Tony Giorgio

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Postby Richard Stokes » 12/06/05 05:37 PM

Several years ago Tony Giorgio wrote an interesting series of columns on card cheats and confidence tricks. He also queried the Erdnase orthodoxy.
I believe he intended to publish a book - but I don't think it was ever finalised. Does anyone know if this material will be compiled and released?
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Postby Guest » 12/07/05 03:44 PM

In 1983, writer/magician Bill Woodfield, who was writing for an ABC television series entitled "Masquerade" (a spy series very simllar to "Mission Impossible"), brought me on to be the technical advisor for episodes involving magic and gambling. I had previously served as the technical advisor on 10 episodes of "Mission Impossible."

When "Masquerade" hired me, I managed--with Woodfield's help--to bring on Charlie Miller as my assistant. Unfortunately, due to poor ratings, "Masquerade" suffered an early demise. Between jobs (a Hollywood euphamism for unemployment), I began writing a book about the true and actual use of sleight of hand by card and dice cheats.

I asked Charlie--who was also between jobs--to assist me with the organization and recordation of my material, with the understanding that I would give him credit as a co-author and a share in possible profits. Shortly after we began, Charlie expressed misgivings about being involved in an expose of card cheaters' subterfuges.

Because of movie and television work, I could not devote much time to writing the book. I then gave my material to Bill Woodfield for organization and editing. Bill would be credited as a co-author. Due to the untimely death of Woodfield and my recovery from illness and three major surgeries over a seven year period, my book was never completed.

However, I have not abandoned the idea of publishing books and manuscripts about my peregrinations in the world of twentieth century card and dice cheaters, con men and carnival grifters, and what I learned there.

I am currently preparing a limited edition manuscript on hand-mucking, the art and its use in actual play in various games. If you or anyone else is interested, please let me know.

Tgiorgio@aol.com
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Postby Guest » 12/07/05 05:47 PM

Dear Mr. Giorgio

I know many, many people who would love an "American" version of "Road Hustler!" Steve Forte's great new book on Casino protection gives us the low down on those venues, you are the best candidate I know to give us the real picture of everywhere else!
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Postby Guest » 12/07/05 09:16 PM

I recall the Mission Impossible episode "Odds On Evil" featuring luminous readers only visible through special contacts, used to take down a big Baccarat game.

It also featured hand mucking by "Rollin Hand" who, preparing for the big game, displayed a card in rear palm to another of the IM team.

He had an index of 13 cards in his pocket, and was prepared to switch in any hand he needed.

I must have seen this as a rerun in the 70's. It first aired when in 1966 when I was eight.

The mark/villain, who thinks he knows the identities of the cards, goes all-in, and loses, saying:"That is not possible. That. Is. NOT. POSSIBLE!"

Martin Landau looks at him coolly and says "But M'sieu ... in baccarat, anything is possible."

Was that one of the ones you advised on, Mr. Giorgio?
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Postby Richard Stokes » 12/18/05 04:38 PM

Thanks for those replies to my earlier inquiry.
I'm definitely interested in how the real cons were carried out.
And how they have evolved over time.
I enjoy the slick entertainment shows such as 'Hustle' from the UK which relaunched the career of Robert Vaughn.
But I don't take their content too seriously.
Perhaps the sharpest article on Hollywood scams is 'Don't Try This At Home' by satirist Joe Queenan who asserts :" movies are an inherently stupid art form that often relies on scams, tricks, stunts, gambits, ploys, ruses, or gags that are logically or physically impossible, and often both... Things that work in the movies simply do not work in real life."
Even talented writers such as David Mamet fall into this razzle-dazzle trap. He started off strongly with 'House of Games' but kept returning unconvincingly to this 'confidence trick' arena. Alas, his later movies come across as increasingly implausible and lame.
Arguably, the Argentine movie, Nine Queens, raised the game.
And I'm not sure if the entertainment con caper can be pushed any further.
I'm also interested in how far the 'true tales' of con artists are nothing but a confidence trick on the public.' Catch Me if You Can' seemed to belong to this dubious genre. Why should we trust these reformed con-artists when they write about their autobiographical exploits?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/18/05 08:52 PM

There are certain conventions in fiction that we all accept as true, such as "knocking someone out."
If you hit someone on the head hard enough to knock them unconscious, you will probably crack their skull. People don't just get knocked unconscious and then wake up later with a bit of a headache.
Yet you see this stupidity all the time in books, movies, radio shows, etc.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 12/19/05 04:53 AM

Not totally sure of that, Richard. Many years ago I was running along a lino floor in socks (not the brightest thing to do I grant you) when I slipped and had a head/door frame interface. I'm only aware of running, then lying on the ground a few minutes later.

I'm pretty sure I was unconcious for a few minutes, but didn't crack my skull. I was kept overnight in hospital checking for concussion, but left the next morning. With a bastard of a headache...

Take care, Ian
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Postby Terry » 12/19/05 07:19 PM

There are certain conventions in fiction that we all accept as true, such as "knocking someone out."
People don't just get knocked unconscious and then wake up later with a bit of a headache.
Yet you see this stupidity all the time in books, movies, radio shows, etc.
Richard,

You speak on a subject you know nothing about. I can hit you with an open hand, you will drop like a rag unconscious and you will wake up with a real nice headache.

Using the same technique only with a little more force would kill you.

Don't believe it? Ask me to demonstrate any time we may be at the same convention. You could also ask any of George A. Dillman's students.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 12/19/05 08:25 PM

People are knocked out on an infrequent but regular basis in NFL games.

Note: I am not threatening to do this to Richard.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/19/05 08:36 PM

While I prefer the Vulcan Nerve Pinch, I wonder what all this has to do with the original question.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/19/05 11:33 PM

Once, while running laps at baseball practice, I fell over and went unconcious. Nobody hit me -- I was just out of shape and it was hot.

I got better, though.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 12/20/05 09:53 AM

I've been knocked out four times. (True statement)The second time I had 48-hour amnesia. Yes, you are "out" and seldom remember much and the headaches are real.

Perhaps this explains some of my odd behavior from time to time?

Whever I read Don England's T.K.O. book, my hands tremble a bit...

Onward...
(Just turn me in the right direction)
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Postby Robert Allen » 12/20/05 10:42 AM

Dillman is a fraud. And the students that his moves affect are just training to be knocked out, not training to knock out outers.
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Postby Terry » 12/20/05 06:07 PM

Note: I am not threatening to do this to Richard.
I wasn't threatening Richard in my post, only offering to prove him wrong on his opinion.


Dillman is a fraud. And the students that his moves affect are just training to be knocked out, not training to knock out outers.
Re Dillman, you have proof? I can verify his techniques work and work well.

For your edification, students undergo the knock out techniques, joint/nerve manipulation, etc. so they understand what they will be doing to an attacker.
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Postby Robert Allen » 12/20/05 08:10 PM

Hitting nerve centers works fine. Claiming that one can set up a sequence of strikes that pre-program death or other such things is not. This is no different than the hoopla of the Aikido practitioners who claim to be able to project Chi to effect targets, along with Gellers claims to TK.

To hear is to disbelieve. To see is to be decieved. To feel is to believe.

...

Backup mass kicks ass.
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Postby Jason England » 12/21/05 04:02 AM

Originally posted by Terry Terrell:
Dillman is a fraud. And the students that his moves affect are just training to be knocked out, not training to knock out outers.
Re Dillman, you have proof? I can verify his techniques work and work well.

For your edification, students undergo the knock out techniques, joint/nerve manipulation, etc. so they understand what they will be doing to an attacker. [/QB]
Dillman may be an accomplished martial artist, or he may not be. And there are certainly pressure points and controlling grips that can do some interesting things in the world of martial arts. But his talk of Dim Mak, and his ability to throw, stun or "drop" an opponent without touching them is ridiculous.

Here is an excerpt from a recent James Randi page:

SOUNDS LIKE A POOR EXCUSE

Danish reader Claus Larsen tells us about one of the programs in the Is It Real? series on the National Geographic Channel:

In the show "Superhuman Powers" (where Gary Schwarz and John Hagelin are also spouting their crap), there's one classic excuse from a martial arts expert and "Chi" thrower, George Dillman. After one of his top students has unsuccessfully tried to knock down [Luigi] Garlaschelli with "Chi," Dillman offers this explanation on why it didn't work:


The skeptic was a totally non-believer. Plus I don't know if I should say that on film but if the guy had his tongue in the wrong position in the mouth, that can also nullify it. You can nullify it you can nullify a lot of things. In fact, you can nullify it if you raise those big toes! If I say I'm going to knock you out, and you raise one toe, and push one toe down....I can't knock you out. And then, if I go to try again, you reverse it. If you keep doing this, I won't knock you out.

Gee, whiz...not much use for this "Chi" force, then...

So it would appear, Claus. Id never heard this variety of alibi before, but Im not much surprised by it. We at the JREF will intensively research tongue positions and toe movements to provide sure-fire protection for our readers against the magic of Chi-throwing, which I believe is closely related to bull-throwing. I suspect that almost any tongue-in-cheek maneuver will be sufficient protection.
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Postby KirkG » 12/21/05 09:03 AM

Very Funny Jason!

Kirk
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Postby Terry » 12/21/05 04:11 PM

Claiming that one can set up a sequence of strikes that pre-program death or other such things is not. This is no different than the hoopla of the Aikido practitioners who claim to be able to project Chi to effect targets, along with Gellers claims to TK.
Robert - in your first post you stated Dillman was a fraud. You never mentioned anything about knockouts using Chi, Dimmak, death touch, etc. in your post. You may want to be more specific in your accusations.

My initial post referenced a direct physical strike with an open hand and not some fantasy technique.


Jason - thanks for the info, but I'll pass on the Houdini copycat's "exposes". Copycat in that:

Houdini - world famous escape artist who turned to exposing spiritual mediums to keep his career on top.

Randi - mediocre escape artist who turned to exposing things to try and keep a "career" going.
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Postby Robert Allen » 12/21/05 06:13 PM

Terry Wrote:

Robert - in your first post you stated Dillman was a fraud. You never mentioned anything about knockouts using Chi, Dimmak, death touch, etc. in your post. You may want to be more specific in your accusations.

My initial post referenced a direct physical strike with an open hand and not some fantasy technique.

Previous to that Richard wrote:


If you hit someone on the head hard enough to knock them unconscious, you will probably crack their skull. People don't just get knocked unconscious and then wake up later with a bit of a headache.
Relative to the two posts above:

1. Indeed, Richards comment about "you will probably crack their skull" is not necessarily true. However his second statement about people getting knocked unconscious is indeed accurate. Any loss of consciousness due to a blow to the head is by definition a concussion, and depending on a variety of factors it can be dangerous. No blow to the head which is effective in self defense is completely safe.

2. Terry, you dropped Dillmans name in an obvious effort to validate your opinion. Dillman is well known as an outspoken advocate of his system of nerve strikes. I'm not sure if he calls it Dim Mak but that's what many of his adherants call it. If it's a "fantasy" technique then it's a fantasy created by Dillman.

3. I have little doubt you can hit someone hard enough to the temple or to the back of the neck to stun someone. So can I, and so can anyone who's been trained in hitting. But if you do render them unconscious, even if they do awaken shortly thereater, the fact remains that they have received a concussion and it is somewhat dangerous, which is what Richards original point was.

4. I admit that if you took my comment that "Dillman is a fraud" to mean that I didn't believe he could knock someone out that my comment was unclear. I just mean that his claims, and the claims of his students, that he can execute multiple nerve strikes seperated by several minutes, using the initial strike as a setup and a final strike as the trigger, to induce various effects including unconciousness or death, is a fraud. Funny thing is I just saw one of his students on TV last week trying to demo some of this stuff to a woman reporter who doubted it. He was unable to make it work on her. Of course he made it work quite effectively on his own students, leading to my comment that it was amazing to me that a student would pay an instructor to learn how to lose a fight, which it's quite apparent is all that the students were learning in this case.

Happy holidays,
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/21/05 10:53 PM

Originally posted by Tony Giorgio:
I am currently preparing a limited edition manuscript on hand-mucking, the art and its use in actual play in various games. If you or anyone else is interested, please let me know.

Tgiorgio@aol.com
I'm interested . . . .
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Postby Ryan Matney » 12/21/05 11:18 PM

I used to enjoy Mr. Giorgio's columns in Genii several years ago. I remember in one he promised in the next article he would tell why he thought Erdnase never made a move under fire.

I was looking forward to reading this and I don't recall ever seing it. Did I miss it somehow?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/22/05 08:48 AM

I'm very glad to hear that if someone whacks me on the head I won't necessarilty croak. Now can we please leave the other stuff resulting from that behind and continue on the topic of Tony Giorgio.
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Postby Guest » 12/26/05 05:18 PM

Dear Mr. Giorgio, I am interested as well.

Winston
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Postby Guest » 12/29/05 07:36 AM

I have been reading a lot of old Genii's (I am in the process of completing a full run from 1979 to the present).

Tony Giorgio's column is one of the first I read.

I would love to hear more form Tony in future issues of Genii.
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