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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #1 
I remember seeing this photo in a book a long time ago and always wondered why Dai's last name is spelled that way on the advertising.  We of course know that his real last name was Verner, so maybe it began as Verner, changed to Vernen and finally Vernon.

Anyways, I found this recently and thought some might enjoy it.

Taken from "The Roving Artist"

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Dai Vernon, who?

All this talk of a double-dip recession we’re hearing in the media reminds me of the famous American magician/silhouettist Dai Vernon.  Vernon was an artist who invented many of today’s best-known magic tricks, but who actually supported himself and his family throughout the 1920’s and 30’s as a street silhouette artist.  During the long years of the Great Depression he would set up a stall – in whatever city he happened to be working at the time – under a banner saying “no depression here”.  Legend has it that he invariably had a long queue of customers!

So, if you’re able to visit Square Meal’s “Venues & Events” exhibition this week, do make time to come and get your silhouette cut out. You’ll find us under the “no recession here” sign!

Dat Vernon in his studio

The young subject is of course Jeanne, Vernon's wife.  Born Eugenie "Jeanne" Hayes.
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #2 
an amazing talent all in it's own right!

Thanks for posting this

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DJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
I think he also changed the pronunciation of his first name when he moved west?  Day vs. Die?
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #4 
The whole Dai thing apparently as a shortening of David, his given name. Dai, pronounced as day, is consistent with David or Dave. The New Yorkers called him that till the end while the rest of us knew him as Dai (dye).
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #5 
At least spell his name correctly in the topic heading. Respect required!
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Farmer
At least spell his name correctly in the topic heading. Respect required!


Hi Bob, It's actually spelled correctly in the heading. Look closely at the signs in the photo and you'll see that it's spelled exactly the way that Ray typed it, "Vernen's Silhouettes"

That's the the whole point of the thread. How did his name come to be spelled the way that we've all come to recognize it?

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Bob Farmer

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My bad!
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Farmer
My bad!


No worries Bob. Most people look at the people and the silhouttes and don't read the signs closely enough to notice. Part of my job is to inspect construction projects to troubleshoot and help determine why defects occurred and why. For that reason I tend to be the type that notices minute details. Like when someone sees a wall I see the cracks in it. I find it interesting that someone's name can change over time, that's all.
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Dorian Rhodell

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ
I think he also changed the pronunciation of his first name when he moved west?  Day vs. Die?


Howard Hamburg once told a story about the Day vs. Die debate. Apparently someone asked him if he (the professor) pronounced it Day or Die.
His response was "either or either"
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DJ

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Rhodell


Howard Hamburg once told a story about the Day vs. Die debate. Apparently someone asked him if he (the professor) pronounced it Day or Die.
His response was "either or either"



Hahahahaha...that's a good one!

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StevePR104

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Reply with quote  #11 
Taking it one step further...

At one point, Vernon advertised himself as "Dale" Vernon while doing a harlequin act.  In fact, he has a full page ad in the 1939 SAM convention program using that name.  Of course, the photo that accompanies it is the classic shot of him staring at the Ace of Clubs while holding the cigarette in his right hand.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #12 
Ace of Clubs, he always said that it was his favorite.  Thanks for showing that example of his name "mysteriously" transforming!
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JWSM

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Ace of Clubs, he always said that it was his favorite.  Thanks for showing that example of his name "mysteriously" transforming!


When or where did he say the ace of clubs was his favorite card, RayJ?
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWSM


When or where did he say the ace of clubs was his favorite card, RayJ?


It has been referenced in many places over the years.  I'll try to look up some examples.

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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWSM


When or where did he say the ace of clubs was his favorite card, RayJ?


Don't tell him Ray!!

Some things are not for dissemination. And confidences are never for dissemination.

[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]  
[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]
[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]
[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]

Is that enough emoticons?
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JWSM

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Reply with quote  #16 
OK.. I've read a lot of vernon over the years and can't find a reference in my books or videos
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JWSM

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee


Don't tell him Ray!!

Some things are not for dissemination. And confidences are never for dissemination.

[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]  
[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]
[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]
[smile][biggrin][cool][rolleyes]

Is that enough emoticons?



lol.. you're something else Alan!
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #18 
Perhaps he chose the Ace of Clubs as his favorite because it was the card Houdini signed when Vernon fooled him as related in the story below.

David Ben, a fellow Canadian prestidigitator and the author of Vernon’s biography, wrote that when another magician introduced Vernon to Houdini, the maestro rolled his eyes “as if [Houdini] were doing him a huge favor” by indulging an amateur. Vernon, however, proceeded calmly, handing Houdini a pen, riffling a pack of cards, and telling him to mark his initials on the ace of clubs.

Vernon then placed the ace of clubs underneath the top card, squaring the deck. A second later, he turned over the top card to reveal that the signed ace of clubs had risen to the top of the pack — an effect so striking and fast that when magicians perform it now, the audience typically isn’t aware that enough time has elapsed for even the simplest trick to be set up. The effect is now known as the Ambitious Card, since the signed card is seemingly irrepressible in its urge to rise to the top.

Houdini blinked. Could Vernon run the trick by him again? Vernon obliged with disarming slowness, as if to give the master every chance to correct the apprentice. This time, once the signed ace was inserted beneath the top card, Vernon even paused and tilted the deck so Houdini could see the face of his card sliding under the top card. He then squeezed the deck lightly, and again, the ace jumped back to the top of the pack, as if the top card had melted away.

This caused a minor roar, because the next iteration would be the third, and if Houdini couldn’t sniff out the technique, he would be the victim of his own boast. According to Ben, the assembled magicians urged Houdini to admit he was utterly baffled, but Houdini stood transfixed and demanded another chance. Vernon gave him his third chance — then two more tries, plus an extra performance just for Houdini’s wife, Bess. Houdini entertained and rejected theories (an extra ace, perhaps? But the card was signed …). After the seventh and final performance, the gathering broke up, and Houdini was forced to concede defeat.

The repeat performance was, for Vernon and Houdini both, a huge gamble. With each run after the first, Vernon hazarded his bragging rights. After all, he had already fooled the greatest magician in the world, and that would have been enough to make a reputation. As for Houdini, the ignominy of having been shown up by a no-name upstart could plague him for the rest of his life. Houdini would only have to endure that indignity for four years, though: In 1926, after a show in Montreal, he was gut-punched by yet another Canadian, Gordon Whitehead, and died soon after of peritonitis.

Vernon was henceforth billed as “The Man Who Fooled Houdini,” 


Seems plausible to me.  I know I've heard it or read it in more than one place over the years.  I didn't just make it up out of whole cloth.  
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWSM



lol.. you're something else Alan!


As Eddie Cochran used to say.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #20 
Related image

The Professor Dai Vernon

It seems that on staged photos, the Ace of Clubs was chosen a lot.
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JWSM

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Reply with quote  #21 
It most likely is then.. it was just that when i read your post, 4 of spades or 7 of spades popped in to my head.... remember reading something somewhere else..

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWSM
It most likely is then.. it was just that when i read your post, 4 of spades or 7 of spades popped in to my head.... remember reading something somewhere else..



Not claiming to be right that it was his favorite, just that I know I had read it somewhere previously.  Seems to me more than once, but memories aren't perfect.
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #23 
[QUOTE=RayJ”Perhaps he chose the Ace of Clubs as his favorite because it was the card Houdini signed when Vernon fooled him as related in the story below...” You retell a great story very well, Ray. I felt like I was there watching/listening. I’ve heard snippets before, but love hearing good stories retold.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #24 
Graeme Wood was the author, not me!  I'm sorry that I must have been in a hurry and didn't link the source, which I always try to do.  I didn't mean to make it seem that I wrote it.

https://gcaw.net/2011/06/12/the-card-trick-that-stumped-houdini/
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Stevie Ray

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Reply with quote  #25 
I recently watched this documentary on the life of the Professor. Though I've heard many stories, I found this biography to be quite informative.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #26 
Bump.  

Just found this reference to Vernon's favorite card.  

[vernon+shroud]

"Next came a special drawing for five copies of "The Shroud of Vernon." These are numbered pieces of cloth "Cut from the Shroud of Vernon" containing the phantom image of Dai Vernon's favorite card, the Ace of Clubs. I never win things like this, so it was a great surprise when I won! I think Houdini was looking after me this weekend."

I purloined this text from the 'Wild About Harry' website.


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