Dai Vernon: The Spirit of Magic
Nearly twenty years ago, in 1999, I collaborated with my friend, filmmaker Daniel Zuckerbrot, on a profile of Dai Vernon for Canadian television. At the time, I believed that Vernon was the most influential magician of the twentieth century. I have since reconsidered that notion, and now think that he is, in fact, the most influential magician of all time. The film project became an important stone along the path to Dai Vernon: A Biography, published in 2006.
A serendipitous sidebar: The film was directed by Daniel Zuckerbrot, narrated by Patrick Watson and I served as associate producer and magic consultant. Within one year, the three of us banded together again, and became the founding members who created Magicana.
In addition to the insight provided by performers who knew Vernon, including Max Maven, Herb Zarrow, John Carney, Jackie Flosso, Ricky Jay, Steve Freeman and Persi Diaconis, it was an important opportunity for Vernon's children, Edward and Derek Verner, to share their own thoughts and feelings about their father, the magician. It also featured black-and-white silent footage of a younger Vernon demonstrating sleight-of-hand which we had converted and professionally retouched for the film.
While the film was very well received, it was only available briefly for purchase as a VHS cassette, which was subsequently pirated. The film pops up regularly online, always low-quality copies of copies shared without any credit to those who made the project possible.
Now is our chance to fix that. We have provided Historica Canada with a clean copy, transferred from the broadcast master. It is now available to view on-line for free as part of their Canadian Biography series. A copy can also be viewed through Magicana’s Screening Room.