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The Magic Memories (171)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Cervon on Vernon’s C&B Loading Sequence; Séminaire Paris SUN May 5th; Magicon II Convention in Lüdenscheid (Announcement); Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland

These are The Magic Memories 171, gone online Sunday, April 7th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Cervon on Vernon’s C&B Loading Sequence

A few Memories back I promised to bring something about Dai Vernon’s famous Cups & Balls Routine.

The description of the routine was originally published by England’s Harry Stanley in Lewis Ganson’s The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, one of the best books in magic.

For those among my readers who have not yet seen the recording, you can watch Dai Vernon do the routine in person, on Mark Wilson’s TV show The Magic Circus. There Vernon, aged seventy-eight, opens with a line that has become legendary, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am no youngster. I am seventy-eight years of age, and I have been studying magic for over seventy-two years… I wasted the first six years of my life.” To watch CLICK HERE.

Dai Vernon performing C&B on Mark Wilson “Magic Circus”

However, the main reason why I mention this, is to share with you a rare video clip of Bruce Cervon doing the final phase of Dai Vernon’s C&B, i.e., the all-important loading sequence. This is the one phase that spectators will most remember, place in their “communicative memory” (see Sharing Secrets, p. 74), and tell to others.

This one-minute clip was extracted from “A Touch of Magic”, a program within the Fifth Estate TV Show, an acclaimed Canadian production that aired for the first time in 1975 and went on for forty-seven seasons.

The program dealt with magic and was aptly titled “A Touch of Magic”, possibly an allusion to Dai Vernon’s Genii-column “The Vernon Touch”. The episode, with a running time of twenty-one minutes, particularly showcases Dai Vernon, being Canadian, of course, but also has clips of several of his acolytes speaking and performing.

Bruce Cervon doing C&B on The Fifth Estate

To watch Bruce Cervon perform the last phase of the Vernon C&B Routine CLICK HERE.

I though about transcribing and commenting this short piece, but that would be a lot for me to write and for you to read. It is my belief that whoever has an affinity for the topic, by viewing the video, maybe a few times, will recognize the difference to the original and agree that the changes are interesting and above all practical.

Besides using coffee cups, instead of the standard “magician’s cups”, Cervon got rid of the “false explanation” part that exposes the French Drop, something many have never liked (you have to understand the time and context this was created), but he also streamlined the technical construction. Not many are able to take a Master’s work like the one of Vernon’s and make changes without butchering the original. But Cervon, a Master in his own right, understood Vernon and his work, as well as the essence of the C&B, and I think that the changes he made would have found Vernon’s approval.

We can identify a similar talent of Cervon’s to streamline the technical structure of Classics when we for instance look at “All Backs” from Ultra Cervon (p. 33), where he took Elmsley’s take on Vernon’s original from Expert Card Technique, adding the final production of the Aces. It clearly shows that Cervon was a professional who performed for real people, while Elmsley did this a lot less.

Anyway, I will leave this to your appreciation without further comment.

I will remind those of you who seem to have most of my publications, that the two-DVD-set with the recording of my Masterclass on Dai Vernon, Dai Vernon Seminar: Life and Work, includes an eighty-page PDF (!) where I discuss Vernon’s C&B Routine at great length.

For those who do not have this, I shall give you the study I made on the C&B as a gift; you can download the PDF for free by CLICKING HERE.

And since I am at distributing gifts, in the Genii issue of May 2009 I discussed an unpublished alternative loading sequence that Dai Vernon himself did on a TV show: I transcribed and commented the complete sequence and offer it here for your edification and archives. To get the PDF CLICK HERE.

I meant to write a lot more, but looking at all the above, I believe that those who have an interest in this kind of thing, have enough material to read and watch 🙂

Séminaire Paris SUN May 5th

I briefly mentioned the one-day Masterclass I will be giving in Paris on Sunday, May 5th, 2024.

So, for all of you who read French, live in or near Paris, or now finally have an excuse to come to one of the most fascinating cities in the world, CLICK HERE for the PDF with all relevant information, in French, naturellement, since the classes will be conducted in French, too 🙂

Tamariz & Giobbi Masterclass (Torino 2007)

Magicon II Convention in Lüdenscheid (Announcement)

Next week-end I will be lecturing and performing at the Magicon Convention in Lüdenscheid (Germany), so The Magic Memories 172 might be short. I shall report about it in The Magic Memories 173, as usual.

Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland

I was amused to read in the news that recently the US State Department mixed up Switzerland and Sweden while announcing Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron 🙂

This reminds me of when a magic dealer, from whom I had ordered several books, sent the wares to Swaziland… Amazingly enough, to me, the parcel finally found its way to me.

The mistake can happen, not so much because of geographical ignorance, but because on the online-forms that need to be filled in on the homepage of the carriers, Swaziland, Sweden, and Switzerland are right one after the other, and it is easy to click on the wrong item, especially because the names appear in a minuscule type.

This reminds me of my favorite quote by Confucius: “If you see a worthy man, imitate him; if you see an unworthy man, examine yourself.”

So, let us examine ourselves and our magic: What is the lesson to be learned for magic?

Which brings us to one of my next-favorite quotes, I keep repeating in my writings, by André Gide, who was asked by a journalist what was the most important thing in language. He answered, “La clarté, la clarté, la clarté – clarity, clarity, clarity.”

Therefore, when presenting our magic, let’s make sure that our spectators never mix up Swaziland, Sweden, and Switzerland!

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

3 thoughts on “The Magic Memories (171)

  1. Vernon’s silver engraved cups we see in the video are now owned by David Copperfield. He purchased them from Bill Taylor not long before he died. Taylor had purchased them from BJ, Larry Jennings widow. Vernon had given the cups to Larry Jennings. Persi Diaconis owns the other identical silver engraved set that was photographed for The Dai Vernon Book of Magic. The two sets were manufactured in Iran and were smuggled into the U.S. by George Karger, a Life Magazine photographer and friend of Vernon in the 1950s. Karger was the photographer for the Stars of Magic book. He kept one set of the cups, and gave Vernon the other set, the one we see in the Vernon book. Years later Diaconis found Karger’s set in an antique shop in NYC, and traded them with Vernon’s approval for the set from the book. So Vernon, then ultimately Copperfield wound up with Karger’s set, and Diaconis has the set from the book.

  2. Bonjour Roberto

    encore un grand merci pour cet article dominical
    j’y apprends toujours !
    et malheureusement je ne pourrai être à Paris le 5 mai

    au plaisir

    sylvain ROLLET

  3. Another interesting take on the C&B you can find from Michael Skinner ( 1941 – 1998 ). / Begins at 5:52

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