It was 100 years ago today that Dai Vernon fooled Houdini with his Ambitious Card at an S.A.M. banquet at the Grand National Hotel in Chicago. To mark the occasion, here's video of The Professor himself doing that very trick. This is from a 1976 Canadian show, Celebrity Revue, hosted by Carol Taylor and Peter Pit.
Vernon did the trick for Houdini seven times and, it's my understand, varied his method each time. He would forever pride himself on being "The Man Who Fooled Houdini." Vernon's own mementos from that night sold last year at a Potter & Potter auction, including the group photo below.
What I'd love to know is what happened to the signed four of diamonds?
Besides Houdini I see:ReplyDelete
2.Dr. AM Wilson
5.Werner Dornfield. I think.
Next to Houdini is Russ Walsh and Blair L. Gilbert. Then A.M. Wilson. In the back of the room at the table I can barely see Ade Duval.Yes, Dorny is there too. Great photo.Delete
Shout out to "Mr. Escape", Steve Baker - who is one of the guests applauding at the conclusion.ReplyDelete
The question about the whereabouts of the signed Four of Diamonds is a good one. I once saw Rich Bloch (in the Palace at the Castle) send a spectator into the audience to get a card signed by a random person. She unknowingly picked Carl Ballantine. When Rich received the card and called out for "Lrac - I'm sorry, Carl" and saw Carl Ballantine raise his hand, he tucked the card into his shirt pocket and said "I will be keeping this." You would think that Dai Vernon, who made this story such a keynote of his claim to fame, would have certainly kept the momento of the momentous occasion, and shown it off frequently.ReplyDelete
In his Vernon biography, David Ben described how Houdini signed his card for Vernon. As if he has seen the card. I always wondered if it was just a bit of embellishment on his part for the book, or if he saw the actual card. Perhaps Vernon's son Derek had the card when he was alive? Vernon left behind magic props and letters in the Tucahoe, New York house when he made a beeline for the West Coast.Delete
Exactly, Lisa! The card was also his proof that this actually happened. Maybe Houdini made it disappear from the deck. :)Delete