Cardini thoughts..

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smokemist
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Cardini thoughts..

Postby smokemist » May 23rd, 2008, 5:58 pm

I think this may stir up some emotions, but what the heck..

Just wondering what people think of Cardini by todays standards?

Me personally, I think he was great for his time, but compared to manipers like Arthur Trace, David Sousa, or the amazing Topas. Ommmmmm hmmmmmm :whistle:

No disrespect intended, but I just hear Everybody praise him and call him god-like, to this day. Are these comments regarding his era or todays era? I tend to think its his era. (Im not trying to be controversial here.)

Maybe I am the odd one out. I do acknowledge his glove manip with cards, ball roll, character, etc. But maybe a Cardini fan can enlighten me more. Maybe it is more or a case of him pioneering some things like
Channing did.

I like to think of the scenario of Rod Laver (tennis player) compared to Federer. Granted, magic, like tennis or any sport
has evolved a lot since then in terms of technology and pushing the limits physically.

Id like to know what magis think about Cardini by todays magic standards even competition-wise.

Id love to know how todays top manipulators would really compare themselves to him.

Im most impressed by Topas, incase anyones wondering..


Again, Im not trying to start any fights here guys.. ha ha :)

Good day..

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Cugel
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Cugel » May 23rd, 2008, 6:35 pm

The guys you mention are accomplished, but have you seen decent video of Cardini? It's no contest, the man was fantastic.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 23rd, 2008, 7:37 pm

Cardini is to manipulation what Dai Vernon was to close-up magic. The master.
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Robert Newman
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Robert Newman » May 23rd, 2008, 8:48 pm

Amen.
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 23rd, 2008, 8:48 pm

smokemist wrote:...

Just wondering what people think of Cardini by todays standards?
...


He's gone - same as Vernon - lots of copyists and wannabees spent lots of time fussing over their work.

Both missed and fondly remembered.

But as to smoking, wearing a cape and having the wife pick up the mess which appears and gets littered in a magical stupor... maybe not the best act to model your efforts after but in context back then in the clubs it was a winner.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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MaxNY
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby MaxNY » May 23rd, 2008, 8:50 pm

There are many that claim that Bill Baird was king of billard balls. The Abbotts manip prize was named after him....I have been trying to get footage of him for years. Jay Marshall said Karrell Fox may of had some, and may now be resting at the so-n-so museum of magic in Mitchagain. Check out this cat... ...http://www.magicgettogether.com/tops/billbaird.html

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Tom Frame » May 23rd, 2008, 9:22 pm

If Cardini, in his prime, was performing today, he would be an international sensation. Compared to much of what we see these days, his act still feels fresh, astonishing and unique.
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Doc Dixon » May 23rd, 2008, 9:40 pm

I think it is also a safe to assumption to say that if Cardini was working today, he would not be doing the same act. His act was a mirror of the suave sophistication of HIS time. Of course, times are much different now so Cardini would be different. The skill, the drive, talent, timing, the genius would all be there, but it's my opinion they would manifest themselves in completely different ways.

He would still be "fresh, astonishing and unique", but in a way more suited to this day and age.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 23rd, 2008, 10:40 pm

"What if's" make for interesting storytelling exercises - look at the old Marvel series or recent alternate history fiction - but such might not actually apply to people. So much of who we are comes from where we were and who we were around at the time.

Doc Dixon wrote:I think it is also a safe to assumption to say that if Cardini was working today, he would not be doing the same act. ...
and might not even be a magician.

The story "Mozart in Mirrorshades" comes to mind as an accessible example of how a talented person might well find other avenues for their creativity if given the option much less the opportunity and environment.

:)

Back to the original question - so many have learned so much from Cardini that it's like comparing baseball stats before widespread enhancement with today - not even the same number of teams or games in the season. Let's just enjoy what was for what it was.

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Cugel
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Cugel » May 23rd, 2008, 11:14 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:But as to smoking, wearing a cape and having the wife pick up the mess which appears and gets littered in a magical stupor... maybe not the best act to model your efforts after but in context back then in the clubs it was a winner.


Swan was playing a bellhop, not "the wife".

Cardini's act would kill today.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Bill Duncan » May 23rd, 2008, 11:44 pm

Ive seen footage of a number of the greats, going back to Thurston. The ONLY one who lived up to his reputation was Cardini, and he was actually better than I expected. His manipulations, both hidden, and overt, were perfect and his act was both technically excellent and funny.

I agree that (with minor costume alterations) his act would play just as strongly today.

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smokemist
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby smokemist » May 24th, 2008, 12:45 am

Cugel wrote:The guys you mention are accomplished, but have you seen decent video of Cardini? It's no contest, the man was fantastic.


Can you be more specific? I just don't see it..

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Cugel
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Cugel » May 24th, 2008, 3:11 am

Timing, poise, complete immersion of character and believability for the audience, interconnectedness of character with misdirective elements of the act, superb artistic construction of the arc of the act (copied by many), superlative technical skill (attempted by many), brilliant comedic elements, an innovative premise (copied by many).

If you are truly interested, read John Fisher's book.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Barbara Balducci » May 24th, 2008, 3:41 am

smokemist wrote:Im not trying to start any fights here guys.. ha ha :)


Lucky for you that Swan is not alive to respond to your question, for a fight is exactly what you'd have on your hands. :D

Sorry, but I was so tickled by the thought of Swan's reaction that I had to comment.

Thanks for making me smile. :)

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Terry » May 24th, 2008, 8:11 am

Two things happened this year - I turned 45 and saw the complete Cardini act for the first time.

Watching the video, I found myself settling into my chair relaxed and just enjoying watching a master at work. It was a true joy to watch.

Some of the people working today could learn from watching how he smoothly transitioned from one move to another, from one posture to another, etc.

Cardini's clothing matched how people of that time dressed, but it also blended into the background so the viewer will focus on his hands and facial reactions.

There are some performers today who wear clothing that seems to be in competition with their material. Maybe they are using it to cover a lack of misdirection ability?

You really can't compare Cardini to another manipulator today because they are a reflection of their time and the time's they are a changin. . . .

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Eddie » May 24th, 2008, 8:17 am

We should also remember that Cardini had come out of retirement when the footage we watch was recorded ,so what was he like in his prime.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby ScottPeterson » May 24th, 2008, 1:43 pm

When I began my interest in Magic in 1969, I read a few books, anything I could get my hands on at the time, and I did not know about Magic Shops or the Magic Castle or much anything else magic related. I found a book about Cardini and just got absorbed into what was written, his act was discribed and it just captivated my imagination so very much.

My interest grew, and continues today and will no doubt keep magic and it's study in my heart and mind until my last breath.

I will be 55 this year, and just last year August 2007 I saw for the very first time the most beautiful video of Cardini doing his act that he was so very famous for. It took my breath away.
The perfection, the timing, his presentation, his style, dress, facial expressions, his hands, the setting for this performance, his dress, everything that is Cardini was experienced by me for the first time. This was at Magic Live of course and John Fisher had lectured about his new book, Cardini the Suave Deceiver. It was a highlight without question. If he was living today and performing, he would still be Cardini and do things that would be up todate. That was who he was, this book discribes his life and everything the man did, personaly and otherwise. His influence upon all other leading manipulators goes deep and we all stand upon the shoulders of this great man who was Cardini.

Get the book and get lost in it, you will be rewarded bigtime.

Scott Peterson

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 24th, 2008, 2:29 pm

smokemist wrote:
Cugel wrote:The guys you mention are accomplished, but have you seen decent video of Cardini? It's no contest, the man was fantastic.


Can you be more specific? I just don't see it..


While the particulars and costume/context issues may have changed the act concept and basic structure is likely still both viable and well worth exploring. Cardini explored other characters before going for the one folks know from that video. It's really on YOU to pick your frame, anchors and character given your target audience.

The guy was doing a nostalgia act - recalling for his audience a time when the audience could relate to seeing "suave" and "debonair" folks indulge in dressup nights at the club where smoking was normal and playing cards was just part of socializing at the club. The character portrayed has indulged a but much and not quite thinking straight and you the audience gets to enjoy that off-centered vision :)

He was performing that act in the 1940s-1960s nostalgia context recalling the "high life" (1890s-1929 fantasy) before other stuff became more of a social focus and folks knew of the American rich who used to light cigars with hundred dollar bills and hang out in mens clubs.
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David Alexander
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby David Alexander » May 24th, 2008, 4:50 pm

Cardini was working well before the 1940s. According to Milbourne Christopher, Cardini opened at The Palace in 1927.

His main competitor as a manipulator was Frakson who'd worked The Palace the year before. Both men had presentational styles that were polar opposites. Frakson spoke and joked with his audience while Cardini's act was a small play with him playing the character of a slightly tipsy London clubman to whom all sorts of odd things happened, much to his surprise.

Surprisingly, he never worked the Sullivan show because they wouldn't pay him enough.

The act was flexible and could work, with some modifications, on a night club floor as well as a theater stage, which is one of the reasons Cardini had such a long career.

The act would work today and why no one has approached his daughter and bought the rights to the name is a surprise to me.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Glenn Bishop » May 24th, 2008, 5:52 pm

David Alexander wrote:Surprisingly, he never worked the Sullivan show because they wouldn't pay him enough.

I heard it a little differently. At the time of the Early Ed Sullivan show - this was when it was called "Toast of the town" television was a "new" idea. To broadcast a show across the US was not something they had the technology to do in those days.

Some night club performers and magicians thought - in the early years - that television would wreck their chances of getting booked - because why would an audience go to a night club and see a magician do an act that they just saw them do on TV?

Some thought that if they did TV they would need to get a new act because "everyone" saw it on TV. Many thought why blow the act's booking power in one night by doing television. This was a strong feeling with many acts at the beginning of TV. Because many of the "great" acts spent 20-30-40 years in the business (something not done today) to get that act - and road tested it for years and years to get to the "big time".

So why blow that in one night was the attitude of many acts at the beginning of television.

From what I heard Cantu who was one of the first Dove magicians if not "the" first - he did not want to work TV. Because of the above reasons.

Then a young magician named Channing Pollock did the Sullivan show and became known as one of the great dove working magicians of his day. If not "the" greatest.

Some did not know that if people saw the act on TV they would still come into the night club to see the act. And that would also help to draw the audience for the night club.

Latter on as television grew popular and what was called "club television" or "night club" television became popular and television became an important advertising and booking tool for the acts. And that doing television could make an act popular did many acts start to work television.

This is just an opinion after talking about magic and television with many magicians that were there at the time. Billy Bishop did two appearances on the first anniversary program of "toast of the town with Ed Sullivan". The show that later became the Ed Sullivan show. Like Jay Marshall he knew many of the acts and people like Ed Sullivan, Marlo Lewis (the producer) and the booking agent for the Sullivan show Mark Leddy.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Gene Ferguson » May 24th, 2008, 8:43 pm

Where might one acquire video of Cardini?

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 24th, 2008, 9:25 pm

any DVD's or VHS's in print of the guy so we can enjoy more of his work?

Seems a shame to suggest folks grab the those few clips via the FLV online converter to take them down as avi. :(
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Joe Pecore » May 24th, 2008, 9:25 pm

Gene Ferguson wrote:Where might one acquire video of Cardini?

here http://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php/Cardini
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Barbara Balducci » May 26th, 2008, 6:46 am

My parents and the Cardinis were friends. I once spent 10 days with Swan and Dick while my parents were out of town. Swan kept a collection of articles written about Dick, and their act, and she allowed me to look through them. I saw articles mentioning performances in Vaudeville as early as 1924.

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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 26th, 2008, 9:09 am

When did Cardini develop the character and act format we got to see in that short video?
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Re: Cardini thoughts..

Postby David Alexander » May 26th, 2008, 9:15 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:When did Cardini develop the character and act format we got to see in that short video?


According to Christopher it was around 1927. He'd been performing before that a bit differently. I've not read the Cardini book. It may have a more precise timeline.


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