ERDNASE

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Ian Kendall
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Ian Kendall » January 28th, 2013, 5:54 pm

Since that paper report was from 1939, and the ES Andrews name appears to be an alias, would it be far from possible that Mitchell was familiar with the book, and chose the name as an inside joke?

At least he didn't call himself Hemmingway...

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 6th, 2013, 10:54 pm

To me, a major reason to discount Milton Franklin Andrews as author of Expert is that the style of writing of the book is strongly dissimilar to the known samples of MFA's writing.

Busby and Whaley, in TMWWE, made a comparison of the Alibi letters written by MFA (1 complete letter, another partial letter, both reprinted as Appendix A in TMWWE) but found them to be similar. Holmes and Wiseman, in their stylometric analysis of Expert and other texts published in Genii Feb 2011, did not find MFA's writing to be strongly similar to Expert.

One weakness of these analyses is that there is so little of MFA's writing to work with. Busby and Whaley used a computer program called Corporate Voice which they said worked best when the writing sample being analyzed contained at least 20,000 words, but the total word count of the two Alibi letters was only 7573 words. Holmes and Wiseman needed only a few thousand words for their software package. They used only the first Alibi letter from MFA for analysis, about 6500 words.

I recently ran across another sample of MFA's writing. In 1906, Jennie Andrews (MFA's widow) gave a deposition in support of her efforts to claim her late husband's estate. The deposition included Jennie's descriptions of MFA and some of his effects, including the jewelry which she was claiming. It also reproduced a letter she had received from MFA. The San Jose Evening News of Oct 2, 1906 reproduced the letter in its entirety on page 5.

This letter, to my non-computer-aided mind, seems consistent in tone and voice to the Alibi letters previously published. It does not sound like the writing in Expert. I have not subjected it to any digital analysis, but it should be made public for researchers who wish to do so.
Colorado Springs, Sept. 24, 1905
My own poor, sweet bird,
I am so sorry you are so lonesome, but as I am the same I suppose it evens things up a little. I just received your two letters to Colorado Springs and it is a miracle I did get them, as I had been to the postoffice every day asking for mail for Milton Hart.

Do you remember the telegram I sent you from California, telling you to address me instantly in Colorado Springs as Milton Hart? I distinctly said in the telegram address 'Milton Hart, Colorado Springs,' and when I got there what reason should I have to call for mail in any other name than the one I told you to address it to. I began to think after I got sick of going to the postoffice, that you probably had went for a visit in Hartford and did not get the telegram from California.

As days went by I had lots of reasons pass through my mind, but finally it struck me like a shot. 'Suppose through forgetfulness she forgot,' I said, 'to address M. Hart, and she put Andrews instead.' So I sent a messenger boy with a note to the postoffice to see if there was any mail for 'Andrews,' as the general delivery clerk remembered my face has having called for M. Hart's mail, and I will be darned if the boy didn't bring me back two letters. Well, I suppose you will not forget to follow directions next time, so we will forget it. I am sorry, as I know it caused you to worry. I am glad you are lonesome for me, as that shows true love and I am going to manage to be with you very shortly.

I will not come to Holyoke, never, but I will probably come to Hartford, and have you meet me there, as I have made quite a little money. When you come only bring the very extremely best clothes you have for yourself and Rosella, as my poor bird you are going to have the best clothes, when we meet again, that you ever had in your life. In the last couple of months I have been watching the styles in the best drygoods windows, and I found out just how many yards of material it takes for a skirt, suit, shirtwaist, coat and so forth, and I have twenty yards of the swellest blue velvet, with square white dots it in, you ever saw. It is to make you a suit and an extra skirt, and I bought twelve yards of thin lavender cloth with black markings, that is a peach for a suit for you in mild weather, and I brought some blue shirtwaist cloth with extra trimmings. I am going today or tomorrow to buy six yards of swell broadcloth for a black suit for you and when you see the swell trimmings I bought for three of your suits you will drop dead with pleasure. I bought four yards of trimmings at three dollars and a half a yard, fourteen dollars for just the trimmings alone for one dress, so you can see what you are going to wear. The other trimmings cost me two dollars and a half a yard, four yards to each suit.

We are going to live in the very best hotels in the land, as I do business among such a high class of people nowadays that I have to do so for appearance sake. I do not stop in them for any other reason that to butt in with the wealthiest class of people.

I will explain my system better to you when I see you. I have a trunk full of the very best clothes myself, and I am now capable of making our fortune in short order. I am done forever with the small class of business you used to see me do.

When I come to Hartford and send for you, bring Rosella with you, and as you will not be able to wear any plain clothes of any description, give them away, and bring only the very best you have. I bought a couple of swell ostrich feathers to trim a couple of hats for you. I paid $23 for one immense one, and $12 for a medium sized one.

Well, you may expect to hear from me at Hartford inside of two weeks at the longest, and possibly in one week get ready, and I will send a telegram the minute I get there, and you grab the next train that leaves Holyoke. Do not bring any household dishes or anything like that, but just yourself and Rosella, and a big smile and we will be happy. I will explain all about Catalina Island when I see you and all my other business. Well, good luck and good bye.

Don't tell everybody I am a millionaire. Don't buy any clothes whatever with it for Rosella or yourself. Just put it in your pocket, and I want to buy all your clothes myself, as I know what you will need in the places we are going to better than you do. Love to our Rosella and everybody else.

Do not answer the letter as I may leave here. I do not want everybody to know that I am going to be in Hartford, except my folks and your folks. No outsiders whatever. I have also a pleasant surprise for you and Rosella, which I will explain when I see you. I have a little money for your folks. You can send it to them from Hartford. Good-bye, my own true, sweet wife,
Your own, Milton.
Last edited by Bill Mullins on February 7th, 2013, 7:29 pm, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: Edited at the author's request

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 7th, 2013, 10:57 am

A new letter from MFA!!!
Nope, he's still not Erdnase.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » February 8th, 2013, 12:41 am

Bill, the date and place of the letter would seem to be a misprint. According to Busby/Whaley's account (which I think is correct in this regard), MFA was in Honolulu (en route from Australia to California) on Sept. 24, 1905. He would have been in Colorado Springs a year earlier, so possibly the letter is from Sept. 24, 1904?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 8th, 2013, 10:53 am

Richard Hatch wrote:Bill, the date and place of the letter would seem to be a misprint. According to Busby/Whaley's account (which I think is correct in this regard), MFA was in Honolulu (en route from Australia to California) on Sept. 24, 1905. He would have been in Colorado Springs a year earlier, so possibly the letter is from Sept. 24, 1904?


Classic blunders:
1. Never get involved in a land war in Asia
2. Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.
3. Never make an Erdnase post without checking every detail first, lest Richard Hatch catch your blunder.

Although the mistake comes from the San Jose paper, I should have caught it.

The date I quoted is an accurate transcription of the original newspaper article (I just double checked it), but Richard is right -- the letter must have been written in 1904.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby W Kalush » February 26th, 2013, 5:48 pm

As you all know today is the 111th anniversary of Erdnase being granted copyright protection for The Expert At The Card Table.
To celebrate we wanted to break the news that we found an interesting angle on Erdnase that hasn't been discussed in a huge way previously; the decks of cards that were around at the time and what the ones Erdnase himself might have used were like.
For a teaser you can go to http://erdnase.com. More information will be posted over the next few days.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 26th, 2013, 7:06 pm

Two things:

1. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Bill Kalush posted on the Genii Forum. That's a big day.

2. You guys want to click on that link in his post, and then get ready to open your wallets.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete McCabe » February 26th, 2013, 7:39 pm

This W Kalush has only one post? He's obviously a teenager shilling his friend's product. I can't wait until the goat gets a hold of him.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 26th, 2013, 8:17 pm

"W Kalush" wrote:For a teaser you can go to http://erdnase.com. More information will be posted over the next few days.
Image

Image

I don't see much resemblance at all.

Hopefully the final product is more attractive than this rather unappealing image.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 26th, 2013, 10:33 pm

Hmmm...

I don't see it either, but I've seen what's in the illustrations quite a lot during my life.

My late father used to paint as a hobby. He used that squiggle to denote a shadow or a reflection in his pre-paint sketches. I wonder if it was an old school sketching thing he learned along the line (he went to classes and had a ton of books).

I picked it up as a kid in my own drawings. To this day anyone who receives a note from me might see a similar squiggle under my name at the end (not as tight, but a squiggle).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Aron Prins » February 27th, 2013, 12:14 pm

Chris Aguilar wrote:
"W Kalush" wrote:For a teaser you can go to http://erdnase.com. More information will be posted over the next few days.
Image

Image

I don't see much resemblance at all.

Hopefully the final product is more attractive than this rather unappealing image.



The image states that it ''MAY be a coincidence that M.D. Smith used wavy lines to illustrate the backs of the cards throughout THE EXPERT'' cause you have to admit...

They look pretty wavy! So, it MIGHT be that as a shortcut Smith used a scribble line to resemble this Bee 216 back design...
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » February 27th, 2013, 4:04 pm

Considering the limited variety of card types available in and around 1900, and taking into account that nobody is actually making any concrete claims about anything......I can certainly see enough of a resemblence between the Bee 216's and the diagrams in EATCT to stop and take note.

I can (with even more certainty) not see evidence such that one could accurately claim that Bee 216 backs defintely weren't the cards used in the EATCT illustrations.

The fact that the folks at CARC continue to entertain us while making a little profit (as much as a non-profit org can "profit") off the Erdnase story and Erdnase fans is great fun all around.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 27th, 2013, 4:22 pm

I see horizontal lines versus vertical, and I consider that a major difference in my opinion of what I am seeing. But, using the same logic of what they have not been proven to be, these Steamboats have just as good a chance of being the cards used (though they would not have been new, but who's to say SWE didn't prefer them and kept a stash)...

http://a.trionfi.eu/WWPCM/decks05/d02297/d02297r02.jpg

Of course, none of it matters to me: I still can't aford to buy all the cards I wish I could buyincluding thesefrom CARC!!!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Ian Kendall » February 27th, 2013, 5:00 pm

Not sure about the Steamboats, when figure 101 clearly shows a Bee ace of spades?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 27th, 2013, 5:12 pm

Okay, good point. (But I really don't care because we're never going to know for sure.) I just don't see the resemblance in CARC's new back design to the squiggles in the book.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 27th, 2013, 6:29 pm

Regardless of whether the reproductions of the old deck look like the illustrations in Erdnase, I think they're a beautiful and unusual back. Probably be nice for a Pass, too. :)
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » February 28th, 2013, 10:37 am

There's zero chance they're Steamboats, or any other non-Bee brand for that matter.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's a pretty good chance that, with the back design drawn as it was by M.D. Smith the cards Erdnase used were likely either Bee 35's (Worm Back), or the 216's as per the pending CARC release.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Eric Fry » February 28th, 2013, 12:49 pm

I don't think the illustrator is portraying a back design. I think he's found a very efficient way of showing a surface in perspective.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 28th, 2013, 1:47 pm

Eric Fry wrote:I don't think the illustrator is portraying a back design. I think he's found a very efficient way of showing a surface in perspective.

Well sure, but something like that wouldn't help sell these new decks.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Eric Fry » February 28th, 2013, 2:25 pm

Right. I made my comment because some posters seem to be discussing whether the illustrations are of this or that back design. My point is the illustration doesn't represent any back design at all.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jason England » February 28th, 2013, 3:26 pm

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's entirely possible that Erdnase didn't use Bee cards at all.

M.D. Smith could have sketched the general shape of the deck SWE was using and then added in details from his own deck of cards at home that was just lying around.

I don't necessarily believe this, but it's well within the realm of possibility. All we know for sure is that a single Bee face (the Ace of Spades) is depicted in a single illustration. We can't know for certain how it came to be depicted there.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 28th, 2013, 3:38 pm

Jason England wrote:Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's entirely possible that Erdnase didn't use Bee cards at all.

M.D. Smith could have sketched the general shape of the deck SWE was using and then added in details from his own deck of cards at home that was just lying around.

I don't necessarily believe this, but it's well within the realm of possibility. All we know for sure is that a single Bee face (the Ace of Spades) is depicted in a single illustration. We can't know for certain how it came to be depicted there.

Jason


True. But the title page says "drawings from life", so it's not unreasonable to say Bee cards.

Eric Fry wrote:I don't think the illustrator is portraying a back design. I think he's found a very efficient way of showing a surface in perspective.

I don't think it is perspective so much as it is shading, to add visual interest to what would otherwise be a blank back. Fig 100, for example, doesn't really have perspective since the back of the card is perpendicular to the reader's line of sight.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 28th, 2013, 5:49 pm

Eric Fry wrote:Right. I made my comment because some posters seem to be discussing whether the illustrations are of this or that back design. My point is the illustration doesn't represent any back design at all.

Agreed. Attributing a back based on a few squiggles (and an AS that might well have been added later) seems pretty unsupportable to me.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mrgoat » February 28th, 2013, 7:37 pm

Ruh roh

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » February 28th, 2013, 7:50 pm

I guess when M.D. Smith went to great lengths to portray the Bee Ace of Spades he then went on to decide that there was no need to make any effort whatsoever to represent the back design with any accuracy.

Makes total sense.......draw the front of the card with great accuracy, and draw the back of the card with no accuracy whatsoever.

M.D. Smith wasn't some hack, he was a well regarded painter and illustrator.
I think it may be safer to ascribe that he drew what he saw, rather than assign a silly notion that he scribbled something for a card back which looked nothing like the cards Erdnase was using in the hotel room that day.

No way to know with any certainty, but deductive reasoning never hurts when making statements one way or the other. With the Bee Ace of Spades illustrated in the book, one can more safely presume a Bee deck was used than one can presume a Bee deck wasn't used.

But, as noted above, nobody can know for sure.
Of course common sense indicates quite strongly that a Bee deck was most likely the deck used.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 28th, 2013, 8:07 pm

Perhaps Smith chose to simplify the back illustrations for the sake of clarity, a decision that has been used by many magic illustrators over the years. Or maybe it was just a shortcut to save time when having to draw a lot of such illustrations. Such simplification would allow him to devote more time/detail to the hands and other more important parts of the illustration.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » February 28th, 2013, 8:30 pm

Smith wasn't a magic illustrator though, he was a fine artist who did illustrations on the side for cash (or cheques in Erdnase's case).......as many artists do.

Considering the time and effort put into some of his brilliant paintings, Smith doesn't seem like an artist who ever took "short cuts".

Again, the Bee Ace of Spades in EATCT speaks volumes, and speaks them loudly.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Eric Fry » February 28th, 2013, 10:58 pm

I agree that the drawing of the Bee ace of spades shows that Erdnase was using a Bee deck. But there would be no need to draw the backs with accuracy. That kind of detail is not relevant to conveying hand positions on a deck of cards. It would muddy the drawings, as Chris said. It has nothing to do with the illustrator being lazy or a poor craftsman. It has to do with suiting the drawings to their purpose. Besides, has anyone seen an old Bee deck that looks like the backs on those drawings?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 28th, 2013, 11:01 pm

Roger M. wrote: of Spades in EATCT speaks volumes, and speaks them loudly.

Ok, what exactly does it mean in terms of the backs used?

You go on about the "great lengths" needed to portray the ace, but it's a pretty crude job really, just a few squiggles and the word "bee". I wouldn't exactly think of it as fine art or as something that required much thought or effort.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » February 28th, 2013, 11:17 pm

It only means that the chances are extremely high that, having clearly using a Bee Ace of Spades in his illustration, Smith was referencing that a Bee deck was being used by Erdnase, "drawn from life" and all that.

Taking that thinking one step further, other than the Bee Worm Back 35's, the Bee 216 most closely resembles the backs as drawn by Smith in the book.

We don't agree Chris, and that's OK......but for over 35 years, I've been of the opinion that Erdnase used Bee cards based on the Ace in the book......and that thinking still works extremely well for me. There's absolutely nothing presented by anybody that would indicate Erdnase used any other brand of card......absolutely nothing!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 28th, 2013, 11:25 pm

Are any of the tricks in the book reliant on a reversed card? I can't recall offhand. But you can't really do tricks with reversed cards in a deck with an all-over back design (unless it's white).
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » March 1st, 2013, 1:46 am

Roger M. wrote:It only means that the chances are extremely high that, having clearly using a Bee Ace of Spades in his illustration, Smith was referencing that a Bee deck was being used by Erdnase, "drawn from life" and all that.

Taking that thinking one step further, other than the Bee Worm Back 35's, the Bee 216 most closely resembles the backs as drawn by Smith in the book.

We don't agree Chris, and that's OK......but for over 35 years, I've been of the opinion that Erdnase used Bee cards based on the Ace in the book......and that thinking still works extremely well for me. There's absolutely nothing presented by anybody that would indicate Erdnase used any other brand of card......absolutely nothing!


I don't put as much stock in "drawn from life" as you do. It's quite possible that the artist did quick sketches/thumbnails and then finished off the detail work later. That sort of thing is quite common. Or that Smith simply liked the look of the Bee Ace and used it. Or that perhaps Erdnase used what was available at the time and that deck just happened to be on hand that day (in which case, little or no case could be made that those were his preferred brand) Or (as been mentioned before) there could simply be no relationship between a single Ace and the card back that were illustrated. It's quite possible (and quite believable) that the backs illustrated were just generic and didn't represent any true back. Or how do we know that Smith didn't provide the cards to Erdnase?

To me, the squiggled card back illustrations look almost nothing like that weird Bee back they will soon be selling. I've given it an honest shot at finding similarities, but I guess my imagination (or desire to support a desired notion) simply isn't up to it.

I know it's tough to question a 30 years old, cherished pre-conceived notion ("Bees!)and perhaps it's unfair of me to expect you to entertain any possibilities beyond that.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » March 1st, 2013, 3:24 am

........or perhaps Chris you're just failing to see the perfect simplicity of the fact that a Bee ace would indicate that a Bee deck was being used!

Perhaps it's unfair of me to expect you to entertain that simple and logical line of thinking.

Your somewhat abundant "other" options have no real grounding in fact, and by and large make little actual sense in light of the facts and observations that have long been available to us.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jason England » March 1st, 2013, 4:15 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
True. But the title page says "drawings from life", so it's not unreasonable to say Bee cards.


Of course it isn't unreasonable. In fact, it's the one piece of evidence we DO have. I'm "convinced" for all practical purposes - but if we were to somehow find out one day that it was just something MD Smith added later I wouldn't exactly fall out of my chair gobsmacked. I'd just shrug and say, "Huh. That's interesting."

Jason

PS: I happen to really like the new CARC Erdnase cards and added the few decks I have to my Erdnase shelf immediately.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Eoin O'hare » March 1st, 2013, 6:38 am

The back design appears to be an anamorphic illusion, of sorts, if the design is viewed end on, a series of squiggles is the dominant design. Viewed side on, at an acute angle, and the dominant design seen is a series of parallel lines. (I'm doing this on an iPhone and the illusion is pretty clear)
If you had to illustrate this back design, wouldn't the squiggle Smith came up with, a line zig zagging from side to side and meandering from end to end, be a simple and elegant solution to suggest these two conditions.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Aron Prins » March 1st, 2013, 10:59 am

Jason England wrote: I'd just shrug and say, "Huh. That's interesting."


Isnt this what this whole thing is about?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 1st, 2013, 11:26 am

Erdnase liked his cards "new, thin, flexible and of best quality." Just like he liked his women.


Chris Aguilar wrote: Or how do we know that Smith didn't provide the cards to Erdnase?
Obviously we don't, but: Erdnase arrived prepared. He brought his own baize-covered board. Surely he brought his own cards.

I know it's tough to question a 30 years old, cherished pre-conceived notion ("Bees!)and perhaps it's unfair of me to expect you to entertain any possibilities beyond that.

When the artist drew the cards as Bees, it seems to be more than just a "cherished pre-conceived notion."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Ian Kendall » March 1st, 2013, 1:52 pm

Or how do we know that Smith didn't provide the cards to Erdnase?


I don't have Revelations, or access to Smith's letters, but I remember something about him not knowing in advance that he was to illustrate a magic book (or am I completely wrong here?). I cannot see how the illustrator would supply the cards for the 'expert' to use. I'm having a hard time even considering that this might be the case.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Larry Horowitz » March 1st, 2013, 2:22 pm

Would someone please look at hand drawn magic illustrations in a book from the same era and see how card backs are depicted.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 1st, 2013, 2:33 pm

Larry Horowitz wrote:Would someone please look at hand drawn magic illustrations in a book from the same era and see how card backs are depicted.

I just looked at Roterberg (before Erdnase) and it has ornate card backs. Hatton & Plate (after) also uses detailed (diamond backed) drawings.


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