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Mel Brown

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Mel Brown
BornMelvin Westley Brown
December 4, 1926
Emmett, Idaho
DiedMarch 10, 1995 (age 68)

Mel Brown was a hotel manager, part-time professional magician and was as an expert on the works of Ed Marlo.

Brown grew up in Boise, Idaho, later moving to Portland, Oregon (in the 1950s) but spent most of his adult life in the San Francisco Bay area. He was a graduate of the Chavez school of magic (circa 1950) and at one time did a Channing Pollock type show. His friends and associates in the card world were many of the best including Ed Marlo (Brown named one of his sons "Marlo", whom Ed was the godfather).

He was one of the first to do the Mexican Turnover using three cards rather than two and created a deck switch known as The Joker Switch. He wrote articles in many magazines including Pallbearers Review, Genii and Arcane.

Brown was the Night Manager for the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco from 1956 until 1986.

In 1987, it was reported in New Tops (January), that Brown was recovering from an amputation, because of cancer.

In the late 1990s, Brown was making shells for the shell game by special order.

Brown passed away after losing a battle with cancer, leaving a large collection of correspondences with his friend Ed Marlo (who he never met in person) which spanned from 1954 to 1991 (now part of the Conjuring Arts Research Center collection).


  • A match trick in "Double Daring" column, Genii, September, 1951.
  • The Straight Prediction, New Phoenix #333 (November 1955)
  • Flip Sleeve in M-U-M November, 1957
  • Joker Deck Switch in MUM August, 1958
  • The Well Stacked Queen in The Gen July 1960
  • A Direct Coincidence MUM June 1960
  • The Subtle-Key in Table Time by Mike Rogers - MUM November 1967
  • Epilogue Issue No. 8 March 1970.
  • Combination in Expert Card Mysteries by Alton Sharpe (1969)
  • Expert Card Chicanery (?)
  • "The Magic Card" in Apocalypse (July 1981).
  • "Syner-Aces" in Card Finesse II by Jon Racherbaumer (1992)


  • Steve Bruecker & Mike Rogers Present Their Three Shell Game Routine (1985).