What did Dai Vernon Influence?

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
It troubles me that many new magicians don't understand who Dai Vernon is and what he did to influence modern magic. I wonder if we could discuss some of his creations and innovations. I am not the best person for this so I'll need your help guys. I'm reminded of a thread a while ago where a few magicians claimed that they were not influenced by the professor. While I guess this is possible, I find it very improbable.

Dai Vernon is one of the main reason's that we regard "The Expert at the Card Table" so highly in the magic community. His study and work with this book helped to revolutionize close up card magic.Through his interest in this book magicians began to look to gambling methods for their magic more than ever before. Vernon was a great advocate for natural looking magic that he attributed to what he found in Erdnase.

The Professor created and improved many classic methods and effects. Some legendary hi-lights are his work on Triumph, the ambitious card, linking rings and the cups and balls. I would argue that almost anyone who performs these effects owes a good portion of their routine to the professor.

Expert Card Technique, one of the verifiable classics of card magic, is chalk full of uncredited and miscredited Vernon material.

Some of the greatest living magicians owe much of their knowledge to the professor. Including but not limited to John Carney, Michael Ammar and David Williamson.

How else has Dai Vernon influenced magic?
 
It's really late here where I am at and I will surely comment more, unfortunately I am heading to bed.

However, you maybe happy (or disappointed, perhaps both) to see that a day or so ago I posted a small documantary about Dai Vernon which can currently be found on Page 2 (the disappointing part) of this General Discussion board.

http://forums.theory11.com/showthread.php?36986-Dai-Vernon-Documentary

You mentioned, Carney, Ammar & Williamson...and I would also like to add Ricky Jay to that. He is the closest thing to Vernon that this generation has.

- Steve
 
Aug 17, 2010
411
4
How else has Dai Vernon influenced magic?

He championed a naturalistic style, and popularized an obscure sleight first published in 1716 in Richard Neve's "The Merry Companion" and again in August Roterberg's New Era Card Tricks in 1897. The move is called the "Double Turnover".

It didn't really catch on until Vernon's more natural looking double turnover in the 1920's or 30's.
 
Sep 2, 2007
1,188
16
39
London
He championed a naturalistic style, and popularized an obscure sleight first published in 1716 in Richard Neve's "The Merry Companion" and again in August Roterberg's New Era Card Tricks in 1897. The move is called the "Double Turnover".

It didn't really catch on until Vernon's more natural looking double turnover in the 1920's or 30's.

Just to clarify that, the idea of holding two cards so they appears "at some little distance" to be one is in The Merry Companion, La Magie Blanche Devoilee, Modern Magic, New Era Card Tricks, and The Expert at the Card Table. However, none of these sources give a method for removing the double from the deck neatly, they just suggest the two-cards-as-one idea. So, even though the concept predated Vernon, it may very well be that he developed the whole double lift and double turnover methodology. On the Revelations videos, he seemed to be unaware that the double card idea predated Erdnase, so we can infer that the following century of double lift development all came from his reading of the Palm Change.

And that's a perfect example of his monumental influence on magic. It wasn't just that he created hundreds of tricks and sleights, which have become indispensable, it was his thinking, the "Vernon Touch", that made him so special. He crystallised his ideas into the maxim "be natural and use your head" which, to borrow a Biblical phrase, contains "the whole law and the prophets" as far as being an effective magician goes. He understood the psychology behind magic, and the delicate relationship that exists between magician and spectator. In a world full of guys who knew some tricks, he was a man who invented the genre of close-up magic as we know it, arguably the first table-hopping worker.

I could go on about Vernon for hours, but if you don't appreciate what he contributed to magic then I suggest you need to do some reading.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
It's really late here where I am at and I will surely comment more, unfortunately I am heading to bed.

However, you maybe happy (or disappointed, perhaps both) to see that a day or so ago I posted a small documantary about Dai Vernon which can currently be found on Page 2 (the disappointing part) of this General Discussion board.

http://forums.theory11.com/showthread.php?36986-Dai-Vernon-Documentary

Yeah, I saw this documentary a little while ago. It's really great, thank you for sharing. While it is a wonderful insight on his life through this thread I wanted to point out how indispensable his work is to the modern performer. I have a hard time thinking of any modern magic act that was not either directly or indirectly related to Vernon's work.
 
I think a problem may be that magicians have learnt tricks that are Vernon's originally but they have not learnt it straight from his books and so they do not realise it is his idea or him that populated it. I personally had heard lots about the Professor but it wasn't until late in my magic career that I actually managed to get hold of one of his books and found out just how much influence he had on the Art as it is today.

Simon_Magic
 
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