Too much

Discuss the latest feature articles in Genii.

Postby Guest » 10/09/06 07:13 PM

I have decided that I am posting too often. I have determined that I will stop posting for a while. You wanna know about me? Read David Ben. He knows more about me than I do.

Postby Guest » 10/09/06 07:29 PM

Rest up and come back sometime. I know I'd still like to hear about your vent sessions with Al Baker and Shari Lewis.

Thanks for talking to us.

Postby Guest » 10/09/06 07:42 PM

Mr. Verner

Thank you.


Postby Guest » 10/09/06 07:52 PM

Sorry to see you go. Hope you'll come back soon.

Postby Guest » 10/09/06 08:45 PM

Mr. Verner,

Thank you very much for all the time you have spent here thus far. I've been performing on the road for the past couple of weeks, so that is my excuse for the late response to your presence. I hope the flood of questions does give you some idea of how interested most of us here are in your father and your family life. I loved the new David Ben book and now getting your insight on top of it is just great. All of us have heros and it must be amusing for you that your father was a hero to so many of us here. I hope you will forgive the personal nature of the questions we may ask. I know that I am truly fascinated by these men who I can never know personally, especially those about whom less is known. For example, I heard that Francis Carlyle could recite poetry in the course of a performance that literally brought tears to his audience's eyes. That is fascinating to all of us struggling to get an emotional reaction from an audience. Though I am familiar with Sam Horowitz's Coin Box book and tricks in The Stars of Magic, I wonder what kind of performer he was. Was he serious? Did he become the character of Mohammed Bey when he performed? Was he good? Was he convincing? Again, thanks for your time and we do hope you stop by again soon. Thank you for sharing so much with David Ben too.
Mark Phillips

Postby Guest » 10/10/06 12:51 PM


I know I promised to stop posting for a while.I feel I just have to answer your questions regarding Sam Horowitz and Francis Carlyle. I can't imagine two magicians farther apart. Francis was a full blown drunk who was a brilliant mimic, a great comedian and one of the most lovable guys I ever met. Sam was withdrawn and I doubt he ever said a dozen words to me in the twenty years I knew him. It was not until I read the Ben book that I learned how high he was held in my father's estimation as a card expert. I don't remember him ever doing a single trick for me. I also found it odd that he wore that damned fez and tried to ignore his Jewish heritage.

Postby Guest » 10/10/06 01:13 PM

I know the mnemonics thread was locked out because of petty squabbling. My dad was a big fan of somone's system. It was ham, hat hen. Does anyone know who this system belonged to? The point of the story is that my father could do some amazing demonstrations, but his mistake was trying to use it remember phone numbers or addresses. He always got lost or called up some poor widow at three in the morning.

Postby Joe Hanosek » 10/10/06 01:24 PM

I think the notion of using letters to represent numbers (t,n, m, 1,2,3) was in the Memory Book by Harry Lorayne - but I think the principle is older than the book.
Joe Hanosek
Posts: 46
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Columbus, OH

Postby Guest » 10/10/06 06:10 PM

Hi again,

The course that your father mentioned on the Revelations videotapes was "The David Roth Memory Course." I don't know many more details other than it very closely resembles other subsequent courses with regard to the consonants and numbers. Thank you for your recollections. I always found the contrast between names "Horowitz" and "Mohammed" amusing. If I may ask another question, did your parents go to the theater, opera, vaudeville, concerts, etc. on a regular basis, or only when they knew someone performing? I always regret not going to more performances when I lived in New York.


Postby Guest » 10/10/06 06:40 PM

Dear Mr. Verner,
With all respect, I think perhaps you do not fully understand how precious your posts are to us life-long magic students, not to mention the REAL value of your adding so much to the historical record...

I say, please continue typing as MUCH of WHATEVER you want, WHEN-ever the muse strikes you. Your tales have been excellent.

You are in a unique position to say the least. Noone else could imagine the real stories you can relate.

Please do not stop! :whack: You can't get us all hooked and then just disappear! Come on man! I KNOW there must be other yarns you would like to spin! We want to hear ALL of them!

Best, David Cox
San Francisco, California

Postby Guest » 10/10/06 09:09 PM

It was ham, hat hen. Does anyone know who this system belonged to?
Ham, Hat, Hen would be 3-7-2 in the Nikola system (London 1927, according to bibliography in Tamariz' Mnemonica), republished as the last chapter in Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (1937). Might Nikola sound right?

Postby Guest » 10/11/06 07:10 AM

According to Chris Wasshuber's, where the course is available for a very reasonable price, the "Roth Memory Course" was first published in 1918 so it pre-dates Nicola. In addition to teaching one to memorize a shuffled deck of cards, the course also teaches the "Knight's Tour" which has been in the news lately.


Postby Max Maven » 10/11/06 12:39 PM

The mnemonic system used by Dai Vernon is known as "Number Alphabet." It goes back to Loisette, several hundred years ago.

It formed the basis for the Nikola system, but since then there have been some revisions. It's likely The Professor started with the earlier version, but by the 1980s he was using the newer one. (That's not speculation; we used it to code playing cards to each other.)
Max Maven
Posts: 383
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood, CA

Postby Guest » 10/11/06 01:03 PM

Originally posted by Max Maven:
(That's not speculation; we used it to code playing cards to each other.)
Surely you would have used thought reading?

On the other hand, probably not because that would have been cheating :)

Postby Guest » 10/29/06 10:19 AM

As usual, Max Maven knocks me out with his knowledge of the origins of the concepts used in our art.

I think that Max would agree that the proper name for the mnemonic system for translating numbers into words is the "Phonetic" Alphabet.

Thats because what matters is how a letter is sounded, not the letter itself. For example, the hard "g" sound is akin to the letter "k" or a hard "c." As such, it translates into the number 7 in most modern mnemonic systems. (Not Nikola, he did things his own way.) But, if a "g" is combined with "h" as in the word "tough" then it sounds like the "f" or "v" sound and translates into the number 8. Similarly, the letter "s" is usually a zero, but if combined with "h" the "sh" sound translates to a 6.

Mr. Verner suggests the words Hat, Hen, and Ham. This would appear to rule out the Nikola System since it uses "Hun" for the Two of Hearts, not "Hen." And, it also might rule out Harry Lorayne's system because he uses "Hone." Of course, Mr. Verner may not recall the exact words and was merely using examples.

I wonder which system The Professor did use. Max would know.

Dennis Loomis

Postby Guest » 10/29/06 07:18 PM

Since vowels have no value in these systems, hun or hen would be equivalent.

The difference between the Roth system and the Nikola system is that Roth uses
1 = t or d
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = l
6 = j, soft g, sh, ch
7 = k, hard c, hard g
8 = f, v, ph
9 = p or b
0 = s, soft c, z.

In the Nikola system

1 = l
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = f, v
6 = p, b
7 = t, d
8 = sh or ch
9 = k or g
0 = s, z

Harry Lorayne's system is based on the system Roth used. So is Zufall's.

Why Nikola chose the figure alphabet he used is a mystery to me. But with mnemonics, it's a case of what works for the user.

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 10/30/06 07:17 AM

Originally posted by Bill Palmer:
Harry Lorayne's system is based on the system Roth used. So is Zufall's.
I believe I mentioned in another thread that Zufall had both studied and taught the Berol System. Do you have any idea how that compared to the Roth method? Is it possible that Zufall's was actually based on the Berol System rather than the Roth System? I'm still trying to track down the Berol pamphlets to get the full info, but I'm curious if you have any knowledge of it.

Jim Maloney_dup1
Posts: 1709
Joined: 07/23/01 12:00 PM
Location: Northern New Jersey

Postby Guest » 10/30/06 08:46 AM

There's a great history of the phonetic alphabet, and how it developed, at:

I have more links in my "History of Memory" post , as well.

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Postby Harry Lorayne » 10/30/06 09:05 AM

Boy! Such knowledge, such research! I never, in any of my 12 books on the subject, taught hat, hen, ham. That goes way back to my first book in 1956. Dennis: The basic word should never be used for a card word. That's why "hone" is correct for the 2H. A little closer reading is called for.

Dai and I NEVER used a specific set of words. I've written about this a a different thread on this forum. Dai, in his 90s, after not having done it for years, did it with me when I was visiting the Magic Castle, did it perfectly. But the words used WERE MADE UP AT THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT, to fit the circumstances. He' make a side remark; I knew exactly when he was coding.

I think, as some of the posts here are suggesting, that we should talk people into flying byplanes, rather than jets. Sure, send them to David Roth, who was a friend, we corresponded often, and in his later years (he died at 96) he STARTED TO USE MY IDEAS. Anyway... HARRY LORAYNE.
Harry Lorayne
Posts: 960
Joined: 01/22/08 01:00 PM
Location: NY

Postby Guest » 10/30/06 06:12 PM

It was your first book (How to Develop A Super Power Memory) that I looked in when making my post. Mr. Verner did not specify whether he was citing the basic pegs or the card words. Of course, as a code, you can make up any appropriate word on the spot. As long as you both are using the same phonetic alphabet, the exact words are irrelevant. But, for memory work you need consistant images.

This is all stuff I learned from you, Harry. And it has benefited me my entire life. I thank you again, as I have several times before.

Dennis Loomis

Postby Guest » 11/01/06 01:18 AM


If you are referring to my post, perhaps you should read it more closely. I NEVER said you used hat, hen and ham. Nobody said YOU used hat, hen, ham.

In fact, you used (for your first three pegs in the 20 number memory) tie, Noah, Ma.

I used your early book Instant Mind Power to learn to do the 20 object memory.

For a few years, I taught a memory course for our local "sundry school" and used your book The Memory Book as the basis for the course. I sold several hundred copies of your book to my students. I didn't carry them, myself. I had them go to the local bookstore to get them.

Anyway, on page 137 of the hardbacked edition of The Memory Book you do use two out of the three pegs I mentioned to remember cards, in the same sequence they were quoted in.

Roth used hat, hen, ham as the first three pegs in his numerical sequence, as I am sure you are aware.

And I did not make an error when I stated that hun and hen would be equivalent in both Roth and Nikola.

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