Three Deaths in Magic: Jackie Flosso, Russell Barnhart, and Richard Buffum

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Richard Kaufman
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Three Deaths in Magic: Jackie Flosso, Russell Barnhart, and Richard Buffum

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 30th, 2003, 9:03 pm

Sad news times three.
Jackie Flosso died at age 77.
Richard Buffum died (he was in his early 80s).
Russell Barnhart died on September 14. He was 77.
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Jon Racherbaumer
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Re: Three Deaths in Magic: Jackie Flosso, Russell Barnhart, and Richard Buffum

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » October 1st, 2003, 2:39 pm

RUSSELL T. BARNHART
August 20, 1926 - September 14, 2003


Russell was a curious mixture in regards to the persona he chose to reveal at any given time. I found him to be both private and selectively gregarious, and when he wanted, he was a lively conversationalist who exhibited a broad education. He also knew a lot about many esoteric subjects. He also knew lots about gambling lore and had an accomplished, idiosyncratic approach to sleight of hand.

Russ (as he was called in the early days) was born in Chicago he was inspired by the local bar magic scene and befriended Edward Marlo while there and frequented the local Round Table as a regular. He eventually to New York City in 1960 and wrote Two Second Deals (1974), The Master Palm (1975), Casino Gambling: Why You Win/ Why You Lose (1978), Gamblers Of Yesteryear (1983), Beating The Wheel (1992) and translated the Eugene Villiod trilogy. According to Meir Yedid, he also wrote two semi-autobiographical books that were never published, "My Life in Dens of Iniquity" and a book about his experiences as a Yeoman 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy. He was one of the testors of Edward O. Thorp's famous Blackjack System prior to the release of the classic book, Beat the Dealer. His gambling library was donated to the Institute of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno who have setup a special section in his honor. At one time they also honored him for his lifelong study and contributions to gambling.

Many magicians of my generation first heard about Russell through reading Marlo In Spades, noting his celebrated Fan Steal. Over the years, Russell preferred to privately meet with other magicians and at one time was a great letter writer. He spent many hours with Marlo and exchanged many letters with him.

I first initially him through Marlo and whenever Russell visited New Orleans, we got together. On one of his notable visits, he demonstrated his Spooky Second Deal, which was indeed spooky. I was so enthused and incredulous, I filmed him demonstrating it. (Super 8) Everyone should see this footage. (I plan to transfer this footage to a DVD and perhaps pass it on to someone such as Meir Yedid for possible distribution.) In the meantime, die-hard cardmen should pick up a copy of his booklets and check out the various places in print where Russells material is buried.

I wish a had spent more time with this scholarly gentleman; however, Im grateful for the time we had together. It was a memorable and happy privilege.

Onward, Russell

Guest

Re: Three Deaths in Magic: Jackie Flosso, Russell Barnhart, and Richard Buffum

Postby Guest » October 1st, 2003, 5:31 pm

I'll miss Russell Tewksbury Barnhart....I've known him for over 25 years. He frequented Reuben's Deli nearly every Saturday here in NYC....I was sitting at the table there with him in 2000 with Oscar Weigle and asked him if I should sell my Houdini collection. He said, "Look, keep what you like, and sell the rest. You can't take it with you, but enjoy what you decide to keep. Now is the time to sell."

Lillian and Eugene raised a good son. Russell always dressed/presented himself well and never spoke bad of anyone. Yes, he was kinda private, but that was his mystery. My favorite of all his translated books was 'Crooks Con Men and Cheats.'
Russell got a kick when I told him that I bring that book (along with Garcia's Marked Cards and Loaded Dice) whenever I have Jury Duty.
It's a great way to get out of Jury Duty!!

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Three Deaths in Magic: Jackie Flosso, Russell Barnhart, and Richard Buffum

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 1st, 2003, 7:42 pm

Originally posted by Doug Edwards:
He frequented Reuben's Deli nearly every Saturday here in NYC....
Another face from the Saturday gang lost to memory.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


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