The story of Triumph

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

Postby Philippe Noël » 01/06/10 03:13 PM

Thodore Deland would be the first to have had the idea of a trick where you shuffle cards face up and face down and then find that all the cards are facing the same way. He created this trick in 1914 and called it "Inverto".(Richard, can you confirm?) After that, many methods were invented to create the same effect with ordinary cards. For example, Charles T. Jordan published "The reversed card" in 1920, Sid Lorraine published the "Slop Shuffle" in 1937, John Northern Hilliard published two methods in 1938 in Greater Magic. So Vernon must have played with the effect during that time. But Vernon and his friend Doc Daley were very interested by false riffle shuffles and the opportunities that they offer to create new effects. It must have been Vernon who had first the idea to use a pull through shuffle or a strip out shuffle with block transfer to do the effect. Vernon in Revelation dvd's also explain that an effect by Jack Mc Millan gave him the idea for his multiple shift and after for his Triumph shuffle which is in fact an easy way to do a strip out shuffle. Vernon finally published his effect in 1946 in the Stars of magic series.
Do you think this story is plausible?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/06/10 03:27 PM

DeLand's "Inverto" does not involve any shuffling or a selected card. Every other card in the deck is double-backed (this is the first trick in the United States in which a double-backed card was used in the deck).

You dealt the deck to the table, one card at a time, dealing each double-backed card face down, then turning the normal card which follows it face up. This is continued for the entire deck. There is no question the cards are mixed face up and face down.

The deck is secretly turned over and then spread out to reveal all the cards now face down.

DeLand also incorporated the Svengali principle into another version of "Inverto," so the deck could be displayed and the extra backs concealed.

DeLand marketed "Inverto" in August 1914. The most closely related items are Jordan's "Ultimo," which steals the effect of Inverto in the second trick explained in the instructions, and Donald Holmes' "Reverso Deck" (but I have been unable to find an instruction sheet for the latter, so have no idea if he credits DeLand or not). Both of these variations are based on Ford Rogers' "Ever-Ready" Forcing Deck, first marketed in 1912, in which pairs of cards are glued together at one end.
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Postby mrgoat » 01/06/10 04:12 PM

PAGING GLENN BISHOP
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Postby David Ben » 01/06/10 06:12 PM

Vernon's "Triumph" shuffle was most likely the convergence of many threads. Vernon would have seen his friend Arthur Finley perform a similar effect, one using gaffed cards. Whether that was a variation of a Deland item is not known. Sid Lorraine came up with the Slop Shuffle in the 1920s, and was performing it widely at the IBM Convention in 1927. Faucett Ross wrote up a detailed description of it in one of his letters of that year, adding that it was taught to him by Sid at the convention. Vernon would have been familiar with it shortly afterward.

Vernon used to perform "the effect" using a pull-out shuffle sequence. He simplified the technique into the shuffle used in Triumph as he thought the pull-out technique would be beyond the grasp of most magicians. His inspiration for the sliding over of the top card to create the illusion of the square up, however, most likely came from Laurie Ireland's "A Perfect False Riffle Shuffle" on page 5 of "Ireland's New Card and Coin Manipulation", published in 1935. (I flagged this in the Zarrow book.) Whether Vernon read it in Ireland's publication first, or saw Ireland perform it years before is unknown. Vernon certainly spent a great deal of time in Chicago in 1933 and, perhaps learned it while there. Vernon's application of the block transfer and general finesse of the shuffle, however are quantum leaps over Ireland's. Daley and his interest in riffle work didn't really come on the scene until years later.
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Postby Justin Wheatley » 01/07/10 03:06 AM

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but on one of the Revalations tapes, doesn't Vernon attribute his inspiration for the Triumph shuffle to Jack McMillen's card rise technique?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/07/10 09:29 AM

The Triumph Shuffle as largescale application of the plunger principle?
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Postby David Ben » 01/07/10 11:13 AM

Justin

While Vernon may have said Jack McMillen's card rise was his inspiration for Triumph in the Revelations tapes, he is both right and wrong. What he's really saying is that as a short answer, yes. The short answer, however, is a gross simplification because the real answer would take far too much time to elaborate on how the dots were all connected. Vernon developed many self-defense mechanics over the years to deal with magicians who took his material, and made comments about the origin of items. It was simpler to be nice and offer sound bite answers.

Now, I'm not saying that that was the main reason he said it was simply McMillen's principle. There are other factors. He is well into his 80s when those tapes were made, they were done primarily off-the-cuff - Vernon not understanding the true nature of the taping at the time. Even if he understood that the ultimate goal of the production was the commercial release of the series, he may not have elaborated further on the development details of each piece, as he conditioned himself for decades to offer sound bites.

I'm not sure whether I mentioned this in any other posts as I will elaborate on it further in a future publication, but Vernon first learned of the "McMillen" plunger principle at least a decade before Jack McMillen thought of it. When Charlie Miller moved to the West coast in the 1930s and spent time with Jud Brown and Jack McMillen, he wrote an extensive description of the McMillen Card Rise in a letter to Vernon. Vernon commented that he was already well acquainted with the principle.

I believe that Vernon was acquainted with the principle because he learned it from Dad Stevens, either by personal instruction or by reconstruction. The Stevens Control is really the plunger principle but instead of causing a card to rise out or move from the end of the pack, you cause a card to "pop" out from the back. This is not very well understood. It is probably one of the reasons few people can do the move well. They try to jam the halves together, and have no control over how the card "pops" out. If you think of it as the Jack McMillen Rising Cards with the plunger principle, then the single card "pops" out with uniform precision every time.

So, really the shuffle in Triumph is a combination of many things, and many sources of inspiration, or strands. As mentioned earlier, however, that Laurie Ireland shuffle may have been the final strand that put it all into place. It's hard to find nowadays but well worth the hunt.
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Postby Justin Wheatley » 01/07/10 01:38 PM

Wow, thanks a lot for that clarification, Mr. Ben. I can't wait to read the next installment of your book!
That is very interesting about his prior knowledge of the principle.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 01/08/10 04:42 AM

Mr. Ben,

I have asked on this forum before and have often wondered. Where's does the Leipzig gaffed deck triumph effect (I believe sold as cheek to cheek)fit into teh chronology?

Was it possible Vernon was trying to replicate this effect with regular cards? Or was Leipzig trying to duplicate Vernon's effect with gaffs?
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Postby Jim Maloney » 01/08/10 09:01 AM

Leipzig's effect (described in the Leipzig book under "Reverso") is, as far as I can tell, Deland's "Inverto".

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/08/10 11:24 AM

Yes, the trick Leipzig performed was indeed DeLand's. Nothing original.
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Postby Jim Maloney » 01/08/10 04:29 PM

There is reason to believe that Leipzig included an All Backs phase in the trick, based on info Glenn Bishop has provided here. But yes, as published in the Leipzig book, there's isn't anything that Deland didn't already do, and no reason to think that Leipzig preceded him.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/08/10 06:47 PM

I can't imagine that an All Backs phase in Inverto would serve any purpose other than to expose the gimmick. Besides, it doesn't make sense in that context.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 01/08/10 09:26 PM

David Ben wrote:Justin

While Vernon may have said Jack McMillen's card rise was his inspiration for Triumph in the Revelations tapes, he is both right and wrong. What he's really saying is that as a short answer, yes. The short answer, however, is a gross simplification because the real answer would take far too much time to elaborate on how the dots were all connected. Vernon developed many self-defense mechanics over the years to deal with magicians who took his material, and made comments about the origin of items. It was simpler to be nice and offer sound bite answers.

Now, I'm not saying that that was the main reason he said it was simply McMillen's principle. There are other factors. He is well into his 80s when those tapes were made, they were done primarily off-the-cuff - Vernon not understanding the true nature of the taping at the time. Even if he understood that the ultimate goal of the production was the commercial release of the series, he may not have elaborated further on the development details of each piece, as he conditioned himself for decades to offer sound bites.

I'm not sure whether I mentioned this in any other posts as I will elaborate on it further in a future publication, but Vernon first learned of the "McMillen" plunger principle at least a decade before Jack McMillen thought of it. When Charlie Miller moved to the West coast in the 1930s and spent time with Jud Brown and Jack McMillen, he wrote an extensive description of the McMillen Card Rise in a letter to Vernon. Vernon commented that he was already well acquainted with the principle.

I believe that Vernon was acquainted with the principle because he learned it from Dad Stevens, either by personal instruction or by reconstruction. The Stevens Control is really the plunger principle but instead of causing a card to rise out or move from the end of the pack, you cause a card to "pop" out from the back. This is not very well understood. It is probably one of the reasons few people can do the move well. They try to jam the halves together, and have no control over how the card "pops" out. If you think of it as the Jack McMillen Rising Cards with the plunger principle, then the single card "pops" out with uniform precision every time.

So, really the shuffle in Triumph is a combination of many things, and many sources of inspiration, or strands. As mentioned earlier, however, that Laurie Ireland shuffle may have been the final strand that put it all into place. It's hard to find nowadays but well worth the hunt.


There's a lot of speculating going on in that paragraph that doesn't appear to be supported by the facts. It's okay to speculate, but I hope when you write your books on Vernon you make clear what is speculation without evidence (opinion), what is a probable conclusion drawn from balancing whatever facts are present, and what is cold hard fact established from primary source material.

The reason I say this is that it is clear from some of the follow up comments in this thread that people who perhaps have little experience with academic standards of research and analysis are taking your wild speculation as the truth.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/08/10 09:39 PM

David Ben knows more about Vernon and Stevens than anyone living, so I would hold your comments about "wild speculation" until you've seen the books. Making comments like that based upon a helpful and brief reply on a internet Forum is NOT helpful at all.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 01/08/10 09:39 PM

Young Nathan is being his usual irritating self. He must remember that when he baits me I have a thick skin and merely sniff with a superior smile thinking that youth is wasted on the young.

Alas David Ben may well react differently. I am already visualising the steam coming out of his ears. He went berserk when I goaded Roger to point out a spelling mistake in the Vernon book. God alone knows what he will say when he sees your post.

I must urge David to use a psychic technique to deal with silly young Nathan. Visualise a white light of love around him and he won't seem so bad.

Mind you I did try that with the Goat but I am afraid it didn't work.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 01/08/10 10:24 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:David Ben knows more about Vernon and Stevens than anyone living, so I would hold your comments about "wild speculation" until you've seen the books. Making comments like that based upon a helpful and brief reply on a internet Forum is NOT helpful at all.


Don't make the assumption I was referring to you when I mentioned follow-up comment.

In any case, there are a number of people who know a great deal about Vernon and actually knew him, which is an advantage: Chuck Fayne, Persi Diaconis, Steve Freeman and Ricky Jay.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/08/10 11:26 PM

Mr. Ben: Thank you for your insightful comments in this thread. They are appreciated!
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Postby Ryan Matney » 01/13/10 02:28 PM

Did Vernon actually write the Leipzig book himself or was it ghosted by Ganson? Just wondering because one would think he knew the Deland trick and would not have given credit to Leipzig.

Any other explanation for how Deland's trick ended up in the book?
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Postby Jim Maloney » 01/13/10 02:49 PM

There was no ghost writer: Ganson has always been fully credited as the author. The full reference for the book would be:

Title: Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig
Author: Lewis Ganson
Publisher: Harry Stanley/Unique Magic Studio
Date: 1963

Vernon & Ganson corresponded across the Atlantic to write the book, with a lot of it being dictated on tape. I don't doubt that Leipzig used the DeLand item, but considering the book was written nearly a quarter of a century after Leipzig's passing (and nearly half a century after the DeLand item was first released), it's not surprising that there would be some inaccuracies.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/13/10 03:54 PM

While DeLand was a highly celebrated in his day (1906-1915), he was forgotten by the mid 1920s and his tricks were being counterfeited by most dealers around the world with no credit. Today most people think of "Inverto" only as U.F. Grant's "Cheek to Cheek," which is a shame.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/14/10 10:15 AM

How was the quality of the engraving/printing of the originals and derivitive products over time?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/14/10 11:27 AM

The double-backed cards that DeLand had printed for Inverto are beautiful, with a slick coating that exactly matches the coating of the Steamboat decks they were to be used with.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/14/10 11:45 AM

Was the stripper option explored early in having packs with so many gaffs?

In hindsight it seems a natural idea.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/14/10 12:52 PM

The original "Dollar Deck" was not stripped in 1914--that was something Adams added in 1919, and it might well have been suggested by DeLand.

"Inverto" (1914) was not a stripped deck.

DeLand did strip his "Wonder Deck"--the edge-reading cards--in 1915..
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