicians used to ask my dad - how they could become a magician? My Dads answer was always - do shows lots of shows.

My dad used to say this quote that Jay Marshall liked so much he started to use it. He used to say the difference between an Amateur magician and a professional was 200 shows.

I always used the 200 shows as a yard stick to test a new routine or an idea or a move like a cull - I found in this test holding these untested ideas up with this 200 shows as the yard stick measurement of success was - that the idea evolved into something I could use and was good - or it was tossed out.

My dad used to say he used his audience to hone his act. He also said that he used his audience to edit his material. I could go on and on.

But having been involved in a magic shop for so many yeas I have found that some magicians don't want to perform and they are not interested in performing magic. Performing magic is very hard - and for magicians that are just starting out the risk of getting caught can be an obstacle.

However I have found that in getting caught - that inspires ways that can be worked out - that work - that may not have happened and in my opinion - this can't be learned in books. I agree that it only happens when performing.

Great post Mark.

Just my opinion.
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Postby El Mystico » 12/02/09 01:52 PM

There is a clever handling of the Stop Trick in Chronicles.
Terry Guyatt has a lovely approach too, but I don't think he has tipped it yet.
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Postby Kent Gunn » 12/02/09 02:36 PM

We're dancing around a bunch of really good points. Let me pull a Dustin and review.

Mark asserts there's no such thing as an invisible pass.
RK insists there is and that he knows several people who can do one.
Glenn states, quite succinctly, that public performance is key to improving.

Here's someone with nowhere near the knowledge leve of RK, nowhere near the number of shows that Glenn's done, and not enough wisdom to hang with [censored].

I love difficult sleights. I enjoy discovering them in arcane magic books and practicing them. A truly invisable pass is a reality. You can find RK's DVD on the pass and see the majority of popular technique done sort of insanely well. I've seen Steven Youell and Steve Dobson use passes, in a room full of magicians and fly by every set of staring eyes in the house. Howie Schwartzman is another guy who, standing in front of you will shift the deck with no tells, not one.

For me, that invisible pass grail is hiding in Ultimate Card Secrets. Some guy named Vernon has work in that book. Toss a card on top of his technique and you get a damned smooth passing action.

So, back to review mode:
Some jerk with no bona fides named Kent chirps in and says invisible passes are real and he hasn't seen them?!

Technique, raw and undiluted, in performing situations isn't worth the amount of research and practice I've put into it. Performing for non-magicians I use two passes; Cervon's free-turn, (you can see me do it here, if you want to abuse me)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTcmwFVXLzc

and I start my Ambitious routine with a Hermann, just like Vernons told me to, via the pages of "Stars of Magic". (If you ever see me do it, the technique is actually out of, "And a Pack of Cards".

Neither of those are invisible. Well, when Bruce Cervon did his pass it was, but I digress.

I've worked a steady magic gig three times in my life. The first two were as a teenager behind the counters of a couple of magic shop. The experience helped. That was so long ago it has little meaning though. Years later I got a gig at a restaurant in Florida. For two nights a week for three years I learned some very, very harsh lessons. (read David Stone's book if you ever even consider working for tips)

I learned that at tables, no trick should last more than two minutes. Every trick you do must me modular so it can end at several different places. Sleights that don't work every time are of no value. Sleights that aren't 270 degrees proof take a great deal of work to keep in the act.

For those three years I quit doing any reading, cool sleight research or hanging out with other magicians. I was doing the do two nights a week and considered it to be work. From those three years I have a collection of effects, about 45 minutes of material that I can pull out of a single pocket and entertain lay audiences. Nothing, nothing else I've ever done in magic holds a candle to what that one, long-term gig taught me. I could revisit what worked and what didn't with instanateous feedback two nights a week.

Review time again - Kent has no where near Glenn or Mark's time on stage and can probably be completely ignored. Completely, we don't even know why he's wasting your time if you're foolish enough to read this.

I learned smoothly executing the right sleight is important. I don't think it's any less important than any other facet of the art. It's only one facet though. I like to think great magicians consider it important and strive to perfect that part of their performances.

I learned not changing, tone, the speed my hands were traveling or the expression on my face whilst doing the do helped spectators experience real, imperceptable magic.

I learned my act would never be perfect. I would never please every spectator and that sometimes you're doing your schtick in front of [censored].

Sorry to ramble on. I'd like to see [censored] perform live. He would entertain me and fool me. I'd like to hang out with RK and discuss arcane pass variants. I'd like to buy Glenn a beer and later watch him do the cups and balls for a lay audience.

These things will never happen, but a guy can dream.

KG

PS last review point.
El Mystico - attempts to redirect the thread to its intended direction.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 12/02/09 03:02 PM

I've seen the shift done very well, smoothly and almost indetectably underfire ... BUT as a friend told me - you can amost always see something happen in peripheral vision that tells of trickery.

How many reports do we have of folks doing an Ambitious card routine using passes while the audience watches and having the audiece report that they were absolutely clueless about how that card simply was back on top of the pack?
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Postby Kent Gunn » 12/02/09 03:12 PM

Jon,

I know you've seen Howie. No tells, none, not one. If you saw one, you were hallucinating, (again).

Or not,

KG
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 12/02/09 03:41 PM

Just to get, partially, back on topic. The only sleight I would EVER use when doing my Out Of My Control is a double turnover if the spec. stopped with the vital card second from top of the dealt-onto-my-hand packet, or in the still-in-his hands deck. Of course, if you read my instructions, you'll see that it is almost impossible for the latter to happen. Anyway, doing a pass or a side steal, etc., would be defeating the purpose. For either of those, you need to hold or catch a break. That kind of sleight simply takes the effect out of the area in which I want it, and always wanted it. If the spec. deals more than one card past his card, you're MUCH better off ending as I suggest in my write-up of the trick. Incidentally, my version was one of Johnny Carson's favorite tricks. When asked to "do a trick," that's what he did - even did it once on the show. HL.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/02/09 04:03 PM

Jonathan wrote, "How many reports do we have of folks doing an Ambitious card routine using passes while the audience watches and having the audiece report that they were absolutely clueless about how that card simply was back on top of the pack?"

I do an Ambitious Card routine full of Passes and it's quite obvious from the reaction of the laymen watching that they have NO idea how the card is coming back to the top of the deck. If they suspected that something happened, they wouldn't be blown away by the reappearance of the card on top.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/02/09 04:03 PM

Hey, Kent, I'll probably come to the Bay area sometime in 2010 for a few days. If you want to sit and talk about the Pass, no problem.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/02/09 05:34 PM

I don't use the pass or the tilt when doing the ambitious card. Over the years I have cut down many of my routines and do my best to do what gives them maximum impact.

I find this maximum impact issue best solved by asking the audience. As the routines have evolved over time.

I think that the ambitious card should look like the effect of magic as it appears on the top or the bottom of the deck. Not by technique or manipulation. If it looks like technique or manipulation in my opinion there is no or little effect of magic.

All Backs is another routine that can get to have to many moves and then look like a show of moves instead of magic. I like to keep the show of moves routines for poker deals and the magic routines look move-less - and go for an effect of magic.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/02/09 05:48 PM

There is no appearance of technique or manipulation when I do this. It goes into the middle of the deck, I place the deck on the person's hand, and ask her to turn over the top card. BAM.
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