Card Stars Of the U. S. A. 21st Century

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Bill Duncan » 06/24/02 11:38 PM

On page 301 of the Collected Almanac our host suggests updating the "top ten" card stars listed in Greater Magic (c. 1938) as only two of those listed were still alive.

Sadly, many of those Richard suggested back in 1985 as new additions to this list, have also passed.

Perhaps it's time to make the list again for our new century? Whom would you nominate for such a list?
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Postby John Pezzullo » 06/25/02 03:21 AM

In another eighteen years or so I'd say that we'll need to add young Emma Kaufman's name to the list.

:)
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/25/02 07:56 AM

Persi Diaconis
Steve Freeman
Earl Nelson
Larry Jennings (*)
Bruce Cervon
Frank Shields (*)
Herb Zarrow
Martin Nash
Derek Dingle
Bob Stencel
Ricky Jay
Frank Robinson
Alexander Elmsley

(I can only nominate those I have seen)

(*) deceased
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/25/02 08:18 AM

Not to take away from those on your list who are deceased, but I would like to nominate the following living gentlemen to replace them (that sounds bad, but I'm operating under the assumption that the list was meant to have only the living on it):

Michael Weber
Darwin Ortiz
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Postby Brian Morton » 06/25/02 08:53 AM

Two names immediately come up for me:

Max Maven -- (or should I say, "Phil Goldstein," because he's the guy who "sits in a room and thinks up card tricks). Just because he does mentalism doesn't mean he's not an awesome card man. Saw him lecture at Denny's and do a killer knucklebuster card trick. "Why? Well, because I can ."

Howard Schwarzman -- Howie knew Vernon before Jennings, before Ricky Jay, before Bruce Cervon, before anyone on the West Coast. Howie pretty much wrote Cliff Green's "Professional Card Magic." Howie met and knew nearly every one of the greats of the last three-quarters of a century. And at 75 years old, he still has the chops to fool a lot of today's movers and shakers in the card world.

brian :cool:
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Postby Brian Marks » 06/25/02 02:46 PM

Harry Lorrayne
Ed Marlo* (I never saw him but...)
Simon Aronson
David Solomon
Simon Lovel
Juan Tamiriz
Fran Garcia*
Darwin Ortiz
Randy Wakeman
Ken Krenzel
Lennart Green
Paul Cummins
Camille Esquez (I hoped I spelled it right)
Roberto Giabbi
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Postby Bill McFadden » 06/25/02 07:34 PM

Let us not forget Bill Malone. Jim Swain.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 06/25/02 10:28 PM

Originally posted by Brian Wendell Morton:
Two names immediately come up for me:
Max Maven
Howard Schwarzman
A STRONG second for both.
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Postby Alpen » 06/25/02 11:36 PM

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Postby John Pezzullo » 06/26/02 03:46 AM

The forum topic reads "Card Stars of the U.S.A. - 21st Century"..... here's my nomination for a Card Star living outside of the USA:

Australia's very own Andrew Wimhurst, a highly skilled 'cardician' who knows how to translate his skill into engaging and entertaining performances for lay audiences.

A friendly and down-to-earth guy as well.
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Postby Matthew Field » 06/26/02 06:52 AM

Harvey Rosenthal
Steve Draun
Allan Ackerman
Wesley James
Paul Cummins
Lee Asher

----------------
Matthew Field (below the line)
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Postby Guest » 06/26/02 01:57 PM

Ray Kosby, Bill Goodwin and Guy Hollingworth
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Postby Jackie Huang » 06/26/02 01:58 PM

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
Perhaps it's time to make the list again for our new century? Whom would you nominate for such a list?
What are the criteria? Skill, style, creativity (i.e. inventing new effects and methods), performance (i.e. entertaining an audience), influence (to other magicians)? All of the above?
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/26/02 04:07 PM

Criteria? Ummm... buys us drinks?
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 06/26/02 04:18 PM

In that case, I nominate Neil Foster, who bought me my first beer, when I was 17. But Neil's not with us anymore so I guess that doesn't count ... Oh well, I don't care - I nominate him anyway! Cheers!
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Postby Jeffrey Cowan » 06/26/02 05:21 PM

Steve Forte. He may not do many ace assemblies, but good lord can he handle a deck of cards. Darryl, John Bannon and Simon Aronson also should be on such a list for their creative contributions and skill too. If technique is the primary consideration, I'd also mention Gary Plants simply for the quality of his bottoms, seconds and center's. If performaning abilities are the primary consideration, you gotta give consideration to "multi-threat" guys like David Williamson, John Carney, Mike Robinson, Bob Sheets, Tim Conover, Bob Kohler, Chris Korn, Tom Mullica, Bill Malone, and Gary Kurtz.
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Postby David Penn » 06/26/02 06:04 PM

Don't forget Gene Maze!!
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Postby Mike Powers » 06/27/02 06:16 AM

Jon Racherbaumer posted a list of his top 10 cardmen awhile back. Most of them have already appeared above. However, the elusive Paul Chosse hasn't been mentioned yet. He was among those on Jon's top 10 list.

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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 06/27/02 11:11 AM

CARD STAR CRITERIA

I commented on this subject back in 2000. What follows is a slightly amended version:

When the original Card Stars list was made in Greater Magic, there were not that many contenders. Few magicians were that single-mindedly active as practitioners of only pasteboard prestidigitation. There was only a few dozen cardmen who could actually execute the Work as well as CREATE it. I now assume that Hilliard, alone, created the list in Greater Magic, which he wisely alphabetized rather than trying to order them by merit, reputation, or peer review. To revive anybodys memory who has read Greater Magic, here was the published short-list:

Theodore Annemann, Al Baker, Cardini, S. Leo Horowitz, Stewart Judah, Nate Leipzig, William H. McCaffrey, Paul Rosini, John Scarne, Dai Vernon. I suspect another or subsequent Card Star listing existed somewhere. Ed Marlo, for example, had a plaque in his den certifying that he was a Card Star.

As you scan the short-list in Greater Magic, notice the conspicuous absence of Charlie Miller, Jacob Daley, Fraces Caryle, Stewart James, Cliff Green, Fred Braue, Henry Christ, Arthur Findley, Walter Scott, Frank Thompson, and many others.

What is also absent is an established criteria for determining who qualifies to be on such a list.
Although Im no expert in these matters, here are some qualities that should be part of the criteria:

(1) Level of Skill: The degree is which each contender knows most of the card sleights extant, plus how well they execute them.

(2) Level of Presentation Skills: How well they transform their technical prowess into entertaining theater.

(3) Level and Degree of Individual Creativity: This directly relates to how much original material they have contributed to the literature

(4) Inspirational Aspect: To what degree they provide a model to be emulated and the level at which they fire up the creative juices and imaginations of other cardmen. In other words, how their contributions have influenced and added to the work of other cardmen.

The four above qualities or factors are difficult to quantify. Therefore, subjectivism is bound to contaminate the judging process. Also, many contenders also are involved in other aspects of "magic" and are not, strictly speaking, "cardmen."

If you take into account the third Quality on my hypothetical list (Creativity and Contribution), here is my list, which, I think, can be quantified:

1) Stewart James
2) Edward Marlo
3) Phil Goldstein
4) Alex Elmsley
5) Brother John Hamman
6) Peter Duffie
7) Harry Lorayne
8) Roy Walton
9) Dai Vernon
10) Jean Hugard


If you consider pure execution or skill of living contenders:

1) Steve Forte
2) Steve Freeman
3) Persi Diaconis
4) Bruce Cervon
5) Allan Ackerman
6) Bill Goodwin
7) Ricky Jay
8) Bernard Bilis
9) Jerry Sadowitz
10) Martin Nash
11) Bill Malone
12) Bill Kalush
13) Steve Draun
14) Andrew Wimhurst
15) Darwin Ortiz

In the theatrical presentation department:

1) Juan Tameriz
2) Ricky Jay
3) Earle Nelson
4) Daryl
5) Chan Canasta
6) David Berglas
7) Michael Vincent
8) Bob Farmer
9) Eugene Burger
10) Bob Neale

Old Guard:

1) Harvey Rosenthal
2) Howie Schwarzman
3) Pat Page
4) Herb Zarrow
5) Ken Krenzel

There are of course many young "guns" up and coming in the sheer-skill department. I saw many at the last FISM: Lee Asher, R. Paul Wilson, Aaron Fisher, Bebel, and others too numerous to mention

In any case, the subject is interesting and can be endlessly debated. Oddly enough, although I write about cards and perform many card tricks for my own amusement, I do NOT consider myself a cardman-practitioner...at least not at the level being discussed. My dedication and passion regarding the subject of card magic is relegated to writing. To reach the top of one's game or to be "number one" is not only arduous, but one's stay at the top is limited and short-lived. (Check out the reign of world-class athletes.)

Writers,on the other hand, can drone on and on and on until they drop...which, it turns out, also occurs on a regular basis.

Also, some writers (myself included)keep writing the same (basic) book in different ways. Perhaps Ive said all I have no say about anything? I only have four more books that Id like to write. After that, it may be nothing but flibbertigibberty or welcome silence?

Onward...
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/27/02 12:07 PM

I'd have to add Lennart Green to one of Jon R's lists, but I'm not sure which one, and I don't know who I'd bump to do it.

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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 06/27/02 03:10 PM

Yes, yes...
There are a few that do not easily fit into a category, which would suit them fine. Yet each exerts influences in their own unique ways:

To wit:
Gaeton Bloom
Michael Weber
Lennert Greet
Jean-Paul Vallarino
Chad Long
Paul Cummins
Simon Aronson
Dave Solomon
John Bannon
Mike Close
Dominique Duvivier
Paul Chosse
David Malek
Dean Dill
Derek Dingle
Jay Sankey
David Acer
Roberto Giobbi
Bob Stencel
Chuck Smith

...and so on...
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Postby Guest » 06/27/02 03:57 PM

As a youngster I was very lucky to see first hand Derek Dingle, Harry Loryane, Ken Krenzel, Larry Jennings, Ascanio,Ricky Jay (many times) Fred Robinson.

Later in my career I saw Michael Skinner(a year before he passed away)Alan Ackerman,Simon Aronson, Darwin Ortiz (when he lectured in London in the early 90's)Rene Lavand(beautiful), Lennerat Green and my dear friend Roger Croswaithe(brilliant)

Each of these great artist in there own way inspired me to excel both technicaly and artisticly.

My greatest inspiration was Edward Marlo who I missed out on meeting much to my regret. Card Stars will mean different things to everyone. I feel it is important to honor the memory of those that have passed on and to continue the chain of excellence through our own efforts.

We don't know who will be watching us; some young kid perhaps who will take inspiration to a new level. I hope so.

Michael Vincent
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Postby Jackie Huang » 06/28/02 02:18 PM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
[QB]CARD STAR CRITERIA

(3) Level and Degree of Individual Creativity: This directly relates to how much original material they have contributed to the literature

(4) Inspirational Aspect: To what degree they provide a model to be emulated and the level at which they fire up the creative juices and imaginations of other cardmen. In other words, how their contributions have influenced and added to the work of other cardmen.

....

If you take into account the third Quality on my hypothetical list (Creativity and Contribution), here is my list, which, I think, can be quantified:

1) Stewart James
2) Edward Marlo
3) Phil Goldstein
4) Alex Elmsley
5) Brother John Hamman
6) Peter Duffie
7) Harry Lorayne
8) Roy Walton
9) Dai Vernon
10) Jean Hugard

.....
[QB]
and perhaps 11) Paul Harris?
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Postby David Penn » 06/28/02 06:42 PM

No discussion of this topic would be complete without mentioning the name of Frank Thompson.
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Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 07/12/02 11:36 PM

I am amazed that nobody mentioned Harry Riser and Gordon Bruce, two of the most creative and technically excellent cardmen I know. A few other names in this category that come to mind are Geoff Latta and Tom Gagnon. With respect to creativity and contributions to card magic, I would certainly include Karl Fulves and J.K. Hartman.

:confused:
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Postby Guest » 07/15/02 07:05 PM

I would put Howard Schwarzman
Harry Lorayne
Herb Zarrow
Ben Harris
Jay Sankey
And the list goes on
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Postby Guest » 07/16/02 12:40 AM

While on this topic, would anyone like to vote for the most creative presentation with a deck.
I'll start it out with:
Chris Corn's "Cards out of the Ass" trick.(At FISM, I believe)
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Postby Guest » 07/17/02 05:53 AM

If the list is permitted to be forward-looking, I'd put my money on Bebel for breaking into anybody's top ten within ten years.
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Postby Guest » 07/17/02 10:53 PM

I would not feel the list was complete without mentioning Richard Turner, who is a wizard at gambling sleights.
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Postby Guest » 07/18/02 02:20 AM

You guys forgot David Blaine :p
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Postby David Alexander » 10/27/02 12:34 PM

My nomination would be: Lou Lancaster, undoubtedly one of the finest sleight of hand workers of the 20th Century. Unfortunately, Lou did not move with the "in crowd" so his name is little known, but his skill was exceptional.

I once watched Lou demonstrate false shuffles at the Castle. He stopped in the middle and allowed Tony Georgio to get down at table level and look as closely as he wanted to see if he could spot the step. He couldn't. Lou completed the move and the cards were still separated red and black. Lou later told me he had the step down to about 1/64th of an inch...his fingers were that sensitive.

Lou was one of the few people who could do the multiple coin roll - several coins on each hand simultaneously - as well as several varieties of the coin roll down and a legitimate Downs Coin Star.

One afternoon in a Hollywood Boulevard magic shop I watched him do an impromptu lecture for nearly an hour on Three Card Monte, mostly with material that was, at that point, unpublished.

In his hotel room Lou once demonstrated a sort of symphony of second dealing...with virtually every variety you've ever heard of. His repetoire was amazing.

Lou used to make the challenge that you could open Expert Card Technique, Erdnase, or any of the Buckley books to any page and if he couldn't do the sleight right then, he'd do it by noon tomorrow.

Lou was a professional of a very high level. One episode that well illustrates his level happened when Ring 21 was having a weekend convention. The bash was being run by Kirk Kirkham who was endlessly at odds with Bill Larsen in a feud that went back to their youth.

Vernon had agreed to appear at Kirkham's convention but Bill "suggested" it might not be a good idea, so Vernon backed out, claiming he'd never formally agreed. Kirk was furious as Vernon had been announced.

Lou stepped in and with his hair colored white, a white moustache glued on his upper lip and a cigar in his hand he was introduced as "The Professor." He proceeded to do Vernon's act - the coin production, the coin star, linking rings, everything - all done to perfection. He even emulated the way Vernon held out his elbows. It was a rare performance and Lou was one of a very few people who had the skill to pull it off.
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Postby Guest » 10/27/02 05:46 PM

You guys forgot someone that deserevs some credit. He is on this forum, and writes for Genii, and that is Jon Racherbaumer. Two other names to add would be Kevin Kelly and Don England.

Best,
Trini
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Postby Geno Munari » 10/27/02 10:18 PM

Trini...your are right, Jon Racherbaumer should be on the list, but one more who has the mitts and the brains....Roger Klause, bar none.

One other was Jimmy Grippo alas a master.
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Postby Guest » 10/28/02 03:39 PM

I am suprised to have not seen Mike Skinners name mentioned. And hey, call me biased but I would have to vote on Lou Gallo as well!!! And if the deceased counts...then Eddie Fechter should be just above number 1. Then you would also have to place Paul Harris somewhere on top of the list as he has influenced so many of todays creators in card magic.

Mike
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/28/02 05:42 PM

The infamous "No-Moves" Lou makes the list? :p
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Postby Dave Egleston » 10/28/02 08:15 PM

I agree with Mr. Munari - Roger Klause is one of my personal heros - I've not seen him for about 6-7 years but, I think he "hits" on all the parameters set by Mr Racherbaumer
I spent a bunch of time with Mr Klause during one of the desert seminars several years ago along with Steve Ehlers and Gary Beutler.
Mr Klause has an understanding of magic, audience management,and humor, not to mention his unparalleled skill with a deck of cards, that certainly places him as one of the top ten cardmen in the world today
He's got a great wife too!!

Dave
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Postby Kendrix » 10/29/02 03:22 PM

Jon: I am surprised you did not have Guy Hollingworth on any of your lists, especially theatrical presentation. Any reason?
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/29/02 03:38 PM

Guy Hollingworth is number one on my list of the magicians with the softest hands. Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"
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Postby Guest » 10/31/02 12:31 PM

Great topic Mr. Duncan. I believe it is VERY important for past greats and present experts to be recognized and especially REMEMBERED. And this thread and it lists does exactly that. Bravo to everyone who has contributed to this thread!

JR had mentioned above- "and many others".

Here's my list of the "others" both past and present not already mentioned, and in no particular order; except alphabetical:

Jack Avis
Ross Bertram
John Cornelius
Paul Curry
Father Cyprian
Dr. Jacob Daley
Carmen D'Amico
Dr. James William Elliott
S. W. Erdnase
Piet Forton
Ralph W. Hull
Charles T. Jordan
Peter Kane
Max Katz
Dick Koornwinder
Al Koran
Milton Kort
Paul Le Paul
Al Leech
Howard P. Lyons
William Miesel
Moe
Reinhard Muller
Billy O'Connor
Jay Ose
Mike Rogers
Richard Ross
Alton Sharpe
Bill Simon
Rufus Steele
and
Eddie Tullock

May their lives and work always be remembered and re-told again, and again.

(Also, I find it peculiar no one has mentioned Michael Ammar or Jeff McBride. Both hosts and technicians of the world's most popular card videos and DVD's! -go figure?)
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Postby Lance Pierce » 11/01/02 03:16 PM

Originally posted by Dave Egleston:
Mr Klause has an understanding of magic, audience management,and humor, not to mention his unparalleled skill with a deck of cards, that certainly places him as one of the top ten cardmen in the world today
He's got a great wife too!!

Dave
Um, Dave...does Roger know about you and his wife?

:eek:

L-
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