Theodore DeLand question for RK

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Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » June 29th, 2019, 8:34 pm

Hey Richard,

What was it that really attracted you to the work of Theodore DeLand? I really enjoyed your book on DeLand, but I felt this part of the equation was only briefly touched on. I am just curious how the work of DeLand fits in with the things that most interest you about the study of magic?

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 29th, 2019, 8:36 pm

Ray Goulet told me to buy Chet Karkut's DeLand collection. I always did what Ray told me to do. The duty to do a book on DeLand came with purchasing the collection.

Once I understood how DeLand's mind worked, I became fascinated.
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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » June 29th, 2019, 8:41 pm

Thanks for the answer Richard!

By the way - a friend asked me for my thoughts on the DeLand book (and the magic of DeLand).

This is what I sent him.

It is a great book.

I don't really have a formal review of the book yet.

My sense is that he was a creative genius. But perhaps history bent in such a direction that his genius does not get recognized the way it would if history had gone a different way.

A lot of his work is devoted to self-working methods (using sneaky marks) to know the position of every card in the deck. That work was once incredibly valuable. But in the past 30 years - the biggest revolution in card magic has been the rise of memorized deck work. Memorizing a deck of cards has gone from being an impossible niche challenge that magicians thought was not worth the effort. To a healthy challenge that most magicians interested in this area enjoy.

I have never memorized a deck of cards. But I know if I wanted to - I could have it down within a month. And the challenge would be a fun one. The effort that magicians are prepared to make these days is a lot bigger than 50-100 years ago. At least when it comes to memory work. So - sadly - that devalues some of Deland's greatest work.

He was also a master at gaffed card tricks. A lot of these are there to replicate tricks that can be done with sleight-of-hand. Again - most card magicians are quite happy learning tricky stuff if it is worth it. So some of Deland's genius does not shine the same way today as it once did.

He also has some very unusual gaffed cards that still stand today as interesting magic curiosities. I have attached a video of one to this email. It is amazing.

As such - I see the book in a historical context. Deland can now stand alongside the likes of Charles Jordan and Bob Hummer as a genius of his age. In fact Deland was creating magic about 20 years before those guys. Which is really remarkable. He was creating magic around the same time as the Erdnase book debuted. That is an incredibly long time ago.

He only seemed to be active in magic for about 10 years. So it would have been interesting to see what he could have come up with if he had stayed around in magic longer.

The thing about being a creator is this. History is the judge of your work yet history is impossible to predict. The Velvet Underground are a good example of this. At the time people thought Lou Reed's approach to music (which was inspired by a simplistic 50's sensibility) was too simplistic and "hack". Yet - luckily for Lou Reed - history bent in his direction and those simple melodies became more compelling over time.

Kraftwerk were once considered revolutionary and futuristic. But they never updated their sound. As such the meaning of their sound changed over the years. Their music went from sounding futuristic to "kitsch" (a bit like reading a comic from the 1950's trying to predict what the year 2000 would be like). Kitsch is a quality that can work in the modern era when mixed in with simplicity and nostalgia. And that made their music last and last.

A musician I love from the late 50's was Joe Meek. In some ways his music is still too far ahead of it's time - even today! But sadly history never treasured it, remembered it or celebrated it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGAX8tijRSU

Sorry for the music detour!

I think the book is great. And Theo Deland was a genius. And some of his thinking is lovely even today. I just think it is sad that a lot of his work is aimed at niches that magicians today don't consider ones that need filling. But that is not his fault. It is always impossible to know for sure what challenges people will be interested in addressing a hundred years from now.

Perhaps somebody will find a strange new way of using YouTube to perform magic? And at that point more of his ideas will find a platform where they are valued and needed. Who knows? Perhaps we will end up doing magic online using virtual reality? And at that point the gaffed cards that Deland came up with could take on a new leash of life? It is impossible to say for sure.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 29th, 2019, 8:55 pm

DeLand created the Dollar Deck so that the mental work of using a Si Stebbins stacked deck was removed. That's why so many hundreds of thousands of the deck have been sold in the last 100 years.

Many of DeLand's creations do not involved marked cards.

People are still doing the Two Card Monte and the Three Card Monte (with double ended cards) TODAY. There is nothing dated about those routines.
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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » June 29th, 2019, 10:53 pm

If the Dollar Deck is the Marked Stripper Si Stebbins De Land deck I have sold hundreds of them both by mail order and in person. It is actually a pitch item and this is not generally known. Joe Berg mentions in his book a pitchman called Seewald who used to make a living selling nothing but De Land decks.

It seems that he kept the Adams people in business with this one item. In fact he would show up broke at the Adams office, according to Berg, and not only would get stock on credit but he would also get a financial advance.

I have also sold normal cheap quality marked cards as a pitch item and worked out a great pitch for it. Naturally I didn't bother reading the backs. You would need a microscope to do that since they were awful quality. I simply did what Joe Stuthard used to do and that is use a stacked deck so I didn't have to read the marks!

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 30th, 2019, 12:59 pm

Trust me when I tell you that the Dollar Deck was not created as a "pitch item." It was only after DeLand sold all his creations to SS Adams and they started mass-manufacturing the Dollar Deck in 1919 that it could be pitched.
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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » June 30th, 2019, 2:07 pm

I didn't say that it was created as a pitch item. I merely said it ended up that way. The svengali deck wasn't originally a pitch item either. Neither was the mouse. The only thing that was created as a pitch item and for no other purpose was the worm and it wasn't created by a magician.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 30th, 2019, 2:31 pm

Who created the worm?
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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » June 30th, 2019, 4:49 pm

I have a suspicion that it was created by a grafter that I prefer not to name since he is still around and owns a company in the UK which manufactures and sells them. There is a chance that he is not the man but I seem to remember that years ago other grafters told me that it was indeed he. It seems he used to make them in his kitchen from what I was told! He had them hanging up on a line!

He started out selling them in shop doorways in Oxford St, London and other places. No instructions either from what I remember. No fancy blister packaging the way they are nowadays. He would have had a basket around his neck with the glass and the little cellophane packets with the worm therein. Possibly wearing an apron for the stock-I can't quite remember. No table. He was what we call in the business "fly pitching" which means working illegally in the street and elsewhere. And there were other grafters doing it too---I suppose he started them off. He was not a magician and knew nothing about magic. I have no idea where he got the idea----possibly saw the mouse being worked somewhere and got the idea from that. I really don't know.

For years and years you would only see it in the street then suddenly out of the blue someone got the idea of packaging it properly and marketing it in a big time way. It was sold in the UK and Holland for quite a long time and never in North America until fairly recent years. It can actually take in more money than the svengali deck when worked properly.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » June 30th, 2019, 5:53 pm

This is the world I come from. You will see the worm being demonstrated at around 38 or so seconds in. Just a few seconds of it anyway. It must have been invented rather a long time ago since you will see a price of a shilling which is pre decimalisation money. Note what seems to be a basket around the neck as I already mentioned.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqcxV8z ... 1o4fZFJ1RI

And watch the other grafters in the video too. You might all learn something.....................

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 2nd, 2019, 3:57 pm

thats pretty close to the louse... i mean the mouse item. A guy named Beryl used to visit NYC and pitch those.

Is there an ungaffed dollar deck? Ordinary people know to riffle the pack while looking at a corner and also to reverse a card and then feel the edge for discrepancy.
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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 2nd, 2019, 4:00 pm

Not at the moment. I could have them printed, though. I have some printer's proofs of the back design before DeLand did the marking.
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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » July 2nd, 2019, 6:21 pm

Thanks for the clip Mark. Fascinating. It is amazing to think most of these grafters selling boring items are actually more entertaining than most professional magicians. For some reason - magicians do tend to be very dull people. I think it is because they are usually more interested in the secrets than in actually performing. Or - even sadder - they took up magic because they were shunned as kids.

Mark Mason is good example of the skills you can get as a grafter that can be translated into perfoming magic.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 2nd, 2019, 8:39 pm

I call it "The Grafter's Edge". Hard to explain what it is but it is a major advantage. If you become a grafter you also learn cynicism, timing, showmanship, salesmanship and most important of all you get to understand PEOPLE.

It is quite true what you say about magicians being dull personalities compared to grafters. I was a magician before I was a grafter. When I first came into contact with grafters I tended to shy away from them as I regarded them as a lower class bunch of crooks. However, I slowly came to realise that they were dynamic people and just as charismatic when they were not working as when they were. And shrewd experts in human nature.

If any of you wish to study the techniques of the grafter this is the book I always recommend. It is called It is called "The Hard Sell" by Trevor Pinch and Colin Clark.

It is a book about British street market grafters mainly, although normal grafting such as I do in stores, exhibitions and fairs are covered too. There is also a section for street entertainers and other vagabonds such as 3 card monte hustlers etc;

The entire psychology is laid out in detail and there is a lot to be learned from it. Professor Clark, one of the authors has made a brief appearance on here in the past and I have had some correspondence with him.


Here is a tiny bit of patter from the market pitchmen to give you a flavour of the kind of thing they say. Let us assume the product is some sort of household goods. (Incidentally we don't call it "patter" or even worse that pretentious word "script". We call it "fanny"---don't ask!)

"They are not made in Hong Kong, ding dong, they go wrong, They are BRITISH MADE!" (Mind you my old friend Dennis -a grafter who passed away-- used to say "they are British made but don't let that put you off")

The book would be an excellent one for trade show magicians or in fact anyone interested in the psychology of street wise marketing and salesmanship. Here it is:

https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/ ... ll_reviews

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » July 3rd, 2019, 3:11 am

Following Mark's recommendation I read that book a few years ago. It is very good. It seems the old fashioned markets were a form of street theater where the working classes saw shopping at the markets as partly a form of entertainment as well. My Dad used to love those markets when he was a boy.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 3rd, 2019, 4:43 am

There is nothing particularly entertaining about towels, or crockery, or nylon stockings yet a skilled grafter can make them come alive and entertain hundreds of people just talking about them. Yet a magician cannot make a brilliant trick which is inherently interesting and wonderful into a piece of entertainment.

In the Thirteen Steps to Mentalism interview with Maurice Fogel he recommended that magicians go down to the street market and watch the grafters at work to see what they could learn. Alas nowadays you don't see the grafters on the British street markets anymore. A few of them have gone into television infomercials instead!

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby chetday » July 3rd, 2019, 10:50 am

I found better prices than those on Amazon for Mark's recommended book at https://www.alibris.com/The-Hard-Sell-The-Art-of-Street-wise-Selling-Colin-Clark/book/14074054?matches=10. If you save the $30+ by purchasing at the above link, feel free to send me a few BitCoins as compensation for the 30 seconds it took me to track down the cheaper prices.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Diego » July 3rd, 2019, 12:29 pm

Reading what Mark says about grafters/pitchmen as being instructive lessons, reminds me of listening to an esteemed elder minister of his denomination, who was asked what advice would he give to young ministers who want to effectively reach their listeners.
He replied they all should go to the store where you see those pitching kitchen gadgets, and watch and learn how they attract a crowd, hold the crowd, and motivate the crowd to action/buying.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 3rd, 2019, 4:07 pm

Diego wrote:Reading what Mark says about grafters/pitchmen as being instructive lessons, reminds me of listening to an esteemed elder minister of his denomination, who was asked what advice would he give to young ministers who want to effectively reach their listeners.
He replied they all should go to the store where you see those pitching kitchen gadgets, and watch and learn how they attract a crowd, hold the crowd, and motivate the crowd to action/buying.


Absolutely correct!

I did not start off grafting svengali decks. I had no idea it was a grafting product. My first product was the Blo-Bloon, then I went on to sell bar accessories such as bottle openers etc; then small storage racks. Not long after that I discovered that the svengali deck was also a grafting line (product). However, at various times in my career I have demonstrated flower holders, knives, potato peelers, spanners (what Americans call wrenches for some unearthly reason) and eyeglass cleaners and what we call "huggers" which are tiny thick rubber rings to stop spectacles slipping down your nose.

You get to know how people's minds work after doing that kind of thing. Plus all the things that Diego mentioned.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 3rd, 2019, 4:13 pm

chetday wrote:I found better prices than those on Amazon for Mark's recommended book at https://www.alibris.com/The-Hard-Sell-The-Art-of-Street-wise-Selling-Colin-Clark/book/14074054?matches=10. If you save the $30+ by purchasing at the above link, feel free to send me a few BitCoins as compensation for the 30 seconds it took me to track down the cheaper prices.


What I can't figure out from the link is whether this is the updated version or not. There should be 3 new chapters therein.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » July 3rd, 2019, 8:05 pm

You want the 2013 edition. Not the 1995 edition.

I have read the 1995 edition and have now ordered the newer edition.

The 2013 edition was reasonably priced over on amazon.co.uk. I bought a copy of the newer edition the other day for about 10 quid.

Sadly that was the last reasonably priced copy. The next priced copy is an insane amount (some screwy algorithm has priced it at over 100 pounds).

What I would do is this. By the cheapo edition for a penny. Read that. And then if you enjoy that - get the Kindle edition for the extra chapters. The Kindle edition is reasonably priced. And by the time you read the cheapo edition a more sensibly priced edition of the newer version might turn up somewhere.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » July 3rd, 2019, 8:10 pm


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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 3rd, 2019, 9:44 pm

Back in 2014 I got an email from Professor Clark. Here is a tiny excerpt which may be of interest:

"The e-Book versions are already out now. We’ve added some chapters about things like what made these traders so good at what they do, etc. For what it is worth (and it is not a coincidence I think) both myself and my co-author, Trevor Pinch were obsessed with magic and conjuring etc. from when we were children. Trevor Pinch did some work on the ‘mini-Geller’ phenomenon too."

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 4th, 2019, 12:09 am

This is not a thread about pitch magic. It is a thread about DeLand.
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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 4th, 2019, 5:12 am

You started it by asking about the worm!

Anyway I came up with some great advertising copy for the De Land Deck. If I can ever find it again I will reproduce it here. It sold me rather a lot of the decks. Grafting in print.

Oh sorry. I forgot we weren't supposed to mention grafting!

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » July 4th, 2019, 11:46 am

I would love to see that Mark. Please try and find it. Cheers!

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 4th, 2019, 1:35 pm

I can't seem to find it online. I may have an old Abra lying about with it. I will seek it out. I know the copy sold well from Abra. Ken Brooke used to say that advertising in Abra wasn't worth doing because the response was so weak. I found the opposite. I tried other magic magazines at times but easily the best was Abra. I would get orders from all over the world. I think the secret was good advertising copy.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » July 4th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Here it is from page 164 of the 24th August, 1974 issue of Abra.
DIRECT FROM AMERICA!

Deland's Automatic Playing Cards


The last word in Reader Decks! Not only can you tell what the top card is,
you can also tell the name of the bottom card. Yes, that's right, the BOTTOM
CARD! But that's NOTHING. You can tell from the markings on the backs
the position of ALL the Diamonds, ALL the Hearts, ALL the Clubs, and ALL
the Spades! In fact you can tell the position of any card in the pack.
Unbelievable? You ain't seen nothin' yet! The markings tell you how many
cards are left on the table after the pack has been cut — you can name EVERY
card in the other fellow's hand WITHOUT looking at the backs (we're not
kidding). Better than the old Mocker Pack? Well, we haven't finished yet!
This pack of cards will enable you to deal yourself a ROYAL FLUSH or perfect
bridge hand without the hours of practice associated with this feat. Good?
No, it's not good, it's FANTASTIC! One more thing, we forgot to mention, as
if all the above were not enough . . . IT'S A STRIPPER PACK TOO!!
Price £2.00 (and worth every penny) postage 5p
Waddington Reader Deck (standard geometrical design) £1.00 postage 5p
MARK LEWIS MAGIC STUDIO
SUITE A. 12-14 DICKSON ROAD, BLACKPOOL, LANCS.
Telephone Blackpool (0253) 24955

Wonderful stuff. Like a British Jeff Busby!
Last edited by Joe Mckay on July 4th, 2019, 4:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 4th, 2019, 4:02 pm

1974?

I was young then...............................

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 4th, 2019, 4:03 pm

What a good advert! I think I might buy one myself!
Last edited by performer on July 4th, 2019, 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby Joe Mckay » July 4th, 2019, 4:06 pm

Yeah - that advert would definitely have worked on me as well when I was younger. No doubt.

Excellent work!

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Re: Theodore DeLand question for RK

Postby performer » July 4th, 2019, 4:12 pm

This is from the same advert. (Why do Americans say "ad'? It is about time they learned to speak English properly).

CUT-OUT
We're not going to tell you the effect of this one! Why not ? Simple ! You'd
only go and make it up for yourselves ! You see, it's such an easy item to
make that you'd all be busy getting the scissors out! You miserable lot!
Still, we don't care, if you can't afford to spend five bob on one of the
greatest playing card gags you'll ever come across, you don't deserve to
have it anyway!
The price is 25p (post 5p) — but it's worth pounds. (We mean that).

You will never guess what I sent them! Half a playing card!


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