I remember seeing the episode on PBS (and I checked the cookbook) where Jacques Pepin made these. He indicated there were ALWAYS clunkers and that the first frying was your only chance to get it right.
The first frying was to form a pliable skin on the potato slices. You cannot let them brown as they will get too hard when they dry and won't puff up. If you then drop them into the hotter oil, you can tell right away if they are going to puff. Take those out right away and set them aside. they will deflate but re-puff when cooked for real. The clunkers make good potato chips.
The key is to make a lot extra and just serve the winners. The kitchen doesn't tell the dinner guest how many failures they had to get to the good ones, why should you?
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan