Charles Powner

 

Sometime in 1942, Charles Powner of Chicago issued versions of The Expert. One included a cheap paperback with the King of Hearts cover. Another, however, was the first cloth covered edition produced in over twenty-five years. Published in conjunction with the Paul Fleming book company, the cloth-bound 1944 Powner edition contained the “Critical Comments” by Professor Hoffmann that originally appeared in The Magic Wand. Curiously, the 1944 paperbound Powner lists the Hoffmann comments on the title page, though they are not actually included at the rear of the book.

On at least several occasions, Powner published The Expert at the Card Table under an alternate title: Card Secrets Exposed. In my own collection, I have four different versions. Two are undated but clearly different, and I also have 1953 and 1963 editions. The inside text is Erdnase entirely, and these editions were all produced for KC Card Co. Whaley and Busby claim that no Card Secrets Exposed editions were ever produced, but it’s unclear whether they are referring specifically to the version pictured on p. 337 of The Man Who Was Erdnase, or to any copy with that title. On p. 337, an illustration from a 1939 KC Card Co. catalog is reproduced. I must admit, I have never seen that exact cover of Card Secrets Exposed, but if Whaley/Busby’s claim was that the book was never produced in any form, they are clearly mistaken. Powner continued to produce paperback editions of The Expert until 1975.

 


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