By Karl Johnson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 2006-07-25
Number of Pages: 368
Website: Amazon, LibraryThing, Google Books
Synopsis from Amazon:
A well-known magician's trip to discover the best cardsharp ever conjures up the forgotten international of magic the place american citizens chanced on break out in the course of the nice Depression
It has the nostalgic caliber of an old school fantasy, yet Karl Johnson's The Magician and the Cardsharp is a real tale that lovingly re-creates the glint of a vanished global. right here, set opposed to the backdrop of the USA suffering during the melancholy, is the realm of magic, a realm of stars, sleight of hand, and sin the place desires can be learned - or stolen away.
Following the Crash of '29, Dai Vernon, identified by way of 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 really think is genuine - a mythical secret guy who offers 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 daylight hours. Does he locate the pointy?
Well, Karl Johnson did - after years of study into Vernon's colourful quest, study that led him to areas he by no means knew existed. Johnson takes us to the cardsharp's doorstep and indicates us how he bestowed on Vernon the best mystery in magic. The Magician and the Cardsharp is a distinct and perpetually exciting piece of historical past that unearths the artistry and obsession of a distinct breed of yankee showmen.
Read Online or Download The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist PDF
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Additional resources for The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist
He was once a grasp showman, a mysterious, self-dramatizing personality who claimed all types of talents and powers he didn’t particularly have. He used to be additionally nice at whipping up exposure for himself. Vernon, who, like Kennedy additionally was once no longer conscious of the Cincinnati article, met the bearded Benzon years after it had seemed. It was once no longer lengthy after Vernon had arrived in big apple on the finish of battle. “You’re the younger Canadian within the air force,” Benzon had greeted him at Powers’s magic store, which “tickled” Vernon on the time since it intended that big-name magicians have been already conversing approximately him. Vernon proceeded to idiot Benzon, who as soon as had his fingers insured for $250,000 as a exposure stunt, with one in every of his early think-a-card results. Benzon, whom Vernon thought of a “fabulous performer,” ultimately ended up pursuing mentalism. He made relatively a reputation for himself by means of dressing up his methods with “seventh son of a 7th son” mumbo-jumbo and spouting pretend ectoplasm. yet he by no means really dealt playing cards from the heart of the deck. * * * Kennedy made up our minds, sensibly adequate, that his arms have been the basis to the guts deal. because leaving his mother’s farm, he had pampered them. They weren't rough-skinned, or nicked and gnarled just like the fingers of the common Cass County farmers and workmen. The consistent sleights had left them strangely robust and supple, with every one finger good muscled in its personal correct. but, as robust as his palms have been, he nonetheless dealt with the playing cards with a mild, smooth contact, as a pianist or a violinist may deal with his software. Corralling unruly digits was once a major a part of gaining knowledge of sleights. A mechanic’s dependence on his fingers was once overall. They have been chargeable for executing his wanted activities as easily and thoughtlessly as blinking or respiring. The arms have been the instruments, yet they weren't inevitably constantly less than keep an eye on. They have been like unique carnival animals, in a position to all types of surprising feats yet short of strict education and incessant drilling. and prefer animals, they can insurgent. particular palms had nasty reputations for inflicting difficulties in the course of specific sleights. within the shift, for example, the left index finger can be a nuisance. It had an inclination, a tenacious actual behavior, to wag like an overanxious dog throughout the sleight, tipping off an individual looking at that whatever used to be up. To grasp the shift, the cardboard handler additionally needed to overcome that index finger. in the course of palming, the thumb used to be the wrongdoer. on the placement of the cardboard within the hand, it could actually balk immediately, virtually as though it have been showing its ethical disgust at what the remainder of the hands have been doing and sought after no a part of it. Vernon referred to as that irksome phenomenon the “fishhook” and warned amateur magicians to protect opposed to it. The worrywart backside buyers fretted lots approximately “flashing” a wayward finger fantasy sprung up a few subway broker who had really bring to a halt a part of a finger to put off the matter as soon as and for all. As Kennedy toyed with the deck, imagining how he used to be going to complete this new sleight at a poker desk with all eyes educated upon his arms, he observed that the left hand particularly would wish education.