Thursday, 13 December 2012

the Trick that fooled Houdini

Dai Vernon aka the Professor.
I have recently become the father to a little girl and that has taken over my life to such an extent that I rarely find time to blog and when I do it is posts of a shorter nature.
With my short attention span I have found my interest in magic rekindled, and of late particularly card magic. It is all leading towards my next show which in my head currently has the title: Captain Frodo's Real Magic.
Parts of my research will be appearing and has already graced the pages of this Illuminated Blog.

Houdini Fooled 

"In 1922, Harry Houdini was the most famous magician in the world. The forty-eight year old Houdini was so confident in his knowledge of magic that he had an open challenge to all fellow magicians - 'show me any trick three times in a row and I'll be able to tell you how you did it.' At the Great Northern Hotel in Chicago, Dai Vernon took the great Houdini up on his challenge. But Vernon would not repeat his trick three times in a row - Dai Vernon repeated it SEVEN TIMES and Houdini could not get it!
The trick Dai Vernon chose to fool Houdini with was his own version of the classic ambitious card routine, so named because the spectator's chosen card always wants to get to the top of the deck. Vernon had Houdini choose a card and then sign the chosen card with his initials 'HH'. Houdini returned his card to middle of the deck and, with a snap of Vernon's fingers, it magically appeared on the top. Houdini was astounded and Vernon repeated the trick. And then again, for the third time. 'You must have a dupilcate card!' Houdini guesses, Vernon calmly points outs: 'With your initials, Harry?' Houdini then suggests that Vernon must have used a well-known mentalist's device. But Vernon points out that Houdini's initials are written in ink. 'They make them in ink now!' Houdini splutters but no magician in the room has ever heard of these devices using ink. 'Harry you are fooled!' cries Sam Margules, a Magic Show producer and former assistant of the Whirlwind Illusionist , Horace Goldin."
Tommy Wonder.
Below is a clip of the dutch Master Magician Tommy Wonder performing the trick know today as the Ambitious Card Routine, but apparantly it has also been called the trick that fooled Houdini. Regardless of what it is called this performance stands out as an absolute triumph. It has been said that every magician has their own version of this trick, but it is my belief and experience that it rarely if ever gets a reaction like Tommy Wonder gets, and even more seldom a well deserved standing ovation.
It is a perfect illustration of the old dictum: It is not what you do but how you do it that matters.

Below is a video that came up whilst I was searching for the video above. It is not the Ambitious card Routine but either way it is a nice story to a sweet and very clean trick.

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