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Trick That Fooled Houdini?

Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
Hey, I have been looking through some books and what not and constantly see the title: "The Trick That Fooled Houdini." But, I also so a video with Dai Vernon talking about an ACR that fooled Houdini.

So what really was the trick that fooled houdini???

The ACR???
Dissapearing Watch????
Or The Torn And Restored Newspaper???

Generally it's usually said to have been that one ACR with a double backer.

Tho as Vernon said "Houdini wasn't a magician, he made his career out of escaping things." so there could possibly be a ton of other things that fooled him. But most well known one was the ACR with the double backer.
 
Jul 8, 2008
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We actually have no evidence that the one we all saw on video was the one that was performed for Houdini. In the video, he used Golden Nuggets which had to be either specially printed or split and gaffed to make the double backer since those cards are casino cards. I don't think that kind of technique came about until AFTER he fooled Houdini with it. I have a book describing what Vernon did and it said that all he did was take the card and put it into the deck and kept doing that. I can't say for sure if that is exactly what he did. For all we know, he did a pass. He was also one of the leading practicioners of S.W Erdnase, being that he was mentored by Erdnase himself and spent most of his time practicing the pass. If you are interested on reading up on this, pick up Karl Johnson's, "The Magician and The Cardsharp".
 
Dec 30, 2008
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Interesting, I was under the impression that Houdini was not big on cards. Maybe I should do some more research. Thanks for the info!

Going back and reading this I'm happy you took it the way it was meant to be taken. Not many people would have taken that with such grace and maturity. I just wanted to thank you.
 
Sep 2, 2007
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London
He was also one of the leading practicioners of S.W Erdnase, being that he was mentored by Erdnase himself and spent most of his time practicing the pass. If you are interested on reading up on this, pick up Karl Johnson's, "The Magician and The Cardsharp".

He was mentored by Erdnase? I think you should read Mr Johnson's book a bit more closely. Maybe check out David Ben's Vernon biography as well.

There are a couple of slightly differing descriptions of what Vernon actually performed for Houdini, but the common thread is that he used a double-backer, placed the card second from the top and then performed a double-lift. Double-facers were in fairly common use, but double-backers were a lot more rare, and Vernon apparently got a lot of mileage out of them before he decided to reduce his use of gimmicks.
 
Jul 8, 2008
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It wasn't exactly a "mentorship", but he (and I don't remember the full story here) met somebody studying him at a library and he approached Vernon and did a pass or something like that, and then they kept meeting back and talking about sleights and tricks, and then it was said that the man Vernon kept meeting was Erdnase and he never knew it.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
It wasn't exactly a "mentorship", but he (and I don't remember the full story here) met somebody studying him at a library and he approached Vernon and did a pass or something like that, and then they kept meeting back and talking about sleights and tricks, and then it was said that the man Vernon kept meeting was Erdnase and he never knew it.

That might have happened, tho I don't think Erdnase would be the type of guy who would meet up with somebody like Vernon. From what I read in the intro of the book was that Erdnase was supposedly an incredibly violent angry man who was wanted for murder or something. I mean this could all just be crap. But that's pretty much what I read in Expert at the Card Table. Unless the REAL erdnase lived to the ripe age of 50 or something.. Tho it seems very unlikely for a card cheat back then to live past 30 or 40.
 
Feb 27, 2008
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Grand prairie TX
It wasn't exactly a "mentorship", but he (and I don't remember the full story here) met somebody studying him at a library and he approached Vernon and did a pass or something like that, and then they kept meeting back and talking about sleights and tricks, and then it was said that the man Vernon kept meeting was Erdnase and he never knew it.

It was actually said that vernon liked to BELIEVE that erdnase was that guy he would meet with. But there was no proof or solid evidence to it.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
It was actually said that vernon liked to BELIEVE that erdnase was that guy he would meet with. But there was no proof or solid evidence to it.

Yeah, that's mainly due to the fact nobody REALLY knows who Erdnase was. All we have is stories and often times they are very different.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
Some used to say that Houdini would often call himself the King of kards. Tho From what I remember is that he probably just did a few very simple effects like the Color Change and possibly card to mouth or something. Nothing that was too mind blowing. Plus once Vernon entered the picture, Houdini was pretty much destroyed. Some stories have said that after that, lots of other card magicians would go up Houdini and pretty much fool him as well. This supposedly angered him.
 
Jul 8, 2008
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Tintagel
Hiding the Elephant

Houdini was alot of things a magician, more known as an escapist but most importantly he was a businessman. He knew how to market himself. Back in the day he vanished an elephant but this feat became rather unnoticed in consideration to what other magicians where doing at the time. He lacked the skills that could of projected his magic, showmanship.

Matt
 
Jul 8, 2008
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Didn't Vernon live to be like 98 or something like that? Also, it's a myth that S.W Erdnase was actually E.S Andrews, that might be why nobody knows who he really is.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
Didn't Vernon live to be like 98 or something like that? Also, it's a myth that S.W Erdnase was actually E.S Andrews, that might be why nobody knows who he really is.

I think he lived to be like 96 or something. So by the time he would retell the story it probably changed a hundred times because he completely forgot what originally happened.
 
Nov 30, 2007
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Houdini was alot of things a magician, more known as an escapist but most importantly he was a businessman. He knew how to market himself. Back in the day he vanished an elephant but this feat became rather unnoticed in consideration to what other magicians where doing at the time. He lacked the skills that could of projected his magic, showmanship.

Matt

Really? Harry Houdini lacking showmanship? Please explain...
 
Feb 6, 2009
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For the love of god people do some research! I am no Houdini expert by far but I know enough about magic history to put things in perspective. "He probably did this" or "might have done that" is no better then just making it up as you go along. For example I knew it was the Ambitious card that fooled Houdini but I didn't know it was a double backer so I'm not going to argue whether it was or not because I know nothing about it.

Anyway in my opinion it would not have been the secrecy of the method that fooled Houdini but rather Houdini's own ego. All magicians will watch a trick and try and fit the methodologies they know to it. And if your damn right certain you know what it is, and then that method is proved to be wrong it throws you, and Houdini wasn't one for looking like he was in the wrong in front of anyone.
 
Jul 8, 2008
443
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Wow, I think SOOO many people skipped right over (including myself) the ambitious card chapter of Expert Card Technique. It is said in there that it was done almost 100 years before Dai Vernon did it. Not much detail in the book though, I am really curious to find out as much more as I can.
 
Oct 12, 2007
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has nobody ever read a book on houdini or watched one of the many documentaries they have on him every year in this forum?
I would suggest reading "the secret life of houdini" as well as "hiding the elephant" for some background and history lessons...as well as going down to the local library.

Read Ineski's post for the answer to the topic question.

and to answer the other question...houdini was very much a magician and had several shows.
 

Michael Kras

{dg} poet laureate / theory11
Sep 12, 2007
1,268
3
Canada
www.magicanada.myfastforum.org
ACR with a double-backed card. I actually tell the story about Dai Vernon fooling Houdini as my patter. It works really well.

He never used a double backer. Glenn West hit the nail on the head... Vernon didn't use Marlo's Tilt either, he just openly stuck the card second from the top and had it appear back on the very top each time. David Ben talks about this in his Vernon Biography.
 
Jul 8, 2008
443
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He never used a double backer. Glenn West hit the nail on the head... Vernon didn't use Marlo's Tilt either, he just openly stuck the card second from the top and had it appear back on the very top each time. David Ben talks about this in his Vernon Biography.
Yea I am PRETTY sure that is how he did it. But again, don't go by the video guys. The only way to know what REALLY went on, is by researching it and actually finding witnesses' reports about what happened that night or anybody who Vernon revealed the trick to. The video could show the actual one he did that night, it might not. It was quite deceptive in my opinion, but again, we don't know by the video!
 
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