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Dai Vernon

Dai Vernon (pronounced alternatively as


DIE or as DAY as in David[1]) (June 11,
1894 August 21, 1992), a.k.a. The
Professor, was a Canadian magician.[2]
His expert sleight of hand technique and
extensive knowledge garnered him
respect among fellow magicians. His
influence was considerable in the magic
world, and he was a mentor to numerous
famous magicians. He lived out his last
years at the Magic Castle.
Dai Vernon

Portrait of Dai Vernon (right), along with Larry


Jennings (left). Image drawn in 1989 by Sylvester
the Jester

Born David Frederick Wingeld Verner


June 11, 1894
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Died August 21, 1992 (aged98)


Ramona, California, United States

Occupation Magician

Biography
Biography
Vernon was born in Ottawa as David
Frederick Wingeld Verner. While
performing, he often mentioned that he
had learned his rst trick from his father
at age seven, adding that he had "wasted
the rst 6 years" of his life. His father was
a government worker and an amateur
magician. Vernon studied mechanical
engineering at the Royal Military College
of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, but by
World War I he had moved to New York
City.[2]

Vernon rst fell in love with magic when


he was seven years old after his father
took him to see a magic show. The rst
real magic book he ever owned was an
early edition of perhaps the most famous
card book of them all, The Expert at the
Card Table, by S. W. Erdnase.[3] By the time
he was 13 he had memorized the contents
of the book. He also had a famous
encounter with another up-and-coming
young magician from his town, Cliff Green,
who asked Vernon, "What kind of magic
do you do?" Vernon responded by asking
the boy to name a card. Upon pulling a
pack of cards from his pocket, Vernon
turned over the top card of the deck to
reveal the named card and replied to the
speechless Green, "That's the kind of
magic I do. What kind of magic do you
do?"

As a young man, Vernon moved to New


York where, in the back room of Clyde
Powers' magic shop, he found favor
among many of the great magicians of the
era, including Dr. James William Elliott and
Harry Kellar.

He began to use the rst name "Dai" after


a newspaper used the name in place of
"David"; the paper actually was using the
Welsh nickname for David. When Verner
rst moved to the United States, the male
member of a popular ice-skating pair had
the surname Vernon; Americans
continually mistook Verner's last name to
be the same as the popular ice skater, and
eventually the magician became fed up
with correcting people and simply adopted
"Vernon" as well.

Owing to his extraordinary knowledge of,


and skill at, sleight of hand, Vernon has
long been affectionately known as The
Professor. Harry Houdini (who in his early
years billed himself as "The King of
Kards") often boasted that if he saw a
card trick performed three times in a row
he would be able to gure it out. Vernon
then showed Houdini a trick where he
removed the top card of the deck and
placed it second from the top, then turned
over the top card to again reveal the
original card. Houdini watched Vernon do
the trick seven times, each time insisting
that Vernon "do it again." Finally, Houdini's
wife and Vernon's friends said, "Face it,
Houdini, you're fooled." For years
afterward, Vernon used the title The Man
Who Fooled Houdini in his advertisements.

Dai Vernon spent most of his life traveling


all over the United States of America
looking for card cheats, and anyone who
might know anything about sleight-of-
hand with cards. He was famously under-
credited for much of the work published in
Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue's Expert
Card Technique,[4] though a later edition
included an extra chapter which
acknowledges Vernon's contributions. In
fact, a huge portion of the sleight-of-hand
had been discovered by Vernon over years
of searching.

Among magicians, he is credited with


inventing or improving many standard
close-up effects with cards, coins, and
other small items. The "standard" Cups
and balls routine is his, and his 6-ring
"Symphony of the Rings" remains one of
the most popular Chinese linking rings
routines in use to this day.

Vernon spent the last thirty years of his


life as Magician-in-Residence at The
Magic Castle in Los Angeles, California.
There he mentored numerous well-known
magicians including Ricky Jay, Persi
Diaconis, Doug Henning, Larry Jennings,
Bruce Cervon, Michael Ammar and John
Carney.

Death
He died on August 21, 1992, in Ramona,
County of San Diego, California.[2] He was
cremated, and his ashes are interred at
the Magic Castle.[5]

Books
Dai Vernon's Book of Magic
Inner Secrets of Card Magic
More Inner Secrets of Card Magic
Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic
Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic
Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig
Malini & His Magic
The Essential Dai Vernon (Collected
Work)
The Symphony of the Rings
Early Vernon
Revelations

Legacy
In November 2005, Karl Johnson wrote
The Magician And The Cardsharp [6] about
Vernon's early days of tracking down a
specic yet unknown cardsharp, who
developed an undetectable false deal.

In June 2006, the rst in-depth biography


of Vernon was released by Squash
Publishing entitled Dai Vernon: A
Biography, *Artist * Magician * Muse (Vol. 1:
1894-1941)[7] (rst of planned two
volumes) written by Canadian magician
David Ben .

A documentary was released entitled 'Dai


Vernon: The Spirit Of Magic' (Toronto:
History Television - The Canadians: 1999).

Dai Vernon in film


The character of "The Professor" (played
by Hal Holbrook) from the movie Shade
was based on Dai Vernon, and the
character Vernon (Stuart Townsend) was
named after him.

References
1. When asked which way to pronounce his
rst name, Vernon would say "either, or
either." Vernon, Dai. The Vernon Touch: The
Writings of Dai Vernon in Genii, The
Conjurors' Magazine from 1968 to 1990.
Washington, DC: The Genii Corporation,
2006.
2. Daniels, Lee A. (August 29, 1992). "Dai
Vernon, 98; An Expert Magician Who Taught
Others" . New York Times. Retrieved
2007-08-21. Dai Vernon, a sleight of hand
artist who was a mentor to many of the most
accomplished magicians of the last half-
century, died Aug. 21 at the home of a son,
Edward Wingeld Verner, in Ramona, Calif.,
where he had lived for the last two years. He
was 98 years old.
3. Erdnase, S. W (1995). The Expert at the
Card Table: The Classic Treatise on Card
Manipulation (1st Ed. reprint ed.). Mineola,
NY da: Dover Publications. p.144 pages.
ISBN978-0-486-28597-9.
4. Hugard, Jean; Braue, Frederick (1974).
Expert Card Technique: Close-Up Table
Magic (1st Ed. reprint ed.). Mineola, NY:
Dover Publications. p.448 pages. ISBN978-
0-486-21755-0.
5. Johnson, Karl (2005). The Magician and
the Cardsharp. p.(p. 282). He was
cremated, and after the box with his ashes
was brought to the Magic Castle, it was
placed for display on a ledge at the top of a
wall lled with photos and other memorabilia
from his long life in magic. The ledge was so
high that the box was almost out of sight.He
was a founding member os SBM ring 363 in
cork ireland.
6. Johnson, Karl (2005). The Magician and
the Cardsharp: The Search for America's
Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist (Adapted
ed.). New York: Henry Holt and Co. p.368
pages. ISBN978-0-8050-7406-2.
7. Ben, David (2006). Dai Vernon: A
Biography--Artist - Magician - Muse (Vol. 1:
1894-1941). Chicago, Illinois: Squash
Publishing. p.366 pages. ISBN978-0-
9744681-5-0.

External links
Short French biography on Vernon
A Magician's Quest for the Perfect
Card Cheat , NPR Morning Edition, August
18, 2006
The Phantoms of the Card Table,
David Britland
Dai Vernon 3 card monte on YouTube
Vernon, Dai (1982). "Dai Vernon
Revelations" . Tahoma, CA: L & L
Publishing. Retrieved 2008-01-05. History
was made ... the life and magic of Dai
Vernon was permanently recorded for
future generations. 8 DVD Set of Dai
Vernon interviews and demonstrations.

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Last edited 3 months ago by Gramm

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