Dai Vernon

Portrait of Dai (6k Jpeg)

I cut this silhouette of Dai Vernon from a picture I found in a book. I can't tell how much it looks like him myself, but some who knew him tell me it quite resembles him as a young man!

Dai Vernon is rightly famous as the father of close-up magic. What is less well known is that he wasn't bad with the scissors either! As a silhouettist he doesn't rank among the best, his profiles were functional and stylistically typical of the day. Dai Vernon writes that silhouette cutting enabled him to avoid the worst excesses of 1930's entertainment agents, who would often take more than half a magicians earnings! It enabled him to concentrate on his real love, which was the study of magic and the development of new ideas, rather than spend all his time looking for the next gig.

Roosevelt sil (8k Jpeg) Jeanne & Ted sils (15k Jpeg)

Silhouettes by Dai Vernon.
On the left is President Roosevelt, cut in Colorado Springs in 1932
On the right is Dai's wife Jeanne, and a silhouette of Ted Verner.

New York, 1930's (29k Jpeg)
On the road, 1943 (32k Jpeg)

Two archival photos of Dai Veron in action with his scissors
The top is in New York in the 1930's
The bottom is on the road in 1943

Chris Woodward (29k Jpeg)

One of the magicians I work with from time to time is Chris Woodward. He remembers Dai Vernon well, and had a silhouette done by him in 1964. As an avid collector of books about all things magical, he had his silhouette made into a book-plate for his collection. When I did another silhouette of him in 1997, he gave me a copy of his book-plate, which I put in my sketch book together with my own white duplicate. When comparing the two you have to bear in mind the more than 30 year gap, but the distinctive angle of the nose certainly hasn't changed!

More about Dai Vernon the magician
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©Charles Burns/www.roving-artist.com/The Edo Barn Site/silhouettes@me.com/This page was first created in September 1997 and last updated August 2012