The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist

By Karl Johnson

Book Details:

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 2006-07-25
Number of Pages: 368
Website: Amazon, LibraryThing, Google Books

Synopsis from Amazon:

A recognized magician's trip to discover the best cardsharp ever inspires the forgotten global of magic the place americans discovered break out in the course of the nice Depression

It has the nostalgic caliber of an old school delusion, yet Karl Johnson's The Magician and the Cardsharp is a real tale that lovingly re-creates the glint of a vanished global. the following, set opposed to the backdrop of the USA suffering throughout the melancholy, is the realm of magic, a realm of stars, sleight of hand, and sin the place goals should be discovered - or stolen away.

Following the Crash of '29, Dai Vernon, identified through magicians as "the guy who fooled Houdini," is tramping down Midwestern backroads, slightly making ends meet. whereas swapping secrets and techniques with a Mexican gambler, he hears of a man he doesn't relatively think is actual - a mythical secret guy who bargains completely from the heart of the deck and who locals name the best cardsharp of all time. decided to discover the reclusive genius, Vernon units out on a trip via America's shady, slick, and sinful part - from mob-run Kansas urban via railroad cities that seemed sleepy merely within the sunlight hours. Does he locate the pointy?

Well, Karl Johnson did - after years of study into Vernon's colourful quest, learn that led him to locations he by no means knew existed. Johnson takes us to the cardsharp's doorstep and exhibits us how he bestowed on Vernon the best mystery in magic. The Magician and the Cardsharp is a special and ceaselessly pleasing piece of historical past that unearths the artistry and obsession of a distinct breed of yankee showmen.

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Why had the fats boy simply despatched up a helium balloon like that? Vernon was once surprised, too. He grew to become to the gamblers and made a bit movement together with his hand at his head. Don’t fear approximately him, he attempted to claim with the hand, he’s now not too good. Then he bought up from the desk, grabbed Miller, and so they beat a hasty retreat again to the road. * * * Vernon could continuously say solid card trick might be developed like an exceptional play. it's going to have a starting, a center, and an finish. A magician needed to know the way to be an actor taking part in the a part of a magician.

Others have been probability encounters. One unforeseen lesson got here within the Canadian north woods whilst David was once approximately ten and his father took him on a fishing journey. they'd fish for rainbow trout all day after which carry their seize again to the inn, the place it might be cooked for his or her dinner. Then they might take a seat at the veranda, absorb the evening air, and chat with the opposite sportsmen. One evening, one of many different site visitors by surprise pulled out a pack of playing cards and began doing a little tips. They have been easy, direct, and intensely strong, and David spotted that the man’s process used to be wonderful.

Vernon got here to determine them because the maximum magicians of all of them. He had stumbled on many of the cardsharps’ secrets and techniques in a mysterious ebook referred to as The specialist on the Card desk, a daring quantity he took as his bible yet which so much different magicians shied clear of, brushing aside it as indecipherable. nonetheless different secrets and techniques he realized in individual after monitoring down gamblers. Magicians have been borrowing sleights from card cheats for centuries, yet Vernon had an remarkable knack for prying the adored tips of the exchange out of those closed males.

Vernon made it sound like a snap. “They’d imagine you’re an eccentric millionaire, that’s all. ” He reassured Kennedy, “You don’t need to gown. you may be a millionaire,” he repeated, “… from Oklahoma, or any oil kingdom. ” In a feeling, Vernon had simply received the outlet hand with Kennedy and the cardsharp didn’t even are aware of it. Kennedy had acquired his act unhesitatingly. The flurry of pleasure ignited by way of a fellow mechanic coming to this point to discover him had prompted him to bare himself. yet as they sat within the front room and endured to speak, Vernon observed that Kennedy used to be making no movement to get to the playing cards.

Vernon didn’t wish Miller to bare himself in any respect. And he specially didn’t wish him to “crack out of turn,” to claim whatever silly on the incorrect time. not anything may perhaps “rumble” or “bobble” a mark, excite suspicion, faster than that. And the marks they have been seeking to idiot in Kansas urban weren’t marks in any respect. They have been the sharpest of the sharps within the nation. Vernon determined that their top wager, primarily their merely wager, was once for Miller to be a mute, a cipher. “Don’t open your mouth,” he warned him back, “’cause you’re going to wreck issues.

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