But now thanks to the Harry Ransom Center, we finally have a Vanishing Elephant poster! Or at least what's described as a watercolor prototype for a poster. Was a finished poster like this ever produced? That I don't know, but this artwork belonged to Houdini himself.
The poster image (right) comes from the Ransom Center's website. It was reproduced in black and white in the first U.S. paperback edition of The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini (curiously it's not in the hardcover or later paperbacks). The watercolor was also displayed at the Ransom Center's Houdini celebrations in October 2016 and most recently as part of their Vaudeville! exhibition.
But it gets better. That's because the Ransom Center has two more Vanishing Elephant poster images. One is a second watercolor prototype of a similar design (you can see it in their recent Facebook live talk). The other is a broadside with bold white lettering against black reading: LOOK OUT FOR THE VANISHING ELEPHANT. In many ways, this one is the most remarkable in that it's the only printed poster that I'm aware. And what a great line. But to see that one, you'll have to visit the Center itself.
The Harry Ransom Center recently completed a two year re-cataloging of their Houdini and Magic collections. Access to the collections is free to anyone with a photo ID. Details about using the collections can be found HERE.
Thanks to Eric Colleary for allowing me to share this image.