WHO FOOLED HOUDINI?
From a Dai Vernon advertising piece Note: At the time, he billed himself as Dale Vernon. From a Dai Vernon advertising piece Note: At the time, he billed himself as Dale Vernon. HE FOOLED HOUDINI It was Houdini's boast that a man had only to do a trick for him three times and he knew the trick. Some years ago, in Chicago, a keen swift-fingered card manipulator baffled him again and again. Mutual friends seated at the table said: "Don't quibble, Harry, you're fooled this time". Houdini finally made the admission and added, "Vernon is certainly the best man I have ever seen with cards."
Popular stage magic that deals in boxes and barrels, disappearing bird cages and the sawing of women in half holds no interest for Mr. Vernon. Such performers Mr. Vernon recognizes as important in the field of magic. Their popularity, however, he believes, is declining. Modern science with its radios, airplanes, cosmic rays and countless other wonders is outdoing even the most fantastic dreams of the old school of magic. There are no pistol shots, no cabalistic Words, no orchestral crescendos when Mr. Vernon does a trick. What he does is compounded of simple, familiar ingredients. The hands and the voice are the only means utilized-and with these simple instruments he puts on a never ending show. There is nothing prepared beforehand, nothing that cannot be thoroughly examined by a spectator. Despite a certain uncanny quickness about him. his manner is easy and disarming. It induces confidence and promotes illusion. In a perfectly natural way he convinces any audience they are seeing miracles. Mr. Vernon's work is the product of two factors: skill in manipulation and the psychology of misdirection. Everything is done close at hand and in full view, whereas in "apparatus" magic none of the preliminary preparations are seen-only the final effect.
During Mr. Vernon's performance the mind is involved at every stage, being led on step by step to ingeniously defeat its own logic. Mr. Vernon has two distinct and different programs for discriminating audiences, depending upon their requirements. He is unexcelled as an intimate entertainer for the small gathering in home or club and for a large audience presents his stage act, "A Magical Masquerade" which has been featured at Radio City Music Hall and the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center.