Typed letter signed “Houdini,” one page, 5.5 x 6.5, January 6, 1918. Letter to Alfred Becks, in full: "Sorry I have not been able to see you, thought you might have called up and 'visited' us. Been working all day and night on my new Vanishing Elephant mystery and think I have a world beater. Open Monday matinee. Call and see me at the Hip. Stage door man will tell you where I am. Generally am in front of Theatre." In fine condition, with some light edge creasing.
Houdini first performed the "Vanishing Elephant mystery" on the day after he wrote this letter, January 7th, at the New York Hippodrome. Jenny, a 10,000-pound elephant, was paraded around a huge, brightly painted wooden cabinet. Houdini then announced that Jenny would vanish, walked her into the cabinet, and when the curtains opened, the elephant was gone. The trick confounded all onlookers, including other magicians who knew there was no trap door in the floor of the Hippodrome. Houdini's friend, Charles Morritt, had first conceived of the trick as a less-impressive 'vanishing donkey' mystery. When he described it to Houdini, the legendary illusionist immediately bought the rights and used it with an elephant instead. Pre-certified Beckett Authentication.
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