Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

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erdnasephile
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Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby erdnasephile » April 7th, 2015, 8:19 pm

Was watching a commercial for PBS yesterday. Apparently this week's episode of the BBC series, "Wolf Hall" is entitled "Three Card Trick". In the trailer, there was a brief flash of what looks like a Three Card Monte sequence. (I haven't been able to find the exact trailer on-line).

Just curious: Did anyone see this episode--was an actual monte sequence used? If so, anyone know who the magic consultant was on this production?

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Bill Mullins » April 7th, 2015, 10:53 pm

If so, that would be hugely anachronistic. Three Card Monte wasn't invented until the early part of the 1800s.

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby mrgoat » April 8th, 2015, 4:06 am

erdnasephile wrote:Was watching a commercial for PBS yesterday. Apparently this week's episode of the BBC series, "Wolf Hall" is entitled "Three Card Trick". In the trailer, there was a brief flash of what looks like a Three Card Monte sequence. (I haven't been able to find the exact trailer on-line).

Just curious: Did anyone see this episode--was an actual monte sequence used? If so, anyone know who the magic consultant was on this production?


It was Will Houstoun iirc.

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby AJM » April 8th, 2015, 5:55 am

An excellent series if anyone gets a chance to watch.
Keep a close eye for Mark Rylance (as Cromwell) craftily cheating at chess while he and his opponent are having a conversation with another.
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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Leo Garet » April 8th, 2015, 12:15 pm

I’m no historian, but I was under the impression that “The Three Card Trick” if not “monte”, was kicking around before the 19th century dawned.

Anyway, in “Wolf Hall,” Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) and Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce) are nattering away about this and that and Cromwell is toying(!!) with three cards.

In and out of the conversation Cromwell invites Wolsey to pick the queen and when Wolsey repeatedly fails muses about sneakiness in general and how important it is in the lives they lead.

Cromwell says he learned the stunt as a youngster and made a few quid on the docks (I think).

It’s a lot more subtle than I’ve just related, but that’s about the gist.

I’ve seen the six-part series twice and will watch again. It is absolutely one of the best bits of telly I’ve seen in a long time.

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Richard Stokes » April 8th, 2015, 1:52 pm

Yes, Wolf Hall is a great series.

My grandad, Fred Revell, used to perform the following trick in the 1950s when relatives visited:
He removed the four queens from the deck, and told some fanciful story linking them to famous Queens in history, e.g. Queen Elizabeth 1st, Anne Boleyn, Queen Victoria, Liberace or whatever.
He then let the guest shuffle the the queens and deal them face down in a row on the table.
Next , my grandad lit four matches mounted on plasticine next to each queen.
The matches began to burn down, but only one match suddenly popped its head...
The decapitated monarch was always the Queen of Clubs, Anne Boleyn.

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Bill Mullins » April 8th, 2015, 4:38 pm

Leo Garet wrote:I’m no historian, but I was under the impression that “The Three Card Trick” if not “monte”, was kicking around before the 19th century dawned.


Rather than go from memory, as I did upthread, here are some refences.

Bill Kalush in his 2002 essay "Sleight of Hand with Playing Cards prior to Scot's Discoverie" tells of a scam reported in 1408 that is clearly a precursor to 3CM, but with significant differences. It is, to be sure, a "spot the card" scam. But there are more than three cards in use, and the "money" card is not even in play when the mark is betting his entire bankroll – it has been switched out.

M. P. Adams in The Rich Uncle from Fiji (1911) says that "the trickster . . . manipulated the three cards on the city flag-stones" of Paris prior to 1795, but this information isn't sourced. Herbert Asbury, in Sucker's Progress (1938), says that it first appeared in the United States in the early 1830s, but again, there is no source for the statement.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the Spanish card game "monte" back to 1824, and has not found the phrase "three card monte" in print prior to 1854 (Although I have found the phrase in print in 1851). I have found in print an 1839 reference to a swindle called the "Three Card Game," but the description isn't sufficient to say that it is the 3CM or not.

So it may be somewhat earlier than the 1800's I mentioned above, but there is no reason to believe that three card monte goes as far back as Cromwell and Wosley (1600s).

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 8th, 2015, 7:00 pm

Go Bill!
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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Leo Garet » April 9th, 2015, 11:07 am

Bill Mullins wrote:So it may be somewhat earlier than the 1800's I mentioned above, but there is no reason to believe that three card monte goes as far back as Cromwell and Wosley (1600s).


As I’ve already said, I am no historian, and am always keen(ish) to learn more.
But notwithstanding your research, that’s a bit too definitive for me to even consider accepting. No reason to believe? :|

Incidentally, and I’m sure it was a finger-trip, Cromwell and Wolsey, by all accounts, lived (mostly) in the 1500s.

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby AJM » April 9th, 2015, 11:40 am

I agree, however I do think the vanish of Lear Jet which Cromwell and Wolsey performed in Episode 4 was a tad anachronistic.

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Re: Wolf Hall

Postby Leo Garet » April 9th, 2015, 12:22 pm

AJM wrote:I agree, however I do think the vanish of Lear Jet which Cromwell and Wolsey performed in Episode 4 was a tad anachronistic.

Andrew

Only a tad though, and I think it’s important to remember that the Lear Jet didn’t appear until some time later. It was a present for one of his daughters, who was a bit miffed when it actually vanished.

If memory serves, this was in development about the same time that Marlowe was working on the Sharrow Shuffle.

Anyone in possession of Marlowe's (unpublished) Mental Notes from 1593 (The Tavern Years) might want to check this out and advise.

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Re: Wolf Hall

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 9th, 2015, 12:48 pm

Leo Garet wrote:
AJM wrote:I agree, however I do think the vanish of Lear Jet which Cromwell and Wolsey performed in Episode 4 was a tad anachronistic.

Andrew

Only a tad though, and I think it’s important to remember that the Lear Jet didn’t appear until some time later. It was a present for one of his daughters, who was a bit miffed when it actually vanished.

If memory serves, this was in development about the same time that Marlowe was working on the Sharrow Shuffle.

Anyone in possession of Marlowe's (unpublished) Mental Notes from 1593 (The Tavern Years) might want to check this out and advise.


I condone and support (the implied) efforts to create and distribute anachronistic magic history artifacts. Go for it! Bosco using the chopchop principle with magnets in his cups. Let's take steampunk aesthetics into our meta-fiction and literature. Aristotle's Ethics as published by a guy who knew how to set up a book test. Shakespeare's Folio as compiled so that the owner could do prediction tricks... suggest stopping short of finding construction details for flip-over boxes in lost books of sacred texts... for now.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Bill Mullins » April 9th, 2015, 1:01 pm

Leo Garet wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:So it may be somewhat earlier than the 1800's I mentioned above, but there is no reason to believe that three card monte goes as far back as Cromwell and Wosley (1600s).


As I’ve already said, I am no historian, and am always keen(ish) to learn more.
But notwithstanding your research, that’s a bit too definitive for me to even consider accepting. No reason to believe? :|


I could have equivocated slightly, and said "I see no reason" rather than "there is no reason".

But I'll stand by it as written -- there exists no currently-known evidence that 3CM existed in the time of Wolf Hall; therefore, there is no reason to believe it did.

If someone finds a contemporary description (court records, books, diaries, letters, painting, etc.) of the scam, I'll gladly back off that.

I think the anachronism is a venial sin at best. The episode is online here (at least, right now, for US residents) and the scene is at 14:50 or so. For Cromwell to know the game is a quick way of conveying things about him -- his background, that he may be a bit of a con, etc.

Incidentally, and I’m sure it was a finger-trip, Cromwell and Wolsey, by all accounts, lived (mostly) in the 1500s.
You are absolutely right there. I typo'ed.

At any rate, I look forward to watching the show. Rylance is a terrific actor -- he did my all-time favorite rendition of the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V.

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Leo Garet » April 9th, 2015, 1:34 pm

Fair enough points. I choose to believe that a lack of "evidence" does not prove the trick never existed at the times in question. But that's the thing about belief isn't, it. Convenient.

I do think, however, that "Venal" is far too strong to describe the trick's presence.
Anyway, all that apart, I'm pretty sure that you'll enjoy the rest of the series. No more card tricks, but tons of much more lethal skulduggery.

And, incidentally, there's a lot of "belief" going on, too

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Bill Mullins » April 9th, 2015, 1:41 pm

You can believe it was being done then if you want -- there's just nothing in the historical record to support the belief. Which moves it into "faith" ("the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen").

And I meant "venial sin" in the sense of "slight and forgivable".

Any more religious allusions to be made in this thread?

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Re: Wolf Hall "Three Card Trick"

Postby Leo Garet » April 9th, 2015, 2:06 pm

I’ll have to read the thread again, because I confess I’ve missed any and all allusions. There certainly aren’t any in mine own humble posts.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a fairly direct reference to “Wolf Hall,” the starting point of the thread; but being “fairly direct” means it doesn’t qualify as an allusion. I don’t think.
But other than that, none.

Of course, if anyone chooses to believe there are.....


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