Trick that Fooled Houdini

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Postby Bruce Siegel » 09/28/05 12:17 PM

I have a bunch of books by and about Dai Vernon but I can't find the Trick that Fooled Houdini explained in any of them. Did Vernon ever include this trick in any of his writings? Thanks.
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Postby Terry » 09/28/05 02:48 PM

I believe it was a version of Ambitious Card using a double backer.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 09/28/05 03:25 PM

There's an impromptu version in my manuscript TRIBUTE and notes on it in The Ambitious Card Omnibus.

And if memory serves there's something about it in the Vernon books that Steve Minch wrote.

Basically, a young Vernon met Houdini at a magic shop and was asked to show something to the boys. He took a card and placed it second from the top. He then turned the card over and cleanly too a single card off the top. This was repeated, I believe, seven times, as Houdini had made the claim that no card trick could fool him if he had the chance to see it three times.

I've been told that back in the day the double lift and double-backed cards were not well known to most magicians, so it would have been a potent combination.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/28/05 04:14 PM

Though Hofzinser invented the double-backed card 150 years ago, it remained otherwise unknown to magicians until Theodore DeLand used it in two tricks, "The Two-Card Monte" in 1913, and "Inverto" in 1914.

These are, I believe, the first recorded instances of anyone in the United States publishing or marketing a trick with a double-backed card. It is unlikely that Vernon would have heard of the double-backed card were it not for DeLand's marketed tricks.

I have several versions of "The Trick that Fooled Houdini" from Larry Jennings for the upcoming books. And, should the mention of those books simply bring a chuckle to your lips, it might be of interest to know that Noah Levine is now proofreading "Mr. Jennings Takes it Easy!"
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Postby Bill Duncan » 09/28/05 05:48 PM

Wonderful news Richard! Put me down for a copy.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/28/05 06:56 PM

Originally posted by Terry Terrell:
I believe it was a version of Ambitious Card using a double backer.
A card placed second from the top of the deck keeps arriving on the top of the deck. A single card too, and no tilt!
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 09/28/05 09:34 PM

Daryl teaches two versions of this on his ambitious card dvd. One gaffed (tilt + double backer) and one totally gaffless version that looks exactly the same. Either can be repeated ad-infinitum.
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Postby Guest » 09/29/05 11:35 AM

The encounter between Houdini and Vernon is written about in detail in the book "The Magician and the Cardsharp." Houdini was apparently enraged at being fooled. I remember watching Vernon perform the trick in his Farewell Lecture and, although I was fairly new to sleight of hand at the time, I recognized the use of the double backer. I was very surprised that someone who was supposed to be as knowlegable as Houdini would have been deceived by the gaff.
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Postby Guest » 09/29/05 01:19 PM

Vernon's relatively brief account can be found in He Fooled Houdini: Dai Vernon - A Magical Life , Volume 4 of The Vernon Chronicles .

Go to the chapter More Memories of Harry Houdini on p. 131.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 09/29/05 01:30 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Theodore DeLand used it in two tricks, "The Two-Card Monte" in 1913, and "Inverto" in 1914.
Hi, Richard

What are your sources for these two dates, please ?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/29/05 06:00 PM

My source is DeLand's advertising for these items in The Sphinx, and his instruction sheets.
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Postby Bill Evans » 09/30/05 07:53 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I have several versions of "The Trick that Fooled Houdini" from Larry Jennings for the upcoming books. And, should the mention of those books simply bring a chuckle to your lips....
Now that's an understatement! I know....don't go there. LOL!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/30/05 08:55 AM

hahaha, very funny, Bill! I guess that'll remain a private joke.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 09/30/05 12:47 PM

Thank you very much, Richard.
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